Carnival of Socialism- Halloween Special!

cshhSoil yourself in abject terror! For while the Godly forces of good, common sense neoliberalism feed public wealth into the hands of kindly capitalists to keep their financial houses going EVIL lefties gather and plot such horrors as -Healthcare, Welfare, Social Justice, Peace and Human Rights. Come with me on a terrifying journey into the heart of darkness of this global conspiracy that threatens bankers’ multi million dollar bonuses, every friendly arms dealer’s priceless collection of snuff porn and threatens the very business of Earth upon which we depend with its dangerous ideas of ecological ‘facts’. And remember if you hear a whisper from behind you of ‘People Not Profits’ run as if your very life depended on it and never, ever look back for no-one can gaze upon the face of Satan and live!

Hark but who is that stumbling through the graveyard, it is Zombie Lenin and rustling through the eaves the wind whispers debates of democratic centralism, Louis Proyect muses about John Molyneux on party democracy, previously Harpymarx had thoughts and discussion. While David Semple gets all Five Point Plan-y. And The Soul of a Man Under Capitalism.

Quick run to the television and turn it off, like Halloween 3 The Season of the Witch or Pulse,there is a dangerous signal coming from it- Equal Rights for Palestinians! Don’t whatever you do visit Jews Sans Frontieres and write a letter in support of The Daily Show!

But be careful that letter doesn’t get into the hands of The Postman (well it terrified me at least), in fact any Posties, male or female may be filthy trade unionists, attempting to serve the public instead of help corporations make greater profits as is our Holy Duty. Socialist Worker went to a depot Socialist Unity had A Striking Postal Worker speak out! A Very Public Sociologist had the Socialist Party’s leaflet- Victory to the Postal Workers!

And then more co-operation, or should we call it what is- conspiracy! Like an invading hive minded alien presence the Green Party and Respect won’t pointlessly fight each other-

…the fact that both Caroline Lucas and Salma Yaqoob have indicated that if both were elected to Parliament they could work closely together was extremely persuasive. Salma’s support for Green candidates in the North West and West Midlands at the recent European elections trumped concerns that others in Respect campaigned against us.

The Green Left welcome it, Oh Noes!!!! Will divide and rule fail to stem this tide? They’ll start admiring human dynamo Evo Morales next and his Ten Commandments (of evil!). And like a Cannibal Holocaust even noble coups are not running to plan anymore but the odd resolution is…odd and *Gulp* lefty subversives are showing the IMF they can run countries better than neoliberals! (But hey Hugo, better to be a character in Michael Moore’s jokes than hang with Ahmadinejad). And here’s Matt Sellwood Green Parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington further showing how green lefties work (at work)! Quick buy a Hummer now and eat lots of meat before they save the planet from us!

Stei091008What of the Haunted House of Horrors of Afghanistan? Have demons possessed our brave boys™ they admire and agree with war resistor Joe Glenton, it’s a liberal conspiracy!. And like a bad sequel what have we done to Pakistan? Analysis by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad. And Poppies, Third Estate, Harpy, Me.

Luckily our wise leaders have ensured the dangerous masses are correctly labelled, Domestic Extremists and given top assasin propagandist a job protecting the Thick Blue Line.

Now beware a Marxist Zombie, muse on Feminism and Vampires and while Manchester saw off the EDL, Wrexham needs you or canvas for John McDonnell.

And finally beware lefties with allen keys this night…

sokkomb1

The Bigger Picture

While some US liberals are rejoicing at the findings of this Pew poll that Fox news is seen as the most ideological network,

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A larger point may be being missed, therefore I have helpfully added a corrective-

pewchomskyForest, trees, you get the picture. Gotta love the ‘Neither’ answers.

Friday! Efterklang- Mirador


Currently touring the UK, this video is by Hvass & Hannibal who have done all the band’s recent artwork.

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Science Defeated By Drug War Hysteria

The UK’s chief drugs adviser has been sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, after criticising government policies. Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C. He accused ministers of devaluing and distorting evidence and said drugs classification was being politicised.

Well I told you so ‘Which means they will be ignoring this yet again‘ almost two years ago. But really I do love well paid professionals who are all surprised when New Labour turn out to be scumbags, What no WMD, well I never! To be honest I think they know but I refer you back to the ‘well paid’ bit. The consultation scam is a fig leaf over our lack of democracy and a great employment program for those involved, and that -very apparently- is all it is.

So in the absence of …erm science what shall we have inform drugs policy now we are going down the faith based route? (Faith in reactionary establishment hypocrites that is). How about Jeremy Kyle throwing darts at tabloid stories to decide things ‘He’s scored a double red top, The Suns says lock up these evil drug fiends. Home Secretary… he say Yes!‘ Or class it up a bit (a tiny tiny tiny bit) when Cameron comes along and have Noel Edmonds picking ideas out of little cases while Simon Cowell decides sentences all the while smirking at all the drugs he has *never* taken. This is as ridiculous as government by fundamentalist Christians who reject evolution and have creationism taught in schools, when will we ever have an adult, informed drug policy as opposed to a quasi mystical fear that keeps authoritarians in salaried employment (and banks liquid), authoritarians who -as I am sure many of us have observed- use drugs too.

Malalai Joya on Democracy Now

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Eloquent Protest IV

Cyrus Thatcher was a teenager from Reading who joked that his atrocious spelling was typical of a young infantryman. Yet this Remembrance Sunday his words will echo out across a West End theatre alongside those of the noted poet Wilfred Owen – another soldier who died in battle.

Actor Jason Isaacs, famed for his roles in the Harry Potter films, will be reading out Rifleman Thatcher’s letters at Eloquent Protest – a powerful piece of theatre fusing poetry, music and drama to honour the fallen.

The actor, who worked extensively with soldiers while filming Paul Greengrass’s thriller Green Zone alongside Matt Damon recently, said he had developed a nuanced understanding and enormous respect for the men and women of the forces and their pride in putting their training into action. But he said it was also important to remember the toll war took on those coming home. Among others appearing will be actor Sam West, who will be reading Wilfred Owen’s “Futility”, and former SAS soldier Ben Griffin, who will be reading Siegfried Sassoon’s, “A Soldier’s Declaration”.

8 November at Duke of York’s Theatre in London. Proceeds from the £18 tickets will go to the Mark Wright Project, set up in honour of the 27-year-old Corporal from the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, who was killed when British forces first went into Helmand in 2006 to help ex-servicemen and women overcome the mental wounds of war.

PDF with more details and full cast, good to see Ben Griffin is involved even if he can’t use his own words.

Domestic Extremists

I think the essence of the current expose of our police state is in Mark Thomas’ piece-

The Metropolitan police circulated the card specifically for the Docklands biannual arms fair in London to help its officers identify “people at specific events who may instigate offences or disorder”. Which is such a flattering quote I am thinking of having it on my next tour poster. While being wanted outside the arms fair, I was legitimately inside researching a book on the subject, and uncovered four companies illegally promoting “banned” torture equipment. Questions were later asked in the Commons as to why HM Revenue & Customs and the police didn’t spot it. Though, in fairness, none of the torture traders featured on the spotter card.

It’s all about who is perceived as the enemy and who is not, and who has power and who does not. That we expect more of the police is testament to the effectiveness of corporate media and their incessant cops shows that eulogise mythic heroes with badges. They are doing a job and the job is what the people with the most capital tell them it is, now that shouldn’t be the case in a democracy.

All three units divide their work into four categories of domestic extremism: animal rights campaigns; far-right groups such as the English Defence League; “extreme leftwing” protest groups, including anti-war campaigners; and “environmental extremism” such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid campaigns.

So as a vegetarian, anti-imperialist with an eco-socialist bent, it’s suspicious I get 3 out of 4. If I was pro-war, loved vivisection and ran a hedge fund this new secret police project would work out just peachy for me. A political secret police force, are we sure when the Berlin Wall came down that wasn’t actually a successful invasion by the Stasi? Seems only the EDL makes it as unacceptable right wing behaviour (although to be fair surely they would also qualify as special needs too? An issue for social workers as well as the police).

Concern about the environment (y’know that thing we all live in and without we’d sort of die) the beasties within it (that includes us) and a disliking of the propensity for some of the human beasties to kill and torture others so they can steal their stuff makes me a dangerous subversive, a domestic extremist. My conscience can sit a whole lot better with that than it could if say… I were a policeman. The warning from recent history is Neoliberalism leads to a police state, it can only survive through an authoritarian repression of the disempowered, poor and disenfranchised, dissent is necessarily crushed. The challenges that face the human race are vast, our own life support system is in danger but those who cause the worst damage also hold the most power and Change is naught but a brand for election marketing purposes. The repression of those with a vision of the future that is not just Mad Max writ large is suicidally stupid, but that’s not even in contention. What happens now happens because it keeps the ruling class & corporatocracy where they believe they should be and if that leaves the vast majority of the human race utterly fucked, well that’s where the whole police thing comes into play (and internationally the military). These reports show they are just diligently laying the groundwork to maintain control on behalf of the criminals who are causing this crisis, through ACPO & their familiars they are choosing to do this more enthusiastically then ever. As Chief Constables socialise with corporate CEO’s it is inevitable they identify with them, their world view and their solutions, not to mention the big wodges of cash to be had. I don’t think most people want it this way, I don’t think people of good conscience want to have to treat the police as a hostile occupying paramilitary force, just as rank and file ought to realise this is inevitable if this continues.

Halloween Carnival of Socialism!

I will be hosting a Halloween Special Carnival of Socialism here on Saturday the 31st. So please send links to anything you would like to be included to askHAL at gmail.com or leave them in comments. Feel free to enjoy yourself, perhaps ask what would zombie Lenin make of people still arguing over his legacy? Is neoliberalism a vampirist plot, will The -pollution- Blob overwhelm us or can eco-socialism save the Earth, has consumerism made pod people of us all? Which is scarier- that people think Obama is a socialist or the word itself ‘Socialism‘ Run for your lives they are putting people before profit! Aaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!!!

My Offer To Naiara Amselem, Lewis W. Amselem’s Daughter

On Friday evening I got three comments on this post about Lewis Amselem purporting to be from one Naiara Amselem, Lewis W. Amselem’s daughter. They were silly and insulting and not a little entertaining, perhaps alcohol or other drugs were involved, just a little drunk trolling. However, given indications that she genuinely is Naiara Amselem, I am making her this offer:-

I will pay and have shipped to the address of your choosing the book The Blindfold’s Eyes by Sister Dianna Ortiz. This comes with two simple conditions:

  1. The address must be a legitimate one perhaps c/o a place of employment or university, I don’t want the book to be wasted (and neither should young ladies give their home addresses out to all and sundry on the internet).
  2. Within 4 weeks of the book being sent you show some evidence of having read it, a review, a reaction or whatever, you can post that or a link to it in comments here.

Contact me through your Facebook account so I know you are genuine, I am at facebook.com/rickbtenpercent. So there you go, that’s my offer Naiara (a lovely Basque name if I may say so) one generation does not have to continue the misdeeds of a previous one, the truth will set you free! Please avail yourself of the offer to read the book, know what was done in your name by, among others, your father. A lifetime of not being able to look yourself in the eyes is no life at all.

Friday! Jon Brion & Deanna Storey- Little Person

I’m pretty ambivalent about Synecdoche, New York (as with all of Kaufman’s work) but this song is super lovely, enjoy.

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Demonstrate 24 October: Bring the troops home from Afghanistan

Assemble 12 noon Hyde Park: March to Trafalgar Square
Called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and BMI
The march will be lead by anti-war military families & soldiers
Speakers include: Tariq Ali, Peter Brierley, who recently refused to shake Tony Blair’s hand because it had his son blood on it; Lance Cpl Joe Glenton, serving soldier facing court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan; George Galloway MP; musician and poet Lowkey. Acclaimed songwriter Robb Johnson has written North West Frontier in support of the campaign to get the troops out of Afghanistan. It’s Stop the War’s song of the week and Robb will be attending Saturday’s rally, as will rapper Lowkey and the King Blues band.

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Meanwhile, Posties


A second front has been opened in the increasingly bitter industrial dispute between unions and Royal Mail that threatens to bring more chaos for millions of households and businesses.
Leaders of the Unite union, representing Royal Mail’s 12,000 managers, urged them not to cover for postal workers in the next round of national strikes. The move could see even fewer letters and parcels delivered.
The ratcheting up of pressure comes as the national stoppage enters a second day, leaving managers to operate a skeleton postal service. The Communication Workers Union, representing the rest of Royal Mail’s 160,000 staff, also announced another wave of national strike action, starting on Thursday next week.
The beginning of the strike brought disruption to millions, among them small-business owners, people on benefits, hospital patients, parents trying to get their children secondary school places, online shoppers and those racing to meet the 31 October deadline for paper tax returns.
The Guardian, meanwhile, has learned that the CWU will seek an injunction in the high court in the next few days to prevent Royal Mail taking on 30,000 extra temporary staff. Rob McCreath, of Archon solicitors, said the union had a good chance of securing a temporary injunction with immediate effect, particularly now that further strikes have been announced. This would ban Royal Mail from taking on any more extra staff until a formal hearing takes place, probably in a couple of months.
The union claims the recruitment of temporary staff, announced last weekend, breaches employment law and constitutes illegal “strike-breaking”.
A second front has been opened in the increasingly bitter industrial dispute between unions and Royal Mail that threatens to bring more chaos for millions of households and businesses.

Leaders of the Unite union, representing Royal Mail’s 12,000 managers, urged them not to cover for postal workers in the next round of national strikes. The move could see even fewer letters and parcels delivered.

The ratcheting up of pressure comes as the national stoppage enters a second day, leaving managers to operate a skeleton postal service. The Communication Workers Union, representing the rest of Royal Mail’s 160,000 staff, also announced another wave of national strike action, starting on Thursday next week.

The beginning of the strike brought disruption to millions, among them small-business owners, people on benefits, hospital patients, parents trying to get their children secondary school places, online shoppers and those racing to meet the 31 October deadline for paper tax returns.

The Guardian, meanwhile, has learned that the CWU will seek an injunction in the high court in the next few days to prevent Royal Mail taking on 30,000 extra temporary staff. Rob McCreath, of Archon solicitors, said the union had a good chance of securing a temporary injunction with immediate effect, particularly now that further strikes have been announced. This would ban Royal Mail from taking on any more extra staff until a formal hearing takes place, probably in a couple of months.

The union claims the recruitment of temporary staff, announced last weekend, breaches employment law and constitutes illegal “strike-breaking”.

For Nick Griffin

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Posted in Media. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

Did Nick Griffin Fib About His Father’s War Service?

During the recording David Wooding (sadly a Sun hack) was live tweeting and he reported

Griffin hits back at Straw: “My dad was in the RAF during WW2 and Jack Straw’s was in prison as a conscientious objector.” More boos #bbcqt

Edgar Griffin ertswhile conservative politician and Freemason is Nick’s ‘proud’ dad,

joined the Conservative Party when he returned from two years national service with the RAF in India.

Mr Griffin countered that he had been a party member since 1948,

War ended in 1945, so what gives, is Nick being a bit of a fibber or his dad has his dates wrong? Jack Straw’s father-

That Jewish maternal grandfather was also a TGWU shop steward on the London buses, alongside Ernest Bevin. His father, Walter Straw, was an insurance clerk and conscientious objector, and his mother, Joan, was a teacher. They were Congregationalists, socialists and pacifists who had met in the Peace Pledge Union. His father left his mother when Jack was 10, something that led Straw to refuse to speak to his father for 30 years. Straw says: “I was brought up on the Pyries Lane Estate in Loughton by a single mum; we had very little money; there were five children and no father but we didn’t get into trouble.” Poor but straight , in other words.

Update 23/10/09: Liberal Conspiracy have caught up on this too and in comments Cath Elliot adds this useful link which further suggests he served in India but not during WWll

Edgar Griffin served in the dying days of the British Raj in India, in charge of 20 local aircraft mechanics. “I got on very well with them,” he says. “The Indian ladies also used to invite us to tea and were most kind to us.”

And another commenter Clive says-

One option would be to pay a visit to the British Library. Amongst the multitude of documents are 300 volumes – “Air Force List Dec 1918-Oct 1948: L/MIL/17/10/1-300.” – which cover the Royal Indian Air Force and the RAF in India.

Kweshtuning Times

Last month James Macintyre, a former producer on Question Time, revealed in the New Statesman that the programme’s makers wanted Griffin on the panel two years ago, long before the BNP’s limited breakthrough in the summer. To its credit the BBC resisted at first the naïve showbiz instincts of some who run the independent production company that is responsible for Question Time. According to Macintyre the company, Mentorn, persisted for two years and finally got the go ahead from the BBC. This suggests that Mentorn wanted what Peter Hain calls a “beanfest” for reasons well removed from the BBC’s charter obligations.

Excerpt from Macintyre’s piece-

Yet such was the controversy into which the BBC had plunged itself that the corporation’s bosses found themselves spinning lines on behalf of the BNP. After Hain wrote to the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, to point out that the BNP was an “unlawful” entity with a whites-only membership policy, Thompson seemed to leap to Griffin’s defence. Following legal advice sought by the BBC, he said, “the [BNP] is not prevented from continuing to operate on a day-to-day basis”. Ric Bailey, the BBC’s omnipresent chief political adviser, went further in claiming, without evidence, that the corporation could have been challenged in the courts had it not hosted Griffin on Question Time, since it had, in Thompson’s words, an “obligation to scrutinise and hold to account all elected representatives”. Bailey also resorted to the electoral argument: the BNP had to be represented on Question Time, he said, because it “won more than 6 per cent of the vote across Britain – approaching a million people”.

None of these positions bears scrutiny. First, as I revealed last month, Question Time wanted to host Griffin as early as 2007. At the time, I was working as a producer on the show, and this was long before the BNP’s electoral “breakthrough”. Much has been made of the BNP’s “million votes” in June’s European elections but, nationally, its vote share was a tiny 6.2 per cent – up 1.3 per cent on 2004. The BNP benefited from a collapse in the Labour vote. And, as Hain told me: “The BBC’s argument is threadbare. The logic of saying that a million votes gets you a place on Question Time is that if, say, [the Islamist cleric] Abu Hamza formed a party and attracted that support, he would go on.”

Second, there was never any “obligation”, legal or otherwise, to invite Griffin on to the BBC’s most popular current-affairs show, any more than there is an “obligation” for Griffin to appear on Ready Steady Cook. The BBC’s current-affairs output has to be impartial and balanced but, as I argued at internal meetings in 2007, the main problem is the format: it is difficult not to have a “good” Question Time. It was far better having the BNP on Newsnight and Radio 4′s Today programme. Labour’s Jon Cruddas, who confronts the BNP threat daily in his Dagenham constituency, has pointed out that the BBC could have given Griffin “45 minutes with John Humphrys or Andrew Neil”.

I think though Chicken Yoghurt makes an excellent point, please go and see it in full but basically all the things you can accuse the BNP of believing in Jack Straw puts into action. Yes it’s a retrograde step to have the BNP on but so is lying a country into war and torture and not holding the political class to account for 30 years of neoliberal attacks on British society that has created the opportunity for the BNP to rise. I think the protest outside the BBC is a stirring example of British people’s passion for an inclusive democracy.

However no platform was under threat once the bar to entry for media was lowered by the web, BNP idiots thrive on conspiracy theories and being barred from mainstream media feeds this. They should not be treated as any other party, a clever and considered lancing of the boil, a concerted exposure that would deflate the lies of the activists and the paranoid theories of supporters seems the least worst choice. But what chance of the corporate media doing this?

Question Time is not the best venue to expose Griffin’s fascism, they are not a political party like any other, they are a group that support right wing white male belligerent supremacy and will cheerfully lie to gain support from people who should -but apparently don’t- know better. I think the mainstream broadcasters should have taken the BNP to task, fact check them and expose the criminal activity and links to open Nazi groups worldwide, however corporate media rarely acts like that in respect of right wing parties. The BBC news on now has done some of this but it is not confronting Griffin with it. The Question Time format is too easy for Griffin to escape scrutiny, let Paxman or Humphrys do an in depth interview with a follow up fact check, because again the key aspect of fascists is they use ‘noble lies’ to further their objectives. I would also ask that white people particularly  white men (as I am) think about their entitlement and how that makes Griffins loathsome but perhaps, to some, not as viscerally abhorrent as it does to people of colour. It is telling all the senior people who would have made this decision in the BBC & Mentorn (incidentally from my time pottering around the industry in the 90′s they had a terrible reputation for how they treated their employees & free lancers at that time) are white males, affluent ones at that. It’s possible Question Time will surprise us and Griffin will be exposed for the scumbag he is and his party for the racist fascist rump of losers that they are, history warns us that might not be the case and media analysis also suggests how such media institutionally fail to treat the right wing with due objectivity and scepticism.

Simply from my observation of the media today it is hard not to see an element of this entitled bias in action, endless -mostly- male white journalist and presenters applying their usual tools to the issue as if fascism was an ideology as legitimate as any other and repeatedly mentioning how ’1 million’ people voted BNP in the Euro election. How is it that media that are happy to ignore the beliefs of millions more when they are environmental groups, anti war or anti corporate or anti neoliberalism are suddenly are falling over themselves to care about what 1 million hateful chumps want? A gender and racial bias that remains unchallenged at a personal and institutional level is to me rather obvious here, there is also a class bias, the BNP target deprived areas, they are a scourge among people the political establishment already ignores and despite what the media keeps repeating it is not the white working class it is the working class! The BNP can exploit divide and rule because the entire working and lower middle class of all races do not get representation in the one ideology politics of consensus happy clappy neoliberal corporatocracy land UK plc. What the BNP spread is violent, community destroying lies among people already under attack from the establishment. So again I see a certain elite group of people who are really not that affected by the BNP whatever may happen making the decisions (there seems to some foregrounding of black presenters by the beeb tonight but they are not the decision makers).

I think no platform was -sadly- going to fail, the technology, the needs of churnalistic corporate media was seeing to that, but the BBC has failed to approach the challenge suitably and that was probably the best prospect there was for a responsible approach among broadcasters (props to CH4 News, but what is their reach?). So, yes this could be a moment we will look back on as the Mainstreaming of Fascism.

To be honest at the best of times I can barely stand to watch Question Time so I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch it, I will try and if so will be also online here -open thread!- & on Twitter along with many others expressing our feelings.

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