Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is Free!

Free Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury!

The Bangladeshi journalist imprisoned for 17 months, basically for criticising radical Islam, has finally been freed.

(Reached via Arabs for Israel, which was reached via Friends of Micronesia.)

Previous: Opposing honor killings in Palestine, Izzy-Pal, The pro-Hamas left and the anti-Hamas left, Iranians for America, Sectarianism and fundamentalism in Gujarat and Pakistan

New addition to the family

A welcome to Councillor Andrew Brown to the small family of BobFromBrockley referrers, for this mention in a post about the "choice" agenda.

Previous South Londoners: Sarf London and global capital (Convoys Wharf) 1 and 2, Made in Deptford, Casino Avenue and Transpontine
Previous referrers: Passover porn, Brockley articulated fish, Slimy Mollusc newsflash, Apikorus-turned-Christian fundamentalist

Darfur - the value of lives

Night Light: money for nothing tells us what the $50 million Bush has finally committed to Darfur actually buys.

Previous: Ecuador double standards, Uzbekistan double standards, London, Sudan, Cuba, Darfur, Divest Sudan

Friday, May 27, 2005

BobFromBrockley in redneck

Check this out: Universally Translated: BobFromBrockley

(Alerted to this translation service by Mode for Caleb)

Previous redneck post: Thomas Sowell

The glitz-based community and the axis of edginess

I've been trying to get around to writing something about that rich idiot Chris Martin of the dreadful, bland, pop band Coldplay, and his stupid remarks about shareholders being evil (indeed, the greatest evil in the modern world), which kind of misses the point about what's wrong with capitalism, makes him seem like a daft hypocrite for getting letting EMI make him rich, and undermines the worthy causes (like Make Poverty History) he supports.

We can put this in the same category as Robert Redford calling Sundance a "festival of dissent". As LIBERTAS puts it:
"As Redford uttered his tired cliches about “diversity” and “dissent,” he never paused to reflect that the Sundance Film Festival, the largest and most powerful film festival in the U.S., is not a voice of “dissent” but actually the voice of a repressive and conformist liberal mainstream. If Redford were honest about celebrating “different voices in film,” he would not show movies that were only exclusively from the left."
To those who have, more shall be given, and celebrities who go to Sundance rake it in in terms of freebies. According to The Guardian (And the award for best goodie bag goes to ...):
"The recent Sundance film festival, another event supposed to promote small films, was overrun with companies eager to give their products away to the right people. Jewellery, clothing, hi-tech gadgetry, even an 18-carat gold vibrator and Krispy Kreme doughnuts were snapped up by eager celebrities."
The Sundance package adds up to $50,000.

Chris and Gwyneth also benefited from the Oscar package. From the same Guardian article:
"Four years ago the Oscar goodie bag was valued at $10,000. By last year that had grown to $120,000 and included a gift certificate for a resort in Mexico. Gwyneth Paltrow, who presented an award that year, used hers for her honeymoon with Coldplay singer Chris Martin. The bag included a 43-inch high definition TV. As unwieldy as that may seem, this year the Oscar goodie bag threatens to go further than ever to keep ahead of other ceremonies."
The smug liberalism of the glitterati is nicely disected by Neomi Emory in The Weekly Standard. [reached via Betsy's Page - in turn reached via Random Jottings - reached via Least-Loved Bedtime Stories who calls these fools the "Hollywood Phalanx of Frivolity" - reached via Photon Courier]

Defeating the boycott

In case you haven't already heard, the AUT boycott of Israeli universities was revoked yesterday. As usual, ENGAGE is the place for the fullest accounts, including news of resigned members re-joining and "the great reservoir of decency and integrity at the core of the AUT membership", Sue Blackwell's response to her defeat; and the story of anti-boycott Palestinians under threat.

I was very struck by this phrase in an article by David M Seymour about many pro-boycott activists at yesterday's AUT special meeting: "they hate Israel more than they love the Palestinians".

Here's some of the blogsphere comment:

Civitas: The Unholy Wisdom of British Academics - drawing attention to the next fight: the boycott proposals from NATFHE, the other HE union...

Wondering aloud - a brand new blog, drawing attention to the dodgy wording of the Guardian's reportage of the issue.

Bert's Blog puts it succintly: Up Yours Sue!

And, in a kind of footnote: Harry's Place reports that Sue Blackwell has turned against Gilad Atzmon, who is still due to speak at the SWP's Marxism 2005 event, despite the criticism of SWP bloggers like Lenin and Dead Men Left. (I still like Atzmon's music, even if I don't like all his views!) [See update here.]

Other news: NAS Council on International Cooperation in Science opposes boycott

Previous: Boycott latest
Tags: , ,

Sarf London and global capital 2

From Convoys Opportunity, about the Rupert Murdoch-owned Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, South London:
The news is that Lewisham strategic planning committee last night resolved to approve the current application for the site by 7 votes to 2. They did so despite eloquent representations by William Richards, Julian Kingston and Bill Ellson. The two councillors who voted against were Darren Johnson (Green) and Matthew Huntbach (Lib-Dem).

Ken Livingstone now has 14 days in which to direct refusal of the proposal. It is unlikely he will do this. He has already indicated he will not oppose the scheme, even though breaches his own London Plan by eliminating most of the safeguarded wharf.

The ultimate guardian of the wharf's protected status is Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. His approval is required for any "reconfiguration" (to use the planners' euphemism). Given Prescott's recent support for a new publicly funded cruise liner terminal in Liverpool we are hopeful we can persuade him to "call in" the Convoys application. It will then be the subject of a public planning enquiry.

Meanwhile the sale of Convoys to a joint venture between two Hong Kong companies, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, is presumably going ahead, though it's not clear at what point the sale will be finalised. Both companies are owned by billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Last night's vote was not the end of the matter, just the end of the beginning.

Previous: Sarf London and global capital
Tags: , ,

Alternative histories

New from the Kate Sharpley library:
This bulletin will eventually be posted at http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/. If you can't bear to wait, why not subscribe?

Other fighters for freedom:

Tags: , , ,

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Blog carnivals


Carnival of History

Middle East: The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: "The Kingdom of Heaven (and of Plunder, Pillage, Bloodshed, and Mayhem): Ridley Scott's Version of the Crusades, or the Limitations of Western Liberalism. "

Mode for Caleb: John Brown and nonviolence

WWII: Chronicles of a Medical Mad House: We Remember, Catallarchy: May Day 2005 - A Day Of Remembrance, History News Network: George W, historian?

Carnival of the Un-Capitalists

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism: On "People Power," Real and Imagined - this long post deals with issues relating to earlier brockley.blogspot posts like Ecuador double standards and Uzbekistan double standards)

[Previous: April Carnival of the un-capitalists]

Carnival of the Revolutions

Brazil: Gateway Pundit: Lula's reforms too slow for the agrarian poor

Middle East: Austin Bay Blog: Democratic break-out in the Middle East, Liberals Against Terrorism: Damascus Spring, Spirit of America: What Labanon has to do with us

South Asia: Gateway Pundit: Pakistani Mixed-Sex Race Protest

Central Asia: Publius Pundit: Andijon was 2005's Tiananmen, Registan: Uzbek Questions

Carnival of the Liberated

A Family in Baghdad: Turning against the insurgency

Palestine: new anti-intifada blog

Also: Carnival of Philosophy
Meta-carnival: Watcher of Weasels

The right left

As a counter-balance to my previous post, here are some left-wing blogs I like:

A Cloud In Trousers

At Any Street Corner: Holloway On Revolutionary Change

At Any Street Corner: John Berger, A Radical Returns

cominform: Show Trial #14: Guy Taylor (Obergrueppenfuehrer of 'Globalise Resistance', a front group for the Social Workers Party. Guilty of hijacking the historic May Day workers' commemoration day, with his legion of shouty-crack students replete with whistles, megaphones, inane slogans, infantile stickers and pamphlets and snappy media interviews.)

cominform: Show Trial #11: George Galloway, Bonapartist Adventurist


Previous: Galloblog, Social justice versus liberal ideology, Iraq and the left, The real left: Antonio Tellez Sola

The Wrong Left

Russia's Amish

Uzbekistan again

Postman Patel: Uzbeki Police arrest leading dissenter

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Opposing patriarchal murder is "orientalist"

Jews sans frontieres says:
"A friend of mine told me that Peter Tatchell was again at the Free Palestine demo yesterday. Apparently he was with a group of about thirty people (with a police escort) bearing placards saying 'Stop the Honour Killings'. The expression 'honour killings' is usually used to refer to domestic murders of women deemed unworthy. It's used by western Orientalists to suggest that there is something worse about this than the two women killed by men every week in the UK. So why is Tatchell using the expression to condemn the killing of gays in Palestine? And why does he see fit to demonstrate against Palestinians at a Free Palestine rally? When he first invade the demo last year he bore a placard with the inane slogan 'Israel stop persecuting Palestine - Palestine stop persecuting queers'. Now by conflating homophobia in the third world with extreme domestic violence, and putting as orientalist a spin on it as he could think of, he's crossed the line from seeking to embarrass Palestinian officialdom to full-blown anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia."
So, Jews Sans Frontieres (henceforth JsF) thinks that to use the words 'honour killings' by definition (at least 'usually') makes you an 'orientalist', by definition means that you don't care about domestic violence committed by white people. This is obviously absurd. Surely anyone with a working moral compass should oppose domestic violence and murder, whether it is committed in the Arab world or the western world. Drawing attention to domestic violence in Arab countries does not detract attention from domestic violence here.

I hear the term "honour killings" primarily from feminists rather than, say, from Tony Blair. I googled the term, just to check. The first hit was from Gendercide Watch, who campaign against the killing of women across the globe not just the Arab world - current news items draw attention to Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Congo and India - as well as Sudan and Iraq. And when drawing attention to "gendercide" in Iraq, their source is OccupationWatch.org, the anti-occupation group. The second hit came from Spotlight, an anti-zionist outfit. The third hit is Kurdish Womens Action Against Honour Killings (KWAHK) (although maybe JsF thinks they're orientalist too, because they call for a secular Iraq). Then we get to an Aljazeera item on Palestinian women decrying honour killings. And so it goes on...

Previous: Boycott latest, Jews for Justice for Palestinians on the Academic Boycotts, "Anti-Zionists" left and right, Chomsky, Shahak and Said, Izzy-Pal, Palestinian "resistance" celebrates Catholic homophobe, Vice and virtue commando in the Gaza Strip, BobFromBrockley: The identititarian logic of multiculturalism.

Tags: , ,

Monday, May 23, 2005

Boycott latest


The Special Council of the AUT is fast approaching. See Engage for details, and reasons to be optimistic or pessimistic. Last week, various AUT local associations voted on the issue. The results are here. Further news from The Open University, Bristol, Essex, Oxford and Keele.

Previous: Blogging the boycott, Boycott update
Tags: , ,

The Social Democratic City

Fred Siegel on The Social Democratic City in The Public Interest

"In 1950, three years after Jackie Robinson had broken in with the Dodgers, and well before the rest of the country had begun to face up to the issue of racial integration, New York's City College (CCNY) basketball team became a symbol of urban harmony. In Madison Square Garden, the site of the city's numerous political rallies for the Communist Party, the CIO, Negro freedom, and other left-wing causes, the CCNY team won victory after victory. The team, composed almost entirely of the children of the city's Jewish and black working class, went on to defeat the all-white University of Kentucky squad to win the national championship. Coach Nat Holman and his players became local and national heroes. The neighborhoods of New York celebrated the victory as a vindication of the city's ideal of social solidarity. This was surely New York at its best, a model for the nation." MORE...

See also:
Robert Armin Chats With Jonathan Freeman

PREVIOUS: The American drama, Thomas Sowell on black rednecks and white liberals, Communist Longshoremen, Making Place, What would Karl Marx have said about basketball?, Head and Heart, The Supreme Chutzpah, Sontag, Sharansky and Tsypkin, Geertz on multiculturalism, Wacquant on the Ghetto and the prison, Michael Moore, beat poetry and the White Panthers: Michigan Boys

Uzbekistan round-up

Liberal England: The West in White Hats

Blairwatch's Strawwatch

Previous Uzbekistan post


Five-grand-a-talk Galloway, the left's Kilroy-Silk...

Postman Patel: George Galloway hasn't disappeared - Galloway has the hubris to compare himself to the Vietnamese nation, his suffering at the hooves of a police horse to their suffering at the hands of the American army.

Guido Fawkes: Galloway the Oath Oaf - not just arrogant, but daft too.

Oliver Kamm: Respect and fascism - the mother of all Galloway posts.

Chicken Yoghurt: Galloway's Humour - George makes for great TV.

Bloggers of the left Unite!: Comrade Smirnoff on Melanie Phillips and Oona King

Previous: Buchanan and left-right convergence, Gorgeous George's oil, Thoughts in the aftermath of the election

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The American drama

Jogo writes:
Did you know that Sgt Mike Strank, the leader of the little squad of six Marines who planted the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, was born in Czechoslovakia?

Three of the six (including Strank) died on Iwo Jima. Of the three who returned home only John Bradley was able to put his life back together – married, had eight children, prospered in business ... He died in the same tiny town he was born in – Antigo, Wisconsin

The reason I defend American privilege – hopefully never with my actual life, although I would do so – is that I believe our privilege has been earned. It is not mere accident, nor a triumph of wickedness, that we are who we are. Not only is our privilege earned, it has been shared – unlike the privileges of, say, La Raza, Magyar, Teuton, Gaul or Hutu. In fact, a big part of our painful American journey, a core of our Drama, has been precisely towards more sharing of the privilege. You might say it is “what we are about."

But commieprofs would rather dream about the Ku Klux Klan and others who have stood in the way of this flow. They would rather dream about the Rosenbergs and J Edgar Hoover, or about Mossadegh, or about US-backed counter-insurgencies in Latin America. For them, Emmett Till is eternally lynched in an ever-repeating fractal present. They choose not to dream dreams of love for America.

In the past, I think Communists had a sense of the essential legitimacy of America. The fact that theft, or exploitation, or even slavery, are stones – huge, unmovable, weight-bearing stones – in our Foundation did not, somehow, diminish this legitimacy in their eyes. It is a curious thing. Read or listen to "The Lonesome Train" and you may get a sense of what I am saying. If Communists believed capitalism was wrong, or that the Capitalist Class needed to be opposed and their assumptions challenged, I think most of them also understood that American Greatness was real (i.e., not a manufactured, tin-plated idea).

But now commieprofs do not understand this, they have no sense of it. Not only that,
they teach and write against this idea. Ward Churchill is a perfect example of the tragic, frightening demise of American radicals – a journey, frankly, from Love to Hatred, to put it in very simple, though surely arguable, terms. You may see Ward Churchill as an aberration, but I see him as a Standard-Bearer, or warrior, of his ilk. He displays tremendous physical courage, and says – defiantly and without apology – what other commieprofs also think, but will not say. This is the reason for his high stature in the commieprof community.

Previous posts on the American drama: The American scene and Europe's sickness, Pat Buchanan, archaic type, Thomas Sowell on black rednecks and white liberals, Head and Heart, Four-letter words: a view from America, The Supreme Chutzpah.
Previous CommieProfWatch posts: Chomsky, Shahak and co, Fisking Chomsky, Messianic thought, Swooning with rapture.

Google Search of the day: passover porn

Google Search: passover porn

Previous: articulated fish brockley

[UPDATE: now, of course, this post comes up when you do that google search, but not the post it used to bring you to: BobFromBrockley: Peysach blog 2]

A Double Life Stitched

Amitai Etzioni's A Double Life Stitched: An Open Letter to Academics and Activists is worth re-reading in the context of the UK academic boycott of Israel and the Dave Graeber controversy at Yale.

Catching up

This is some stuff I've been meaning to post for ages...

Blogging the Boycott

Crooked Timber: American academics stand against AUT decision

Alan Dershowitz: From Britain, with bigotry

[Previous: Boycott update]

Mars and Venus

George Weigel: The Spiritual Malaise That Haunts Europe

The American Scene

[Previous: Buchanan and left-right convergence]

No Borders

No One Is Illegal!

[Previous: Deportation]


Interracial voice: The Philosophical "voice of conscience" of the Global Multiracial Movement
[Previous: Thomas Sowell on black rednecks and white liberals]

Thanks to Jogo for some of the links

Sarf London 2

This weekend is the Made in Deptford festival - any London readers, check it out.

South London Blogs:

Casino Avenue: "Bitter and twisted views from south east London" - and a lot of Charlton Athletic (no wonder he's bitter and twisted then).

Transpontine: Things to do in Deptford when you're not dead.

And one from across the river:

diamond geezer - currently featuring a Gallowatch.

Previous: Sarf London 1, Brockley's articulated fish, Slimy Mollusc newsflash, Election day in Lewisham, Justice for Linda Walker, Meta-Blogging.
Tags: , ,

Ecuador double standards

I like the Bush/Rice rhetoric about democracy. But is it any more than rhetoric? Do they like democracy if it delivers the wrong leaders? Ecuador's new president was freely and democratically elected - but that's not enough for Condoleezza...

(See Greg Palast in The Nation , via Chicken Yoghurt: Fact Me Till I Fart)

[Previous: Uzbekistan double standards 1 and 2, Friends of Cuban Libraries, Louis Michel's cigar, Che vs the librarians, Chileans in exile, Why have nearly 3 million Colombians fled home?, Colombian paramilitaries.]

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Uzbekistan double standards

If 9/11 and Iraq should had lessons, one of them is surely that we, the West, cannot go on playing the Kissinger era game of boosting the power of evils we consider to be lesser in order to defeat greater evils. We helped created Osama and the Taliban to fight the Cold War in Afghanistan; we strengthened Saddam to fight Iran. Now we're continuing to give succor to supposedly friendlier Arab Gulf tyrants and authoritarian regimes in places like Pakistan. And, of course, places like Uzbekistan.

While Bush, Rice and co rightly supported the democratic insurrections in Ukraine and elsewhere, we are standing by and letting similar aspirations in Uzbekistan be drowned in blood, because the regime is an ally in the war on terror.

John Quiggan of Crooked Timber writes:
The US currently has an air base and around 1000 troops in Uzbekistan. They can’t be regarded as neutral, and their presence clearly supports the mass murdering and torturing dictator Karimov, someone who appears indistinguishable from Saddam circa 1980. A literal reading of Administration rhetoric would suggest that the US should use its power to overthrow Karimov , but there’s zero possibility that this will happen (the official US response is an appeal for restraint, directed mainly at the protestors). But the troops should be withdrawn immediately, and all ties with this evil regime broken.

Boycott update

My local AUT association voted overwhelmingly against the academic boycott. Any AUT members reading this, your local association meeting has already happened or will happen today or tomorrow. Motions and delegates to the Special Council have to be in tomorrow. It looks like there will be a huge range of motions to the Special Council, some of which will be more hardcore than the policy passed at the AUT conference, so it is vital that we get anti-boycott motions in and anti-boycott delegates selected.

Please go to Engage to get the full details.

Previous: AUT members please read this now, Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics Petition, Rescind the AUT Boycott Petition
Tags: , ,

Jews for Justice for Palestinians on the Academic Boycotts

Jews for Justice for Palestinians has a good resource relating to the proposed AUT boycott. JfFfP does not take a stand for or against the boycott, but call for more constructive links between British academics and advocates of peace in Israel/Palestine.

The key documents are here:

FFIPP-UK mailing 1
FFIPP-UK mailing 2
FFIPP-UK mailing 3
FFIPP-UK mailing 4

They also link to a (pro-Palestinian) site with excellent boycott information: Palestine - Information with Provenance.

Previous: AUT members please read this now, Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics Petition, Rescind the AUT Boycott Petition
Tags: , ,


A while back, I posted something by Jogo about the website Frum Teens. Now I've found that there's a blog dedicated to unpicking FrumTeens - FrumTeensWatch. Welcome to a very different world.

Not The Godol Hador, in Frumteens Hardcore, says: "I don't like to visit Frumteens at work, I worry that our Internet group might mistake it for an undesirable site, if you know what I mean. Actually, it is RW UO hardcore, so maybe you really shouldn't go there." Something that's occured to me too!

Previous: Apikorus-turned-Christian fundamentalist

Buchanan and left-right convergence

An interesting article (via Jogo) in FrontPage by Steven Zak on The Old Right/New Left/Neo-Nazi Alliance. Zak juxtaposes some of the things that paleoconservatives, fashionable leftists and white supremacists have said, on Israel and on American foreign policy, to build the case for a disturbing left-right convergence.

Here is an edited version:

"It's all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton." - Michael Moore

"Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud." - Pat Buchanan

"So, for whose benefit does America wage this war? The answer is Israel, Israel, Israel!" - David Duke

"The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington and meets with the puppet in the White House. He then goes down Pennsylvania Avenue and meets with the puppets in Congress ... It is time for the United States Government to stand up and think for itself." - Ralph Nader

"The Founding Fathers of the United States deeply feared that a foreign government [like Israel] might gain this level of control over a branch of the United States government, and their fears have been vindicated." - Juan Cole

"The Jews are particularly adept at seizing or insinuating themselves into strategic positions in our society where they wield power far beyond the extent of their numbers....We White people of America have done nothing so far which would frustrate the Jews' expectations or their ambitions of becoming the world's slavemasters." - Ernst Zundel

"Neo-conservatism has unleashed a series of wars against foreign countries that posed no threat whatever to the U.S." - Lew Rockwell Jr.

"The warmongers anxiously want this war NOT to appear to be a result of the Israeli Fifth Column trying to strike down Israel's enemies one by one." - David Duke

"We still tiptoe around putting a name to...the neoconservatives' agenda on U.S.-Israeli relations...It's time, however, that we say the words out loud and deal with what they really signify. Dual loyalties." - Kathleen and Bill Christison (Counterpunch)

"Neocons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon." - Pat Buchanan

"Jewish roots and currents...make the neocon movement nothing more than a Jewish supremacist apparatus." - David Duke

"They charge us with anti-Semitism -- i.e., a hatred of Jews for their faith, heritage, or ancestry. False. The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a 'passionate attachment' to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what's good for Israel is good for America." - Pat Buchanan

"Certainly, there are a number of stories sloshing around the news now...The purveyor of anthrax may have been a former government scientist, Jewish...with the intent to blame the anthrax on Muslim terrorists. Rocketing around the web and spilling into the press are many stories about Israeli spies in America at the time of 9/11...." - Alexander Cockburn

"But if you care to lay out the clear and copious evidence of ... Israel's obvious foreknowledge of the attacks of 9/11, then you are automatically labeled 'anti-Semitic,' probably the most hateful and onerous title that can be conferred on a human being." - David Duke (referring to a theory popularized by Justin Raimondo)

"Anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It's raised, but it's raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98 percent control. That's why anti-Semitism is becoming an issue. Not because of the threat of anti-Semitism; they want to make sure there's no critical look at the policies the U.S. (and they themselves) support in the Middle East." - Noam Chomsky

"Revisionists are not at all irrational hateful people but scholars who offer legitimate criticisms of the Holocaust story." - David Duke

"Indeed, it is the charge of anti-Semitism itself that is toxic." - Pat Buchanan

Other sources:
Unpatriotic Conservatives by David Frum
Michael Moore, Hezbollah Heartthrob

Previous: Paleoconservatism as atavism, Black conservatives, Paleoconservatism as Holocaust revisionism, Anti-zionism as anti-semitism, Hamas and the Pope, French anti-americanism, The socialism of fools - Ken Livingstone 2, The socialism of fools - Ken Livingstone 1

Pat Buchanan, archaic type

From Jogo:
Pat Buchanan's remarks have, very understandably, turned a lot of people OFF. Including me. I think they're outrageous, and I'm surprised he isn't ashamed to make his case in public. You have to wonder who his constituency is. He surely has one ... but it cannot be very big. His immigration views appeal to a good number of Americans.. But that is not enough of a reason to admit him to the table of decent people.

You can't call him "a conservative" with the same meaning as you call, say, Newt Gingrich or Bush a conservative. Pal Buchanan is almost an archaic type, a Roosevelt-hater, something from the 1930s. Something about him makes me want to say: He is not a modern man.

I find media-power interesting. PB has never been elected to an office, he has made no mark on society -- say, in business ... or for some high-level contribution or bravery like John Glenn or John McCain. He is not a scholar, and has no academic weight or credentials. He has written books, but they are all polemical; they are not exactly reportage, or based in some area of research or expertise. He was never an athlete or performer, or anything else in the public eye except a MOUTH.

What is the difference between him -- in terms of authority -- and the fellow driving a bus, sitting on a bar stool, or slicing fish at the market?

Previous: Yalta

AUT members please read this now

This is from Jon Pike at Engage:

The good news is that Local Associations at very many institutions have voted for an anti-boycott position.

The bad news is

1) The AUT faces extremely serious legal jeopardy, because of the law suit from Haifa University (and other pending suits). The sums involved may exceed seven figures. Solicitor's letter from Haifa University to AUT

2) Very few delegates have been registered for the Special Council.

3) On the basis of the delegates registered so far, the Special Council may uphold the boycott.

You must act today:

+ If you are an LA secretary, please register your delegation now. Details of how to do this are at http://www.aut.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1212 If this doesn't work, email Catherine.Wilkinson@aut.org.uk directly.
+ If you are not an LA secretary, please contact your LA secretary and ask them to register their own delegation immediately. They should contact Catherine.Wilkinson@aut.org.uk
+ If you have contacts beyond your institution, please alert them to the very real and severe danger that the AUT now faces, and ensure that they register delegates immediately. They can do so by contacting Catherine.Wilkinson@aut.org.uk.

You must also ensure that you send a full delegation to the special council. You are entitled, under rule 9.5.1 to fill any places on your delegation by action of the local executive, or otherwise under local rules.

Colleagues will have different views on the proposed boycotts. Some will wish them set aside on a procedural basis, others will object to the content of the resolutions and to taking a stance on international and political matters, and others will have broader, in principle and in practice objections to the current policy. Whatever the case, please understand and accept the seriousness of the situation the AUT now faces. It is imperative that, for the future of the Association, for the jobs of those who work for it and for the representative nature of our internal democracy that you act today by registering your delegation to the special council.

Previous: Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics Petition, Rescind the AUT Boycott Petition
Tags: , ,

Friday, May 13, 2005

Thomas Sowell on black rednecks and white liberals

Important read: Thomas Sowell in OpinionJournal.

I think Sowell's first premise is interesting and worth thinking about - that southern blacks absorbed redneck culture and brought it north - but I don't follow his second premise - that this is what holds blacks back. I think that cultural factors are one of the reasons African-Americans lose out, but that structural reasons, to do with racial divisions in the housing market and labor market in the post-slavery years. So, I might like to read Thomas Sowell alongside Thomas Sugrue.

On redneck culture, Sowell argues that it was formed before the whites got into boats to cross the Atlantic. This is obviously partly true, but needs to be complicated a little. Australia's white population came from the same roots, but white Australians perform well educationally, so you need more than the culture to explain it - for example, the plantation system, the relationship between the agrarian South and the industrial North.

Similarly, Sowell is right to draw attention to the historic economic disparities between southern and northern whites. But again, culture can't be the main factor. The difference between an agrarian economy and an industrial economy is also key. He also doesn't speak about the huge disparities *within* the white population of the North.

Sowell's arguments have some relevance to the British case, and the emergence of what is seen as a new poor white underclass. In Britain's cities, white working class boys do worse educationally than any non-white ethnic group, enter worse jobs, are less likely to end with any job. This is something that needs thinking about, and perhaps Sowell offers some help in doing so, but probably only on half of the story.

Gorgeous George's oil

The Urban Grind | Update on the Oil For Food Scandal


This is one of the most coherent blog posts on Yalta: PolySigh: Yalta, Yalta, Yalta.

Pat Buchanan follows through the logic of some conservative views, suggesting that because Stalin was worse than Hitler, WWII wasn't worth fighting. Final words: "Yes, Bush has opened up quite a can of worms." (Thanks to Jogo for the link.)

Previous: Freedom fighter Antonio Tellez Sola, Unfreedom in Cuba, The last Pope's legacy, un-capitalist healthcare, Cuban cigars and Syrian political prisoners, George Kennan's cold war, Makhnov's cossack freedom fighters, Solidarnosc

Google search of the day: articulated fish

Glancing through my referrers, I came across this particularly nice one: articulated fish brockley. What was it they were looking for?

UPDATE: Here's another one: Google Search: strangely enough

Previous: Slimy Mollusc newsflash

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

London, Sudan, Cuba

Two upcoming events in London:

Protect Darfur Rally

From www.protectdarfur.org:

"We need your support for the Protect Darfur Rally - taking place outside 10 Downing Street, 12.30pm, Sunday 15 May.

At the very start of its third term, it's vital to put Government on notice that aid is not enough. And we can't leave Darfur's survivors to protest alone. The Government needs to know that when genocide happens, we all care about it - and we'll hold it to
its promises to protect.

This is a matter of life and death. 400,000 deaths since 2003. With 500 more lives
lost every day. That means one African in Darfur is murdered every three minutes - just because they're African."


"MEDECINS DU MONDE UK is taking part in the first free CARNIVAL DE CUBA, organised by Cubana Bar & Restaurant as part of the Coin Street Festival 2005.
Dates: Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 June Time: 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm on both days
Venue: Outside, by the Oxo Tower on the South Bank, Upper Ground, London SE1
Since January 1992 Médecins du Monde has run healthcare projects on Cuba to fight against HIV and to prevent this epidemic from spreading, especially among young people aged between 15-25.
With LIVE CUBAN MUSIC and SALSA from TOP CUBAN ARTISTS (including Candido Fabré, Osvaldo Chalcon, Janet + Rafael and more!) as well as freshly prepared Cuban & Latin American food and drinks on sale all weekend, a percentage of the proceeds from this CARNIVAL DE CUBA will go towards the work that its partner charity organisations - including Médecins du Monde - are doing to provide aid to the Cuban people.

And there's more! On Saturday night, come to HAVANA NIGHTS featuring Cuba's finest PAULITO FG and others!
Date: Saturday 4 June Time: 7.00 pm until late
Venue: The Room by the River on the South Bank 200 metres from the Carnival, Lndon SE1 Tickets: £15
Tickets are available from Médecins du Monde UK by phoning 020 7516 9103 or by
emailing cuba@medecinsdumonde.co.uk"

Previous Darfur: You need to know
Previous Cuba: Friends of Cuban Libraries, Louis Michel's cigar, Che vs the librarians.
Other posts: Chileans in exile, Gujarat genocide, Gujarat genocide, Child Slavery, Why have nearly 3 million Colombians fled home?, Colombian paramilitaries
Tags: ,

What's going on in the world?

Do the AlertNet Challenge quiz and find out how little you know about what's going on in the world. I scored 1 out of 6...

Also at AlertNet: Top 10 'forgotten' emergencies

Other events around the world:

Previous: Darfur, Stop Funding Hate, That Bleeding Heart Wolfowitz, Gujarat genocide, Tsunami and Child Slavery, Regime change from below, Another world is possible, Death in the jungle

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics Petition

This is another petition on the boycott: Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics Petition. This petition is more academically-oriented than the one I posted on yesterday. (Reached via Crooked Timber, in turn reached via IsraelPundit.)

And here is an open letter from Emanuele Ottolenghi of Oxford University on the boycott. (Also reached via IsraelPundit.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Slimy Mollusc newsflash

I'm shocked and pleased to report that since this morning, when I posted the fact that I am a lowly insect, I've struggled my way up to slimy mollusc status in the TLB Ecosphere.

Rescind the AUT Boycott Petition

This petitition is out there on the web: Rescind the AUT Boycott Petition

Better strategy: urge AUT members to get their local assocaition to pass the Engage model resolution (or some version of it) to send to the special Council.

Previous: AUT members please read, Boycott facts, THE AUT - KEEP UP THE PRESSURE
Tags: , ,

Lowly insect

It's good to be near the top of the list of lowly insects in the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem. Here's a little shout out, as we say in South London, to some other lowly insects: To my left, Minipundit gives the has a couple of well-aimed attacks on Pat Robertson here and here. To my right, JamulBlog gives cause for hope about the situation in Iraq.

Previous: Apikorus-turned-Christian fundamentalist, Meta-Blogging, Blog recommendations, Geek Style, Referrals

Friday, May 06, 2005

Boycott positions

In some ways, the boycott has actually made me feel better about British academics. I work in a leftwing social science department in a small liberal arts college and always felt that voicing support for the Israeli cause, support for the invasion of Iraq or opposition to Palestinian nationalism would be viewed as completely beyond the pale of acceptable opinion by my colleagues, so tried to avoid discussions of these issues. The response to the current boycott has taken me by suprise, finding that the Engage position is in fact dominant here. A lot of people have said to me that the initially supported the boycott because it seemed like the right thing to do to take a stand. On reflection, though, due to the impact of the Engage campaign, these people have realised they were wrong. In this sense, the boycott campaign has backfired a little.

[Update: I've trimmed this post (possibly temporarily) as I'd intemperately posted others' comments without checking with them. Sorry!]

Previous: BobFromBrockley: AUT members please read
Bloglinks [updated]: normblog: More boycott, Crooked Timber: Questions and answers re the AUT boycott, Leaves on the Line: There is power in a Union?

Tags: , ,

Apikorus-turned-Christian fundamentalist

This new blogspot - Mis-nagid: The Apikorus-turned-Christian fundamentalist website - inexplicably links to me, sandwiched between two rabbis' websites... Well, I guess I'm kind of an apikorus, and my litvak family were misnagidim a century or so ago. And, of course, some of my best friends are Christian fundamentalists.

UPDATE: It turns out Ms-nagid is not a new blog, but an old blog that's been taken down in some way. See here: Not The Godol Hador - Urban Mis-nagid Myth, Wolfish Musings - Is Mis-nagid Gone? and Dov Bear comments.

Previous: sedar-masochists, matzoh porn and jail-breaking yidn, Maliszewski and Chabon, Jewlicious babes, Katie Price is Jewish, Rabbinical hackers and Israeli extreme metal

Thoughts in the aftermath of the election

After agonising for a while, I voted yesterday for my sitting Labour MP, Joan Ruddock. She is a good local constituency MP as well as being generally a progressive voice in Parliament. I was tempted to vote for Ian Page of the Socialist Party. Ian Page, a Brockley resident, is a good local councillor. The penalty and the luxury of living in a multi-ethnic working class inner city constituency is that the Labour majority is so big that you can vote for who you want and it makes little difference. I am often tempted to vote for Ian Page and similar candidates as a warning to Labour that they cannot keep on taking their core voters for granted in their bid to seduce middle class Little Englanders.

However, after last week with war returning to centre stage in the electoral debate, I decided I couldn't afford to not vote Labour and let in the appalling Liberal Democrats - or even worse the Tories. I kept thinking of Bush/Gore in 2000, where it wasn't really all of the Florida shenanigans that gave Bush victory so much as all of the leftists voting for Nader.


I like voting. I like walking to the end of my street in the sun (it's usually sunny on polling day) to the local school and passing my neighbours, clutching their ballot papers. I like feeling part of something, feeling part of something local and something national at the same time. I especially like to see older people with their ballot papers - and there are a lot of old, working class people on my street, of all colours - because the older people seem to appreciate the gravity of what they are doing.

I felt particularly good to be voting this year, the year of
Kyrgyzstan, of Palestine, of Iraq - hopefully maybe the year of Belarus.


Walking away from the polling station, I was suprised to see a Socialist Workers Party sticker on a lamppost, a slogan along the lines of "Blair must go". It seemed mad to me to put that up in Lewisham, where the sitting Labour MP is anti-war and the second party in the previous election was Conservative. That is the madness of gesture politics.


Just a mention of the disaster in the East End: Galloway's win over Oona King. Respect did well in a couple of other places - SWP hack Lindsey German in West Ham and Muslim activist Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath. Links: Respect results, Red Pepper: transcript of Galloway's address to his supporters.

((UPDATE: Here's a nice post on Respect, UKIP and rats which I missed from before the election: The wrong side of capitalism: Statists' travelling circus. And here's Lenin's Tomb on the Bethnal Green and Bow shenanigans.))

Previous: George and Oona, Election blog, Sarf London, Regime change from below
UPDATE: Here's a nice post on Respect, UKIP and rats from before the election, which I missed: The wrong side of capitalism: Statists' travelling circus'

Thursday, May 05, 2005

AUT members please read

From the AUT website:

"Following the receipt of a request from 25 members of council, notice is given that a special meeting of AUT council will be held on Thursday 26 May 2005 in central London.

The sole business of this special council meeting will be to have a full debate on proposals to boycott Israeli universities.

Details of how to register delegates for this meeting will be sent to local associations shorty.

Submission of motions by local associations

Motions for this council meeting should be received at Egmont House by 12 noon on Wednesday 18 May. Motions will be circulated to local associations as soon as is practical after that deadline. The deadline for amendments to those motions will be 5pm on Monday 23 May.

The council agenda committee will meet prior to the special council meeting and their report will be circulated to delegates on their arrival at the meeting.

Motions should be approved by a local association general meeting or in accordance with another provision set out in a local association�s local rules. A copy of the form for the purpose of submitting council motions is included in circular LA7629.

Alternatively, motions can be submitted by e-mail to Catherine Wilkinson from the contact e-mail address that is held by head office for the local association secretary. E-mails should state that the motion was passed at a quorate general meeting, and the date of that meeting (as shown on the attached form for submitting motions by post).

Receipt of all motions will be acknowledged; if you do not receive an acknowledgement before the deadline, please contact Catherine Wilkinson at head office."

Any AUT members reading this, please get active in your local association to hold an open, democratic local association meeting, and for this meeting to send an anti-boycott motion to Special Council. For more information, go to ENGAGE.

Previous: Boycott facts, THE AUT - KEEP UP THE PRESSURE
Tags: , ,