Thursday, July 30, 2009

Provisional meme progress report

I'm off for a few weeks, although I've scheduled some stuff for while I'm away. As my parting act, here's a quick update on the three memes I've been involved in recently.

Seven spring songs

This is quite a while ago now, but... It came from The New Centrist and I responded here. Great responses from Richard, Graeme, George and the Scribblist. No responses from Hak Mao, Papa Z or Transpontine, though I'm not bitter.

Seven lovable things

This came from Rosie. I responded rather slowly, here. Of my tagees, I got responses, all of which I'd recommend, from Major Martin M, Noga, Snoop and Fleshy. Am still waiting for Kellie, George and The Freeborn (although, again, I won't hold it against them if I never get a reply!)

Five words

This one came from Jim and my response was here. It was a self-tagging thing. Of the people I gave words to, I got a great bunch of responses from Schalom Libertad, TNC and Waterloo Sunset. I'm still waiting (unless I missed them) for Martin, Noga, History is Made at Night, Sojournin' Mike and the Social Republican. And this time I will hold it against them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mid-weeking

Iran:

Margins of Marxism:
Islamism and anti-Muslim racism:

Jew-ish:
Jew-hatred:
Right-wing watch:

Comparing tyrannies
Local blogging for local people

  • Richard continues his lovely My Lewisham series with Manor Park.
Musical post-script
This song has been in my head all week. Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson's great song "We almost lost Detroit", from a 1990 London live show.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Total Politics: vote late, vote often

I was very pleased to be included in Carl Packman's nominations for the Total Politics Top 100 thing, which you should go and vote (for me) in post-haste and certainly before midnight tomorrow, the voting deadline. I'm in good company in his list. Well, I'd rather not share space with the King of Blogging himself, but he's obviously premier league, other are most of Carl's other suggestions, so that's nice. I'm not telling you who I voted for (apart from myself obviously).

I'm adding Carl to the blogroll, and recommend this post on talking to the Taliban, which addresses some of the issues I took issue with here and here. I recommend this post on Atlee for today (also in a different version at LibCon.) He's got a bit of Zizek and theology, but it's over my head - except maybe this one, which chimes with my worldview.

I also have another almost endorsement from Left Outside, where I make the top 24.

Mehdi Hasan continued

HP continues its series on the New Statesman's Mehdi Hasan (who we met here): Deconstructing Mehdi Hasan and "the Muslim world".

Interesting to note that Hasan's New Statesman blog has been re-named Dissident Voice, stealing the name of the US ZLeftist site, and purveyor of, among other things, Daniel McGowan's softcore Holocaust denialism and Gilad Atzmon's racism. In a similar vein, our young Hasan is a busy blogger:
Sunny Hundal has contributed a large number of posts in defence of Hasan at Pickled Politics and Liberal Conspiracy. Some of his criticisms of the Harryists are justified, but I don't think that Sunny has taken on the core substantive issues at stake, i.e. Hasan's very reprehensible views.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY MORNING:

Flesh is Grass has a good post on this which you should read. I am stealing her links too, as they provide good background:
As Ms Flesh says, there is an issue with anti-Muslim racism, which is a huge problem in our society today. You can see examples of anti-Muslim racism in some comment threads at Harry's Place, and some posters make rather large generalisations that sail close to the wind (I call this problem Harryism). However, none of the posts on Hasan seem to me to have any anti-Muslim racism in them.

Nor, to my mind, is there a witch-hunt or smear campaign against Hasan. One single post at HP taking issue with his dishonest article accusing the mainstream media of anti-Muslim racism was met by Hasan with an ignorant, vitriolic response, and that is why it became interesting to look at his politics and find some unsavoury things. Myself, I am not too interested in the extracts from his speeches on religion that HP are posting. I am more interested in what he says in the New Statesman and Guardian, where he touches mainstream opinion, where he has some kind of authority as "representing" some kind of Muslim view - but where he actually pushes some very unpleasant lines.

UPDATE II:

I just noticed Hasan's reply to HP here. He makes a strong case that he is not an Islamist. To be clear, I myself have not described him as an Islamist. I have described him as an apologist or fellow traveller with the brutal theocracy in Iran and of the Taliban, both of whose main victims are Muslim. I have described him as someone that passes on crypto-fascist conspiracy theory. I have taken issue with the way he defamed the Quilliam Foundation and essentialised "the" Muslim community. I have described him as someone who takes an objectively racist view in saynig Israel "causes" antisemitism.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekending

Iran etc:
Smart Marxism:
Right-wing-watch:
Also:
Finally, the sound of my soul responding to Martin posting Sam Cooke, here's Al Green singing "A Change is Gonna Come". (The currently overly prolific Martin is my favourite blogger this week. Go read it all!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Five Word Meme

Jim has given me five words to say something about. Anti-fascism, Brockley, secularism, immigration and iconoclast

Anti-fascism
Anti-fascism is at the core of my political being. The first political activism I was involved in, as a 15 year old, was action against the NF. Almost everything else about my politics has changed, but that has remained constant. What has changed, of course, is fascism. The classic Nazi-style fascism of the NF is no longer much of an issue (although extreme right violence remains a threat in the US and UK, and classic neo-Nazis are a major issue in parts of Central and Eastern Europe). The two mutations of fascism that are most important to combat now are, first, the rising forms of Euro-nationalist populism that are predicated on a generalised anti-immigrant racism as well as anti-Muslim racism, a movement that has been growing electorally across Western Europe, and, second, the rising forms of Islamist fascism which have had such a destructive effect on so many parts of the world.

Brockley
Contrary to the “from” in my blogonym, I am not native to London SE4. I came here first to visit a friend when the Breakspears Arms was still open, and still reportedly the hub of drug-related crimes that gave the area a less than safe reputation. However, I immediately liked the laid-back, unpretentious, live-and-let-live bohemian feel. I moved here a year or so after that, and have lived in a few different parts of the manor. I think of Brockley as a microcosm of London itself in that it is made up of a series of micro-villages (Brockley Cross, the conservation area, Honor Oak, Crofton Park, and so on), each shading almost imperceptibly into the townships that surround it (Nunhead, St Johns, Ladywell, and so on). That is, I have a conception of a Greater Brockley, rather than the narrow Hillyfields-centric view of the posh types. But an inclusive confederalist Greater Brockley, in the tradition of the Austro-Marxists or Tito, rather than an irredentist Milosevic style Greater Brockley. Good things in Greater Brockley: the wealth of parks and green spaces, the Brockley leyline (ask Transpontine), the standing stones, the paint shop, the Babur, the open studio day every summer...

Secularism
I am very much a secularist, in that I believe in a public sphere in which no one faith has privileged access, in which all faiths and none are tolerated. The cleresy, in its various forms, has been the primary enemy of freedom in most of the eras of history, because fundamental to freedom in general is the freedom to imagine, to think and above all to doubt, secular values I hold dear. At the same time, I do not have time for the fossilised nineteenth century forms of secularism which have been so fashionable again of late as a backlash against the apparent halt of our society’s modern secular drift, forms of secularism particularly popular amongst the bloggers to whom I am in most ways the closest. This sort of secularism – secularism as anti-religion – misses, it seems to me, what faith has to offer our world. This offering is exemplified by language of the King James Bible which permeates the speeches of Martin Luther King and the writings of WEB Du Bois. It is exemplified by the music of Mehdi Hassan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sam Cooke. It is exemplified in the sanctuary movement in the US and by the Strangers into Citizens and Living Wage movements in the UK. I could go on... Or maybe, as Will puts it, I’m soft on god.

Immigration
I come from immigrant stock. On my father’s side, Irish labour migrants to the UK (according to my non-Irish grandmother, I have her mother-in-law’s blue Irish eyes). On my mother’s side, Jewish immigrants to the US, occupying that blurry line between “economic migrant” and “refugee” that makes the two terms unstable, as “economic migrant” does not do justice to the need to escape an unbearable life, while “refugee” has not generally been recognised as including the likes of them by the states who shape its meaning. This may be partly why I am so passionately part of the pro-immigration lobby, but then all humans are ultimately of migrant stock and I think to be truly a humanist is to be pro-immigration.

Iconoclast
I can’t remember if it was in an interview, or told to me by a friend who used to hang out in the Sniffing Glue/Bromley Contingent scene, but apparently when Elvis died in 1977, Danny Baker got very upset at his fellow punks’ wilful delight in this tragedy. I think I have something of Danny Baker’s (probably unhealthy) aversion to iconoclasm. As well as being soft on god, I am soft on places of worship and soft on those considered (by me) to be “great”, like Elvis, or BB King, say, or Hank Williams.


I didn’t mean to write as much as that. Don’t feel you have to if you want to play this game. The rules (at least as Jim and Stroppy played) is that you just ask in the comments below, and I’ll give you five words of your own. If you’re not a blogger, feel free to ask and put your paras in the comments. If you’re one of my regular blog acquaintances, I’ve already thought up some of your words.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bloggertry

First, local news for local people. Sue Luxton's Blog Bits at the Daily Maybe. An extract:
Lewisham seems to have a very healthy online community - how come?

It's true, that Lewisham (with a few Greenwich interlopers such as 853.com and Tory Troll) has a pretty lively blogosphere. Even Time Out acknowledged this recently and they normally ignore south of the river entirely, unless they want to do smthg on gangs or a feature on where the next Dalston/Shoreditch is.

Maybe it is some kind of gritty south-east London determination in the face of snide remarks from north Londoners and sectors of the media that spurs us on to prove there's more to south-east London than not having many tube lines!

Back in March 2006, when I started Green Ladywell, the number of local bloggers was fairly small, with Transpontine, (former) Labour councillor Andrew Brown, Bob from Brockley, Lib Dem councillor Andrew Milton and the Man from Catford being the stalwarts of the (male-dominated) blogosphere. Things definitely took off when Brockley Central joined the foray in February 2007 and it seemed to develop a huge online community around it within a few weeks. A few other women bloggers such as Deptford Dame and Brockley Kate (part of the Brockley Central team) came along, although women are still notably in the minority amongst bloggers.

The other thing that was good were the occasional Lewisham bloggers meet ups (initiated by Andrew Brown) and then the Brockley Central drinks, which were a great opportunity to put faces and names to previously anonymous bloggers.
Second, I see from David Semple that the polling for the Total Politics top blogs have opened. You can vote by emailing toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com with your top ten: rules can be found here. Dave comes close to endorsing me.

Third, coming soon, a paragraph on each of the following: Anti-fascism, Brockley, secularism, immigration and iconoclast

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Seven loveable things

This has been sitting in my drafts for over a month now. Rosie tagged me with this thing, where all you have to do is
  • List 7 things I love
  • Tag 7 other people
So, here we go:

1. My family.
2. Relaxing. Ideally on a beach, with an unbroken blue sky, a light breeze, facing West into a perfect blue ocean, perhaps the Indian Ocean...
3. A really good book. Something that transports you from wherever you are to somewhere special.
4. Children being happy.
5. Good music.
6. Good food. Ideally eaten outdoors. Ideally eaten outdoors in a Southern European country. Ideally with something chilled and alcoholic to wash it down with. I'm thinking Carne de Porco à Alentejana (ultra-treyf, I know) with some ice cold Sagres.
7. Being slightly drunk.

My victims: Noga, Ms Flesh, Dr Meenagh, Kellie, George, The Goon, The Freeborn. No obligations, and apologies if you've done it already and I missed it! If you need inspiration, here's some.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekending

The Contentious Centrist on Claude Lanzmann, the Holocaust, Israeli self-defence, diaspora Jews and Hannah Arendt. And on the calculus of condemnation in which the Uighur and Gujarati Muslims don't count as much as Palestinians.

Iran: Ganselmi on Zizek. Also on Zizek, if you didn't read Kellie's comment here, do. Here's Kellie on Iranian cartoonists and other brave people. And from Terry: The uprising changes everything part III; We will not give up; Progressive solidarity against the reactionary left.

The fascist-Islamist nexus: Modernity on Lady Michelle Renouf and Press TV.

Euro-fascism and Euro-nationalism: Adam Holland on Jobbik.

Social class: Last week I linked to Left Luggage on what's wrong with a middle-class left, which led to some criticism in my inbox for my endorsement of that kind of class analysis. This week. However, it was in my mind when I read two posts at Modernity. The first was on Ben White's antisemitism:

Books demonising Israel are two a penny, attacking Israelis is a pet hobby of many ex-public school boys and the British intelligentsia. It is a very contemptible practice but as many historians have argued the middle classes are more susceptible to Judenhass.

Sadly, the 21st century is turning out to be so similar to the 20th.

The second was on Tony Benn: "coming from the political aristocracy Benn doesn’t do humility very well, and his anti-Europeanism smacks too much of the little Englander syndrome for my tastes." And talking of privileged wankers, here's Boris. Oh, and here's another reason why a class analysis remains completely relevant.

Democracy promotion: I radically disagree with the TNC's analysis of Honduras, but the first half of this post is an excellent history and defence of the internationalist politics associated with neoconservatism. On the Obama doctrine, the Brockleyite jury is still out.

Liberal Israel-haters:
Eric Lee with War on Want.

The golden age of comics: Arthur Szyk. [H/t Kellie here.]

The elephant in the room: Mod guests at HP, on the Taliban and the failure of the anti-war movement.

And in other news: I found the official UK citizenship test at Jim's and only got 42% - a poor fail. More from Leftoutside. While you're at Jim's watch the fantastic Mitchell and Webb homeopathy A&E sketch. Finally, Kevin sez wot Libertarianism iz.

YouTubery: The real Mehdi Hassan. An antidote to the other one, to Lady Renouf, to Ahmadinejad, to Jobbik and to all the other bad things in the world.


Apologies for the overdose. I've got too much to do, so I'm displacing.

Mehdi Hasan

Alerted by Martin to the kerfuffle at HP over Mehdi Hasan, the new senior politics editor at the New Statesman (not to be confused with the other, truly great, Mehdi Hassan). Just had a brief scroll through the young fellow's ouevre.

Item: Here Hasan argues that going on Press TV is a good thing, because it can "help foster much-needed dialogue and debate between the west and the Middle East". He argues this by (rightly) pointing out the hypocrisy of the likes of Rod Liddle and Dominic Lawson attacking “Iran’s British stooges”, but fails to address the substantive point that propping up a totalitarian regime's propoganda machine can never be right.

Item: Here he claims that the Quilliam Foundation think that using the term "the Muslim world" is "a phrase conceived exclusively by radical Islamists for nefarious propaganda purposes", when in fact they say nothing of the kind, but sensibly call for a stop to constructing an imaginary homogenous Muslim "community", not least because that kind of homogenising view plays into an anti-Muslim racist "clash of civilizations" worldview.

Item: Here he says that Obama's Cairo speech won't stop "the Muslim world" from hating America, only stopping its support of Israel and, er, of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states, will they stop. In this article, he quotes as an authority one Michael Scheuer, Ron Paul's foreign policy adviser, who recently called for Osama bin Laden to nuke America ("The only chance we have as a country right now"). Here, Scheuer is returning a favour; Bin Laden once said ""If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard." Scheuer is also, unsurprisingly, part of the Walt and Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" conspiracy theory fantast world:

GARY ROSEN:If you could just elaborate a little bit on the clandestine ways in which Israel and presumably Jews have managed to so control debate over this fundamental foreign policy question.

SCHEUER: Well, the clandestine aspect is that, clearly, the ability to influence the Congress—that’s a clandestine activity, a covert activity. You know to some extent, the idea that the Holocaust Museum here in our country is another great ability to somehow make people feel guilty about being the people who did the most to try to end the Holocaust. I find—I just find the whole debate in the United States unbearably restricted with the inability to factually discuss what goes on between our two countries.[source]

Immigrant songs 4

I'm thinking of setting up a sub-blog devoted entirely to Woody Guthrie's song variously known as "Deportees", "Deportee" and "Plane Wreck At Los Gatos". On Wednesday I re-posted this, with Christy Moore's version (be sure to read the Martin M post that inspired it).

Jogo e-mailed me to say:
The worst version I have found of Deportees:

Couple of Italian commies at what looks like a rally for Chiapas. Long boring political lecture (pointing out USA villainy) followed by an absolutely horrible rendition of the song.

If people can't sing a song they should not try. There is nothing more depressing than a tone-deaf communist trying to sing.

A person gets no points from jogo for "effort" or "sincerity" when he destroys a song.

***
Maybe blog this ...


... or maybe don't waste real Americana on people who can't appreciate it.

From the early 60's, a Chicano family's filmed reunion on an uncle's property just a few miles from the Los Gatos plane crash. Read the "more info" link and watch the clip until the end. Very touching. And the Bonillas look like a beautiful family

****

Christy Moore gives an entirely Irish-sounding approach to the song to the point where it sounds like an Irish song. He misses completely the Mexican feel of the chorus. Also, he did not, apparently, trouble himself to learn how to pronounce a few simple Spanish words -- MIS amigos ... JESUS y Maria ... He sounds very weird to an American ear. Imagine not knowing how to pronounce JESUS (Hay-soos).

Politics is not enough. The music has to be right.

Otherwise, it's just Boris having a good time.
You can listen to the Byrds version (probably the first version I heard) at Pretty Goes With Pretty. And the Springsteen version at Cargo Culte. That's two of my current favourite music blogs. Among the versions on YouTube are the wonderful Dolly Parton and The Highwaymen (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings). There are other Irish versions, including The Dubliners, which carries a strong Mexican feel while being very Irish, and this early version by The Emeralds, which doesn't exactly do it for me. Finally, moving on, I'm not sure if I've posted this before, but here is one of two surviving clips of Woody Guthrie performing, singing "Ranger's Command" as World War II comes to an end.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Remembering Steve Cohen

A very brief notice in the JC:

Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh was among friends and family who remembered a radical-left Manchester Jewish campaigner whose book spurred MP John Mann to chair the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Steve Cohen, who died in March, described himself politically as a “dangerous Jew”. An immigration-law barrister from Prestwich, he set up the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, fighting legal battles for asylum seekers.

Historian Bill Williams recalled him as a highly controversial character. “The immigrant community have lost a fearless campaigner and we have lost an anti-racism campaigner,” Mr Williams said after the memorial meeting.

In 1984, Mr Cohen wrote That’s Funny You Don’t Look Antisemitic, a book exposing antisemitism within far-left and anti-Zionist political campaigns.

Its reappearance on the website of anti-boycott group Engage prompted Mr Mann to comment: “Steve was a great man. His book is responsible for my preparedness to take on the All- Party Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism work.”

More: Archive special on Steve at Poumista. My appreciation of Steve.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Immigrant songs 2.2

This is a re-post, as I discovered that the key link was missing, and an e-mail pointing this out to me was languishing in my spam folder for months. I've removed the most out of date content. The rest remains.

Following this post, Martin M has posted this, with Christy Moore's gorgeous version of Woodie Guthrie's "Deportees", Martin's favourite version.


I have nearly half a dozen versions on the computer I'm typing this on, and a couple more on vinyl at my mum and dad's house. Some of the best are Cisco Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Danes and Arlo Guthrie. Although I was exposed to Woody Guthrie at a young age (folkie Communist fellow travelling family), the first version I heard, as a teenager, was that on The Byrds' Ballad of Easy Rider, one of the best albums ever. It was made after Gene Clark (whose version featured in this post).

P.S. Immigrant songs 3.0 here, featuring Arlo and Emmylou. And read Jogo's comment on the original post here.

If you're into this stuff, check this.



All Woody Guthrie posts here.

Keywords: folk music, mp3

Overlapping elsewheres

From TNC. From Roland.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Three more quickies (UK-centric)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Weekending

Oh, and, following Jim's formula, here's a YouTube. Leonard Cohen speaking his "Democracy".

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Green Thursday

Today is Green Thursday. Azarmehr (writing yesterday, so read "today" where he says tomorrow), writes:
The 10th anniversary of the student uprising in Iran. The student protests in 1999 spread to 19 cities and went on for 6 days. The uprising was brutally crushed but it was the beginning of a new dawn. It gave us hope that change was coming to Iran. That despite all the propaganda machinery of those who consider themselves the 'Representatives of God on earth', the young Iranians had not been duped, and they had not given up. They were as determined as ever to bring about the 100 year old struggle of the Iranian people for democracy and freedom of speech to fruition.

'Freedom of Thought, Forever, Forever' Was the main slogan of those youngsters who had risked their lives by joining the protests in 1999. Ten years on now, the struggle is much more widespread. Now its every section of the Iranian population. The people of Iran deserve your international support.

Come and join us outside the Islamic Republic embassy in London, tomorrow 9th July, in London after 5:30 pm. Let the forces of darkness know that the freedom loving people of Iran are not on their own.

See you tomorrow at:
16 Prince’s Gate, SW7. The nearest Tube station is South Kensington.

Victory to the freedom loving people of Iran.

Help them enjoy the same freedoms you enjoy.



In Britain, Iran Solidarity is being launched next week. Their declaration and signatories are here. The declaration begins like this:
In June 2009 millions of people came out on to the streets of Iran for freedom and an end to the Islamic regime. Whilst the June 12 election was a pretext for the protests - elections have never been free or fair in Iran – it has opened the space for people to come to the fore with their own slogans.

The world has been encouraged by the protestors’ bravery and humane demands and horrified by the all-out repression they have faced. It has seen a different image of Iran - one of a population that refuses to kneel even after 30 years of living under Islamic rule.

The dawn that this movement heralds for us across the world is a promising one – one that aims to bring Iran into the 21st century and break the back of the political Islamic movement internationally.

This is a movement that must be supported

For more information on Iran, start with Entdinglichung, or the list of sites at the bottom of this post and this post. *UPDATE: REPORTS HERE.*

***

I don't want the below to detract from the above, but I think it is important to keep on maintaining clarity about the political battle about solidarity for Iran, and continuing to combat those on the left and right who seek to defuse our solidarity. The violence in Xinjiang province is an instructive case study in solidarity. On the one hand, the Islamist groups (rightly) calling for solidarity with the Uighar people neglect the (mainly Muslim) oppressed of Iran. On the other hand, leftists remain silent and confused about Xingjiang. As Voltaire's Priest notes, "One could safely assume that there would be far more banner headlines if the oppressor state involved was the USA. But, as with certain bloggers’ treatment of the inspiring protests in Iran, for some on the left a state’s opposition to the Great Satan trumps the blood of the working class as a cause for support and solidarity."

Similarly, the coup in Honduras is already amassing more column inches on the American left than the crushing of the uprising in Iran. I flicked over to CounterPunch (strapline: "Tells the facts, names the names") and scan through three days worth of posts. Two articles on Honduras, only one on Iran. Ah, but the article on Iran is not actually about Iran. Iran is pretext to talk about Israel and the Israel Lobby. (Same period: six articles on Israel.) Common Dreams? Three articles on Honduras, none on Iran. ZNet? Four on Honduras, none on Iran. Over here, Socialist Unity?* Two on Honduras, none on Iran.

As Azarmehr notes of totalitarianism's useful idiots, "They pick and choose their issues according to their agendas which has nothing to do with human rights or people suffering."



*Don't mean to pick on Socialist Unity unduly, but can't think what other sites are as representative of the British left, in the way the American sites I mentioned are.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Three quickies

1. Left Luggage: Where now for anti-fascism? (analysis of Unite Against Fascism and Searchlight, plus good comments from Waterloo Sunset)

2. Two comments on the SWP's left unity open letter: One from the SU discussion thread:
Dear The Left,
Our last two puppies died for some reason.
Can we have another one? We promise we’ll look after it and feed it and walk it and take care of it and love it for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever!
Awwwwww, pleeeeeeeeeeeease?
Yours,
The SWP
And one from Mark Steel:
“I’ve got a mate who says it’s like an alcoholic going back to his wife and saying ‘I’ll be different this time I promise!’”
3. Third Estate: My Enemy's Enemy (on Chavez, Obama, Honduras and Iran)


Previous posts on these subjects: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Noam Chomsky the cartoon

Over at the ingrate's place.

(Click the ChomskyWatch link just below here and scroll back a year or two and you'll find more Chomsky 'toons.)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Boris in pink (for Pride)

It is London Pride tomorrow, or Pride London as it has been re-branded in this topsy turvy world. In honour of that, we give you this guest post by Jogo.

This is droll. The drollest thing about it is, what makes everybody think that a pink cowboy hat is gay? Can you imagine Hart Crane or André Gide wearing a pink cowboy hat?

Boris is making himself look like an idiot so that the silly queens in this parade think he is cool.


This is thought to be progress. In what sense?
I don't think it's progress. Progress would be more people reading Gide.

Here is one more example of the stupidity and profound insecurity of the PC majority-class (white, say; straight, say) of person. They will swallow any shit that a black/gay/whatever "other" hands to them on a plate. Or even that he throws at them.

Go ahead, Boris you schmuck. Show us how pro-gay you are. Put that hat on.

Mini-weekending

I always ignore the ads Blogger places before my while I'm posting, but one caught my eye and I clicked through to Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, an initative of Faith Matters.

Moving on, this is a bit obscure, but will mean something to my fellow ex-AFA veterans: a review of Joey Owens' "Race war to Door wars". And on similar lines, Paul Stott versus Searchlight. While we're at it, here's Paul Stott versus the No Borders camp, and Paul Stott versus 7/7 conspiracy theorists.

Talking of antisemitism and conspiracy theory, remember Nick Kollerstrom? He's popped up again, at Conway Hall, redoubt of the bearded left, reports Johnny Void, who later, you'll be happy to hear, reports the event's cancellation. However, the meeting happened anyway, in a rather bizarre form, as an intrepid Indymedia reporter reports.

The Void also reports on something I have mentioned before, but not been following closely enough, the occupation of Lewisham Bridge Primary School, down the road from me. As far as know, they're still on the roof. Any more up to date news gratefully received in the comments.

And talking of old friends like Nicholas Kollerstrom, remember Red-Pink Nadine Nadine Rosa-Rosso? Well, Habibi reports that she is back in London, sharing a stage with a number of representatives of murderous theocratic paramilitary outfits - a “Hezbollah representative” and Djab Abou Jahjah via video link from Lebanon [and] Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi, as well as John Rees of the “Stop the War Coalition”. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but even I thought John Rees had more sense... And here's another old friend: Michelle Renouf.

Changing the subject, I have up to now refrained from saying anything about Honduras, because it is a subject I really know nothing about (plus, Snoopy told me not to worry). However, the more I read, the more outrageous the coup sounds. Amending the constitution to suspend basic freedoms, the violent suppression of the press, disappearing democratically elected municipal officials and replacing them with close relatives of the pretend president... I think the White House are calling it right when they say "This administration has been very clear that a coup is a coup. And there are no good coups and bad coups."

Finally, two from Left Luggage: a reason to be cheerful, and a very interesting post on liberal and marxist orthodoxies in relation to "anti-social behaviour".

Peace, Justice and Solidarity?

In my own backyard - well, in Catford's Mountsfield Park - Saturday week (the 11th July) will see the annual municipal shindig, Lewisham People's Day. Some of the highlights include the wonderful Brockley Ukelele Group, the excellent veteran Deptford reggae band Harare Dread, the cheery jazz-funk of the James Taylor Quartet.

But what's this in the Yellow Area? The new Peace Justice and Solidarity Marquee, according to an e-mail in my inbox, will be "a great chance to hear about progressve campaigns in the area." A screening of Who Shot the Sheriff?, a quite good SWP propoganda job telling the story of Rock Against Racism, well worth a watch if you've not seen it. Film Reel News reports on Visteon and Waterford Glass factory occupations and Justice for Ian Tomlinson campaign - might be good. Local folk singer Jim Radford - I've never heard him, but am told he's quite a character. Oh, and a staging of Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children (or, as this pro-"peace" website bizarrely calls it, Seven Jewish Women.

If you don't know what Seven Jewish Children is, read this, this, this, or this.

Related: Crema: Bob From Brockley causes an international incident; Crema: "Not anti-semitic, just anti-fascist"; Deptford Town Hall occupation; NX history, Goldsmiths imperialism and Cafe Crema; Lewisham say no to Jennifer Jones; Disreputable Lib Dems in the Goldsmiths Politics department; Lewisham's Imam. All Lewisham posts.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Anonymous Iran

Just a quick Iran post today. Via Paul Stott, I came across Anonymous Iran, a notice board created, apparently, by the folks who brought us Pirate Bay. A lot of the stuff, posted by anonymous folks, is pure rubbish, gossip, panic, conspiracy, etc. Key posts are kept sticky at the top of each section. There are useful sections on keeping internet anonymity in Iran, on protest advice, and on missing persons. And there is a news section, with a news feed from the mainstream press and, more important, the Green Brief, Josh Shahryar's summary of carefully selected Twitter feeds. Here is yesterday's Green Brief, no.15, and here is well-informed blogger Scott Lucas reporting on how much of the Green Brief can be verified, and here are Lucas' own reports. To summarise all these reports, the uprising is continuing, violent repression is deepening, reports of mass summary executions are probably false.

Questions

How can you recognise an authoritarian regime?*
How can you avoid being a left-wing antisemite?
How can you boycott Israel without boycotting Israel?
How is antisemitism used in Chavez's Venezuela?

*Link fixed if anyone clicked and was mystified...

UPDATE: More from Matt on two of these issues.

H/t for the links: DS/CT/SL.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Midweeking

Iran:
Antisemitism, anti-Zionism, left-right convergence, Israel and indecency:
Londonism:
Left unity and anti-fascism:
Freedom's flames/Fragments from the history of anti-capitalism:
Bob's beats:
More round-ups: