Monday, June 17, 2013
Turkish trade unions are calling for a 24-hour general strike on Monday with demonstrations to converge on the recently cleared Taksim Square in Istanbul. It's a perverse comfort that no matter where you go the main unions are a little bit crap. What do we need, comrades? I'll tell you what we need. We need a token one-day strike after the movement has been battered off the streets. We need one more belated gesture, comrades, one more - that'll show 'em!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Here is a link to a list of words that get you marked out by the NSA as a potential terrorist. These are merely some of the highlights:
Friday, June 14, 2013
Chartism after gay marriage
Was the American Dream deflected in 1984?
Is food falling in queer theory?
Is the 21st panther falling?
Does the 21st panther benefit from the rank and file?
Can arm movements stop Trotsky’s alienation?
Is Trotsky reviving?
Who was Che Guevara reviving?
Is falling reviving fracking?
Is there a future for history?
Is the rate of arm movement falling?
Can the spirit of ‘45 boycott what socialists say?
Is the fall of Stalinism falling?
Can Althusser become all powerful?
Is opium the motor of study circles?
Do circles of oil read Das Kapital?
Is Islamophobia the Keynesianism of oil?
Is oil falling between Sartre and Dr Who?
Is there a dialectic in
Two years on from 1910 to 1920 is 1972 after August?
Two years on from the future what does autonomism say?
Who benefits from the future?
Does Dublin face South Africa?
After August is Engels face permanent?
Thursday, June 13, 2013
In the last 12 months
Britain has endured the wettest
autumn on record followed by the coldest spring in 50 years. As a result food
manufacturers have had to make a net import of wheat for the first time in 11 years. The weather has also caused problems with a number of other crops although,
apparently, the extra time needed for soft fruit to ripen has meant they will
of good quality this year… which is nice.
This is a taste of things to come, as the climate changes and weather becomes more erratic. In the short-term the effect will be an even tighter squeeze on living standards. Agriculture has been an export industry for a long time, though it employs very few people directly. Agricultural produce though is a major part of the household budget, no shit Sherlock. British workers are caught in a vice of depressed wages and mounting costs, the recent poor harvests will soon add to the cost of the monthly shop.
But why does this happen? British farming has generated surplus food for decades. It has achieved this through years of massive subsidy. That subsidy can’t simply be withdrawn. The entire system of farming would collapse, and then we’d have real trouble. But if we accept the commodity system and agricultural subsidy we are accepting a permanent and (in all likelihood growing) taxpayer levy. In effect you will pay for your food twice.
The alternative is to take agriculture out of the commodity system. The people embodied by the democratic state (we’ll leave aside state theory for the sake of brevity) will employ farmers to produce food according to plans of export, import, consumption and surplus. The democratic state will also have to take control of farming input and machinery. Farmers are capitalists however. They are unlikely to go along with such a plan in sufficient numbers. Then again, the BMA was opposed to the foundation of the NHS in 1948, and the NHS was still formed.
Herein will lie one of the great struggles of the 21st century.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
58 people were arrested during a police raid on a squat in
Soho yesterday . The people inside had intended to protest the G8 summit due to convene
shortly in Northern Ireland.
You hadn’t heard of it, I hadn’t heard of it, maybe we’re just out of touch (and all solidarity must be given to those arrested for what amounts to precrime) but doesn’t this just sum up the slump in radical politics in Britain today? I saw them going home on the bus yesterday, an anarchist assembly, parked on the statue of Eros, going nowhere, vastly outnumbered by the police with just tourists (and commuters) gawping at the spectacle.
The curious thing is anarchism is, from the ruling class point of view, a harmless nuisance. Why does this overwhelming police presence always accompany anarchist manifestations? The answer is the spectacle. The police force is a political organisation. The swift and heavy-handed dispersal of protest groups such as these is a pedagogic exercise, aimed at the onlookers. It says “don’t get any big ideas – this is how you’ll end up, kissing concrete”.
At the moment it’s working. The necessity for all of us is to find ways out of the ruling class kettle (real and figurative) that cuts us off from the wider population. This isolation is, in part, self-imposed.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Why are ticket prices for concerts going through the roof? Examples: £450 for the best seats at a Barbara Streisland gig, £950 for the equivalent at a Rolling Stones gig. It costs £50 to watch
Texas and £60 to see Keith Sweat (who?).
They're not the youngest nor the most cutting edge acts you might say, but why are
veteran bands reforming so frequently these days and who keeps giving them festival headline slots?
Is it anything to do with the fact the average age of a festival goer is now 36?
And what about those young, breakthrough, chart acts, why are, at any one time,
a majority of them privately educated (when 7% of the population is privately educated)?
We live in a time of savage political and social retrenchment. The working class is being driven to the margins in all aspects of life, including cultural life. Music is for people with money, middle-aged and bourgeois. New Labour/Cool Britannia transformed class (at least on an ideological level) from a social relation into a set of signifiers. Thanks to this young, and not so young middle-class people could plunder ‘working class’ life for authenticity and edge. There are still many millions of workers in Britain, there’s just little cultural evidence left anyone in Britain ever performed manual labour, except all the wallies bobbing around Gentrified London dressed like Mumford and Sons. Class is dress-up and austerity has a chic.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
The government has decided to include anti-union measures into a forthcoming anti-sleaze bill. The headline measure is that third-party organisations will no longer be able to contribute more than £100,000 to political parties in the year prior to election. The bill will also get rid of self-certification (i.e. if you sign a form and pay a sub you are a union member) replacing it with a certification officer empowered to mount investigations into membership lists. In the future you may think of yourself as a trade unionist but the government man may simply disagree.
Do you till think the government is nasty but weak? This government is ruthlessly and successfully driving the organised working class from public life. Let’s be clear, the unions get piss-all from the Labour link. Why are the Tories and Lib Dems bothering with this? This government’s mission is to destroy the basis of any organised opposition, radical or social democratic, to the capitalist prerogative. If this law is passed and not challenged there will never again be a workers party in
We’re going back to the future, we are facing the same kind of existential crisis as the American organised working class faced in the '50s. American workers movement today is a complete nil. It is simply not a factor in national politics. It was destroyed, never to re-arise. Short of some dramatic turnaround, probably resulting from outside events, the same fate awaits us. No fight back, just a long, miserable decline. Whither a revitalised left?