Saturday, April 28, 2007

International Workers' Memorial Day

As today is International Workers' Memorial Day, I thought I'd post the following article from the forthcoming May 2007 Socialist Standard:

Underlying Cause

It's just one example of many where the pursuit of profits take primacy over the lives of working people.

What's International Workers' Memorial Day?

"The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" . Two million people are killed at work around the world every year according to the International Labour Organisation. This is greater than the numbers killed in wars, by AIDS or by alcohol and drugs."

Hope people find it of interest.

Phil Neville's Everton teammates politely ask him if he meant to score an own goal for Man United

What an absolutely brilliant result.

I hate Chelsea more than the Sparts hate the International Bolshevik Tendency. That's how much I hate Abramovich's mercenaries.

Just sat through the Chelsea versus Bolton game on Fox Soccer Channel, becoming increasingly exasperated by Drogba's histrionics and Bolton defence's desire to shoot themselves in the foot by trying to pass to Chelsea forwards in and around the Bolton penalty box. (They were that bad, they thankfully missed.)

It was wonderful watching the unfolding drama of the crowd at Stamford Bridge as the tv cameras panned across the changing fizzogs of the Chelski faithful as they went from being the shiny happy faces of fans whose team were winning 2-1 in the spring sun, whilst their rivals were losing 2-0 away from home, to becoming a seeming open audition of emo mums, dads and kids as they witnessed the sudden seismic shift in fortunes of Davies's equalising goal for Bolton with the accompanying news coming through from Goodison that Manchester United had taken a 3-2 lead via a Wayne Rooney goal.

Chelsea fans hadn't looked that miserable since they heard the false rumour that Gordon Brown was thinking of putting a special tax on id bracelets.

Loved it that Phil Neville scored an own goal against his old club to make it 2-2. Never mind that I'm still getting regular hits to the blog via the 'Gary Neville' + 'socialist' google search; he's the wrong Neville brother. Phil Neville is my working class hero.

Also sweet to note that Chris Eagles scored the fourth goal for United in their 4-2 win. What's the big deal with that? Only that Chris Eagles has now officially replaced Julia Bolino as the most famous person ever to have attended Longdean Comprehensive School.

Leftist Trainspotter Quote of the Day

Funny quote from someone with the moniker of 'cutandsplice' on the Urban 75 UK politics, current affairs and news forum:
"Workers Power always reminded me of kids at school who dressed like, and listened to the same music as their older brothers, but really had no idea what it was about."

A Prisoner of the Past*

Couple of good posts from Alan J. over at his Mailstrom blog:

  • Anton Pancakes
  • O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us
  • With the 'Anton Pancakes' post, it looks like Alan's taken on the task of scouring the Dead Socialist Watch list over at Virtual Stoa, as he follows up his post on Dietzgen with a piece on Anton Pannekoek, the Dutch astronomer and Council Communist. (Alan, I'm looking forward to your 5000 word essay on Beatrice Webb on Monday.)

    I would disagree with Alan on one point: I think there is a case to be made that Pannekoek as a theorist has an greater influence today that he had during the latter part of his life, and an influence that far outstrips that of the SPGB.

    AK Press republished his Workers' Councils a few years back, and there is no doubt that the celebrity endorsement from Chomsky - who in interviews I've read, always maintained that as a young man he was always more sympathetic to the council communism of Pannekoek and Mattick, rather than the various hues of Leninism - has gone some way in Pannekoek finding a new audience.

    As Alan mentions, a lot of anarchists have a soft spot for Pannekoek. If I was being a cheeky bastard, it's a case of hyper-activists chasing after a theory, but I'm not a cheeky bastard.

    It was always funny, though, that at various festivals, demos and bookfairs etc etc when you'd get the familiar sneer from the youthful badged-up anarcho-surbanite for admitting to being an SPGBer (using the line: "honest mate, they aren't my Socialist Standards. I'm carrying them for a bet." never used to work for me), they'd always have the Pannekoek pamphlet published by Collective Action Notes, with his articles reprinted from The Western Socialist, the old WSPUS journal, on their literature table.

    Mention of the Western Socialist reminds me of this excerpt from an anniversary issue of the journal from 1966 which, when writing of socialist activity in Boston in the 30s and 40s, makes mention of Pannekoek:

    "And the Sunday night forums at the old headquarters at 12 Hayward Place! One of the most memorable of these forums was the occasion of the visit to Boston by the late Dutch astronomer and Marxist, Anton Pannekoek (author of Marxism and Darwinism and Anthropogenesis). Pannekoek had come to accept an honorary degree from Harvard University for his work in astrophysics. Yet instead of hobnobbing with the intellectuals of Harvard, he chase to deliver a lecture at the W.S.P. headquarters to a working class audience seeking the truth about society from a scientist and philosopher. Pannekoek said that he was more at home with workers than he was with the professors." (From From The Western Socialist Issue 4, 1966)

    I don't really have to write too much in connection with the second piece, 'O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us', from Alan's blog . . .except perhaps to ask: what the hell did he have in his cocoa when coming up with the title of the post?

    Alan's found some old posts on the google discussion list alt.politics.socialism.trotsky, where the well known science fiction writer, Ken MacLeod, does a bang up job defending the history and politics of the SPGB from the usual misunderstandings, misrepresentations and miscreants.

    Regular readers of the blog will know that Ken MacLeod has a history of sorts with the SPGB. Not in a 'Literature Secretary of Enfield and Haringey Branch 1986-1988' kind of way, but more as someone who has in times past spoken at our Summer School, written a guest article in the Socialist Standard, and has also written warmly of the Party and its members in one of his novels, The Stone Canal, which is, erm, novel.

    My only grumble is that it sticks in the craw when a non-member puts in a better performance of defending the politics of the Party than I ever could. I think I'll stick to blogging about music, footie and Sarah Silverman . . .but I do want that badge, though.

    *Listening to Prefab Sprout.

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    Louche in Translation

    Cut and pasted from Q magazine.

    “He wasn’t drunk. He’s from Scotland.”

    A spokesman explains why Paolo Nutini kept stumbling and slurring his words during a gig in Swindon.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    'Some Socialist Equality Party Members are more equal than others'

    Read to the accompaniment of The Jam's 'Funeral Pyre' playing in the background:

  • SEP leader a capitalist.
  • A Tale of Two Men
  • Call me naive, but I thought 'North' was his real surname, but it's always nice to finally put a face to a (false) name. Never did get to see the great leader speak in person.

    A storm in a alice-in-wonderland teacup if you ask me, and it's got sod all to do with the fact that Fred had a factory in Manchester.

    However, the burning question for me is how is it that when the head honcho of the WSWS/ICFI owns a ultra-modern printing press, the Socialist Equality Party members always end up giving out badly photocopied leaflets at demos? If I was one of the rank and file, I'd be pissed.

    Apparently there is a furious thread on this matter going on over at the socialism discussion group on myspace, where a former SEP'er is all upset at this news and at the earlier realisation that the SEP isn't *shock* *horror* that democratic.

    It's always a shame when a would-be vanguardist gets fucked over by his central committee before s/he gets a chance to fuck over the working class.

    Now, come in on the second beat:

    And as I was standing by the edge
    I could see the faces of those who led pissing themselves laughing

    (and the flames grew)

    Their mad eyes bulged their flushed faces said

    The weak get crushed as the strong grow stronger

    A to Z of Marxism - Karl, Groucho and Richard

    A to Z of Marxism - V thru' Z

    Finally got round to posting the last part of the A to Z of Marxism - V thru' Z - on the unofficial Socialist Standard page on MySpace. If you're wanting links to the other parts of the red alphabet, they are available at the start of the link posted above.

    Feel free to repost, denounce or cover in vodka irn bru.

    The choice - as always - is yours.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Injury Time

    As is self-evident by the paucity of posts in recent weeks, I'm a bit jaded with the whole blogging lark but - 'cos of past themes covered on the blog - I feel obliged to link to this puff piece by Barney Ronay in today's Online Guardian.

    Sorry to sound jaded but it does seem a whole lot of words to say sod all . . . or to at least just go over ground that has been covered a 1001 times before. He's not really bringing anything new to the table on the matter of socialism and footie: Shankly . . . Neville . . . Clough . . . Breitner . . . tick all the boxes. Don't not pass go. Get your NUJ card stamped.

    However, one of the comments to the article does throw up the interesting info about the Barcelona defender Oleguer Presas. If he's doesn't have Kev's blog bookmarked, he should do.

    Friday, April 20, 2007

    Lionel Messi versus Getafe

    Sorry such a sublime moment of football artistry is caught in a grainy image, but watch it while you can.

    Clips of Messi's great goal versus Getafe during the week is getting pulled from You Tube quicker than you can say: "I don't speak Spanish, but I'm guessing that commentator liked that goal".

    Obviously the interweb is buzzing about the whole Maradona '86 against England versus Messi '07 against Getafe debate, but four words to indicate my position on this hot topic: Terry Fenwick & Steve Hodge.

    'Nuff said.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Fear and Loathing in Capitalism

    Socialist Party Day School
    Fear & Loathing in Capitalism
    When: Saturday May 12, 2007 at 1:00pm
    Where: Community Central Halls 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow, G207YE
    Day School organised by Glasgow and Edinburgh branches of the SPGB
    Asbos, terrorists and immigrants.

    1pm - 2.15pm Asbos, Chavs and Hoodies: crime under capitalism.

    The newspapers and television constantly set out to frighten us with tales of hooliganism, anti-social behaviour and crime in general. In this session we attempt to evaluate the various claims and counter claims about the cause and cure of crime in modern society. Brian Gardner (Glasgow branch) puts forward the unique socialist analysis and contrast it with the "hang 'em, flog 'em" school of thought.

    2.15- 3.30pm Seeking Asylum: should we be concerned about immigration?

    In France Le Pen puts forward a repressive "solution", in this country Cameron and Brown have voiced their views, but capitalism needs immigration and Paul Bennett (Manchester branch) looks at the problem from a socialist viewpoint. Inside a socialist society there would be no "them and us" attitude. The whole world would be owned by the whole world population, in such a society concepts such as "asylum" would be impossible.

    3.45 - 5pm Panic on the streets of London: how real is the terrorist threat?

    The explosions on the London Underground were real enough, as were some recent failed attempts at bombing there, but has recent government reaction been justified? Gwynn Thomas (South London) look at current attitudes to this problem and contrast the socialist view with those of our political opponents. Capitalism is a society based on threats and counter-threats. Only world-wide socialism can solve the problem.

    Each session will have a 30 minute talk, the rest of the time will be taken up with your questions and points of view. Admission is free and tea, coffee and light refreshments will be made available free of charge throughout the afternoon.

    Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow.

    For more information about the Socialist Party Branches organizing this Day School, please visit their websites: Glasgow Branch Edinburgh Branch

    Sunder-Ireland

    OK, I just wanted to get that out of my system. Apologies to Barry Glendinning, Will and John B. I hope they storm the Premiership next season. If only 'cos with Wallace, Varga, Miller and Keane in the hot-seat, I can go on at length about how Celtic rejects are doing the biz down south. (When what I really mean is that Wallace and Miller should still be at Celtic.)

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Musical Interlude

    Stumbled across the band Peachfuzz on MySpace - or rather they stumbled across the Socialist Standard page with the obligatory friend request - and they're bloody good. You should check them out.

    Granted they're a bit rough and ready, but not that rough for a band that is listed as 'unsigned' and who hail from Bridgend.

    'The Girl Who Kissed The Sun' and 'Lost Weekend' are the strongest tracks of the four on their page, and yep they sound like Teenage Fanclub (but with stronger vocals) and Big Star (of course they do, they sound like Teenage Fanclub for chrissake . . . it's obligatory), but they have the courtesy to list them both as influences on the page, so that's OK then.

    Sure, it may just be another story of pasty faced lads from the Celtic fringe with instruments bought on hp, singing accents borrowed from a Farrelly Brothers soundtrack and wah-wah pedals getting more legwork than a headless Wayne Rooney running after the last defender to clip him so he can clock him, but if The Thrills can make a fist of it, who am I to turn my nose up at a power pop trio from the Valleys following the same path.

    One moan, though. Their choice of name, 'Peachfuzz', is irredeemably naff, and has me reaching for my C86.

    But help may be at hand with the google-search news that there was a band of the same name operating out of Melbourne in the early nineties. So, hopefully, the Aussie lawyers should be on the fax machine with the writs if and when they get a sniff of a deal. Just don't rename yourself Peachfuzz UK, lads.

    Little Town In Ireland*

    "My first day on the job in America, I was getting trained by Todd, or Josh, or Chip, or Hank, whatever the fuck, and he says to me "So, you're Irish, haw? Do you know John? He was here last year."

    Ah, good oul John, that fecker, course I know him, I says, sure isn't he King of our village."

    From a post that is sooo last year, literally, but I have to post a link to it 'cos the quiz - and the resultant comments - are bastard funny.

    *Microdisney - B side to 'Town to Town'. Their one *cough* hit record.

    The Freedom Presidential Election

    From the SPGB blog, Socialism Or Your Money Back:

    Next Sunday In France

    I have one wee quibble from reading the post; I'm not sure if Lutte Ouvriere are still considered the premier Trot group in France. (If they ever were.) I wouldn't pretend to have a hundredth of the knowledge of the French politics that the post's author has, but I was under the impression that the LCR is now making all the running on the vanguardist left in France.

    The LCR's Presidential candidate, Olivier Besancenot, looks set to get more votes than the perennial LO candiate, Arlette Laguiller, next Sunday and, though in the real world that won't amount to much, for all us lefty trainspotter types, Laguiller - who has contested very Presidential Election since '74 - being beat into second place on the Trot front for the first time will have the letters pages of both the Weekly Worker and Socialist Worker fizzing for at least a week.

    For those of you interested in the minutaie of the Fench Left, Liam Mac Uaid - a supporter of the International Socialist Group, the British sister group of the LCR - has a google video of LCR's Francois Duval speaking at a recent ISG/Resistance meeting on the French Presidential Election.

    N.B. The post is entitled 'The Freedom Presidential Election' - rather than 'The French Presidential Election' - in honour of that diner in Long Island I ate at a few weeks back, which still insists on selling 'Freedom Fries', rather than French Fries.

    God bless.

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    Evicted


    Did I suddenly want to switch to the new upgraded blogger after holding out for so long?

    Nope.

    Then why have I suddenly signed up?

    'Cos it was the only way I could access my blog.

    Blogger . . . piss the fuck off.

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    'Since Patsy died, I've not really liked country, but . . .'

    "Home of the brave, let's misbehave/
    We'll be gettin' freaky like in Abu Ghraib."

    Sandy Belle records an old Toby Keith demo, but only 'cos the Dixie Chicks turned it down first.

    Hat tip to Morgan M.

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Friday's Playlist #10

    An ongoing series:

  • Elvis Costello and The Attractions, 'The Invisible Man' (Punch The Clock)
  • Duran Duran, 'Breath After Breath' (The Wedding Album)
  • Mark Ronson, featuring Amy Winehouse, 'Valerie' (Version)
  • Heaven 17, 'Key To The World' (The Luxury Gap)
  • Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, 'The Rattler' (Good Deeds and Dirty Rags)
  • George Michael, 'Amazing' (Patience)
  • The Others, 'How I Nearly Lost You' (The Others)
  • Big Star, 'Thirteen' (Number 1 Record)
  • Dead Kennedys, 'Holiday in Cambodia' (Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables)
  • Nicole Atkins and the Sea, 'War Torn'
  • Space Filla

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Park Life

    Found via the Guardian Footie/You Tube running series:

  • Former Westlifer Bryan McFadden is bollocks on a stage with a microphone, but show's he's the dog's bollocks on a footie pitch with a nifty bit of footwork.
  • In an otherwise meaningless Euro Championship match between Portugal and Belgium, Ricardo Quaresma takes time out to recreate the goal that I scored age nine in Greenfield Public Park in a jumpers for goalposts, 20 a side game. Sadly, he doesn't quite cut it 'cos my goal celebration was better.
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Searching For Meaning And Being In One's Life

    Fellow Blogger,

    Do you want an insight into your subconscious, but can't afford the cost of the weekly therapy sessions? Do you want to be on the cutting edge of the zeitgeist, but would feel embarrassed being seen in public with a copy of either 'Nuts' or 'Dazed & Confused' magazine?

    Help is at hand. Just monitor your sitemeter over a 24 hour period, and take note of those searches on google, yahoo, blogsearch etc etc that have led people to your blog.

    A quick scan below of the list from my sitemeter over past 24 hours has led me to conclude that my sub-conscious is overly concerned with authoritarian 'leftism' (sparts, stalin, bob avakian, paul breitner and blake baker); footie (gary neville, breitner again); & self-loathing (i hate myself poems, donny and marie osmond and paul morley).

    No new startling revelation there, and I've saved about 300 dollars in the process.

    And a second scan of the list reveals the mood of the times: The mention of 'Wyatting' and 'stalin wasn't stalling' suggests that 1940s barbershop quartet barbarism is making a comeback; that Bill Hicks is coming out of retired seclusion - he's been living in a gated community in Larchmont, NY with Tupac Shakur - to record a spoken word album with Noam Chomsky; and that the burning issue in Britain for the 37th consecutive week is which trotskyist newspaper does Gary Neville sell outside Waitrose in Congleton every other Saturday morning?

    My 300 dollars is on Gary selling copies of Solidarity on the back of a bogus petition about the NHS.

  • marxist cartoons
  • Paul Morley Twat
  • the rakes auslandmission lyrics
  • we are living in the sound street "na na na "
  • wyatting
  • bill hicks chomsky
  • paul breitners political views
  • "blake baker" "far left"
  • i hate myself poems
  • gary neville socialist
  • article on sparts
  • darren dixon brooklyn ny
  • Bob Avakian
  • piss inside the tent, piss from inside tent out +quote?
  • war lighters
  • "case of the piles"
  • gravytrain gay mp3
  • 'History as propaganda' + spgb
  • master margarita torrent
  • stalin wasn't stalling
  • ditched +lyrics
  • an empty cab and clement attlee
  • The Best Of Donny & Marie Osmond(torrent)
  • khomeini nickname
  • "gary neville" "national anthem"
  • Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Z-Team

    Bobby Zamora has just put West Ham 1-0 up at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal. It won't last - I reckon a 1-1 draw after eleven minutes of injury time, and moaning session from Arsene Wenger on the touchline - but it's nice to see Zamora scoring for the Hammers, as he is one of those few players in the Premiership to play for his local team.

    Ok, that's enough of me doing a bad impersonation of a videprinter. It was just furtuitous that I spotted that Bobby Z had scored his tenth goal of the season a nano-second after spotting on his wiki page the strange but true footie fact that Zamora, Jlloyd Samuel, Fitz Hall and Paul Konchesky were all released on the same day as apprentices from West Ham Utd.

    Konchesky and Zamora are now back at Upton Park; Jlloyd Samuel is currently not getting at a game in Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa team 'cos O'Neill thinks Jlloyd is related to his old Notts Forest team mate Larry Lloyd, and Larry owes him a walnut whip from 1978-79; and Fitz Hall is currently at Wigan Athletic, praying that his career gets an uplift by re-signing for his first professional club, Barnet.

    PS - There is no truth in the suggestion that Steve McClaren was the youth coach at West Ham at the time who let them all go but, if by writing this, the myth can kick off via the viral effect of random google searches, then that's just a bonus.

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    "But . . Mark . . . It's . . . Shit . . . "

    For his work on the majestic Back to Black, I should be cutting Mark Ronson some slack but he tries to defend the indefensible in today's Guardian:

    "I listened to [the Smiths'] Stop Me if You Think You've Heard This One Before seven billion times when I was growing up," says Ronson, who asked Australian soul singer Daniel Merriweather to record it for Version. That hasn't stopped a few Smiths nuts, who consider any cover to be sacrilege, from "calling for blood", but he's unrepentant. "I could be the town pariah, but you can hear the dedication to the original, every little detailed thing, so I don't care what Smiths fans think." [From Caroline Sullivan's article 'Original Sin']

    Weren't Massive Attack doing this sort of thing with Horace Andy on Blue Lines about 16 years ago?

    It's a cover version so bland and 'eurgh' that I was actually going to post about the song last week but couldn't summon the energy to push the publish button.

    Mark Ronson can put it down to people baying for blood, but when I first heard his version of this classic Smiths song I was prompted to look around for the closing doors of an elevator 'cos where else could the muzak be coming from? It was only with me now reading the Sullivan article - and Ronson's wee quote hidden deep within it - that I was prompted to dust down the draft.

    With his production work with Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Christina Aguilera, Ronson is currently the bright you thing on the East Village block, but bright young things can only be bright in the first place if they promise to burn out sooner rather than later. Looks like Ronson is keeping his side of the bargain.

    No doubt I will be eating those words quicker than you can say: "Grammys, Brits and a bloody KBE?".

    Christ, the song has already been played 180,000 times on his MySpace page, and it was only officially released as a single four days ago. Check out the song on his page, and tell me I'm wrong.

    PS - Lily Allen's cover of the Kaiser Chiefs' 'Oh My God' on the same album is also boggin.

    Take Me To Your Leader

    Sorry for returning to the site of this particular political traffic accident, but I can't take my petit bourgeois menshevite eyes off such choice quotes as:

    "There is no other leader like Chairman Avakian out there. There is nothing like the body of work he’s produced, the ideas he's brought forward, and his way of going at understanding and changing the world. This is the real thing— for people to dig into, and to apply to making revolutionary change. But there are still far, far too few people who have even had a chance to hear and learn what Bob Avakian is all about and to get into his ideas and thinking. We aim to make a giant stride, in the next few weeks, in changing all that . . .

    Think about teachers, clergy, and others who are positioned to get this paper out to many, many others. Then talk to them. Make an appointment to come back and talk to their classes and congregations when the special issue comes out.

    Think about the stores, gyms, theaters, libraries, barber shops, galleries, laundromats, and beauty parlors that can carry scores and hundreds of these broadsheets. Then go to them, sell them a video, and set up to get them materials.

    Think about key areas where people need to hear about this leader and get into his vision. Then make plans and preparations accordingly."

    In the words of JC, there's more:

    "There has never been a leader like Bob Avakian in this country. Never one who has so consistently and so deeply confronted and grappled with the deepest questions before people…and never one who fought so hard and so systematically to involve the people themselves in that grappling. Beyond that, this leader belongs in a deep and real way to the people of the world: at a time when the “science of revolution” demands a leap in its understanding in a number of crucial realms, he has stepped forward to fill that great need. The contributions that we have outlined here are essential to the further and future advance of the revolutionary cause and communist project; they are a treasure for humanity.

    Extraordinary leaders like Bob Avakian are rare; they are precious to the advance of humanity; they must be cherished and defended. The American system has an extremely ugly history of repression, frame-up, and even assassination in this regard, and they have a doctrine to go with that history. That poses a serious and acute challenge to anyone who cares about fundamental social change. We cannot allow a situation where the oppressors have a sharper understanding of what Bob Avakian represents than the people who hunger for a different, better world! Again, this voice must be heard and this person defended.

    I know. I've whetted your r-r-r-revolutionary appetite, and now you're desperately scanning the post for the golden link that will usher you into so much more of this outpouring of love for the bearded one who has been sent to save us all.

    You want to immerse yourself in the political genius that is our dear leader Chairman Bob Avakian, but you don't have enough dirty washing in the laundry basket to give you the excuse to go to the laundromat to pick up the special Bob Avakian issue of Revolution.

    Threat Fret no more. It's not here, child. Cast your eyes away from the bile and spite of the unbeliever. Here is the social, spirtual and political link that you have been looking for all your life.

    Hat tip to one of Chairman Bob's disciples on Leftist Trainspotters.

    Do They Mean Us? #7

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Do They Mean Us? #6

    Missed this mention of the unofficial Socialist Standard MySpace page at the time - though I note that Alan J got his fourpenneth in . . . good lad:

    "Late last year, while preparing for a lecture on politics & online communities for a 3rd-year module Communities On-line (which I taught on with Janet Finlay) I had a look in MySpace and did some searches on political terms. I searched for the major UK parties and found a small number of Lib Dem and New Labour MPs, all with derisory numbers of 'friends' . . . The term 'socialist' was a cracker, though, turning up the Socialist Standard page with around 13,000 friends (as of today, ranking it behind only Obama and Clinton on the technpresident table). Socialist Standard is the organ of the rather wonderful Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) who, as well as arguing for the abolition of money, only have one form of political intevention - the debate. (I've had a soft spot for them ever since one of their number engaged in a year-long correspondence with a rather spotty 16 year old who had written a letter to the local newspaper in the 1970s. The letters I received weren't formulaic, but long, detailed responses to the points I had raised in my letters. ) This raises the question though: what is it about the SPGB and MySpace that generated this number of 'friends', and what might it signify?

    It's good to know that as well the page reaching out to a new generation of readers, it also has cause to occasionally drop into the cyber-lap of the former subscriber/last century reader/yesterday's political adversary.

    As the author of the quote, Steve Walker, teaches at Leeds Metropolitan University, perhaps he has been known to break biscuits with that well known ex-SPGBer at the other ivory tower in Leeds?

    And, in answer to his closing question: "What might it signify?"

    Probably sod all . . . except that with the innovation of publicising the Standard on MySpace, we've hopefully pushed the average age of the magazine's readership down to 71 years . . . and, for the casual peruser of the myspace page, forever associated revolutionary socialism with an impeccable taste in music.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Class

    Che'st Chic

    Canny design from Morgan M. of the WSPUS to advertise the WSM. You can click on the pic of Che for access to the website.

    Should be a T shirt . . . or at least a key ring.

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    "Boris Johnson is in Class War?"*

    It would have been memorable.

    Little known factoid . . . an ex-member of Birmingham branch of the SPGB was once invited to appear on the BBC reality show, 'Living With The Enemy', and was all up for it - you know, getting the case for socialism into a million living rooms, etc etc - until they realised it would have entailed them having to live for a week with a member of Glasgow branch.

    *No, I'm not suggesting that Boris Johnson is practising entryism into the Tory Party at the behest of Class War. There is - or was - a member of Class War who is the spitting image of BJ. Strange but true.

    The Falklands War Remembered

    A couple of links:

  • From the SPGB blog, Socialism Or Your Money Back: The Falklands War Remembered
  • From the archives of the Socialist Standard: 'Doing the Bulldog Thing'
  • Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, when Argentina invaded those islands that Adrian Mole's dad thought were off the coast of Scotland.

    Perhaps in light of more recent - and more bloody conflicts - it is a minor footnote in a world always seemingly at war, but for those of us of a certain generation (and nationality) it remains seared in the memory for the Sun's 'Gotcha' headline, the return of respectable jingoism to mainstream British politics and for supplying one of the major reasons that Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives secured a landslide majority at the 1983 General Election despite the fact that Britain was in the midst of its severest depression since the 1930s.

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    "They're selling Class War lighters in Woolworth's, Squire"

    Canny - christ, I have to buy a thesarus - letter in this month's Socialist Standard from Ben Malcolm about the review of Ian Bone's biog in last month's Standard:

    Dear Editors
    I read the review of Ian Bone’s Bash the Rich (March Socialist Standard) with interest as a few years back I had a couple of pints with the author in a pub in Bristol. And until recently he could be found selling the excellent community news-and-scandal sheet The Bristolian in that same fair city.

    Indeed, one of the most interesting sections in his “confessions” deals with his involvement in a similar publication in Swansea during the late 1970s called Alarm. Populist, pro-working class publications are evidently what he does best, and the mother of them all of course turned out to be Class War.

    Here’s my “confession” . . . I always had a bit of a soft spot for CW. Their political positions (such as they were) were always closer to the Socialist Party’s than most anarchists and any lefties. And the paper in its heyday was something to behold. But - and it’s a big but - their avowed methods were, and are, different from ours in the extreme. Bone quotes a comrade of his criticising elitist violence (as opposed to political mob violence) by stating ‘petrol bombs are far more democratic than dynamite’. OK then, but isn’t democratic political action even more democratic still? And, of course, CW famously developed a veritable obsession with the “middle class” that they saw as standing between us and the ruling class.

    As his memoirs end abruptly around 1985 we can presumably await further fond rememberings, no doubt featuring tales of the anti-Poll Tax conflict of the early 1990s. Until then, Ian, if you’re reading this, where on Earth did the bloody Bristolian vanish to?

    BEN MALCOLM, Bath.

    Nice, 'cos I thought Ben had disappeared off the map, and it's always heartening to see one of the nineties - 1990s, that is, we aren't all old commie curmudgeons - contingent still plugging away.

    I'd love to read the Bone biog but I baulked at the twenty dollar price tag in Bluestockings bookstore. Christ, you need a chargecard at Seers these days to buy into the revolution.

    I'll have to settle for a re-read of Paddy Shannon's excellent article, Class War No More?, from the October 1997 Socialist Standard.

    April Socialist Standard - 'A Meeting of Minds?'

    Editorial

  • It's Election Time Again
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' Swindle
  • Cooking the Books #1 Market Failure
  • Cooking the Books #2 A Stroke of the Pen
  • Greasy Pole The fall of the House of Lords
  • 50 Years Ago 400 pounds for a slave
  • Main Articles

  • The Shadow of the Bigot Capitalist normality could have come to Northern Ireland forty years ago, but religion and politics combined to put the clock back.
  • Same Old Story Following the takeover of their employer, Port Talbot steelworkers face an unsure future but the shareholders are happy.
  • Bogdanov, Technocracy and Socialism Alexander Bogdanov was a non-Leninist Bolshevik who also wrote science-fiction.
  • Paying For Air - Why Not? We examine a “Thought Paper” by a junior economist at the Centre for Research,Analysis and Policy.
  • History As Propaganda There’s probably more history published today than ever before. As with every genre sold as a commodity most of it is of little value.
  • Sound bites and Soldiers
  • Letters, Reviews & Meetings

  • Letters to the Editors "Class War'; 'Capitalism'; 'War' & 'The Death Penalty'
  • Book Review The Rebel Sell: How the Counterculture Became Consumer Culture by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter
  • Meetings Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Manchester & East Anglia.
  • Voice From The Back

  • Horror Story (1); Free People?; Horror Story (2); A Whale of a Time; A Sprat of a Time
  • I Like Monday Morning Updates

  • Rejoice, rejoice, part two of the 'A to Z of Marxism' - F thru' K - is now online.
  • Further to this post on anarcho-footballism, stumbled across this article on Znet about Argentina's soccer passion. Interesting stuff, but I think the author commits a bit of a howler when she writes: "Until the 60's South America’s soccer teams remained inferior to Western European teams." Erm, 1930 . . . 1950 . . . 1958.
  • John Counago beat me to the publish button last month when he blogged about what a brilliant bloke Niall Quinn is, but Quinny is giving me a second chance with this story from the online Guardian. Ross Wallace, Liam Miller and Roy Keane? Celtic Sunderland for the championship.