Friday, August 31, 2007

Send in the Clowns

I can't believe I didn't spot this before:

  • Clowns KKKick KKK ass!
  • Ten Years Ago Today, Mass Hysteria Gripped Britain

    Christ, glad I'm not in Britain today. I don't think I could handle the barrage of media garbage marking the tenth anniversary of Diana's death.

    I think the late Heather Ball hit the nail on the head in the pages of the Socialist Standard back in 1997 on this matter.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    A Nine Goal Thriller*

    It had me on the edge of the computer chair seat but thankfully Celtic are still on course for the quadruple after beating Spartak Moscow 4-3 on penalties tonight. (1-1 after extra time.)

    A goal from McDonald, a missed pen from V of H plus a yellow card and a penalty kick goal from Riordan adds up to a good night for the neutrals but a stressful night for the older Celtic fans in tonight's crowd.

    The ISI's hidden celebrity crowd-cam caught this bloke full of the joys of youth just prior to the start of the game, only to catch him again two and half hours later. Christ, going by appearances, the effect of a closely fought game must have been hellish for the poor guy. Looks like he's aged 30 years in the intervening period between the pictures being taken.

    According to our sources, the form he was about to sign in the latter picture had the official wording of: "In the event of my death, I don't want my organs to go to Barry Craig Ferguson".

    *How the former Notts Forest manager, Ron Atkinson, described the 1999 EPL game between Forest and Man United. United won 8-1.

    Touchline Tactician

    Strachan ponders the possibility of stowing Jiri Jarosik in the Spartak Moscow luggage for the trip back to Mother Russia.

    An Injury To One Is An Injury To All (II)

    From Daniel Gross of the Starbucks Union Campaign:

    Please forward widely and immediately:

    Dear Sisters and Brothers,

    Christina Rosevear, a Starbucks Barista and IWW member is in extreme distress and needs your help. Although she is over 8 months pregnant, Christina is being forced back to work on Monday, September 3rd. If she does not return, she will lose her job and her health benefits. Starbucks will not extend Christina's pregnancy leave and she is due in just weeks.

    For the sake of Christina and her family please do two things:

    1) Participate in the e-mail action to Starbucks at

    2) Call "Partner" Resources Manager Jenelyn Marinas at 415-241-0256 x 2228 and demand Christina not be fired

    Thank you in advance for your immediate solidarity in this matter. Please also consider making a donation to the campaign so we can continue to have a voice for Christina and others like her. Contribute online now at:

    Again, please sign the petition, repost and/or forward on.

    An Injury To One Is An Injury To All (I)

    From Eric Lee at LabourStart:

    This week's message is going to be very brief and to the point.

    Workers employed in care homes in north London (UK) have been told by their employer -- a private company called Fremantle -- that their wages are being cut by 30%, their hours are being increased, their sick pay will be a thing of the past, and their pensions are being reduced.

    Their union, Unison, is calling for an international campaign of support for those workers.

    I actually live in north London, so this campaign is taking place in my own neighborhood.

    If you live in the UK, you should be concerned that privatized care homes are treating their workers this way. If you live anywhere in the world and work in the public sector, you should be concerned because this could happen to you next.

    It will take you only a few seconds to fill in your name and email address and to send a strong message to the chief executive of Fremantle. If we all take the time to do this, we can flood her inbox today with thousands of messages from all over the world -- and we can turn this around.

    I know that I can count on you.

    Please visit our campaign page now. And please do pass this message on. Thanks.

    Eric Lee

    Please sign the petition, repost and/or forward on.

    Two Tales from Two Internationals

    A couple of links to freshen up the page:

  • A recent post from the SPGB blog, Socialism Or Your Money Back, The Second International and War: a correction, takes issue with an article on the 1907 Congress of the Second International, which appeared in last week's Socialist Worker.
  • With his post, IMG Remembered, Ken MacLeod takes a trip down memory lane to his old alma mater, the 4th International (USEC Franchise), for a few political reminiscences and a few gentle and not so gentle digs. Especially liked this wee passage from the piece:
    "In the 1970s I was a member of the International Marxist Group. It was the largest British Trotskyist group not led by one of the grand old men of British Trotskyism. This was less of an advantage than might be supposed. Lacking a grand old man the IMG settled for a squabbling coalition of alpha males (and females). The resulting frenzy of competitive nit-picking has often stood the group's ex-members in good stead in their later careers. It also helps to explain why the intelligence of so many of the group's individual members seldom showed itself in the group's political line, which lurched hither and yon as the squabbling alphas wrested the joystick from each other. Opening the weekly bundle of the group's newspaper was always a thrill. One week there was a supplement on surrealism; the next, the editorial office had been briefly occupied by feminists and an apology inserted for the sexism of the surrealists. People familiar with the IMG only from its press, or hearing of its political interventions, could be forgiven for thinking that its members were half-wits. Who can forget the argument of the IMG's Women's Liberation Commission that the demand of South African mineworkers for a family life was reactionary?"
  • No Logo

    What the hell? What's with using the same colours as the latest Glasgow R*ngers away kit? I bet they claim as their defence it was Wycombe Wanderers inspired.

    It's unofficial at this point - isn't everything these days in the SPGB? The Stirnerite movement in Britain probably blanch at us for being too loose and libertarian - but if it can finally lay to rest the ghost of 'The Two Extras from the X-Files WSM logo, then all I can say is: where can I get the t-shirt? And, does it come in my size?

    Help Free The Carlisle 2

    Please feel free to repost or forward the message below:

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (9)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the ninth of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 678 friends!

    Recent blogs:
    (1) Death of a child
    (2) Maximilien Rubel: Anti-Bolshevik Marxist
    (3) Beggar's belief

    This week's top quote:
    "That which comes directly face to face with the possessor of money on the market, is in fact not labour, but the labourer. What the latter sells is his labour-power. As soon as his labour actually begins, it has already ceased to belong to him; it can therefore no longer be sold by him. Labour is the substance, and the immanent measure of value, but has itself no value. ... That in their appearance things often represent themselves in inverted form is pretty well known in every science except Political Economy."

    Marx, Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 19.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!
    Robert and Piers
    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Sentimental Socialist

    You know when you hear a song for the first time, and you instantly recognise that you are going to love that song for the rest of your life; none of that, three months down the line What the hell was I thinking? cascade of regrets (yes, Maximo Park, that barb is directed at you), but a song that you have to play again and again, and when you do stop listening to it, it's less a case of you edging yourself away from the tune in your head, stereo, iPod and Computer, and more a matter of life getting in the way.

    That's how I'm feeling about the song '1985' right now. It was the opening track off of the Manic Street Preachers 2004 album, 'Lifeblood'. Christ, how did it take me three years to stumble across this song? I guess that must have been during my Delgados period - not period I regret, I hasten to add, btw - but the joy of stumbling across a track you absolutely adore is tinged with the bitter-sweet feeling that you missed out on the track first time round.

    Kara is already sick of the song but, to borrow one of her own lines, I'm "Psyched. 17-year old style."

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    When this sort of thing happens, you don't call out for Richard or the Dude*

    *This post was originally going to be entitled: Brilliant, google alert's letting me know that there's a new message on spopen. Must rush to see what it says.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    I Can't See The Street For The Trees

    What is it about Kensington and natural disasters?

    First, this bundle of energy hit our local Post Office a few months back and now, this morning, a tornado hit our street about 6.30am. Pics are available here and here via the Kensington (Brooklyn) blog. The Pizzeria across the road from our apartment block lost its awning and we did what we could to help our retail neighbours in the circumstances: we ordered a Pizza Pie out of solidarity.

    Memo to self in future: however much you want a morning cuppa - Tetley British Blend - don't go out at 5.30 in the morning to get a carton of skimmed milk from the local 24/7 Fruit and Veg store when there is thunder and lightning in the sky . . . New York 1's Pat Kiernan's is predicting a tornado in your area . . . and you were just looking at John White's wiki page a few days before.

    The Genial Thug

    Quote of the day:

    “Blair’s great skill was personal charisma - what used to be called bullshit. Merde de beouf. Whereas with Brown, there’s been nothing of that whatsoever. He’s got a very good brain - better than Blair’s - and a very good sense of direction, which I think Blair didn’t really have. Blair, in the end, was rather like Wilson: bullshit and nothing else, whereas Brown has a very solid understanding of what he’s up to.” [Denis Healey interviewed in last Saturday's Guardian.]

    Hat tip to Neil at the Drink Sots.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Hibs Stars in the Eyes

    Before I forget, what it is about the recent celebrity endorsement of the silky football at Easter Road these days?

    First, the manics James Dean Bradfield is spotted at the Hibs/Bolton pre-season friendly (scroll right - the bloke in the shades, carrying his situationist texts in a green carrier bag), and now, from last night's game at Tynecastle, Hunter S. Thompson and Zoe Ball are spotted asking River City's Tam Dean Burn if he has a copy of issue 10 of The Leninist from his CPGB-PCC days.

    Ken Stott and Ronnie Corbett were unavailable for comment.

    "A satin sash and velvet elevation"

    Don't be fooled by the green and white scarves and the happy smiling faces. It's not a picture of exultant Celtic fans after winning a corner against the Killies on Saturday, but the Scottish Patient and his fellow sufferers rightly celebrating the turning over of the Jambos at Tynecastle last night.

    I'm developing a real soft spot for Hibs at the moment for some reason. Any club that loses year on year players of the calibre of Brown, Murray, Killen, Riordan, Whittaker, O'Connor, Thomson, Sproule and Caldwell, and yet still come out the following season with a team playing some of the best football in the league deserves a break and a half.

    In the case of Riordan, I can't express enough how pissed off I will be if he has another season at Celtic kicking his heels on the bench whilst running his hands through that ridiculous haircut of his. The bloke is a class act on the pitch, and the latest noises from the Daily Record rumour mill that he will be shipping out to Sheffield Wednesday in the near future has me pissed off in a way that Maloney, Petrov and Beattie heading to the Midlands never did. And Strachan and his fans wonders why he's never been fully embraced by the fans?