April 2008 Socialist Standard
Letters, Book Reviews, Theatre Reviews & Meetings
Voice From The Back
April 2008 Socialist Standard
Letters, Book Reviews, Theatre Reviews & Meetings
Voice From The Back
Did anybody ever work who Timid Maximalist was? I had my suspicions . . . . but I believe they were found to be false.
Just asking like because I do still gets referrals to the blog via the ever so quiet TM. The link to the now defunct Charlotte Street should have been the giveaway. Who do I know who likes Lloyd Cole and the Commotions?
Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (44)
Welcome to the 44th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.
We now have 1240 friends!
This week's top quote:
"The first of May is the symbol of a new era in the life and struggle of the toilers, an era that each year offers the toilers fresh, increasingly tough and decisive battles against the bourgeoisie, for the freedom and independence wrested from them, for their social ideal." Nestor Mahkno, The First of May, 1928.
Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!
Robert and Piers
There's me mulling over the minor matter of the bandwidth limit of my fileden account exceeding past bursting point when, in the real world of grown up politics, Harry's Place has become a victim of its own success.
A week before the Mayoral Elections, and HP can’t run well researched and even handed stories on Livingstone, Galloway and the SWP? Oh, that’s a sore one. Some of its regular posters and commentators must be tearing their hair out. No wonder Wardytron always wears a hat in his pictures.
I suggest that some of the HP regulars put ‘Mikey’ on suicide watch in the meantime. What with him not being in a position to exhibit his ongoing expertise on the politics of the left he’ll be kicking his little green football in frustration.
On second thoughts, leave him be.*
*Yep, a variation on this joke first appeared over at Socialist Unity blog. I'm nothing if not repetitive.
Maybe it's time to drop the wannabe from my 'wannabe music blog' label?
The Fileden bandwidth was 'exceeded' about a week ago - not 100% sure, 'cos I never really keep track of these things - and the doors won't be open again until sometime next week. I'm kind of surprised because I'm pretty light on posting mp3s for sampling purposes,and 5GB seems a lot to be downloaded in the space of a few weeks when you're not even known as a music blog.
Coupled with that, I never did get in the door of the Hype Machine party, which would have guaranteed as a a given the bandwidth going through the roof. (Apparently you have turn up at the party with 75% of your posts being music related. I misunderstood the invitation, and thought it read 'monomania' rather than monomusic. It's an easy mistake to make in the circumstances.)
What next? Shifting focus to posting more mp3s or to draw back the musical drawbridge? It's a pain in the arse 'cos I did have some mixing pop and politics posts in the pipeline but I'm currently hampered with the bandwidth limitations.
What would X Moore have done?
Going by the front cover of next month's Socialist Standard, it looks like it's going to be a cracker. But I would say that, wouldn't I? Shit, sorry, that line is more '63 than '68. (Ask your Gran what I'm alluding to.)
Believe or not, from what I can gather from comrades of a certain vintage, the SPGB wasn't as buttoned down in the late sixties as you might have first presumed. SPGB members were getting articles published in the underground magazine, OZ, some did the 'teach in' bit, and it was even rumoured that a member in the provinces knew all the words to Strawberry Alarm Clock's 'Incense and Peppermints'.
Of course, they didn't always get it right. Reproduced below is a few SPGB slogans, chants and situationst type graffiti scribblings from the late sixties that sadly didn't catch on. Maybe in 2068?
'What do we want? Everything? When do we want it? When everyone musters under the Party's banner.' 'Get out of your head and into your branch meeting.' 'If you're going to San FranciscoClapham High Street, be sure to bring back some bound volumes for the branch.' 'The personal is political . . . and I'm laying an action detrimental on your arse.' 'Power to the parliamentary majority.' 'Under the pavement lies a bevvied up Glasgow Branch member.' 'Be realistic, demand only six Socialist Standards to sell next month.' 'Run, comrade, the branch treasurer is behind you!' 'Those who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring to that Conference Resolution from 1907 have to submit an item for discussion for the next Autumn Delegate Meeting.' To talk with the taste of a corpse in one's mouth means that we really should change pubs for future branch meetings.' 'Turn on, tune in, fall asleep during an EC meeting.' 'You can no longer sleep quietly once the delegate from South London branch gets onto the subject of the aristocracy of labour.' 'I've looked under chairs. I've looked under tables. I tried to find the key to the literature room. They call me The Seeker. I've been searching low and high. I won't get to get what I'm after until the Head Office Organiser gets back from the Manor Arms.' 'Before writing, learn to think. Before thinking, do you want to write next month's Socialist Standard editorial?' 'Are you a consumer or a participant? Do you want to buy the Socialist Standard or sell it?' Comrades, 5 hours of sleep a day is indispensable: we need longer EC meetings.' 'We don’t want to be the watchdogs or servants of capitalism, but please do sign me up for the Standing Orders Committee.' 'Form dream committees. Let's try again to come up with a Party logo.' 'When the last sociologist has been hung with the guts of the last bureaucrat, the Central Organiser will have to wind up Lancaster Branch.' 'Politics is in the streets. Let's head back to Head Office for a cup of tea and a natter.' Where have all the good jokes gone?' 'Take revolution seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously.'
Oh wait up, the last one was a genuine piece of graffiti from Paris in '68. Pseudo-revolutionary middle class bollocks.
Nicking this meme from AVPS despite the fact that the 'Reformist Raver from the Potteries' - Phil, you have my permission to use that as your byline on your blog - neglected to tag me.
Bolsheviks from Burslem: what are they like?"A very simple meme this one. Ideal for when you have no time for blogging but still want to show the world you haven't lapsed into hibernation."
*cough* Skip that bit.
1) What was the last 1980s song you heard?
'Burning Bridges' - Blue Peter. Get past the naff name - what were they thinking? - and check out Blue Peter. Excellent early 80s new wave synth pop from our Canadian cousins.
2) What was the last thing you saw on Youtube?
Howard Zinn on the Ludlow Massacre The more you find out about the Ludlow Massacre the angrier you get. It'll be the hundredth anniversary of the Massacre in 2013, and we should be taking steps NOW to ensure that the brutal injustice of this massacre is marked and properly remembered.
3) What was the last entry on Wikipedia you viewed?
4) What was the last computer/video game you completed all the way through?
No idea. Space Invaders or PacMan? I'm more of a Ski-Ball kind of guy.
5) What did you last pig out on?
Saturday afternoon at Applebee's on Fulton Street. Desperate Dan himself would have struggled with their Cowboy Burger.
6) What is the last undeleted text message on your mobile phone?
"Excellent! Did you get my other text btw?" I wish Natalie Portman would stop harassing me. If she's that desperate to read the latest issue of the World Socialist Review, she should borrow the copy I sold to her ex outside Target on Atlantic Avenue last Tuesday.
7) When did you last have a conversation with someone other than a family member?
Yesterday. Spotted a bloke outside our local Fruit and Veg shop wearing a Tottenham jersey. Felt compelled to tell him that Celtic had beaten R*ngers earlier on that day. We both agreed that Fiorentina would spank R*ngers collective arses this coming Thursday.
8) Aside from where you live, what is the last village/town/city you visited?
Somewhere in Westchester County. It obviously left a strong impression on me.
9) What was the last competition you won?
ESPN acquired the television rights of my 6-2 victory against Kara at Air Hockey, and I believe that they will be showing highlights this coming Labor Day.
10) What are the last three blogs you visited?
Mmm, to tag or not to tag?
Phuk it, I'm tagging anyway.
I can see where Barry Glendenning is coming from:
"I don't buy this stuff about players being tired. When I was a kid I used to play football from after breakfast in the morning until it got dark at night every day during the school holidays, taking occasional breaks only to eat, or play tennis and/or golf. What's more, the standard of football we were playing was a lot higher than that of most SPL games." [From his minute-by-minute report of Celtic's victory against R*ngers in today's Guardian.]
It's an old joke and it's fitting that he got it out of the mothballs for this special occasion.
Tennis, golf and breakfast. I think Mr Glendenning was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Still too dazed, heady and in a dreamlike state to cough up a few comments about the game - now would be the perfect time for me to try and get my head around dialectical materialism - but I thought I would post a link to the Guardian's minute-by-minute report as part of my ongoing blog project of constructing a shrine to my once fading memory. No I don't know what that means either, and I just transferred the words from my head to the keyboard to the screen.
Still too emotionally spent from this morning's game to spout and spiel, so some blog post links in the meantime:
From Marx and Coca-Cola blog: Atheists in Foxholes From the SPGB's election blog, Vaux Populi: The SPGB meets its natural constituency (and Lindsay German) at hustings in Southwark Gutted that Mike Leigh's 'Happy-Go-Lucky' isn't being released in the States until the end of September. So, in the meantime, I'll just have to catch up on the reviews from the other side.
Dreaming Neon Black blog carries a review which makes it sound like the cinematic equivalent of Style Council's 'Headstart For Happiness'. I love 'Headstart For Happiness' (both versions), whereas I'm guessing that Adam from DNB won't be selecting either version for his future appearance on Desert Island Discs.
From Ian Bone's blog (and his back cupboard/archive), THE POINTY HEADS…………; a celebrity anarchist death match between the Aufheben MPhils in the red corner and the Class War Wallahs from Bash Street Community College in the black corner
Nope, I don't understand the article either but I'm hoping to draft in the FDTW mob to cut it up into digestable morsels for me.
I briefly mentioned JM's Marx and Coca-Cola blog above but that's only because I knew that I'd be linking to another one of his posts later on. I better promote his blog into the 'Friends and (Political) Family' sidebar before I get accused of being his East Coast stalker.
'Randbots' is short hand for Libertarian Party members in the United States and, apparently, some of them have been known to say the darndest things. To misquote David Bowie, Scary fucking monsters (and super bastard creeps).
From Terry Sanderson 'Comment is Free post', 'Who would Jesus vote for?', in Saturday's Guardian:
"He [Boris Johnson] was at least honest about his lack of adherence, when he said: "I suppose my own faith is a bit like trying to get Virgin Radio when you're driving through the Chilterns; it sort of comes and goes."
Come on. Admit it! That's funny.
Still wouldn't piss on the bloke if he was on fire, but he's got a nice line in humour.
I'm a day late in
flagging mentioning Highlander's canny The Late St. George's Day post but that's OK as he posted his personal response to St George's Day a date late himself.
And of course, my reason for plugging it on the blog is because, in many ways, H's experiences mirrored my own.
He was born in England but educated in Scotland, whereas I was born in Scotland but was educated in England. Both of us romanticising the country of our births when growing up and both of us falling victim to 'ninety minute nationalism' (I'm still weak in that regard), but both finally reaching the same conclusion of being ". . . of a class and that class is not an 'English' class, a 'British' class or even a European one - it is global, its aims are global and my feeling for it is global."
Elegantly put by H himself and, yep, you've got me bangs to rights on it being far more dreamy, romantic and ultimately hopeless than any flag of St Andrew or St George that has been made in China.
Flag day is on May 1st, companeros.
I think I've seen excerpts of the letters before - maybe from Johnny Rogan's 'Severed Alliance'? - but this month's Uncut music magazine captures the letters in all their glory.
Read on as a 'Steve' cribs from my school of music journalism when penning a lust letter about the 1974 Sparks album, Kimono My House: 'Here are my favourite tracks in descending order. Don't you dare contradict me'.
Fast forward to 'Steven' doing the original 'I heard of this band before you lot. Suck it up as you cling for dear life on the back of my superior musical knowledge' type music blog post as he coughs up a love you more type letter about the Buzzcocks.
And don't forget the 'guilty pleasure' type music blog post as he mentions having to put his Carly Simon, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Phil Ochs albums on a "smouldering . . . low light" since discovering Johnny Thunder and the Heartbreakers. (Guilty pleasure music blog posts always make me do a double take 'cos I'm like, 'What do you mean you're not supposed to admit in mixed company that you think that S Club 7 rocks?')
Saying that, guilty pleasure or not, I never would have pegged Mozzer for a Phil Ochs fan. Not Moz in any of his musical or personal permutations: Not going by the name of 'Steve', 'Steven' or 'Steven Patrick'.
But I'll take that on board when I listen to Phil Ochs's wonderful 'Love Me I'm A Liberal' in the future. I'll think of Moz and his number one fan in the political blogosphere, Harry Place's David T.
The Fair is in its fifth year and it will be the third time that we have tabled at the event. There'll be lots of stalls, lots of meetings and lots of performers.
If you're in the neighbourhood, you should pop along, check it out and say hello.
Following on from previous mentions on the blog about the ongoing dispute between Wild Edibles and its current or ex-employees who have sought to assert their right to join a union, collectively bargain and seek payment of unpaid overtime comes the news that the dispute has been covered on the well known New York foodie blog, Eater.com.
In an article entitled 'Labor Woes: The Ongoing Saga of Wild Edibles', Adam Haas reports on yesterday's scenes at Wild Edibles Seafood Market Oyster Bar & Restaurant in Murray Hill, Manhattan, where "Protesters both for and against the company rallied . . . . to voice their concerns with the help of some colorful visual aids."
The blog piece even has pictures of the demo and counter-demo, but none of the pics on view were as colourful as this quote in the piece from a Matt Hovey, "If the workers want to join a union, it can be put to an up-down vote, but the Brandworkers' real agenda is simply to put Wild Edibles out of business and to end capitalism." [Emphasis in the original.]
The Zagat Survey says that that quotation earns a 15 for its economy with the truth; a 26 for service to the managements cause; and a 24 for its right-wing decor. On the whole, let's hope for an incredibly expensive experience for the bosses at Wild Edibles.
More info on this campaign and other campaigns at Brandworkers International.
Listening to some music on random at the minute on iTunes, and a tune kicks in.
Mmm, pleasant enough. Good cascading tune, with attendant swirling organ and with that forlorn late seventies vocal and lyric that is half Jilted John, half Joe Jackson, but it's neither.
Wait up. That sounds a bit like Hugh Cornwell. Vocals not as full frontal as usual and it's definitely not The Stranglers circa 'Rattus Norvegicus' or 'No More Heroes' but maybe dates from their lost period before the heroin bust and 'Golden Brown' getting played on permanent loop on Radio 2 when Jimmy Young was still top dog in that particular timewarp.
Quick shufty at iTunes: From the Indie Scene compilation album . . . looking good . . . I've got an ear for these things . . . 'People Say' . . . by THE GO-BETWEENS!!. Are you sure? The Stranglers and The Go-Betweens in the same space in my head. Weird yin. Would never associate the two.
Aah, the Jam's 'Running On The Spot' has followed in after Grant or Robert - can't tell which - has sung his final forlorn line on 'People Say'.
The Jam are from a simpler time and place. No such confusion with Weller and the other two. As soon as that rickenbacker kicks in, you know you can only be in one place.
A nugget of working class history from the archive of The Western Socialist, the old paper of the World Socialist Party of the United States, that has recently been posted on the WSPUS website.
The Ludlow Massacre of 1914 was one of the most notorious episodes of murderous class war in the history of the American Labor Movement. Forty-five men, women and children murdered by the Colorado National Guard in the midst of a Colorado Coal Strike.
Some readers of the piece might know of the "Infamous Baldwin-Felts thugs" mentioned in the piece via John Sayles's classic 1980s labour movement film, Matewan.
And of course, most people know of John D. Rockefeller Jr. - the Rockefeller Family name, the Rockefeller Center, and all that jazz - and some people nowadays are prone to get sentimental about the 'old money' of yesteryear and contrast their seeming noblesse oblige with today's rapacious parasites but please bear in mind that they bought their 'blue blood' via the red blood of workers like those murdered at Ludlow.
The author of the piece, the late Sam Orner, was a IWW soap-boxer in his youth before joining the Workers/World Socialist Party of the United States - the companion party of the SPGB - sometime in the early 1920s. (That's a guess on my part, btw. It could have been as early as 1919 . . . as late as 1923.)
He was by all accounts a fascinating and robust character and you definitely get a flavour of that from his reminiscences of that period in the piece. He has his own footnote in American working class history for his role in 1934 Taxi Cab Drivers Strike (Scroll down for the sub-section entitled 'New York City' for further details.)
I know an older Scottish comrade from the SPGB who, from his frequent trips to the States these past 40 years, got to know Sam Orner when the latter was in his 60s and 70s and, by all accounts, Sam was the same combative and fiery straight talking revolutionary socialist right up till the very end of his life. The sort of old school comrade who could walk into a empty room, and come out the other side with a split, a faction fight and a paper sale of 27 copies of the 'Western Socialist'.
PS - I've posted the MySpace Socialist Standard page link to the article rather than the original piece from the WSPUS website because I've tagged on some 'further links' at the bottom of the piece, but please visit the article at the original source and check out the website in the greater depth. There's further nuggets to be unearthed, and why shouldn't you discover them before I do?
A book meme - I guess - that I shamelessly nicked from Normski over at Normblog. It "involves going through the alphabet and picking, for each letter, a novelist and one of his or her novels that you've read."
It's a personal bugbear of mine that I'm not reading as much as I once did. No excuses at my end. Just the realisation that I can feel the brain cells bailing out of my left ear each and every day I get further and further away from picking a book off a bookshelf . . . any book . . . any bookshelf.
Allen, Walter All in a lifetime Barker, Pat - The Eye in the Door Carr, JL - A Month in the Country Dostoevsky, Fyodor - Notes from Underground Ellroy, James - Brown's Requiem Friel, George - Mr Alfred M.A. Greene, Graham - Brighton Rock Hamilton, Patrick - The Slaves of Solitude Irving, John - The World According to Garp Jones, Lewis - Cwmardy Kundera, Milan - The Joke Legge, Gordon - I Love Me (Who Do You Love?) Mina, Denise - Garnethill Nasrin, Taslima - Shame Orwell, George - A Clergyman's Daughter Piercy, Marge - Vida Q - pass Rankin, Ian - Black and Blue Serge, Victor - The Case of Comrade Tulayev Tressell, Robert - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists Upward, Edward - The Rotten Elements Vonnegut, Kurt - Slaughterhouse-Five Williams, Nigel - Star Turn X - pass Yourcenar, Marguerite - A Coin in Nine Hands Zamyatin, Yevgeny - We
A bit of an obvious list, though some of the usual suspects are temporarily missing. I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading all the books listed, though Edward Upward's novel was probably a bit of a struggle at the time.
Not so much for the novel itself, but for its painful honesty. To be in the same Party branch as Alan Sebrill (Edward Upward's fictionalised self) would have been my idea of hell.
With regards to the gaps in my alphabet, I get not reading an author with the surname beginning with X, but Q? I'll have to look out in future for an author to fill that particular gap. A David Quantick novella will suffice.
Do people still tag people when doing these memes, or was it finally rumbled years ago that memes are just a ruse to compel people who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead looking at your blog to have to give you the blogging time of day? I think I'll have to test that hypothesis out.
Take your time comrades . . . I'm just finishing the start of this book in my hand.
Welsh socialist with an Irish background brings a story of love and London Pride for National Warm Beer Drinking Day.
Pass me a tissue from the William Shakespeare tissue dispenser. It's a heart warming tale.
Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (43)
Welcome to the 43rd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.
We now have 1238 friends!
Reply to the BNP Who Cares? (U.S. elections and the treatment of armed services personnel) Home Is Where The Heart Attack Is...
This week's top quote:
"Patriotism . . . for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. . . . Patriotism is slavery." Leo Tolstoy, Christianity and Patriotism, 1894.
Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!
Robert and Piers
Pic courtesy of Popbitch.
Socialist Party Public Meeting“If you prick me...”: a survey on racism Speaker: Bill Martin
Friday 25 April. 7.30pmThe Lucas Arms, (first floor) 245A Grays Inn Road, London WC1 (nearest tube: King’s Cross St.Pancras)
Note to self: Need more posts relating to politics. Links, notices of meetings, YouTube clips, cut and paste, politicians kissing babies, etc etc. Doesn't matter. Get it sorted. Where's Rob and Piers MySpace bulletins when you need them? Have I got a random pic - and meaningless post title - in place for when Bulletin 43 drops in my inbox?
Further note to self: ask Kara if I should be using colons or semi-colons.
Via the New York Celtic Supporters Club FAQs:
Is there any place to avoid in New York City ?
New York is one of the safest places around these days and anyone exhibiting common sense should not run into any problems. The lack of a Glasgow Rangers presence makes for a pretty pleasant environment. However visitng Celtic Fans should note that the New York Rangers Hockey franchise despite being uniformed in sickly shades of red white and blue do not represent North American relatives of our cloven hooved friends.
Or as one Urban 75er puts it:
"as my friend dara once said to me "our bigotry's so much more romantic than yours".
Hat tip to Kara for the original quote.
If I ever come to resemble the person described in the blockquote below, you have my permission to stab me repeatedly with a sharpened drumstick.
Your final score was 141/180
Mix-Tape Master (109-144 points)
You are a music evangelist: the person in your network of friends who always has the coolest new song, the one whose iPod gets picked to DJ every party. You understand the art of the segue, how the key to the best mix-tape isn't just the songs you pick, but how they interlock with each other. You also know who the up-and-coming acts are and are quick to recognise where their influences lie and whether they will make it big. You work hard at the pursuit of this knowledge, scouring music blogs, magazines and record stores. Most importantly, you are generous with your passion – and your friends should be very, very grateful. Still, it’s always good to get new inspiration for your latest mix.
Hat tip to Lisa at Rullsenberg Rules.
Via the Guardian Footie's You Tube round up, the best goals that never were:
That overhead screamer from Keegan when he was at the Dell. A not so majestic overhead kick from Robbie Fowler Six memorable non-goals from World Cups past. How come no one ever put a contract out on Clive Thomas? Bryan Hamilton had more reason than most
Hat tip to 'paulhs' for the clips.
Still can't find Charlie Nicholas wonder goal for Scotland against Switzerland on YouTube. Probably never will. However, this goal from Dario Rodriguez for Uruguay against Denmark will always be easy on the eye. It's as much for his mate's keepie uppie to set him up as it is for Rodriguez's wonder strike. It's up there with Negrete's goal against Bulgaria at the '86 World Cup in Mexico.
There's no higher praise on this blog.
Funny video via the The Campaign for Little Britain in the Big Apple website, who are seeking to turn a wee bit of Greenwich Village into a 'Little Britain', in the hope that it will sit alongside such existing (commercial) areas as Little Italy, Koreatown, Chinatown and Micro-Belgium in the heart of Manhattan.
One of the main backers behind the campaign are the people who run the Tea and Sympathy restaurant in Greenwich Village. Kara swears by the place, but the one time I was there I was half expecting Compo, Clegg and Norman St John-Stevas to walk through the door. It's that sort of place.
I say 'seeking' to establish a Little Britain but I think the idea of a 'Little Britain' might have already got the kibosh from the NYC authorities. The video is from over a year ago, and I've not heard anything else about the campaign since that time.
That's a bit of shame 'cos at a time when so many people back in Britain are trading in their union jack boxer shorts for flag of st george's pillow cases it would have been kind of sweet to have a Kitsch Britannia in the heart of the Big Apple.
People used to say if you wanted to experience what Britain was like thirty years ago, all you had to do was visit New Zealand. With this in place, you could now hang out with the Conchords in Manhattan experiencing old-tyme-albion before it finally relegates itself to the digital radio of Radio 7 back in Blighty. Red, white and blue bunting; chipped crockery with a youngish Elizabeth looking
back at past you; the Sex Pistols not making it to number one with 'God Save The Queen'; and the old days when Space Dust was something that you put on the back of your tongue rather than up your nose.
Glen Matlock could conduct walking tours of Little Britain which would take in Tea and Sympathy, Myers of Keswick and the Bar and Telephone Grill on Second Avenue before ending up at the St Marks Bookshop where we would all fight over who would get to purchase the last copy of 'Rev-Specs' on the shelf. Sounds like a good night. Sounds like my typical Saturday night.
"We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry . . . . And talk about precious things."
Hat tip to an Urban 75er for the YouTube clip.
Bear with me. Currently listening to 'Super Popoid Groove' on the tinny earphones that cost me $2:17 from the local 99 cents store. (That can't be right.)
A daft and joyous slab of bubblegum pop off of Win's 1987 album, 'Uh! Tears Baby (A Trash Icon)', that in a just world should have sold 247,317 copies. Sold diddly squat but if New Labour was at all interested in preventative healthcare in the 21st century, it would be piping the tune over tannoys in town centres across the country. Cheaper than putting prozac in the water supply.
Where was I? Wait up . . . 'Shampoo Tears' has kicked in. Godlike. The Sound of Aging Scotland can take a running jump. Win were better than the Fire Engines. Somebody slip a mixtape in Quentin Tarantino's breast pocket so that Spam Valley can catch onto Win twenty years too late.
Half-watched the footie on the telly today. Had to. The other eye was on the Celtic match on the BBC website. Of course, they had to try and balls it up against Aberdeen.
Poor old Reidski: Millwall getting turned over by Leeds Utd on the same day that Celtic forget to read his script. They eventually nicked it with a Samaras goal but it doesn't bode well for next Sunday's game against the unmentionables. But I'm contractually obliged to type that.
In fact, Celtic will win 4-1 with Barry Ferguson scoring a brace of own goals. The shame will be so great that he will be banished to his home town club of Hamilton for next season's SPL, and they will be relegated quicker than it takes me to come up with a witty line that includes the words Barry Ferguson and Academical in the same sentence.
Of course it was the Man Utd versus Blackburn Rovers game that caught my eye - though Antoine Sibierski nearly had my eye out with that miscued shot of his after he came on as a sub in the earlier Wigan/Tottenham game.
Couple of observations about the Man Utd/Blackburn game:
I came late to this, so apologies for not noticing until now this grim but excellent graphic from the Human Rights Watch website.
Hat tip to the Drunk Sots.
Via Will Makem:
"that olympics animated gif -- we use that to link to the HRW site but it isn't their logo/design. I made it using the images supplied here
first used in this post here
Damn, where on the desktop did I leave that jpeg of the crying boy?
Just three shy of a thousand page views for the day. So close and yet so far away from greatness. I'll never come that close again.
I guess this is how Al Gore feels everyday of his life.
I hate bullying. I'm never a great fan of uneven contests, and 50,000 against 1 does strike me as it a tad unbalanced but, lets be honest, Martin Jacques was asking for it when he suggested - amongst other daft stuff - that Ian Wright was a victim of racism from the BBC.
Read the comments to Jacques risible piece as, one by one, the Guardian's readership lines up to shout 'bollocks, you're spouting shite' at increasingly loud volume.
And, Mr Jacques, there's a reason Garth Crooks is ". . . rarely given frontline exposure" as a football pundit on TV. The bloke's patter is mince.
Union refuses to touch Zim arms
Durban - Opposition to a shipment of arms being offloaded in Durban and transported to Zimbabwe increased on Thursday when South Africa's biggest transport workers' union announced that its members would not unload the ship.
SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) general secretary Randall Howard said: "Satawu does not agree with the position of the South African government not to intervene with this shipment of weapons. "Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck-driving sector move this cargo by road."
He said the ship, the An Yue Jiang, should not dock in Durban and should return to China.
"South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation between the Zanu-PF and the MDC."
"The view of our members is that nobody should ask us to unload these weapons," he said. [READ MORE]
Hat tip to Jim D over at Shiraz Socialist.
Quick reprise of the life ambitions list. Not so much a mid-life crisis, as a mid-morning tea break:
Learn to drive. Only so it can afford me the opportunity to lean out of a car window and shout 'FUCK YOU, YOU HUMP' at the top of my voice. Then, and only then, will I be able to say that I'm a proper New Yorker. Sarah Silverman throws herself at me. Still not happening. Maybe if she lifted the restraining order on me, that might help. For someone other than myself to laugh at my Aufheben/Mike Leigh joke before I die. It doesn't help that the bastards have yet to release 'High Hopes' on DVD in the States. You can get a copy of 'Career Girls' in the States but you can't get hold of one of Mike Leigh's best ever films. You fucking kidding me? Abolition of the Wages System. It might help if St Marks Bookshop stocked the Socialist Standard. I must get back to them on that. If they can stock Direct Action, they can stock the Socialist Standard. Who reads Direct Action in New York? Who reads Direct Action full stop? Stop being so judgemental about anarchists that I meet on my travels. It can't be helped that 9/107/10 of them come across as smug, sanctimonious middle-class wankers. (Yep, I attended the NYC Anarchist Bookfair.) Want to cut off the American anarchist movement at the knees? Cut off funding for PhD programmes. It doesn't do me any favours anyway. I come across as the living personification of the SPGB's hostility clause, and I'll get an ulcer before they get any integrity. Read another novel before the end of the year is out. No, not re-read Ian Rankin, Denise Mina or Gordon Legge, but to actually pick up a book I haven't read before and to get past the first thirty pages. Suggestions please. For the blog to be linked to in a Guardian Sportsblog 'Joy of Six' post. Result. (Look under the sub-heading about Celtic snatching the title from Hearts in 85/86. The link is the mention of the Albert Kidd and Billy Connolly anecdote.) My cheeks are moist; my sitemeter is doing a work out and I'm embarrassed that individuals other than my immediate family, Reidski and someone in Mountain View, California has caught sight of my sawdust prose.
Now, when is Sarah Silverman back in New York again?
Looks like the Celtic versus R*ngers has been pushed back to the Sunday. Brilliant news.
That means that I can have the combined experience of the cold shoulder from the Brooklyn peaceniks on the Saturday when they see the 'S' word plastered all across the stall and then, on the Sunday, the follow up of witnessing the ignominy of R*ngers cadging a jammy result at Parkhead whilst I'm sipping on a lukewarm coffee in a bar in Manhattan.
Throw in a weekender of listening to Leonard Cohen albums alternating with Red House Painters albums, and I'll come up smiling on Monday morning.
I'm the happiest SPGBer in New York. Gad-zooks, I'm the only living SPGBer in New York.
The bastard gods are conspiring against me.
Last night Celtic get a result against the forces of footballing darkness and now I'm succumbing to Reidski's patter about Celtic having a chance of snatching sweet victory from the jaws of rancid defeat. So what's my problem?
Only that Celtic are playing R*ngers again on the 26th when a victory for the Bhoys would really contribute to squeaky bum time for Wally and Ally's smarmy army.
And rather than me nursing a lukewarm coffee at nine in the morning in a 'oirish' bar in Manhattan - whilst watching the game through my fingers - on that day, I'll be getting my arse in gear for doing a stall for the WSPUS at this year's Brooklyn's Peace Fair. Surely there's something in the small print of the Faustian pact I signed with the SPGB/WSM all those years ago about a conflicting situation such as this?
What would Julius Martov* have done in the same circumstances?
* I'm pegging Martov as a Fenerbahçe fan. Makes sense, as they were formed the same year - 1907 - as yet another falling out between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. I bet Lenin was one of those politico wankers who would have argued that footie was a diversionary tactic from revolution. Yes, you know who you are.
Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (42)
Welcome to the 42nd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.
We now have 1230 friends!
Intellectual Property: a further restriction on personal freedom Mary Gray and Eleanor Marx Labour and the unions: back to square one
This week's top quote:
"So long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on; and if that system is to last for ever, then art is doomed, and will surely die; that is to say, civilization will die." [William Morris, Art Under Plutocracy, 1883.]
Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!
Robert and Piers
Breaking story from the World Socialist Party of the United States website:
"The Service Employees Industrial Union (SEIU) has sent in several bus loads of members to disrupt the annual meeting of Labor Notes in Detroit. The Labor Notes conference is one of the most important gatherings of rank and file labor activists in Canada and the US . . . ." [READ MORE]
There is no defence for intimidatory tactics within the union movement. We should be supporting the fullest democracy and participation. It's that simple. It should be the abc of working class self-organisation.
Young Fan who'll never see this again if he supports them for the next another 70 seventy years: "Come on The Doonhamers. WE WANT FIVE."
His mum: "Lachlan. Have you been on the mushies again? Behave yourself."
"We used to have it at the New Yorker Hotel before the Korean and his Jesus children moved in. You see them on the streets peddling flowers, big smiles, cheeks glowing like Hitler Youth. High on the Opiate of the People. Used to be the New Yorker had its dopers, its musicians, its sad sacks and marginal types. We felt at home there." ['The Anarchists' Convention' by John Sayles]
The second annual NYC Anarchist Bookfair is happening this weekend. Should be an interesting event. It's being held in the same venue as last year, and it was jam packed then. I'm guessing that there will be an even bigger turn out this year. I mean, anarchism is still in fashion the last time I looked. Better remember to bring a water bottle and to wear some light clothing 'cos it was bastard roasting in the main hall last year.
Surprising to think that it took NYC this long to have an Anarchist Bookfair, when you think that the daddy of them all, the London Anarchist Bookfair, kickstarted it all off in the early eighties. I'm guessing that there must have been similar type events in the past in the NYC, but even the international anarchist movement isn't immune to such things as franchising and I guess when you've got a successful product like the London Anarchist Bookfair, then you should run with it. And it is a product. The AK Press stall will be raking it in. How else can they print that glossy catalogue every year listing all those books that they don't currently have in stock?
Interesting to note that amongst 'the tablers' will be the Anarchist Federation. Not a moment too soon. If I'm not missing Marmite on toast and Sunday morning repeats of Grange Hill (the Gripper Stebson years), it's the AF's magazine, 'Organise'.*
Varied collection of *cough* 'tablers' setting up for the event, but the one listed that has really caught my eye is 'Carl Slienger- Recovering Printed Expression of the Working-Class'. You can't find bugger all about Carl Slienger on the internet, but s/he or it - who knows, hopefully I can find out on Saturday - was the person or persons who reprinted Martov's State and the Socialist Revolution in the mid-seventies, amongst other pamphlets. I'm trying to rack my brains but I think 'Carl Slienger' also reprinted a pamphlet by Rosa Luxemburg and, maybe, Max Nettlau at the same time. Bugger the light clothing, I'll have my leftist anorak zipped up to my nose when salivating over that particular table.
There's also an interesting selection of meetings and workshops taking place during the course of the weekend . . . not somehing you could always say about the London Anarchist Bookfair. The meetings that have caught my eye are 'Anarchism Is The Only Hope: Lessons from the Durriti Column of The Spanish Civil War', where the speaker is George Sossenko, "an 88-year old veteran of the Spanish Civil War"; 'Anarchy in the USA: The Love-Hate Relationship with Presidential Elections'; and 'Building a Movement Against Capitalism through Thinking of Its Alternatives'.
The last meeting is another one of those 'synthesising anarchism and marxism' meetings. I attended one at the recent Left Forum as well. Not sure if it's the same personnel behind both meetings, but it's interesting to note that there are people out there who are carrying on in the spirit of the 'Mancunian Subvertists'. Expect fireworks and snottiness in equal measure if a stray New York Leninist strays into the meeting and makes an 'intervention'. The short odds says it will be an ICCer but, feeling a bit adventurous, I'll predict that it'll be an IBTer who makes a contribution from the floor before he's put on the floor.
I would promise to write up the notes of any meeting I attend, but I never did get round to writing up the notes of the meetings I attended at the Left Forum, so I won't bullshit you this time.
And finally, first things last: 2008 NYC Anarchist Film Festival takes place today. The piccie below is the poster for the event. The film on Sacco and Vanzetti looks interesting. I need to be mug up in the history of US radicalism, so I'll probably pop along. And on that note, this is when I usually write: 'Gone Fishing'.
* Turns out that the latest issue of 'Organise' has a wee reprise of an AF'er attending last year's NYC Anarchist Bookfair. Call me a cynical armchair abstract propaganist, but I bet the 'latest issue' of Organise was published just in time for last year's London Anarchist Bookfair. Maybe I'll be able to read the AF's report of this year's NYC Anarchist Bookfair in the forthcoming issue of Organise which will be published . . . . when's this year's London Anarchist Bookfair?
I've got a bad feeling about this. I'd resigned myself to the fact that R*ngers would probably win the domestic treble this year, but winning the UEFA Cup as well? That's just taking the piss.
Fiorentina, it's up to you. I'm not asking much. Just a for a last minute equaliser by Viera at Ibrox, and for Mutu to score three or four in the return leg (on May Day, no less) at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Always had a soft spot for 'La viola', anyway. No, sorry that should have read: I've always had a sweet tooth for parma violets.
From the latest issue of the Weekly Worker:
“I do wonder why you publish letters from people who clearly do not subscribe or make financial donations to the Weekly Worker,” writes comrade AN, who has sent us a £20 cheque for our April fighting fund. “It feels like they are taking a considerable liberty by asking you to publish their material and yet do nothing to help support your existence.”
As the other great JC,
Jack Conrad Julian Cope, once said, "Bless my cotton socks I'm in the news."
No, not me; someone else.
Free at last.
Christ, they've made hard work of it tonight. Tevez scores with a deft header after excellent build play with Hargreaves and then self-nominates himself for the crappiest DIY T Shirt message during a goal celebration?
What's that on his T Shirt? - apart from a pint of sweat, that is - Looked at the footage twice and I still can't make it out. Maybe he trying to advertsise this event? What is about Argentinian footballers and left wing politics? I bet Fergie has to drag Tevez out of the basement most Saturday mornings.
Are Man Utd going to score or what? Christ, it's like Fergie's taken Harald Brattbakk on loan for the night. (That'll be Celtic vintage Brattbakk, not when he was scoring goals for fun at Rosenborg.)/p>
On a related note, Manchester City Council has called for a public holiday to mark the momentous occasion of a footballer from the Greater Manchester area actually playing at Old Trafford.
One of those, 'wish I said/wrote that' quotes:
"Like the spotty, overweight and paralytically shy, radicals would rather not be the way they are. They regard themselves as holding awkward, mildly freakish opinions forced upon them by the current condition of the species, and yearn secretly to be normal. Or rather, they look forward to a future in which they would no longer be saddled with such inconvenient beliefs, since they would have been realised in practice. They would then be free to join the rest of the human race. It is not pleasant to be continually out of line. It is also paradoxical that those who believe in the sociality of human existence should be forced on this very account to live against the grain. To the cheerleaders for Life, it seems unwarrantably ascetic. They do not see that the asceticism, if that is what it is, is in the name of a more abundant life for everyone. Radicals are simply those who recognise, in Yeat's words, that 'Nothing can be sole or whole / That has not been rent.' It is not their fault that this is so. They would rather that it was not." [Terry Eagleton]
Well, apart from the "Like the spotty, overweight and paralytically shy . . ." bit; only so much self-awareness in one post thank you very much, comrades. Let's take it one post at a time.
Debsian Ed also liked the quote. I know that 'cos I nicked it from him. Not sure about some of the comments generated by his post. I'm thinking that 'Snowball' protests a tad too much. And 'JimJay' and his ultra-leftists. Who are these fucking radicals who supposedly "denounce pay rises for nurses"? Don't tell me it's your local aged SPGBer. That urban myth sprang up around about the same time as the one about a young Charlie Chaplin being the entertainments officer of the old Elephant and Castle branch of the SPGB. I'm guessing JimJay's ultra-leftists wandered in from Joseph Conrad's 'The Secret Agent'.
But there is a hell of a lot of truth in Eagleton's quote. The day after the revolution, I'll be tending Rosa's geese whilst listening to early Talking Heads on my iPod.
Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (41)
Welcome to the 41st of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.
We now have 1217 friends!
This week's top quote:
". . . There is something in human history like retribution: and it is a rule of historical retribution that its instrument be forged not by the offended, but by the offender himself.
The first blow dealt to the French monarchy proceeded from the nobility, not from the peasants. The Indian revolt does not commence with the Ryots, tortured, dishonored and stripped naked by the British, but with the Sepoys, clad, fed, petted, fatted and pampered by them." Marx, The Indian Revolt, New-York Daily Tribune, September 16, 1857.
Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!
Robert and Piers
[on whether punk music started in England or America]
Stevo: "I don't know who started it and I don't give a fuck. The one thing I do know is that we did it harder, we did it faster, and we definitely did it with more love, baby. You can't take that away from us." [SLC Punk!]
La Bataille socialiste continues to do excellent work remembering the history of the SPGB.
If I had my time again, I would have paid attention during those five years of daydreaming through French in school.
The picture's all that needs to be said about Chelski. Whatever happened about the joy of scoring a goal? Watch for the next time the usual suspects score a goal for Roman's mercenaries. Ugly gurning faces 'giving it large' to the crowd. Arseholes.
Btw, Arsenal were robbed. A shocking penalty decision on top of the dodgy decision in favour of Kuyt in the first leg. Last night's match should have been all about Walcott's amazing run to set up Adebayor for the equalizer. Walcott's coming good.
Arguably, the only thing about the result that might provide some succour is that Liverpool have the measure of Chelski in Champions League semi finals. Let's make it three out of free.
A special issue of the World Socialist Review (issue 21) which focuses on politics in Latin America is now available. Articles in this issue include:
A Pre-Socialist Left? Viva la revolucion! Looking for Socialism (in all the wrong places) Brazil repeats history Is Cuba socialist? The changing geopolitical context A review of Michael Lebowitz’s ’Build It Now: Socialism For The 21st Century’
Print Copies are available for $3:50 Send Cash ($US), Check, Money Order (made out to WSPUS) from:The World Socialist Party of the United States
P.O. Box 440247
Boston, MA 02144
Via the Brandworkers International website:
For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2008
Giorgione Drops Wild Edibles Amid Escalating Labor Dispute
Immigrant Workers Seeking to Improve Large Seafood Company Score Another Victory
New York, NY- Employees at Wild Edibles have chalked up a gain in their effort to win unlawfully withheld overtime pay and a voice at work with the decision of highly-regarded Italian restaurants, Giorgione and Giorgione 508, to refrain from purchasing Wild Edibles seafood until workers' grievances are fairly resolved. Giorgione joins leading New York restaurants including Pastis, Union Square Cafe, La Goulue, Mermaid Inn, and Sushi Samba that have previously pulled out of Wild Edibles over concern for the treatment of employees there.
"Giorgione has demonstrated a welcome concern for the workers behind the scenes at Wild Edibles," said Daniel Gross, the founding director of Brandworkers International, a non-profit workers' rights organization providing legal and advocacy assistance to the employees. "We look forward to communicating with the remaining Wild Edibles customers about the workers' efforts to improve their futures and the futures of their children."
Wild Edibles workers have joined with concerned community members to both remedy past injustices and win a living wage and health care for the future. Last September, a group of employees filed a large federal class action lawsuit potentially covering hundreds of workers alleging that Wild Edibles withheld overtime pay and retaliated against workers who asserted their rights. A federal judge subsequently issued an injunction against Wild Edibles and its owner Richard Martin against further retaliation. The National Labor Relations Board has also alleged that the company interfered with the rights of employees who have joined the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.
"We come to work six days a week and work hard through the night," said Raymundo Lara Molina, one of the eleven Wild Edibles employees allegedly fired or forced out of the job for asserting their rights. "We're just looking for our work and our families to be respected."
Brandworkers International is a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees across the supply chain. By connecting retail and food workers with concerned citizens, Brandworkers increases employer compliance with the law and challenges corporate misconduct. The Brandworkers Focus on the Food Chain initiative enables New York's mostly immigrant food processing workers to reach for a better tomorrow.