Thursday, December 31, 2009

Truth that hurts

I'll hazard a guess that Alan J over at the SPGB blog, Socialism Or Your Money Back, got a few bound volumes for his Xmas 'cos he's been peppering the blog in recent weeks with reprints from the pages of the Socialist Standard.

If you ask him nicely he might post that classic mid-eighties review of Our Favourite Shop. In the meantime, here's a smattering of his reposts:

  • Communist Commotion (1957 article on the sorry history of the British CP.)
  • Walking the Plank (1932 article on the expulsion of JT Murphy from the CP.)
  • Is Nicaragua Socialist? (No, not Latin Quarter's follow up single to Radio Africa. A 1987 article from the Standard.)
  • Chile: myth and reality (An article from '73.)
  • Background to Cuba (An article from 1961. Kennedy in the White House and Paddy Crerand still at Parkhead.)
  • Russia's Afghan Hound (1980 article on . . . you can guess.)
  • Solidarity, the Market and Marx (As I posted yesterday about Ian Bone's youthful days in Solidarity in South Wales, I have to include this 1973 Socialist Standard article about Solidarity that was penned by a socialist originally from South Wales.)
  • There's a shed load more of old articles from the Socialist Standard over at the SOYMB blog, but as Kara just called and wants the kettle on, I'll let you find them for yourself.

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Leighton Rees versus latent rouse*

    Very funny anecdote from Citizen Bone's blog about the halcyon days of Solidarity in South Wales. Apparently it's the kick starter to an ongoing blog series about cock-ups on the radical and anarchist left. I'll look forward to that.

    I wonder if that particular anecdote is included in John Quail's threatened history of Solidarity? I wonder if that bastard will ever get round to publishing it? Six years and counting. Slow burning fuse? Indeed.

    *I wonder if there's still time for me to submit my entry for 2009's 'Worst use of a pun in a blog title' award? I've got a fighting chance with that piss-poor effort.

    Touched by the foot of Hod

    Stumbled across this wonderful old Joy of Six article from the Guardian's Rob Smyth in the draft section of the blog and I realised it would be a dereliction of footie duty if I didn't bring it to the attention of my readership.

    Check out Krankl's volley against West Germany at the '78 World Cup in Argentina. Is that not a nugget of bastard genius? When you have a left foot as sweet as that you can be forgiven for abominations like this . . . maybe.

    Sit down with a glass of mulled wine and the bottom layer of a Terry Old Gold box and check out the YouTube clip of the best goals of the Serie A season from 1990-91. It's like a re-enactment of my best volleyed goals from Greenfield Recreation Park circa 1980/81, and Man City's board may be a collective shower of shithouses for their treatment of Mark Hughes but Roberto Mancini's goal at 1:52 in the clip is a thing of splendour.

    With regards to Rob's selected six, it has to be said that one goal is missing from the collection that has to be there front and centre in any discussion of the best volleys of all time.

    Maybe the YouTube clip wasn't up at the time of writing? Maybe Rob's on the steering committee of the British Humanist Association? Or maybe 'It's Goodbye' was one song too many? Whatever the reason there's no discernible footballing explanation for why this piece of genius from Glenn Hoddle was omitted from the article:

    The quick free kick, the one-two between Ardiles and Hoddle and the latter's balletic grace in striking that volley past Bailey. People bang on about his goal against Watford a few years later but it doesn't hold a candle to this goal (and that other lauded goal was against Steve Sherwood, for christ sake.)

    The first leg of a second round League Cup game from August 1979, and I can remember that goal as if it was yesterday. That's a sure fire indication of magic when it's imprinted in your memory like that thirty years after the fact.

    I hadn't remembered that they lost the return leg at Old Trafford 3-1 and went out 4-3 on aggregate. Typical Spurs. Happy ending all round.

    Frozen River (2008)

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Wall Communism

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 130

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 130th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1557 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Snowfall
  • Happiness, happiness
  • Breakdown At The Hague
  • Quote for the week:

    "The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange." >Engels, Socialism: Utopian & Scientific, 1880.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    The Road to Socialism - Kropotkin, Morris and Marx

    A date to put in that new diary you got from your Auntie Rhea:

    Hat tip to Fraser for the image. Three months to read this old piece on what Marx should have said Kropotkin.

    Make Over

    It appears we are in a period of website revamps, make overs and general over haulage so it would be remiss of me if I didn't mention on the blog that the World Socialist Party of the United States website has recently gone through all of the above.

    Front page articles include:

  • Marx's Conception of Socialism
  • The Latest from “Comrade Žižek”
  • Climate Change?
  • The Economic Crisis: Will Capitalism Fail?
  • Click on and on and on . . . .

    You know you're up too late . . .

    . . . when you mistake Janis Ian circa 1968 for Susannah Hoffs 'sweeting it' up in 2009 on iTunes shuffle.

    A Christmas Miracle

    Recovering from a 111 point deficit? A modern day miracle at Christmas.

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    A burning sensation in my left arm

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 129

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 129th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1561 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Capitalism and Climate Change
  • Intervention USA
  • Banks and the crisis
  • Quote for the week:

    "Common sense, in so far as it exists, is all for the bourgeoisie. Nonsense is the privilege of the aristocracy. The worries of the world are for the common people." George Jean Nathan, 1882 - 1958.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Manchester, So Much To Answer Three

    It's that time of year again, people.

    Anarcho-Stalinist-Wobbly-Zapatista surfer dudes have the Christmas number 1, and Manchester Branch have once again issued details of the quiz from their end of year Branch social.

    It's the usual routine on the blog. I reproduce the quiz questions below. I place my own pisspoor answers in the comment box. Not ONE of my seven readers join in the spirit of the season by trying to supply their own answers and I then post the correct answers in the comments box at a later date.

    . . . .Oh, and I once again use a variation on the same post title that I always use for the Manchester Branch end of year quizzes because I can't think of any wittier alternatives.

    Your starter for ten:

    1. 'On a summer day in the month of May a burly bum came hiking/ Down a shady lane through the sugar cane, he was looking for his liking./As he roamed along he sang a song of the land of milk and honey/ Where a bum can stay for many a day, and he won't need any money.'

    Which song?

    2. What is the subtitle or alternative title of News from Nowhere?

    3. In 1907, why did the Party pay £2 to Richard Bell, secretary of the Amalgmated Society of Railway Servants?

    4. What happened in Derbyshire on 24 April 1932?

    5. Which Party member was known as 'Two Shirt'?

    6. Which footballer refused to give a Nazi salute when England played Germany in Berlin in May 1938?

    7. Which year were the big Party meetings at the Metropolitan Theatre?

    8. Who were the four people who threw Engels' ashes into the sea?

    9. Who was Ishi?

    10. Where do Blackburn Rovers play?

    Get guessing.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    "What a great wake up call!"*

    Damn, is it too late to jump on the bandwagon?

    Fuck**, if Thatcher was to pop her clogs this week there's a good chance that Ian Bone would spontaneously combust before that promised party in Trafalgar Square.


    *I had been napping, but the quote is from a Radio 1 interview with Zack Da La Rocha

    **The random fuck thrown into the conversation in honour of RATM getting to number one.

    Rage Against Mister Sheen

    This Christmas Number 1 business? Rage Against The Machine versus Simon Cowell's latest spawn for the Christmas Number 1.

    What with me being Brooklyn-based I can't say I've been following the spectacle too closely but I do have a liking for the mashed up parody video below, and I have been lapping up the bitter split storm in a strongbow can within the British Anarchist Blogging Community (BABC for short).

    On one side of the barricades, those lining up with RATM and their shouty call to armed insurrectionism and, on the other side of the keyboard, those whippersnapper anarchos making a case for supporting any council estate urchin with a cover version and a dream . . . even if they've got X-Factor branded on their forehead.

    Come seven clock tonight (Greenwich Mean Time) it'll be all over bar the blogging and we'll know who has gained entry to that illustrious pantheon that includes Benny Hill, Little Jimmy Osmond, St Winifred School Choir, Mr Blobby and Bob the Builder.

    Is too early to start a Facebook group calling on the Human League to release a Christmas single in 2010? According to this page - be warned, it makes for grim reading - they were the last popsters to have a brilliant song reach the top spot at Christmas.

    In truth, the only one since The Beatles.

    Quote of the Day

    Via Lew H. over at the SPGB's discussion list:

    Wikipedia has launched an appeal for funds. Below is a interesting tribute from a donor:

    "Wikipedia stands for the principle that no one owns knowledge, that people cooperating voluntarily and without external incentives (such as greed or fear) can produce a public good useful to all of a caliber as high if not higher than commercially driven and created sources -- not merely in accuracy but in accessibility of use and excellence of design. Wikipedia is living refutation of those who assert that wide-scale, complex, long-term cooperation by a large number people working on a very large enterprise requires hierarchy, subordination, authoritative supervision, or motivation by money or even less savory incentives. In many ways it's not too much of an exaggeration that the Wiki principle exemplifies the animating principle of a different kind of society, and by Wiki's persistence and longevity shows that a cooperative order is not a utopian fantasy, but as real as your computer and as close as the Wiki URL. Thanks, Jimmy! And all of you whose work, unrewarded except by the knowledge that it is constructive, well done, and helpful, make this project possible."

    But isn't 'Jimmy' a Rand'ite? I'm confused.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Bolshevism and Other Kids' Stuff

    Plastic gangsters or toy-town bolsheviks? I can't decide.

    Someone thought it was a good idea to make lego figures of Trotsky, Lenin, Gorky and Stalin.

    He - am I being too presumptious in assuming it's a he? - also has a go with Marx and Engels and Che Guevera. I'm intrigued on so many different levels. Especially on the question of whether or not the Karl Marx lego figure looks more like Charlton Heston's Moses or Billy Connolly in his dotage?

    Not coming to a toy store near you this Consumermas.

    Hat tip to sks over at Leftist Trainspotters (though I have a sneaking suspicion that Ally had previously blogged about this kids stuff.)

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Melting Mowbray

    Oh my. I wasn't expecting that.

    I will always remember where I was when Celtic recovered from a 3-0 deficit, to steal a 3-3 draw against the best team in Austria: lying on the couch . . . with the laptop on my belly . . . half-watching the Magnum PI segment on BBC's I Love 1981.

    Good night from Vienna?

    Go on, chaps. Prove us all wrong.

    'Quick . . . quick . . . .no show'

    What a thing to wake up to:

    Looks like it's shaping up to be Artmedia Bratislava and Neuchatel Xamax all over again.

    Can the fact that the team in green and white is winning be considered a silver lining?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    'Nothing looks the same in the small print'

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 128

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 128th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1565 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Free is Good
  • This year’s Nobel Prize for Economics
  • Debating the 'S-Word'
  • Quote for the week:

    "The Agrarian law, or the partitioning of land, was the spontaneous demand of some unprincipled soldiers, of some towns moved more by their instinct than by reason. We reach for something more sublime and more just: the common good or the community of goods! No more individual property in land: the land belongs to no one. We demand, we want, the common enjoyment of the fruits of the land: the fruits belong to all." Gracchus Babeuf and the Conspiracy of the Equals, Manifesto of the Equals, 1796.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Gnome Chomsky

    A festivus present for the anarcho-reformist in your life this choming Christmas:

    Place it in their returned garden of eden. Possibly next to a hitchens post. (Now that would have been something.)

    Popbitch provides more details for the must have anarcho-consumerist ornament for next year's ten year anniversary of the guerrilla gardening spectacle in Parliament Square.

    PS - Whilst I'm on matters Chomsky; What's with 'Noam Chomsky' plus 'broken english' all of a sudden? What does my sitemeter know that I don't?

    PPS - The same company would also like to interest you in a Monkish Howard Zinn for good measure:

    What do you mean you don't have 134 dollars going spare?

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Mark'us in

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 127

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 127th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1563 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Too Good to be True
  • Banks, who needs them?
  • GB Shaw as a Guide to Socialism
  • Coming Events:

    Radical Film Forum, Sundays 6pm - 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN.

    13th December - Earthlings

    17th January - Manufacturing Consent (part one)

    31st January - Manufacturing Consent (part two)

    Capitalism and the Arctic - DVD

    Tuesday 15th December, 8pm

    Committee room, Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, London W4

    Advance notice:

    Debate with Dr Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute

    Thursday, 4th February, 7pm

    Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1

    Quote for the week:

    "Those who busy themselves with State-Socialism, that is to say, those who demand the nationalisation or municipalisation of certain services, do not trouble at all about the lot of the workers engaged in them; but even admitting that they sought to improve the lot of those employed would they be able to do so? If they can, let them begin by improving the conditions of the underpaid workers in the Post Office, in the State tobacco factories, railways and State ironworks. The workshops of the State and municipality are prisons quite as bad as private workshops, if not worse." Paul Lafargue, Socialism and Nationalisation, 1882.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Let's Rock Again! (2004)

    December 2009 Socialist Standard: Down and out in Mayfair

    December 2009 Socialist Standard


  • Copenhagen: another predictable failure
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Calorie counts and pet scans
  • Cooking the Books 1 This year’s Nobel Prize for Economics
  • Cooking the Books 2 Free is good
  • Material World The advance of capitalism
  • Greasy Pole BNP – Question Time Without Answers
  • Pieces Together Capitalist Paradox; Drug Pushers Pay Off; All Right For Some
  • 50 Years Ago Second thoughts
  • Main Articles

  • Down and out in Mayfair We still live in a society that if you don’t have the ability to pay you ‘goes’ without.
  • Capitalism and food security – an oxymoron Food security for all the people of the world will only be possible when the profit motive is taken out of food supply.
  • The World Around You Someone employs you, and you work for them, and they control a big part of your waking hours.
  • Too good to be true We are conditioned to accept the absurdities and contradictions that capitalism throws up.
  • Debating the “S-Word” Is any word more over-used and misunderstood today than “socialism”?
  • On modern life (Eric Fromm ) Some selected quotes from Fromm's 'The Art of Loving'.
  • How I got to be a socialist “… I came to know about ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ but always preferred ‘our’.”
  • Ire of the Irate Itinerant Cartoon Strip
  • Book Reviews, & Meetings

  • Book Reviews:Why not socialism? By G. A. Cohen; Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World Sarah Glynn, ed; Critical Social Theory and the End of Work By Edward Granter; Free. The Future of a Radical Price. By Chris Anderson; Plebs. By Colin Waugh.
  • Socialist Party Meetings: Clapham, Chiswick & Norwich:
  • Voice From The Back

  • End of a dream; How about socialism?; Capitalism is gangsterism; The new gangsters
  • 'Before it gets shoved under the bed next to the boworker . . . '

    As closing lines to articles goes, you'd have to go some to top the closing line to last month's Pathfinders column in the Socialist Standard

    Capitalists think they can save money by forcing puritanical self-denial on workers, but with the stress of exploitation we face, we don’t need temperance, we need to lose our tempers. [My emphasis.]

    The link to the article is here and, if you start at the top, you get the full benefit of the pay-off line.

    Now, where is this month's Socialist Standard