Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can you name the top 200 Premier League goalscorers?

Too much hair on your head? Can't afford a haircut?

Take the 'Can you name the top 200 Premier League goalscorers?' quiz and you will have torn out half your hair in a matter of minutes. I spent five minutes hitting the table top whilst trying to remember the name of a current Premiership striker who scores every bastard week.

Oh, and word of forewarning; don't go near the various well know Scandinavian and Dutch forwards of yesteryear unless you have the patience of a saint and the spelling chops of one of those geeks from Spellbound.

I scored 77/200. You can do better.

Hat tip to 'kained and able' on urban 75.

Love it

If Bullard stays fit, Hull stay up. As simple as.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mixing Footie and Politics (7) Shankly, Socialism and Glasgow Celtic

Just spotted this.

Ian Bone raises that most important of political questions: 'Is there a socialist way of playing football?'

Ian shows his age (and his dress sense) by mentioning the great Hungarian side of the early fifties.

Arguably the greatest International team never to have won the World Cup, they lost the '54 final against West Germany in disputed circumstances, and one of the great ifs of football pub talk is, but for the Soviet tanks rolling into Budapest in '56, how they would have measured up against the Brazil of Pele and Garrincha in Sweden in '58.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. I show my good taste and access to YouTube clips by pointing you in the direction of the definitive answer to Ian's question.

Bill Shankly describes the great Celtic side of the Jock Stein era:

That wee nugget should be on a T shirt, not this silly bollocks which is currently doing the rounds on the left blogosphere.

"Socialism without the politics." I like that.

Whatever did happen to World in Common?

Hard To Get (1938)

Injury time

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 126

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 126th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1563 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • The illusion of freedom
  • WSPUS Manifesto on the War, 1917
  • 1789: France’s bourgeois revolution
  • Coming Events:


    Radical Film Forum

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

    29th November - Sicko

    13th December - Earthlings

    Quote for the week:

    "Scientific socialism considers our views dependent upon our material needs, and our political standpoint dependent upon the economic position of the class we belong to. Moreover, this conception corresponds with the aspirations of the masses whose needs are in the first place material, while the ruling class must necessarily base itself on the deductive principle, on the preconceived unscientific notion that the spiritual salvation and the mental training of the masses are to precede the solution of the social question." Joseph Dietzgen, Scientific Socialism, 1873.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Word of the day

    Mauger


    prep. 1. In spite of; in opposition to; notwithstanding.

    A man must needs love maugre his heed. - Chaucer.

    This mauger all the world will I keep safe. - Shak.

    So, mauger Darren not even knowing that the word mauger previously existed, he just scored 42 points with it on Lexulous.

    Does that make sense?

    PS

    Apologies for referring to myself in the third person. Darren won't do it again.

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Strip Pain-T

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 125

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 125th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1551 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Capitalism or Socialism?
  • A Man Before His Time - Gerrard Winstanley
  • The Myth of Soviet “Socialism”
  • Quote for the week:

    "Money is a new form of slavery, which differs from the old form of slavery only in its impersonality, its annihilation of all humane relations with the slave." Leo Tolstoy, What to do?, 1887.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Meano Keano has a Beano

    Like the rest of us, he can't remember the last time Ipswich won two games in a row, but some things Roy Keane never forgets.

    In Roy's mansion, FAI stands for 'Feckin' Arrogant Ingrates'.

    Missing the revolution for the football

    . . . but in fact this is my favourite football quote (quote? OK, maybe more anecdote) of the day:

    At a meeting in Manchester in around 1970, I hears the following exchange:

    Speaker: "The bourgeoisie needs football. Football is part of the way they control the working class. It's virtually the only thing preventing a revolution. If they got rid of football there'd be a revolution in Britain."

    Heckler: "Yeah... three o'clock next Saturday!"

    Anecdote by 'jgw' in the comments box of Luna 17 blog.

    Hurly Burley

    This should have been my football quote of the day (or even yesterday:

    "I don't think what he wanted to do got across to some players and also I think some of them are too thick to take it on board – and not good enough to take it on board, anyway, to be perfectly honest with you . . . " [Craig Burley commenting on the sacking of his uncle, George Burley, as manager of Scotland.]

    Nice to see that even after retirement, Craig is still tenacious in the tackle.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Down in the tube station at 18:48

    Just spotted this intriguing picture of Engels plastered* across a London Underground tube train advertising panel over at Solomon's Mindfield blog.

    No, it's not Workers Power trying to do Banksy but part of London Underground's most recent 'Art On The Underground' campaign. (See the Mayor of London blurb in the bottom left hand of the picture? Boris will be pleased.)

    I say 'recent' but it dates from June and July of this year. What can I say? I came late to the Party.

    By way of an apology, please follow the link which will explain that the poster (and quote) is part of an art project devised by Jeremy Deller, which is entitled 'What is the city but the people?'

    To quote the bloke Deller himself:

    ' . . . I came up with the idea to give [London Underground] staff a collection of quotes and the idea grew from there. I often wish announcements were more personal and reflected the realities and absurdities of living and working in a big city. I think the travelling public enjoys some humour and unexpected insight during their journey.'

    As well as the Engels' quote in his project, Deller also includes quotes from Ghandi, Napoleon, Sartre and Goethe amongst others. The idea behind the project was that from time to time, London Underground drivers (and others) would insert quotes from the great and the good in amongst the usual pronouncements of 'Mind the Doors'; 'Next stop Russell Square' & 'I used to be someone, you fuckers'.**

    It's been a while since I've travelled on the Underground in London but if their tannoy system is anything like the mumbled, garbled and strangulated announcements of drivers and others on the NYC Subway system, then they could have been reading from the collected editorials of Daniel De Leon all this time and I'd have been none the wiser.

    More on the project (and the public's response to it) from the LA Times; Open Magazine; and that natural institution, Arthur Smith.

    Before I forget: that particular quote from Engels? I understand that the original plan was to place it as it as massive poster in the Clapham North tube station, but the Executive Committee of the SPGB had a word. No need to take the piss, is there? we're just working up to our second wind.

    Footnotes

    * 'plastered' - Insert your Marx and Engels boozing it up on Tottenham Court Road joke here.

    **'I used to be someone, you fuckers'. - Allegedly said by a tired and emotional Jah Wooble over a London Underground tannoy system sometime in the mid-eighties whilst he was working for said organisation.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Tricots for goalposts

    Diplomatic incident between the Republics of France and Ireland over the small matter of Sarkozy and last night's World Cup play-off game in Dublin.

    Hat tip to a Urban 75er.

    Radical Film Forum - 'Matewan'

    Matewan

    Sunday 15th November at 6pm 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 (nearest tube: Clapham North)

    John Sayles's 1987 classic drama ". . . illustrating the events of a coal mine-workers' strike and attempt to unionize in 1920 in Matewan, a small town in the hills of West Virginia."

    From John Sayles's book, 'Thinking in Pictures: the making of the movie Matewan (1987)

    Why Matewan?

    There's no place in America like the hills of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. There'll be a river, usually fast running and not too wide, and on the flatland along its banks a railroad track and maybe a little town, only two or three streets deep before the land starts rising up steep all around you. You've got to look straight up to see the sky and often there's a soft mist shrouding the holler. The hills hug around you - stay inside of them for a while and a flat horizon seems cold and unwelcoming. It's always been a hard life there, with not enough bottomland to farm and no easy way to get manufactured goods in or out of the area. The cash crops had to be torn out from the ground, first timber and then coal. It's a land that doesn't yield anything easily.

    In the late sixties I hitchhiked through the area several times and most of the people who gave me rides were coal miners or people with mining in their families. They spoke with a mixture of pride and resignation about the mining - resignation about how dark and dirty and cold and wet and dangerous it was and pride that they were the people to do it, to do it well. The United Mine Workers were going through heavy times then. Their president, Tony Boyle, was accused of having his election opponent, Jock Yablonski, murdered. The coal companies and most of the political machinery that fed on them and even the UAW hierarchy denied even the existence of black lung disease and refused any compensation for it. All this was added to the usual mine accidents and disasters and wild fluctuations in coal prices. But every miner I talked to would shake his head and say, "Buddy, this ain't nothin compared to what used to go on. I could tell you some stories." The stories would be about their grandfathers and uncles and fathers and mothers, and the older men would tell their own stories from when they were young. The stories had a lot of Old West to them, only set in those embracing hills and coffinlike seams of three-foot coal. It was a whole hunk of our history I'd never heard of, that a lot of people had never heard of.

    In 1977 I wrote a novel called Union Dues that begins in West Virginia coal country and moves to Boston. Before I wrote it I did a lot of reading in labor history, especially about the coal fields, and that was when I came across the story of the Matewan Massacre. In a book about the Hatfield and McCoy feud in Mingo County, there was a mention of a distant cousin of the Hatfields named Sid, chief of police of the town of Matewan, who was involved in a bloody shoot-out in 1920, during the mine wars of the era. It got me interested, but accounts of the incident were few and highly prejudiced. The rhetoric of both the company-controlled newspapers of the day and their counterparts on the political left was rich in lurid metaphor but short on eyewitness testimony. But a few characters stuck in my head - Sid Hatfield; the mayor, Cabell Testerman, who wouldn't be bought at a time when the coal companies routinely paid the salaries of public officials and expected their strike breakers to be deputized and aided in busting the union; a man known only as Few Clothes, a giant black miner who joined the strikers and was rumored to have fought in the Spanish-American War; and C.E. Lively, a company spy so skilled he was once elected president of a UMW local. Aspects and details of other union showdowns in the area also began to accumulate - and transportations of blacks from Alabama and European immigrants just off the boat to scab against the strikers; the life of the coal camp and company store; the feudal system of mine guards and "Baldwin thugs" that enforced the near slavery the miners and their families lived in. All the elements and principles involved seemed basic to the idea of what America has become and what it should be. Individualism versus collectivism, the personal and political legacy of racism, the immigrant dream and the reality that greeted it, monopoly capitalism, at its most extreme versus American populism at its most violent, plus a lawman with two guns strapped on walking to the centre of town to face a bunch of armed enforcers - what more could you ask for in a story? And yet it was a story unknown to most Americans, untold on film but for a silent short financed by the UMW in the aftermath of the massacre. The movie was called Smilin' Sid and the only known print was stolen by coal company agents and never seen again.

    Though there were familiar Western elements to the story, it had a unique character because of its setting. The hills of West Virginia, the people and the music have a mood and rhythm to them that need to be seen and heard to be felt completely. There is a cyclical sense of time there, a feeling of inescapable fate that in the story resists the optimism and progressive collectivism of the 1920s workers' movement. Politics are always at the mercy of human nature and custom, and the coal wars of the twenties were so personal that they make ideology accessible in a story, make it immediate and emotional. It was this emotional immediacy that made me think of making a movie about the events in Matewan.

    If storytelling has a positive function it's to put us in touch with other people's lives, to help us connect and draw strength or knowledge from people we'll never meet, to help us see beyond our own experience. The people I read about in the history books and people I met in the hills of Kentucky and West Virginia had important stories to tell and I wanted to find a way to pass them on.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Wales 3 Scotland 0

    What a thing to wake up to on a wet Saturday morning.

    It gets worse:

    "Scotland have not beaten Wales since 1984 and that did not look like altering here as the Scots suffered their fourth successive away defeat - and their fourth road trip on the trot where they have not scored." [BBC Report]

    25 years since beating Wales? Frankie were number 1 in the charts with Relax, for christ sake.

    What makes it even more depressing is that when you dig out the stats for that Scotland win way back in February 1984, the scorers that day were Davie Cooper and Mo Johnston in a 2-1 win. To have that sort of quality in the team today.

    I'm away out to drown my sorrows in a Chinese.

    Industrial Worker interviews Noam Chomsky

    Spotted over at Mind Glow blog:

    The editor of the Industrial Worker, Diane Krauthamer, spoke to Noam Chomsky at his MIT office in Cambridge, MA, on October 9th, 2009.
    The Industrial Worker is the official newspaper of the IWW (the Industrial Workers of the World), a radical union.

    For more info, please visit: The IWW official website


    http://www.iww.org

    The interview is in 4 parts on YouTube:

  • Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRlbLETWLwo
  • Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y673_j2x_g
  • Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttqwp30lKCc
  • Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67k4EgRT-ak
  • A word of warning; I found the sound in the videos a bit spotty but that may just be me. An interesting enough interview with Chomsky discussing the revival of sit down strikes, his father's 'membership' of the IWW and the rise of the populist right, amongst other things.

    Hat tip to Jason for the links.

    A novel approach to politics

    Back to the Socialist Standard.

    There are long term plans to digitise every issue of the Socialist Standard going back to September 1904, in order that they can be made available online for anyone and everyone to read but, in the meantime, the work of posting articles of interest from old Socialist Standards falls on the shoulders of a few members who do the work off their own bat.

    So, therefore, kudos to my old Central London Branch mucker Rob S for recently posting on the Socialism Or Your Money Back blog three old articles from the Socialist Standard on novelists and thinkers who have been of interest to socialists going back several decades:

  • From the March 1971 issue of the Standard, Robert Barltrop's review of the (then) recently published paperback version of the four volumed collected essays, journalism and letters of George Orwell: Coming up for Orwell
  • From the May 1987 issue of the Standard, Carl Pinel's Leo Tolstoy: author and anarchist
  • And from the November 1973 Standard, Paul Bennett's Camus: Portrait of a 'Rebel'
  • It'll come as no surprise to seasoned SPGB watchers that of three authors under discussion, Tolstoy comes out best from the three review essays. (Though with obvious qualification.)

    To be honest, despite being a long term fan of Barltrop as a writer, I'm rather disappointed by the tone of his article on Orwell. A bit too sniffy and vinegary for my liking. Maybe, as someone who had just returned to the SPGB after ten years of other political activity, he was playing to a particular gallery a bit.

    I much prefer both Brian Rubin's article on Orwell from the December 1983 Socialist Standard and (I believe) Les Dale's article on the Political Ideas of Orwell from the October 1986 issue of the Standard.

    Of course Orwell knew about the SPGB. As an avowed anti-Stalinist writer and journalist in London in the 30s and 40s how could he have not crossed paths with the SPGB? There is the mention in passing to the SPGB in the aforementioned Collected Essays but it's also the case that I remember from a few years back a comrade mentioning that when he looked at Orwell's collected papers for research purposes in London they contained a number of SPGB pamphlets, with scribblings in the margins.

    I wish now that I'd asked him what Party pamphlets were in Orwell's collected papers and what were those damn scribbles.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    You Left Me Seering Stars

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 124

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 124th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1547 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Out of control
  • Conspiraloons
  • Free is cheaper
  • Quote for the week:

    "Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims." Harry Patch, WWI Veteran.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    More cold water. comrades. More cold water.

    Much too frivolous for the 'Do They Mean Us?' series but if you happen to type 'Socialist Party of Great Britain' into an anagram generator, it comes up with PROFITABLY RAINIEST CASTIGATOR.

    It's got everything: the social composition of the membership, the ingrained pessimism and the on-the-surface hostility to all and sundry.

    And you thought the Thatcher link was going to be the most frivolous post of the day?

    Swines

    My heart raced for a moment.

    Five Go Mad in Dalston

    Ian Bone brings details of what will be the Must See Film of 2015. (I'm pegging it for a 2015 release date unless the lottery commission is still doling out the revenue from the poverty tax for funding British films that won't make any money.)

    The suggested chapter headings look intriguing. It looks like a mix of Green Street Hooligans and Channel 4's 80s comedy Dream Stuffing. If the filmmaker, Greg Hall, is taking requests for what scenes to pre-screen on YouTube, I'm especially interested in chapters 29, 38 and 41.

    I wonder if David Baddiel will appear as himself? Surely only one man can play the late, grate Joe Strummer. But can he master the mockney accent for the part?

    More info on the proposed movie adaption of Ian Bone's 'Bash The Rich' over here.

    Until Pixar finally get round to adapting Breaking Free for the big screen . . .

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Swift blog tailoring

    Only four Weller songs? I'm getting better.

    Check out Cornershop's cover version of 'Waterloo Sunset' if you can. It's not half bad.

    PS - click pic to enlarge and to be enraged.

    Edward Hopper vs The Blue Nile

    Oh, this is beautifully done. A marrying together of the music of Blue Nile and the art of Edward Hopper.

    Kudos to music writer, Chris Roberts, and YouTuber, prodriguez, for making magic happen.

    One caveat, though; the Hopper painting that you see at 3:17 in the video is not how I remember it.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    November 2009 Socialist Standard: Free at last . . . . Twenty years beyond the Berlin Wall.

    November 2009 Socialist Standard

    Editorial

  • Socialism was never tried
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Gullibility Travels
  • Cooking the Books 1 Out of control
  • Cooking the Books 2 Free is cheaper?
  • Material World Malawi: Children of the Tobacco Fields
  • Greasy Pole TV Debates - much ado about nothing
  • Pieces Together Warren's Wallet; Silent Tornado; Bombs Wa-Hey!
  • 50 Years Ago The Darwin Centenary
  • Main Articles

  • The fall of “communism”: Why so peaceful? Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall came down, symbolising the collapse of state capitalism in Eastern Europe.
  • The Myth of Soviet “Socialism” Vladimir Sirotin from Russia explains how that country was never socialist.
  • Workers State? Pull the other one How could anyone have seriously argued that the workers ruled in Russia?
  • Joining the killing machine The campaign to win the young to war has come a long way from the ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster with the pointing finger of Kitchener used in the ‘First Great War’.
  • Afghanistan – lying about dying The pressure to misinterpret the deaths, as the bodies come back, as nobly purifying is a cynically orchestrated propaganda exercise intended to justify the war.
  • Billion dollar bribery The duplicity, fraud and criminality that lies at the heart of world capitalism.
  • Ire of the Irate Itinerant Cartoon Strip
  • Letters, Book Reviews, & Meetings

  • Letters To The Editors: Getting from here.
  • Book Reviews: Che Guevara and the Economic Debate in Cuba. By Luiz Bernardo Peric├ís; Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. By David Aaronovitch; The Trouble with Capitalism. By Harry Shutt; Enough. By John Naish.
  • Socialist Party Meetings: Glasgow; Manchester, Clapham, Chiswick & Norwich:
  • Voice From The Back

  • Too much Month at the end of the Money; Famine and Feast; Up in smoke; Onward Christian Bankers
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Shakemarx

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 123

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 123rd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1544 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Afghanistan - lying about dying
  • Joining the killing machine
  • The myth of Maastricht
  • Coming Events:


    East Anglia Region Branch Meeting

    Saturday 14 November, 12 to 4pm

    Quebec Tavern, 93-97 Quebec Road, Norwich NR1 4HY


    Funny Money - DVD followed by discussion.

    Tuesday 17 November 8pm

    Committee Room, Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace W4, Chiswick


    The Zeitgeist Movement

    Wednesday 18 November, 8.30pm

    Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow


    Discussion on The Case for Socialism

    Monday 23 November, 8.30 pm

    Unicorn, Church Street, Manchester City Centre


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

    15th November - Matewan

    29th November - Sicko

    13th December - Earthlings

    Quote for the week:

    "Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included)." Karl Marx, Letter to Kugelmann, 1868.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Perhaps I'm the only one?

    'Another Girl, Another Planet' is so fucking overrated.

    Granted, it's a good song, but in no way does is it qualify as great. It's nothing more than the bastard cousin of Richard Hell doing the guest vocals on a Motors song.

    It's taken me 15 years to pluck up the courage to voice that opinion out loud. Even know, I expect Pitchfork to turn up at the front door with the . . . erm, pitchforks. Knowing my luck, Peter Perrett will break a guitar string tomorrow and his fan base will hunt me down via google alert.

    Someone disagrees. That person needs to put on a loud shirt and listen to Wham!'s debut album.

    File this post under 'An iTunes Shuffle Epiphany'.

    Sunday, November 08, 2009

    It's official . . .

    . . . apparently it seems that my most devoted reader is googlebot. If only it would leave a comment every once in a while.

    The Californian one. Not the European one. The latter is still blanking me because of that regrettable incident with diggit.

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Are You Smarter than a 4th Internationalist?

    How are you with your knowledge of the history of early British Trotskyism?

    Do you know your Heaton Lee from your Ralph Lee? Ted Grant's real name? The first bullshit myth Gerry Healy spun about himself? CLR James's batting average for the Old Fractionians Second XI? The name of the De Leonist organisation in Scotland which turned towards Trotskyism in the thirties? Who debated for the Bolshevik Leninists' against the SPGB's Adolph Kohn at the AEU Hall in Doughty Street in London in 1936?

    Well, the answers to all of the above questions will not be found in the following clip from Mastermind, but what does follow is Paul Moorhouse answering questions on his specialist subject,"British Trotskyism Until 1949'. (What's the odds that all the questions were cribbed from Bornstein and Richardson's two-volume history of British Trotskyism?)

    This edition of Mastermind dates from March 13th of this year but I've only just now stumbled across the clip. I got nine answers right but that's only because I'm from the Menshevik-SadBastard Tendency.

    Give it your best shot:

    But there's more.

    When Paul returned to the black chair for the second round, John Humphrys asked him about his specialist subject in the first round and inquired, in an amused tone, if there were any Trotskyists left?

    Paul resisted the temptation to leap upon the black chair and declaim 'The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International' in its entirety but he did lean forward in his chair like the seasoned cadre that he is and gave a fifty second thumbnail sketch of what it is to be a Trotskyist today.

    Humphrys said nothing in reply, thus confirming the suspicions of two million Daily Mail readers that the initials BBC really do stand for the 'Bolsheviks Broadcasting Communism'.

    A quick google search reveals that Paul Moorhouse is a longstanding member of the Millies (SPEW/CWI) down in Bristol.

    I'm sure he got muchos-kudos from his comrades for putting his politics before an audience of a few million (back in the eighties, Mastermind could be watched by up to 15 million people), but I wonder if he also got his nose tweaked by the local full timer for not mentioning Peter Taaffe's name at least twice during those fifty primetime seconds.

    The Menshevik-SadBastard Tendency member in me can't help heckling to the computer screen that he should have said: 'Trotskyism? Past'

    More on that particular episode of Mastermind over at Life After Mastermind, the blog of 2007 Mastermind winner, David Clark.

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Today's (Old) Quote of the Day

    I love this quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould that caught my eye on Facebook yesterday:

    “I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”

    Within minutes of spotting that clip I stumble across this picture - and its accompanying story - on Facebook. LabourStart readers have just voted it their Labour Photo of the Year.

    If I had any fingernails, I'd dig them into the palm of my hand to remind myself that it's 2009.

    Hat tip to MM for the quote.

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    'King Me!'

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 122

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 122nd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1535 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Postal workers out on strike
  • Fat Cats: creaming off profits
  • Who’s afraid of the BNP?
  • Quote for the week:


    "If the workers take a notion,

    They can stop all speeding trains;

    Every ship upon the ocean

    They can tie with mighty chains

    Every wheel in the creation,

    Every mine and every mill,

    Fleets and armies of the nation,

    Will at their command stand still."

    Joe Hill, Workers of the World, Awaken!, c.1914.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    A word from our sponsor . . .

    One for the Party archives?

    Abstract propaganda front and centre in The Merry Frinks, a madcap comedy from 1934.

    And there was you thinking that the Hays Code was enforced in 1934 because of Mae West's single entendres and Joan Blondell showing a bit of thigh. How wrong you were. Jack, Harry and Daryl apparently viewed Utopian Socialism as more dangerous than Upton Sinclair during this time period.

    The commie curmudgeon in the clip is Allen Jenkins, who some of the more infantile older readers of the blog will recognise as the voice of Officer Dibble in Top Cat. A worker in uniform.

    Of course I'd love to claim Allen Jenkins's Emmett Frink as one of us, but how do I explain away the earlier scene in the film where he's carrying under his arm a portrait painting of Joe Stalin? Despite my best efforts, I can't.

    More Comintern Third Period than Great Dover Street Impossibilism, but a very funny film, nonetheless. It's worth hunting down.