Monday, June 28, 2010

Division Street: America by Studs Terkel (New Press 1967)

I think the poor class of people, both Negro and white, as bad as I hate to say this, being a union man, I believe they've forgotten a lot of these things. In those days, if you had a car transfer, nobody threw away a transfer. They would put it where somebody else could get it. Nobody threw away a cigarette butt. It was awful hard to find a cigarette, but if a guy had one, he would choke it and give it to the next guy. Everybody was very friendly at that time.

Today, based on the war economy and the unions, some people make a few dollars, and the feeling, the atmosphere is different. Labor's respectable now, it's status quo. If you fight against these guys, you're labeled. Fear. A lot of fellas want to know how come George Meany don't walk together with Martin Luther King, you know, in these demonstrations. We evade the question. (Laughs.)

There was a meeting downtown where all the business agents were, labor leaders. I thought they were gonna pull Mayor Daley's pants down and kiss him. These guys go overboard. And they were raising a question of why we wasn't organizin' more. Why there wasn't more than five Negroes out of two, three hundred guys! So I finally got up enough courage to get the floor. (Laughs.)

So I told 'em, "Looking around the room here, you guys got all diamond rings, manicures." Honest, I didn't know Bill Lee* had a telephone in his Mark IV, air-conditioned, chauffeur, everything. (Laughs.) And I said, "The image of so-called labor leaders is not what it was in the old days. Now you can't tell 'em from a businessman." So they accepted the criticism. ('Lew Gibson' speaking to Studs Terkel about the contrast between the hungry thirties and the prosperous sixties.)

* Bill Lee was the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor at the time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Heinze Meanz Spleenze

I thought in my myopic state that I'd mistakenly spotted Gabriel Heinze getting super pissed after Argentina scored against Mexico earlier today, but Yahoo News is on hand to reassure me that it's only my eyesight which is wonky at the moment.

It'd have been funnier if the camera guy had lamped him back.

'What's German for schadenfreude?

Football's England's coming home.

Sadly for Ingur-land 1966 was 44 years ago and there's no Azerbaijani linesman on hand to award England a goal.

On the bus going home

"For you, Terry, the World Cup is over."

Friday, June 25, 2010

'Face like a slapped arse'

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 155

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 155th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1570 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • Human Nature and Human Behaviour
  • Socialism in the 21st Century?
  • How capitalism moves
  • Quote for the week:

    "The materialistic. realistic, and collectivist conception of freedom, as opposed to the idealistic, is this: Man becomes conscious of himself and his humanity only in society and only by the collective action of the whole society. He frees himself from the yoke of external nature only by collective and social labor, which alone can transform the earth into an abode favorable to the development of humanity. Without such material emancipation the intellectual and moral emancipation of the individual is impossible." Mikhail Bakunin, Man, Society, and Freedom, 1871.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Renaldo Manager

    I'm half-blind at the mo' but even I can see the comic value in this YouTube clip from Portuguese TV.

    Blood, guts and buckets of swearing. If only the English team were half as stereotypically English as Capello.

    Did Stuart Pearce ever let anyone shoulder barge him like that on the football field? Psycho's lost it.

    Hat tip to a Guardinista currently living in Lisbon.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    World Cup: Argentinian team support for Mothers of the Plazo de Mayo

    The following under reported story has already been spotted on Louis Proyect's blog and over at Socialist Unity blog but the text cut and pasted below is from the Shiraz Socialist blog:

    Ian W writes:

    We are bombarded daily by the World Cup. The organisers of the event claim that it is non-political, yet it is dominated by large multinatonal corporations.

    Here you can see a photograph of the Argentine football team holding a banner. This photo has been effectively censored by the international press and Toutube has also blocked it. Why?

    The banner simply states that the members of the football team support the call for the for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Who are these mothers? They are the mothers of young men and women who “disappeared” during the Dirty War carried out by the Argentine Military Junta between 1976 and 1983.

    An estimated 30,000 “disappeared”, that is were killed, because they were socialists, communists, trade unionists, community organisers, students, activists and so on who opposed the military dictatorship. Some of these young women had babies, about 500 in total, who were not returned to their natural families to live with their grandparents as their own parents had been killed. The babies were given to military families who supported the dictatorship.

    One day a week between 1977 and 2006 the Mothers, now grandmothers, would walk around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires demanding to know what had happened to their children. They even did this during the dictatorship and for their bravery three of the mothers also disappeared, that is were killed, for daring to question the military dictatorship.

    The present football team now supports the call for these mothers to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

    I'm sure you'll agree that it is one of the more heartening stories from in and around this current World Cup.

    More info on the story at the following link. (You may have to use babelfish to translate it.)

    Quick request . . .

    Can we have an England Germany World Cup downfall video before Sunday please?

    It's expected.

    Worst World Cup ever . . .

    . . . . because the bastard dog broke the frames of my glasses yesterday. I can't see a bloody thing.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Lush Life by Richard Price (Picador 2008)

    He had no particular talent or skill, or what was worse, he had a little talent, some skill: playing the lead in a basement-theater production of The Dybbuck sponsored by 88 Forsyth House ywo years ago, his third small role since college, having a short story published in a now-defunct Alphabet City literary rag last year, his fourth in a decade, neither accomplishment leading to anything; and this unsatisfied yearning for validation was starting to make it near impossible for him to sit through a movie or read a book or even case out a new restaurant, all pulled off increasingly by those his age or younger, without wanting run face-first into a wall.

    The Last Word

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 154

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 154th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1573 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Electoral Reform
  • What’s a 'Living Wage'?
  • The race to the bottom
  • Quote for the week:

    "Folks, it's time to evolve. That's why we're troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything's failing? It's because, um - they're no longer relevant. We're supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right? There's another 90 percent of our brains that we have to illuminate"
    Bill Hicks
    , Filling up the hump, 1993.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Blow Your House Down by Pat Barker (Picador USA 1984)

    You do a lot of walking in this job. More than you might think. In fact, when I get to the end of a busy Saturday night, it's me feet that ache. There, that surprised you, didn't it?

    I work on me own now. Nobody else fancies this place, because they've all got it worked out that he must've picked Kath up from here. I've got the whole viaduct to meself some nights. Except for Kath, who's still here in a way, stuck up there on her billboard. Hiya, Kath.

    I watched them putting that up and it was very strange if you knew Kath, because it was too big to go up all at once. I watched them pasting across first one eye and then the other and I thought, My God. Because her eyes, they follow you. They do, they follow you everywhere. I can be walking along with me back to her, and I still feel them. And they've got such a funny look. You'd just think they'd taken that photo after she was dead - that's the effect it has on you. Which is mad, because you can see she's alive, and anyway dead people's eyes close.

    The shite in my inbox

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 153

    Dear Friends,
    Welcome to the 152nd our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1575 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Idealism and materialism
  • The Class Struggle in Soviet Russia
  • What’s Wrong with Using Parliament?
  • 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

    Socialist Meeting in London: Class struggle and climate change

    SPGB public meeting

    "Class struggle and climate change - the politics of personal consumption."

    "We keep being told, these days, to reduce, re-use and recycle, to cut down on the meat, the car, the pets and the foreign holidays, to turn down, switch off, unplug and stand-by. The moral pressure-front of climate change is firmly upon us, yet when we take a look at the figures we find that the domestic share of consumption and waste is a small part of the overall picture, and that the lion's share is neither in our control nor even in the control of governments. It is in the hands of the tiny percentage of the Earth's population whom luck or inheritance have made into the super-rich. These are the people defecating on the global doorstep and then blaming the rest of us for the smell.

    It's enough to make any class-conscious worker spit and say to hell with recycling. But that would be a big mistake."

    Speaker: Paddy Shannon

    Saturday, June 19th


    The Socialist Party Head Office,

    52 Clapham High Street,

    London SW4 7UN.

    (nearest tubes: Clapham North and Clapham Common.)

    Website: SPGB


    Socialism Or Your Money Back Blog

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    The Distant Echo by Val McDermid (St Martin's Minotaur 2003)

    And they were off. Like wizards casting combative spells at each other, Sigmund and Davey threw song titles, lyrics and guitar riffs back and forth in the ritual dance of an argument they'd been having for the past six or seven years. It didn't matter that, these days, the music rattling the windows of their student rooms was more likely to come from the Clash, the Jam or the Skids. Even their nicknames spoke of their early passions. From the very first afternoon they'd congregated in Alex's bedroom after school to listen to his purchase of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it had been inevitable that the charismatic Sigmund would be Ziggy, the leper messiah, for eternity. And the others would have to settle for being the Spiders. Alex became Gilly, in spite of his protestations that it was a jessie nickname for someone who aspired to the burly build of a rugby player. But there was no arguing with the accident of his surname. And none of them had a moment's doubt about the appropriateness of christening the fourth member of their quartet Weird. Because Tom Mackie was weird, make no mistake about it. The tallest in their year, his long gangling limbs even looked like a mutation, matching a personality that delighted in being perverse.

    That left Davey, loyal to the cause of the Floyd, steadfastly refusing to accept any nickname from the Bowie canon. For a while, he'd been known halfheatedly as Pink, but from the first time they'd all heard "Shine on, You Crazy Diamond" there had been no further debate: Davey was a crazy diamond, right enough, flashing fire in unpredictable directions, edgy and uncomfortable out of the right setting. Diamond soon became Mondo, and Mondo Davey Kerr had remained through the remaining year of high school and on to university.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Yesterday's Zero

    2006 seems so long ago.

    A design classic

    Oh, this interactive World Cup wall chart is wonderful. It appeals to my inner geek that I usually hide away from public view so successfully.

    As I failed in finding a decent World Cup magazine at my local Barnes and Noble to provide me with all the basic details of fixtures, stats and venues, this will come in very handy over the next few weeks.

    Hat tip to the banksyboybrief blog for the heads up on this wonderful bit of electronic wizardry, and an extra garnish of kudos to him, also, for the above image.

    Of course it's not my image. Why would I be honing in on the England fixtures when Japan are in this year's World Cup?

    A message to our sponsors

    365Watch will be on hiatus for the duration of the World Cup.

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    How Much Do You Love Me? (2005)

    The Shoe by Gordon Legge (Polygon 1989)

    They always had good rants, Mental and Richard. The miners' strike provided eighteen months of debating material. Mental was completely disillusioned with the Protestant work ethic and found the refusal to hold a ballot smug and disturbing. Richard blamed the miners' loss on their amateurish use of the media and the media's innate bias. He talked of camera angles, interview locations and distorted emphasis. A ballot was useless, Richard said, since the media determined the information supply and the media was biased. The miners had elected leaders to make decisions on their behalf. That's what Scargill's job was. But Mental was unimpressed. The miners represented everything he hated about the 'mince and tatties mentality': 'All these places are Hun cities. Take Bo'ness, for example, typical fucking mining community. Hun bastards. You've got all these fat bastards moaning about not having any food. And I hate the word "scab". People degrade themselves by using that kind of attack.' They all wanted to see the miners win and they all agreed that Leonard Parkin was a fascist. But mostly they wanted to see Margaret Hilda Thatcher melt.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    The Last Detail (1973)

    Booker brooks no other

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 152

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 152nd our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1575 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Parliament and the Army: The Curragh 'Mutiny'
  • Ethics and the class struggle
  • Red or Yellow?
  • Quote for the week:

    "From time immemorial they hypocritically repeat; all men are equal; and from time immemorial the most degrading and monstrous inequality insolently weighs upon the human race. As long as there have been human societies the most beautiful of humanity’s rights is recognized without contradiction, but was only able to be put in practice one time: equality was nothing but a beautiful and sterile legal fiction. And now that it is called for with an even stronger voice we are answered: be quiet, you wretches! Real equality is nothing but a chimera; be satisfied with conditional equality; you’re all equal before the law. What more do you want, filthy rabble? Legislators, you who hold power, rich landowners, it is now your turn to listen." 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

    Sunday, June 06, 2010

    Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story (2006)

    A Drink Before The War by Dennis Lehane (Harper Torch 1994)

    As I grew, so did the fires, it seemed, until recently L.A. burned, and the child in me wondered what would happen to the fallout, if the ashes and smoke would drift northeast, settle here in Boston, contaminate the air.

    Last summer, it seemed to. Hate came in a maelstrom, and we called it several things - racism, pedophilia, justice, righteousness - but all those words were just ribbons and wrapping paper on a soiled gift that no one wanted to open.

    People died last summer. Most of them innocent. Some more guilty than others.

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Loves Of A Blonde (1965)

    Ticking along

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 151

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 151st our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1578 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Much ado about National Insurance
  • The 'tesco-isation' of charity
  • Are you a wage slave?
  • Quote for the week:

    "...the leisure which Socialism above all things aims at obtaining for the worker is also the very thing that breeds desire - desire for beauty, for knowledge, for more abundant life, in short. Once more, that leisure and desire are sure to produce art, and without them nothing but sham art, void of life or reason for existence, can be produced..." William Morris, The Worker’s Share of Art, 1885

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    I've been away . . .

    . . . from the publish button.

    I had my reasons.