"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Celebration of Imperialist Crimes

Head of state, head of church ... very political
EXTRACT: In many ways it is an extraordinary state of affairs that in a country where Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sasson are still taught almost universally in schools (this writer studied them for his O level in English literature) there is such automatic hostility to anyone who questions the official narrative and rituals that surround war commemorations. But Remembrance Day has been totally institutionalised in a manner akin to Holocaust Memorial Day, and to raise doubts is not just disloyal - it is a violation of the natural moral order. It would be more accurate to say that Remembrance Day is actually misremembrance day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gangster Bosses and Special Measures

Jim Ratcliffe and yacht
EXTRACT: So what should have been done? The CPGB’s Draft programme (section 3.7) says that, when “faced with plans for closure”, we should raise the demand to “nationalise threatened workplaces or industries under workers’ control” - and under certain circumstances it would be a perfectly legitimate tactic for workers to occupy the workplace in order to back up this demand. Indeed, it would be a matter of pure self-defence.

Having said that, however, it is difficult to see how this could have happened on this occasion. As I understand things, the majority of workers cheered when they heard news of the settlement. We certainly need to appeciate that the Grangemouth workforce were unlikely to vote for an occupation, given that there had been no concerted campaign to win and prepare them for such a tactic. If they had been prepared to occupy and demand nationalisation under workers’ control, that would certainly have put enormous pressure on both the UK and Scottish governments. But that is to stray into counterfactual speculation. Therefore, whilst we can easily criticise McCluskey on this or that point, even his entire strategy - he is a left bureaucrat at the end of the day - it is equally fair to say that, given his political limitations, he was faced with a Hobson’s choice: continue to resist and risk the total defeat of the union, or temporarily retreat in order to fight another day.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Stirring Stagnant Saudi Waters

Amidst the huge wealth, huge oppression

EXTRACT: True to form has been the staggering hypocrisy of the west over Saudi Arabia. Part of the justification for imperialist intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere was the need to protect and defend women’s rights. There has even been talk from William Hague that support for the anti-Assad opposition in Syria will lead to an “improvement” in women’s rights. So where are the loud messages of solidarity for the October 26 group from William Hague, or Harriet Harman for that matter? You must be joking. Wretchedly, Hague just mutters that the UK does a “lot” of business with Saudi Arabia, and, of course, it would be foolish to jeopardise valuable contracts.

In reality, as everyone knows, Saudi Arabia is supporting the most reactionary and fanatical elements in the Syrian opposition - ditto in Iraq, where there has been another wave of deadly sectarian attacks targeting Shi’ite-majority areas. Women’s oppression would surely intensify under the control of such Saudi-backed groups - groups that are indirectly armed by the west.