Monday, 29 November 2010

Guest Post:The UCL Occupation

On wednesday several hundred UCL students and supporters staged a sit in at the Jeremy Bentham Room of the university. We have voted to maintain an occupation with both local and national demands. Locally, against the role of UCL management for endorsing a tuition fees market. Nationally, against the coalition government's proposals for fees and savage cuts within higher education. 

As one of our demands we call for all staff on campus to be paid the full London Living Wage and awarded adequate sick pay, over-time pay, pension rights and other basic conditions- immediately. UCL Provost Malcom Grant recently agreed to begin paying the London Living Wage but with no commitment to approriate time frames- this is unnecessary and unacceptable. UCL can and must pay their LLW immediately. We are also calling for these workers to be brought back in-house- as they were employed directly back UCL only a few yars ago. Over the same time period as cleaners, security guards, and kitchen workers' wages and conditions have deteriorated(some almost by half), management salaries have exploded- the Provost alone seeing his salary grow by more than 100% in seven years. 

Nationally, we challenge the legitimacy of a coalition government which includes the Liberal Democrats, who pre-election pledge was to abolish tuition fees, to implement this agenda.

We note that the Coalition's agenda represents an irreversible shift in the nature of higher education- the inaugaration of a market and the commoditisation of knowledge and learning. 

The 79% cut of the higher education teaching budget, along with the elevation of tuition fees to £9000 per annum, constitutes the beginning of a process of privatisation and social exclusion within the university sector. The abolition of E.M.A. alone represents an attack on the poorest in society.

We reject the attempt to characterise these reforms as necessity- as the Higher Education Policy Institute note, these measures will likely increase public expenditure through this parliament and into the next as government initially funds a massive burden of personal debt. 

UCL occupation sends out a message of unity with all those fighting to save education across the country, and extend this to all those affected by coalition cuts. 

Please sign our petition at to give us your support.

Love and solidarity,

the UCL Occupation

Friday, 26 November 2010

Universities are factories occupy them!"

When it comes to fighting cuts and the proposed increase to the tuition fee’s then the students, our students simply stand above all else; that’s head and shoulders high. For in the short space of two weeks they have done more to expose the real vindictive and ideological agenda pertaining to the bogie and evil sprite of this Tory government and their sidekicks the Lib Dems united in a coalition engaging and waging a class war of shear hatred complete and without restriction against the majority of the population of this country. They are assisted by the full propaganda machine of the media, and in particular that large conglomerate owned and controlled by the media mongrel Keith Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation, and not then so much a free press that some conjecture. 

So I very much agree with the veteran Labour MP who described demonstrations against the planned rise in tuition fees at England's universities as "marvellous".

"As far as Wednesday demonstration is concerned it was marvellous and gives a lead to others to follow." 25 November 2010 backbench Labour MP David Winnick 

So all of a sudden, education, students and schoolchildren are in the news, and for all the reasons the establishment and the government would rather not see spread across newspapers, and I’m not referring to the so-called violence that this free press historically bedevils about like it were confetti on a festive occasion. The reporting and converge on the last two occasions of student protests have been nothing short than an absolute disgrace, there has been no investigative journalism, no looking at the case from the view of students and their grievances, concerns or point of perspective. No, instead we have had waxy saturated fatty acid vilification and wholesale like of our young people, as if they the press are in partnership with government, hey, excuse me but hold on, then again when you think about it Rupert Murdoch bunched up and formed close friendships and alliances with both Margret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

I don’t really think I have to say much more here about the backside licking that our so-called free press have been engaged with, and the trollop, the very promiscuous and disreputable, selective and single attack they have waged against the students and our young people in general.

Now Wednesday, and as you will all know by now, our students unperturbed from a negative press of two weeks ago staged a national walkout and occupation of some major universities around the country, in addition this national day of action which included a stroll uptown into Whitehall staged by up to 9,000 students and they included and were joined by school pupils from around the capital. Please notice that I preferred to use the term pupils, because I find the term children and such words or expression otherwise to be very demeaning and degrading towards a generation of young people who clearly understand what’s going on around them, and age or whether they are still at school has nothing whatsoever (quite rightly) to do with what they feel strongly about and is at stake here, simply their future. Society as we know it rewards freethinkers and dissenters including young people by systematic vilification and ridicule, and in this case calling them children in a derogatory and disparaging fashion finely and deliberately exercised, carried out and practice by the press and politicians, the élite alike.

And so as I’ve just been told on Twitter and rightly so by a comrade that: The function of media (owned by millionaires) is to shape how we think!”

Something to chew on, well think on!”

The last 48 hours has been like visiting 'Heaven' the abode of God and the angels; in attendance at the Whitehall Demonstration with the youth the cream of working class society, was a real joy to behold and treasure, and I will for the rest of my life. I am just absolutely astounded, the experiences for an old hand like myself was humbling, not only had thousands of young people taken the time to and troubled themselves to descend into the lions lair, a real habitation of wild animals, but faced the creatures of the Metropolitan police, workers who had turned their backs on their own class. The first sight that greeted my arrival was a line of about 100 police officers sweeping through Trafalgar Square, but there was no one there only tourists and four young sisters carrying a home made banner which read: Universities are factories occupy them’. 

It is true that many protesters that I saw had their school uniforms on, but so did the police (a failing school), and their weaponry the implements of war to be used if needed in this class war, backed up by the mounted cavalry of police. I think you must get by now the mental images and the seen I paint, a provocative situation in which the protesters did well to keep their cool refrained. I witnessed no violence perpetuated or bore onto the police, but witnessed much pushing and lashing out on their part, as if they were out for revenge. However the atmosphere was great and unity shone all around reflecting that casting light that the tide could just be changing in our favour, time will only tell and the only certainty that I now know is that these young people, this generation may be the key to change. I do hope so. However we all have to play our part in support and solidarity, very, very important is that!" 

If I have time I will write more about the demonstration and the ongoing campaign they the students are continuing to put up over the next few days. In addition I hope to be able to put up a guest post from one of the students involved at the UCL occupation.  

Monday, 22 November 2010

Carnival of Resistance

Today’s offering is a post of reflection; an intent consideration of the cuts campaign thus far. Of course it’s still early days and many people are still totally unaware and oblivious to the government austerity straitjacket made to measure and forced upon on us all no mater were in the country we live, young and old both alike.

So far then, there has been much talk, speculation and general condemnation from the usual and to be expected assortment of would be leaders of residence, this coming Saturday sees the formal lunch of the Coalition of Resistance an idea first prompted, headed and promoted by the veteran and former parliamentarian Tony Benn.

The Coalition of Resistance against the government's public spending cuts, is bringing together trade union, community, political and civil society groups, and has announced the agenda for its organising conference to be held as I say this coming Saturday 27 November - which already has 500 representatives signed up.

The opening plenary has the same uniformity’ about it as is now regular and unvarying in familiarity, the speakers include:
Mark Serwotka PCS, Andrew Murray, Jean Lambert MEP, Bob Crow RMT, Christian Mahieux (Solidaires unions, France), Clare Solomon NUS, Heather Wakefield UNISON, People's Charter, John McDonnell MP, Lindsey German

Last Saturday saw the latest march take place in London organised by Stop the War coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the British Muslim Initiative, the protest march entitled, 'the Time To Go' snaked through London’s weekend streets leading and ending in Trafalgar Square where they assembled to listen to the usual long list of speakers and audience participation of shouts: “troops out” of Afghanistan and “Britain get out of NATO”.

This is not a time to be sectarian as I keep reminding myself and telling others, but it has to be said; and I’m saying it; if the Stop the War coalition is anything to go by then the Coalition of Resistance needs to do things much differently if its to be both galvanising and effectively retaining the support of working people, unlike those many thousands who were once involved in the war campaigns, but then wondered off never to be seen again. The last thing we need is a talking shop or building a platform for the massaging of self-bloated egos of self-importance.  Let’s be honest millions came out onto London’s streets against the Iraq invasion; on Saturday even the organisers claimed that 10,000 was good, but was it?

In Newham were I live we have a short of repeat run of what I think went on with the local Stop the War conception, which no longer exists, which probably explains to some extent why Saturdays demonstration was rather small in comparison to the earlier days, and when you consider that three national organisations were involved then it was dismal and a tokenistic drop in the ocean of discontent.

Now I’ve attended two planning meetings of the Save Newham Services Group, which was set up a week before the Con Dem budget, and without deliberately meaning to put it down; I have to say it’s not going anywhere in a hurry, it’s rocking onto December and it hasn’t even decided to take to the streets or plotted any simple petition or awareness work, and I don’t holdout any hope that it will be able to drive an energetic campaign now or in the time to come. However all is not lost, I’ve been able to join-up and work with local members of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), they are youngish activists and we have been working the main shopping centre in Stratford, collecting signatures and generally just talking to people. I better add that I have no intention of becoming a member of the (RCG) but it gives me an opportunity to speck with people, and I must say the response has been very good and there is everything to build for, and the sooner we get started the better. I honestly believe that the real fight back will come from a new generation, a generation of all ages, young and old alike who understand what is at stake not just the local services and jobs, but this is an ideological attack waged on working people in the here and now.

So that’s my whinge out of the way, now let’s look at the positive and the up and coming this week; well the students are back in the thick of it, on Wednesday they have a national day of action billed in London as National Walkout and Day of Protest against Tuition Fees. I hope to be able to join them on their street demonstration giving support and showing solidarity. I will endeavour to post a full report of my observations and experience as soon I can.

Eleven days on from what I consider and will describe as a brilliant and magnificent standard set by our students that should be an example for us all to follow in the coming months. But let us also remember or not lose sight of the fact that the media and the police have whipped up a frenzied atmosphere, centred on the one potentially serious incident, when a fire extinguisher was thrown from the roof of Millbank Towers. Accounts have changed repeatedly, but there is no evidence that anyone was injured.

The Police Federation have called for the individual involved to be charged with attempted murder. He is student Edward Woollard just 18 and faces charges of violent disorder and a possible five-year prison sentence, we all need to give unreserved support to this comrade, and the call of the Police Federation is an insult, a put-on when you consider they close ranks, keep silent and get off scot-free when they killed in cold blood poor helpless Jean Charles de Menezes the young Brazilian man shot in the head seven times at Stockwell tube station, or Ian Tomlinson killed on his way home from work by the brutality that has become a hallmark of the Metropolitan Police on demonstrations in these times of economic turmoil.

So far, at least 61 people have been arrested over the Millbank incident, including 12 youths who are under 18. The police trawl is being widened to include any individual who was in the vicinity of the protest. The media has promulgated CCTV photographs of alleged offenders, calling for them to be turned in for criminal prosecution. An unnamed senior police figure told the Observer that the student protest would help end criticism of the police “for being too provocative,” particularly after police violence at the G20 demonstration last year that resulted in the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson. He gloated that “during the next demo no one can say a word,” against police actions.

Last week, in a further attack on civil liberties, the Metropolitan Police’s public order CO11 branch forced the Fitwatch web site to close. The site had been giving advice to students threatened with arrest for their involvement in the Millbank occupation. Fitwatch was set up in 2007 in opposition to the provocative close-up filming tactics used by Forward Intelligence Teams during demonstrations.

This situation points to the major political problem confronting workers and young people as they seek to develop resistance to these measures. Nowhere do working people have a political party that represents their class interests against those of big business and the global financial elite.

Faced with a systemic crisis of the capitalist profit system, the bourgeoisie intends to destroy all the social gains won by working people. To do so, it must resort to violence and repression. Against this, workers and youth in Britain and internationally face a struggle for political power against the big business parties and the repressive forces of the state.

This fight is not of our choosing, nor was the capitalist world meltdown, coursed by its inherent greed, an essential constituent and characteristic of a very rotten system!”  

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Detroit Motor City and Motown - The Buggered American Dream

It must have been growing up in the 60s and 70s and with most of my spare time spent and I must say; immoderately chained to that Box, the Television; and that somehow gave me the impression back then, that America was positively’ the land of milk and honey. I also often wondered back then, why were we in Britain so far behind them, why was it that most Americans portrayed on the TV lived in big large houses, devoured no-end of supper hot-dogs and gigantic burgers after which they would take a spin in the open top convertible to the beach for a spot of surfing on the crest of a wave?"

But then again, on the other hand, there were some clues that gestured the American Dream was not all it was being made out to be. It was The Waltons’ believe it or not that shattered some of my illusions, and gave me a good idea that America really was no different to anywhere else on the plant. I must say that I did and still love that programme which was repeated so many times. The plot was just charming, although the more serious side was about The Walton family, consisting of John and Olivia, their seven children, and John's parents Zebulon "Zeb" Tyler and Esther Walton, struggling to make a decent life during the Great Depression up until World War II. The family's story is seen primarily through the eyes of John-Boy, and I’m sure you will all remember The Waltons’ and possibly like me with some fondness.

I broke the habit of a compulsive disorder long ago, that of being addicted to the TV and don’t own a set anymore, although the licensing people refuse to believe me, but that’s as they say another story.

The one thing that I am sure about, and that’s the effects of the Great Depression upon the working class of 1930s America, would have been a lot more difficult, backbreaking and arduous.

But I wonder how does it compare with the America of today? Now we all know about the crises that started in America two years ago, the foreclosures of homes, and the escalating joblessness of working people.

Some states it is being reported are close to complete bankruptcy.

Motor City and Motown now Rubdown!"   

But what I want to focus on in this post and bring attention to those that stumble upon this site, is the very serious and dreadful situation in the sprawling region of the US known as the Metro Detroit area, with a population of 4,403,437 making it the nation's eleventh-largest populated area and domain. Many will be familiar with the name and heard of the city of Detroit which is known and made famous first the world over by it’s place taken in the history of the automobile industry and then secondly by the popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown.

The Metro Detroit which includes Detroit; and I do hope that I am able to respectfully add and not in an abrupt or discourteous manner, is indeed cogent evidence that the American Dream for a great many is dead and buried; if at all it ever existed in the first place. It seems very strange that when we hear, read or see reports about America, there is a news blackout when it comes to the true and full picture, is this deliberate or not I do sometimes question. For what would the world reception be if the real horrors created by the system of capitalism were to be reported in the mass media on a frequent basis, would it awaken many to start and question for themselves, the oh so baron a rock upon which world capitalism rests?”   

In three short years it is estimated one out of four people in the Metro Detroit region won't know where two of their daily meals will come from, according to the United Way for South-eastern Michigan. In 2009, there were 706,000 people hungry in Metro Detroit; by 2013, 952,000 people could be in need. These are the people who will suffer most with any rise in food prices. Meanwhile, Detroit remains blighted by over 13% unemployment, which economists don't expect to drop for years.

God's helping hands

The Detroit News reported three day’s ago; that Lingering double-digit unemployment is projected to fuel a hunger crisis in Metro Detroit over the next three years.

"The biggest challenge is how much free and low-cost food is available," said Gerry Brisson, senior vice president of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, the largest provider of emergency food in the state.
Gleaners will increase its food distribution — last year at 37 million pounds — by 10 percent each year for the next three years, joining other agencies in Metro Detroit looking to dramatically ramp up food distribution — some by as much as double — in the next three years.

One grasps the enormity of the crises when you read that Many Metro Detroit families already are feeling the strains of a food shortage — the long waits at the pantries, rationing at soup kitchens and agencies resorting to cheaper filler foods — pasta, breads, canned goods — to fill more stomachs. The agencies also are turning to unprecedented solutions by offering food-budgeting classes and tapping new sources to rescue discarded food: farms, hydroponic growers and food manufacturers.

The real picture is best painted by those who try to help; here is a taste of the sheer real frustration of a battle to keep many alive, and can you believe in the richest and most powerful nation in the world.

The word and testament are the real evidence that the system dose not work for the majority, and summed up in the following statement from that above mentioned Detroit New article:

“At God's Helping Hands, drops in food supply mean sending families home with less: two cans of fruit, instead of four; one box of cereal, not two.
"Sometimes, that breaks your heart, but there's nothing we can do," said Cain, who founded the pantry 12 years ago with her husband, Brian Cain. "We have never turned anybody away. …We don't want to start now."
On a recent morning, a half-dozen seniors and mothers waited outside the office on Star-Batt Drive a half-hour before doors opened. Once inside, a staffer handed each person a paper stub with a number — similar to those pulled at butcher counters — and then directed them into a waiting room. There, they sat silently until their number was called. On some days, volunteers distribute sandwiches and water.
Elizabeth Huff, who is hypoglycemic, gratefully accepts the food.
"Standing there in line or sitting there when I should be eating — it's not a good combination," said Huff, a mother of two from Rochester Hills.
Out of work for a year, Huff relies on pantry food, her monthly food stamps ($59) and jobless benefits ($350). Her husband, meanwhile, earns $8.10 an hour working as a clerk at a nearby Speedway gas station.”

So what I have learnt about the working class people of the Metro Detroit area of Michigan in the great USA, confirms the words to be true of that old British music hall song:

Time has flown - outcast and homeless
In the street she stands and says,
While the snowflakes fall around her,
'Won't you buy my bootlaces.'

It's the same the whole world over,
It's the poor what gets the blame,
It's the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn't it a blooming shame? 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

There is greed, and there is greed, and then there is Centrica!”

Centrica’ if you didn’t already know, own that very familiar or otherwise easily recognized giant utility which when one thinks gas you think British Gas, and of course once upon a time a publicly owned energy supplying utility.

Centrica plc is the large multinational utility company which is based in the United Kingdom but has interests in North America. Centrica is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names "Scottish Gas" in Scotland and "British Gas" in the rest of the UK.

As a customer of British Gas my post this morning is a grumble, to tell the truth it’s more than a grumble really. I am very annoyed to have read that Centrica yesterday teed up its investors with public-ally promising higher-than-expected profits to come, and just days after the firm announced price hikes for millions of British Gas customers. Publishing a trading update, the group predicted operating profits for 2010 will be slightly ahead of expectations of £2.2 billion.

When I look around the blogging fraternity, particularly on the left (for want of a better description), not many cover the rising cost of living that is being forced on ordinary people at a time which has and is becoming known for its (government) austerity. This blog tries it’s best to cover such mundane and everyday maters because it’s important to understand and appreciate just how much and such daylight robbery is impacting on those whom we believe to be a majority. In recent years much has been said and reported in general about fuel poverty; and we are told that households are considered by the Government (or at lest the last lot) to be in 'fuel poverty' if they would have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a 'satisfactory' condition. 

Keeping warm, cooking a meal, even having hot running water is now quite quickly becoming for millions simply a luxury which they can no longer afford!”

2.8 million Households in England were classified as being in fuel poverty in 2007 (13% of all households), and there have been increases in each year since 2003.

The residential arm of British Gas recorded pre-tax profits of £585 million in the first half of 2010 - a 98 per cent increase year-on-year.

The UK's biggest energy supplier benefited from one of the coldest winters in 30 years, which caused shivering households to crank up the heating, helping sales of gas by volume to rise by 8 per cent in the period.

So an increase of 7 per cent as has been set by Centrica’ and will have unforeseen ramifications for us all. Not only will we see many more driven into experiencing the horror and for the first time, of that which is fuel poverty this winter; as this giant multinational has decided to put its price hike up from 10 December not only in time for Christmas and at the coldest darkest time of the year, but it will enervate and force up in general the cost of living and the prices that we pay for pre-cooked foods such as bread and many other items, it will help we are sure industry to generate all those new jobs that the government says private enterprise will create in its big plan for the big society: to get the unemployed, sorry workshy back to work. However, don’t expect this or any government to intervene, them day’s are long over and they never did any real good in the first place - an abscess surrounded by inflamed tissue needs to be cut-out and completely drained of the greed and the pus!”                 
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Workers in India sort their problems out - they kill the Boss!"

There have been occasions when having had a spot of bother with the old BT Broadband I’ve ended up talking to some rally lovely workers in a call centre in India. They are really polite and accommodating almost all the time. I still find it hard to get my head around the fact that I’m having a problem with my Internet connection here in East London and thousands of miles away across the other side of the world someone is sorting it out for me, has the world got smaller or what?”

So I was taken aback when by accident I came across this Indian newspaper report about A group of up to 400 workers in India who allegedly used iron rods and heavy factory equipment to beat an auto company executive to death last weekend. Joginder Choudhary, an assistant general manager at auto parts manufacturer Allied Nippon, was reportedly eating lunch when he was attacked by hundreds of his employees (400 people according to some accounts).

He and two other senior managers had to be hospitalized and some members of the HR staff were also attacked.

Workers according to reports "attacked and chased the human resources staff and those on the board of directors" in a suburb called Ghaziabad, which is near Dehli.
The workers say they were protesting at the layoffs of their former co-workers.
And that in any case, the executives were armed to the teeth with weapons to defend themselves. The management had guns on hand and fired into the air when the attack started.

From the Indian Express,

The stand-off began around 2:15 pm when the workers and the company management had a heated argument over the strike being planned by the workers on November 16.

[S]enior officers including Choudhary went to meet the workers. “After a heated discussion, the management tried to assert themselves and one of the officials fired in the air. This infuriated the workers, who then went on a rampage, manhandling the Officers,” said a senior police officer.

While Allied Nippon described the assault as "premeditated and unprovoked," police have sided with workers, saying that the officials who fired gun shots were the reason that employees, "already seething with anger after the labour commissioner's office declared their strike illegal," turned violent.

But Allied Nippon's chairman, Ravi Talwa, says that managers only fired shots in self-defense. In his statement in the Times of India, he said:
"We did not provoke anyone. The workers were already incensed as the labour commissioner's office had declared their strike call for Tuesday illegal. One of our managers had, indeed, fired two rounds with his licensed pistol but it was only meant to scare away the workers who were chasing him. The workers then stopped chasing him and went after other managers.''

So far, ten have been arrested.

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“Cameron 'slept on The Mall' for Charlie & Di's nuptials?

Well there we have it, and at long last, and in time of political unease and possibly turning in months to unrest in the country at large. Today it’s been officially announced that William (Prince) Windsor and 28-year-old Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, are betrothed; and cor-blimey governor; never thought it was going to happen, but then again think on!”

It’s no accident is it? That we have what I think is becoming, and is going to become in many peoples eyes, and mark my words here please; quite quickly, one of the most unpopular and only peace time coalition governments ever engaged in shoving down all our throats, a reprehensible and condemnable package of austerity, forced as always onto the poor and most venerable in order that capitalism in the world may continue on the gravy train of exploitation and robbery that have made Kate Middleton’s family and others like them millionaires.

Today’s announcement has all the haul marks of Déjà vu, and I am indicating that this is not a new phenomenon; a royal wedding happens to be planed at such a time of political turmoil is no ascendant friends!"

Take a trip back, back to 1981 and yes the year that William’s own Mama and Papa tied that royal knot. Margret (milk snatcher) Thatcher had been in office for three years, unemployment and industrial tensions were just begging to thrust there tattooed mark on the population. That mark materialised a few years latter in the great strike of British miners, and the class struggle waged by many of us who were around at that time, even television captured the ambiance of those times with classic programmes, a mixture of comedy and drama immortalised in Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Boys from the Blackstuff.

I’m thinking about writing a post about politics and comedy very soon, but in the meantime lets get back on to the thread and say that this royal wedding must be a god-send to Cameron and the coalition, it comes at a time when they will be looking towards the flag waving country of hope and glory bigots (sorry but true), to divide and rule, the wedding in short is a diversion and I really don’t have that much more to say about it, only that I had to laugh at Cameron today when he said that on the evening of the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer which was on 29 July 1981. He Cameron’ slept out the night on the Mall, well what do you think, a tall story or what?

Personally I think he did, and I wrote and posted this on twitter today: “Cameron on the eve of the 1981 royal wed, spent the night on the Mall, smoking ganja, drinking beer and running a general mock with his best mate George' - Thirty or so years on; nothing changed except they now run the country or so they think!"

But the better comment was this from another twitter:

“Cameron 'slept on The Mall' for Charlie & Di's nuptials? Huh - bet he used some homeless people as a mattress.”me homeless people as a mattress.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

A New Generation and Students Show the Way!"

The last week really has been packed to capacity with what I can only describe as breathtaking and gasping hope!”

Oh what a week this last week has been comrades!”

The Students fired the first shot at this greedy capitalist state and in the class war now opening up against the cuts. And ‘didn’t they do well’, as they use to proclaim on the Generation Game when the contestants recalled the goody’s on the conveyer belt.

A new generation not a game has now come to the forefront: There are fifty-thousand good reasons why today we should all be grateful to our students. They broke the mould of restraint; the straitjacket is off at last and no longer working!”

The establishment are now concerned; and well they should be, for all these things austerity are no done deal.

My guess is that the Students felt betrayed with Clegg and by the LibDem’s, but particularly with the Orange crocus who are now at the hart of government, and let’s just remember that they have and share a similar ideology and political orientation to that of the Tories!”

Their dishonesty has been outrageously criminal. Take Nick Clegg for instance, who has now admitted, to the dismay and understandably to that of thousands of students. That he should never have signed a pre-election pledge to oppose rising tuition fees. What a game these lot play, and if I were an ordinary member of that party I would do more than just think about burying my head in a bucket of sand, but get out of sight and don’t tell anyone ever you’re a member. I can think of and recall all those that I met over the years who left the Labour Party for the LibDem’s, thinking that somehow they were to the left of Labour, some joined because they thought Tony Blair taking the country to war and that the subsequence illegal invasions’ was a New Labour step to much to stomach, and whilst I’m at it I better mention the hundreds of deselected former Labour councillors who wondered into their ranks when they couldn’t get back on the council, position seeking and running local capitalism always their driving principle.

My own time in politics has seen remarkable changes in those establishment political parties, it’s as if they have all merged into the same flowing stream, like the running water flowing on under the earth, and there current is the fluid, their bid to run capitalism!”

About two years ago I stumbled across and read an interesting newspaper interview with the former Leader of what was known in his time as the Liberal Party. Jeremy Thorpe anyone still remember him? And how well known is Jeremy Thorpe these days? Apart from the fact that he was involved in some sort of court case that ended his career, does anyone remember anything much about him? Does anyone under the age of forty even know the name? Possibly not. There was a time when he seemed like a fairly major player in British politics, even negotiating with Ted Heath over the possibility of a coalition government in 1974, but his principal contribution was himself, there's little trace left of his time as leader of the Liberal Party. In the 30 years since his departure from the front line of establishment politics. Thorpe now stricken with Parkinson's disease these past three decades has kept out of the lime-light.  However he made some very interesting comments about what he thought the Tories were about under the leadership of David Cameron, and this was at a time when Cameron was busy moving his hair-parting from one side of the head to the other, as well as undertaking a re-vamping the image of the Tory party, and in came that mighty oak and green logo, masking over, hiding the deep blue that Thatcher herself was so keen on that her articles of clothing should reflect like some cracked and crazed football worshiper.

As Cameron was applying the make-up to his party’s public image, some on the Tory backbenches were unduly worrying about what and which direction was he taking the party?  They and as we now know, really had no need to be alarmed; and can you believe that Jeremy Thorpe now suffering  as I say from Parkinson's disease and retired from public life but still able to predict before the election the rightwing thrust this government has taken. What I do wonder then, is what would the likes of Thorpe think about his modern predecessor and the orange, blue locust like migratory grasshoppers, that control the party he once led?”

Now let’s not get carried-away with the likes of Thorpe, for he is a cut from the same cloth as Cameron and Clegg but operating in different times; but let me leave you with the wit with which Thorpe became famous for at the height of his popularity, with his impeccable suits, velvet-trimmed overcoats and natty hats had a certain kind of male style, his wit rarely missed the mark. In 1962, when the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, sacked seven of his Cabinet to try to preserve his administration, Thorpe declared: "Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his friends for his life."  

This brings me to an interesting conversation I had the other night with comrade Brain Hopper, always a fountain of knowledge in life, tempered with a real experience. He was telling me about his younger son’s heartache and the stress at having his car stolen, driven and then burnt-out and left abandoned in a field near a place called and would you believe ‘Dragonby’ which is near Scunthorpe, just outside in fact, and in North Lincolnshire. Brain brought home to me just how life in the opening decades of the 21 century has become degenerated in comparison to say 30 short years ago. There is something seriously wrong in capitalist society, when workers steal from others, and from there own kind, and then again some may say, that which has always gone on and always will, but that hardly answers the problem; that others are forced to cope with  the closed narrow and selfish disrespect by what others do. It may have only been (in this case) a car to most including those who stole it; but to this young man, it was part of his tool-kit, the means by which he travelled to and from the steelworks, did the shopping, picked the kids up from school and always available for the unexpected family crises, burnt, melted and wielded into a field; not a dream but a nightmare!”

In all probability; it was youngsters’ that took this young workers car for a joy-ride and then fired-It!”

And so I started this post by hailing the young students amongst us the working class, and for their tremendous demonstration, which included the invasion of the Tories Head Office at Millbank, and end it with an example that says more than anything that youth, our young people are wondering into the abyss that deprivation and want has brought on. If things are to change then socialists must get amongst them, we must bring the arguments of change and invite them to participate, only by working with each other can we overcome our one common enemy world capitalism?”

Last week young people led by example, they opened the way, they sent shock waves into the coalition, they opened up the class war and we must fall into and amongst their ranks, let 50,000 turn into millions!”

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Class War is not of our making!"

Keeping a blog is  time consuming I think, and can be a labour of love and commitment. From one day to the next, you don’t really know what you will be writing about next, and a political journal is even the more demanding, trying to bring clarity with relevance, can keep you awake at night.

This is one such night!”

I have a long mental list of subject matter that I intend writing about, but recently I have found those events, the news, and the word on the street dictates content.

Since the general election and the installation of this so-called coalition, there has been no shortage and much materiel to write about, not a shortage, but an absolute avalanche, a masses slide of snow, ice and mud down a mountainside.

Let me give a small example of what I mean; take this week in question. On Sunday the press and media were very busy reporting in advance that plans have been drawn up and ready to make the long term unemployed work for their benefits. Then on Tuesday the press are reporting that Teachers pay and sickness records are to be published, then of course yesterday students in there tens of thousands marched in London against government attacks on what is left (very little) of a free universal education system, latter on the same day and after much vacuous spitefulness sprayed in the direction of our students it’s back to attracting the unemployed and downtrodden, and the forevermore Tory supporting daily Telegraph leading the charge.

And are these not charged up times?”

Everyday brings a new attack, only six months into a new government that has seen the return of the rotten Tories; propped-up by an equally rotten word breaking Liberal Democrats - we see the head office of the Tory party attacked and smashed, the police struggling to control the situation but still lashing out with their assortments of many different batons and truncheons.

Over 50,000 people brought Westminster to a standstill with a peaceful march past Parliament to protest against the proposal to increase tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year.

Is there a class war going on?” 

Photographs: Storming Tory HQ Millbank Tower in London 10 November  

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Man made the field of Remembrance

Lingering along the path of my last posting and continuing with the theme, which is the subject matter of war. I couldn’t help noticing, as it’s always stuffed under you nose and through the media, the part that the young and indeed the old Royals play in the proceedings of war and remembrance.

This national act of remembrance is a really big occasion for them. A much busy time of the royal year I do suppose.

Now, Harry Windsor (Prince) has already been out doing his bit for the family business; that's the firm run by his grandmother the old queen.

“Head bowed, a solemn Prince Harry plants a wooden cross and poppy in memory of a friend killed in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan Woodgate who died in March when a grenade was thrown over a wall in Sangin on what was due to be the last foot patrol of his tour of duty.” That was the emotive opening lines from the right-wing Daily Mail.  

The prince was opening the Royal British Legion Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance, for the soldiers who have died in the conflict, and of course in Wootton Bassett now famous, and sadly for the returning and the sombre parades of hundreds of young dead servicemen and women, needlessly sacrificed in a war and continuing doggy intrusion, or invasion and occupation that no one remembers exactly why on earth our young are posted there. Oh sorry, it’s to keep us safe on the British streets!”

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Death's head the poppy...

It’s that time of year yet again; it soon comes around, and I speck of that which some believe is a respectful event and cycle; that appeal to the nation and mounted for funds; by the Royal British Legion.

Supermarket’s this week will be full of them sellers, we all know the type; little old ladies, boy scouts, girl guides, oh yes, sea and army cadets all training to be pathfinders, and then, them ex-service personnel; who make up the ranks of the Legion. There is no explanation for them type. I think they are brainsick, drawn and quartered by the system of obedience, which is instilled during soldiery training. This training taught them not to think for themselves!”

Need I say more, the poppy appeal is a real load of bollix!”

If by any chance or stretch of the imagination, you are now beginning to think that I’m sounding and vocalising the song of a war cynic? Well then you wouldn’t be wrong, but much, much more than that!” And I make no apology for that, and without causing I hope, any intended offence or umbrage to the families, relatives and friends of the millions who have lost their lives in wars and conflict.

I’m not the fount of knowledge, but I know something of the pain and hurt after losing a loved member of the family as a result of war; you never forget or recover from the horror of it all, and it lingers on down through the years, passed on down to the next generation, seemingly time is not the great healer that they said it was!”

So at this time of the year, and on this humble blog, it has become a tradition I do suppose! To wright a post against war whilst remembering my own grandfather; who unwillingly was made to fight on the German side during the Second World War. I remember him, although I have never had the opportunity, or rather was ‘deprived’ would really be a much better description of not being able to have met each other in our own natural (nature’s physical world permitting) life time, his life shortened by the barbaric horror that is war. I tell you there is nothing more grater in proof and an evident fact, that ‘war’ is an unhinged act, of an unhinged minority who run and control world capitalism: and let’s not forget that it’s us, we the workers, the vast majority who ‘by and the large’ are the one’s killed, relatively (astronomical) and ostentatiously in large numbers!”

So I put his (my grandfather) portrait up, his likeness taken, copied from an old ID photograph, and hung for over 40 years on the living room wall of my grandmother’s home, until she passed on by, in the fullness of her own life!

And of course there will be those, I am sure, who will say that this post is still disrespectful, and view it nothing more than like a drunk who utters obscenities and profanities. But this is not a drunk stumbling around in the dark trying to get the key into the front door after a night out at the “local” British Legion.

A few days ago, whilst I was checking over the site meter of this blog, I noticed we had a hit, a visitor from would you believe it!” well, Hiroshima …!”  Humbled; by the mere thought that someone had hit-on this blog from this location of mass murder; that was committed with the weapons of mass destruction and murder, that are in the control of the unhinged!”

The bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will stand for evermore, as the worst atrocities, shockingly cruel and inhumane, and committed in the interests of western capital’s domination and place in the world, and by those unhinged few!”

However what I’m really thinking about is the poppy-appeal, and why I will not be supporting it!"

The Royal British Legion is designed to support and promote the capitalist glories of war. The Legion is run and organised by ex-officers, seniority, defines leadership with all it’s royal approval.

The British Legion was founded in 1921 as allegedly, the voice for the ex-Service community, but get this Earl Haig, commander of the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele was one of the founders of the Legion, and was its President until his death.

The opening day of the Battle of Somme on 1 July 1916 saw the British Army suffer the worst one-day combat losses in its history.

However when you consider with nearly 60,000 casualties on it's first day, the Somme was one of the bloodiest horrors and campaign that Earl Haig led, but please also consider this; because of the composition of the British Army a volunteer force with many battalions comprising of men from specific local areas, these losses had a profound social impact and have given the battle a lasting cultural legacy in Britain.

From the very beginning with the appointment of Haig, and into a leading position, defined its role in the great scheme of things!”

There’s been much in the news this year about the poppy-appeal, publicity about TV presenters and their guests wearing poppies early, and then it comes out that they don’t actually pay for them, the poppies are provided by the props and make-up department. You really do have to think this over, and see the Legion for what it is, and led by the same officer cast that led and lost millions.

I think a white-poppy to be a more appropriate symbol of remembrance, rather that the blood red. Now I recently discovered that in Canada, there is the Royal Canadian Legion, an exported copy of our own. Running along similar lines, and officer led of course!

Now the Legion over there is mulling whether to launch a lawsuit if groups in Prince Edward Island and Ontario do not stop handing out white poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.

On the East Coast, an organization called the Island Peace Committee has been handing out white poppies, which are supposed to represent peaceful conflict resolution. The Ottawa Poppy Coalition has been distributing them in Ottawa.

But the Legion has taken issue with the campaign, calling it an insult to veterans and a possible breach of copyright.

"It's simply a trademark issue," said Legion spokesperson Bob Butt. "We own the trademark on the poppy."   

Well I never, the symbol, the poppy a trademark!”  I think the red poppy is the symbolic representation of War!"

Brief History of the Poppy Appeal  

Click Here!"

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Newham: They say cut back we say fight back!"

On Saturday four comrades, set-up pitch armed with leaflets and a petition, the first attentive steps were taken to raise the whole horror of cuts with an indifferent and apathetic public, having said that it was encouraging to have met many who knew the significance and impact that these cuts will have on all our lives; refreshing and optimistic I felt coming away after just two hours work.

I met some very concerned, angry and interesting people on ‘Stratford’ streets, young and old alike drawn to our stall by posters spelling out what the capitalist crisis and them cuts will mean in the hard reality of the scalpel employed in the Con Dems bloody dissection without pain killers, general or local anaesthetic agent, and the result will be anaesthesia, the loss of bodily sensation without the loss of consciousness.

The leaflets that we handed-out spelt it out, the direction and the mighty campaign we must build: “There is only one must – for us to unite against a system that blames children, the elderly, the unemployed, overseas worker, the sick and disabled, working men and women. All will be sacrifices to the interests of capitalist profit making. Millions of people must join the fight back and what they must fight for is socialism together with working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world which will put a stop to the capitalists and their apologist. Workers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains! We have a world to win!”

On Thursday past, we had our second Newham meeting against the cuts, twenty two comrades from local government and the voluntary sector involved in community projects agreed to set-up Save Newham Services a report can be read Here on the Random Blowe blog. Since the meeting I have developed some concerns, about the dance step, pace, the rate of moving (especially walking or running) that this campaign has set itself at the moment and is taken, hopefully I’m proven wrong in the weeks that lie ahead, and having said that no blame is directed towards anyone, for at least we have some movement in Newham. It’s down to us all to up the anti in our community, and a start was made, a very good start made on Saturday.

The millionaires who lead the government, backed by the business elite, have wasted no time in putting together their plan to attack the living standards and community services of the working class. The details of the cuts have been widely reported, totalling £81 billion a massive £7bn cut in welfare spending whilst Vodafone is allowed to avoid its £6bn Tax bill.

The enslaving of our class is to intensify, retirement age will rise, and cuts in higher education and council spending are all backed by a ruthless propaganda campaign in the capitalist press. No time is to be wasted; we must build and use every day, take every given opportunity to spread the word No to Cuts!                         

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The American Elections' Results: Capitalism Cruel, Callus, Barbarous and Savage

Sarah Palin or Olive

The world of capitalism is cruel, callus, barbarous and savage. Just one good look around and you can sure as shooting see that, the only problem is many block it out from their minds, and are conditioned to do so; and so the truth being, that poverty, starvation, homeliness and unemployment under capitalism, well, it will never be fixed.

Putting together that which is torn or broken will never happen, and there will never be peace on earth!

Only under capitalism you understand!”

I find American politics bewildering at the best of times, a bizarre crazy arrangement that ensures a Democrat or Republican administration every time. The conventions, primary elections, caucuses and now a Tea Party?”   

Two parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics since the American Civil War, although other parties have also existed but never winning anything like national support, and third parties have the least political influence on the national stage. Most, but not all Americans buy into or have any illusions in the political shuffle between the two dominating parties of capitalism. There are many cleverly designed aspects built over the years that impregnate many minds, and fill them with nationalistic nonsense such as the American Dream or the All American’ - the latter term originally used in reference to a list of college football players who were regarded as the best at their respective positions. The United States Army 82nd Airborne Division was given the nickname "All-American" because its members came from all 48 U.S. states which, at that time, constituted the United States.

And then there is the actor John Wain who said:  True patriotism is a lot more than getting a lump in your throat when the flag passes by. It involves determination on your part to see that America remains free. It involves your willingness to put the best interest of our country ahead of your own self interest. Individual interest may be important, but the art of democracy is the ability to recognize the common good and the ability to give, not just to take. There are 231 million people out there today that can pull our nation together or pull it apart. Which way did you pull today?

Do you now catch my meaning?”

President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) it is said; to be widely credited with having democratised (their meaning) American politics. Reforms initiated about that time led to party conventions taking over as the vehicle for the selection of presidential candidates. Each state sends delegate, mostly pledged to vote for a particular candidate although some are uncommitted. In fact this was not as successful as had been hoped. Control of state delegates fell into the hands of the party bosses, the most notorious of whom there were those who ran Tammany Hall, the HQ of the Democrats in New York. This put into a key position another class of professional politicians who expected and received patronage from political hopefuls whose path to power they smoothed. A major reason for the advance of the primary system was that it struck a blow at these state bosses. The primary system varies from state to state, with a number still mandating their delegates through the party caucus. Others hold closed primaries where the voter is required to register as a member of the party before voting. Some have open primaries where the voter selects the primary ballot for and then can choose candidates from that list only. In a few, however, the names of all candidates from all parties are printed on the ballot and the voter can cross party lines. This gives the process the trappings of democracy.

So that’s a brief description and picture of how politics and its process works in America, there is of course one other aspect to this and that’s the billions of dollars that are poured into the coffers of given candidates, the big money, rained in like cats and dogs from the very wealthy and the supper corporations with their vested interests in supporting or stopping a particular candidate, this in its own right is worthy of a post on it own, I can only just touch on it here but one thing is for sure and that’s money or the lack of it kills the American Dream, that a child born in poverty can rise to be one day the President, is akin to believing in the tooth ferry!”   

Turning our attention to this week’s mid-term election, best described and represented in words as an electoral debacle that is a devastating indictment on the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. Two years after an overpowering victory in the presidential election, four years after the Republicans lost control of both the House and the Senate; the right-wing policies of the Democrats have created the conditions for a massive comeback by the Republicans. The corporate-controlled media and the representatives of the two big business parties are already proclaiming that the outcome of the election demonstrates that the American people have shifted to the right, embracing the “free market” nostrums of the Republican Party and the right-wing Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement will be the subject of a separate post coming very soon as its intervention in this election had a significant and very worrying impact.

The collapse of support for the Democrats was the product of two years of betrayal of illusions promoted in the 2008 campaign. The Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008 were fueled by popular hostility to the Bush administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama appealed to these sentiments in order to get elected, but once in office he continued the same militarist policies, even keeping on Pentagon chief Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, and pouring another 70,000 troops into Afghanistan.    

These facts can not be erased or ignored; the Tea Party movement played them affectedly, be under no misapprehension about that; but I would like to put more meat on the bones as I say in a separate post.

Coming out of this election, Obama will renew the drive towards bipartisanship with which he began his administration, going out of his way from the moment of his election to rehabilitate a completely discredited Republican Party. All the “compromises” that he proposes will amount to acceptance of Republican demands for deeper reductions in social spending as well as further tax cuts and other concessions to corporate interests.  

I finish this post as I started it and repeat; capitalism is cruel, callus, barbarous and savage and today’s Americans will learn that soon enough!”            

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Support your fire-fighters!”

The Times They Are A-Changin'; lyrics and words from a 1960s iconic song made famous by the singer song-writer Bob Dylan come to mind whist I think of the composition of this post, and of course I need not tell readers that Dylan’s celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler, and an apparently reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of his songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements.     

Oh, and whilst I remember I must correct a mistake, an err that was inadvertently made on my part when in a recent post I wrongly stated that Vodafone had not paid their £6 million tax bill, big mistake in fact it was £6 billion and you will agree a big difference, sorry!”     

So are the times changing I’m now wondering?” Yesterday, I went along to Poplar Fire Station, which is just down the road from me, to show my support and solidarity with our fire-fighters. I also went with the intention that I should learn more about the issues and history that lie behind this dispute, so as it were to be familiar, acquainted and grasp a better understanding able to be in a position to support the fire-fighters in the greater community when it comes to speaking up in their favour amongst my friends and neighbours, and countering any rubbish that may have filtered into heads provided by an uncongenial, nay hostile press and media; for example the up-souring and deliberate propaganda fed to the press about the so-called second jobs of fire-fighters, in fact it has been established that personal (name and address) data had been handed-out to the media pack regarding 700 + fire-fighters who had declared a second job. The best response to this attempt to discredit was provided by Tower Hamlet FBU  branch secretary Chris Boag he said that London Fire Authority chief Brian Coleman was "politically motivated" in his call for fire-fighters to be sacked.

And it’s also worth pointing out the strike is not about more money or even about the shift changes; it’s not about the manning proposition being perused by the Authority and in particular Brian Coleman. The strike is in response to sacking notices that have been issued to the entire workforce in London in an attempt to force by threat the acceptance of new contracts. Such tactics employed not only highlight the bullying methods, but implies undermining the FBU in the process, two birds with one stone would be an ideal understanding of the situation.

The Fire Authority have been told by the FBU that if they withdraw the notices the strike would be called off instantaneously, that means no strike on bonfire night alleviating everyone’s concerns including an over-exaggerating media, but this has been refused point blank, and the union say if sacking notices are withdrawn they are then willing to sit-dawn with management and look at their propositions, the answer coming back has been an emphatic no, like telling someone that pouring petrol on a blanket and throwing it on a fire will put it out.

So ask yourself who, just who is being bloody minded and irresponsible and playing with peoples lives on the busiest (allegedly) night of the year?”

Now let me just say it once more; this strike is not about money and in the Morning Star fire-fighter Nick Sadler defended their right to have second jobs because of the comparatively low pay they receive.” No one does this job for the money. I get £1,800 take-home pay a month. I do it because I love it and to serve the community.

"If I didn't have a second job, I would not be able to afford a house locally."

Well I think that fire-fighter Nick Sadler has nailed that argument dead, not only that but it’s not against the rules to have a second job, and what about MPs who don’t do such a dangerous job, who pay themselves generously with many doubling even tripling by a factor of three their remunerations, and for what?”  
Whilst we are considering our honourable members let me say that the New Labour leader Ed Miliband is totally out of order to condemn the Bonfire Night fire strike amid the so-called fears, and as the press puts it signs of a growing wave of industrial unrest.

Oh shock horror, and what this says about the Labour Party under Miliband is simply not worth thinking about. Someone tell him please, it’s being rumoured that 1.6 million people with families may lose their jobs!”
It is our duty on this blog and in the wider Trade Union and Labour Movement to defend the services and jobs of public workers, the times may be changing but they should not be allowed to be driven like an out of control house and cart through our communities in the interests of profit and privatisation.

Support your fire-fighters!”

The Times They Are A-Changin

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

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