Monday, 29 August 2011

Council tax benefit cuts could lead to civil disobedience

The number of long-term unemployed has more than doubled since the financial crisis struck in 2008, leaving tens of thousands of people with little chance of ever working again, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research.

The recession and the legacy of both New Labour and this current administration, has left almost 100,000 who may have experienced and seen the last of work in their lifetimes as estimates now suggest that a quarter of them may never work again. 

As someone in his late 50s I can vouch to the intransigent difficulties impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, reason and the complete hopelessness of being able to win a position of wage slavery employment. In fact, you want the truth I gave up looking seriously some years ago, but don’t breath a word to Iain Duncan Smith, ( often referred to by his initials “IDS”) or else I will get a sanction, his favourite deterrent and potential weapon of mass destruction as indeed many can now testify to.

It’s no joking matter being my age, and lets get this right workless not workshy, and on top of that the good news is we will be working longer now that we are said to live longer - eh is it?” 

Well scratch your head if you like, but these times are hard for a great many young and older workers alike. Nothing can be anymore depressing than to think that long-term unemployment has increased with an avenging aversion as if to punish the young as the long-term unemployment amongst this group has increased trebling to 95,000 since 2008. Worst still is that research from previous recessions which suggests that members of the young generation are likely to earn less than their peers when they do find work, and more likely than not to experience further unemployment in later life. 

For those of us who are out of work, life is no walk in the park where the pigeons may feed better; the rising cost of living means that all households were £11 a week worse off last month as rising transport and food costs continue to put spending power under pressure, not that on £67.50 a week you have much spending power, but you know what I mean.

As an unemployed person you can’t help but feel as if you're being picked upon by the government with their horrendous welfare reforms, and lets just remember that New Labour started all this. 

In the last few days the government have been letting it suitably but genitally slip-out that  jobless people like me without children could be forced to pay full council tax under new government plans now being considered. 

The Housing Minister Grant Shapps told the BBC: "We want to take people out of being trapped out of work and get them into work and off benefit."  

And so with this meaningless rhetoric, the excessive use of verbal ornamentation to split and divide people, and with of course a helping hand from our beloved media mafia, the government set-out to victimise and persecute the unemployed and those on benefits, and remember they are unemployed through no fault of their own. 

These changes being proposed to council tax benefit is part of the governments austerity drive to save or rather remove £500 million from the £5bn council tax bill. As of yet the proposals are very vague with no meat on the bones, but there is no question if it were to be implemented and along with the already agreed housing benefit cut of 10% that comes into force in 2013, this would surely, definitely and positively set-off such an Ocean Tsunami of hardship and poverty with homelessness and poverty reaching new heights, that I would say at an educated guess people would erupt like never before, civil disobedience could become uncontrollable as the politics of the establishment were made to feel the wrath and intense anger of the people. What would the government do then - build more prisons; when the working class move no walls will hold us back.           

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August Bank Holiday and don’t look back look forward

Well here we are then, August Bank Holiday, the last public holiday before and dare I say it - Christmas. Now this public holiday used to be a great institution back in the day; factory’s would fall silent, and streets devoid of people possibly planing to spend a day at the great British seaside with the family or just a bit of free time to do a bit of work down on the allotment’; there would always be some boring old James Bound film on the old goggle-box - oh how I miss them summer days of old. 

But they do say ‘don’t look back, look forward’.

Who will shed a tear for the passing of summer then, I do wonder; probably the kids as they go back and knuckle under to a new academic schooling year, of intense caricature assimilation ( no disrespect to our comrade educators) in preparation for capitalist selection some years down the line.

Some years ago now when I was living up in Linconshire, and during the summer months my Sunday mornings were often or not occupied with car booting. I did not attend these events because I had nothing better to do on a Sunday. Neither did I go to them in order to sell; in fact I sometimes didn't go to buy. I just love like many of us do car boot sales. I love the electric atmosphere of them all, come winter come summer. The long lines of stalls, the piles of books (which one of those piles I wonder will have within it the very book I have been searching for?), the tattered clothing but wherein may lurk that special one off T-shirt.

Oh and what a place to buy, if your lucky them extra demijohns just in time for the summer wine-making. kids love car boot sales. They dart from stall to stall, pocket money held tightly. One little boy, “how much for that jigsaw, Mister?” Mister strokes his chin “ I have to tell you sonny, that there are three pieces missing”. Sonny then hands over five pence and is off again to the next stall. A man is eyeing a ghastly ornament he intends to buy for his wife as a present on their wedding anniversary. It is without doubt one of the most ugliest pieces one has ever seen, and yet this man says,defiantly, I’ll give you a fiver for that”. The stallholder looks surprised. “A fiver?” The man shouts as if in desperation, he so badly wants that ornament. So “A fiver” he repeats, belligerently, “Not a penny more”.  Stallholder chuckles good-naturedly. You can certainly have it for a fiver, but I was hoping somebody would just take it off my hands. The deal is done the man carries his new purchase back to his car clutching it in fear and trembling lest he should drop it.

On windy days when stalls rock and sometimes turn over - most of them are after all trestle tables rescued from the attics and garages, -  stallholders and customers alike give a hand to set things right again, and in a sudden shower of rain, everyone, but everyone springs into action with the plastic covers. It is in everyone's interests to keep things dry. 

There are food stalls a hamburger van for those who are not vegetarian, and steaming mugs of tea a little horse and cart, kids on board, winds its way across the field, twenty pence a go. Banter is exchanged “Go on, don’t be mean gov’nor, buy yer misses a new hat”. Wife tries the hat on and it sits like a tea-cosy on her recent perm. Somebody rushes froward with a mirror and there are laughs all round. But the hat is rejected; it is not worth the five pounds, even the stallholder knew that. The books on the stall are often a big disappointment to me. Mills and Boon, Barbara Cartland, Catherine Cookson and Jeffrey (bloody) Archer. But I find, hidden in the depths of a cardboard box under piles of old fishing magazines a beautiful little copy of The Wind in The Willows. Then there is always what I call the rusty tool stall. I call it this because every thing does appear to be rusty. I never linger at these stalls, for some unfortunate inadequacy in my character prevents me from admiring spanners, old lawnmowers, drills, screwdrivers and many other rusty items I can not give a name to. 

I don’t really go to many car boot sales these days, and when I did it was not for the many bargains to be had. It is people that I want to be with. I enjoy what we all share for that morning, the families wheeling kids in pushchairs, the excitement of children discovering secondhand toys and the gleam in the eye of someone who has found a bargain. The woman who sells me a brightly patterned jumper for fifty pence, “you’ll find that lovely and warm in winter” she tells me and I’ve had it for years now, isn’t that something? Here is a wonderful woman I had never met before and will probably never meet again and yet she knows and I know that I will be wearing her jumper come this winter and nether of us minds one bit. True money did exchange hands. The difference is, in a socialist society there would not be any need to give her fifty pence because I would not have any money and she would not need it anyway, its called real civilisation!" 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Alf Garnet was a Socialist

Well Goodness My Guinness’ - as that old saying goes; it was way back in May when I started to write about Socialism and Comedy, a series that I had in mind to roll-out over the course of a few weeks. I find that it is only now that I discover that I have the time (make the time) to write my second offering. Indeed it has been a very actioned pact few months here in the UK, and need I say anymore comrades.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt.”

I love that quote from Erma Bombeck; I know what you are thinking, who is Erma Bombeck? Well she was an American humorist whose newspaper column 'At Wits End' grew to such popularity that it became an institution, born Ermu Fiste (February 1927 - 1996).

Erma’s quot fits nicely with the character that I am about to unveil, a legend if nothing else in his own mind. And for me resident in Canning Town a very local connection in more ways than one as you will discover. 

Now Alf Garnet, a characterisation, a very vivid and verbal description of a 'bigot and racist' captured by his creator Johnny Speight (1920 -1998), and bought to life by the actor Warren Mitchell.  So where do I begin to explain what this man was all about, and what was the connection to Socialism and Comedy?" Well I suppose at the beginning, and where I first came across him which I think it was in the 1960s as a young boy glued whenever our parents permitted it to an old black and white, and always second-hand television set, they were lovely them old TV sets, you use to turn then on and sometimes they would take a while to warm up, look around the back of the set and you would see the valves the complex body parts light up  like a Christmas tree, and they were like a work of art fit to grace any grand stately home, but we had one in our house and that’s all that mattered, they say that today the average child sits is in front of a TV for more than six hours a day, don’t think our parents would have allow this back then.

Anyhow lets get back to comrade Alf or chairman I think he was once called, ‘the thoughts of chairman Alf’. And didn't he have some thoughts; it was his very mental demeanour, that intrigued me even as a child. I was fascinated by this foul-mouthed cockney working class oracle of an authoritative person who knows it all including the past and the future.  

I don’t know why it is but every-time I think of Alf Garnet the Tory Enoch Powell swells around in my head, but then again Alf as I recall was a big fan of Enoch the leader the Tories never got, shame really, for had we had him, would we have got Thatcher I do wonder, and then what damage would he have done?

From Wikipedia:  “Alf was born in Wapping around 1919. He was always unpopular as a lad and it was said he only met his wife Else, whom he had known since they were children, after Alf's mother asked Else to go out with him. A courtship followed for two years during the first part of World War Two and the pair married in 1941 (the film Till Death Us Do Part from 1968 showed the couple marry in 1939 but the actual series always stated them to have been married in 1941). Alf and Else had a daughter Rita by 1942 and raised her in the slums of Wapping where Alf worked on the docks and Else stayed home and tended to the house.

Rita married her long haired layabout socialist boyfriend Mike in 1966 shortly after the general election of 31 March and they moved into the Wapping house. Alf was horrified by this and he and Mike rarely got along. Alf was still proud when the couple had a son together in September 1972. Else eventually left Alf in 1974 and moved to Australia to live with her sister Maud whom Alf hated. She later wired Alf in 1975 on his birthday asking him for a divorce and the same day Alf lost his job.”

Johnny Speight the creator of Alf Garnet was born here in my manor of Canning Town; when I walk around this area I often wonder, what was it  like for his generation growing up in the Canning Town of the 1920s come 1930s. How did his experience of a childhood shape his life, did he meet Alf Garnet in London's East End, and was Alf really someone who actually existed, was he a one off or was there more than one, was he a commonalty to be found in and amongst the very poor lumpenproletariat of East London?”

These and many more questions have sifted around in my head, like moving sand dunes over many years, and particularly as now I am a proud East Ender of many years standing. There is not a great deal of information around about Johnny Speight and his own thinking and why Alf was bought to life by his very talented pen, or anything that indeed can shed light on his most famous creation and character, but what we do know is that Johnny expanded the boundaries of what was possible in British television comedy. Subjects that had been considered sacrosanct up until then were taken on by Johnny, such as the class system, politics and that beheading offence of questioning the existence of  royalty, often or not in colourful language.

My own theory is that Johnny Speight was in fact the son-in-law of Alf Garnet, the long-haired, unemployed, 'socialist boyfriend' to Alf’s daughter, and of course played by Antony Booth, and we all know who’s dad he is.

Moving swiftly because of post length, let us now focus on that great actor who will forevermore be typecast and associated with his great convincing character performance. Warren Mitchel who is of Russian Jewish descent has made Alf' his very own; but I must add that he has a long and very distinguished career on stage, television and film. So it maybe somewhat unfair of me to say that he was and is typecast as Alf, for his acting accompaniments and accomplishments are indeed considerable, but he is best known to most of us as the actor who played Alf Garnet. 

Warren Mitchel is as you may have already guessed, the complete opposite to Alf Garnet, and in what we call real life. He is nothing like the bigoted cockney that he portrays so well and I am so sorry to tell my right-wing leaning friends who have been waiting for this post, but it is very true comrades.

Mitchel made it on his own as an actor through some very lean years; after training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he married, had a family, and watched as his wife who also is an actress got steadier work than he did for many years while he raised the family. Them he got the role that turned him into a star when he won the lead in the television series Till Death Us Do Part. He played brilliantly that belligerent, bigoted, working-class, right-wing zealot Alf Garnett, head of a family that included his long-suffering wife, slightly bubble-headed daughter, and dedicated socialist son-in-law the rest is history.

One other very important attribute about Warren Mitchel and that is, he is a life long left-wing socialist, and whilst at acting school, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and at weekends he used to sell a socialist newspaper with his comrades, in and on the streets of London, one problem that he had was that the other comrades would all sell more papers than him, he said this was because he lost his working class accent, you know that relative prominence of a syllable and musical note that denotes a working class dialect; due in part to acting school ironing it out of him, so he developed on the streets whilst paper selling his socialist paper the very familiar East End accent of Alf Garnet, which he said meant, instead of people blanking him on the street as they walk past, he was able to sell more papers than his other comrades from there on-in.

Well there is so much more that I would like to write about on this post, so much I have to leave out because of length, but maybe I will do that for myself some other time. The point of this post is to demonstrate how socialist actors and writers can and have used their considerable talents, to dismantle and destroy the right-wing dogmatists, stubborn, arbitrary and arrogant opinions that once had a fluency amongst working people, and much thanks is due to the late Johnny Speight and the great Warren Mitchel for their outstanding commitment and contribution. However there is still much to do and we can all play our part on taking on and winning against the bigots and racists that still walk the earth.  

Alf aways use to think he knew what Christmas is really about - Jesus. Although his views that Jesus was English and Joseph was just "the lodger" aren't the sort of opinions you hear around the sprouts nowadays - amen to that!”

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lacerated blogged and graced cyberspace

So continuing on my blog journey of blog reviews, and today I take a look at some of the promising younger generation to have lacerated and (not the right word I don’t think, but sounds good) graced cyberspace.

Starting with my good comrade and friend Mark of ‘the way I see things blog’. At the time of writing this post. Mark had been explaining to his many readers about his deciphering and interpretation of the classic George Orwell book 1984, of which, and I didn't know that the novel was banned in America, them Americans are indeed crazy, and I don't mean all just the top heavy layer. I personally find Orwell somewhat depressing myself, probably because the first Orwell books I ever read were ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ and his autobiographical documentary ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ left me with the impression that for many life is very gray and hard beyond belief, and so it still is.

Mark says that; the 1984 book was credited with predictions of what is possible and what may have now arrived, well I for one am beginning to believe. 

Well in general this blog is always worth a read, when the comrade writes his own stuff, he promotes a lot of Socialist Party material and too much I think at times, but then again he is a member and everybody to their own. The comrade is hardworking and sincere, open and genuine, despite his love of capitalist football which is nothing more than a joke on my part, a bit of a cruel tease, sorry comrade and keep up the great work!” 

The hazellcottrel blog is a relatively new addition to my roll, she is not really a heavy politically orientated blogger, but writes exquisitely about life, and I very much enjoy the read. However this is not a blog who’s contents and posts that always find agreement with me, but having said that nevertheless I still like to have a read of it from time to time. I think where we live and what our circumstances and experiences are do have a great deal with how we see the world around us and Hazel lives in Hartford, Cambridgeshire which seems like many light years away from my own inner-city manor of Canning Town.

In a recent posting Hazel rote the following: 

"Watching the news last night I saw a situation I never thought I would see, and worryingly, it is in the UK, our news is usually covered with what is going on abroad – war zone areas, poverty, natural disasters. But now, now the UK is on the news and it’s horrendous to watch it.
I could run through the news and tell you everything that is going on, but that would be pointless, so instead I will show you some stories that have stuck out for me:Lady stands against Rioters People come out with cleaning equipment in Peckham to help local businesses clean up after the riots@RiotCleanUp is a new account on twitter and is helping people clean up after Riots, and telling others how they can help!These are stories that show there are still nice Human Beings out there, yes – there are some idiots rioting and such like, jumping on the band-wagon for something to do, but what will this really achieve?So well done to all the people trying to do good through this awful time, I saw this status on Facebook;“message to all the rioters ………. . u wanna be big men and fight to the death , well get your sorry little arses on the next plane to Afghanistan n and stand alongside real men , they’re called soldiers and they are fighting a war unlike you bunch of pathetic wastes of space ……. COPY AND PASTE EVERYONE !!”Granted, it’s written in Textspeak (which I hate) but it gets the point across does it not?I would also like to take the chance to say that I think the police are doing an amazing job and really risking their lives for us, the innocent citizens!"

Well what can I say comrades?

First is this, I am not involved in politics to do politics, I leave that to the politicians, who do a great job on people like Hazel, and with the help of the media filling their heads with much rubbish. 

I found the suggestion or rather the message to rioters 'to be big men and go and fight in Afghanistan' a bit over the top really, and what should we do for the under age juvenile person and young women - got it and I know, they could be used as human shields or to help clearing mine fields.

One other thing that I should mention is its no hidden secret, that right wing fascists have been behind many of the so-called @Riotcleanup groups in London, and I am not saying this about this particular group, but you never know who is involved and what their real motives are when we have a Prime Minister encouraging people to be swept up in his right wing knee-jerk reactions.

Last night London was put on Riot Alert after two petrol bombs were thrown at police cars in North London, and of course this weekend we have the Notting Hill Carnival, lets all hope that the event is a peaceful success and trouble free. 

In conclusion I will continue to follow Hazel on her blog because its always a good idea to be familiarised with the other side of the argument that takes a hold of many people who for whatever the reason can’t think outside of the box, and I hope I can say that without causing any offence to Hazel and others.

Good luck with your dreams and cyberwriting!    

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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Riot summit for social networks and we must be on our guard from this class attack.

The Home Secretary Theresa May, often reminds me of a dried-out old tea bag’, and that’s being nice to her, but I must admit not polite. Well I don’t think an apology will be forthcoming from this Blogger now or in the foreseeable future - she will just have to shut me down - but don’t speak too soon comrades.

Yesterday a court striped the anonymity away from that of a 16 year-old who admitted inciting rioting on Facebook. In an unprecedented move the court lifted reporting restrictions and the youngster was identified. This really is the giddy limit; and is said to be the first juvenile to have his anonymity annulled in a riot-related case, he is due to be sentenced next month. I just wonder dose the courts and the government realise what a fire they are stoking up here, by the handling of these young people in this fashion?”

Now with other fields of study in hand for today comrades, so this is intended to be a short and brief post just to raise some awareness to that fact, that it is increasingly becoming clear, that this government has every intention to strike out  what we have in the way of civil liberties. If anything the recent riots have given the 'old teabag May, and her class collaborators, associates and henchmen the perfectly formed excuse to shave away some-more of our limited freedoms; that condition of being free; the power to act, speak or think without externally imposed restraints.

There are many reasons for this that I can think of, but I am sure you can think of many more. But even if you are not a news junkie, you still would have noticed that your daily news has undergone a great transformation in resent years. Television broadcasts now include amateur videos, taken from video-sharing websites such as YouTube, covering events like the Arab spring or the Japanese tsunami which we are told through the medium of the establishment press was and is responsible for the great hike in our Gas and Electricity bills?”

So such amateurish videos, them shaky old hands on cameras and people’s unguarded reactions, have much greater ‘instantaneousness’  than than professional footage. Massages posted on Twitter, have been woven into coverage of these events and many more. Such man and women in the street wonderful accounts of real truth, of which you can craft a narrative around. 

The past year has also seen the rise to fame of WikLeaks, an organisation I am sure you know, who publish leaked documents supplied anonymously. Then there is my favourite front-runner Al Jazeera, the news agency based in Qatar who published the ‘Palestine Papers’, which lifted the lid on more than a decade of Israel-Palestine negotiations. And by broadcasting amateur videos of the Tanisian uprising to millions of satellite viewers across the Arab world, unlocked the door and played an active part along with thousands of Twitter users in spreading the protests. This channel more than any other has led the way in instigating and instigating social media into its operations in order to engage with its audience. 

And so I think I give you a little idea of what now bothers the world ruling class - information, news and knowledge, which as they do say ‘too much knowledge is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands’.

Traveling back home, I would like to draw your attention to a great website of localised informative news that I read and enjoy on a regular basis whenever I can, but then again I suppose you could say that I am biased and coloured by the great steel town of Scunthorpe, its not my fault to have had the good fortune in life to have been brought up in a place were the ‘heavens really do reflect the working classes labour’.

But on a serous acknowledgment; I am so impressed and indeed inspired by the work of cultivating citizen journalism which is the hallmark and distinctive characteristic of the Scunthorpe and North Lincionshire Community News Blog.  All I can say is visit it, and see what a great blueprint this could be for other Towns and Cities around the the UK, I promise you won’t be disappointed. In a few weeks time I will hopefully be going for a brake to Scotland and as I am currently reviewing blogs, it is my intention to save this one till then when I can write something special not just about the site but about the Town.

Well back to the task in hand then; today the ‘old teabag’ is having a meeting with Facebook and Twitter, who are reported to be preparing to stand firm against government ministers’ calls to ban people from social networks or even shut websites down in times of civil unrest. 

Let us be under no illusion about this situation we find ourselves in, a government that is hell bent on its austerity programme of slashing service right across the board, will not only rip the food out of our babies mouths and send millions to early graves, but thinks it can come down on descent by the incarceration of thousands if need be, such as our young. They know that in order to keep the mud ladened ship of capitalism afloat and filled with a great quantity of greed which has held back the human race thus far; they will have to stamp-out resistance; all of 27 years ago it was the enemy within; today we are all vilified as the enemy, and they see and know that knowledge is power and a liberating force that must be closed even extinguished by forceful means - that comrades is why they intend to attack the so-called freedom of speech.

We must be on our guard from this class attack.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mudlarks and some of my favourite Blogs

I thought for a change, and as I seem to be suffering from a wee bit of the old writers block at this present moment, which is a prison term of thwarting frustration immured without trial, so I thought it a good idea and that I would take this opportunity and  have a look at some of my blogging comrades and friends work, whilst at the same time giving them a well-earned ballyhoo of a plug!”

Blogging can be a lonesome old place at the best of times, and during the course of last three years that I have been blogging, some really good blogs have packed-up and closed shop, which is always a real shame, but then again to keep a good blog and of the political variety takes up a great deal of time, and if you hold down a job like some of my fellow blogger’s do this can only be an added pressure to endure and countenance; so to those comrades I say well done and please keep up the great work.

Like a great many bloggers, I keep a blog roll of some of my favourite blogs, and these are the specimen samples which I will be looking at in this post and possibly the next, and not with a critical eye; although I may have my own differences on some issues or another with comrades; but their very inclusion on the roll is because I find them interesting or I believe that they have a pertinent and logical relevance that would be of interest (because it is unusual or exciting etc.) to others.

So let me start with one of my all time favorites and long time cyberspace friends. Chris H who runs Lansbury’s Lido Blog has recently turned out some great work such as this gem of a quotation from one Patrick Colquhoun:

“ a necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilisation. It is the lot of man - it is the source of wealth, since without poverty there would be no labour, and without labour there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.” 

Colquhoun who lived from 1745 -1820, was the founder of the Thames River Police. I very much like this quotation because it amplifies the inherent contradictions of capitalism and the opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas of how society could be run; then and still existent presently, existing still in fact and not merely (socialism) potential but possible today.

What Colquhoun' was concerned with really, was that of his and his own class greed and robbery, that class that enslaved' and at times forced a working class of the improvised; then and I would indeed argue even today to go out and commit what the ruling property owning class call crimes, so they may live and survive. Back then and for a very long time the River Thames was the docking and unloading bay for the swag and looted booty from a conquered and appropriated empire. This is how and where people like Colquhoun and many others made their fortune, but the problem for them being, there were a great number of robberies of various descriptions committed on the Thames by different parties. These depredations differed in value, from the little ragged mudlark stealing a piece of rope or a few handfuls of coals from a river barge, to the lighter-man carrying off bales of silk several hundred pounds in value. 

Now according to Wikpedia: ‘Mudlarks’ would search the murky and muddy shores of the River Tames during low tide, scavenging for anything of worth that could be sold, sometimes, when occasion offered, pilfering from the river traffic. By at least the late 18th century people dwelling near the river could scrape a subsistence and made a living this way.

Mudlarks’ were usually either youngsters aged between eight and fifteen, or robust elderly; and though most mudlarks were mail, young girls and women were also forced into scavenging. it is completely conceivable that these people were looked down upon and probably labeled ragamuffins, urchin, beachcomber, beggar, vagrant, tramp, bog lady and so on, but I think that Mudlark was a derogative and disparaging term formally used to designate and belittle, a favorite pastime of capitalist society still persisting, relentless and indefatigable in the age old pursuit of divide and rule.

One of my favorite pastimes is to spend some time on the banks of the Tames looking for interesting objects from the past which I collect, so the point is some years ago I did some research into the history of this great river, and in particular 17th and 18th felonies on the river at the British Library. 

It is no wonder that the likes of Colquhoun, and his class sprang into action and decided to police the river and protect their hoarded loot, thereby forcibly by applying the force's of law and order - ‘their law and their order’, remember that “ a necessary and indispensable ingredient in society.”

Just to end this post with a big ‘thank you’ to Conrade Chris, and an account about the Mudlarks that I found some years ago:

“They sell the coals among the lowest class of people for a few halfpence. The police make numerous detections of these offences. Some of the mudlarks receive a a short term of imprisonment, from three weeks to a month, and others two months with two months with three years in a reformatory. Some of them are old women of the lowest grade, from fifty to sixty, who occasionally wade in mud up to the knees. One of them may be seen beside the Thames Police office, Wapping, picking up coals in the river, who appears to be about sixty-five years of age. She is a robust woman, dressed in an old cotton gown, with an old straw bonnet tied round with a handkerchief, and wonders about without shoes and stockings. This person has never been in custody. She may be often seen walking through the streets in the neighbourhood with a bag of coals on her head.”   
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Sunday, 21 August 2011

In the aftermath of the riots no one should be evicted

In the aftermath of the riots that swept London and other cities in England, the Conservative/Liberal Coalition government is combat-ready and avidly planning the imposition of curfew powers covering wide geographical areas. The mere proposition and threat, that consideration should be given to closing down some social networking sites such as Twitter or even Facebook can only be viewed as a step in the direction of a totalitarian and authoritarian state, operating in a totalistic fashion where the regime crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul".

Prizes are not on offer for guessing what comes to mind: George Orwell’s famous 1984, his most dystopian novel full of  human misery, and the experience of one Winston Smith - Big Brother is watching over you and thoughtcrime is illegal. 

“It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same - everywhere, all over the world, hundreds of thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same - people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day would overturn the world.” George Orwell, 1984. 

And so the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that giving the police further powers to clear streets and establish “no-go areas are under discussion. Such considerations, paved and cobbled and on such a firm surface being laid-down before our very eyes, takes us into a new territorial dominion.

When I first read Orwell’s 1984 way back in the early 70s I thought that the novel was a bit far fetching and would never happen here in Britain the home of so-called Parliamentary Democracy - Just how wrong can you ever get it. Then again I have been wrong about many things in my life, such as I would never imagine that Parliament would ever be under siege and surrounded by our students whilst our police destroyed in the eyes of many, any respect or vestige of impartiality and the treatment of different views or opinions equally and fairly; a tincture of condescension that has indeed disappeared in the minds of many and for ever.

Such new police state measures are being proposed as police forces continue to hunt down anyone accused of involvement in the disturbances. Nationally, more than 3,000 people have been arrested. In London, the Metropolitan Police have made 1,802 arrests with 1,032 and still climbing of people charged. Many have been sent to prison, often for the pettiest of offences. 

My own opinion of what others think, based on talking to many people in and around Canning Town, is not what the newspapers or the media in general would like us to believe; many don’t agree with the looting and disgraceful needless violence, but there breathes a view that this was a coming for a long time, and why should we be surprised or even be in electric shock?

It is no coincidence then that neighbourhoods where the accused live have got poorer between 2007 and 2010”. This correlates precisely with the 2007/08 global financial crisis and the resultant deep recession in Britain. As the banks in Britain were bailed out to the tune of more than a trillion pounds, the then Labour government began a series of public spending cuts and freezes, which have now been escalated by this government.

Not for nothing is our press known as the gutter press, and many now know that the stain on one newspaper that broke into the voicemail of a murdered teenage girl has indeed stained all newspapers, that relationship once held and controlled by powerful press barons is probably on its way out, a new way of collecting and finding news is developing and has been for some time by way of the Internet and Social Media; hardly any wonder that the establishment want it under control even if that means using the same tyrannic methods as China. 

It is worthwhile pondering, that the Internet has turned the news industry upside down, making it more participatory, social, diverse and partisan, this is good and will be good for the class struggle ultimately.

So whilst I am contemplating the medium of the media in all its many forms and its use of containing decent; and whatever you think of these riots, they were a form of decent no matter how disapproving we may be of them, not being socially or conventionally correct; refined or virtuous. I would like to shine a light on my own councils contribution to the class war being waged against young working class people by this Tory led government, and in particular the use Newham council has made of its own widely distributed publication ‘thenewhammag’ to back the the governments drive to criminalise a whole generation. 

As the title indicates a council magazine that is very glossy and produced every two weeks or so to promote the councils work and I suppose bring about a sense of community conscious awareness. In my council block most people leave it on top of the mail box, whether that is an indication of anything I don’t really know; but most of the time it seems to be promoting the elected Mayor Sir Robin Wales, that is my own assessment. I have no view on whether the magazine is good or bad because I don’t think it really matters in the great scheme of things, but no doubt Sir Robin Wales has his own elaborate and systematic plan of action being a repetitive career politician earning over £80,000 a year. 

Just days after the riots the council produced and published a special CCTV addition ‘Full force Bringing the vandals to justice’. 

The opening pages carried two messages one from Sean Vickers acting borough commander and Mayor Wales, who said that the disorder occurred in London's poorest communities; areas that face youth unemployment and massive cuts; and failed to say anything about the cuts he is making to services in Newham, but instead praising the actions of the police and shopkeepers, the addition included CCTV images of people allegedly involved in the disturbances, but what I found more worrying is the threat that the council wold evict anyone from council or social housing if they were involved in the riots.

On Friday, Housing minister Grant Shapps proposed legislation that would allow those convicted to lose their homes in London, no matter where a so-called “crime” was committed. Under current legislation, local boroughs in the capital can only evict a person if a crime is committed in the borough where they live. 

At the end of the day, any move to evict those people or their family for being involved in the riots has to be seen as being wrong by the Labour movement, it is a step in the wrong direction towards Orwell’s 1984, and should be resisted.

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Friday, 19 August 2011

Pope flies into Madrid protest

From the very first moment, the tension by the police was tangible, then they started pushing and shoving, with no lack of insults and provocations from Catholics to the point of spitting and assaulting the protesters as the demonstration marched on, it ended when the police decided to make a late charge against protesters.

For several hours passing through the main streets of Madrid was banned, then the  protesters clased with the police in and around Madrid’s the Puerta del Sol.

A Facebook page, “Yo No Te Espero!”, created against the Pope’s vist attracted more than 81,000 members by Thursday afternoon.

At a time of high youth unemployment in Spain like elsewhere in Europe; its a bit of a joke that the centerpiece of the four day trip will be World Youth Day.

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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Criminality Mob Gang and Eviction

Criminality, mob and gang were the chosen words that Prime Minister David Cameron used to vilify and let lose a torrent of reactionary abuse against a whole generation. A very calculating Tory is Cameron, modeling himself on his one and only modern hero Tony Blair; indeed this was a great opportunity at hand (not god given) for some deflection, and like the captain of an oceangoing liner he is the skipper of the vessel with his hands firmly on the ships steering wheel - or so he thinks.

Indeed after the hacking of phones and the whole whoop-de-do charade’ regarding his friend  “Andy (use to be handy) Coulson. The summer vacation hadn't come soon enough, and it was really great to run away from confinement and damage entrenchment to foreign parts, leaving all his and their many troubles behind for a while, the kids and Blighty well and truly behind them. David and the lovely Samantha managed to escape to Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy, or that was the general idea, a very quiet retreat characterized by an absence or at the very least a near absence of ferment or activity that had begun to shine an unfavorable light on his own connections and Premiership, such inauspicious thunderings shook and juddered heaven, and in the hope,  the thought of him being associated in any causal connection with the crooks of  News Corporation and the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch would fade away from public retention.

That little spat of arrogance (the superior manner towards his inferiors) with the coffee and waitress, did him no real harm, but which was after all a demonstration of his sheer and absolute decadence, an indulgence in sensual pleasures; the excessive and immoral activities of those who are so rich, and of which being from that privileged and favoured class he had after all been born into and grown up with.

The first setting Tottenham, an immiserated, multi-ethnic community in north London, where a young man had been shot dead by police in what are very dubious circumstances that still  remain incomprehensible and unexplained.  The seconed setting a peaceful vigil was held outside the local police station where the mood turned angry and bule when no one from the police would come out to talk to the grief-stricken and bereaved family. What followed was a running battle between local youths – as multi-ethnic as the local population – and police. The arson and looting came in the wake of that.

In my writing this I must remember, that between 1988 and 2011, there were 333 people killed whilst in police detention and Cameron thinks that twitter and now free speech are a problem, and on August 11 he suggested that people will be banned from using Twitter for speaking up and against social injustice.

In the days that supervened upon - riots and disorder spread up the land, the working class youth of urban cities took to the streets in what must be said: was a path of deadly destruction. Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham to name but a few; and they ransacked, looted and incinerated; the media loved it and accordingly had a field day, a picnic bashing of the young whilst negating and avoiding any of the deep-seated issues that underscored and led to an explosion of not just anger but deep frustration with a society that has not only let them down, but is now laying them upon that alter, as sacrifices to the world crisis of capitalism. They had seen the students literally beaten up by politicians employment of the police, and now moving this narrative on, the British political establishment and state apparatus are imposing the most vicious class justice on a whole generation, if one can call it justice. As senior Tories praised 'exemplary' jail terms, a Liberal Democrat minister has taken a swipe at the Prime Minister, saying it was 'dangerous' for politicians to try to influence judges. Lord McNally, a Liberal Democrat justice minister, said the courts must operate independently and warned: 'It's dangerous when politicians try to do the sentencing.'

Of course we should not disregard the needless deaths of three young Muslims killed as they protected the family shop or the pensioner putting out a fire, the young man hospitalised after being mugged, fleeced and deceived by some very evildoing individuals, such savagery is an endemic disease perpetuated and a mirror reflection of the sort of society we live in, one is reminded of this when Cameron’s response is to whip-up hate as vigilante mobs roamed the streets hunting for “rioters” - backed by the Muslim-hating English Defence League.
As a result of Cameron's ill-conceived, misbegotten and sorry, but bastardly crackdown of  no value or worth, our prisons are now at breaking point with the riot burden. More than 115 people have been convicted so far, while 843 are being kept in jails awaiting outcomes of their cases. In London alone, police are aiming for 3,000 convictions.

There are real problems with what Cameron has unleashed such as a 'post code lottery' on sentencing as punishments very throughout the county. Then there is the whole ruling class vindictive punishment of eviction from social housing which should be opposed and resisted by our movement, this is a subject that my next post will consider as I intened to report on my local councils intensification and attack on working class people.

So as the state clampdown continues against working class youth unabated I am begining to think of this moving poem, it is of cource about youth and the 'Holocaust' but there is relevance I think!"

We played, we laughed
we were loved.
We were ripped from the arms of our
parents and thrown into the fire.
We were nothing more than children.
We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers. We had dreams, then we had no hope. We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars, no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying. Separated from the world to be no more. From the ashes, hear our plea. This atrocity to mankind can not happen again. Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams and lives were stolen away.
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Monday, 15 August 2011

Don't mourn organise!"

Last weeks emergency debate in the parliament, recalled in emergency session following the discharge of anger of youth riots earlier in the week, was nothing more than a pathetic display, of a political class intent on remaining out of touch with the real realty of the majority they ‘misgovern’.

What a sceptical of those Westminster looters who have railroaded,  ram-raided and continue to do so, the so-called coffers of the state, keeping themselves in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to whilst we the great majority limp along forced to pay for the higher utility bills that drop through the door with impunity, and indeed that of the general escalating and never ending rising costs of living. 

What an insult to the working class people of Tottenham that their MP David Lammy, could have, and did claim £173,922 in expenses last year, which was more than any other MP. In the year 2004, he looted and bagged £12,041 in expenses for a second home in South London, despite the fact that his main home was only a thirty minute tube journey from Parliament.

Be under no sleight of hand from this Westminster gang, the riots that swept across large parts of London and other cities and towns of England are the direct product of the vast growth in poverty, deprivation and police brutality faced daily by many working class youths.

In my own locality of Canning Town, East London, there exists real grinding poverty, high unemployment and a large abandoning of young people, with no real prospects of hope or escape to a better future to accomplish and reach one’s goal in life whatever that may be. These young people see, feel and experience the world of struggle around them; their parents trying as they do, to bring up family, pay the bills and put food on the table. In this part of the East End young and middle aged men walk up and down the Barking Road on what they call a butt or bum run looking for discarded cigarettes so as to enjoy and feed the unhealthy habit of nicotine addiction; and yes like anywhere else we have our problems with addiction's.

I think that people do dream of escape, and many turn to giving it a chance at the local turf accountant, well really we have more than one, in a small parade of shops on the Barking Road near where I live I counted a quadruplet of them. Iceland supermarket store does a good trade providing the cheep frozen line of food to the local inhabitants of the Town, and they are not spoilt for choice, we have three of them. Other than the local co-op and charity shops with expensive clothing, every other shop is a fast food outlet serving that unhealthy fried fast-food counter and, snack bar type, not recommended by a nutrition expert, but if you're a mum with a young family to feed - well do you see what I mean, low incomes and no such things as fresh vegetables, they are expensive and Iceland’s must make a good profit at this the lower end of the retail food market, and in the evenings people queuing to go down the bins for the out of date food.

Whilst I talk of the shops, I would like to highlight the many micro-markets we have, and who was it that said that Britain was a nation of shopkeepers, I think it was attributed to Napoleon (L’Angleeterre est une nation de boutiqueirs.)  But it may have been first used by Adam Smith “ a nation that is governed by shopkeepers.” So if you had been listening to Cameron and Co, in the recalled session of Parliament to discuss the riots you would have witnessed or noticed the many reference's to the small shopkeeper, and of course many did came in for unwarranted looting and violent attack, but at the same time this needs to be even handed criticism, these shops distribute many goods and products for large companies and multi-nationals, and in my area for the top dollar; they increasingly sell alcohol, that’s the cheep alcoholic beverage, and when we think of addiction think alcohol’ still the number one killer in Britain. Canning Town is awash with such shops, one near me employs workers paid under the minimum wage, and yet such shopkeepers are painted by the likes of Cameron as fundamental pillars of the community when they are anything but; when rioting was taking place and and fellow shopkeepers were under attack in another parts of Canning Town last Tuesday, what use to be the ‘Costcutter shop was selling alcohol to youths passing by on bicycles.

Today both Cameron and Miliband have made their big speeches about the riots, both are totally out of touch with realty, understandably Cameron will advocate a repressive ruling class doctrine of class oppression on working people, whilst Miliband runs up the Labour flag of we can run capitalism better than you. 
Cameron said that the rioting was largely about “pure criminality”, about people with a twisted moral code. 
Only last Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron stood before an emergency recalled parliament to insist that the riots were in no way connected to Mark Duggan’s shooting. Rather, his killing was “used as an excuse by opportunist thugs in gangs” to carry out “criminality.”

Cameron’s claims were reiterated by Labour leader Ed Miliband and representatives from all the major parties. The only issue was “criminality” and “immorality,” they agreed in unison, as they sanctioned mass police repression.

The events of the last week are indeed shocking, so is the clampdown and criminalisation of our young generation, which should be rejected as any sort of a solution. First students are attack and now months latter inner-city young people have exploded onto the streets in anger, the class war has taken a turn for the worst and it is now imperative that Socialists and trade unionists get amongst the young and bring education and organisation. 

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cameron's answer to rioting - more class war

After three consecutive nights of rioting on the streets of Britain's major cities; and only now as I think about it, an atmospheric state of depression descends; the volcanic like violence flowing onto the streets, of a young generation poring out like the escaping lava flows, fills me and indeed I would say many people, with a disproving annoyance and frustration that the youth have chosen to to vent their anger, their  disappointment in such a way, towards a system which we should be under no misapprehension, has failed and in general set about them. This has to be the most terrible of times’ to be young in modern rich capitalist Britain. The young have and are being made to pay for an the economic crises they never created, whether it be high unemployment, education cuts or the withdrawing of front-line youth support services, they pay and they pay dearly. Any downward pressure is sooner or latter, constipated and choked-up, will explode and break loose and in this case without respect and with rage.Teenagers caught up in the riots have told Sky News about the reasons for the trouble. They say there is widespread anger among young people over problems getting work and the cost of living.   

The riots were sparked off by the killing of 29-year-old Mark Duggan of Tottenham and by an officer of the specialist Firearms Command last Thursday evening. The catalyst a peaceful protest by Duggan’s family and supporters on Saturday which was brutally attacked by the riot para-military police of the Met’s TSG squad of trained thugs and sociopaths, one of London’s most notorious gangs, they lit the fuse sparking a wave of unrest around the country by our young.

The prime minister has said that he expected anyone convicted of violent disorder to go to prison, this you understand will not include any police offices, as we know they get a special dispensation, an exemption from the rule of the so-called law. 

More than a 1,000 people have been arrested and are being marched at high speed through the courts in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Leicester.  

In Cheshire the police arrested people for allegedly inciting public disorder through the use of social media sites, and a 20-year old women has been charged after allegedly posting a Facebook invite to a “riot” in Wakefield.

The response of Cameron and the government has been to declare a ‘class war’ on the young people of this country, whilst the Labour Party and its Leader Miliband have shown a complete and possibly deliberate disregard for the underlining issues of all these riots and will know doubt support Cameron and his get tough stance, some members of the Labour Party have sadly been calling for the use of water canon on the streets including Ken Livingston

What is very clear is that the long-simmering discontent over worsening conditions and police brutality is completely passed over by the establishment political parties and the media. The Labour MP Tom Watson - a key figure in the Murdoch bowling alley of a parliamentary select committee looking into amongst other things the bribery of police offices - called for the use of the army, calling on Twitter he demanded the canceling of police leave and army logistical support for emergency services. 
And then there was the deputation of Labour MPs from London who went to the home Office on Wednesday to demand a “moratorium on plans to reduce numbers in the Metropolitan police - they really don’t have a clue!” 

Even before the general election last year, Nick Clegg now deputy Prime Minister warned of “serious social strife” now his party are in government with the Tories, imposing massive austerity cuts and demanding authoritarian measures to implement them. 

Those charged thus far include youth, workers, the unemployed and university graduates - refuting the hysterical claims of the media and political establishment that those involved are simply a “criminal underclass” bent on destruction.

We now await today's re-called parliamentary debate, and the one thing I am sure of; there will be not a soul in that grand old House of Commons to put the views of young people - so who will speck-up for our young people? 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Finding light in the blackness of class struggle

This is indeed becoming a very familiar practice now, Comrade Chris H of Lansbury’s Lido Blog, reads a post sends in a comment/contribution which in turn I think is good and worthy of elevation, and so I reproduce his political contribution because it has and holds much relevancy, to what will be an ongoing debate in the weeks and months that lay ahead regarding the renewed crisis of world capitalism; and in particular what will or should the answer be as the situation develops around the world affecting millions of people with possibly dire and dreadful consequences. Is this a pivotal event of crucial importance, and will the old politics of reformist currency peddled by Social Democrat organisations not too dissimilar similar to the Labour Party in Britain; be they now excepted or now rejected by working class people the world over? These are indeed important questions that lead us to consider, what is the alternative to the failure and exposure of the market system and the moulded and shaped society it forged around itself.

My last post ‘Workers of the World Unite’ called on workers to consider braking with the old allegiances and blind loyalties of the past and building a new movement for socialism and unashamedly advocating revolutionary change. Comrade Chris, has raised the following.   

“I think there's a fair few challenges that your post raises.

First off, getting people to realise that they are 'working class'. Unfortunately the media has given that phrase some bad press. Working class = chav = idle git = irresponsible sponger = criminal and all that.
Secondly it's getting people to realise that when they look at themselves as an 'entrepreneur' or a 'businessman' or woman that it's actually bollocks,

I work in a large company, about 60,000 people world wide and it's a big battle against such corporate speak like 'selling yourself' and 'going the extra mile'. I see all these people striving and prostituting themselves, stepping on their fellow workers and expecting that one day they'll be 'among the top people'. It's crap. Few are going to get the top jobs and those that do are chosen long before through connections and suchlike. They're corporate sheep and God I wish they realised that.

Then you have the historic link with the Labour party. I think that the elite at the top of the Labour party gave up on the working class decades ago. They've always looked out for capitalism and nurturing the capitalist system for yonks. Same for most of the unions. I remember doing a course at my union head office back in the 80s. The course leader there was all chummy. But outside the course he'd blank me when he was with 'those at the top'. It was so obvious that he was playing the corporate game. His members weren't his priority, it was his career and his standing with his 'betters'.

And back to Labour, or 'New' Labour, in your post when you talk of New Labour do you mean New Labour or the Labour Party in general? It makes a big difference regarding direction for the working man and woman.

Finally, although we are in a crap economic system and paying for the luxury of those running the show I think that there's only so much they can tinker with before we see some serious breakdown in the economy. But with that comes such an opportunity to promote socialism. People are going to be mighty pissed once they realise that their sacrifice at the altar of austerity isn't going to get the gods to save the harvest.”

First and foremost, keep in mind that ‘Globalisation’ means just that, becoming global, of becoming world wide. There is nothing wrong with globalisation as such. The coming into being of a global community, in which all humanity recognize themselves as being part of one whole human tribe living on the same planet and beholding each other as completely and entirely altogether is a good thing, worthy of our destiny to come.
However, capitalist globalization is in the driving seat which has been developed over a long period of time, through countless wars, conquests, imperialism and the establishment of markets for trading; this pushed along the globalization of the world we have and know it for today. 

This world as we experience is split up into virus states, which compete with each other for the resources and markets of the world on behalf of their own capitalist cartel and class. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels called the state under capitalism ‘a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie, adding ‘The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production.’

For Marx, he understood only to well, that in order for man to be free he has to understand freedom, and it was always his aim to show how the material outcome of history has interfered with this understanding. For Marx, this was the central drama of polities.

I agree that it is an illusion that many fall under thinking of themselves as 'entrepreneurs' or 'businessman'. The same thing as thinking that there are more than two classes in society, and some will argue that there now exists an under class, there of course is no such category.

I have many times considered it the case, that the system controls the majority through its hold on the education of our children. I like the way that William Morris put it:

“If the capitalists the ‘manufactures’ were the servants of society as they sometimes profess to be; but who shall force such a prodigious change upon them as success even in such a miner manner as this would indicate, so long as they are the masters of society, which is their real position.”

More to the point he said:

“People are ‘educated’ to become workmen or the employers of workmen, or the hanger-on of the employers, they are not educated to become men.”

When the Tories set about the Trade Union Movement the last time they were in office, they knew exactly what they wanted to achieve, a decisive weakening of that movement, which they accomplished with assistance from some of the leaders within both the Labour and Trade Union Movement. When Labour was returned to power they refused to repeal any legislation that impeded, blocked, obstructed whatever you would like to call it, which has deliberately curtailed Trade Union Organisation. This has had an effect on the development of our movement and class as a whole, that is why some working people are totally wedded and conjoined to prostituting themselves to capital, which is a nice way of putting it. But now that thousands are being shown the door, and indecently not like it was under Mrs.Thatcher, they are clerical, office workers and banking staff, many of whom would predominately consider themselves middle class and immune and from the forced trips down to the local dole office.

It is obvious that working people, have an interest in emancipation and equality as the exploited class, and it is equally obvious that the capitalist class have no such interest, and indeed are bound to react against it even though, as Marx pointed out, it is sometimes possible of course for enlightened individuals in a ruling class to throw in their lot with a revolutionary movement.

The question does arise, however, whether the working class can leave the achievement of emancipation to leaders. All the established political parties, including those calling themselves Labour and Socialist, except the principle of Leadership. The disciples of Lenin, for example, subscribe to his incorrect and borne witness view that Socialism can only be accomplished by a toilet-trained leadership, an elite composed of professional revolutionaries drawn from the ‘intelligentsia’, leading a mass of followers, and I say that respectfully of those many comrades who make a fantastic contribution to the class struggle.

The point was well put by Frederick Engels:

“ The time is past for revolutions carried through by small minorities at the head of unconscious masses. When it gets to be a matter of complete transformation of social organisation, the masses themselves must participate, must understand what is at stake and why they are to act. That much the history of the last fifty years has taught us. But so that the masses may understand what is to be done, long and persistent work is required....”

My last point is that Labour, New or Old, and the many claims of it being a reforming party par-excellence are simply not backed up by experience. All its administrations with great reforming intentions were only able to do one thing, run the system according to its own economic logic - profits first, wage and salary workers a poor second.  
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