This is just too good to be true: George Galloway has written this open letter to John Reid, complaining about a “well known and violent extremist” being “allowed within punching distance of the British Home Secretary”.
Two points should be borne in mind before you recoil in disbelief (or collapse into laughter) at the thought that that Mr Galloway – usually an uncritical supporter of Islamic extremism in all its forms – should take such a stance:
1/ Reid is an old Stalinist buddy of Galloway’s from the Scottish Labour Party, and our George clearly still has a lot of Stalinist respect for the senior man.
2/ The “well known and violent extremist” in question, Abu Izzadine, intimidated, terrified, and took hostage Mr Galloway and his daughter at a “Respect” election meeting last year: clearly, uncritical support for all anti-Zionists must have its limits.
Galloway complains that “either our police and security forces are so fantastically incompetent that Bin laden himself might have slipped in to beard you at your podium”. Or “someone somewhere wanted to engineer precisely this confrontation”.
Well, it’s not George’s usual complaint against the British state authorities that they’re too lax in their dealings with radical Muslims. But George has an alternative explanation: that the entire confrontation *was* “engineered”…”to portray the Muslims of Britain in the most aggressive, violent and extreme way possible”.
But George, who is willing to go along with the theory that Jews were tipped off about 9/11 and advised to stay away from the Twin Towers, assures his (ex-) comrade Reid that “…as you know I am not a believer in conspiracy theories (so) I am leaning towards the first explanation”.
Good to hear that George old chum. Now, maybe, a clear-cut statement to the effect that the story about Jews knowing in advance about 9/11 is complete bollocks? Such an admission will not absolve you of all your many crimes against socialism, humanity and common decency: but it will prove that you are not a compulsive “believer in conspiracy theories”; just an opportunist who is willing to go along with them when it suits you.
As one who made the mistake of leaving the Labour party to join the Socialist Alliance, I followed this weeks Labour conference with interest. Believe it or not, I found a lot of it quite encouraging. The union leaders seem to have finally (and not before time) realised that Mr G. Brown is not a serious alternative to Blairism; the Blairites lost crucial votes on council housing, NHS privatisation and corporate manslaughter; and John McDonnell’s leadership bid (essentially, an attempt to return to trad Labour principles) is beginning to look credible…so long as that mad, dishonest piece of shit Meacher doesn’t wreck it by standing and splitting the trad Labour vote.
The Tory cuckoo Blair will be largely unlamented, but it would seem that his arrogance and hatred of social democracy may yet lead a “Blairite” candidate to stand agianst Brown. Given that there is not a fart’s breath of difference, politically, between the Blair and Brown “camps”, it is obvious that socialists (and social democrats) should not take sides between them. The only serious leadership bid is that of McDonnell, despite his unfortunate willingness to consort with the likes of the Stop The War Coalition: something that serious socialists will have to talk to him about.
Re: “Dr” John Reid: What a typically nasty example of an ex-Stalinist gone to the right, he is. His speech on Thusday was quite clearly an undeclared leadership bid, based upon crude, nationalist tub-thumping – typical of Stalinists everywhere. This man would be an horrific disaster, let anywhere near real power. But like many evil nutters, he has the occssional lucid moment, like this:
“You don’t have to love everything George W. Bush stands for to hate everything that Osama bin Laden stands for”.
I bet you are. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I know a disturbing number of people who have to go to Labour Party Conference as part of their job. Far from me to name and shame (?) but you know who you are, guys! Having no such obligation I’ve just been relaxing and watching proceedings on the telly. Normal service was of course resumed yesterday after Tuesday’s emotional speech from the Dear Leader, with the predictable massive defeat of the Government on NHS “reform”. (I confidently expect to see the following definition in the online OED: “reform vt to sell, give away, break up or discard. From Lat. reformare to talk cobblers while doing something appaling”).
As for Blair’s big speech itself, I was amazed at the media reaction. Quarter of an hour on the main news broadcasts, commentators saying it was a “tour de force”, and so on. The main emotion I detected was relief, from Tony himself not least. Who, after all, would want to spend a decade as PM? Maggie Thatcher did it and look at her now…At any rate, one would have to have a heart of stone not to applaud Blair’s last Conference speech, even – or rather especially – if one were mainly applauding the fact that it was the last one!
Another thing I noticed was the paucity of policy announcements. The terrible twins said so very little that all there was to talk about was whether Cherie really passed a snide remark abouit Gordon (well, wouldn’t you?) What wonderful new New Labour radical visions of the future were proclaimed from the platform? Umm…more regulation of buses and…no more GCSE maths coursework. Amazing! Seriously, though, one no longer waits with bated breath for major policy commitments at Conference, simply because ministers no longer dare to tell Conference what they plan to do. Of course, one can guess – but Blairites and Brownites join forces to repeat “It’s not about that”. It’s not surprising. Walter Wolfgang is a remarkably polite old gentleman, after all…
I did, however, go to the anti-war demo on Saturday (which had 10-15,000 people on it, whatever the Morning Star says). I won’t say much about it, given that the splendid Volty, Jim and LaLaMiMi have posted copiously here already – indeed if Manchester Stop the War had been half as enthusiastic about organising it as people were about going on it (Comrade Denham always excepted!) it might have been a lot better! Perhaps I’m just a bit sour because I ended up next to the 9-11 Conspiracy Rapper for so long…Just one funny bit though – the British Muslim Initiative placards saying “Respect – The Palestinians’ Choice!” Y’know, I thought that was Hamas. Or is there something we should know…?!
Here are some pics I had taken during Saturdays Demo.. I was only there for 4 hours – but I thought it was a good experience and did not regret the fact it took more than 12 hours of the day to get there and back (while also fasting)…. I was not sure about the turn out.. I did not look huge from where I was sitting – but I heard reports that there was over 30,000 people being reported by Sky News. The reaction from the public was very interesting.
Saturday’s truely horrible travesty of of a “left wing” demonstration was, let us never forget, called in the name of that SWP/Stalinist/Islamist rotten bloc, the so-called “Stop the War Coalition”. This is an organisation that has never given a damn about the peoples of Afghanistan or Iraq, but only about the narrowist British self-interest. These nationalists were well on display on Saturday in Manchester, on a demo supposedly called about Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon: in fact it had fuck all to do with any of that. It was about British internal politics, and the majority voice on that horrible demo was that of isolationism and appeasement. Lindsay Hilsum, in the New Statesman of (how appropriate) 9/11/06, wrote:
“From the beginning, the debate in this country has been about British politics and prejudice, largely ignoring Iraqis, as if they were bit players in their own tragedy. The pro-war lobby-including the Euston Manifesto Group, heavily influenced by the Kurds, who have a different agenda from other Iraqis – refuses to acknowledge the disaster war has created. Even as Sunni insurgents slaughter Shias, and Shia ministry of interior thugs terrorise Sunnis, they claim that democracy is nascent. To them, anyone who states the obvious – that Iraq is a violent mess where life for ordinary people is worse than before – must be a covert apologist for Saddam. As Winston Churchill said during the Second Worls War: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.
Their refusal to acknowledge the truth is as sickening as the cynical reasoning of the anti-war lobby, which opposed the war because its members hate America, not because they thought it would harm Iraqis. Most Iraqis I know agreed…that there was no other way to get ris of Saddam, and that however rough it was, war would in in the long run bring a better life. They have been proved wrong, but the anti-war mob infantalises, allowing them no responsibilty for their fate. Thwy blame the US for all killings in Iraq, as if the murderous bands who detonate car bombs in Baghdad and Baquba were not reponsible for their own actions”.
Anyone who supports the so-called “resistance” in Iraq with the romantic idea that they are some sort of, recognisable, “national liberation movement” should read the above: and then, if they don’t agree that this so-called “resistance” is a bunch of reactianary scum…they should go and…go…and..go…
I was heartened to read that last week jazz musicians picketed the British ‘Mobo’ (Music of Black Origin) awards in protest at jazz being dropped as a ‘catagory’ .
I was even more pleased to note that the New Orleans-style protest band outside the ceremony included the brilliant young altoist Soweto Kinch (a previous winner of a ‘Mobo’ award) and trumpeter/vocalist Abram Wilson. According to the (UK) ‘Times’, Kinch said,
“I just think it’s preposterous…it is ludicrous to have these pretensions to being a global and significant and world-class event and ignore a vibrant and healthy jazz scene, internationally and in the UK”.
Hear, hear to that I say. And it’s especially good to see young black players like Kinch and Wilson making their presence felt in British jazz: for much too long both the traditional and the modern jazz scenes have been dominated by white players and white fans, whilst black musicians and fans have been virtually non-existant – or, perhaps, excluded: even heavy metal rock seemed to have more black adherants than jazz.
Now, happily, things seem to be being (slowly) put right – not least by the efforts of the articulate and historically-aware Kinch. He is making an effort to draw our attention to neglected black musicians who worked in Britain in the 1930′s. 40′s , 50′s and 60′s: the likes of altoist Bertie King, trumpeter Leslie ‘Jiver’ Hutchinson, bandleader Ken “Snakehips” Jackson, clarinetist Carl Barriteau…and then, a little later, the very advanced altoist Joe Harriot and South African expatriates like saxist Dudu Pukwana and drummer Louis Maholo (both of whom made excellent music in Chris Mcgregor’s Brotherhood of Breath). All credit to Kinch for drawing our attention to these unsung heroes.
My only – very minor carp- is with the very concept of “black music”. Of course, jazz is a predominantly black art form. But, as a matter of straight fact, most of the early New Orleans musicians were “Creoles of Color”, who most certainly did *not* regard themselves as “black”, and rather looked down upon Afro-American ‘negroes’ like Joe Oliver and the young Louis Armstrong.
It was only when jazz escaped New Orleans and landed up in Chicago, and then, New York, that racial barriers came down.
But the point is, that jazz was the first manifestation of Western culture in which black people were afforded equal status to whites, and where they (the blacks) responded by proving themselves at least the equals – and very often the superiors – of whites.
None of which makes jazz “black music”: Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden and Miff Mole have as much claim to be regarded as jazz pioneers as Louis Armstrong, Joe Oliver or Sidney Bechet. In fact, jazz’s greatest achivement is to have broken down racial barriers first in the recording studio (Eddie Condon, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong), then on the bandstand (Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and Lional Hampton), and finally in society (Martin Luther King, Malcolm ‘X’, Nat ‘King’ Cole, etc)…
Despite that quibble: congratualtions to Sowato Kinch.
…why it is that leftish demonstrations across Europe are populated, more often than not, by tens of thousands of trade unionists, whilst in the UK anti-war demos seem to be dominated by students and, more crucially, loons, goons and buffoons? There’s a place for all those I suppose, but really it would be nice to see something more substantive.
Looking around Saturday’s gathering in Manchester, the people who immediately stood out were the 9/11 rapper guy who was going on across a sound system about Tony Blair receiving anal sex from members of staff, a supply teacher member of Socialist Resistance telling an anecdote about someone punching a Spart on a previous demo, some pillocks from the “Clown Army”, dressed as… err… clowns in military uniform, some Maoists (with real Mao stuff!) and a woman with a placard saying “war kills animals too”.
I mean really, I do know that it takes all sorts, you can’t control who turns up on a demo, etcetera. However, when the right characterises the left as a gaggle of misfits who’d make a convention of Spock-ear-wearing Trekkies look politically credible, this is kinda what they’re talking about.
I was wandering down the high street recently, looking for something nice to have for lunch, when I passed by a sign for an exhbition called “PSYCHIATRY: AN INDUSTRY OF DEATH”. How could I resist going in?
It’s not something you’re used to seeing as the title for an exhibition in the UK – even the political extremists usually come up with something topical. So, I didn’t really know what to expect. As I trundled into the part of the hotel where the exhibition was being held, I saw a couple of men in white shirts power-walking around the room taking pictures, and other people holding a discussion in a corner.
And then, wow, what a treat. I sat down in front of an (immaculately well produced) video about how Psychiatrists were trying to form a world government via social control that they perform under the cover of their (false, of course) “science”. I perumbulated around the room, and looked at displays about how Psychiatrists are responsible for racism, the decline of religion, the drugging of children, you name it. Wow, I never knew my local mental health team were actually the Empire from Star Wars, but there you have it.
At the end, I was accosted by an immaculately attired young woman who asked me to sign a petition “against drugging children”. I made my excuses and left with a couple of their publications.
Who sponsored this event (which you can see at various tour stops in the UK)? Why, gentle reader, ’twas the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights. A fine, US-based organisation protecting us from the pathologisation of normal human conditions by a greedy clique? Well, probably not, eh. Their publications are sponsored by the “United States International Association of Scientologists Members’ Trust”.
Now, I don’t really fret too much about mad religious cults. But I do when they’re spreading crap about good mental health practice and picking on vulnerable people as a result. And not being candid about who they are, when they’re doing it.
You fucking vultures. Carry on your parasitic relationship with celebrity wankers, and see how far it gets you.
Let me be quite frank: I am a member of a far-left organisation called the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL). Like most far-left groups, we have some leading figures whose authority is not simply down to election, but is down to their records as founders of the organisation. The SWP had Tony Cliff, the “Militant”/RSG had Ted Grant and the SLL/WRP had (gawd help ‘em) the rapist Gerry Healey. In the AWL, our leading figures are Sean Matgamna and Martin Thomas.
Neither of them are Popes. I, personally, have been involved in bitter diagreements with both of them: with Thomas over Gate Gourmet, and with Matgamna over the Good Friday Agreement.
But I was well pleased when I read Matgamna’s statement on the Pope and Islam, here; and even more so when I saw it denounced by that asshole Bob Pitt on his scab “Islamophobia Watch” website. Sean was the person who convinced me that Trotskyism was the right path: he still stands for basic principles like secularism and rationality. And I’m still proud to be a “Matgamnaite”.
I wrote what I wrote about the Pope’s statement, not knowing what the AWL would have to say about the matter: but Matgamna has delivered the goods, and – once again – I’m reminded why I’m proud to be a member of the AWL.