Louis at Halloween

October 31, 2010 at 12:01 am (cinema, jazz, Jim D)

From the Bing Crosby Film Pennies From Heaven

“All the witches were in stitches…”

Lionel Hampton on drums, Joe Sullivan on piano.

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Derek Wall’s book: Green Stalinism, fit only for the recycling bin of history

October 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm (AWL, capitalism, environment, Green Party, Jim D, stalinism)

Paul Hampton reviews Derek Wall’s The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement (Pluto Press, 2010)

Ecosocialism is a fudge. It is a swamp with little coherence and even less ground. This book is impressionistic, superficial and politically flawed. Despite a reputation for ecumenicalism, Derek Wall manages to manufacture a ‘common sense’ imbued with the worst elements of Stalinist necromancy. It is a work fit only for the recycling bin of history.

First, Wall has a fundamentally flawed conception of capitalism. For him, capitalism is centrally about growth. It is growth that he believes is the root of ecological degradation. This is not a Marxist conception of capitalism – i.e. one that is rooted in the exploitation of wage labour by capital. Readers who want a more rigorous Marxist political economy of ecological degradation will not find it in this book. And in fact a socialist economy would grow, to produce for human need, even as it would use resources more ecologically.

Second, Wall’s big idea is that ecosocialism rests on a conception of “the commons”, which he associates especially with indigenous communities. He appears to promote a vegetarian future of composted toilets, fustian smocks and cheerfully living off the land – not something that is likely to appeal to the bulk of urbanised humanity. Yet his existing models are no better. He believes that Chavez’s Venezuela is cultivating a “participatory form of socialism” (p.112); in fact Chavez presides over an oil-fuelled Bonapartist state capitalism. Evo Morales is “explicitly advocating ecosocialism” (p.109), despite running a bourgeois government. Cuba has passed “the most radical ecological reforms in the world” (p.113), despite refusing to allow independent unions and environment movements to organise. Laughably, he cites the John Lewis partnership (p.60) as an example of worker ownership, despite the complete absence of unions and the active hostility of management to unions in that firm. In short the alternative to capitalism he promotes is impoverished, miserable and unattractive.

The third area of confusion is over the social forces for socialism, though in a rare moment of candour, Wall admits that, “Green political theory has often been weak when it comes to the question of ‘agency’ and that for many Greens, “species interest replaces specific class interest” (p.134). The basic problem is his elevation of indigenous struggles, over and above those of workers.

Hugo Blanco’s preface states that “the most important task of the ecosocialist is to defend those at the vanguard of the struggle, the indigenous and peasants in general” (p.xiii). Wall states that “indigenous communities are acting as an increasingly self-confident and well-organised vanguard of ecosocialism right across our planet” (p.136). He believes mystically that “indigenous people and peasants have discovered ways of sharing land that are ecologically sustainable and promote real prosperity” (p.16) and “those most concerned to respect other species are often indigenous people” (p.65). Apparently “ecosocialism is the environmentalism not just of indigenous people, peasants and other communities who live directly from the land, but of the poor” (p.129-130). This is a Narodnik position – and a long way from working class self-emancipation.

Wall states that workers “are often dependent on industries that are polluting and destructive (p.132) and “benefit from polluting technology because it provides jobs” and so “will have little interest in environmental issues” (p.136). Ecosocialists must “engage with trade unions” (p.132), though it seems mainly to make links with indigenous people (p.137). Wall supports the Zapatistas, yet their strategy shows the limits of indigenous agency. Mexico has a large and militant working class, with a quarter of its population in Mexico City alone. Rather than build an alliance with auto workers, textile workers, miners and millions of other proletarians, the Zapatistas largely ignored them. They had pretty much nothing to say about the working-class (teacher-led!) uprising in the state of Oaxaca.

Wall cherry-picks his way through the history of the left to find antecedents for his ‘ecosocialism’. It is a partial, selective effort. Marx and Engels get the usual name-check (p.72), as do William Morris and Edward Carpenter (p.75-76). Astonishingly there is nothing about the socialist ecology of the German SPD before 1914, despite the contribution of August Bebel on town and country, energy and deforestation, Karl Kautsky on agriculture and population, and Karl Liebknecht on cars, as well as the social-democratic Friends of Nature organisation. Instead a salutary quote from Rosa Luxemburg waxing about songbirds opens the book.

There’s a nod toward Leninist Russia (p.77), but nothing on wider Russian Marxist contributions of Plekhanov, Bogdanov or Bukharin at the height of the revolution. Instead Trotsky is panned on the basis of a few paragraphs about moving mountains that he wrote in a book about literature. Perniciously, Wall ignores what Trotsky wrote about science and about waste and hyper-industrialisation. And there is no mention of the discussions on nature, geography and materialism among the Comintern (e.g. Wittfogel) in the 1920s.

Wall manages to discuss the Frankfurt school of Western Marxism (p.82) without mentioning Alfred Schmidt, whose book The Concept of Nature in Marx (1962) predated Rachel Carson and the rest of the separate environment movement that emerged in the 1960s. He at least admits that many earlier ‘ecosocialists’ such as Andre Gorz, Alain Lipietz, Rudolf Bahro and Daniel Cohn-Bendit did in fact reject socialism as they embraced ecology (p.88). However Wall simply fails to explain the disjuncture of socialism and ecology from the 1930s, or the central role of Stalinism in creating this schism. It betrays an ignorance of the history of socialism unparalleled for one trying to refound the entire tradition.

For all his apparent chumminess, Wall reserves particular venom for the revolutionary left. Apparently “the far left in many countries” – especially Britain and Argentina – is “isolated from society, divided over esoteric disputes and splintering with almost continuous motion” (p.125). Allegedly there exists a kind of “Leninist gnosticism” – i.e. search for a secret knowledge of transformation. We are allegedly “political sects too fixated on ideological purity to act” (p.127). Instead he prefers just about anybody else to the “arid sectarianism” (p.141) of the far left.

The extent of Wall’s political incoherence is witnessed by three stances. First, his columns for the Stalinist Morning Star, the paper of the Communist Party of Britain. He is happy to help give them the veneer of a paper of the broad left, while they continue to spout pro-Stalinist propaganda. Second, his explicit support for the Respect party, whose political raison d’etre was the uplifting of political Islamists – with disastrous consequences for Asian communities and the left. Third, his love-in with those chameleons Socialist Resistance, who manage to combine theoretical accommodation and bandwagon-jumping with the most passive absence of political drive.

Wall laughably claims that the Green Party of England and Wales has a “strong trade union group” (p.132). The GPTU group is largely without influence in the British trade union movement. In fact it has less influence than almost all the tiniest left groups. It has almost nobody elected to a leading position in a UK trade union body. It never has a political intervention, or a strategy for the winning a trade union struggle, or a rank and file project. Rather, it issues paper press releases, expressing general support for struggles over which it exercises no purchase.

This is well illustrated by the Vestas struggle last year. Wall blandly states that “a wide variety of left and climate activists supported them” (p.132). Despite having hundreds more members than the AWL, the GPEW managed to affect precisely nothing in the struggle. It took a group of revolutionary socialists, principally AWL members – Wall doesn’t mention us in his tour of ecosocialists or those he regards as sectarians, impractical people, hair-splitters etc – to help initiate, sustain and develop the struggle. If Vestas workers had looked to Green Left, they would have found precisely nothing, probably never have occupied their factory, and gone down without a fight

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I Remember Clifford

October 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm (good people, jazz, Jim D)

Clifford Bown, jazz trumpet player, would have been 80 today: b, October 30, 1930 – d, June 26, 1956).

The history of jazz is full of brilliant young things who would, no doubt, have gone on to create wonderful music, apart from the fact that they died prematurely. Many of them (notably Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan and Charlie Parker) died as a result of drink or drugs. But a self-inflicted death is not necessary for cult status. Even the world of classical music has its “what if” heroes and heroines, entirely innocent of booze or narcotics: pianist William Kappell (killed in an airplane crash in 1953, aged 31), and violinist Ginette Neveue (also killed in a ‘plane crash in 1949, aged 30). Buddy Holly in the world of rock, died an uncannily similar (‘plane crash) death: Jimmy Hendrix and Kurt Cobain belong more to the Beiderbecke / Parker school of self-inflicted early destruction.

The most important point about Cifford Brown was he was an absolutely brilliant trumpet player. He had a ‘fat’ tone, virtually unknown then, in jazz, except for his immediate inspiration Theodore “Fats” Navarro. Brown’s phrasing was immaculate, even at ultra-fast tempos. By the early 1950′s he was as well-known in jazz circles as Miles Davis. But Clifford was a much better player than Davis would ever be. And, whereas Davis was an asshole of a human being, Brownie was – by every single account – a loveable, delightful and modest character. Years later, Sonny Rollins (attempting to break with heroin addiction when he met Clifford), would say: “Clifford was a clean-living person. That was a tremendous influence on me, to see that a guy who could play at that level was clean of drugs”.

By the late 1940′s, Brownie had established himself as a force to be reckoned with on trumpet, around the Philadelphia jazz scene. In 1948 the Philadelphia bandleader Jimmy Heath was playing at a club when …

“This young guy came up, head bowed, a very humble person, and asked if he could sit in”…of course, Brownie (aged 17) blew them away.

In 1950 Brownie was seriously injured in a car crash and was very lucky to survive at all. It was – looking back – a co-incidental, but nonetheless eerie, foretaste of his fate six years later.

By 1953 Brownie had recovered from the car wreck and was making records with top modern jazz players in New York, and touring Europe with Lionel Hampton’s band. While in Paris with Hampton, he sneaked away to to make several remarkable records with local musicians and fellow-American Gigi Grice (alto sax); Hampton’s manager (allegedly) threatened Brownie with a knife over this breach of contract, but the records put Brownie on the jazz ‘map’ in Europe.

Back in the US, Brownie formed a a quintet with tenorist Harold Land, bassist Paul Morrow, pianist Richie Powell (brother of the more famous pianist Bud Powell) and drummer
Max Roach. This group pioneered the style of jazz that would become known as ‘hard bop’: Phil Schaap of the Lincoln Centre says “Hard bop is the predominant style of jazz played today… the bar was set very, very high (by Clifford Brown’s group -JD), and it certainly has not been eclipsed”.

Happily, during the early 1950′s. Brownie made a large number of albums, including “Study in Brown”, “Clifford Brown with Strings”, “Brown & Roach Inc” and “At Basin Street”: all of which are, quite simply, masterpieces of the jazz trumpet to set alongside Louis’ Hot Fives and Sevens, the best of  Bix, Red Allen, Roy Eldridge and anything by Dizzy Gillespie. You may notice that I have not included Miles Davis in that roll-call of the greatest jazz trumpeters. The reason is simply that Miles is not in the same league as Louis, Roy, Dizzy or Brownie. Miles was a superficial, limited and rather pretentious trumpet player (and human being): Brownie could blow him off the stand.

So why, you may ask, is Miles Davis a household name, whereas Clifford Brown is all but unheard of? The answer is that Clifford died over fifty years ago, before his work was done. The story isn’t quite clear, but it culminates on a night (Monday, June 25 1956), when Brownie ‘sat in’ at a Philadelphia jam session, ‘en route’ to a proper gig in Chicago the next night. There is even a bootleg recording, perporting to be from that night, ending with Brownie saying to the audience: “You’ve made me feel wonderful, but I have to go now”. Those of us, listening, who know what happened next, can hardly keep from blubbing. Never mind that jazz scholars have spoiled that moment by revealing that it was, in all probability, recorded a year earlier in May 1955.

Let the late Dick Sudhalter take up the story, in the kind of nightmare-cum- fantasy that we all indulge in, in these situations, imagining that we are there:

“…And you also know that sometime between now and dawn , Brown’s new Buick, with Nancy (Richie Powell’s wife) at the wheel, will go off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at speed and plunge down an eighteen-foot (actually, seventy five foot – JD) embankment, killing all three occupants (Brownie, Nancy and Richie Powell) instantly…

“What will it take to keep him -keep them all – from leaving? Steal the car’s distributor cap? Slash the tires? Beard the young man in a corner and tell him – what? That you’re an emissary from the future, and that his life depends on staying in Philly tonight, at least till daylight? That however exhausted he and Richie might be, they’re under no circumstances to let Nancy, a novice driver with poor vision, barely able to negotiate a U-turn, behind the wheel?”

Sudhalter spoke to Brownie’s widow, LaRue Brown Wilson in March 1995 (Brownie died on her birthday and their wedding anniversary; she died in 2007, aged 72); she said:

“He and his friend Quincy Jones would sit around for hours…talking about the business end of music. At that time, don’t forget, there were very few black people on the production side of things. They, both of them, had a vision that one day they would do all that.

“As you know, Quincy was able to go ahead and realise those dreams. By then Clifford had been dead many, many years; but who knows -everything Quincy achieved might as easily have been open to Clifford”.

When news of Brownie’s (and Richie’s) death reached Max Roach in Chicago the next day, he locked himself in his hotel room with two bottles of cognac.

Sonny Rollins said “I just picked up my horn and played all night”.

(hat-tip: Matt Schudel, Washington Post)

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Fascists still want to kill Jews

October 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm (anti-semitism, fascism, islamism, Jim D)

October 30, 2010 7:17 a.m. EDT

Synangogues were the targets.

A suspicious package contained a "manipulated" toner cartridge that had white powder on it, a law enforcement source said.
Never forget it; never excuse it.
Vienna, Austria 1939  Daily “Intifada” December 14, 20001

Creating a land “Free of Jews”

After World War II, many of both European and Arab states, as illustrated in the tables below, have been rendered virtually judenrein (free of Jews-Hitler’s term), in spite of the thriving populations in both European and Arab states prior to the war.

The Jewish Population
in Europe2

  1930s 1956
Austria 191,000 12,000
Belgium 60,000 35,000
Bulgaria 48,000 6,000
Czechoslovakia 356,000 18,000
Denmark 6,500
France 260,000 250,000
Germany 503,000 25,000
Great Britain 300,000 450,000
Greece 73,000 6,000
Holland 112,000 25,000
Hungary 444,000 135,000
Italy 48,000 33,000
Latvia 93,000
Lithuania 155,000
Poland 3,113,000 50,000
Rumania 758,000 190,000
Russia (incl.
 Asiatic Russia)
3,021,000 2,500,000
Sweden 13,000
Switzerland 18,000 20,000
52,000 60,000
Yugoslavia 69,000 6,500
Other Countries 49,000 12,800
Total 9,654,000 3,773,800
Estimated Jewish Population
In Arab Countries 3 

  pre-1948 1979-1982
Iraq 125,000-135,000 200-300 
Egypt 75,000 250
Syria 30,000 4,300-4,800
Morocco 265,000 18,000
Algeria 130,000-140,000 300-400
Tunisia 105,000 2,500-4,000
Lebanon 5,000 200
Libya 38,000 15-20
Of more than 9,654,000 Jews in Europe before W.W.II, less than half remain. in spite of the fact that several tens of thousands returned to Europe after the war.  Approximately 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazi’s as the British reduced immigration quotas to “the Jewish National Homeland” to a token amount. Of more than 850,000 Jews in Arab lands before Israel’s statehood, fewer than 29,000 remain, the vast majority fleeing to Israel fleeing religious persecution.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been excluded from the chart because Jews have long been forbidden to enter, much less live in what has been deemed “moderate” Saudi Arabia — with the notable exceptions of Henry Kissinger, when he was the United States Secretary of State; Secretary of Defense Harold Brown in 1979; and perhaps a few selected Jewish academicians, businessmen, or journalists. Saudi Arabia, where thriving and influential communities of Arabian Jews existed at the time of Islam’s creation in the seventh century,4 has maintained a “moderate” policy that totally excludes Jews. As the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to The Hague said, upon Dutch Foreign Minister Max Van Der Stoel’s proposed visit to Saudi Arabia in 1975,

No Jewish journalist will be allowed into Saudi Arabia to cover Mr. Van Der Stoel’s visit…. Official policy has always been to refuse entry to Jews because they support Israel as a state.5

Noting the bigotry inherent in the Saudis’ avowed institutionalized discriminatory practices, Foreign Minister Van Der Stoel canceled that visit. He advised the Dutch Parliament that

The government of Saudi Arabia has informed me that it will not issue an entry visa for the Netherlands journalist representing Vrij Nederland Naturally, every government has the right to decide which foreigners it wishes to allow into its country. On the other hand, I want to emphasize that the government of the Netherlands utterly rejects any form of discrimination on the grounds of race or religion,6 which might form the basis for granting such an entry permit.7

That same month, a London journalist reported that, during his visit to Saudi Arabia,

My guide insists on giving me a copy of that horrifying old forgery about the Jews’ plot to conquer the Arabs: The Protocol of the Elders of Zion. It turns out that all visiting journalists are given it.8

The Kingdom of Jordan

The Kingdom of Jordan also has been excluded from the table, because no Jews lived there in 1948, although the Jewish presence in the major portion of Palestine — which is presently “Jordan” — had existed long before the seventh-century creation of Islam. In fact, many of the Jews who had survived massacres in Arabia, only to be expelled in the seventh century from their lands in the Arabian Peninsula, had fled and found refuge in the large Jewish settlements of Eastern Palestine  — more than a thousand years before that eastern territory of mandated Palestine became perceived as a separate “kingdom” of “‘Transjordan” in 1922.

“the West Bank”

Jews who had dwelt on historical Palestinian terrain both east of the Jordan River and in the area called “the West Bank” were driven out of that land’s Arab-dominated towns over the past half century by sporadic pogroms and pillage, so that by the 1940s the Palestinian towns in Transjordan and the West Bank were considered “purely Arab” — already purged of their former Jewish population. The Jews once living in the area of Palestine known as Jordan and the West Bank had become “Palestinian Jewish refugees” as the result of Arab violence. And the fact that there are Jewish “Palestinian refugees” of twentieth-century vintage is overlooked even in Israel.  These refugees found safety only in the predominantly Jewish-settled areas of Palestine’s coastal plain, which today is Israel. By 1948, the more than seventy-five percent of Palestine that the British had allocated to the Arabs as “Transjordan” already had been efficiently purged of all Jews, through periodic Arab onslaughts upon the various long-established Jewish communities. Despite that fact, the Jordanian government’s nationality law of 1954 sought to safeguard its would-be racial purity: According to that law “Palestinian” living in Jordan was entitled to Jordanian citizenship unless he as a Jew.9

Muftism and Nazism: World War II Collaboration. Documents 
(examples of original correspondence)

1) U.S. Confirms Role of Mufti as Nazi Middle East Leader


No. 792-PS
17 September 1945Source of Original OKW Files, Flensburg



SUMMARY OF RELEVANT POINTS (with page references):

1. Only through the funds made available by Germany to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was it possible to carry out the revolt in Palestine. (Page 1).

2. Germany will keep up the connection with the Grand Mufti. Weapons will be stored for the Mufti with Ibn Saud in Arabia. (Page 2).

3. Ibn Saud himself has close connections with the Grand Mufti and the revolting circles in TransJordan. (Page 2).

4. To be able to carry out our work one of Germany’s agents will be placed in Cairo (Page 3).

5. The document is undated but obviously written before the outbreak of the war in 1939. It is not signed.

Analyst Landmann                  Doc. No. 792-PS

Source:The Arab Higher Committee, Its Origins, Personnel and Purposes, The Documentary Record Submitted to The United Nations, May 1947, by Nations Associates.

2) Summons to a Intifada Against Britain
A “Fatwa ” Issued by Haj Amin al-Husseini10, May, 1941*

* Translated from:-“Oriente Modemo,” 1941, pp. 552-553; broadcast over the ‘Iraqi and Axis radios.

In the name of Merciful and Almighty God.I invite all my Moslem brothers throughout the whole world to join in the Holy War for God, for the defense of Islam and her lands against her enemy. O Faithful, obey and respond to my call.

O Moslems!

Proud ‘Iraq has placed herself in the vanguard of this Holy Struggle, and has thrown herself against the strongest enemy of Islam certain that God will grant her victory.

The English have tried to seize this Arab-Moslem land, but she has risen, full of  dignity and pride to defend her safety, to fight for her honor and to safeguard her integrity. ‘Iraq fights the tyranny which has always had as its aim the destruction of Islam in every land. It is the duty of all Moslems to aid ‘Iraq in her struggle and to seek every means to fight the enemy, the traditional traitor in every age and every situation.

Whoever knows the history of the East has everywhere seen the hand of the English working to destroy the Ottoman Empire and to divide the Arab countries. British politics toward the Arab people is masked under a veil of Hypocrisy. The minute she sees her chance, England squeezes the prostrate country in her Imperialist grasp, adding futile justifications. She creates discord and division within a country and while feeding it in secret openly she assumes the role of advisor and trusted hiend. The time when England could deceive the peoples of the East is passed. The Arab Nation and the Moslem people have awakened to fight British domination. The English have overthrown the Ottoman Empire, have destroyed Moslem rule in India, inciting one community against another; they stifled the Egyptian awakening, the dream of Mohammed Ali, colonizing Egypt for half a century. They took advantage of the weakening of the Ottoman Empire to stretch out their hands and use every sort of trick to take possession of many Arab countries as happened to Aden, the 9 Districts, the Hadramut, Oman, Masqat and the Emirates of the Persian Gulf and Transjordania. The vivid proof of the imperialistic designs of the British is to be found in Moslem Palestine which, although promised by England to Sheriff Hussein has had to submit to the outrageous infiltration of Jews, shameful politics designed to divide Arab-Moslem countries of Asia from those of Africa. In Palestine the English have committed unheard of barbarisms; among others, they have profaned the el-Aqsa Mosque and have declared the most unyielding war against Islam, both in deed and in word. The Prime Minister at that time told Parliament that the world would never see peace as long as the Koran existed. What hatred against Islam is stronger than that which publicly declares the Sacred Koran an enemy of human kind? Should such sacrilege go unpunished? After the dissolution of the Moslem Empire in India and of the Ottoman Caliphate, England, adhering to the policy of Gladstone, pursued her work of destruction to Islam depriving many Islamic States both in the East and in the West of their freedom and independence. The number of Moslems who today live under the rule of England and invoke liberation from their terrible yoke exceeds 220,000,000.

Therefore I invite you, O Brothers, to join in the War for God to preserve Islam, your independence and your lands from English aggression. I invite you to bring all your weight to bear in helping ‘Iraq that she may throw off the shame that torments her. O Heroic ‘Iraq, God is with Thee, the Arab Nation and the Moslem World are solidly with Thee in Thy Holy Struggle!

Source:The Arab War Effort-A Documentary Account The American Christian Palestine Committee (New York, n.d.).

3) The Mufti’s Diary on His Meeting with Hitler

At the eve of the “final solution” to the “Jewish Problem”, 
the Mufti and Adolf Hitler confer in Berlin, November 21, 1941

Haj Amin al Husseini, recording in his own handwriting his meeting with Hitler in his diary, says:

The words of the Fuehrer on the 6th of Zul Qaada 1360 of the Hejira (which falls on the 21st of November 1941) Berlin, Friday, from 4:30 P.M. till a few minutes after 6. The objectives of my fight are clear. Primarily, I am fighting the Jews without respite, and this fight includes the fight against the so-called Jewish National Home in Palestine because the Jews want to establish there a central government for their own pernicious purposes, and to undertake a devastating and ruinous expansion at the expense of the govemments of the world and of other peoples.It is clear that the Jews have accomplished nothing in Palestine and their claims are lies. All the accomplishments in Palestine are due to the Arabs and not to the Jews. I am resolved to find a solution for the Jewish problem, progressing step by step without cessation. With regard to this I am making the necessary and right appeal, first to all the European countries and then to countries outside of Europe.

It is true that our common enemies are Great Britain and the Soviets whose principles are opposed to ours. But behind them stands hidden Jewry which drives them both. Jewry has but one aim in both these countries. We are now in the midst of a life and death struggle against both these nations. This fight will not only determine the outcome of the struggle between National Socialism and Jewry, but the whole conduct of this successful war will be of great and positive help to the Arabs who are engaged in the same struggle.

This is not only an abstract assurance.* A mere promise would be of no value whatsoever. But assurance which rests upon a conquering force is the only one which has real value. In the Iraqi campaign, for instance, the sympathy of the whole German people was for Iraq. It was our aim to help Iraq, but circumstances prevented us from fumishing actual help. The German people saw in them (in the Iraqis-Ed.) comrades in suffering because the German people too have suffered as they have. All the help we gave Iraq was not sufficient to save Iraq from the British forces. For this reason it is necessary to underscore one thing: in this struggle which will decide the fate of the Arabs I can now speak as a man dedicated to an ideal and as a military leader and a soldier. Everyone united in this great struggle who helps to bring about its successful outcome, serves the common cause and thus serves the Arab cause. Any other view means weakening the military situation and thus offers no help to the Arab cause. Therefore it is necessary for us to decide the steps which can help us against world Jewry, against Communist Russia and England, and which among them can be most useful. Only if we win the war will the hour of deliverance also be the hour of fulfillment of Arab aspirations.

The situation is as follows: We are conducting the great struggle to open the way to the North of the Caucasus. The difficulties involved are more than transportation because of the demolished railways and roads and because of winter weather. And if I venture in these circumstances to issue a declaration with regard to Syria, then the pro-de Gaulle elements in France will be strengthened and this might cause a revolt in France. These men (the French) will be convinced then that joining Britain is more advantageous and the detachment of Syria is a pattern to be followed in the remainder of the French Empire. This will strengthen de Gaulle’s stand in the colonies. If the declaration is issued now, difficulties will arise in Western Europe which will cause the diversion of some (German-Ed.) forces for defensive purposes, thus preventing us from sending all our forces to the East.

Now I am going to tell you something I would like you to keep secret. First, I will keep up my fight until the complete destruction of the Judeo-Bolshevik rule has been accomplished.

Second, during the struggle (and we don’t know when victory will come, but probably not in the far future) we will reach the Southern Caucasus.

Third, then I would like to issue a declaration; for then the hour of the liberation of the Arabs will have arrived. Germany has no ambitions in this area but cares only to annihilate the power which produces the Jews.

Fourth, I am happy that you have escaped and that you are now with the Axis powers. The hour will strike when you will be the lord of the supreme word and not only the conveyer of our declarations. You will be the man to direct the Arab force and at that moment I cannot imagine what would happen to the Western peoples.

Fifth, I think that with this Arab advance begins the dismemberment of the British world. The road from Rostov to Iran and Iraq is shorter than the distance from Berlin to Rostov. We hope next year to smash this barrier. It is better then and not now that a declaration should be issued as (now) we cannot help in anything.

I understand the Arab desire for this (declaration-Ed.), but His Excellency the Mufti must understand that only five years after I became President of the German government and Fuehrer of the German people, was I able to get such a declaration (the Austrian Union-Ed.), and this because military forces prevented me from issuing such a declaration. But when the German Panzer tanks and the German air squadrons reach the Southern Caucasus, then will be the time to issue the declaration.

He said (in reply to a request that a secret declaration or a treaty be made) that a declaration known to a number of persons cannot remain secret but will become public. I (Hitler) have made very few declarations in my life, unlike the British who have made many declarations. If I issue a declaration, I will uphold it. Once I promised the Finnish Marshal that I would help his country if the enemy attacks again. This word of mine made a stronger impression than any written declaration.

Recapitulating, I want to state the following to you: When we shall have arrived in the Southern Caucasus, then the time of the liberation of the Arabs will have arrived. And you can rely on my word.

We were troubled about you. I know your life history. I followed with interest your long and dangerous journey. I was very concerned about you. I am happy that you are with us now and that you are now in a position to add your strength to the common cause.

*This is a reply to the insistent request of the Multi for an Axis declaration to the Arabs.

Source: The Arab Higher Committee …. The Documentary Record.

4) Ribbentrop Promises Mufti to Destroy Jewish National Home

Ministry of Foreign AffairsBerlin, April 28, 1942
Your Eminence:

In response to your letter and to the accompanying communication of His Excellency, Prime Minister Raschid Ali El Gailani, and confirming the terms of our conversation, I have the honour to inform you:

The German Government appreciates fully the confidence of the Arab peoples in the Axis Powers in their aims and in their determination to conduct the fight against the common enemy until victory is achieved. The German Government has the greatest understanding for the national aspirations of the Arab countries as have been expressed by you both and the greatest sympathy for the sufferings of your peoples under British oppression.

I have therefore the honour to assure you, in complete agreement with the Italian Government, that the independence and freedom of the suffering Arab countries presently subjected to British oppression, is also one of the aims of the German Government.

Germany is consequently ready to give all her support to the oppressed Arab countries in their fight against British domination, for the fulfillment of their national aim to independence and sovereignty and for the destruction of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

As previously agreed, the content of this letter should be maintained absolutely secret until we decide otherwise.

I beg your Eminence to be assured of my highest esteem and consideration.
To His Eminence           (Signed)         Ribbentrop

the Grossmufti of Palestine
Amin El Husseini.

Source: The Arab Higher Committee           The Documentary Record. Original German, p. 439.

5) The Mufti Asks Arab Americans Not to Support FDR

ADDRESS TO AMERICAN ARABSExcerpts from a Radio Speech by Haj Amin al-Husseini
March 19, 1943, in Rome

The Arabs and Moslems will not be deceived by Britain once again because not only have they known its true intentions but they have also known those of Britain’s allies-America-and I want to draw the attention of the Arab emigrants in America to this fact, reminding them of their glorious past when they supported the National movement. I would also like to remind them that their efforts will be wasted if, God forbid, America and her Allies may be victorious in this War because at such a time the Arabs will never rise again. I therefore know that those Arab emigrants in America will refrain from helping Roosevelt or taking part in a war which he brought on to his country.If those Allies win this war the Jewish influence will be the arbiter in the world resources and one can thus imagine the future of the Arabs and Moslems, and the dangers which they are exposed to in their fatherlands and beliefs if the Jews and their Allies dominate them and spread the latent hatred on to them.

Then the world will become Hell–God forbid: But Allah is too just and merciful to grant such murderous violators any victory. We are sure that victory will be ours and that of our friends. We have not the slightest doubt about that, we shall not slacken our struggle nor will we be deterred or quietened. Do not be deceived by the allegations of your enemies, because you know full well about their intrigues, and be sure that the nation which fights, sacrifices and awaits will be the victorious one in the end.

Source: The Arab War Effort, A Documented Account.

6) Himmler to The Mufti

November 2, 1943, message from Heinrich Himmler to an anti-Balfour Declaration meeting:

To the Grand Mufti:The National Socialist Movement of Greater Germany has, since its begining,  inscribed upon its flag the fight against world Jewry. It has, therefore, followed with particular sympathy the struggle of the freedom-loving Arabians, especially in Palestine, against the Jewish interlopers. It is in the recognition of this enemy and of the common struggle against him that lies the firm foundation of the natural alliance that exists between National-Socialist-Greater Germany and the freedom-loving Moslems of the whole world. In this spirit I am sending you on the anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration my hearty greetings and wishes for the successful pursuit of your struggle until the certain final victory.

Signed: Reichsfuehrer-S.S. Heinrich Himmler

Source: Tne Arab Higher Committee    The Documentary Record.

7) The Mufti Communicates Anger to Ribbentrop
for the Germans’ Release of Jews in 1944

Berlin July 25, 1944
To His Excellency
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, BerlinYour Excellency:

I have previously called the attention of your Excellency to the constant attempts of the Jews to emigrate from Europe in order to reach Palestine, and asked your Excellency to undertake the necessary steps so as to prevent the Jews from emigrating. I had also sent you a letter, under date of June 5, 1944, in regard to the plan for an exchange of Egyptians living in Germany with Palestinian Germans, in which I asked you to exclude the Jews from this plan of exchange. I have, however, learned that the Jews did depart on July 2, 1944, and I am afraid that further groups of Jews will leave for Palestine from Germany and France to be exchanged for Palestinian Germans.

This exchange on the part of the Germans would encourage the Balkan countries likewise to send their Jews to Palestine. This step would be incomprehensible to the Arabs and Moslems after your Excellency’s declaration of November 2, 1943 that “the destruction of the so-called Jewish national home in Palestine is an immutable part of the policy of the greater German Reich” and it would create in them a feeling of keen disappointment.

It is for this reason that I ask your Excellency to do all that is necessary to prohibit the emigration of Jews to Palestine, and in this way your Excellency would give a new practical example of the policy of the naturally allied and friendly Germany towards the Arab Nation.

Yours, etc.

Source: The Arab Committee …. The Documentary Record.

Mufti Asks Hungary to Send Jews to Poland

An a Sequel to This Request
400,000 Jews Were Subsequently Killed

June 28, 1943His Excellency
The Miniater of Foreign Affairs for Hungary

Your Excellency:

You no doubt know of the struggle between the Arabs and Jews of Palestine, that It has been and what it Is, a long and bloody fight, brought about by the desire of the Jews to create a national home, a Jewish State in the Near East, with the help and protection of England and the United States. In fact, behind it lies the hope which the Jews have never relinquished, namely, the domination of the whole world through this Important, strategic center, Palestine, In effect their program has, among other purposes, always aimed at the encouragement of Jewish migration to Palestine and the other countries of the Near East. However, the war, as well as the understanding which the members of the Three-Power Pact have of the responsibility of the Jews for its outbreak and finally their evil Intentions towards these countries which protected them until now – all these are reasons for placing them under such vigilant control an will definitely stop their emigration to Palestine or elsewhere.

Lately I have been informed of the uninterrupted efforts made by the English and the Jews to obtain permission for the Jews living in your country to leave for Palestine via Bulgaria and Turkey.

I have also learned that these negotiations were successful since some of the Jews of Hungary have had the satisfaction of emigrating to Palestine via Bulgaria and Turkey and that a group of these Jaws arrived In Palestine towards the end of last March. The Jewish Agency. which supervises the execution of the Jewish program, has published a bulletin which contains Important information on the current negotiations between the Uglish Goverment and the governments of other interested states to send the Jews of Balkan countries to Palestine. The Jewish Agency quoted, among other things, its receipt of a sufficient number of immigration certificates for 900 Jewish children to be transported from Hungary, accompanied by 100 adults.

To authorize these Jews to leave your country under the above circumstances and in this way, would by no means solve the Jewish problem and would certainly not protect your country against their evil influence – far from it! – for this escape would make It possible for them to communicate and combine freely with their racial brethren in enamy countries in order to strengthen their position and to exert a more dangerous influence on the outcome of the war, especially since, as a consequence of their long stay in your country. they are necessarily in a position to know many of your secrets and also about your war effort. All this comes on top of the terrible damage done to the friendly Arab nation which has taken its place at your side in this war and which cherishes for your country the most sincere feelings and the very best wishes.

This is the reason why I ask your excellency to permit me to draw your attention to the necessity of preventing the Jews from leaving your country for Palestine: and If there are reasons which make their removal necessary, it would be indispensable and Infinitely preferable to send them to other countries where they would find themselves under active control, for example, in Poland, in order thereby to protect oneself from their menace and avoid the consequent damages

Yours, etc.

Source: The Arab Higher Committee. Its Origins, Personnel and Purposes. Documentary Record Submitted to the United Nations, May 1947, by the Nation Associates.

Hungary Promises to End Jewish Problem

Source: The Arab Higher Committee. Its Origins, Personnel and Purposes. Documentary Record Submitted to the United Nations, May 1947, by the Nation Associates.

1. Scanned in from the PLO Daily “Intifada” December 14, 2000, by  Palestine Media Watch

2. The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, 1959

3. Current population estimates compiled from the American Jewish Yearbook, 1983 edition, George Gruen, editor, published in New York by the American Jewish Committee; Government of Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, 1983 figures. Figures for 1948 compiled from the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC); Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, “The Position of the Jewish Communities in Oriental Countries,” a memorandum submitted by the Jewish Agency; Hayyirn Cohen, The Jews of the Middle East, 1973, Halsted Press, New York.

4. Medina, Khaibar, Qaraiza; see Chapter 8.

5. March 6, 1975, Rashad Nowilaty, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to The Hague.

6. America established its own precedent in 1885. President Grover Cleveland’s choice for United States representative in Vienna, Anthony Keiley of Virginia, was turned down because, “the position of a foreign envoy wedded to a Jewess by civil marriage would be untenable and even impossible in Vienna,” May 1885, Foreign Relations, p. 48. When the Secretary of State objected to “infraction” of an “essential principle” -never to “inquire into” or “even hear testimony … upon the religious belief of any official,” the Austrian government found a different reason for its objection: an ostensible “want of political tact” exhibited by appointee Keiley on an earlier visit to Vienna. Ibid, p. 55. President Cleveland resolved the matter in his address to the United States Congress on December 8, 1885: “. . . The Government of Austria-Hungary invited this Government to take cognizance of certain exceptions, based upon allegations against the personal acceptability of Mr. Keiley, the appointed envoy, asking that in view thereof, the appointment should be withdrawn. The reasons advanced were such as could not be acquiesced in, without violation of my oath of office and the precepts of the Constitution since they necessarily involved a limitation in favor of a foreign government upon the right of selection by the Executive, and required such an application of a religious test as a qualification for office under the United States as would have resulted in the practical disfranchisement of a large class of our citizens and the abandonment of a vital principle in our Government…. I have made no new nomination, and the interests of this Government in Vienna are now in the care of the secretary of legation, acting as charge d’affaires ad interim.”

7. Statement by Max Van Der Stoel, Dutch Foreign Minister to the Dutch Parliament, The Hague, March 12, 1975, regarding cancellation of official visit to Saudi Arabia.

8. Reported by Anthony Sampson, Observer Review, “Desert Diary,” March 9, 1975, London.

9.Jordanian Nationality Law, Article 3(3) of Law No. 6 of 1954, Official Gazette No. 1171, February 16, 1954.

10. The Mufi of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini was later the notorious Nazi who mixed Nazi propaganda and Islam.  He was wanted for war crimes in Bosnia by Yugoslavia.  His mix of militant propagandizing Islam was an inspriation for both Yasser Arafat and Saddam Husein. He was also a close relative of Yasser Arafat and the current Temple Mount Mufti. “Arafat’s actual name was Abd al-Rahman abd al-Bauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini. He shortened it to obscure his kinship with the notorious Nazi and ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini.” Howard M. Sachar, A HISTORY OF ISRAEL (New York: Knopf, 1976).  The Bet Agron International Center in Jerusalem interviewed Arafat’s brother and sister, who described the Mufti as a cousin (family member) with tremendous influence on young Yassir after the Mufti returned from Berlin to Cairo. Yasser Arafat himself keeps his exact lineage and birthplace secret.  Saddam Hussein was raised in the house of his uncle Khayrallah Tulfah, who was a leader in the Mufti’s pro-Nazi coup in Iraq in May 1941.

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Remember Jimmy Mubenga

October 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm (africa, Human rights, immigration, Jim D, Racism)

Demonstration in memory of Jimmy Mubenga RIP
Jimmy died while in the hands of G4S private security guards
Friday 12 November 2010
Assemble 10:30am
Angolan Embassy
22 Dorset Street
(nearest tube stations: Baker Street/ Marylebone)
March to the Home Office
2 Marsham Street
On 12 October 2010, Jimmy Mubenga an Angolan man died during a forced deportation from the UK. The Guardian reported that Jimmy was handcuffed and restrained by three private security guards on a British Airways flight from Heathrow. Shortly before he died, Jimmy was heard by other passengers crying out for help.
There have been fourteen deaths (twelve men and two women) since 1991 during forced deportations. The official cause of death in most cases was positional asphyxia or cardiac arrest. Of the fourteen that died, ten were Africans (of which six were Nigerians).
The full list of deaths:
    * 2010 Jimmy Mubenga (Angolan – UK)
    * 2010 Joseph Ndukadu Chiakwa (Nigerian – Switzerland)
    * 2007 Osamuyi Aikpitanhi (Nigerian – Spain)
    * 2003 Mariame Getu Hagos (Somali – France)
    * 2002 Ricardo Barrientos (Argentinian – France
    * 2001 Samson Chukwu (Nigerian – Switzerland)
    * 2000 Christian Ecole Ebune (Cameroonian – Hungary)
    * 1999 Aamir Mohamed Ageeb Sudanese – Germany)
    * 1999 Marcus Omofuma (Nigerian – Austria)
    * 1999 Khaled Abuzarifeh (Palestinian – Switzerland)
    * 1998 Semira Adamu (Nigerian – Belgium
    * 1994 Kola Bankole (Nigerian – Germany)
    * 1993 Joy Gardner (Jamaican – UK)
    * 1991 Arumugam Kanapathipillai (Tamil, Sri Lanka – France)
Manuel Bravo was a 35-year-old Angolan asylum seeker who took his own life in Yarl’s Wood removal centre in Bedford the day he and his 13- year-old son were due to be deported to Angola in September 2005. Leaving a note saying: ‘I kill myself because I don’t have a life to live any more. I want my son Antonio to stay in the UK to continue his studies.’
Campaigning organisations:
No Borders – http://noborders.org.uk/
Corporate Watch – http://www.corporatewatch.org/
Inquest – http://www.inquest.org.uk/
Free Movement – http://www.freemovement.org.uk/
London No Borders – http://london.noborders.org.uk/
Medical .Lstice – http://www.medicaljustice.org.uk/
National Coalition of Anti Deportation Campaigns – http://http://www.ncadc.org.uk
Union of Angolans in UK (UAUK)

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Christine O’Donnell: human with a mouse’s brain

October 29, 2010 at 7:38 am (Champagne Charlie, insanity, populism, religious right, Republican Party, science, United States)

This person is standing for Senate…and could win!

And there’s no need to go back to 1998 for evidence of her mental incompetence; this is from November 2007:

Full transcript here (plus Pinkie and the Brain!)

Be afraid…

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The Big Society Challenge!

October 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm (David Cameron, Max Dunbar, Tory scum, workers)

An amazing idea from Martin Bright:

I have a suggestion for the millionaire axe men of the Coalition government. 

After the Comprehensive Spending Review, David Cameron should order each government minister to publish details of his or her charitable giving and the number of days a year they spend on voluntary work.

This, after all, is what they are demanding of the rest of us. The richer members of  society will now be expected to underwrite the arts and the charitable sector, while the rest of us volunteer to take on the functions of the public sector. 

Better still, why not insist that every minister with personal wealth of over, say, half a million, establish a charitable foundation within their own policy remit to take over a chuck of state provision and save the taxpayer some money. It would be the perfect way to pay back some of the cash they have saved on their – no doubt perfectly legal – tax dodges. 

In my experience voluntary and community work is done almost entirely by the working class.

I’m sure the National Government will prove me wrong.

(Image from Political Cream, via Paul Waugh)

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Unite and the BA dispute: Woodley nails Bayliss’s scabby lies

October 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm (Guardian, Jim D, truth, unions)

Letter to the Guardian:

Dear Editor

It is important, as the ballot of British Airways cabin crew begins, Unite corrects misrepresentations reported in this paper (BA and Unite dispute is stuck in 70s October 18).  

The BA talks have been the most challenging set of negotiations I have ever been involved in, and my career as a negotiator spans some forty years. However, instead of supporting his union in successfully resolving this dispute, Les Bayliss presented a grossly distorted view of his own union’s role in it.

I make allowances for the fact that Les has never led industrial negotiations as a union official, and would certainly be unfamiliar with a dispute of this magnitude and complexity, but for him to argue that the dispute is “lost” and has “lowered our standing and reputation” is, to put it mildly, an unhelpful intervention from an official of a union which is in the midst of trying to resolve a difficult industrial dispute.

It does not lower our standing when we reflect our members’ views. We are a democratic union, not an industrial autocracy, which means if our members want to fight for their rights at work, they have a further right to expect their unions’ full support. 

It is a matter of principle and honour within our movement that when any group of members wants to take action, they will get solidarity, not carping criticism, from their union. Solid support is what we Unite has given BA cabin crew and I, for one, am proud of that.

Nor is the dispute “lost”. The agreement on offer to cabin crew provides most of those sacked as a result of the dispute with the chance of getting their jobs back. And it sets a framework for removing punitive staff travel sanctions imposed on our members for taking lawful strike action to defend their jobs.

Whether the offer as a whole is good enough is a matter for our cabin crew members to decide, but BA has already restored some travel concessions without condition.  If Les thinks this looks like a defeat, his industrial judgement is seriously open to question.

Les argues that we should not take industrial action lest it provokes the Tories to new anti-union laws. If we adopt his logic, then the government will have achieved its aim without the bother of legislation. This is a script written in Conservative Central Office, and it has no place at Unite.

Tony Woodley

Joint general secretary

Unite the Union

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Dave Anderson

October 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm (jazz, music, Rosie B)

(Some of the people commenting here find the idea of people reading, writing or performing poetry disturbing.  Warning to them:- this piece contains verse.)

If you’re ever in Edinburgh, do check out the Captain’s Bar.  It’s a nice little pub with a good vibe and there’s music on there every evening, and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.   I was there the Saturday evening before last and a guy was playing the piano and singing – mostly standards like A Nightingale Sung in Berkeley Square:-

(I looked at a few versions of this e.g. Nat King Cole’s and Frank Sinatra’s but their arrangements were heavy with strings, so I chose Glenn Miller’s.  The song is so over the top romantic that it doesn’t need any of the extra lovey-dovey sound of strings.  It worked very well just with the piano and vocals.  Have songs like that been written in the last fifty years or so?)

The guy playing jazz piano and singing in an expressive voice was Dave Anderson,  who as well as being a musician is an actor, and a writer and director of musicals.  He’s the musical director for a piece called A Bottle of Wine and Patsy Kline which is playing in Glasgow in December.

So he did a fine version of Crazy:-

As well as the covers he did some of his own songs, which sadly have not been recorded.  Here are the lyrics to one of them:- [WARNING POETRY-HATERS: VERSE ALERT]


When they take your work
Treat you like a jerk
And mock your poverty
Someone taps your phone
This is what is known
As Dead Liberty

When the hoods and crooks
Get to cook the books
And rob you endlessly
And the judge is bribed
This is best described
As Dead Liberty

And when your friendly neighbourhood cop
Seems to go right over the top
And to see his brief
As not to catch a thief
But to stop you complaining
By beating your brain in
When the guys with guns
Are the lucky ones
Who get to wander free
Then the populace
Recognize a case
Of Dead Liberty

And when your daily newspaper tries
To pull the wool right over your eyes
And disseminate
Prejudice and hate
And the lies they’re expressing
And the truth they’re suppressing

When the cops protect
Those you most suspect
Of daylight robbery
Then it’s time to say
That there is no way
You can do this thing to me
We don’t need no Dead Liberty


This was written for the Wildcat Theatre production Dead Liberty about the miners’ strike.  It has a good tune as well.

Next spring Dave will be touring a one-man show, called “Shoo-be-Doo! Or How to Talk To Old People”,  As well as being an accomplished musician and song writer, he’s a terrific entertainer who has a good rapport with his audience so check him out if he comes your way.

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Cuts: women at the cutting edge conference

October 27, 2010 at 1:41 am (capitalist crisis, Cuts, Feminism, Jackie Mcdonough, unions, women, workers)

30 October: “Women at the Cutting Edge” conference

Women 30 Oct 2010 – 11:00am

30 Oct 2010 – 5:00pm


The Arbour, 100 Shandy Street, London, E1 4LX (tubes: Mile End or Stepney Green)

Women at the Cutting Edge… a conference to campaign against the cuts

A conference hosted by Feminist Fightback, open to people of all genders.

The ConDem government’s “Spending Review” announced enormous cuts in public services. We are already feeling the impact of earlier cuts, many effected by Labour; nurseries and libraries are closing, jobs are being lost. As the government “austerity drive” steps up, the reality is that cuts will hit the lives of all but the wealthiest. In many cases women will be hit the hardest with recent reports estimating that women will suffer 72% of the tax and benefit cuts.

Whether you’re a feminist, an activist, a trade unionist, someone affected by the cuts, or involved in fighting the cuts in your college, community or workplace, or just interested in how the landscape of the welfare state is changing, Feminist Fightback invites you to join a day of discussions and networking. We want to put these cuts in a political context, link up, and share ideas and skills as we plan to fight them together.

Participatory workshops on:

* What’s going on? Mapping cuts and campaigns
* Who do the cuts affect? Why are cuts a feminist issue?
* What does it mean? Demystifying the “economics of the crisis”
* What do we want? Fighting within and against the state

For more information please see www.feministfightback.org.uk or email feminist.fightback@gmail.com or call Laura on 07971 842 027.

Free creche available: please email feminist.fightback@gmail.com to confirm a place
Facebook event: http://tinyurl.com/wac30

Further details  here

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