Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Communist Horizon: Talk by author Jodi Dean 7pm 19.3.2013

A book talk by Jodi Dean, author.

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The Communist Horizon charts the re-emergence of communism as a magnet for political energy following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the stalling of the Occupy movement.

Jodi Dean will introduce the book – 45 minutes approx – then answer questions from the audience, followed by wine reception and book signing. Lal salaam.


Event Information

Location: rm309, 3rd floor, Richard Hoggart Building
Cost: free
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 19 March 2013, 19:00 – 21:00


For Further Details

E-mail: john.hutnyk

- See more at: http://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=6283#sthash.ly0s3RBo.dpuf

Trouble for Riotinto (well deserved)

Green Left Weekly,

Bougainville: Rio Tinto faces war crimes allegations in bid to reopen mine

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Young freedom fighter from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in 1994. Photo by Francis O’Neill, via eco-action.org.

British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7.

Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company’s Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects.

bloody civil war ensued, which took up to 20,000 lives on an island of 175,000 people. The war crimes committed by government security forces in the conflict were horrific.

Bougainvillean nurse, Sister Ruby Mirinka, recalled: “One of the victims was a 24-year-old pregnant woman. Shot dead by the PNG soldiers, her abdomen was then cut open to remove the foetus. The dead foetus was then placed on the chest of the dead mother for all to see — as a warning.”

Rio Tinto stands accused of being complicit in these atrocities. In a US class action launched under the Alien Tort Statute, Bougainvillean landowners maintain that Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), supplied the military with trucks, fuel, accommodation, storage facilities, mess halls, communications equipment and secretarial services.

These allegations were featured in a hard-hitting Dateline report aired on SBS TV in 2011.

In response, company executives adamantly denied complicity. They claimed Rio Tinto’s equipment was commandeered by the defence force after the mine had been abandoned.

BCL director Sir Rabbie Namaliu told The Australian on July 16, 2011: “To suggest that Rio did it deliberately is factually wrong. When I heard about those claims, I thought the whole thing was rather unfair.”

Namaliu was prime minister of PNG from 1988 to 1992. Amnesty International said PNG forces stationed in Bougainville during this period took part in extra-judicial killings, village burnings and the rape of women.

Namaliu is hardly an uncompromised source.

There are other problems with his account. For example, I interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL during 1987-1992. They were confident the company did supply the defence force with the aforementioned equipment.

One manager told me: “We did everything they [PNG security forces] asked of us to make their life more comfortable, and better able to manage through, with transport, communications, provisions, whatever, fuel.

“You know, we gave them everything, because as a far as we saw it we were hoping that they were going to solve the situation, so we could start operating again. So we supported them every way we could.”

Perhaps BCL was unaware of the ends to which this logistic support would be applied? Well, its executives seem fairly cogent on this front too.

One manager recalled: “These guys [PNG security forces] were ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened, ignorant thugs with guns a long way from home.”

Another executive remembered surveying the destruction inflicted upon local villages by government forces during April 1989: “Forty, 50 villages, and the crops [were destroyed]. The villages were varying from five or six houses to 20 or 30 houses.”

Naturally, Rio Tinto wants to take advantage of skyrocketing copper and gold prices by dusting off its old South Pacific jewel. I am sure they are attracting a degree of community support from war-weary Bougainvilleans looking to rebuild their shattered island.

That said, communities on Bougainville have yet to be fully briefed on Rio Tinto’s role in defence force operations during the bloody years of 1988-1990. So it would be difficult to argue that this support is based upon informed consent.

Until Rio Tinto commits to full disclosure, any attempt to reopen the Bougainville mine will be another corporate blight on the deeply scarred people of this Melanesian island.

[Dr Kristian Lasslett is an executive board member of the International State Crime Initiative. The International State Crime Initiative’s multi-media presentation on the Bougainville conflict, which includes BCL memorandums and meeting minutes, can be accessed here.]

Trouble at mill [mine]

 

 

Aust warned to stay out of B’ville affairs

Source: 
The National, Wednesday 27th February, 2013

FORMER Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kaona has warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs.
He said the first policy draft on mining in Bougainville was no different from the colonial policy that caused the crisis.
“The Australians have taken control of mining policy in Buka and the first policy draft by ABG legal unit headed by Tony Regan is no different from the previous policy,” Kaona, who is chairman of the recently formed Bougainville Resources Owners Representative Council, said.
He added that the proposed policy, sponsored by AusAID and drafted by Regan, risked Bougainville’s first constitutional crisis.
“Since the constitution is the supreme law of Bougainville, section 23 of the Bougainville constitution, which restores ownership of resources on Bougainville to the customary landowners, is the only option that is constitutionally legal.
“So any attempt to impose any other resource ownership system would be invalid and ineffective – they are risking a constitutional crisis.”
Resources rights activist Simon Ekanda shared similar sentiments.
“Bougainville mining policy does not belong to Regan, BCL (Bougainville Copper Ltd) or the Australians, it belongs to the resource owners and the people of Bougainville.
“This is to be a Bougainville mining policy written by Bougainvilleans in Bougainville for the Bougainville resource owners and people.
“Section 23 of the Bougainville constitution returning the resource ownership to the customary landowners is to be the foundation of that policy.
“Let me be absolutely clear – there will be no compromise on this.
“The Panguna landowners must determine that their interests will be best served by securing a special mining lease over their resource and then to entertain qualified mining companies with the view to putting Panguna back into production.
He also cautioned ABG President John Momis to be careful with the new mining policy.
“Both PNG and Bougainvilleans have died and it is unwise if Momis allows colonial administrators to rewrite Bougainville mining laws.”

Things that won’t be in the book 223 – Roy Orbison’s song Pantomime


“Pantomime”

Well thanks a lot thank you
Now I’m the talk of the town
Of all the fools they drink to
I am the king of the clowns
I play the lonely joker
I take what fun I can find
I laugh when things aren’t funny
I throw away my last dime
You’re not mine so I waste my time in pantomime.
It’s pantomime.I’m ready for lonely fun times, yeah
Loud music may dull my mind
Black coffee and electric sunshine
Get set for this pantomime.I-ay-ay-ay cry inside cause you’re not mine
I-ay die-ay-ay-ay inside cause you’re not mine
I pantomime.

Laughing when I feel like crying
Crying when I feel like dying
You’re not mine so I waste my time in pantomime
Bring on the girls and the parties, yeah
Guitars and drums beating time
Be merry, be gay and hardy, yeah
I’m set for this pantomime.

- Roy Orbison

Things that won’t be in the book part 213 – Robinson Crusoe pantomime’s

Reading around for Panto stuff again, and remembering Marx’s fascination with Robinsonades:

Robinson Crusoe crops up a number of times, either as a title or as a character.  Of course Steve Shaw’s Robinson Crusoe takes its title from the novel by Daniel Defoe, but since the pantomime tradition does not leave much room for solitary castaways, the plot voyages a long way from the original, and Crusoe’s desert island is populated by a tribe of islanders and an eccentric gorilla. James Barry’s approach to the same classic is to assume that Crusoe distorted his account somewhat, hence James’s small cast version of the story is Robinson Crusoe – the Truth!

Trinketization Dream Job

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London’s South Bank offers the exciting opportunity to explore and discover amazing Bangladeshi creativity and culture, from the UK and beyond!

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London’s South Bank will play host to the UK’s biggest and most vibrant showcase of Bangladeshi creativity next month when a three-day celebration of art, craft, design, fabrics, fashion, literature and music takes place at the Bargehouse from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February.

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Social Cinema Deep End + QMU 17.2.13

Social Cinema = screening + LIVE PERFORmance from FIGS IN WIGS

at the People’s Palace, Mile End Road E1 4NS

Sunday 17th February, 5.30-7.30
followed by after-party drinks reception

Screening of the 1970 cult film DEEP END (Jane Asher, Diana Dors)
with live performance and
ambient effects, pay bar and ice cream
Celebrating the former history of the People’s Palace

Tickets £5/4 CONS at door or from http://www.airproject.qmul.ac.uk/whatson/

Peopling the Palace Cultural Week
Queen Mary, University of London
London E1 4NS

Trinketization with respect to Benjamin’s obsessions with kitsch – mediation between magic and positivism

… with respect to Benjamin’s obsessions with kitsch: Adorno writes to Benjamin trying to wean him from his trinket mania, get him to sort out the Arcades, and get him on a boat to New York. Along the way (I think) he invents the theory of trinketization. Keen to affirm his institutional solidarity with Benjamin, Adorno is careful not to insist on any orthodox version of Marxism, but he also warns against an abdication from Marxist theory:

“The impression which your entire study conveys – and not only to me with my Arcades orthodoxy – is that you have here done violence upon yourself. Your solidarity with the Institute, which pleases no-one more than myself, has led you to pay the kind of tributes to Marxism which are appropriate neither to Marxism nor to yourself. Not appropriate to Marxism because the mediation through the entire social process is missing and because of a superstitious tendency to attribute to mere material enumeration a power of illumination which really belongs to theoretical construction … you have denied yourself your boldest and most fruitful ideas through a kind of pre-censorship in accordance with materialist categories (which by no means correspond to Marxist ones)” (Adorno to Benjamin 10 November 1938, Benjamin/Adorno 1994/1999: 284).

This suggests that Benjamin was merely coquetting with the forms of Marxist theory and not thinking them through – coquetting is Marx’s diminutive word in Capital for where he used the language and style of Hegel, in an analysis that went well beyond Hegel, see the Forward to Marx 1867/1967. On Adorno’s reading – of the draft – Benjamin might be confirmed as ‘the [nice, harmless, cute, ‘bad’] Marxist that you could take home to meet your mother’ (as someone, I forget who, once said). Adorno is teasing and pushing him to be more inventive and rigorous with his connections – all at the same time. And it is connections to which he is attuned, noting:

“a close connection between those places where your essay falls behind its own a priori and its relationship to dialectical materialism … Let me express myself in as simple an Hegelian manner as possible. Unless I am very much mistaken, your dialectic is lacking in one thing: mediation” (Adorno to Benjamin 10 November 1938, Benjamin/Adorno 1994/1999:282).

Mediation then would be the theorization of connections between the ‘mere’ material observations and fascinations of the Arcades, of the baubles that interest the flaneur, of the observations of the analyst, and of the notations of the writer – mediation is the vehicle of analysis. Adorno marks this as a phantasmagorical and mystical error:

“Your ‘anthropological’ materialism ‘harbours a profoundly romantic element … The ‘mediation’ which I miss and find obscured by materialistic-historiographical evocation, is simply the theory which your study has omitted. But the omission of theory affects the empirical material itself” (Adorno to Benjamin 10 November 1938, Benjamin/Adorno 1994/1999:283).

At pains not to offend his friend, but also careful to call for something more, Adorno rephrases the same point again and again:

“To express this another way: the theological motif of calling things by their names tends to switch into the wide-eyed presentation of mere facts. If one wanted to put it rather drastically, one could say your study is located at the crossroads of magic and positivism. This spot is bewitched. Only theory could break this spell – your own resolute and salutarily speculative theory. It is simply the claim of this theory that I bring against you here” (Adorno to Benjamin 10 November 1938, Benjamin/Adorno 1994/1999:283).

It might be too easy to score credits here on some biographical outcomes chart (a research assessment exercise) as Adorno goes on to write The Dialectic of Enlightenment with Horkheimer, while Benjamin ends up sitting bleary-eyed far too long in the cafés of Marseilles, and finally does not make it over the mountain. But the suitcase he carries is lost and we do not know if these prods in the direction of theory had recast the manuscript. A terrible gap.

Claudia Jones and Malcolm X films 21.2.13 Brixton

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 12.26.10Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 12.26.25

Orson Welles Film Season at CCS Goldsmiths

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 17.11.55

Harry Harootunian 13.2.13

To celebrate the launch of two new Asian-centric programmes in Goldsmiths —the MA Critical Asian Studies and the Bachelor of Arts, International Studies and Chinese—the Goldsmiths Politics Department and the Centre for Cultural Studies present:

Harry Harootunian

“Provincializing Marxism”

13 Feb 2013 4.30 RHB Cinema Goldsmiths

 Harry Harootunian’s trenchant critique of area studies helped established him long ago as the doyen of new Critical Asian Studies approach. This new approach offered a more theoretically informed and reflexive conceptualization  of questions relating to non-Western social and knowledge formations. Critical Asian Studies has, in crucial respects, changed the face of American area studies and through his detailed and erudite studies of Japanese history and probing theoretical analysis, Harootunian has set new standards for scholarship, not just in Japanese studies, but for Asian Studies more generally.

Daisy Tam on Centre for Cultural Studies Goldsmiths

Daisy Tam video on Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies site – …ehem, notice her saying ‘support of her supervisor’ – beam!

http://www.gold.ac.uk/apps/widgets/video_player/play_vid.php?url=http://magiclantern.gold.ac.uk/movs/international/daisy.mp4&ratio=&width=800&height=450

Docklands Cinema Club – first screening 24.2.13

Watch a great film every month screened in our Grade I listed Georgian warehouse. Enjoy drinks, popcorn and film introductions by leading writers, directors, critics and fans.

CCS Border Film Series

With the Museum of London Docklands based at the site of a former port, where better to explore the divisive issue of the policing of national borders. With introductions and panel discussions by independent film makers, leading academics and activists.
All screenings are FREE

© Blindside Productions

Border Shorts
Sun 24 Feb, 2-4pm (15)
The border film series opens with four shorts by two highly acclaimed directors. Ursula Biemann’s Performing the Border (1999) and Europlex (2003) explore the borders of Mexico, Europe and Africa, whilst Tim Travers Hawkins’ 1000 Voices (2009) features answerphone messages from people held in a detention center in the UK, and Surpriseville (2010) reveals the daily lives of a gated community in Arizona.

© Smoking Dogs Films / The Kobal Collection

The Nine Muses (2010)
Sun 17 Mar, 2-4pm (PG)
Part documentary, part personal essay, this experimental film by John Akomfrah offers an existentialist rumination on the experience of migration to post-war Britain.

© BBC Film Council / The Kobal Collection

Ghosts (2006)
Sun 21 Apr, 2-4pm (15)
Based on the true story of the Morcambe Bay cockle-picking disaster of 2004, Nick Broomfield’s film follows Chinese undocumented immigrant Ai Qin to reveal the dangerous exploitation of migrant labour in the UK.

© Europa Corpsony / The Kobal Collection

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Sun 26 May, 2-4pm (15)
Winner of the Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at Cannes 2005, Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut follows the story of Pete Perkins,
a ranch foreman in the high desert of west Texas who undertakes a dangerous and quixotic journey into Mexico.

© BBC Film Council / The Kobal Collection

In This World (2002)
Sun 23 Jun, 2-4pm (15)
This semi-fictional docu-drama follows the attempted escape of two Afghan refugees along the ‘silk road’ through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey towards London. Directed by Michael Winterbottom.

© Key Creatives / The Kobal Collection

District 9 (2009)
Sun 21 Jul, 2-4pm (15)
The Academy Award nominated sci-fi thriller set in a militarized refugee camp in Johannesburg, South Africa, drawing on real life events from the apartheid era.

 

 

Museum of London Docklands
West India Quay
Canary Wharf
London E14 4AL

The Museum entrance is two minutes walk from West India Quay.
See Museum of London Docklands on a map

DLR icon By DLR: West India Quay
Tube icon By Tube: Canary Wharf
Bus icon By Bus: D3, D7, D8, 277, N50, D6, 15, 115, 135
DLR icon By River: Thames Clippers
10-15 minute journey on a Thames Clipper riverboat from Bankside or Maritime Greenwich Pier to Canary Wharf Pier. Call 0870 781 5049 for times and prices.

 

More than a friend. 22.2.13. 6pm

poster3Screening of queer South Asian film as part of LGBT History Month at Goldsmiths.

LGBTQ Society & Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, invite you to a screening of More Than A Friend… a film that explores the public perception of same-sex relationships in India through the story of Rupsa and Ranja – two women in love, living together in contemporary Calcutta. Directed by Debalina and produced by Sappho for Equality (an LBT organisation based in Calcutta, India), it weaves in real-life interviews into the narrative, swiftly moving between the real and the reel.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with one of the producers.


Event Information

Location: Cinema, Richard Hoggart Building
Cost: Free, all welcome
Website: Trailer
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 22 February 2013, 18:00 – 21:00

audio recording from the George Caffentzis Public Lecture 31.1.13

// The making of a debt resistors’ movement: From Occupy Wall Street to Strike Debt // 

The financial crisis in the US officially began in September 2008, but the first mass street response arose in September 2011 with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since then Strike Debt, a debt resistors’ organization, emerged out of Occupy. George Caffentzis discusses debt resistance as a working class project and the prospects of Strike Debt in the context of previous debt resistance movements.
Goldsmiths College, New Cross 31 Jan 2013
This free event was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural StudiesPM Press and Common Notions.

- and a big shout out to Dissident Radio for their work in recording and uploading.

- and thanks Camille

Talk at Princeton in April

“‘The East as a Career’ – How Disraeli, Marx, Charnok and Clive met in India”
.
I want to think about some specific small scenes from Marx’s writings on India, mostly from his journalism and notes, that address the East India Company sending assessors to Bengal and dates like 1690, 1757, 1857, so as to suggest a necessary remap of socio-political contact and the ways concepts like exchange, the social, politics, tolerance, trade and custom might need renovation today, for studies of the past and the present. Charnok, Suraj-ud-Dualla, Clive, Knox feature…
-JH

Lenin on factory exposures

From What is to be Done, section 3:

Everyone knows that the economic struggle of the Russian workers underwent widespread development and consolidation simultaneously with the production of “literature” exposing economic (factory and occupational) conditions. The “leaflets” were devoted mainly to the exposure of the factory system, and very soon a veritable passion for exposures was roused among the workers. As soon as the workers realised that the Social-Democratic study circles desired to, and could, supply them with a new kind of leaflet that told the whole truth about their miserable existence, about their unbearably hard toil, and their lack of rights, they began to send in, actually flood us with, correspondence from the factories and workshops. This “exposure literature” created a tremendous sensation, not only in the particular factory exposed in the given leaflet, but in all the factories to which news of the, revealed facts spread. And since the poverty and want among the workers in the various enterprises and in the various trades are much the same, the “truth about the life of the workers” stirred everyone. Even among the most backward workers, a veritable passion arose to “get into print” — a noble passion for this rudimentary form of war against the whole of the present social system which is based upon robbery and oppression. And in the overwhelming majority of cases these “leaflets” were in truth a declaration of war, because the exposures served greatly to agitate the workers; they evoked among them common demands for the removal of the most glaring outrages and roused in them a readiness to support the demands with strikes. Finally, the employers themselves were compelled to recognise the significance of these leaflets as a declaration of war, so much so that in a large number of cases they did not even wait for the outbreak of hostilities. As is always the case, the mere publication of these exposures made them effective, and they acquired the significance of a strong moral influence. On more than one occasion, the mere appearance of a leaflet proved sufficient to secure the satisfaction of all or part of the demands put forward. In a word, economic (factory) exposures were and remain an important lever in the economic struggle. And they will continue to retain this significance as long as there is capitalism, which makes it necessary for the workers to defend themselves. Even in the most advanced countries of Europe it can still be seen that the exposure of abuses in some backward trade, or in some forgotten branch of domestic industry, serves as a starting-point for the awakening of class-consciousness, for the beginning of a trade union struggle, and for the spread of socialism.

The overwhelming majority of Russian Social-Democrats have of late been almost entirely absorbed by this work of organising the exposure of factory conditions. Suffice it to recall Rabochaya Mysl to see the extent to which they have been absorbed by it — so much so, indeed, that they have lost sight of the fact that this, taken by itself, is in essence still not Social-Democratic work, but merely trade union work. As a matter of fact, the exposures merely dealt with the relations between the workers in a given trade and their employers, and all they achieved was that the sellers of labour power learned to sell their “commodity” on better terms and to fight the purchasers over a purely commercial deal. These exposures could have served (if properly utilised by an organisation of revolutionaries) as a beginning and a component part of Social-Democratic activity; but they could also have led (and, given a worshipful attitude towards spontaneity, were bound to lead) to a “purely trade union” struggle and to a non-Social-Democratic working-class movement. Social-Democracy leads the struggle of the working class, not only for better terms for the sale of labour-power, but for the abolition of the social system that compels the propertyless to sell themselves to the rich. Social-Democracy represents the working class, not in its relation to a given group of employers alone, but in its relation to all classes of modern society and to the state as an organised political force. Hence, it follows that not only must Social-Democrats not confine themselves exclusively to the economic struggle, but that they must not allow the organisation of economic exposures to become the predominant part of their activities. We must take up actively the political education of the working class and the development of its political consciousness.

 

Eighteenth Brumaire Leaders: #Cameron #Johnson #Afriyie #Gove # Norman et al

On Friday, February 1, 2013, 이승환 wrote:

Dear John Hutnyk

My name is Seunghwan Lee and I am from “Hankyoreh 21,” a weekly magazine with the largest number of subscribers in South Korea.

As a South Korean journalist based in London, I am working on an article about a possible successor to the current Prime Minister. I am writing to ask for your help to assist in one of my projects that I am undertaking at the moment.

There are four people who are likely to the next Conservative leader. Adam Afriyie is probably one of them, Jesse Norman, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. We will see repeated stories about these people over the next two years. These people will be supportive of David Cameron, or set up to stand against him.

I believe that introducing this issue would help our subscribers in South Korea to understand what is the right-wing’s role in the UK as there has been debate over what is a “true right-wing” in South Korea. As you may know, mainstream South Korean politics has shifted to the right with the election last December of Park Geun-hye, the candidate of the far-right New Frontier Party (NFP), as president.

As you are a well-known expert on politics, sharing your insights on this issue will be a tremendous help for us. I would like to ask you five questions regarding a possible successor to the Prime Minister.

Questions:

1) What is your opinion of David Cameron’s leadership? Do you think he will succeed in delivering a majority at the 2015 general election if he continues to drive his policies such as welfare cuts, a closed door immigration policy, and an in/out referendum on EU membership?

Cameron is the representative of the ruling class. Similar to the way Karl Marx wrote in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Boneparte, Cameron is also an example of a mediocre figure, thrown up by the circumstance of history, who repeatedly offers farce where political vision is needed. That Britain has had a succession of such shallow ‘leaders’ is indicative of a stagnant and rotten system. You noticed that there has been over ten years of war, under Labour and Con-Dem, and that the individual leader of the war economy is fit only to travel the world promoting arms deals. The present prime minister is no different in this respect than the previous two from Labour. That said, Cameron will not win the next election because the cuts are biting, our local hospital was cut back yesterday, the benefits system is being dismantled, anti-Muslim racism is on the rise – and Cameron is looking for yet another war, this time in Northern Africa, with the hope that a Thatcherite moment like the Falklands can be repeated, to save him, as farce. Unfortunately, the Labour Party is only staying quiet, hoping to step into power when Cameron fails. Sadly, they also have no vision, and little real support. The Lib Dems of course are toxified by their association with the poison of the ruling class collaboration that is the coalition.

2) Mainstream politics in the UK has shifted to the right with the election in 2010 of the Conservative Party (albeit in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats). If Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election, how can the next leader of the Conservative party drive the party forwards?

The path to this shift was prepared by Thatcher and implemented by Blair. The longer perspective would see that since the 1970s a sustained move to the right of the right has been underway. This seems calibrated with the deeper crises of capital, the oil crisis of the mid to late 70s, the recession and bubble of the 1980s, the collapse of communism in Europe at the end of the 80s and early 90s. Europe’s reconstruction involved a right wards drift as capital panicked, and fled to the temporary profits of cheap labour in Asia. Now Euro-American capital panics again as China and India see its bourgeoisie on an economic rise – the rightwards politics of Labour and Conservative in Britain is just another example of this short term panic thinking, the immigration restrictions included in this. Political party politics has little reference to the aspirations of the general population, except through attempts at ideological spin and jingoistic manipulation. In fact Labour was slightly better at spin, but no-one ever believes them these days. The August 2011 riots in Britain were the expression, if muffled, of a necessary call for regime change – and the Olympics the following August was capital’s answer – armed military on the streets and a nationalist propaganda effort – go for gold! – unparalleled since the blitz.

3) Adam Afriyie has emerged in reports as a surprise contender to be the next party leader if Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election. In terms of leadership, what are the main difference between Cameron and Afriyie?

Tweedledum and tweedledanger. It does not matter which leader the party of the ruling class puts forward, labour, lib dem or con, without an organised opposition we will continue to bump along the bottom of a deeply unfair and exploitative mode of moribund capitalism that only brings misery and global war. Weapons sales and the production of fear go hand in hand. To maintain a defence budget you must create a fictional monster or enemy that looks almost the same as you, but must be treated with a poisonous suspicion. The population sits passively on the tube in low-level anxiety or watches with a mix of resignation and fear as the news reports the war at home, while ‘at the front’ our military recruits drill ever more costly weapons systems, to the delight of the arms industry.

4) Boris Johnson has perhaps the most fascinating relationship with British politics. He often seems to be set to stand against the PM.

Tweedledum and tweedledum’s more media savvy brother. No significant difference, both former members of a wild ruling class drinking club – the Bullington. Both representative of the interests of industry and media barons, both ready to say anything to justify their continued puppet rule.

In terms of politics, what are the main differences between Cameron and Johnson?

See above. Johnson saw an opportunity to pretend to be different on immigration, but read him carefully and see he too is the cod-multicultural version of big business.

4) Of the four previously mentioned, who is the best candidate to lead the Conservative party if Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election?

Does anyone in the public actually care? What evidence do we have (hilariously low voter turnout etc)? The pit of political intrigue that is a leadership ‘contest’ is only an illusion of debate – see the Labour party version two years ago for similar – none of this matters much except for a small coterie of radio four, posh bistro going, luvvies. The disconnect between these so-called leaders and the population of Britain is vast.

5) What is the qualification required for a party leader? What leadership is required to win the general election?

Only a sustained revolt can shift things from the current impasse. That revolt might lead us to a period of disturbance important enough to bring forward ideas about care for our communities, radical grass-roots democratic decision-making (not the farce of so-called electoral politics, once every five years), dismantling of the war economy and the militarized police, and  for a radically new arrangement of how we live. We could work towards a world where we share the productive resources of humanity equitably amongst all, everywhere. The capability of people with immense knowledge and technology (not weapons) could be utilised to ensure no-one anywhere goes hungry, dies from curable disease, or remains thirsty, without shelter, clothes… and a really progressive arts channel on tv for all. You get what I am talking about here? The crisis has been bad enough, the planetary mood is for radical change, the possibilities are endless. And it is Cameron’s class leadership about which you ask. No, the point is to forget the general election, and General Motors, and work instead for the general population, for the general strike, and for the general uprising, in general.

Red Salute

John

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