Category Archives: historical

Quid pro Quo – Subversive Festival, Zagreb (2nd vid)

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My third talk in a series of three on capital was at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb. The second talk is here (Translating Capital in Context) and it makes sense to see the second talk first [the first one in Rijeka was not recorded, but was based on my text on Citizen Kane], not least because it will help explain why the conceit in this third talk has Marx relocated to India, which of course he was always deeply interested in, but he never went, only picking up bits of info, and some myths – eg the horror stories of Jagannath etc – from his wide-ranging and varied reading. I think it is justified to deploy Marx to Calcutta, at least in fantasy, though its true not even Engels took his father’s advice to go to Calcutta to start in business. The old boys were European bound, but this did not mean they did not seek out the revolution elsewhere.

What also should be mentioned (the parts here are – great job – edited and slightly reordered, and the opening by Bernard missed) is that in this talk I set out to look at three different moments. 1) the arrival of Clive in Calcutta after the ‘sham scandal’ of the Black Hole in 1756; 2) the first all-India war of Independence, the so-called ‘mutiny’ 100 years later and; 3) the quid pro quo return of originary capital to the site of the East India Company shipyard in London in present times, under the aegis of the Farrell’s development of Convoys’ Wharf, Deptford, for Hutchinson Whampoa.

I am slowly writing this out as a long, too long, chapter, so this version is pretty schematic, but you will get the drift of new work. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also to the crew at Subversive, especially Karolina Hrga, and Bernard Koludrović who was chair.


“Marx writing on India is key to understanding Capital. My argument is that we can make sense of Marx today by examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a global political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite? I consider the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocused bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages. I will take up four cases – the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed); the story of Clive sacking Chandernagore and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?); Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’); and the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’). All of this brings us back to the realities of global investment and regeneration in Europe today, as international capital returns to the port of London to redevelop the old East India Company shipyards in Deptford.”

15/5/2014, 21h, Cinema Europa, Zagreb, Croatia
John Hutnyk: Quid pro quo: the East as a career
7th Subversive festival: “Power and Freedom in the Time of Control”
Moderator: Bernard Koludrović

reading Marx daily –

you can get the New York Daily tribune to read online via Library of Congress. Cross referencing the resources of the Marxist Internet Archive here for the dates of pieces not yet transcribed, you can then search the scanned copies of the NYDT here. Thus reading Marx’s journalism in situ as it were. This means the usual sunday morning with the papers is somewhat different today.

For example, Marx on China from page 8 of the Dec 3 1959 edition (second scan, column 2)

cover NYDT Dec 3image_587x817_from_0,0_to_6064,8439

The East as a Career – talk 22.5.2014

  • Logo Universität Hamburg

  • Institut für Volkskunde / Kulturanthropologie

  • 16. Mai 2014 | Studium und Lehre

    Do. 22.5. | Kollaboratives Forschen mit John Hutnyk

    John Hutnyk, London: “The East as a career: Marx Writing Capital and the Value of Bengal.”

    Um 18.15 Uhr in Raum 220


The Rumour of Calcutta

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David Sunderland Financing the Raj

Quite a start for this book, keen to know more (but need to find a copy I can afford):

Sunderland David Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 09.58.23

Reviewed here:

> Citation: Sumit Guha. Review of Sunderland, David, _Financing the
> Raj: the City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940_. H-Empire,
> H-Net Reviews. April, 2014.
> URL:

Rumford – some like it hot.

A crater on the moon named after him. Soup maker to the poor. And had a hand in formulating the second law of thermodynamics.

Mentioned by Marx in Capital, here is the entry from wikisoup:

Rumford’s Soup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rumford’s Soup
Region or state Bavaria
Creator(s) Benjamin Thompson
Main ingredient(s) Pearl barley, dried yellow peas, potatoes, beer
Cookbook:Rumford’s Soup Rumford’s Soup

Rumford’s Soup was an early effort in scientific nutrition. It was invented by Count Rumford around 1800 as a ration for the prisoners and the poor of Bavaria, where he was employed as an advisor to the Duke.

As a reformatory measure, the Bavarian government intended to institute workhouses for those on welfare. Rumford’s charge was to provide the cheapest possible ration that was still a high-calorie, nutritious food.


1 part pearl barley
1 part dried (yellow) peas
4 parts potato
salt according to need
Old, sour beer
Slowly boil until thick. Eat with bread.

Rumford’s soup is not noted as particularly tasty, but is palatable with long, slow cooking.

Nutrition and modification[edit]
Rumford’s soup is low-fat, with high protein and carbohydrate content — protein from the dried peas, complex carbohydrates from the potato and barley, and simple carbohydrates from the beer. Thus, Rumford’s soup was close to the optimum solution to the problem of cheap, nutritious food according to the knowledge of the day. Unfortunately, such knowledge did not extend to vitamins or trace elements. As a result, Rumford’s soup was often supplemented by corn or herring to supply Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Rumford’s soup was a common base for inexpensive military rations in Central Europe for much of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Molnár T. B. & Bittera Dóra: A gróf sparheltja (The count’s cooking range). Magyar Nemzet, 23 April, 2005.
“On the benefits of thermodynamics”, [1]
Categories: Copy to WikibooksSoups

Quid pro Quo (I will eventually explain all – (dm me if you can read a draft, on East India Co and value extraction)


the end of …

the end of the chorus

the end of the audience

the end of intimacy

the end of theatre

the end of art

the end of the aura

the end of the copy

the end of means

the end of language

the end of parody

the end of vision

the end of Sokrates

the end of comedy

the end of orientalism

the end of materiality

the end of history

the end of lists

((note from the end session of Impossibility or Novelty? (re)Creating the Old and Consuming the New. – FU Berlin 9 Nov 2013))

BLACK STAR – Anandi Ramamurthy

Get this book! My endorsement is truncated on the publishers web page, but I endorse this as absolutely necessary, absolutely needed. A must have to comprehend what needs to be done in these times, renew, learn from the past, reconfigure and invent…

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 10.43.53Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 10.37.48

‘Black Star’s richly illustrated documentation of the political
struggles of the Asian Youth Movements proposes a national heritage
that would be something more than bland old Blighty (Vilayet). The
book’s archive speaks eloquently of a pressing Black politics, and
Anandi Ramamurthy cares for the lessons of anti-racist
anti-imperialist organising. The impasse of twenty-first century
war-on-terror murder-death-kill paranoid keep-calm-and-carry-on
proto-fascist anxiety is skewered by the sharp posters, the
enthusiasm, the dedication, the long vigils, and the styles and
phrasings of all those left-wing uncles and radical aunts who hoarded
boxes of leaflets and pamphlets in back rooms and in attics so they
could one day be retrieved as testimony to a difficult settlement in
multi-racial Britain. That this book retrieves this history as a
living, and urgent, heritage – with the principle of ‘self defense as
no offense’ still prominent – is a absolutely necessary triumph’ – John Hutnyk.

Wealth of Bengal before colonial plunder (site of originary accumulation)

Salahuddin Ahmad lists the economic abundance of Bengal, citing Manouchi, the personal physician of Aurangjeb, and Clive, victor of Plassey against Suraj, and at Chandernagor against the French. Ahmad notes fertility of the land, availability of minerals, diamonds, iron, agriculural development, great river systems, irrigation and cultivation, grains, fruits, flowers, sugar-cane, betel, coconut:

‘Referring to the people of Bengal, Marco Polo says, “They grow cotton, in which they derive a great-trade” (Yule, Marco Polo, n. 115). Fruits like mango (amra), bread-fruit (panasa), pomgranate (dalimya), plantain, bassia latifolia (madhuka), date (kharjura), citron (vija ) and figs (parkati) were also widely cultivated. Barnier (1656-1668) writes on Agricultural system of Bengal in his travel account “One can see numerous canals from Rajmahal to the sea. These have been dug with hard labour for river traffic and irrigation”. Chinese traveler Yuan Chwang gives a vivid description of Agriculture in Bengal. He points to the generation of wealth through Agriculture, Crops, fruits and flower were growth in plenty’ (Ahmad, S 2005:9)

Crafts, textiles, salt, pottery, metals, jewellery, stone and wood works, ship-building, Ivory carving, trade – Roman Gold through to Chinese silks from Yunnan (Ahmad 2005:18).

Food stuff featuring in any discussion of Bengal should not be a surprise, though it is interesting to note the Portuguese influence on Bengali cuisine, at Hooghly after 1578, with special skills in baking and pastries, and in ways less regulated than the term ‘settlement’ implies, some Portuguese ‘became plunderers and pirates’. This suggests a convergence of cooking and plunder that would be echoed years later in the sumptuous on-board meals of the East India line ships, noted by Thomas Twining – ‘an abundance and variety, which surprised me, consisting of many joints of mutton and pork, variously dressed, curries and pillaus, chickens, ducks and on Sundays turkeys and hams’ (quoted in Bowen, McAleer and Blyth 2011:118).

The Portuguese at Hooghly did not just feast at table,[1] but brought with a sweet tooth perhaps perfectly suited to Bengal, as:

‘in alliance with the Arakanese and Moghs, a semi-tribal Buddhist people who lived around Chittagong. Known as Feringhi (from the Arab word “Frank”, once applied to the Crusaders), these [Portuguese] brigands reaped a reign of terror over the rivers and swamps of eastern Bengal. These Moghs were to play an interesting role in culinary history. For centuries they had worked as deckhands and cooks on Arab ships trading with Southeast Asia. The Portuguese continued this tradition by employing the Moghs as cooks and they quickly learned the culinary arts of their masters, becoming skilled confectioners and bakers’ (Sen 2010:3-4)

After Clive, through his agent George Bogle, according to North Bengal University History Professor Arabinda Deb, Warren Hastings accepts trade with China via Tibet and Bhutan, concluding a treaty with the Deba Raja of Bhutan in 1775 for trade in betel, sandal, indigo and tobacco (Deb 1984:18)

[1] ‘The Portuguese language remained a lingua franca in Bengal at late as the 18th century. Clive, who could never give an order in any native language, was said to speak fluent Portuguese. The first three books printed in the Bengali language were printed in Latin characters in Lisbon in 1743, and it was a Portuguese who composed the first Bengali prose work and the first Bengali grammar and dictionary. In Modern Bengali, articles of common use, items used in Christian services, and plants often go by their Portuguese names; e.g., ag-bent (holy water), alpin (pin), altar (altar), ananas (pineapple), balti (bucket), bispa (bishop), botel (bottle), spanj (sponge), girja (church), tamak (tobacco), piyara (pear), ata (custard apple), veranda, etc. Other Portuguese words have passed into the English language, including caste, peon, padre, papaya, plantain, cobra, mosquito, pomfret, and palmyra. (Sen 2010:4). Sen includes an impressive two-page table of imported foodstuffs.


Ahmad Salahuddin 2005 ‘Rise and Decline of the Economy of Bengal’ Asian Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 3 : 5-26, July – September.

Bowen, Huw, John McAleer and Robert J. Blyth 2011 Monsoon Traders: The maritime world of the East India Company London: Scala Pubnlishers

Deb, Arabinda 1984 ‘Tibet and Bengal; A Study in Trade Policy and Trade Pattern 1775-1785’ Bulletin of Tibetology (New Series) No 3: 17-32.

Sen, Colleen 2010 ‘The Portuguese Influence on Bengali Cuisine’ at Food on the Move: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1996’ 14 pages – available at – accessed April 2 2013.


Sharpies (Melbourne Sharps)

a little bit of nostalgia – what was in when I started secondary school. Holidays in Frankston (!). Suzi Quatro was compulsory listening on a portable cassette player. A connie was a kind of cropped woollen cardi. Staggers were madly wide jeans (wide from the thighs down), bought from Epsteins. The knuckles game shown here towards the end… and the elbows… the dancing… indicate a little of the undercurrent of anger… Remember Lobby Lloyd, but also Hush…

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More background =

It was all downhill after this. traded in the treads (woven sandals with car-tyre soles) and Skyhooks took over, and AC/DC (originals – Bon Scott era), and then later on The Radiators through to Loaded Dice at the Sarah Sands.

Deptford is… – post on Convoys Wharf transport issues.

Convoys Wharf transport #2: public transport

posted on Deptford is... 6 July 2013
One of the strongest arguments against allowing Convoys Wharf to be developed to the density that Hutchison Whampoa is suggesting, is the fact that the public transport accessibility of the site is so poor.
This situation has not improved with the new masterplan, so many of the comments made in our last assessment still apply. Many of the people living in these new properties will have to travel into London for work on a daily basis, so how will they do this?
Planners measure public transport accessibility by measuring it on the PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) scale. This provides an assessment of how easy it is to get from the site to public transport, and ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest rating and 6 the highest. In London a rating of 4 is generally a good level for major developments such as this to aspire to.
The PTAL rating of Convoys Wharf ranges from 1 to 2 across the site, with 2 being the level at the exit on Princes Street. With Hutchison Whampoa’s plans for redevelopment, the rating will rise very slightly, but will still be an average of 2 across the site, and 3 closest to Princes St.
The diagram below indicates the transport plans for the site – in simple terms, HW is in discussion with TfL about the possibility of having a pier for the Thames Clipper river bus, and also proposes either a new bus through the site, or the diversion of one of the existing services that go along Evelyn Street, the 199 having been suggested.

For a Thames Clipper service to call at the site will require the refurbishment of the existing jetty and the construction of a new pier on the jetty. Although TfL has acknowledged the possibility of a new pier at Convoys Wharf, there is no firm commitment to a date other than during phase one, which is five years long. There is also no confirmation of whether the service would be the regular London-bound boats, or just a shuttle boat to Canary Wharf.In either case, use of the riverbus service is impractical for many people – not only in terms of its restricted capacity, but also because it serves so few destinations and is slow in comparison to other public transport options.Aside from the bus and boat services, future residents at Convoys Wharf will have to travel somewhat further afield to access trains or DLR services. Naturally Deptford station is the closest train station to the development, and as the transport strategy points out, the station has recently been refurbished. But although the station is now more pleasant to use and easier to access, and the capacity of the station itself may have been increased, there has been no change to the capacity of the actual trains.The analysis of available capacity on services from Deptford station depends heavily on completion of Crossrail in 2018; this is predicted to reduce the number of people using London-bound trains from Woolwich, and is entirely credible. However there is no reference to the most recent Office of Rail Regulation figures which showed Deptford station experienced 7.1% increase in usage last year, and this is expected to continue as redevelopments continue and residents move into the new properties.According to the trip generation figures, 258 people from Convoys Wharf will take the train towards London in the morning peak hour between 8am and 9am. This seems a very low figure considering the total population that could number 10,000 or more. But even taking this point aside, the addition of around 44 passengers to each already-overcrowded train is not a pleasant prospect.Bus services are also likely to suffer – while the transport plan envisages a bus route through the site, there is no firm commitment to a new service as yet, so it could well be an existing route diverted and hence making journeys longer and more overcrowded than they are now. Almost 500 people from the development are estimated will be catching the bus during the morning peak hour, many presumably going towards Underground or Overground services elsewhere.

Meanwhile less than 200 will catch a river bus, although with only four services in the peak hour, that’s still an estimated 50 per boat. The boats in the current fleet each have 220 seats.

“Battle of Convoys Wharf”

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 10.09.43Evening Standard piece on Convoys Wharf by Kieren Long

Published: 26 October 2011

Does it matter what’s underneath the pavement? Under our feet, in the earth, are the traces of the 2,000 years of Londoners, their coins and clothes, their trinkets and tools, the remains of their buildings and roads.

The question of whether this material, this soup of memories, should have any bearing on how our city develops is an open one for those building our city today, and one that has sparked an argument over the massive Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, which I visited last week. If Hong Kong developer Hutchison Whampoa gets its way, this 16-hectare riverside plot (the size of about 20 football pitches) in the borough of Lewisham will soon be home to 9,000 people in 3,500 homes, with a new school, shops and space for “cultural uses”.

So far, so good. But this isn’t just any slice of the river. Convoys Wharf was formerly the King’s Yard, built by Henry VIII in 1513 as London’s military dock and known across the world. It was the harbour to royal yachts, where Francis Drake was knighted aboard the Golden Hinde in 1581, and where Elizabeth I’s Spanish Armada-defeating fleet was built. It is a place of astonishing, nationally important historical significance.

Greenwich, just a mile down-river, with its colonnaded Old Royal Naval College, has become a world heritage site and will officially become a “Royal” borough next year. But it was Deptford that built the boats that made England powerful enough to conceive of and fund that architectural setpiece in the first place.

The plan submitted by Hutchison Whampoa is a regulation piece of urban design by commercial architect Aedas. It’s pretty uninspired, with the usual precision about residential unit numbers but vagueness about the kind of public life that might be found there. But the plan tries hard to link into its surroundings, and the proposed development will be much better than the gated communities of riverside west London. There is a recognisable street pattern, a bus route through it, along with a school and an attempt to make a high street with a mix of uses. Broadly, the plan is based on work in 2005 by Richard Rogers, whose principal insight was to try to continue the line of Deptford’s high street towards the riverside.

Perhaps most importantly, it also proposes public access to the riverside here for the first time.

But a group of local people accuse Hutchison Whampoa of recklessly ignoring the historical remains, and are pleading with the developers to reconsider their plan. They say the site should be given back more of its original character, that ancient remains below the ground should be available to public view, and that water should be reintroduced to the site by digging out the former Great Basin of the dockyard.

Chris Mazeika, who lives in the Master Shipwright’s house on the eastern side of the site, is part of a network of local bloggers and campaigners asking questions of Hutchison Whampoa’s proposal. He believes that there is something important about the history of the site that should be drawn out by revealing the remains or perhaps echoing the original layout of the dockyard.

“To reveal the remains would make it a much more distinctive and layered place,” he says. “When you walk down a road that has been established by hundreds of years of getting from A to B, and one that’s drawn by a planner – it’s a very different experience.”

The site today is rather eerie, a huge expanse of concrete with a few Sixties and Eighties warehouses still standing. There are no roads and no sense of how it all once fitted together. The riverside is spectacular, though. The wharf juts out into the river and the view from it takes in a vista from Surrey Quays to the west and Greenwich to the east. This timber platform will be transformed into a public park in Hutchison Whampoa’s plans, complete with river bus stop.

The Grade II-listed Olympia Warehouse (built in the 1840s) stands in the middle of the site, slightly askew to the riverside, a magnificent iron structure most recently used by Lewisham council as a storage facility for wheelie bins. It is the only historic building left above ground, and the proposals designate it vaguely as a “covered public square”. They aspire to something along the lines of Spitalfields Market. This all feels a bit sketchy at this stage, and the developer’s preference is to retain just the beautiful iron frame, perhaps adding to it a new glass envelope.

In anticipation of these remains being covered up by the new development, a huge archaeological dig is under way between the Olympia Warehouse and the river. The foundations and remains of the huge Tudor storehouse and the docks are clearly visible in the trenches. Two slipways, complete with timbers used to brace and support ships as they were constructed, look amazingly complete to my untrained eye. All this will be recorded, then covered over again and the new residential buildings built over the top. The remains will never be seen again, or at least not until Hutchison Whampoa’s buildings are themselves demolished, which could be 200 years away at London rates of replacement.

It must be said that the King’s Yard has long lost its Tudor character. Since the Second World War, successive idiotic owners chose to demolish the remaining buildings on the site and fill in the basin and slipways. Most jaw-dropping of all is that in stages between the Sixties and as recently as the Eighties, a Tudor storehouse was demolished and its foundations concreted over so that huge distribution sheds and warehouses could be built.

It is heartbreaking that so much has been lost.

None of that is Hutchison Whampoa’s fault. The group and its architects see Convoys Wharf as an opportunity to create a residential quarter they believe will be “modern and positive”. The architects say that the arrangement of the proposed apartment buildings perpendicular to the river somehow mirrors that of the historic slipways, and a proposed park on the site of the former double dry dock will evoke the history of what’s underneath, perhaps by using materials that suggest its former use. That to them is enough. My visit to the site convinced me that while the developers are very aware of what lies beneath, they don’t feel it of sufficient significance to prevent or slow London’s development. Aedas and Hutchison Whampoas have made a judgment that to preserve any remains for public view, or to reintroduce water into the site (as the Rogers plan proposed) would be uneconomical and (they told me) would be a hindrance rather than a help to make it a better place to live.

As for the campaigners, they are vague about what they are calling for and appeal to notions of memory, meaning and history that are not part of the usual property development vocabulary.

Mazeika, like many of us, finds it difficult to describe exactly what difference it makes to resurrect ancient street patterns, to uncover old docks. He favours gradual, incremental development, but that is never going to happen with such a large site under single ownership.

This seems an unbridgeable intellectual gap in today’s London. The nuanced understanding of the place that the locals advocate here in Deptford is mirrored all over the city by local interest groups, amateur historians, and concerned residents near large regeneration projects. But it has no way of gaining traction in a development process involving this much money, and that is a failure of our planning system and of imagination of the politicians who are the guardians of our city.

I respect Hutchison Whampoa and Aedas for trying to make a decent, mixed place that links into the surrounding community. I think (unlike some Deptford residents) that the scale and character of the spaces around the Olympia Warehouse will be fine, certainly better than the meaningless public spaces at equivalent developments of a decade ago (Paddington Basin comes to mind). The quantum of development, and its skyscraper-scale apartment towers, aren’t a problem to me, and the new public space by the river almost can’t fail to be enjoyable.

But in deploying standard urban design tactics the masterplan does find itself ignoring what makes this place special in the first place. I suspect the history of the site will be signalled in branding and signage more than any real, physical or spatial sense. And while it is a very difficult task to capture all these historical and cultural layers of a city in urban design and architecture, good architects should be able to do it.

When Convoys Wharf has been re-developed, the history of the King’s Yard will lie in a shallow grave underneath shiny apartment blocks and cappuccino bars. Professionals will move into the residential towers, which will probably be named after Drake’s Golden Hinde. And when their dinner party guests ask them where the docks used to be, they will reply: “I don’t know.”

Thomas Mouat Tate

Thomas Moaut Tate…among many other things, timekeeper for The Basin Football Club, Vic. Australia (circa 1970-1980), formerly trolley bus driver, iron-foundry work, ships stoker (on The Welshman – Malta Convoy, and others), service 1940-1943, sunk three times, a.w.o.l. in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt 1944, returned to service 1944-45, demobbed 1945, emigrated to Australia, painter (of houses), and singer of songs.

Black Hole Fantasy Again

I’m perversely pleased to see this old chestnut can never die. ‘Sham scandal’ Marx called it. Holwell was writing two years afterwards, and in the wake of Clive’s retaliatory massacre of Suraj-ud-daulah at Plassey. I will refrain from some sort of pun on the name Holwell, but notice that embedded journalists are not exactly a new fold in the fabric of imperialism. But for my take on Plassey, and the quotes from Marx, see here.

The Hindu of course does not go so far as to do more than hint at ‘disputed veracity’.

A survivor’s account of Calcutta’s Black Hole

Bangalorean has the article from ‘The Scots Magazine’

A rare copy of an 18th century publication that contains a first-person account of the imprisonment of British men, women and children in the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta (now Kolkata) is now in the possession of a Bangalore-based document collector. The Scots Magazine contains an account of the episode by one of its few survivors, J.Z. Holwell.

The February 1758 edition of The Scots Magazine carried a 10-page article titled ‘Holwell’s account of the sufferings in the Black Hole’, which recalled the events at a dungeon in Fort William on the night of June 20, 1756, following the defeat of the East India Company by the forces of Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal. Holwell, in his account, claimed that 123 of the 146 prisoners put in a crammed dungeon died. But, later, historians have disputed the veracity of his account.

“There are only four known copies of the February 1758 edition in the world,” collector Sunil Baboo, told The Hindu. “It cost me a fortune,” he said, unwilling to reveal the amount.

What is in Mr. Baboo’s collection is the 10-page portion of the magazine that is in good condition. “While two are in the U.K., the other is in the U.S. These three are fully bound in leather-and-marble covers,” he said.

This document collector recently got the part of the magazine from a U.S.-based collector.

“It took a little while to get the copy from him as I had to convince the collector to part with this little piece of history,” he said.

The dungeon, according to Holwell, was a cube of about 18 ft (324 sq. ft) with only two windows in which 146 prisoners were crammed. He recounted the travails of the prisoners in the extremely hot conditions and no fresh air, which left them exhausted and extremely thirsty. He wrote of their attempts to bribe the guards to help them and their efforts to break open the door, all of which came to nought. Finally, a few survivors were brought out of the dungeon on the orders of Siraj-ud-Daulah.

However, while publishing the entire account of Holwell — a letter written to his friend William Davis on February 28, 1757 on board a vessel while returning from East Indies (India) — The Scots Magazine also cautioned its readers about the account being a “little passionate in some places” and in others “somewhat diffused”.

Keywords: The Scot’s MagazineCalcutta Black HoleSunil Baboo


The marx quotes link again, here.

Theodor Anthony Apollo Hutnyk.

Truth! Theodor Anthony Apollo Hutnyk. Brother to Emile. Arrived 7:54 am on 11.8.12, weight 4 kilos. Sophie doing well.


Zizek on Stalin

A month or two later than everyone else I suppose, I have started reading the new Zizek. Greatly amused that Balibar quipped: ‘I wish I could read as fast as Zizek can type – not that I am saying he is repetitive, he is just consistent’

Trepidation of the reader… no real surprise to again to find SZ quoting Stalin, as if from memory, saying ‘both are worse’ – yawn – this is a Lenin quip, as I have all-ready anal-ized:

‘both worse’ is Lenin, not Stalin – ‘both are worse’  from ‘What is to Be Done’ part 1, where Lenin is talking about two competing resolutions of the Jewish Workers Union in 1901. Surely a good Leninist should not mischievously be laying traps like this – checking to see if we are paying attention, misattributing classic quotes from the Vlad to Jo. SZ had already attributed this to Stalin in ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’ so I suspect its a moment of digital apocalypse cut and paste. The demand to deliver text in a rush. And I am doing it here – cut and say, paste and pay. (here)

But it is a good quip, so each time SZ uses it I think both are worse too. And I am hoping by the end of this to be even more upset about minor symptoms of utter brilliance.



‘Complicity’ essay for Assembly catalogue 2000

Click on the pages to enlarge and read.

‘the best hated and most calumniated man of his time’

Engels speaking at Marx’s burial (Marx died on this day in 1883, the burial was 3 days later):

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but for ever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and, in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association — this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that, though he may have had many opponents, he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.

[the picture is from the 'Marx trot' tour of old beardo's houses and the pubs he drank in - which included a brief stop outside the now cocktail bar where once the Manifesto was adopted by the League. Another Marx trot is planned for the summer, stay tuned]

We are all Troy Davis (well, hardly, but its a fucking outrage that the USA executed over a thousand people since 1975, and then some)

A cartoon made for Troy Davis by the activist known cartoonist Carlos Latuff

Since I have been writing about this in relation to MIA, maybe its worth noting for the record, that the cited (is this only ‘citation’?) image cartooned here appeared in its original gross form in several films, including in full in the Monkees’ Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson ‘Head’ (dir. Rafelson 1968), and in what is arguably the first extended music video (shot on 2 inch quadruplex video in PAL format and transferred after production to film stock) ‘200 Motels’ (dir. Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer 1971). It was used as background visuals for the song ‘The Story of Isaac’ by Leonard Cohen on his 1972 tour – as seen in the long lost and recently reassembled film Bird on a Wire (dir. Tony Palmer 2009) and the still was a backdrop in Woody Allen’s ‘Stardust Memories’ (dir. Allen 1980). Details: South Vietnamese national Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executes alleged communist Nguyễn Văn Lém – the picture taken by Pulitzer prize winner Eddie Adams on 1 February 1968, with film by Vo Suu – original footage now available on google video:

From the 6th floor of New Arts to here.

Dr Peter Phipps, Prof Klaus Peter Koepping and I, in some sort of three amigos mode, discuss the good ol days of trouble-making at the University of Melbourne.

A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise by Richard Francis Burton

Note to self:  Four years before the “Indian Mutiny” (first all India war of Independence), Richard F Burton published “A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise”, writing:

The Sepoy has not learned to trust to his musket as a European soldier does. The former, being inferior in physical strength, finds the firelock a cumbrous weapon, and perhaps he feels himself deficient in that dogged courage which must animate those who fight sturdily under a serious disadvantage. Consequently the Sepoy would often, if permitted, throw away his musket, & trust to the sword or dagger, the handling of which is more familiar to him. But Indians are not so adverse to innovations as they are popularly supposed to be.”

See here: A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise by Richard Francis Burton

See also here for Burton Archival stuff:

and here for online books:

including the thousand nights and a night:

Crash Course in Australian 1970s music

First band I went to see was Skyhooks, though apparently I was taken to Sunbury Festival, but I do not remember (first international act I saw was Deep Purple, followed soon after by the Sweet). Anyway, Australia had some fine live bands allthrough the seventies, and thanks to things like GTK, Meldrum’s Countdown and Rage, you can see some of it. I nclude a selection of the more popular and somehow usually topically about TV/Media, below. But first…

Because I can (reciting from memory got 80% of this) I reproduce the lyrics from the track ‘Living in the Seventies’, written by Greg McAinish for the ‘hooks 74 album of the same name:

I feel a little crazy
I feel a little strange
Like I’m in a pay phone
Without any change
I feel a little left yeah
I feel a little weird
I feel like a schoolboy
Who’s grown a beard

I’m livin’ in the 70’s
Eatin’ fake food under plastic trees
My face gets dirty just walkin’ around
I need another pill to calm me down

I feel a bit nervous
I feel a bit mad
I feel like a good time that’s never been had
I feel a bit fragile
I feel a bit low
Like I learned the right lines
But I’m on the wrong show

I’m livin’ in the 70’s
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein’ a freak

I feel a little insane
I feel a bit dazed
My legs are shrinkin’
And the roof’s been raised
I feel a little mixed up
I feel a little queer
I feel like a barman that can’t drink a beer

I’m livin’ in the 70’s
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein’ a freak.


So as to show that Skyhooks did not come out of nowhere, nor have little influence on what comes after, here is my version of how to get from the Real Thing to the Go Betweens. Course this is arbitrary, reliant on memory,and not at all to be considered even remotely related to difinity (the possessive form of the noun definitive). Let me know what you think.

1969 (Russel Morris – The Real Thing

1971 (Daddy Cool – Eagle Rock)

1972 (Aztecs – Most People I Know)

1973 (Dingoes – Way out west)

1974 (Skyhooks – Horror Movie)

1975 (Skyhooks -Ego is not a dirty word)

1974 (again) (ACDC -Jailbreak)

1976 (Jeannie Lewis-Celluloid Heroes [I loved her so much)

1977 (Radio Birdman -TV Eye)

1976 (again) (Angels – Am I ever going to see your face again)

1978 (Go Betweens – Lee Remick)

1979 (Loaded Dice – Mam’selle)

1982 (More Go Betweens – Your Turn My Turn)

And your favourites are?:

Coleridge invents trinketization

coleridge1_2Samuel Taylor Coleridge was ahead of the game in so many ways.  His other work is of course crucial, stuff about an albatross, and the opening sequence to the newsreel section of Citizen Kane. A massive influence and to be adored. This piece is a small fragment written around 1800.

To a critic

Who extracted a passage from a poem without adding a word respecting the context, and then described it as unintelligible.

Most candid critic, what if I.
By way of joke, pull out your eye.
‘Ha! ha! that men such fools should be!
Behold this shapeless dab! – and he
Who own’ed it, fancied it could see!’
The joke were mighty analytic,
But should you like it, candid critic?

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge Selected Poems.

The eye as trinket is excellent – it cannot see on its own. Though Bataille finds other functions.

Gore Vidal visit.

Oh oh, a post out of sequence (repel athq), but I am well impressed with octogenarian Gore Vidal’s current media blitz. South Bank Show, Hard Talk, the Guardian and the Hay Festival have all recently featured the sci-fi writing, historian, novelist, gayest pensioner, scourge of the dumb and daft (he says John McCain is “intellectually in George W Bush’s league” – tsk). I’ve read most of Vidal’s books by now, numbering over 50, and as a youngster considered a trek to Italy just to camp on his doorstep so as to meet him.

Correspondent with Tim McVeigh (who invited him to his execution – now there’s an A-list fixture) and relative of both Jackie O and climatic Al Gore, I love his epic historico-fictions the best. He had a bit part in the film ‘Bob Roberts’ as a senator and was Director Joseph in ‘Gattaca’, but he should also have been in the West Wing. His inspirational novel Julian is matched by Visitor to a Small Planet and the cross-gendering Myra Breckenridge, but even his recent older-statesman essays deserve considered respect.

Scriptwriter for ‘Ben Hur’ – making Heston camp was exquisite – and in later years a great essayist and memoirist, the present media blitz cashes in on what would in England be called ‘national treasure’ status. Only Vidal deserves it more than the Palins of this world. Read his commentary on Capote and the bird (Tennessee Williams) in Palimpsest for sheer eloquence.

40 years ago today

Renegade Eye has posted a collection of vignettes from Nam to Yippie that deserve a look [then go fetch some stuff on Panthers and Naxalites - easy enough to find here and here]

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This is an abridged edition of a great post at Canadian anarchist blog La Revue Gauche. For some this post will be nostalgia, and for others an introduction to another world. Thank you Eugene for putting this together.

Forty Years Ago
Happy New Year

Read it here.


Srebrenica by Ted/FDM

The ever insightful Ted Swedenburg does it well here:

“One of the many fine songs on Fun’Da’Mental’s powerful 2006 release, All Is War: The Benefits of G-had, is “Srebrenica Massacre,” featuring vocals in Bosnian (a variety of Serbo-Croation, according to some) by Alma Ferovic. Since April I’ve given several talks about Fun’Da’Mental, which have included analyses of several songs from All Is War, but I’ve not had much to say about “Srebrenica Massacre….”

Read more.

Free Stuff


Three free tracks from Fun Da Mental – as always uncompromising, provocative and sincere.

1.Happy to Be Clappy- exposing the deceit of the collaborators in current times and the consequences.

2. Darfur to Disneyland – Riyadh to Washington and all those in between.

3.Guilt of the Innocence – Only FDM will deal with the issue of suicide bombing – we are all victims except the guilty ones.

See you in Belmarsh

fun da mental

feel free to forward to all including the intelligence services

Here is again the 1857 site, which now carries videos from the Manchester conference which are great – informative discussion of links between 1857 and imperialism today (oil, Iraq [EIC was in Basra from 1863], definition of terrorism, evaluations of Marx as journalist of 1857 etc). There is a good two hours to watch, but its informative and worth the time.

Check here for:

*The Historical Significance of 1857 by Kalpana Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group. Speach in 1857′
*Nick Robins in 1857’s 150 years anniversary in Manchester by 1857 committee
*Q and A 1 in 1857’s 150 years anniversary in Manchester by 1857 committee
*Folk Songs of 1857: D. Ajaz, (Author Kaal Bolaindi – folksongs sung today from the 1857 uprising in Kaal Bolaindi – folksongs sung today from the 1857 uprising
*Iraq-East India Co. (1763-Factory established in Basra) to Halliburton by Hani Lazim
*Q and A 2 in 1857’s 150 years mnniversary in Manchester by 1857 committee
*Ayesha Siddiqa Speech in 1857’s 150 years anniversary in Manchester

Older comments here and article here.

Marx had time for Chess in 67

Having revised the first version of Volume One of Das Kapital for the press, Marx took time out to play a certain Meyer…

I have nicked this from Eli Wong, who got it via another fiendishly diligent fan, so this trace of Old Beardo from the annals of Chess history is gonna circulate like the endless adventures of the dialectic (sacrifice the wonky the knight or the promoted pawn, I dunno – reckon its a job for Harpo):

Karl Marx vs Meyer
Casual Game 1867 · King’s Gambit: Accepted. Double Muzio Gambit Paulsen Defense (C37) · 1-0

There is some entertaining discussion on the board where this appears, I excerpt some here, mostly from 2005-2006:

Ziggy2016: Marx played like the romantic he was.

Ron: It seems that Karl Marx’s chess play was historically conditioned.

euripides: Marx’s play shows good knowledge of opening theory. However, Games Like K Marx vs Meyer, 1867 shows that he might have got this theory from games in the 1830s or from recent games in the 1860s. So we can’t be sure that ‘Capital’ took so long because Marx was studying opening theory, though it is quite possible.

euripides: I note this game’s authenticity has been questioned. According to Francis Wheen’s biography, Marx attended a part given by the chessplayer Gustav Neumann in Berlin in 1867 and this game is meant to have been played there. He acknowledges the help of the Karl Marx Museum and their attached study centre for helping him find it.

Kennington and Oval

Today, avoiding real work that is piled up on my desk, and waiting on the gas inspector to check my pipes and tell me what I already know – ie that my listed Edwarding building is not allowed to have a gas boiler outlet sticking out where it does – for shame… well, I thought a leap into local history would redeem my (actually my landlord’s) crimes against heritage listings… so I have been reading about the neighbourhood. Strange stuff, for example, I live on Kennington Park Road just down from the Oval – site of the first Ashes test (heh, cricket eh?) – where the following wartime incident from the VauxhallandKennington site amuses:

“The Oval Airman

There was an interesting incident near the Oval. The largest and last of the daylight raids on London took place on 15 September 1940. Over 180 German planes were shot down and a German airman, Robert Zehbe, baled out of his stricken Dornier bomber and landed in front of Alverstone House in Harleyford Road. Pieces of his plane came down elsewhere in central London, including in the forecourt of Victoria Station. Zehbe was attacked by a mob of furious women but was rescued by the police and driven across the Oval’s turf and Vauxhall Bridge to the Millbank military hospital, where he died next day. There was a suggestion that he had been seriously injured by the Oval mob, but it is equally likely that he was badly injured before he landed.

Information about this incident was provided by historian Martin Smart. … Pieces of the bomber are now in the RAF Museum, Hendon.”

Its not all stirring battle of Britain/mob of furious women stuff though, reminding me that Kennington park is a site of all manner of horrors – used for hangings as well as political meetings, charged down by the police and corn law incidents, the Chartists, and, if you follow up the article I cite from here, you can find out all you need to know about Kennington:

“Fascinating information and stunning revelations including Public Executions,A Radical Black Methodist, The World’s First National Labour Movement – The Chartists * the Significance of 10th April 1848 * The World’s First Photograph of a Crowd * the Occupation of Our Common by the Royal Park * The Horns Tavern and Charlie Chaplin * The Princess of Wales Theatre * The Scandal of the Unmarked War Grave * The Squatters * ‘Red Ted’ * The Return of the Commons Spirit” – From Working Press: Kennington Park - birthplace of British democracy

and – pushing the political meetings theme a little:

“‘Red Ted’ Knight’s socialist council started the annual fireworks displays in the Park. By 1984 the park was again being used for political gatherings. The demonstrators on the Anti Apartheid Rally of that year used the park as an assembly point. In subsequent years the park has hosted many important political gatherings including; Gay Pride (starting 1986), National Union of Students (1986), Irish Solidarity Movement (1986), Vietnamese Community event (1989), Anti Poll Tax March (1990), Kurdistan Rally (1991), Integration Alliance (1993), TUC (1993), Nigerian Rallies (1993), Campaign Against Militarism (1993) and Reclaim the Streets (1997). These events often reflect key moments in the political history of the time and are an important part of the democratic process”. From: Kennington Park - birthplace of British democracy

… well, there’s lots more to write on this. For now I will just also go back to note that theunmarked war grave is now marked, however minimally. So minimally that I did not know that the south field of the park, where in summer people laze about not going to demos and where there is often a ‘funfair’, was also tragically the site of the largest single bomb loss of life in the Blitz when an air raid shelter was hit on 15 October 1940 (again from VauxallandKennington):

“The shelter was large enough to accomodate hundreds, and maybe thousands, of people, and it filled the whole of the south field in Kennington Park – the field opposite what is now the cafe. The outline of the buildings can still be seen from the air, especially when the ground is very dry – see the photo. But the shelter was an unpleasant place, and people only went there because the government stopped them going down into the nearby underground stations. One witness reported that “The public shelter was horrible, smelly. It had a mouldy slab of concrete for a roof. But you couldn’t go anywhere else – the Oval Station was full of barbed wire … they wouldn’t let you near it.””

I’ve included the picture and you can indeed see the evidence – the ill-defined area to the south of the trench pattern shows where the bomb hit. There’s more on the bombing here (a pdf file). More to read… And with this I give notice of the start of a thread, sort of, on wartime stories that I’ll come back to soon so as to relate the adventures of grandfather Thomas Mouat Tate… Stay tuned…

Gagarin grooves

This looks like space-fun for every day of the week, not just Sundays:

++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++
Sunday 19th November 6pm – 1am Radio Gagarin: Experiments in Sunday Socialism
+++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++
Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate, London W126pm – 1a.m. £5.

London’s only Balkan/Russian/ Baltic/Gypsy/Klez/ Mash/Thrash/ Trash/KULTURKlash!!!

Radio Gagarin’s’ bi-monthly Experiments in Sunday Socialism sessions fill Notting Hill Arts Club to overflowing with a tundra melting mix of live music, digital DJ prowess, performance art, east European cinema, poetry, puppetry, poverty, latkes, blinis and vodka. Live acts have included Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, Oi Va Voi, DJ Shantel, Sophie Solomon, Nayekovichi, Babar Luck, Mama Matrix, Luminescent Orchestrii, Geoff Berner, Ghetto Plotz & Mukka. The Commissar continues to pledge exclusive new music from DESTROYERS -100% Balkan Mania, EMUNAH …The Cut Chemist Crew of NW London’ and The Langham Research Centre Musique Concrete, performance from Friends of Gagarin, Marxist-Leninist alienation from art/animation/video installations for the Proletariat from state artists Adrian Philpott & Cathy Gale; frozen vodka & rakiya galore and resident DKs (Dancefloor Komissars) Max Reinhardt & Misha Maltsev sweating it out in the Gypsy Diskoteka til’ the road of excess has led us to the place of wisdom. Early evening come to feed your soul with autumnal home-cookin in the Kitschen and take a rest from your fight for Revolutionary Determinism for a few moments in the Kinodrom with new and classic shorts from Eastern Europe.
Co-Produced by YaD Arts / Adrian Philpott/ Oi Va Voi / The Shrine
For more info: tel 020 7629 5555 trotsky/works

Sputnik Monroe

I had to repost this from comrade Renegade-Eye – I normally never notice wrestling news (that will surprise some of you) but its a sport with heros, and here clearly is one of them. Good for Elvis-Sputnyk-pretty boy – etc etc.

And so thanks Renegade Eye for the obituary – sure its sad to only hear of him now the old bloke has gone, but still instructive, and he does look a bit like my dad…

“Afro-Americans in Memphis often have three portraits hanging in their homes, Jesus, Martin Luther King and wrestler Sputnik Monroe.

The wrestling legend who was born with the name Rocco Monroe DiGrazio, died on Friday in a Florida nursing home at 78 years old. He had been ill several years, including having half of his lungs removed. His father by blood died in an airplane crash before he was born. His mother remarried, and at 17 years old, he became Rock Monroe Brumbaugh.

His first wrestling name was Pretty Boy Roque, when he started grappling in 1945. His first gimmick was using the name Elvis Rock Monroe. If you say it fast it is Elvis Rock-N-Roll. Once on the way to a booking, he picked up an Afro-American hitchhiker, and brought him to the arena, where he was wrestling. He was walking arm and arm with him. A racist fan saw that, and called him names. The wrestler kissed the Afro-American hitchiker on the lips. The worse thing she could call him was Sputnik. It was the time the Russians sent Sputnik into space. The promoter kept the Sputnik name, for cold war heat reasons.

It was wrestling in 1957 Memphis, Tennessee where he made history. Until the late 1960s, professional wrestling in the southern USA, was segregated. Afro-Americans only wrestled others. The Afro-American fans sat in the bleachers. According to National Public Radio “Sputnik wasn’t about to change anything about himself but his name. He continued to build friendships within the black community, and soon had a huge following. He was a heel, or a bad guy in wrestling parlance, but to his fans, he was a hero. Walking into the ring at Ellis Auditorium in downtown Memphis, he would be booed by many whites, but as soon as they were finished, Sputnik would turn to the top seats, the segregated top balcony, raise his arms, and bring down a groundswell of cheers. Sputnik wanted more of his fans to get into the auditorum, so he bribed a door attendant to miscount the number of African Americans admitted. Soon, there was no place else to sit but in the white section. Whether fans were black or white, promoters could see nothing but green, and with little fanfare, seating at Ellis Auditorium was integrated. Later, he tag-teamed with an African American, Norvell Austin. Many fans said it was the first time they ever saw a black wrestler in the ring.”

His 1959 feud with Billy Wicks, set attendance records in Memphis that were never broken until recently.

His work against segregation was honored by the Memphis Rock and Soul Museum. They have one of his ring outfits on display

Sputnik was an authentic tough guy who boxed, wrestled in carnivals and in arenas. He had his last match at near 70 years old. He never left an opponent feeling better after a match with him. He made Memphis better.

Addendum: In the 1960s on television was a western called “Bat Masterson”, starring Gene Barry. He was a gambler, and outlaw fighter who wore a derby and carried a cane and a Derringer pistol. Sputnik was in attendance, when the actor was doing a personal appearance. The wrestler took the cane, and broke it”.

See: Sputnik Monroe on NPR

. – Commemorate the 150th anniversary of 1857 uprising from a peoples perspective

The 1857 uprisings were a part of the war of national liberation in South Asia
India and South Asia are still going through this struggle
·We need to link the history of our people to what is happening today

Aims and Objectives

·Commemorate the 150th anniversary of 1857 uprising from a peoples perspective

·Organise a series of events and activities around 1857 uprising

The themes that we wish to promote through these events and activities include:

·Historical significance of the 1857 uprising in South Asia and Internationally.

·The significance and implications of 1857 uprising to contemporary events and struggles in South Asia and Internationally

·The significance and affect of the 1857 uprisings to the UK and its reactions then and its reactions to current events now:

oanti colonialism

oanti terror issues.

4)What were the affects of 1857 uprisings on culture, then and now, and what can we learn from them.

5)Why celebrate the 1857 events in South Asia

·It is one of the first struggles against colonialism and imperialism and it represented a focal point for the struggles that developed subsequently against colonialism and imperialism in South Asia and internationally. In today’s context it bears similarities to the global events of today and the struggle against re-colonisation and imperialism.

4)Plans and activities for the Commemoration

a) Publication

We agreed to produce a publication. This would be a final piece that would be launched at the public event in Sept/Oct 2007. The publication will follow our set objectives and themes

b) Films on 1857

Organise films that we can take around to events that are happening around the UK. These could also be shown at the public event.

c) Exhibition

Prepare an exhibition that we can take around to events that are happening around the UK. A suggested theme was to do a comparison between 1857 and 2007.

d) Website

Launch a website which will host all materials which support our objectives and themes. It is anticipated that the website will encompass a discussion forum and allow contributions from others.

e)Cultural Aspects

The group agreed that it will also explore cultural aspects to the 1857 uprisings. These could then be encompassed within other activities.

Final Day Event marking the 1857 in October 2007 –

This would be a multi-venue and transnational event encompassing countries from South Asia, Britain and possibly other South Asian settlements in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America and Australia. .

We would like to hear from all peoples in participating or contributing to the commemoration. Contact us to help and or join the committee. Next meeting of the Committee is organised for the 15th October 2006 at the SOAS details to be available soon.





I’ve been trawling about wanting to find some sort of confirmation of the glorious rumour that media baron William Randolph Hearst (and his gun-toting, John Waters’ films cameo starring, socialite grand-daughter) was somehow tied up with the ongoing presence of an American Naval base – and dastardly prison/detention/concentration camp we know as Guantanamo – on Cuba. What is the US doing on Cuba at all? Fidel must have a view on this.

Then I found: Robert Rodvik, who writes:

“Without going through its many Articles, the one that interests me the most is the infamous Article VII – the piece of US-inspired legalese that maintains sovereignty in US hands, rather than the suggested moral goodness of US declaration. As stated in Article VII: “To enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the Cuban Government will sell or lease to the Unites States the land necessary for coaling or naval stations, at certain specified points, to be agreed upon with the President of the United States. On June 12, 1901 the Platt Amendment was added to the Cuban constitution since, to resist, was to declare that pacification had not ended and US troops to stay indefinitely.
This Article of legislation forced upon the Cuban people was the key to establishing the massive US Naval Station Guantanamo.”

Old old stuff, now turned into new nasty stuff. Same as it ever was.


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