Category Archives: politics

GLOBAL RESISTANCE, FROM FERGUSON TO PEOPLE’S KOREA

23 October 2014 Hausman’s Bookshop Kings Cross London:

tricon

 

The people of Ferguson have heroically stood up in the face of brutal repression, resisting the police in the streets in the aftermath of yet another young black man having been gunned down by law enforcement. Amongst many other Global South governments, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (‘North Korea’) took a definite stand with the protesters, condemning the human rights situation of the U.S. and the racism of its system. The ties between North Korea and the Black Power movement in the US are nothing new, and go back to a powerful relationship that was built with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Join us to explore the internationalist ties between the DPRK, the liberation struggles in Africa andthe Black liberation movement in the US, and how these connect to the wider global struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

The event will be held at London’s best-known radical bookshop, Housmans (http://www.housmans.com/) on Caledonian Road.

Confirmed speakers so far (more to be announced):

YONGHO THAE (Q&A)
First secretary of the DPRK embassy in London, talking about North Korea’s history of resistance to foreign domination, and answering your questions about the DPRK.

ZAKI BARUTI
President/General of the Universal African Peoples Organization, and grassroots organiser in St Louis, talking about the situation on the ground in Ferguson

ASARI SOBUKWE
Representative of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), talking about the history of North Korean solidarity with the African liberation movements and with the Black Power movement in the US.

MARCEL CARTIER
Rapper and activist, talking about his recent trip to DPRK and joining the dots between Pyongyang, Ferguson, Donetsk, Palestine, Syria, Cuba and elsewhere.

The event will be chaired by writer and music producer Carlos Martinez (Agent of Change).

The event is organised by the Tricontinental Anti-imperialist Platform, a recently-formed organisation that seeks to promoted maximum unity in the global struggle against imperialism.

‘The Killing of Blair Peach, Anti-Racist Protest and Police Brutality’

Defend the Right to Protest present

‘The Killing of Blair Peach, Anti-Racist Protest and Police Brutality’
with David Renton and Tony Warner
Wednesday 15th October, 7pm

Hausmans Bookshop Kings Cross London.
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Blair Peach was a 33 year old teacher killed on a demonstration on 23 April 1979 at Southall against the National Front. He is one of just three protesters to have been killed by the police in Britain since 1945. He died from a single blow to his head by a police officer, as Peach was retreating from a protest which had finished.

In 2010, following Ian Tomlinson’s death, the government published the Cass report into Peach’s killing. Cass identified the six police officers who were present when the fatal blow was struck, and recommended that three of them should be prosecuted for obstructing his enquiry. The Cass report was never disclosed to the Inquest into Peach’s death, and its central reports were kept hidden for 30 years from the jury, from the press, and from Blair Peach’s family.

David Renton will be discussing his new pamphlet ‘Who Killed Blair Peach’ (published by Defend the Right to Protest, 2014) which sets out why exactly Cass reached his conclusions, how his reasoning casts a light on the identity of Peach’s killer, and calls for a fresh inquest into Blair Peach’s killing.

David will be joined by founder of ‘Black History Walks’ Tony Warner who will consider contemporary cases of police racism and brutality. Using archive footage, newspaper reports and personal testimony Tony will cover cases of black deaths in custody from 1960s to the present day, with relation to geography, community resistance, international history and white media representation of the ‘black body’.

About the speakers
David Renton a barrister and a member of the committees of Defend the Right to Protest and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
Tony Warner is a historian and founder of ‘Black History Walks’.

PART OF ISLINGTON BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A Pay Rise is Not Enough – We Need a Plan C

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Provoked by Parliament’s steadfast commitment to a Plan A of Austerity, the rusty machinery of the Trades Union Congress has provided the customary opposition in the form of its Plan B: marching for the alternative, marching for jobs, growth and justice, and now marching for a pay rise. We think it’s important that we join our fellow workers on 18 October, but we do so critical of the TUC, its politics and its innocuous demand. In short, we need a Plan C.
The march on 18 October will be the biggest national mobilisation of the working class in two years. This is something the TUC is relatively good at – which is reasonable to expect given its immense budget. However, this is also an organisation which has joined forces with the Confederation of Business and Industry (CBI) in backing workfare programmes, and which increasingly appears interested in only engaging with – let alone fighting for – only a narrow subset of workers. Within the formal work economy, employment is increasingly casualised, while ‘informal’ work such as care – which is equally crucial to the generation of profit – remains as marginalised as ever within the TUC’s chauvinistic and rigid workerism.

The demand for a pay rise seems to be more closely tied to legitimising Labour’s new policy for an £8 minimum wage than creating a movement to challenge and transform the present reality of working class existence in Britain. Labour’s plan for a pay rise – 26p per hour on top of the existing minimum wage by 2020 – is an insult. It’s a grand plan to remunerate the increasingly impoverished and growing working poor with less than the price of a bag of crisps. The TUC’s support for such a policy is an embarrassment.

Throughout the week of the 13 October, we will be joining the national strikes and picket lines in the run up to the demonstration. One-day stop work actions obviously have their limitations, but any hope we have of strike action becoming more general and widespread means we must engage, participate and make connections. We have launched #strikeup to collect reflections, dreams and counter-narratives of what work and striking could look like in the future, and we encourage others to strike up similar conversations on their local picket lines. We will then join the march on 18 October, standing with our fellow workers while strongly critical of the TUC’s complicity.

A pay rise is not enough. We demand the ability to live without overwhelming insecurity. We demand to work with flexibility and on our own terms. We demand an end to the double burden of unremunerated care work. We demand an end to sexism and racism in the workplace. We demand a movement that does not limit itself to pay rises but one which dreams of a world beyond work. We demand a Plan C.

B.A.M.N. – an unofficial magazine of Plan C

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read it here http://issuu.com/bamn_mag/docs/plan_c_bamn_0814_v2

 

We Need To Talk About Work

Plan C London would like to invite you to:
 
We Need To Talk About Work: a series of public discussions about the crisis of the work society and strategies for moving beyond it.
7.30pm Tuesday, 30 Sept Common House
5 Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green
Plan C is calling for two things in October:

* Mass support, solidarity actions and participation in the national trade union strike on October 14th.
* A bloc at the TUC demo on October 18th in London.

We want to open up the ideas and plans for these interventions to everyone who shares our problem with work. We’ve already started these discussion at our festival (Fast Forward 2014) and want to continue them through a series of public discussions entitled: “We Need to Talk about Work” across different cities in the UK.

Through these discussions we’re hoping to collectively develop shared perspectives, and to translate our ideas into strategies for the struggle for freedom from waged slavery. These discussions will take place and the end of September, and we encourage everyone who can’t come to one of Plan C’s discussions to organise similar events in other places.

On 18th October the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will be organising its first national demonstration since 2012. Against the Plan A of austerity, the TUC and the left wing of the Labour Party are proposing a Plan B. With the slogan “Britain needs a payrise” the TUC have fallen in line behind Labour Party policies: clinging to the minimum wage, gesturing towards the living wage and mumbling about a higher minimum wage if employers can afford it. The TUC’s addition to this paltry collection of promises is a demand for a ‘crackdown’ on executive pay.

These policy proposals, and others like them, fall far short of both what we need and what we want. The problem isn’t just that we’re not paid enough for the work we do; it’s that most of the work we do isn’t paid at all. The problem isn’t just that our wages are too low; it’s that wages are still the only option open to us in order to survive. It’s not just that work doesn’t pay enough, it’s that we have to work for wages in the first place.

The demand for less work and more money is more realistic than the hope amongst the TUC and the Labour Party that all this current unpleasantness could be got rid of if we just got back to how it was before. You know, back when Britain made things goddamit, employers paid good family wages, and everyone had a job. The peddlers of this fantasy seem to be innocent of the fact that capitalism, and history, has moved on. They also seem innocent of the fact that we wouldn’t want their rosy dream of the 50s even if we could have it. It would mean going back to some version of the past (one that never really existed) where many of us would have to retreat back into the home so there could be ‘full employment’ for our husbands. It would mean rejigging the global economy in order to get back to some good old fashioned colonial exploitation which kept money flowing into British coffers.

We look forward to meeting you at one of the public meetings or on the streets on Oct 18. For more information emaillondon@weareplanc.org

Riverside Church event of note: Cornel West and BA, NYC Nov 15 2014

Cornel West and Bob Avakian will engage in a LIVE dialogue on:
REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

Saturday, November 15, 3-7 pm at The Riverside Church in NYC

 
 
Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Bob Avakian (BA) came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s. Since then he has given his heart and knowledge to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity, and has consistently taken responsibility for leading the revolutionary movement – theoretically and practically. He is an innovative and critical thinker who has brought forward a new synthesis of communism. His extensive and wide-ranging body of work includes writings and commentary on revolutionary strategy, philosophy, ethics, science, basketball, music,
and religion, including the book Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World. For more, go to revcom.us
 
Cornel West is widely recognized as one of the most important and provocative public intellectuals of our time. A prolific writer and lecturer, West is Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York. A champion for the oppressed, West’s writing, speaking and teaching draw inspiration from and weave together the Christian and Black prophetic traditions, radical democracy and jazz, R&B and hip hop. His book, Race Matters, changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice. Cornel West’s latest book, Black Prophetic Fire, will be published in October 2014. For more, go to cornelwest.com
 
NOVEMBER 15, 2014, 3-7 PM
The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York City
Presented by Revolution Books & The Bob Avakian Institute For more information go to revcom.us.
For ticket information go to Revolution Books.
146 West 26th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001, 212.691.3345 www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

Mick Taussig in Ramallah

Part of the text for class tomorrow discusses exoticism and job futures (topical):

How can I, the stranger, who teaches in the USA and does not live this situation, find that crooked path avoiding its exoticization while trying to crack the stupendous indifference to it? For it is exotic, this brazen and sadistic cruelty exercised routinely by the Occupiers, meaning in the first instance the settlers and the soldiers, just as people outside of Palestine seem indifferent to it. Surely cruelty on a massive, institutionalized, scale, has existed since the world began, but what happens in Palestine is mightily dependent on the manipulated indifference of the US taxpayers and on the nimbus of what is called “public opinion” according to which support of Palestine is treason or something close to it and support for Israel has become a patriotic if not holy obligation. Nobody who has said anything critical of Israel or supportive of the Palestinians is going to have an easy time getting appointed to a high US government or university post nowadays, or the NYC Board of Education, for that matter, all of which evokes memories of earlier moral crusades in the US,

From ‘Two Weeks in Palestine’ Critical Inquiry 

The Imperial Universtiy: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

 

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RELEASE JONATHAN BOARD – [Maoist] political prisoner in Kerala

Jonathan

India: Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners : An Appeal to International Community on behalf of Jonathan (Bold) Board

The Arrest of the Swiss citizen Jonathan Board who came to Kerala on tourist visa, by Kerala police on flimsy grounds, is highly discriminative and with ulterior motive.

After the arrest in order to justify the same Kerala police is fabricating canards, that Jonathan has link with Maoists and he has come to attend the memorial meeting organized by Maoists to show the respect towards the Maoist Guerilla fighter Sinoj who became martyr in an accidental explosion took place on june 16th of 2014.

The police also alleged that Jonathan addressed the meeting hence violated Foreigners Act.

The police has taken a case against him and incarcerated in the dungeon hole named Iringalakkuda Sub Jail,Thrissur District,Kerala.

I was the Chairperson of the Sinoj Memorial Committee that organized the meeting and was a main Speaker.

As the Chairperson I wish to state that Jonathan was neither an invitee to the meeting nor a speaker.

And he did not addressed the meeting as the police was trying to depict with a sinster view.

According to Jonathan, he came to the meeting only out of curiosity as he is a left lenient person.

He got the information of the meeting from an English Daily News Paper.

He listen to the speeches delivered in the meeting up to the end.

In the meantime he also purchased some English handbooks.

As the meeting was formerly over Jonathan himself approached the organizers and expressed his wish to introduce himself to the audience who was started disbursing.

Out of the same curiosity as the Chairperson I agreed to his longing.

He introduced himself and expressed that he also share our sorrow caused by Sinoj’s martyrdom. It was only a casual talk,any humanitarian from any corner of the World can express.

The police and the state which is a culprit in granting V.I.P treatment to the Italian marines who had violated the international water laws as well as Indian laws and shot two fishermen to death is now taking a different approach to meet their narrow political ends.

It is deplorable.

And I/We regret for the unfortunate faith met out with Jonathan, though created by state , and request to the progressive and democratic forces and personalities of International Community to intervene in Jonathan’s affair and put pressure on the India/Kerala governments and see that his release from the Jail unconditionally.

M.N Ravunni Vice President, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners
Kerala, India

Trigger = soon, by plan c (unofficial)

Fast Forward 2014: Demanding the Future? Sept. 12th-14th

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FFW2014 is a weekend of discussions, plenaries, workshops, walking, climbing and socialising. We hope FFW2014 will contribute to building new relationships, new ideas, new energies and new strategies that help equip us to enact the future.

The central theme of the event is “Demanding the Future?”: We’ll be inquiring into what it means, and what it could mean, to make demands. Who makes them, and who are they aimed at? Can demands help us build our counter-power? What do they achieve? Can demands – possible and impossible – move us beyond a simplistic revolution/reform debate? The format for these discussions will be small group based facilitated discussions which will allow for lots of participation and engagement.

Alongside these core discussions on demands there will be focus sessions on particular topics and issues. There will be space alongside these focus group sessions to organise your own workshops, relax with friends new and old or simply to enjoy the brilliant location on our walking or climbing trips. In the evenings we are planning larger plenary events. We will be running a bar at the hostel and are hoping to arrange evening entertainment.

The full event programme will be released later in the Summer.

When?  FFW2014 will take place between 12 pm (noon) on Friday 12th until 5pm on Sunday 14th September.

Where FFW2014 will be taking over the whole of the YHA Edale in the heart of the Peak District:http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/edale

Billboard wars UK.

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Fast Forward 2014: Demanding the Future

image

FFW2014 is a weekend of discussions, plenaries, workshops, walking, climbing and socialising. We hope FFW2014 will contribute to building new relationships, new ideas, new energies and new strategies that help equip us to enact the future.

The central theme of the event is “Demanding the Future?”: We’ll be inquiring into what it means, and what it could mean, to make demands. Who makes them, and who are they aimed at? Can demands help us build our counter-power? What do they achieve? Can demands – possible and impossible – move us beyond a simplistic revolution/reform debate? The format for these discussions will be small group based facilitated discussions which will allow for lots of participation and engagement.

Alongside these core discussions on demands there will be focus sessions on particular topics and issues. There will be space alongside these focus group sessions to organise your own workshops, relax with friends new and old or simply to enjoy the brilliant location on our walking or climbing trips. In the evenings we are planning larger plenary events. We will be running a bar at the hostel and are hoping to arrange evening entertainment.

The full event programme will be released later in the Summer.
When? FFW2014 will take place between 12 pm (noon) on Friday 12th until 5pm on Sunday 14th September.

Where? FFW2014 will be taking over the whole of the YHA Edale in the heart of the Peak District: http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/edale

How do I get there? The YHA is a beautiful 30min walk from Edale Station, which is on the Sheffield-Manchester line (http://tinyurl.com/ksc79nv). There will also be a shuttle bus running from the station. There is some, but limited, car parking available at the venue.

Accommodation? All will have beds! Accommodation is in bunk rooms. There will be family rooms for those with children. We are also committed to providing women-only
accommodation. Some accommodation is step-free. You can tell us your needs on the ticket form.

Food? Drink? The event is fully catered with very nice food, and the cost is included in your ticket price. There will be a (cheap) bar.

Childcare? We are committed to providing appropriate and safe childcare which suits participants. We are also planning/asking for suggestions for activities in the day which all the children and young people who attend. There is space on the ticket application form to tell us what you need.

Cost? Tickets (all-in) are either (subsidised) £25, (cost) £50, or (solidarity) £75. We have adopted a three -tier ticketing system so that we won’t exclude anyone from participating for financial reasons.Please get in contact with us if you have other requirements.

What do I do now? – Click the image to go to Plan C and book.

If you have any other questions, please email festival@weareplanc.org. Hope to see you there!

Plan C: Institute for Precarious Consciousness – ‘we are all very anxious’

I don’t think the state of things is readily reducible to bite-sized explanation-metaphors, nor that whole eras of the capitalist mode of production (this is of course not just a metaphor) should be understood under sweepingly simple code-words, but, unfolding better explanations by deploying such code-words as efforts to get us to think differently and in detail is of great use. And the corresponding tactical 1,2,3-step is also helpful, even if ’tis not the whole struggle – so having Plan C post this is very welcome, even for those times when I am neither miserable, bored, nor anxious (‘he’s behind you’ – the pantomime reflex).

Not anxious, but I am amazed, often variously amazed – even at the idea of posting this:

“Today’s public secret is that everyone is anxious. Anxiety has spread from its previous localised locations (such as sexuality) to the whole of the social field. All forms of intensity, self-expression, emotional connection, immediacy, and enjoyment are now laced with anxiety. It has become the linchpin of subordination.”

This public secret scales up into another Pantomime Terror. It starts with the kids, subjected to such performances, relentlessly – ‘it will be fun, you’ll see’. Then school, and eventually you get asked to love your work. Meanwhile:

‘public space is bureaucratised and privatised, and a widening range of human activity is criminalised on the grounds of risk, security, nuisance, quality of life, or anti-social behaviour’.

As they say on FB: read this, you’ll be amazed what happens next:

http://www.weareplanc.org/we-are-all-very-anxious/#.U0EqzWmDQ0j

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Previously on Plan C: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/category/plan-c/

Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.22.40Click here to order: http://www.zero-books.net/books/pantomime-terror

 

Capital lectures in Spring term at Goldsmiths starting January 14

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

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Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too).

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion
The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
********** The weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013 *************

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press of German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

Note: The Centre for Cultual Studies at Goldsmiths took a decision to make as many as possible of its lecture series open to the public without fee. Seminars, essays, library access etc remain for sale. Still, here is a chance to explore cultural studies without getting into debt. The classes are MA level, mostly in the day – though in spring the Capital course is early tuesday evening. We usually run 10 week courses. Reading required will be announced in class, but preliminary reading suggestions can also be found by following the links. RHB means main building of Goldsmiths – Richard Hoggart Building. More info on other free events from CCS here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/what-is-to-be-done/

Bonfire night got a whole lot more interesting

bonfire of Austerity | 5 November 2013

Tomorrow (Tuesday 5th November) The Peoples’ Assembly is calling for a day of protest in every town and city in the country. The South East London People’s Assembly are hosting a ‘Bonfire of Cuts’ in Lewisham:

Bonfire of Cuts – 6pm @ Grassy Knoll opp. Lewisham DLR
-Bring effigies of politicians, bankers or the 1% to burn. Will be music, speakers and fire.

Procession against austerity, the bedroom tax and local
cuts – 4.30pm @ Catford Town Hall
-Bring placards or effigies for the route which will pass Lewisham Hospital, still under threat, and other key local places affected by the cuts on our way to the Bonfire.

Performance about austerity politics – 1.30pm @ Deptford Lounge Public Square

Action against poverty – 10am @ Deptford High Street/New Cross Road
-Led by the local food bank

Come to one or all of these acts of civil disobedience against austerity organised by the South East London People’s Assembly. All of them will be family friendly, and welcome participation from everyone.

UCU strike at Goldsmiths includes public teach out at Library picket.

Strike 31.10.2013

9.30am ‘Banking on Food Poverty’, Tom Henri (STACS)

9.50am ‘Pantomime of Terror’, John Hutnyk (CCS)

10.10am ‘What is education for?’ John Wadsworth, Clare Kelly and Maggie Pitfield (Education)

10.30am ‘The internet, security and London Crypto Festival’, Matt Fuller (CCS)

10.50am ‘Digital capitalism and activism’, Veronica Barassi (Media & Comms)

11.10am ‘The militant image’, Ros Gray (Visual Cultures)

11.30am ‘Exclusion and higher education’, Claudia Bernard (STACS)

11.30am ‘Where now for Occupy?’ David Graeber (ex-Anthropology)

11.50am ‘Pedagogy/Practice/Protest’, Irit Rogoff (Visual Cultures)

 

http://www.goldsmithsucu.org/

Brand Over Pax

Is it only my dysfunctional take on things that makes me see this as the ‘dream-work’ of the war on terror?

‘do you think that’s really bad?’

‘you’re just having a go at me coz I’m not poor anymore’

 

hybridity-talk

A paragraph or two… i dunno how useful… on hybridity-talk… [possible reprint of Debating Cultural Hybridity 1997 in the works]:
.
There was a time when ‘hybridity-talk’ seemed shiny and new. It is still important to question this of course, but the shifts that were already underway in 1997 have made the critique all the more pertinent. Today we are living in an age of unparalleled fluid and all-pervasive war. A cultural project that runs alongside the military project has infected everyday life, breeding anxiety and paralysis together. A cocktail that circulates culturally coded fears, hardly hidden, and weaponised streets always present. On the one hand bombing campaigns, assassinations, drone strikes, rendition, detention, deportation, police violence, deaths in custody, on the other hand a discursive deployment of sociologists, musicologists, anthropologists, educators, social workers, designers, media pundits and lifestyle gurus. A military-cultural mash-up – we can not see these fields as separate. The railway station announcement warns you to check your baggage, the television soothes with Thelonious-era jazz as the soundtrack to a spy drama called Homeland. Comedy cartoons cause fracas, insults fly, Rushdie delivers another doorstop of a book to shore up the facade of crisis-ridden Capital. Syria stews in an orgy of death already rehearsed in Libya by NATO when the Arab Spring became the Arab Sting. In Britain the Conservative Party invites immigrants to go home and offers hollow talk of ‘us’ being all in it together. The English Defence League looks towards the electorate, the UK Border authority sweeps the streets in dragnet formation.

OK OK, we were only talking culture here, but there was always that backdrop of murder and death – and culture and killing are connected even if the words we have to describe what is going on seem to have lost their analytic purchase. What shifted critical thinking? It was never Islam versus the West, but bombing, militarism, exploitation and its excuses and alibis versus a critique of these things. We wanted to rethink hybridity critically, and it still seems so necessary, even if the stakes are higher, and mere talk is never enough.
.
My chapter from DBH 1997 was updated as the first chapter of Critique of Exotica 2000

Red Ant Dream 2:30 27.9.2013

Dear all

i would like to invite to the screening of Sanjay Kak’s new film “Red Ant Dream”
followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

When: Friday 27th, 2.30pm
Where: NAB, LG01

https://www.facebook.com/events/413288558775627/

Please spread this information amongst your students.
Maybe this is just the right event at the end of a very busy induction week.

More information on the film can be found here:
Red Ant Dream – Teaser 2
Red Ant Dream – Forest Walk

http://www.redantdream.com

https://www.facebook.com/redantdreamdocumentary

Many thanks and all best wishes ! Nicole

Pirate Party. Posters as good as their chances.

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Black Star

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Am more than half way through this… Again. Get this book. Believe the endorsement on the back!

http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/black-star-anandi-ramamurthy/

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Get it via the link here

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…

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‘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.

From Sydney Uni (as reported in the CPA paper)

Issue #1609      September 4, 2013

University of Sydney strike.

Staff at the University of Sydney took the extraordinary measure of striking last Saturday on the university’s Open Day. It’s the 7th day of strike action since March over stalled collective agreement negotiations.

University staff gathered at the main gates on campus to explain to prospective students – and their families – the reasons for their collective bargaining campaign and how deteriorating staff working conditions will affect the quality of education and the conditions of learning.

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch president Michael Thomson said it was a serious issue but the union action at Open Day was also fun and informative, with barbeques, balloons, and music laid on.

“We’re reclaiming Open Day and the University of Sydney from the marketeers and spin doctors.”

Staff were on the main gates from 8am and leafleted at public transport hubs during the morning. Thomson said that management’s current pay offer to staff was a real wage cut of 0.5 percent a year.

“The paltry pay offer is part of a concerted effort by Vice Chancellors across the country to force down the wages of staff in the higher education sector, even as they ask us to work harder for longer,” he said.

“At Sydney, student load increased by more than 5 percent in 2012 alone, yet staff numbers have remained unchanged. Management simply expects us to meet increased demand through increases in our workload and work intensification.

“Management’s claim that anything more than their offer is unaffordable is an attempt to suggest staff are being greedy. However, our pay claim aligns closely with community standards and expectations.

“Figures released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations show national system public sector employees received average enterprise agreement wage increases of 3.9% a year in the March quarter 2013. Across the whole national system, wages in enterprise agreements increased 3.7%.

“We deserve a fair pay rise that recognises both our hard work and broader community wage outcomes. The University of Sydney is a wealthy institution and can afford it.”

Next article – Life under an Abbott government

Back to index page

Common House (new activist communist organising space) opening party 20.7.2013

TheCommonHouse_Flyer

MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy in the Centre for Cultural Studies at #Goldsmiths

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Marx Trot 2013 – July 7

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on July 7. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Pantomime Nationalist distractions and puppet-targeting

Notes on the coming disturbance…

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ANTI-WAR RETROSPECTIVE OF THE LAST DECADE – 15.3.13 Goldsmiths

Ten years since the invasion of Iraq, what is the state of the anti-war movement?

TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

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TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform is a newly set up organisation that seeks to champion the causes of the peoples of the GlobalSouth through GlobalSouth Diaspora leadership for people-centred progress and the central challenges to the GlobalSouth which remains western military and cultural hegemony. On the panel at this event will be spokepersons of some of the countries and people impacted by imperialist wars. We will be reflecting on the failures, successes of the anti-war movement of the last decade, and the continuing challenges of the anti-war movement, especially in the light of the collapse of the anti-war movement especially in relation to the nato war on Libya, now Syria, Mali, Algeria and open imperialist war strategies of in relation to China, Russia (“pivot to Asia”) and other sections of the Global South which what passes as the anti-war movement in england fails utterly to address.

Location: 137a, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Cost: free
Website: www.facebook.com/events/212155682257314/
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 15 March 2013, 18:30 – 21:30

stream will be here at 6:30: http://www.gold.ac.uk/live-stream/high/

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.

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

Silvia Federici at Goldsmiths

from the dextrous camera trigger/edit digits of Kevin Molin and NyX: a Nocturnal in the Centre for Cultural Studies, this:

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 06.48.45

state execution by neglect?

This from Tom Henri. It looks to me to be an attempted State premeditated murder, aka Capital Punishment, for a minor offense. There is also an open letter to the Ministry of Justice, signed by various luminaries.

Scrubbed to death

Daniel Roque Hall suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia, this debilitating and fatal illness means he requires around the clock care.  In 2011 Daniel pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine into the UK.  The judge sentenced Daniel to three years in prison, on the proviso that a prison place could be found which would meet his health care needs.  The Governor of Wormwood Scrubs (widely regarded as the London prison with the worst health facilities) stated that his prison could meet Daniel’s needs.  After three weeks of neglectful treatment in the Scrubs, Daniel was rushed to hospital and placed on a life support machine.  Without exaggeration, the care (or lack of) that Daniel received in prison nearly killed him.  His man has a fatal degenerate disease, he requires full-time care, he is no harm to anyone else and he need to be with his family – NOT in Wormwood Scrubs.  Earlier this week, Daniel and his family won a seven day reprieve on Daniel’s return to jail.

You can read more about Daniel’s story at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/02/disabled-daniel-roque-hall-injunction-return-prison

GAZA: Refocusing Resistance – how the resistance in Gaza has refocussed the Arab Spring

This is an event that seeks to understand the latest develoments of the Palestinian resistance and its ramifications for the region from an anti imperialist internationalist perspective.

This event will discuss how the Palestinian Resistance of deploying Fajr5 missiles has impacted the regional struggle against zionism and imperialism, but will ALSO discuss how our struggle is international, that Gaza, Palestine is inextricably connected to all our fronts of struggle across the world, that is why we will also be bringing in the African perspective and struggle into this event.

Speakers (more speakers tbc):

GHADA EL-NAJJAR, (speaking in personal capacity via skype) from Gaza, Palestine. Front line nurse during Second/Al-Aqsa Intifada and senior Oxfam in Gaza.

SAMEH HABEEB, editor of the Palestinian Telegraph from Gaza, Palestine

ROSHAN MUHAMMED SALIH, prominent Press TV correspondent and presenter

FRED DAHLMANN, Brussels based Pan Africanist analyst and activist

DAN GLAZEBROOK, independent journalist

SUKANT CHANDAN, Sons of Malcolm (Chairperson)

JOHN HUTNYK (Introduction)

Spoken word from IBRAHIM SINCERE & FARAH GABDON

This event is an initiative of Sons of Malcolm
sonsofmalcolm.com


Event Information

Location: cinema, Richard Hoggart Building
Website: www.facebook.com/events/402705153130905/
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 21 December 2012, 18:00 – 21:30

Contexts for Distraction (abstract)

abstract for an article with Tom Henri:

This paper discusses the events of August 2011 through our reading of a series of reports and responses by academics and commentators. These are critically and collectively evaluated as lacking insofar as we see the deployment of gang-talk, the promotion of role models, narrow-cast notions of race and platitudes about the justice system as a distraction from wider issues. Providing context for ‘reading’ the riots/uprisings, we suggest that at stake in each case we see the limits of a scholarly commentary that remains unprepared to address the conflict and turmoil of ‘Big Society’ austerity thinking.

Keywords: gangs, race, violence, complicity, distraction, crisis

Education Commission Report No 1

Click on the boot to download and read the full report, or here EdCommReport1

Snitching about…

was sent this by the folk at V.I.S.A. (Victorious International Student Army):

 

Stop the Snitching: What We Mean By Non-compliance

 

The pastoral idyll is dead. It was bulldozed long ago only to be overlain with a grid of barbed wire. If it ever had any real existence, it is now best described as a border fence, an internment camp, an interrogation room at the dock or airport. What we mean by this, is that the argument that attendance records – from lectures, classes, tutorials – need to be kept for pastoral reasons is now untenable. It needs to be jettisoned, however much nostalgia or regret we may feel in doing so. It is no longer safe or strategic to record attendance, for whatever reason, now that the border crosses us in our places of work and learning.

 

If the border is a social relation and not a thing, then we must pay attention to the ways in which we are reproducing, enabling and enforcing that border in our day-to-day lives. The most obvious way we might do this is, of course, the demand that teaching staff act as border agents by forwarding attendance records to the UKBA. Three missing strikes and you’re a terrorist. Goldsmiths UCU were quick to adopt a position of non-compliance, and has re-affirmed this stance in a recent statement. We need to be clear, however, about exactly what we mean by non-compliance, and alert to those who might be in a weaker position, from which non-compliance becomes more difficult to uphold.

 

Regarding the latter, two groups immediately spring to mind: administrative staff, and international students themselves. Admin staff are easier for management to single out, scapegoat, and threaten with punitive measures. Even a well-meaning attendance record kept for pastoral purposes can become a border snitch if intercepted once in administrative hands. Alternatively, lying on attendance registers makes teaching staff liable. To co-opt a reasonably repugnant, and thankfully now redundant, phrase from the US military, the best policy with regard to non-compliance is: don’t ask, don’t tell. If the data is never recorded, it can’t be passed on. Simple.

 

Management will, however, undoubtedly try to fulfill the UKBA’s demands whilst at the same time seeking to sidestep hostilities from staff and students. ‘Light touch’ is management-speak for this covert-cavity-search-on-campus approach. If they are unable to get the information they need from teaching or admin staff, rest assured they will exploit the vulnerabilities inherent in the precarious status of international students directly. We need to make it clear – strikes, occupations, public refusal – that any requirement or request that demands international students act as their own border agent, or assumes them to be criminal or terrorist until proven otherwise, is in blatant contradiction of our position of non-compliance. We need to make sure our non-compliance doesn’t leak. Stop the snitching – solidarity across the board and the border.

 

Love and rage,

 

Goldsmiths Migration Solidarity

I am Fiction

For those in Denmark – get to CPH:DOX for I am Fiction (click image to be transported to the CPH:DOX page):

 

We are Plan C

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C is for Plan C
This is a multiple pile up: an economic crisis, an ecological crisis, an energy crisis, and a food crisis. This isn’t business as usual, lives are shifting, states are failing. Six years into a global economic crisis we are suffering the biggest drop in our living standards since World War Two and there’s no let up in sight. For the first time in almost 200 years the next generation’s lives will be significantly worse than our own — if things carry on as they are. It’s an under-statement to say the situation is serious.

Read more: here

Protest 5.10.2012

Friends of Al-Aqsa

EMERGENCY PROTEST in support of Babar and Talha

Babar Ahmad

This is the last stand. Join us tomorrow.

When: Friday 5th, 10am -12pm   Where: Strand, London, WC2A 2LL, Map

Tube: Holborn Underground Station – Temple Underground Station

We Are Babar Ahmad, Stop The War, Muslim Council of Britain, London Transport Region – RMT, Enough Coalition, IHRC, Cage Prisoners, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Friends of Al Aqsa, Islamic Forum Europe, FOSIS, Muslim Safety Forum, iEngage and MDUK.

 

  Friends of Al-Aqsa Donate to Friends of Al-Aqsa Friends of Al-Aqsa Facebook Friends of Al-Aqsa Twitter

Details from We are Baba Ahmad campaign:

PRESS RELEASE

Emergency Protest in support of Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October 2012

Thursday 4th October 2012

The ‘We Are Babar Ahmad Campaign’ along with partner organisations, is holding a protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October from 10am asking for an immediate stay of extradition for Syed Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad.

As the Judges decide on representations from the lawyers of both men, it is important to note that their cases are very different from the others. Both are British Citizens accused of wrongdoing in Britain who have been held collectivey in maximum security prisons for 14 years without trial nor with any evidence being presented to them. The Home Affairs Select Committe which reviewed their cases has expressed grave concern. Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London has backed their right to be tried in Britain.

Dr Ismail Jalisi, speaking on behalf of ‘We Are Babar Ahmad’, said, “The extradition of these men to the United States must be stopped by the Home Secretary. The incarceration of these two men without trial and then carting them off to a country that does not need to provide any prima facie evidence even when it agrees that the allegations are based on actions that occurred here in Britain is quite frankly farcical.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) declared in July 2004 and December 2006, as did the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in September 2006, that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to charge Babar Ahmad with any criminal offence in the UK. Since then in 2011 the CPS revealed for the first time that evidence had been sent to the US without ever having been reviewed by them. The Director of Public Prosecution has refused to prosecute the men despite being able to call on the Metropolitan Police to show them evidence that it deliberately witheld and sent straight to the United States.

As the Judges determine whether a stay of extradition should be granted to Babar and Talha the Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan MP has backed the campaign saying “If there is evidence against them they should be tried in the UK”.

Partners for the protest include: Stop The War, Muslim Council of Britain, London Transport Region – RMT, Enough Coalition, IHRC, Cage Prisoners, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Friends of Al Aqsa, Islamic Forum Europe, Muslim Safety Forum, iEngage and MDUK.

ENDS

Details from the Free Tahla Ahsan Campaign site [now slightly dated, since extradition is immanent, see above]:

Talha Ahsan is a British-born poet and writer with Asperger syndrome facing extradition to America.

If convicted he will spend 70 years in “supermax” solitary confinement in ADX Florence.

Read on and help stop this injustice.

Who is Talha Ahsan?

Talha Ahsan is a British citizen born in London in 1979. He was educated at Dulwich College before receiving first class honours in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). In the week of his arrest he had job interviews to train as a librarian. His mother describes him as “a serious, bookish young man… a very gentle, softly spoken and thoughtful boy.”

Talha has Asperger Syndrome (a form of autism). In a medico legal report of June 2009, a consultant psychiatrist described him as “an extremely vulnerable individual who from a psychiatric perspective would be more appropriately placed in a specialist service for adults with autistic disorders.”

He is also a keen poet and has received acclaim from novelist A.L. Kennedy amongst others.


Why is he in prison?

Talha Ahsan was arrested at his home on 19 July 2006 in response to a request from the USA under the Extradition Act 2003 which does not require the presentation of any prima facie evidence. He is accused in the US of terrorism-related offences arising out of an alleged involvement over the period of 1997-2004 with the Azzam series of websites, one of which happened to be located on a server in America.

He has never been arrested or questioned by British police, despite a number of men being so from his local area in December 2003 for similar allegations. All of them were released without charge.

One of them, Babar Ahmad, was later compensated £60,000 by the Metropolitan police after a civil case in March 2009 for the violent physical abuse during his arrest. It was evidence from this incident which formed the basis of Talha’s arrest two and a half years later.

Talha is currently making a final appeal to the European Courts of Human Rights (ECHR). He has now served the equivalent of a 12 year sentence at high security prisons without trial. He has never visited America. He denies all charges.

What is ‘Supermax’?

Imagine being confined in a 75.5sq feet cell with only a concrete slab and a thin mattress for a bed for 23 to 24 hours a day for every day of your life – the only window three inches wide looking out to a concrete pit…

This is the prospect Talha faces if extradited and convicted in the US – life without parole  in solitary confinement at ADX Florence, Colorado.

Virtually all of an ADX prisoner’s daily activities occur within the confines of his single cell. Food is delivered through a slot in the door, and he eats his meals alone. He receives educational and religious programming – and some medical care – through a black and white television in his cell. When an inmate is moved outside his cell, he is shackled behind the back, and subject to a strip search.

His cell window looks out onto the concrete pit that serves as an outdoor recreation area. The sun is never visible. Prisoners at ADX  rarely have contact with any other living thing, except the gloved hands of the correctional officers. Prisoners never touch soil, see plant life or view the surrounding mountains.

Prisoners in ADX receive one 15 minute social telephone call per month. Any call that is “accepted” (even by an answering machine) is considered “completed” regardless of the duration. Visits with family members are separated by a glass screen with only a telephone to speak through. The inmate is shackled throughout the visit.

In 2006, the U.N. Committee Against Torture expressed concern about “prolonged isolation periods” and “the extremely harsh regime” in US Supermax prisons.  It is little wonder that the former warden of ADX Florence described the prison as a ‘clean version of hell.’

What do his supporters want?

Talha deserves freedom or a fair trial in the UK. He has received a wide coalition of support. They include his local MP and shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan; novelist, A L Kennedy; former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, and the civil rights organisation, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC).

The Government accepts the possibility for the case to be resolved by a domestic prosecution as the ECtHR highlights in their admissibility judgement of July 2010. In November 2011, his co-defendant, Babar Ahmad, initiated a parliamentary debate with over 149,000 signatures in an e-petition for a UK trial demonstrating the will of the British public for these cases. There are many legal precedents to try these charges in the UK.

One case is R v. Sheppard and Whittle (January 2010), in which the appellants were charged with possession, publication and distribution of racially inflammatory material on websites hosted in California. Lord Justice Scott Baker ruled the UK was the appropriate forum for prosecution as the substantial measure of activities constituting the crime, such as the writing and maintenance of the websites, took place in the UK.

The Home Secretary should also give special consideration to his medical condition. In the USA 97% of defendants plead guilty under pressure from prosecutors. A decision to try Talha in the US will only ensure his trial is as unfair as prosecutors can make it.
How does this affect me?


The Extradition Act 2003 devalues the sovereignty of British citizenship. It was fast-tracked into UK legislation without proper scrutiny. Under the current provisions, British judges have no opportunity to decide which country is more suitable for prosecution and nor can they assess the quality of evidence from the requesting state.

In June 2011 the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights called for the implementation of a ‘most appropriate forum’ safeguard. This would allow a British judge to refuse extradition where the alleged offence took place wholly or largely in the UK.

The committee of MPs and peers also recommended that the Government ‘urgently’ renegotiate the US-UK extradition treaty to exclude granting requests in cases where the UK prosecution authorities have already decided not to investigate the individual on the same evidence adduced by the US authorities. These calls were reinforced by a cross-party consensus after parliamentary debates in November and December 2011, as well as the Home Affairs Committee report on extradition in March 2012.

A country that has demonstrated such a flagrant disregard for human rights in recent years is not the proper forum for justice. David Blunkett, the home secretary who was responsible for the act, now expresses regret at its consequences. Any concerned British citizen must work against such a law.

 

Contesting traditions, land and resources in Papua New Guinea – a talk by Peter Phipps 2 Nov 2012 Goldsmiths

CCS talk: Friday November 2 2012, 4pm Laurie Grove CR

Contesting traditions, land and resources in Papua New Guinea

Research into a Port Moresby festival celebrating the historic hiri trade between Papuans in the Moresby area and the Gulf quickly became much more complicated than anticipated. Ownership of the festival is contested between the city government and its newly-established tribal assembly, and a village which argues it is the true authority of the hiri legend and all associated activity. Going deeper, there’s much more at stake than rights to the legend: from the Motu-Koita villagers’ land rights in the city and surrounds, to the violent conflict over the latest capital influx and resource royalty bonanza which is transforming life in PNG.

 

Federici 12.11.12

CCS event:

Dear friends and comrades (please forward to other groups and networks and help spread the word)

Save the date: Monday 12 November – 6.00pm
Goldsmiths University
New Academic Building, Room LG02
New Cross, London

Public Lecture by Silvia Federici
and launch of her new book – Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (PM Press, 2012)


Written between 1974 and the present, Revolution at Point Zero collects forty years of research and theorizing on the nature of housework, social reproduction, and women’s struggles on this terrain—to escape it, to better its conditions, to reconstruct it in ways that provide an alternative to capitalist relations. Indeed, as Federici reveals, behind the capitalist organization of work and the contradictions inherent in “alienated labor” is an explosive ground zero for revolutionary practice upon which are decided the daily realities of our collective reproduction. Beginning with Federici’s organizational work in the Wages for Housework movement, the essays collected here unravel the power and politics of wide but related issues including the international restructuring of reproductive work and its effects on the sexual division of labor, the globalization of care work and sex work, the crisis of elder care, the development of affective labor, and the politics of the commons.

About Silvia
Silvia Federici is a feminist writer, teacher, and militant. In 1972, she was cofounder of the International Feminist Collective, which launched the Wages for Housework campaign internationally. With other members of Wages for Housework, like Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, and with feminist authors like Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Federici has been instrumental in developing the concept of “reproduction” as a key to class relations of exploitation and domination in local and global contexts, and as central to forms of autonomy and the commons. She is the author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004)

In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death penalty movement. She is one of the cofounders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and education systems. From 1987 to 2005, she also taught international studies, women’s studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.

Her decades of research and political organizing accompanies a long list of publications on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education, culture, international politics, and more recently on the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons. Her steadfast commitment to these issues resounds in her focus on autonomy and her emphasis on the power of what she calls self-reproducing movements as a challenge to capitalism through the construction of new social relations

Beyond Borders

With Jon Sack and Ewa Jasiewicz, authors of the graphic chapter in our Beyond Borders book – out now: pavementbooks.com/beyondborders… http://fb.me/Z9Ck13zL

Tommy Smith, Peter Norman and John Carlos.

Let the Olympiss games begin – remember Tommy Smith and John Carlos showing support for Muhammed Ali’s anti-Vietnam war stance, against poverty and lynching, for Black power, part of the Olympic Project for Human Rights – see http://www.good.is/post/fists-of-freedom-an-olympic-story-not-taught-in-schools/ – which also brings to light a little known factoid making it worth remembering that the white guy who came second in the 200 metres that day was a runner from Melbourne named Peter Norman. Norman supported the protest, citing Australia’s mistreatment of indigenous people, by ‘pinning an OPHR patch onto his chest to show his solidarity on the medal stand’.

I like this because solidarity is not showboating, its standing alongside in support. Smith, Norman, Carlos: 1,2,3.

Remember Peter Norman:

http://blackathlete.net/artman2/publish/Cubefour_3/Remembering_Peter_Norman_2426.shtml

Plan C and Quebec solidarity actions

An invitation to an evening in support of CLASSE (Quebec) // 7pm Friday 22nd June // Centre for Possible Studies

7pm Friday June 22nd, 2012 

Centre for Possible Studies
21 Gloucester Place
Marble Arch
London
W1U 8HR

In response to an urgent appeal for support from CLASSE in Quebec – due to
mounting legal costs because of the massive student strike and rebellion -
Plan C London is hosting an evening of support and solidarity with films and
discussion.  The urgent appeal from CLASSE can be found here:

—————————————————————————————-
Solidarity with Quebec students on strike
Called by: Education Activist Network & Defend the Right to Protest Supported by: Disabled People Against the Cuts, Plan C London
4pm Sunday June 24th, 2012
Canada House,
Trafalgar Square
London
Following the call-out for international solidarity with Quebec students on strike, we have decided to call a demonstration in London, UK.

The last solidarity demonstration brought more than 300 people into the streets. Let’s make sure that this demonstration strengthens the determination fof students in Quebec to continue the fightback against the Charest government.

We invite all organisations and individuals to sign the call to support the solidarity demonstration on Sunday June 24:

http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/events/153410228127030/

Immigration themed Op Ed from India that should be noticed.

This Op Ed appeared in The Statesman newspaper in Kolkata, and skewers the madness of Tory immigration/xenophobia/economic jingoism on this boggy Isle. The writer is a staffer on that paper – jolly good to see that the rest of the world notices your crap Cameron. ‘Independent ethics advisor’ my arse – he is called Sir, which means he’s hardly independent, nor ethical. And anyway, as an advisor, his job is to tell Cameron what he can and can’t get away with. Not a brake, more an alibi.

The moral netherland

2 June 2012

UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order, writes lara choksey

Of all the things that the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of British Press has exposed, perhaps one of the most remarkable is that British Prime Minister David Cameron has an ethics advisor. Responding to the possibility of being called up in front of the Inquiry, Mr Cameron said that should any evidence against him suggest the breaking of ministerial codes, he will call in Sir Alex Allan ~ his independent ethics advisor ~ for consultation.

On one level it seems sensible to have someone in or around Downing Street who can determine the ethical dimensions of political quandaries. On another, it is disturbing that the leader of a country that has not ceased promoting itself as a moral leader in the world needs someone else to distinguish between right and wrong.

In terms of the international Press, there are two stories dominating discussions of the UK. The first is the Leveson Inquiry, which started off as a simple matter of investigating the hacking of celebrity phones by itinerant news agencies, and which has now begun to expose the sordid nature of Downing Street’s relationship with the Murdochs under the Cameron, Brown and Blair leaderships.

This in itself is nothing new; anyone who has watched an episode of Yes, Minister! would expect nothing more. But when placed parallel to the second story circulating across the globe ~ that of implemented and threatened restrictions on UK visas for those who do not meet specific economic requirements ~ the hypocrisy and shortsightedness at Westminster’s rotten core becomes ever clearer.

There are two issues at stake here. The first concerns Downing Street’s idea of Britain as a moral leader in global politics. The second concerns Downing Street’s idea of what constitutes Britain’s nationhood. The discursive frame through which Mr Cameron and his ministers frame Britain domestically and internationally reveals a central administration willfully ignoring the economic and cultural heterogeneity of the population under its control, as well as the hypocrisy of its justifying its actions to the rest of the world on the grounds of moral superiority.

Above any other nation ~ in terms of pure numbers ~ India is the country likely to be most affected by the UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements. According to the International Passenger Survey, Indian nationals made up the largest percentage (11.9 per cent) of immigrants granted entry to the UK in 2010-11. Of these Indian nationals, a large number entered the UK on student visas. Those entering in 2010 would have been granted a two-year post-study work visa.

Fast forward a year, and there has been more than a 30 per cent drop in the number of Indian nationals applying for student visas, with many choosing the United States, Australia and Canada as alternatives. This is partly because the post-study work visa was scrapped this April, and partly ~ according to some British university professors ~ due to the increasing hostility and suspicion shown by the UK border agency towards non-EU students, particularly those from South Asia. This observation is compounded by the fact that the total number of student visas granted by the UK to non-EU residents dropped by 62 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

We could easily leap to charges of xenophobia, and speculate about a small island closing its borders as a four-year recession refuses to budge. The residual prejudices of post-9/11 homeland security become an increasingly convenient justification for reinforcing national borders. Yet, this logic ignores the pre-Olympic pro-investment road show that various British foreign diplomats have been charged with promoting in their respective countries over the last 12 months, encouraging non-EU businesses to invest in the UK.

In February, the UK immigration minister Mr Damien Green announced that from 2016, people not from the EU and not earning at least £35,000 will not be able to apply to be a permanent resident in the UK. The message is clear: the UK welcomes big business and high salaries, regardless of ideology or investment ethics. Diversity is embraced, as long as it comes with a thick cheque book. In return, multinational companies benefit from tax evasion and low borrowing costs on international financial markets. It is undeniably ~ at least for the moment ~ a mutually beneficial arrangement. Prosaic questions of ethics are put out of the window ~ Britain is in a recession, and dog will eat dog.

Why does this matter to India? Apart from the fact that Britain is still considered to be a desirable place to visit, study and live (although this view is undoubtedly changing), this matters because Britain is behind the times. Specifically in the context of India’s increasing importance on the world stage ~ both economically and diplomatically ~ Britain’s restrictions on non-EU immigration seem ridiculous. Such restrictions are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order.

For the sake of argument, let us just speculate that Britain once had a right to claim moral superiority over other nations (we need not go very far back in history to look at the violence of such a claim). But as the Cameron government decimates the welfare structures that might have once allowed Britain to claim a certain moral superiority with regard to providing the infrastructure (if not always the materialisation) of holistic care for its population, the claim becomes increasingly fragile.  A national heath service, financial support for people at the bottom of the food chain, and ~ perhaps most pertinently in the context of the visa discussion ~ open borders for economic migrants and political refugees: these are some of the structures that might convincingly constitute the discourse of moral superiority.

Yet, in the last twenty years, these structures have become dirty words in Downing Street, replaced by privatisation, austerity and border security, seemingly in direct spite of the increasing scale of global poverty and warfare: so many people have never been so poor, and genocide has never been simpler. India should take heed: there is a fast-appearing vacancy in the global moral high-ground market that needs prompt filling. In an interview published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 May, 2012, British home secretary Ms Theresa May responded to a question on curbing immigration by saying: “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration.” We might ask, what constitutes an illegal migrant? The term suggests an international law preventing movement between countries. However, while the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights decrees that a country should grant entry to its own citizens, there is no international law that prevents a person from entering a country in the first place.

Immigration laws are national laws, coded by national interests and national understandings of who should be allowed entry. Thus, we learn much about the way in which a country understands itself by the way in which it categorises those who arrive on its shores. In the UK, the terms of ‘illegal migration’ are clear: it has everything to do with economic status. Those who are not considered fit to make a significant economic contribution to the UK, quite simply, become illegal ~ outside legitimacy ~ and vulnerable to any form of physical or mental subjugation. The right to claim access to Britain is based on purely economic terms: this is the new model of national belonging.

Downing Street has thrown off the mantle of social responsibility, both domestically and internationally. Internationally speaking, its participation in Libya on the grounds of humanitarian intervention is laughable when we consider that there is a British Ambassador ~ Nicholas Ray ~ permanently stationed in Khartoum, Sudan. His purpose is to perform diplomacy with the al Bashir government, an administration currently carrying out ethnic cleansing operations on its borders. Domestically, the British government’s claim to provide for its population (as opposed to its citizens) is being made forfeit by the systematic destruction of structures built on the ideas of a common right to life, and the responsibility of government to provide for its population. The Cameron government’s policies are regressive to a Dickensian degree, and increasing internal unrest ~ characterised by last year’s riots ~ will only be kept at bay by Jubilee morale boosting for so long.  With the removal of welfare structures, Downing Street would model Britain as nothing more than a vast, transnational bank, complete with hordes of the hungry standing outside. From an international perspective, this is the only form of diversity Cameron’s government is currently interested in promoting.
The writer is on the staff of The Statesman

 

[10.6.2012 Lara adds: Clarification: I take it for granted that ‘morals’ are socially-inscribed codes, whereas ethics - broadly speaking - are a means of defending concepts of right and wrong actions. My use of the phrase ‘moral superiority’ is therefore performative - the description or impression of a national discourse, as opposed to ‘ethical behaviour’. A longer piece might make this distinction clearer, but I did not feel it was necessary to point out the ethical importance of, for example, the NHS etc.

To clarify my argument and take it forward: firstly, that Britain’s claim to moral superiority is being made forfeit not because it ever had a right to make this claim in the first place, but because the infrastructure supporting this claim (class/gender/race equality and equal opportunities and so on) is being dismantled: the discourse, or performance, can no longer support itself.

Or so it would seem from one perspective. However, taking this forward, I would suggest that if Britain maintains its performance of ‘moral superiority’ on an international stage, then the discourse (and infrastructure) of ‘moral superiority’ is now based on codes of economic viability. To be ‘moral’, in the context of Downing Street’s national aspirations, one must be financially solvent. Foreign investors are invited to buy a stake in moral superiority.]

Research Trends

Pretty interesting trends identified in stats from the ESRC on what topics our best and brightest choose to write their PhDs (we will need an algorithm correcting for nerdiness of course).

Seems there has been a big drop in these areas:

a number of disciplines fell below the target to a greater or lesser extent. These disciplines were: anthropology, area and development studies, education, human geography, science and technology studies, social policy, social work and sociology.

While there were massive increases in the areas of Economic and Social History, Environmental Planning, and Politics and International Relations.

Just saying – sign o the times.

See the general breakdown here.

The B-Movie Mind Tricks of David Cameron

What kind of psychosis must it be? David Cameron was already a jittery jumped up bugaboo before he squeaked into power with his austerity for Britain plans carefully wrapped in a not very well disguised Big Society cloak of invisibility. Then the students surrounded Tory Party Headquarters, inundated the roof, and the Police line stood an watched – beset themselves with threats of cuts, playing a long game. David will have been shouting down the phone apoplectic, demanding Met chief Paul Stephenson deploy his forces to protect the HQ from the riff raff. Several hours later, a few arrests – surprisingly few for a major security incident at the Death Star.

Just over a week later, the Police tactic was pretty transparent when a droid police van was left in the middle of Whitehall to be trashed in what both sides of the anarcho-cop line probably felt was a justified  show of cathartic rage. It certainly made for good press photography, but when soon after the Galactic Prince and his ride were taunted by a raiding party in the high street, there would have been more shouting: where were the police. For all the talk of massive numbers of coppers drafted in from far-flung counties, Cameron will have been on the phone again demanding to know how Stephenson could let this happen?

This pattern becomes farce when we consider the events of August, 2011. Police surely by now know the routine when it comes to deaths in custody. They have set up, after all, the judiciously names ‘Independent’ Police Complaints Commission and no doubt have rules and procedures to follow for just the sort of circumstances that appeared to be at stake in the death of Mark Duggan. There will be those who think it was incompetence, those that imagine far more sinister plots, but it certainly seemed that the deployment of Police that day, and even more so in the evening and night in Tottenham was, shall we say, lackluster. The next day, despite talk of still greater escalation of the defense shield for London, general chaos. Only when the rebels formed an alliance and targeted richer suburbs like Ealing did we see Cameron get to use the force in the way he will have wanted all along. Of course he was elsewhere on the planet at the time, flying in on day three to join task force Cobra. On touching down at the airbase we can be sure he was breathing heavily, seeking revenge:

‘Acting Metropolitan police commissioner Tim Godwin has hit back at the government’s criticism of his force’s handling of the riots, saying ‘people will always make comments who weren’t there” (Guardian August 12, 2011)

What we have seen under Cameron is a power play with people’s lives: this inconsequential ‘little too short for a storm trooper’ wannabe Darth PM has control issues and little understanding of wider machinations. The cast includes a media led axis of manipulation with an Emperor orchestrating from afar, inconsequential and futile opposition ‘leaders’, and the liberal democrat C3-PO protocol officer. This space opera has cast the wrong lead, Cameron does not have Jedi training, his destructive use of force just gets people killed, his mind tricks are more suited to Sideshow Bob than any Jedi capacity. In this version the wookie is already an ewok, Hans Solo is encased in Jello but still can’t get out, and Princess Leia is more worried about her horses than the destruction of the News of the World/Alderaan (give her to Jabba). I could go on…

I only wish this were an allegory, but I am afraid it is the game plan of the Tories. Fear is the path to the dark side. This bumbling danger must be airlocked, since despite his apprentice-like appearance, his fooling around with force still amounts to a defense of Capitalism as usual, and even if this time it is cloaked in robes of cheese, the Big Society fiasco is still putting gold in the wizard’s pockets . Do we really want to endure more of such nonsense ? We could say we don’t need to see his identification … that he can go about his business… But laugh it up fuzzball, no, that would be the sunday matinee and its only a fiction. Time to switch to the news channel again.

Montreal feeds

and twitter
And mainstream headlines discussed:
(thanks Nirmala)
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