Important to read Dan Glazebrook and Sukant Chandan as they take apart the British ‘foreign policy’ machinations that help no-one here or there:
Click on the image to see change.org petition, in Turkish.
Campaign to Change the street name of Karakolhane to NUH KÖKLÜ Caddesi
On Tuesday night, February 17th 2015, our friend the journalist Nuh Köklü was stabbed because a snowball hit the window of a shopkeeper. The murderer is encouraged by a slogan of President Erdoğan, which says: ‘My local shopkeeper is soldier, police and judge, if necessary’. In Turkey people like Nuh are always under the threat of a government which legitimizes aggression against anyone with a point of view that does not conform. This is displayed even in street names.
We now want to change the street name of Karakolhane Caddesi, which refers to a prison famous for torture in the 90s, to the Name of NUH KÖKLÜ.
English (and German in comments) statement on horrific snowball killing here.
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:
Previously on Plan C: https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/category/plan-c/
Click here to order: http://www.zero-books.net/books/pantomime-terror
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).
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: https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/what-is-to-be-done/
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.
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)
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’
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
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
Many thanks and all best wishes ! Nicole
Am more than half way through this… Again. Get this book. Believe the endorsement on the back!
Get it via the link here
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…
‘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.
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
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 = https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/
(and links to previous) here: https://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
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
Ten years since the invasion of Iraq, what is the state of the anti-war movement?
TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Location: cinema, Richard Hoggart Building
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 21 December 2012, 18:00 – 21:30
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.
Click on the boot to download and read the full report, or here EdCommReport1
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
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
Details from We are Baba Ahmad campaign:
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.
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
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.
Dear friends and comrades (please forward to other groups and networks and help spread the word)
Save the date: Monday 12 November – 6.00pm
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.
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
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:
7pm Friday June 22nd, 2012
21 Gloucester Place
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:
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: