Sunday, December 31, 2006

Victor's justice

Like most civilised people, I have serious misgivings about the execution of Saddam. Not that, morally, the mass-murdering bastard didn't deserve it; just that:
1/ keeping him in permanent captivity seemed a more appropriate and less martyr-like fate;
2/ it seems doubtful that his execution will diminish sectarian tensions in Iraq - and it may even increase them by further alienating the Sunni middle class;
3/ it denied the Kurds the opportunity to have Saddam tried for mass murder/genocide over the Anfal campaign;
4/ it allows people like Kamil Mahdi (Iraqi expatriate, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter university, quoted in the Guardian of December 30), to say things like this: "It will be taken as an American decision. The worst thing is that it's an issue which in an ideal situation, should have unified Iraq but the Americans have divided Iraq" (strangely, though, in the same Guardian article, one Toby Dodge, "expert on Iraq at Quenn Mary College London university ", opposes the execution on the grounds that "it completes the Islamicisation of the insurgency");
5/ I am, in principle opposed to capital punishment. Even for Saddam. Even for Hitler. But I'm not going to sign any petitions or go on any marches over the execution of mass murderers, war criminals or other friends of Mr George Galloway, should they be finally brought to justice;
4/ Finally, there's the old "victor's justice" argument. It's true that Saddam's trial and execution are "victor's justice". As were the Nuremburg trials...

But, perhaps "victor's justice" is better than no justice at all.

It's certainly better than this sort of disingenious apologia for Saddam, from his erstwhile supporters in Britain, who now no longer have the guts to come out openly and state where they stand. On balance, I have more sympathy with Sham, whose raw anger is at least honest.

The most thoughtful comment I've read on the execution came from Fouad Ajami (author of The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq), writing in today's (UK) Sunday Times. I strongly suspect (though I don't know for sure), that Ajami supported the war. That would not, in my view, invalidate the following assessment:

"It will be said on the "Arab street" and by the critics of the Iraq war worldwide, that this verdict, and the entire judicial process that issued the death sentence, were an affair of the American occupation, cut to America's political needs. Iraqis from Kurdistan to Basra will pay these qubbles no heed.

"If it took a foriegn war to bring about this justice, and to introduce into Arab politics the principle of politcal accountability, so be it.

"So much of the political and economic life of the Arabs today - the satellite television channels railing against the West in perfectly good western idiom, the oil industry that sustains practically all that plays out in the region - has its origins in western lands.

"Nuremburg, too, was victor's justice. The Iraqis who endured the tyranny while the world averted its gaze from their suffering are owed their moment of satisfaction".

Geordie Tintin returns!

Will Rubbish is a bad, bad man. But he does make exceedingly good YouTube videos.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein executed

This says it all. Made shortly after he was arrested, it's still just as relevant today.

Have been listening to Radio Galloway on the subject, which has already offered me a number of things to talk about, but if you will indulge me gentle reader, I'll hold off that until tomorrow - just in case he's on again and has anything to add...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Just a quick point which I thought I'd make in public (cos it does look a bit dodgy - hat tip to Dave in the comments) with regards to mis amigos Lalamimi and Wanderslore. The more hawk-eyed amongst you will have noticed that they no longer appear in the sidebar as contributors to this site. This isn't because I've suddenly turned all Gerry Healy over Christmas and cast all PSC'ers and ex-Millies into the outer darkness. Nor have I thrown a pathetic hissy fit over a perceived slight like some people I could mention. So fear not.

It's just a technical matter due to this blog having been forced finally (in spite of my valiantly ignoring the prompts for some time) to switch over to new version of Blogger. Mike was already on the new version thanks to his own site having already made the switch. And in spite of a number of false starts, and in spite of much cursing and muttering of "this is all fucking beyond me, this is", I managed to pilot Denham through the process a few days ago. Larry seems to have worked it out sans assistance, resourceful young man that he is.

So Lala and Wanders, just follow the prompts when you log in and you should be sorted. If there's a problem, let me know and we'll try to sort something out. And be quick about it - people are starting to talk...

In, out, in, out... shake it all about...

At the risk of boring you all with trivia (if you want so see something topical, go look at the BBC; apparently they're gonna hang Saddam Hussein or summat), I thought I'd update you on my ban situation, gentle reader. Since updating my last post on the subject, and even posting kind comments to the SWP Kevin the Teenager bloggers concerned offering praise for their intestinal fortitude upon the reinstatement of my comments and the lifting of my ban, it seems that the lads have had another lapse of confidence. Ergo, out yet again went the comments, and yours truly is once again banned from their site. Perhaps they detected some hint of sarcasm in my praising their courage for allowing me to laugh at them... perhaps they just crapped themselves again like they did the first time.

Either way little fellas, it's a pretty rum show - can't we all just get along? Even if you do name yourselves after kids' cartoon characters, I'm sure you can have a moment of maturity and take the hand of friendship when it's offered to you... here's a gesture. I'm sooorrry that I pissed myself with laughter when you said that the political "Vermin" of last year was the National Union of Students bureaucracy (who in taking the title presumably beat General Pinochet, George Bush, Nick Griffin, Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, amongst others). I really am. And I'll let you all go to the movies next Saturday and I'll un-ground you too. And I'll even let you stay up late to watch Newsnight, but not until John Rees is next on.

You see now what a big hearted guy I can be?

One of the most stupid and over-rated Britons

Apparently, the Tories - under new, trendy new leader Webcameron - have come up with a list of "12 poeple who made Britain great", who they propose should be studied in schools.

The Independent, quite rightly, is taking the piss out of this moronic concept of history...

Unfortunately, they have (today, 27 December) asked the posh mockney comedian "Mark Steel" to take the piss...out of common decency and working-class solidarity. Ironic, isn't it: because "Mark 'Steel' Steel" claims to be some sort of leftie?

Steel writes the following in today's Independent:


"Or whatever she's called now. Here was a woman who responded to the occupation her peoples' land by attacking the invading forces, and burning down towns, including London. To which the Romans declared: 'But why doesn't anyone look at the positive things that are happening?" and insisted job was done and the insugents defeated".

What exactly does this twat Steel mean by the above?

1/ That all invasions are bad and must be resisted? (ie: that the allies should have got out of Germany in 1945?, and Saddam is right to denounce the "invaders");

2/ That the muderers of trade unionists and democrats in Iraq are a legitimate national liberation movement?

3/ That "comedians" know a lot about politics and should be given columns in national newspapers to spout fucking bollocks?

...actually, Steel's worst sin is... apart from coming out with standard SWP-type anti-working-class crap, is...not being funny: which, given that his politics are rubbish, doesn't leave him with much in his favour, really.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

First, catch your skwirl...

Funny, in a slightly gross way... anyhow, a very merry Christmas to all our readers!

(Hat-Tip: Hak Mao of the Drink Soaked Trots)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Respect: party of the small businessman

I know that the bastard offspring of fascist-dictator-loving George Galloway and anti-Israel-obsessed Socialist Workers Party's unnatural liaison, "Respect", doesn't claim to be "socialist", or even "social democrat"...but even so:

"Stratford Road residents and traders do not want the Red Route. It will hurt 1000 small businesses that line the Stratford Road, and will only save the motorist a measly few minutes...

"Local traders have delivered to the city council a 3,000 signature petition from local people opposing the Red Route...

"Cllr Salma Yaqoob has been fighting for the rights of local traders and residents

"She challenged the council decision in a City Council meeting on economic and legal grounds and delivered petition (sic) ".

All the above comes from the election leaflet of Mohammed Suleman, "Respect" candidate for Birmingham Springfield next May.

The "red route" issue is a matter that local businesmen in Sparkhill (part of Springfield ward) hae been raising for some time. It is all about their trade and profits. The real issue is about clearing the Stratford Road for ease of traffic and safety of local residents: but "Respect", with their communalistic approach to politics, naturally side with the local businessmen, rather than local working-class people - Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and white: most of whom think the Red Route is a good idea.

By the way: a local Lib Dem tells me that Salma Yaqoob and her people have done a deal with the local Labour Party in Sparkhill, Birmingham: her people have already agreed that the weak candidate Mohammed Suleman (rather than Salma Iqbal, who stood and did quite well at the last local election), will be the 'Respect' candidate in Springfield - thus ensuring that the Labour candidate, Mohammed Fazal, retains his seat.

In exchange, it will be ensured that Roger Godsiff retains his parliamentary nomination for the Labour Party, and "Respect"'s people in the Labour party will all vote for Godsiff. They calculate that Godsiff is the candidate they can most likely defeat at the general election...

The person behind this deal is a long-standing Labour Party and Lib Dem "fixer" within the Mirpuri community: and now "Respect" are part of the communalist equation, dragging Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers down into the mire of communalism and corruption: they didn't start it, but they are all too willing to play the game.

The SWP on the New Union

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post about the "new union", to be formed (if the members agree in a ballot), by the amalgamation of the T&G and Amicus: the only "left" intervention against the amalgamation at the December 19th recall BDC, was from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP): their leaflet (given out at the conference) stated:

"Does the merger of the T&G and Amicus strengthen workers in their battles in the workplace and in their wider struggles in society? Will this merger strengthen the trade union movement and its ability to take on the bosses and win?

"Socialist Worker supporters in the T&G don't think it will".

However: the only SWP member in any prominent position within the T&G is Jimmy Kelly, the Chair of the union. Jimmy is outspoken in his support for the amalgamation. So what does he think of the SWP leaflet? "Bollocks". How does he reconcile his support for the amalgamation with the SWP's opposition: "I'm a member of the Irish group; they are a completely seperate orgainisation from the British SWP".

Sweet Anita, and other losses

I promised, a little while back, to give you some film of the great Anita O'Day singing "Sweet Georgia Brown": here it is. Since then, we have heard of the deaths of Jay McShann (Charlie Parker's first boss), Kenny Davern, and (most recently), Mick Mulligan (George Melly's first badleader) : I will have more to tell you about Mulligan in the new year.

In the meanwhile, here's Anita:

Towards the new union! Away with shadows of the past!

Tuesday 19th December 2006, may go down in history as the day that the trade union movement in Britain began to break down old sectional divisions, and finally got its act together; or it may go down as the day in which bureaucratically-managed decline became the order of the day. The "Vesting Day" of May 1st 2007 will be the date upon which the two great British unions, the T&GWU and Amicus (formerly the AEU, ASTMS and EEPTU), amalgamate, forming a new union (assuming that the members of both unions agree to amalgamation, in a ballot, to be held in January / February of next year).

Naturally, I prefer to believe that this amalgamation is the beginning of a new, vibrant and militant age for British trade unionism. Discussions have been going on between the T&GWU and Amicus about a merger to form a new "super-union", since 2005. At first, the GMB were also involved, but they bailed out at their 2006 conference. The reason that the GMB withdrew (despite their General Secreatry Paul Kenny being, privately, in favour) is worth knowing, from the point of view of T&G and Amicus rank-and-file people assessing the pros and cons of the merger: the reason that the GMB conference rejected the merger was because their regional secretaries and branch secretaries have too much to lose: they make a very good living out of the present arrangements within the GMB - thank you very much - and don't want anyone interferering with it...Paul Kenny knows very well that these people are corrupt, but he can't move against them, because he depended upon them to gain power against his predecessor, Curran. The fact that the GMB is going bankrupt, and will be out of business if present trends continue, in about twenty or thirty years, is of no concern to the regional and branch bureaucrats: they'll be dead and gone before the union goes bankrupt.

What was refreshing about Tuesday 19th's recall BDC (Biennial Delegate Conference) of the Transport and General Workers' Union, was the honesty of the debate, and the seriousness with which the future of trade unionism as a whole, was treated.

There has been a consultation on the question of the amalgamation/"new union" within the T&G, ever since the matter was first raised before the membership, before the 2005 Biennial Delegate Conference (BDC). That conference insisted that there must be a recall BDC to vote on the proposed rule book for the new union, before it was put to a ballot of the membership of the two unions: that is exactly what is being done: for once, a union leadership is carrying out the demands of its membership.

The recall T&G BDC was a very democratic affair. Speeches were taken for and against the resolution to support the Instrument of Amalgamation; of the 34 speeches taken, 4 were against. At one point, I thought I thought no-one would speak against, then up got that old friend of this blog, Rachael Webb, to denounce the amalgamation: Rachael was, and is, completely wrong, but you had to admire her guts and spirit: her case seemed to be based upon the proposition that Derek Simpson and the Amicus leadership are not to be trusted (something that many of had worked out for ourselves many moons ago)...

There were very powerful speeches in favour of amalgamation from the vast majority of speakers from the floor - although it was noticeable that all those who wanted to speak against, were called to other words, no attempt was made to suppress the opposition, such as it was... I'm sure that Rachael will confirm that.

In the end, the recall BDC voted against fear of the past (repeated evocations of Frank Chapple, Eric Hammond, etc), and in favour of a new future for British trade unionism: the most important aspect of which is £7.05 million guaranteed for unionising, guaranteed to rise to £15 build he new union amonst previously unorganised sectors: of course we have to support it!

Volty gets banned!

In a moment of pant-wettingly funny hilarity, Volty has been banned by the kevin-the-revolutionary-teenagers of (crap) blog Through the Scary Door, apparently for laughing at their post about "Vermin of the Year". Which is tremendously amusing in itself, but wait gentle reader. A story lies therein.

In case you were wondering who these SWP members thought were the "Vermin of the Year", but can't be arsed to read Morbo's drivelling on the subject, they said... well go on, guess. George Bush? Nope. Tony Blair? No. Ehud Olmert? Not even close. Perhaps the BNP? Well, they did get a mention but nope, they missed out on the top prize.

So who did win, and in doing so spark a wave of hilarity currently doing the rounds of the internet? Why, of course, it's the National Union of Students! "Worms, Vermin and Scabs", so they are, sez the Scary Door, an organisation infected with "Zionist hacks" like... err... Union National President Gemma Tumelty.

Anyway, at this point lots of people (myself included) laughed at the Scary Door folk, and so they crapped themselves, deleted a load of comments, and banned anyone who was nasty to them. They would have done more but their mums called them in for their tea.

Oh my, another day in virtual politics...

Update 23/12/06 - for those of you who were holding your breath for news on this shocking subject, Volty has now been unbanned and the comments all put back! Well done to whichever one of the Scary Door Children decided to have a youthful rebellion, refuse mummy's beans on toast and, like, stick it to the man!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

They're baaack...

Hear ye, hear ye! Those super-spooks at Vigil have returned, ready to fight the Evil-World on your behalf again! You may remember them from such bizarre previous appearances as the BBC Newsnight report on Hizb-ut-Tahrir, where if nothing else they demonstrated that bullshit really does baffle brains (or, well, BBC journalist Richard "Brains" Watson anyway).

Anyways, last time we mentioned Vigil, it was to say that they'd taken their page off the site belonging to the clinically sane IC-HUMINT, home of Christian protectors of Jerusalem from the Mohammedan hordes the world over. Well, they've only gone and got themselves a new site all of their own!

Check it out, and if the first thing that strikes you is how the deeply narcissistic design of the front page reminds you of the style in which popular BBC programme "Spooks" is shot, then you're not alone. But I think the funniest thing about it, is that it proclaims the organisation to be basically neutral on matters ideological, such as religion. OK lads, and the band played believe you if you like.

By the way, the new site is verrrry rickety so if you don't get through to it first time, keep trying. It's well worth it.

More on this soon when anything else amusing comes up. Hat-tip for the new Vigil site URL to "Victor" in the comments on a previous post on this subject. Interestingly, the new Vigil site isn't yet searchable on Google, which makes you think that he might have jumped the gun in mentioning it...

Update: Just to make the point again, the likely lads from Vigil claim not to have any hidden ideological agenda. Take a look at this article about Jenvey's views on the dangers of the holiday season (an article whose author is himself apparently linked to Vigil) and decide for yourselves.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kenny Davern: RIP

Kenny Davern is dead - suddenly and unexpectedly. The greatest, and most orgininal jazz clarinetist of his age; also a caustic wit, an iconoclast and a man of strong views on many subjects. At the Brecon Jazz Festival a couple of years ago, the "soundies" (used to rock bands) tried to mike him up: Davern spoke through the mike: "I have spent fifty years developing a sound and a tone on my instrument: and now some bums insist on miking me up...unless that mike is turned off I will go home!"

Davern was a good man. In the tradition of his friend and mentor, Pee Wee Russell. I feel particularlybad because davern was probably the last jazz musician who played my sort of stuff naturally, and not as a deliberate "routine": It's the end of an era.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Keep the Labour-union link!

Over the past week, that dishonest, congenital liar Blair has been interviewed by the police over 'cash for honours', and - it seems- once again slithered his way out of the situation by claiming (quite falsely), that the honours in question were given for "services to the Labour Party" - which, according to "Downing Street sources" means (to quote the Independent on Sunday of 17 December 2006), "'their willingness to serve as Labour Party peers'. A party spokesman said: "I am not going to get into how may leaflets they have delivered"'. None of the businessmen in question have any record of party activism (beyond large donations/loans), and at least one - Sir David Garrard- is not even a member of the Party. All the businessmen involved, say (quite believably) that they thought they were being put forward for the Lords because of their "contribution to British society", not because of their (non-existant) "services" to the Labour Party.

Obviously, this disgusting business, and the equally neauseating supression of the Serious Fraud Office's's investigation into BAe's dealings with Saudi Arabia, have grabbed the headlines in the bourgeois media, and been the plainest examples of the extraordinary -pathological- dishonesty of Mr Tony "purer than pure" Blair.

However, for working-class socialists, all that is of secondary importance: what is much more significant (but less exciting), is the Hayden Phillips proposal for a £50,000 'cap' on all donations, whether from individuals or organisations, to political parties.

This proposal - vigorously supported by David Cameron- would allow rich individuals to continue to send cheques of up to £50,000 to the Tories, but require the Labour Party to write each year to political levy-payers, asking them if they wish to continue to remain a contributor to party funds. It is, quite clearly, a means of breaking the link between the Labour Party and the unions. It fits in with the plan that the Blairites forged in the 1990's, to break Labour's link with the unions, and to switch over to state funding of political parties. They never followed through on this plan, for two reasons:
1/ They (the Blairites) under-estimated the degree of public hostility there would be towards the idea of state funding of political parties;
2/They (the Blairites) over-estimated the degree of opposition they would receive from the trade union leadership.

...But now, it seems, Blair and his anti-working class clique are going for bust. According to the Guardian, "Sir John McTernan, the prime minister's political secretary, met Sir Hayden last week. It was claimed that he had told him that Tony Blair would support these proposals. Mr McTernan could not be contacted last night".

The Guardian (of December 12 2006), continued:

"Critics believe Tony Blair is intent on seeking a dramatic restructuring of the relationship between Labour and the trade unions, as part of his "legacy". In his first months as Labour leader, Mr Blair stamped his authority on the party by announcing his plan to scap Clause 4 of the Labour Party's constitution":

In reality, the "Clause 4" battle was a phoney war, that Blair and his 'advisers' (ex-student union ballot-riggers) knew they were bound to win. It wasn't a significant matter in terms of working class representation: the present busines - although much less dramatic - is: that's why some of us are calling a meeting at O'Neil's on Broad Street, Birmingham at about 5.00pm (after the T&G special conference on amalgamation with Amicus), with John McDonnell MP and various T&G Executive members, to discuss these matters. If you're in the Birmingham area on tuesday evening, come along!

Ipswich reclaim the night march

"Shiraz Socialist" has received the following, and we have no hesitation in passing on the information and urging all readers who can, to support this action:


After the bodies of 5 sex workers were found murdered within 10 days of each other and the police advising women to stay at home we call you to...


We have comrades arriving from all over the country to show their love and solidarity; if you are able to to offer transport or would like it, please contact us and we we will try our hardest to organise lift shares, etc.

If you require accomodation before or after let us know ASAP and it will be provided (though the quality may not be great!).

Please bring banners , food to share, your thoughts, experiences, love, friends.


Tell everyone you know!

For more information contact:

(If you are planning on coming: it would be wondersful if you could contact us so that we can get an idea of numbers).

Foe those in the Ipswich area, we DESPERATELY need your help in organising this potentially mammoth event; please meet us at cafe Direct, Suffolk College at 7pm Monday 18th December".

A very civil partnership

Yesterday I attended a civil partnership ceremony at Islington town hall. My friend and comrade Clive (who comments here from time to time), was doing the decent thing by his partner Elias. I have to say that even my world-weary old eye was moist as the two of them spoke about how they had first met, how Elias had narrowly escaped deportation, and what their love now meant to them. Altogether now: ahhh!

I should add that the registrar and the rest of the officials and staff at the town hall were superb, achieving the perfect balance between suitable formality, and good humour.

But the high-spot of the ceremony was, without doubt Elias's mother, a magnificent prima donna, who sang the Antonious Carlos Jobin song Dindi , accompanied by a piano-bass-and percussion trio. Now, singing mothers can be a bit of a liability - as Tommy Sheridan can confirm. But in this case, the mother really could sing. And no wonder: it turned out that she'd been the vocalist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1972 and the Duke's death in 1974. And Elias's dad was the whisk-broom percussionist in the trio: he'd played drums with the likes of Charles Mingus.

We ended up with a fabulous disco and booze-up in a Hackney pub, where various friends and colleagues of Clive and Elias gave short speeches and/or sang songs, standing on a chair... amazingly (to me; but then, I've had a sheltered life), Elias's ex-partner and mother of his child gave a warm, good-humoured and thoroughly generous speech, wishing him and Clive all the best for the future. Bloody hell! I don't pretend to understand the sophistication of modern relationships; but it was a lesson to me in common decency, friendship and humanity. I was proud to be present.

By the way: my partner is a keen listener to BBC Radio 4's "everyday story of country folk", The Archers, in which there has also been a civil partnership, between two characters called Ian and Adam. Apparently, it's caused quite a stir amongst Archers listeners, with quite a few of them complaining that this sort of carry-on has no place in a programme that is traditionally devoted to tips on when to get your turnips in, and what to do if your pigs get botulism. She throughly approved of the Ian and Adam nuptuals, and even sniffled when Adam's stepfather, the evil capitalist farmer and homophobe Brian Aldridge, belatedly turned up at the ceremony... but, she said, it was nowhere near as good as Clive and Elia's ceremony. Well done, you chaps!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

For your victims...

Pinochet is dead.


I hope it wasn't easy or painless.

You bastard.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Farewell blues: Anita and Ruth

Just in case any of you are getting the idea that this is a heavy, political, site with no concern for matters cultural, artistic or musical...

Two bloody good singers died recently, and both deserve to be remembered: Ruth Brown (born January 12 1928; died November 17 2006) and Anita O'Day (born October 18 1919; died October 23 2006).

I will, shortly, be putting a 'UTube' clip of Anita singing "Sweet Georgia Brown" from the film Jazz On A Summer's Day, on this site (once the Priest has explained to me how you do it) and I may even tell you about her famous falling-out with Roy Eldridge.

But as for Ruth Brown: this wonderful R&B singer, who influenced Fats Domino and BB King, with the 'catch' in her voice, is now almost forgotten. She shouldn't be. She was a wonderful singer and a great woman. She played a leading role in the success of Atlantic records (known as "the house that Ruth built"), and wrote to the label's president, Ahmet Ertigun, demanding back royalties. He wrote back, replying that, on the contrary, she owed Atlantic $30,000 in unpaid studio costs, but enclosing a personal cheque for $1,000. Ruth cashed the cheque, but still called it "crumbs from the rich man's table".

After leaving Atlantic, she raised a family, divorced her bigamous first husband, left her abusive second husband and her unsatisfactory third, who opposed her singing career. She worked as a domestic cleaner and a school bus driver before returning to professional singing in 1975.

Many of her songs were, shall we say, full of innuendo. One of her best numbers was about an antique chair: "If I can't sell it, I'll keep on sittin' on it, but I ain't gonna give it away!"

The Iraq quagmire: support the workers!

All of us here at Shiraz Socialist opposed the Iraq war. But not all of us support the "troops out now" call of the 'Stop the War Coalition' (STWC) - a rotten bloc lead by the (British) Socialist Workers Party, the Muslim Association of Britain and Mr George Galloway MP: this unprincipled alliance gives not a damn about then peoples of Iraq, and certainly not about its trade union movement (whose British representative, Abdullah Muhsin - a communist-, was denounced as a "Quisling" by that piece of pro-fascist scum Galloway).

The STWC is only concerned the British and Ud domestic domestic implications of the Iraq war - they give not a fig about the peoples of Iraq, and not a fig about the courageous trades unionists and democrats of Iraq. In fact ther STWC, who officially don't have any programme whatsoever for Iraq, actually support the fascists and nihilists of the so-called "resistance" / "insurgency": the Ba'athists and the Shi'ite Islamists, and gloat, sickeningly, over the descent of Iraq into chaos and anarchy. They are also led by a creature (George Galloway) who danced like a grovelling supplicant at the feet of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraq Study Group's attempt find a way out of the quagmire is almost certainly doomed to failure. It's also merely an alternative strategy that has long been advocated by that section of the US ruling class who never bought the neo-cons' Bolshevism.

The "Stop the War Coalition"'s ignoring of, and then, Galloway-led attacks upon, the Iraqi trade union movement, lead me and the AWL to break with these people, and to concentrate our support upon the only force that can end the chaos and disaster that the invasion brought about: the Iraqi working class: a group who are not a consideration for either the "anti-imperialists" of the STWC, or the little-Englanders and racists who phone in to "Any Answers".

I think the following (by a comrade who I have not yet consulted about this, so I won't name him/her), is pretty much on the mark:

"It seems to me ...if the result of withdrawal is a three-way partition of Iraq (is) terrible communal slaughter, and a Shi'ite state connected to Iraq, (then) the main point (is):

"We (socialists/internationalists) can't say 'Get out of Iraq and hand over power to national liberation movement X', or even 'get out via negotiations with national liberation movements X,Y and Z.

"Normally, that is what troops out and self-determination means: that there is an obvious alternative to colonial or colonial-style rule, and whatever we think of that alternative politically, we recognise the democratic justice , on one level at least of (their) taking power.

"It's (sometimes) not quite so straightforward, and there are some grey areas. Who did we think would take power in Afghanistan when the USSR withdrew? The difference (between Iraq and) Afghanistan (is) that there was no workers' movement to worry about... this is why we're so concerned about ...Iraq: there is a workers' movement and it's the only thing of its kind in the Arab east since the last time the Iraqi workers' movement was crushed in 1963, before most of our organisation was born.

"But I think this is the gist of the problem: normally (ie: in 'classical' Trotskyist analysis) , the approach to national (liberation) movements and anti-colonial struggles, would (be), we would say, positively, that the workers' movement should fight for the leadership of the national (liberation) movement, aiming for workers' power. That however doesn't have much grip on the current situation in Iraq. You could say 'troops out now and fight for workers' power' - I assume that is what the 57 varieties of would-be Trots say. But only a twit would think it was actually an answer to the problem.

"This is because the movement against the occuspation is not, or not mainly, an anti-colonial-type (movement). It is inexorably mixed up with a communalist, sectarian civil war. It's not just that the national liberation movement which might take power when the occupiers leave, is vile, undemocratic, etc; but that there isn't one.

"'Troops out now' means: 'and actually fuck knows what will fill the void'. You can build a movement for solidarity with the Iraqi (working class and democratic) movement; you can build a movement for for troops out, regardless of what happens afterwards. You can't actaually build a movement for both simultaneously: one or the other is purelya propaganda gesture."

Update: Further pertinent to this debate, here's a clip of prominent IFTU figure Abdullah Muhsin, speaking about the historic and contemporary situation of Trades Unions in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sleep safely in your beds kids, everything's in hand

Well, you're safe from the attack of the bloggers, anyway. According to Guido Fawkes, the Home Office is employing 12 librarians to... read blogs on a weekly basis and see what they say. Wow... just makes me feel so safe from the terrorist threats. Well done, Home Office - another proof that putting a tough-talking right wing tosser in charge of a Government department merely ensures that it wastes its money in an even more spectacularly dumb fashion than it did under his predecessor.

Fawkes even offers them an alternative strategy:

"Guido uses Google Alerts, Blogpulse and Technorati to track every mention of him on the web. Total cost £0.00."

Heaven only knows what they're paying the 12 spook-o-geeks, but one imagines it's costing you, the British taxpayer, rather more than it's costing Guido (and countless thousands of other people with access to freeware) to do it his way. What's even better, is that it seems at least in part to be for the purposes of spin, as much as for national security. How pathetic can you get:

"Sir! Sir! 004 1/2 is reporting that Osler said something nasty about us on the web!"

"Right Carruthers! This is a job for Agent Akehurst!"

Rest easy tonight folks. And don't have nightmares. Nothing's gonna happen to you. Not on John Reid's watch.

There's a new low in the blogosphere...

And I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Looking through this very new blog, it struck even me as being a bit gratuitous on the swearing front. It's a matter of personal taste rather than morals: I have no objection to calling someone a cunt, I just think it's more effective if you only say it once per sentence. The blog owner also clearly needs to work out how to use Blogger's virtually self-explanatory system for posting HTML - after all, if Denham can do it without gobbets of code appearing on screen, then anyone can. So... that's the downside.

But then on the other hand, this week's "cunt" in question is Kelvin MacKenzie, and the author "V" (I am not he, incidentally), really goes to town on someone who, after all, really does cry out for that kind of treatment. And there are some moments of real, biting wit. There's only the one post on the blog so far, so it does of course have plenty of time for fine tuning. What's more, V has a sidebar that links to some old friends of this site. So that's the upside. Have a look and judge for yourselves. Although you might not want to do so at work, unless your boss really doesn't mind seeing the word "cunt" on your screen, many times over.

Hat tip, inevitably, to you know who (and no, it's not him either!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Too good to miss

Two ongoing rows that are simply too good to miss;
1/ Dave Osler started a very serious and thoughtful debate on the future of Trotskyism, here, ands why he no longer considers himself a trot.

It gives rise to a very interesting debate in the "comments" boxes; especially when SWP-apologist "Snowball" attacks me misspelling of the name "Shachtman"! He can't come up with any political defence of Cliffism beyond that...

2/The fanatical "anti-Zionist" Mark Elf has had enough of the blatant anti-semitism of Gilad Atzmon, and denounces him... John Game (late of this parish) attempts to defend Atzmon...utilising the usual post-modernist Foulcaultite bollocks about "identity". To his credit, Elf, for once, denounces anti-semitism.

Bringing the union into disrepute

Trade unions are often accused of corruption: sometimes it's true. But as well as blatant hand-in-the-till corruption, there is also "let's- give- our- friends- some- money" corruption. It's less blatant than simple stealing and bribery, but it's no less dishonest; and it goes on very widely. Unfortunately, the "left" are the worst offenders.

Until 1989, the Soviet Union and other Stalinist states in Eastern Europe subsidised the British Communist Party's paper, the Morning Star. With the collapse of the Stalinist empire, it looked like the Star was finished; but no! It managed to survive, mainly because of massive donations from British trade unions - none of which consulted their members on this matter. The T&GWU was probably the biggest donor.

Now that scion of leading British Communist Party family, Anita Halpern has come into at least £20 million as a result of inheriting art stolen from her family by the Nazis, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Star aught now to be self-sufficient. But no: they are still at their old game of screwing the trade union movement (with no reference to the membership), for funds in order to keep their Stalinist lying-sheet in business.

Motion to the Region 1 (ie: London) Committee of the Transport and General Workers Union from the 1/1148 (ACTS) branch:

"The Morning Star is unique in being the only daily national newspaper published in the UK, which is co-operatively owned by is readers. The Morning Star has been a voice for trade Unions, anti-fascists, progressive causes and peace for seventy-six years and played a vital role in the working class movement and despite set backs continues to be a bright independent beacon in a capitalist dominated press.

"This branch notes the importance of the Morning Star continuing to defend and represent the workers of this country. That it has been the only paper to provide coverage of the Trade Union Freedom Bill and the current attacks on Trade Unions and Shop Stewards. Its articles and news coverage reflect a wide range of progressive views in a non-sectarian way.

"This branch believes that the organisation for defence and advancement of ordinary people's rights is the trade union movement ; therefore Trade Unions should have a voice in the running of the paper. This branch notes that the TGWU Region 1 is a major share holder in the PPPS (Morning Star / People's Press Management Committee - JD) and believes that our union should increase its share holding to be entitled to a seat and be represented on the PPPS and believes that our Union should increase its share holding to be entitled to to a seat and be represented on the PPPS Committee. This Branch notes that FBU (Fire Birgades Union- JD) London and RMT (Rail Maritine Transport union-JD) already have a seat on the PPS Committee.

* This branch calls upon the Region to increase its shares in the PPPS to £20, 000, which will give entitlement for a seat on the PPPS Committee
* That the Region take-up (sic - JD) the seat and play an active role on the committee.

"In recognition of the vital role that the paper plays for Trade Ubion Rights we call upon the region to
* Send out an appeal to all Region 1 branches for the Morning Star
* request the national Union website has a link to the Morning Star web site.

"PASSED - TGWU 1/1148 branch - 14th November 2004.

...And, as I understand it, the fake-left-dominated Region 1 committee has passed this, so that £20,000 of T&G members' subscriptions wiill be spent on subsidising Stalinism.

What a disgrace! No wonder Trade Unionism in Britain is held in contempt, even by the membership! This is corruption: and we should say so.

These bosses really are bastards

Regular readers may remember the JJB Sports (Wigan) dispute, that this site, together with the Stroppies and Will Rubbish publicised: The GMB union put in a claim for for an improved basic rate of pay, only to be told by main shareholder Dave Whelan (personal fortune £200 million), "To give everyone the same wage would be barmy. It's the communist way-cuckoo land!". He offered 3% across the board, which the workers rejected, and they then organised a series of strikes, supported by No Sweat.

It looked as though the JJB workers had won, when the GMB released a press statement saying that JJB management had tabled a revised offer dealing with the issue of the basic rate and access to bonuses for all workers.

On the basis of this offer, the GMB called off further strike action.

However, thew bosses then sacked leading GMB representative Chris Bailey.

Chris says:

" I called on you a short while ago to support JJB strikers in their fight for better pay and conditions and the response was overwhelming.

"I am now calling on you again to help us fight to save our union recognition at JJB. As you may have been aware at the time, I was suspended - now I've been SACKED!

This is a vindictive attack upon a union organiser - the bosses' answer to a successful campaign of industrial action. Please send urgent messages of support to:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hahahaha oh I shouldn't laugh, but I really did

The man for whom the words "twisted genius" could have been invented, Mr William Rubbish, has perverted all your childhood memories of a particular cartoon in a deliciously funny video skit here. I laughed, my mates laughed, you'll laugh too. Unless you find rude words offensive, in which case you should make yourself a cocoa and go listen to the shipping forecast.