30 May 2010

Speech to UCU Congress, 30 May 2010, in support of Youth Fight For Jobs

Another for the archives. I ended up never actually delivering the speech, but the motion went through unanimously.

27 May 2010

SWPstitutionism I: The sick note

A full (and admittedly now untimtely) analysis of the SWP's Saturday intervention into the BA talks to come later.

One item which might be notable, though: twice, the SWP have cited a statement from Bassa saying "despite widely reported distractions that occurred at Acas, in reality these had little effect on the outcome of these talks". I cannot find the source of this statement anywhere.

26 May 2010

Waiting for the last wall to fall

Originally published in gair rhydd, issue 912, December 2009

Twenty years ago was a bad month for dictators.

23 May 2010


There is nothing, it sometimes seems, that the SWP likes more than telling other people what to do.

Drama Saturday, as several SWP members (reports say from 60 to 200) supported by some from Workers' Power, fresh from the Right to Work Conference, intervene in the negotiations between BA and Unite and attempt to occupy the site of the ACAS-sponsored discussions.

22 May 2010

How the press distorts the immigration debate

Written last August, still relevant

In yesterday's [8 August 2009] Telegraph we have "Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent".

It's an old-style scare article — they argue that Muslims are all just waiting until they can breed good healthy White People out of relevance. Let's take a look in a bit more detail.

21 May 2010


For both personal and public reference, here are some things I'd like to have written by the end of 2010.

- La Lutte Finale — a comprehensive anti-fascist program taking into account the lessons of the past year of EDL work and a critical assessment of the anti-far-right campaign's successes and failures. Important parts already drafted.

- The Engine of Complexity — an attempt at environmentalist economics on a generalized Marxist basis, extending from thermodynamic principles

- The great big NUS post The Great Big How To Fix NUS post

- Anti-Science — Creationism, homeopathy, antivax and other anti-scientific currents and their relevance to the workers' movement

- Transitional patent, trademark, & privacy law

- Legalize Nob Hunting

- Theory of Left Sectarianism

- Polemics, party culture, and left discussions

- Do we steal votes from the Greens?

20 May 2010

What's wrong with Scandinavian capitalism?

A friend asked not too long ago: "things are pretty good in countries like Sweden and Norway despite the countries still being capitalist. Is it not possible for the UK to go in the same direction? What's wrong with those countries as they are?"

The big problem with strongly social-democratic systems is simply this: no matter how many concessions you get out of the ruling class, as long as the ruling class persists as the ruling class — that is, in the absence of workers' revolution — then they will always push back and undercut and break down every gain that's made.

John McDonnell for Labour lea...oh, what's the point?

Did not bomb the US embassy in Nairobi

John McDonnell, one of the few genuinely working-class & left-leaning MPs in the Labour Party, is once again standing for party leader, after a (somewhat astroturfy) public campaign to call for him to stand. McDonnell himself seems to admit he has no chance of winning a race "stiched up from the start".

While this is likely true, it doesn't change the fact that McDonnell has had two years to try and gain the backing of Labour MPs. The Parliamentary Labour Party is now so rotten that it should be no surprise Jon Cruddas can't tell what the Millibands and Ed Balls stand for — if they stood for anything they'd never have been made front-benchers in the first place.

16 May 2010

No democracy, no representation. No representation, no fight.

There is a quiet political revolution underway at the University of Glamorgan Students' Union.

Who owns ideas?

From a discussion I led on 7 January, 2010. Some of this needs re-writing — my understanding of how book publishing works has changed a bit and what I stated here was oversimplified — but the basic ideas are, I think, solid.

In a capitalist world, one can meaningfully ask the question, “who owns ideas?” Try owning one -- you'll quickly run into an absurdity. What we mean instead when we ask the question is, “who owns the right to make use of an idea?” And while in a free consideration of that question one still quickly collides with absurdity, now we have an absurdity that someone can make money off of. It is in this world possible to restrict who makes use of an idea and how they use it. Therefore, capitalism has invented the idea of copyright.

I don't trust Charles Windsor to stay out of politics

Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor, styled the Prince of Wales, is probably going to be King of Great Britain someday.

A proud tradition of republicanism in Britain has faded over the past several decades, as the current monarch has wisely recognised the obsolescence of her own position and has kept her political opinions mostly out of the public eye — about as good as one can expect for any multi-millionaire.

Or Else

Ted Mycock asks, in the style of the time, "Why should WE pay for THEIR crisis?"

I'm going to answer that question with another question: Why are WE paying for THEIR crisis?

The Middle

Times Square bombing suspect's life had unraveled

Mainstream media dodging the class question again. Oh no, he outspokenly opposed the Iraq war, that means he must have ties to Islamic militancy!

Faisal Shahzad has far more in common with Colleen "JihadJane" LaRose, Joseph Stack and John Patrick Bedell than he does with Osama bin Laden; it's another instance of a middle-class American whose life has fallen apart thanks to the collapsing economy, who has nowhere to turn, who ultimately embarks on individual terrorism.