Date Archives May 2007

Enough! Enough!

Thanks to Contemporary Anarchist for drawing my attention to this protest against the occupation of Palestine being organised by a coalition called “Enough! Enough!“.   London, June 9th 2007, 1:30, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Be there or be apathetic.

How we used to be

You may remember the vague speculation in my earlier Cutty Sark post about community being traditionally much more important to human beings than competition, and therefore being something we always reach back to even though contemporary society has more or less destroyed it. Well, as luck would have it I was beginning the somewhat daunting task of reading Chris Harman’s free e-book “A People’s History of the World” (all 728 pages of it) and discovered that he covered some of the same ground. In the prologue (yes, OK, I’m a… Read More

“Capitalism Works”

When I talk about workers, particularly in poor countries, being exploited by large companies, a frequent retort is, “Well, the people want to work there. Who are you to tell them they can’t? Would they be better off if the factory closed down and they were out of work?” A good example of this argument can be found in a highly irritating article in the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, which complains about a proposed student boycott of Coke on the grounds that it’s subjecting workers in Colombia to inhumane… Read More

Who cares about the Cutty Sark?

So the Cutty sark, a famous 19th-Century ship that’s become something of a tourist landmark in Greenwich, caught fire this morning. I was up early this morning listening to the radio and was mildly sad when I heard the news. Like most children who grew up in London, I was taken around the Cutty Sark on my summer holidays more than once, although my memories of it are pretty vague and I’ve had no interest in going again since I’ve been old enough to choose how I spend my time…. Read More

Orwell said it better

Now that I’m thinking a little more clearly, I can recognise that the hopelessness I’ve been feeling lately, which reached its height this morning, stems from a very old source. Here it is: Under the capitalist system, in order that England may live in comparative comfort, a hundred million Indians must live on the verge of starvation–an evil state of affairs, but you acquiesce in it every time you step into a taxi or eat a plate of strawberries and cream. The alternative is to throw the Empire overboard and… Read More

Band-aid applied

Well, I feel a little better now. Looked through photographs covering the last year of my life while listening to a random selection of my songs on iTunes (came out as “Puppet Man” by The 5th Dimension, “Kinky Afro” by the Happy Mondays, “Easy to Love” by Billie Holliday, “You Call it Madness” by Nat King Cole, “I Need Love” by Olivia Newton-John(?!), “Sometimes I’m Happy” by Sarah Vaughan and then Beethoven’s Eroica variations and Brahms’s German Requiem. Something happened to me while I was looking at the photos, hearing… Read More

Hopelessness

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. I’ve been afflicted by an all-encompassing sense of hopelessness lately when I think about the world, and blogging has seemed pointless. I look at all the people absorbed in the minutiae of their North London lives, knowing that their way of life is dependent on the suffering of millions of people around the world and not caring or doing anything about it. And worst of all, I know that I’m one of them (no, writing a blog doesn’t count as doing something)…. Read More

The Vocabulary of Protest

Some day I’m going to compile a list of all the adjectives used by journalists writing about protesters. Sometimes protesters are irresponsible, obstructive or stubborn, other times they are aggressive or violent, and usually the word anarchist crops up sooner or later. What’s interesting about these adjectives is that they are never chosen by the protesters themselves. Rule number one of journalism – represent all sides fairly – goes out of the window when people have the temerity to express their opinions outside the officially sanctioned method of putting an… Read More

Whatever…

Can I bring myself to write about Tony Blair’s long-overdue departure? Do I have the energy? The interest? Barely. I’m certainly not going to go into a long, earnest assessment of the pros and cons of his reign. The reason? Very simply, this is not news. It’s a classic example of what Daniel Boorstin described as a pseudo-event. It’s an event created for the media, choreographed for maximum publicity and maximum benefit to the organiser. It’s an event that would have no meaning whatsoever without the presence of cameras, microphones… Read More