Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Palestines Martin Luther King moment?

Another step was taken on the road to Palestinian unity in its resistance to Israel's occupation, as the five year long struggle of the village of Bil'in in the Palestinian West bank territory gained unanimous support from the main Palestinian parties and factions as well as activist groups in Israel and around the world. As well as inspiring other villages that are in similar situations (and sadly there are many).

Why is this significant? well as the video above makes clear this is case is one of only a few where the notoriously biased Israeli High court has actually sided against the settlers. And because as previously stated by me the video and the title this five year long protest has remained staunchly peaceful at least on the Palestinian side of things. If this style of protest grows to become the norm then this may be the biggest setback the Zionist lobby worldwide will face yet.

I know its quite galling to see atrocities like operation Cast lead and the invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006 go unpunished but we have to face reality here. The Intifada's and the bombings and resistance failed in all but one of their aims, they succeeded in getting world attention for their plight but ultimately Israel and the IDF remained dominant and much of the attention as far as the mainstream press was concerned was pretty negative.

Many people didn't look at the news and see a struggle for basic human rights from a down trodden and victimised population like say the Blacks in the southern states of America, or even the Africans under Apartheid South Africa. They would often see more of those "Islamic jihadi nutters, who can't wait to blow themselves up". You see the Arab states and especially the Palestinians will never be the Israelis equal in terms of military capabilities as long as they have strong Western backing and the Political and Military leadership clearly have a very lax attitude to the rules regarding warfare and human rights rendering Guerilla style warfare quite untenable as whats the point of blending in with your surroundings when the enemy will just blow them up too.

But theres still hope. The other bastion of Apartheid South Africa was also defeated eventually through peaceful means. South Africa was successfully isolated from the world community despite the fact that the US found it to be a vital ally in a region dominated by ideologically hostile nations just like Israel. In southern Africa almost every nation was a Soviet leaning ally hell Mozambique and Angola where out right Marxists. This forced South Africa to effectively go it alone and although the likes P.W.Botha continued there policies for many years it made much more susceptible to the indigenous opposition movement and ultimately war it down. THe same could be done with Israel.

Hell in Britain the establishment in the 80's used to really kick up a fuss about Mandela's terrorist army for blowing up a pub in Durban for bloody sake, completely overlooking the fact that more South African prisoners died "falling down the stairs" as the ending of Cry Freedom can attest.

In my last post on the subject of Palestine I talked about how it was surprising though very welcome to see prominent members of both Fatah and Hamas sitting round a table and publicly debating each other with both claiming some sort of peace deal was not far off. The rally in Bil'in not only strengthens the tentative peace between the two but also includes the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)another fairly prominent secular resistance faction that has a following in the Palestinian Authority. This is another positive step the Palestinians have a lot more on there plate dealing with the Israelis without finding enemies amongst themselves.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The great patriotic struggle

Sorry Its been a bit quiet around here, I've recently been busy writing up a number of essays and research proposals, so to cheer you up here is a nicely edited youtube video about Soviet tanks crushing the Nazi scum enjoy.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

It happened here

Awhile ago I picked up a few alternative history DVD's, I finally got round to watching the second one It happened here as you may have guessed from the title the film has a very similar premise to Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen here about the rise of a Fascistic dictatorship in America. This is very similar except that its set in Britain and isn't really a warning about letting radical right wingers getting a free ride as instead of a National Front alike movement taking power ala V for Vendetta its a tale about Britain under occupation from the actual Nazi's.

The main character (no one is even close to a hero in this film)is a nurse which means she has to join a Fascist front organisation for the emergency services by the name of Instant Action (even the characters think it sounds like a haemorrhoid cream) before she can be authorised to work at another hospital.

Its very much an indie film. The acting is pretty bad at times particularly the scene at the recruitment office for Instant Action where the local officer is giving out his party spiel about how the British innate sense of organisation will get the country back on its feet and beat the "bolshies", but to me anyway the bad acting works at making the whole thing seem more real. Since I can see and have seen petty bureaucrats recite rote learned motto or semi speech to fob off any complaints or questions.

Most of the film is about life under this regime from the perspective of someone whose only going along with it so she can get by or to put it one way "only in it for the free coffee".

One particular scene that stands out for me is notably for how mundane it is. As part of the Ideological training all Instant Action branches have to hold informal meetings on racial theory. Why this scene stands out for me is because despite the subject of the debate (that on the deportation of Jews to Madagascar)its a pretty realistic depiction of a group meet. Seriously anyone whose had the pleasure of attending a party meeting or a council debate or company team building exercise will find this scene pretty familiar. Theres the few who have to attend but just sit their nodding their heads, The two know it alls who hog the discussion and even interrupt each other and get quite fed up with each other etc.

There isn't really much in the way of action or suspense in this film (probably because that would be expensive) but I would recommend giving it a watch both as a piece of British cinematic history, and for the rather bizarre novelty that a Fascist Britain would be. (hint it turns out it would be quite naff).

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Murder in the Central Committee

"they rushed forward, overturning chairs as they went, to discover the reality of death".

I've recently been reading Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's Detective story Murder in the Central Committee. And I quite enjoyed it so review over I guess.

Only joking, anyway I'm not that much of a fan of the genre of detective fiction but this one has several things going for it that won me over. First its setting, as you can probably tell from the title the murder is that of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain -or as some comrades know them as the filthy traitorous Euro communist revisionists- and the only possible suspects are his fellow comrades on the central committee the parties highest organ.

The years is 1980 just after the downfall of Generalissimo Francisco Franco's dictatorship and the shaky restoration of democracy so tensions are running high and with both the government and the Party desperate for a quick and politically tidy solution.

In desperation the government appoints special investigator Fonseca a brutish man who was an infiltrator and informer for Franco in the "good old days". Outraged the Party enlists the help of Barcelona Private Detective and former Communist Pepe Carvalho to solve the case before Fonseca can finger the whole membership. However it soon becomes clear that the murder has attracted the attention of a number of shadowy international "companies" as well who can't help but meddle in this internal "Democratic" affair.

The second is the wonderful writing. The dialogue blends communist jargon in a witty some what cynical way that actually makes it much easier to follow, and is loaded with refferences to traditional Spanish and Catalonia and Basque and Galicia dishes (the only thing stopping this from doubling as a recipe book is the lack of measurements), the characters are surprisingly layered even the third tier ones, and the plot just does not stop thickening.

Another plus point thats linked to the above is that the book also gives some incite into the Spanish national psyche especially in regards to its regions and food, as well as few asides on the state and nature of politics in Spain and Europe.

I won't say no more as I'm in danger of travelling into spoiler territory. But its Well worth a read in my opinion.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Friday, 16 April 2010

product placement in the news

Yes sir this is 100% definitive proof of the perils that serious journalism faces from the continued blurring of the line between Information and advertisement.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Labours election manifesto

Well here we are. I don't quite know what to say, I mean It certainly on the positive side which is good, Attack ads are not only cynical but can also camouflage the party that paid for the message. That 1979 Labour isn't working advert, the one set at an unemployment line well that was about Thatchers claim that her economic policies would actually REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT which I think we can all agree on was probably the biggest electoral failure of a post war (thats WW2) Prime Minister.

Anyway cheery atmosphere aside lets take a look at whats actually being said, First we have our "typical Brit family" which stupid names aside do do a good job at caricaturing the average British family if in a sugary sweet way (apart from that Jack son, seriously what was he supposed to be caricature of passionate Teenage activists? because at it certainly didn't look like it) and they've done a fairly good job in getting their priority's straight.

Note I'm only using the above video itself for this analysis.

1) A new Industrial Revolution,
Ok this is a very good one to run with, the Economy has clearly dominated the news and debate (political or otherwise) and emphasising the idea of a brand new a massive job creation scheme, especially one that uses "the latest digital and green technology" could resonate with both the working class the newly unemployed and the growing ecology movement.

2) National Care Service, and the NHS,

Again this a good if not surprising. The NHS is still very popular (as it should be) anyone remember when Cameron was desperately trying to make it the central platform of his "heir to Blair" movement he started when he first became leader in a desperate attempt to make himself seem "progressive".
Speaking of which here's an idea for you Dave if you really want to be taken seriously as a "progressive" then don't change your logo to a scribbled tree; change your party to one that doesn't have the words "Conservative" in the title.

Sorry back to the main point, both the NHS and the care for the elderly have been seen not -without merit- to have been neglected under Labours past three terms, so this could be a good sign that their finally getting it back together.

3)Tax credit and more time off for new parents,

Well I don't have much experience in the realm of parenting but as well as this being a nice and in my view the moral thing to do, it has been fairly consistently proven that the more contact a child has with both parents early on in life the more psychologically "healthy" they turn out to be. And more tax credits to relieve some of the financial strain of child rearing can't hurt.

4)"Stronger Communities" with an emphasis on Police expansion,

Although I do believe in strong communities the video only mentioned increased policing so thats what I'll work with.

I know I few people out there have reasons to dislike the police, especially if you've ever attended a march or rally, and so do I but for a-political reasons which I'm not getting into. But are society does need a police and the majority of the British public do have a favourable image of them, and what with the constant scaremongering going on in the press about "Broken Britain" emphasizing a strong police force makes good political sense if not idealistic.

5) Some sort of major Education Improvement drive,

It seems going by the vid it looks like theres going to be renewed emphasis on education and "parental authority", now are current education system is in a muddle, we have comprehensives, Public schools, Grammar schools, Religious schools, Academies etc. so reform here could go either way, though I strongly suggest the next policy initiatives listen to the Teaching Unions who have done an excellent job of outlining whats wrong with them now.

6) "Active Democracy"

Now this final one was the worst in my view of the lot. I can see why they made it that way, they didn't want to provide the Tories with ammunition or lose any of the single issue nutters by being seen to take a stand either way on any real issues. Unfortunately that makes Jack here look completely mental, and in effect patronises many of the young activists whom I assume Jacks aimed at attracting. Thats not a really good thing to do, as many activists take themselves very seriously.

So all in all I guess I kind of do like this one. Its quite to my personal tastes but compared to what the other tw... err one and half are pushing this is effectively ambrosia.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

BBC Cuts

Good afternoon everyone, I've just realised that we've been in the whole new month of April for 11 days and I have yet to talk about 38 degrees. Well don't worry I'll correct that oversight right now, by talking about 38 degrees.

Anyway there current Campaigns revolve around the Tobin Tax, a US style recall law for MPs, and the main subject of today's post a campaign to prevent major cuts to the BBC.

Now I know I have been very critical of the BBC at times and there are a number of very serious complaints that can be levelled against it but nevertheless I fully support this campaign. Why? well its really a question of priorities, you see the main cheerleaders for a weakened BBC are the Daily Mail and News International, both of which are much worse. Though the Daily Mail isn't really in a position to profit too much from any wounds to the BBC especially given that many of the proposed cuts will affect the BBC's radio department However news international certainly will be.

Also this particular campaign marks a bit of a shift from 38 degrees usual mode of operation. As well as the usual internet petition 38 degrees has also been canvassing support from MPs and candidates , some of which have signed there pledge. And they also been busy raising money for a series of billboard advertisements around the Country. That last part really makes me excited for two reasons, First it shows that the group is growing and becoming a much more serious activist group. And Second this idea has a promising precedent, you my remember why back in the distant past of February 2010 back when Rod Liddle was on the verge of becoming editor of the Independent (no this isn't a late April fools joke that was actually a very real possibility) it was the fact that the anti Rod campaign was willing to raise money and buy adverts (in the independent no less) attacking Rod as well as al the protest emails and petitions that finally clinched it. So hopefully the ad campaign will have the same effect.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The end of the Mother of all Talk shows?

Apologies as this is a bit late but, it seems like George Galloway's Four year long radio show on Talksport has been brought to an end. You can read George's take on it here.

And here is his farewell's.

Now George is something of a Controversial figure for the left and I know not everyone will be as sad to see him go as I am.

However personal preferences aside I do feel that the ending of the Mother of All Talk shows is detrimental to political discussions in Britain. Can any one out there name another prominent Left wing pundit in the regularly seen in the mainstream media?

Still this new Internet show he talks about looks somewhat promising especially if he can get a few more talking heads on, though the ability to get a large mainstream audience seems a bit challenging; though he does have a few ways of self publicising(the Daily Record Column, his own website, His job at Press TV etc.) But anyway good luck with your future George.

Friday, 2 April 2010

What the Hell is Marxism Leninism?

The problem with ideologies and isms is that there unbelievably difficult to explain to the laymen on the street.

I recently stumbled upon this video which does a decent job at explain Communism or at least Marxism Leninism in fairly simple language.

There are still a few problems though; presentation wise he uses the word "stuff" a few times to many, and his analysis of the Cold War while very accurate in its explanation of the content and effect of the Western trade embargo's on the Socialist block, an area that's often neglected in historical analysis of the USSR though he does ignore a number of less flattering issues that the Soviet Union faced in the period.

Overall though it is still a very good watch especially given the complex nature of the topic he discussed.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Ataturks legacy

(Warning over an hour long).

As a student I naturally waste a lot of my time watching videos on Youtube. Though in my defence I do try to view content of a informative and political nature in between walk throughs for video games I'm stuck on.

So I've become a fan of the Young Turks, a sort of anti establishment moderately left wing web show that exposes hypocrasy and down right insanity in a somewhat humorous its hard to believe kind of way.

Here's a few highlights:

Well atleast they have good taste.

Sadly this one isn't really funny, though thats due to the content of the story being a text book example of Corporate cynicism.

Same with this one

And of course they really let Glenn Beck have it:

I suspected it all along.


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