Tag Archives: politics

Liam Burns (NUS UK President):

One thing we’ve got to understand and get better at is our campaigning techniques. Don’t get me wrong, I do not deride what Quebec students managed to pull off, I’m not saying that the actions in Chile weren’t powerful and inspirational but they are in very, very different political and economic climates. … We are not going to deride those tactics but we need to have 21st-century campaigning when dealing with 21st-century problems …

Patrick Kingsley:

The Chilean movement only became so radical through a similarly lengthy debate, she says. “2011 was the product of 10 years of debate,” adds Paul Floor Pilquil, Vallejo’s colleague at the University of Chile student union (Fech). A decade ago, he says, Chile’s main student bodies were as bogged down in the smaller issues as they are now in Britain. “But then we started to connect all the specific problems.”

Liam Burns essentially says that Chilean students only saw success because they’re living in some backwards state. Leaders of the Chilean student movement say we’re basically playing catch up with how the NUS is attempting to deal with the issues students in the UK are facing.
I know who I’d rather pay attention to (not the one from the organisation that’s leaving UK students out to dangle over access to free education but the one that’s actually forcing ministerial resignations.)
Quotes taken from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/nov/21/student-march-eggs-anger and http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/20/chile-student-rebel-camila-vallejo respectively.


Where has all the shouting gone?

Emily talks politics and feminism and wonders if we’re moving backwards in terms of women’s representation.

This Dame:

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I think university has changed a lot, though it’s hard to pin down exactly the moment that happened.  This is a late night, sleep deprived ramble, largely of conjecture rather than things I have hard facts on.  So feel free to pick it apart.

1. Since Labour came to power the provision of apprenticeships that train people on the job has significantly reduced.  People are pushed into universities as the way to gain vocational training.  With the introduction of fees and increasingly uncertain job markets people who are going into debt over university tend to want to get a job which they think will get them a decent job at the end of it, especially at institutions which predominately service working class or less affluent demographics, such as where I am, which has a massive business school.

Restructuring the way university is accessed, introducing a financial concern, means that courses such as women’s studies or even broader arts and humanities courses which (should) make the student develop deeper understandings of ideas such as equality drop in uptake in exchange for courses which don’t have such matters as their concerns and so their discussion becomes extracurricular.

2. With the change in the demographic which accessed university (i.e. that working class students gained more access) the socialisation as to status, position, and expectations of the main student body changed.  By which I mean where you have working class people making political demands it’s usually substantiated around pay and conditions.  Working class women’s movements made demands for pay and recognition equal to their male counterparts, access to working the same jobs rather than in women’s-only jobs, and so on.

In the 80s and prior to that, where student’s social backgrounds were generally more affluent, they came from a background which had different expectations and demands to make, and more time to spend articulating them without the need to get a part time job to make ends meet.  This point I think is a substantial factor in the general change in radicality of student politics.

3. The way in which we teach matters such as women’s struggle in schools through history lessons and sporadically citizenship in some instances are very much a “they fought for this and then they got it.” Of course it’s good that the matters are taught to an extent, but they are subject to an act of recuperation in doing so. They become a part of normalising the system rather than for providing a basis for criticising it.

“Women demanded x, y, and z. They achieved [some legal recognition of a status of equality] and so it is today.”

I don’t know if this is something that’s substantially changed over time, has only more recently been introduced into history lessons or what.  But I am fairly certain that the accessibility of documentaries, factual TV/radio shows, and so on, in regard to such matters has substantially increased and this has a similar effect of socialisation regardless if the educational conditions somebody was under.

4. There’s a hell of a lot more out there to distract us.  Fifteen different magazines to tell us how to be more like [celebrity] and then another 20 to tell us why [celebrity]’s life is much worse than you’d think.  Many more movies, and easier access to them, umpteen different TV channels, a many more clubs, computer games, and a heavy emphasis on a consumerist society which keeps on pushing outwards.  After a day of study, some extra hours of work, people don’t generally want to engage in complicated political arguments they want to relax and interact with brain mulch that takes their mind away from the drudgery of life.

Discussion on matters such as women’s struggles push the boundaries of comfort.  Why engage with ideas that say that society is fundamentally corrupt and wrong and has to change, when it’s much more convenient to just kick off your shoes, slouch in front of the TV and fall asleep listening to Andrew Marr reiterating how Europe is basically responsible for every good thing that ever happened ever in his latest documentary series?


So I may have diverged from the point, I’m not sure.  And I certainly could have been more articulate.  I should point out I’m not trying to implicate one gender over another as being implicit in the sort of general process I’m outlining but more trying to give an idea in the factors that have overall changed the nature of the discourse on university campuses.

Today is the day the people who send people to die in wars to bolster their failing economies, get to tell everyone they think wars are awful and horrid and they care very deeply about “our” soldiers who die in them.

Labour politicians who sent troops to die and kill in Iraq and Afghanistan, Conservative politicians who have sent Cameron off to support arms sales to Arab states in the midst of civil wars for the last two years. Today they get to wear a poppy, go to a church service and convince us that their conscience is clean, that there’s no blood on their hands.

Lets also take a moment to consider why it is we need charity to support the wounded servicemen and their families. The NHS is being hacked to pieces, social worker’s loads are being increased tenfold, and care homes are being closed. But at least the politicians responsible can rest assured that they’ve made a minuscule donation so that they can publicly declare their very grave concern and support for the people they’ve sent to die and be wounded in a war they have no part in.

If you think the best way to remember the war dead is by buying a paper flower then please have a pleasant day. If you think the best way to do that is to stop sending people to war and build a society which cares for everybody then we still have some ways to go.

No war but class war.

It is truly a marvelous thing to consider to what greatness Athens arrived in the space of one hundred years after she freed herself from the tyranny of Pisistratus; but, above all, it is even more marvelous to consider the greatness Rome reached when she freed herself from her kings. The reason is easy to understand, for it is the common good and not private gain that makes cities great. Yet, without a doubt, this common good is observed only in republics, for in them everything that promotes it is practised, and however much damage it does to this or that private individual, those who benefit from the said common good are so numerous that they are able to advance in spite of the inclination of the few citizens who are oppressed by it.

Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy (via apocalyptic-clusterfuck)

Socialism: The attempt to destroy the individual in favor of the collective.

-Baseball Libertarian (via baseballlibertarian)

I don’t really see why you felt the need to quote yourself.

Idiotic statement either way.

(via naazee)

Yeah man.  I thought it was just certain individuals.

Interesting things from the past:

This letter appears to be a recommendation for a job that Clement Attlee gave to my great, great grandfather.  From what I know, he was born in Glasgow to a single mother and moved to Wales to be raised by … possibly godparents? I don’t think he was incredibly well educated, but in the 20s he moved from South Wales to the Putney area in London and got involved in building the labour movement and Labour Party.  Which, while I have lots of criticisms of them today, was the fucking bang on thing to be doing.

So this is quite a nice thing to have in the family today.  And because I’m feeling a bit proud of having recently discovered this I figured I’d share it.

28 April 1928

Mr M. Horsburgh has been my agent at the last two elections and has been my secretary and party agent since the election of 1924.  He has done extremely well in a very difficult constituency.  He organised a system of weekly collections which has much improved the financial situation and has also got the ward organisation on a sound basis as is shown by the results of the last election.  He has dealt most efficently with the large number of cases which come to me and has establised excellent personal relations with government officials and has scored many successes.  He has a good knowledge of election law and organising methods.  He is a very capable propagandist.

His integrity and character have made him widely respected among all classes in the constituency and I can strongly recommend him for the position for which he is now applying.

Clement Attlee

M.P. Limehouse […]

(Deciphering help from hanguknamja and interruptions


Senior jobcentre executives have warned staff of the risk of benefit claimants attempting suicide as controversial changes to sicknessbenefits are being pushed through.

The warning, contained in an internal email sent to staff by three senior managers of the government-run jobcentres, warns staff that ill-handling of benefit changes for vulnerable claimants could have “profound results” and highlights the case of one suicide attempt this year.

It emphasises the need for the “utmost care and sensitivity” when dealing with customers, as a result of “difficult changes which some of our more vulnerable customers may take some time to accept and adjust to”.

The email, adds: “Very sadly, only last week a customer of DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] attempted suicide” – which it adds is “said to be the result of receiving a letter” informing him that his sickness benefit would be cut off.

And yet the Tories label us the violent thugs …

Jobcentre bosses warn of suicide risk among benefit claimants



So these signs are placed up all around my school…

I am curious: this is a university. This is an university where you must know English. Why are our signs in Spanish?

Oh no! One of those pesky non-bigots must’ve sneaked onto the election coordination committee! 

Pretty sure that sign has the English on it as well.  I mean I know that I don’t speak Spanish and I can pretty much understand the gist of what the sign is getting at …


(via The Dark Money Behind the Wisconsin Recall | Mother Jones)


A teenager was taken to hospital when his hair was set alight by English Defence League supporters who attacked an anti-Jubilee party in Newcastle.

The 18-year-old, who does not wish to be identified, was hit by a burning firework thrown during the clash at Grey’s Monument between more than 100 English Defence League and National Front members and anti-Jubliee protestors.

“Stuff the Jubilee” Party Attacked By EDL


What seems like a fanciful Hollywood image is a reality in today’s Greece. At night, black-shirted vigilantes from the Holocaust-denying neo-fascist Golden Dawn movement – which won 7 per cent of the vote in the last round of elections, and had the support, it’s said, of 50 per cent of the Athenian police – have been patrolling the street and beating up all the immigrants they can find: Afghans, Pakistanis, Algerians. So this is how Europe is defended in the spring of 2012.

The trouble with defending European civilisation against the immigrant threat is that the ferocity of the defence is more of a threat to ‘civilisation’ than any number of Muslims. With friendly defenders like this, Europe needs no enemies. A hundred years ago, G.K. Chesterton articulated the deadlock in which critics of religion find themselves: ‘Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church … The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them.’ Many liberal warriors are so eager to fight anti-democratic fundamentalism that they end up dispensing with freedom and democracy if only they may fight terror. If the ‘terrorists’ are ready to wreck this world for love of another, our warriors against terror are ready to wreck democracy out of hatred for the Muslim other. Some of them love human dignity so much that they are ready to legalise torture to defend it. It’s an inversion of the process by which fanatical defenders of religion start out by attacking contemporary secular culture and end up sacrificing their own religious credentials in their eagerness to eradicate the aspects of secularism they hate.

But Greece’s anti-immigrant defenders aren’t the principal danger: they are just a by-product of the true threat, the politics of austerity that have caused Greece’s predicament. The next round of Greek elections will be held on 17 June. The European establishment warns us that these elections are crucial: not only the fate of Greece, but maybe the fate of the whole of Europe is in the balance. One outcome – the right one, they argue – would allow the painful but necessary process of recovery through austerity to continue. The alternative – if the ‘extreme leftist’ Syriza party wins – would be a vote for chaos, the end of the (European) world as we know it.

The prophets of doom are right, but not in the way they intend. Critics of our current democratic arrangements complain that elections don’t offer a true choice: what we get instead is the choice between a centre-right and a centre-left party whose programmes are almost indistinguishable. On 17 June, there will be a real choice: the establishment (New Democracy and Pasok) on one side, Syriza on the other. And, as is usually the case when a real choice is on offer, the establishment is in a panic: chaos, poverty and violence will follow, they say, if the wrong choice is made. The mere possibility of a Syriza victory is said to have sent ripples of fear through global markets. Ideological prosopopoeia has its day: markets talk as if they were persons, expressing their ‘worry’ at what will happen if the elections fail to produce a government with a mandate to persist with the EU-IMF programme of fiscal austerity and structural reform. The citizens of Greece have no time to worry about these prospects: they have enough to worry about in their everyday lives, which are becoming miserable to a degree unseen in Europe for decades. [keep reading]

Save us from the saviours: Europe and the Greeks | Slavoj Žižek




If you don’t want to see a naked person, don’t watch this video.

This sort of came about because I wanted to get a picture of a fish blogged as many times as possible, because the people who’d made it didn’t want that fish reblogged.  Yup.

In which we are reminded of Sam’s sexy swagger that Kate and I insisted upon because of the commie fish thing…

reblogging again bc attractive naked men reading from books need to be on my apge more often.

Just yeah.  This is all.


Smells like freedom doesn’t it?



LONDON — Some 12,500 officers will be deployed daily during the Olympic Games in the country’s largest ever pre-planned policing operation, according to the Metropolitan force.

With 67 days to go until the event begins, police revealed that 52 forces from around Britain will provide officers for the operation, which will run from June 4 until September 16, after the close of the Paralympic Games.

There will be around 12,500 officers on duty during peak days with 9,500 operating in London, according to a statement released by police.

Specialist officers trained in search techniques, marine, public order and firearms will be on call along with the mounted sections, dog units and motorcycle escorts.

“Every force is playing its part in delivering a fantastic summer of celebration,” said National Olympic Security Coordinator Chris Allison.

“The summer of 2012 will be a busy and challenging time for the British police service, but with confidence and pride I can say we have the officers we need to keep the Games and our wider communities safe and secure,” he added.

A security force of more than 40,000 people, backed by a huge intelligence operation, is to guard the Games — which start on July 27 — at a cost of £553 million ($877 million, 662 million euros).

Some 13,500 of the security personnel will be from the Ministry of Defence and armed forces, working alongside police and more than 16,000 private security guards and unpaid volunteers.

Security chiefs are believed to be preparing for a range of threats including a “lone wolf” terrorist, riots or cyber-attacks.

In February thousands of emergency personnel held a two-day exercise simulating a terror attack on the Underground train network during the Olympics.

London to deploy security force of 40,000 during Olympics

“if voting changed anything, it would be illegal”


this is probably the #1 issue i have with other anarchists and “radicals” in general, and it’s almost always coming from white dudes who are relatively class-stable* (meaning they have families to fall back on if things become difficult, no children, no health care needs, and they basically choose to live in poverty and can do so comfortably). 

and it’s bullshit. it’s not even true. 

like i get that voting is not going to bring about any systemic changes and that we are “voting for the lesser evil” and all that shit. i myself was opposed to voting until fairly recently when i wisened up. but i simply cannot support the viewpoint that we should vote for the worst candidate with the hopes that the entire system will fall apart. i find that logic to be completely asinine. similarly, abstaining from voting because one believes the candidates are too similar to matter is an incredibly privileged decision.

because while the left and right wing in the US are both corporately controlled, pro capitalist, pro privatization, etc. the fact remains that, if the GOP was in power, a lot more people would literally die due to being denied resources. you cannot convince someone at the bottom of the social hierarchy that there are no differences between the parties. they are the groups that are MOST affected by the differences that anarchists either deny the existence of entirely, or consider to be too small to matter. i’m talking about the extremely poor, mostly consisting of POC, people with disabilities, & trans people.

too many people think these populations are disposable and are ‘necessary sacrifices’ which is just disgusting and i want no part in any movement that encourages such thinking. 

*(and yes i know that quote is usually attributed to emma goldman, but that’s irrelevant.)



A black firefighter has said he was assaulted, shot with a stun gun and arrested as he tried to help police while he was off-duty, in the latest racism allegation against Scotland Yard.

Edric Kennedy-Macfoy, 28, made a formal complaint after the incident in the early hours of September 4, in which he says he approached police who were dealing with a disturbance to give them a description of a youth he had seen throw a rock at a police van.

The group of six officers, who were dispersing partygoers — some of whom had turned violent — in Harrow, north London, assaulted and insulted Kennedy-Macfoy, according to his account, before deploying the electric shock weapon and detaining him without good cause.

Kennedy-Macfoy was charged with obstructing police, but found not guilty at Brent Magistrates’ Court in February.

The Guardian, which is campaigning on the issue of police racism, quoted Inspector David Bergum as saying in court: “I couldn’t say he was anything to do with the party. The party was all black. He was black. He had driven through the cordon. I had to do a quick risk assessment.”

The Metropolitan Police said that its Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) were both investigating. Kennedy-Macfoy’s lawyer sent a further complaint letter to the force this week.

Black firefighter tasered as he tried to help police

Anarchism is not a movement.




Anarchism is not about collectives, communes, nor solidarity.

Anarchism is not revolution; it’s not a change.

It’s a return to the state of nature, and I wish all you so-called revolutionaries would realize this.

Your capital “A”, your flags, your outfits, your chants and mottos; they’re a distraction. The concept of anarchism has been perverted to a disgusting teenage trend. Protesters in the street are breaking windows, and it’s for nothing more than the sake of image.

It’s sickening.

Are you for real? I’m I seriously reading someone say that Anarchism is a return to the state of nature? Primitivism I would agree complies with what you’re saying but all anarchistic philosophy? Whaaaaat?

“return to the state of nature”





if you’re gonna be semantic then I will be too.

“Protesters in the street are breaking windows, and it’s for nothing more than the sake of image.”

When all of the other reasons for engaging in a pre-emptive war against Iraq were proven wanting, the president appealed to the idea that the freedom conferred on Iraq was in and of itself an adequate justification for the war. The Iraqis were free, and that was all that really mattered. But what sort of ‘freedom’ is envisaged here, since, as the cultural critic Matthew Arnold long ago thoughtfully observed, ‘freedom is a very good horse to ride, but to ride somewhere’. To what destination, then, are the Iraqi people expected to ride the horse of freedom donated to them by force of arms?
The Bush administration’s answer to this question was spelled out on 19 September 2003, when Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, promulgated four orders that included ‘the full privatization of public enterprises, full ownership rights by foreign firms of Iraqi businesses, full repatriation of foreign profits … the opening of Iraq’s banks to foreign control, national treatment for foreign companies and … the elimination of nearly all trade barriers’. The orders were to apply to all areas of the economy, including public services, the media, manufacturing, services, transportation, finance, and construction. Only oil was exempt (presumably because of its special status as revenue producer to pay for the war and its geopolitical significance). The labour market, on the other hand, was to be strictly regulated. Strikes were effectively forbidden in key sectors and the right to unionize restricted. A highly regressive ‘flat tax’ (an ambitious tax reform plan long advocated for implementation by conservatives in the US) was also imposed.
These orders were, some argued, in violation of the Geneva and Hague Conventions, since an occupying power is mandated to guard the assets of an occupied country and not sell them off.

David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism

But no, free trade ex vi termini means happy peace confetti. What do you mean these same measures are being imposed on the fringe EU countries? Nah that’s just a coincidence. Austerity is just the hangover-after-the-party.

(via bbthity)


“The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously, with an immense expansion of democracy, which, for the first time, becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery, their resistance must be crushed by force; it is clear that there is no freedom and no democracy where there is suppression and where there is violence.”

-V.I. Lenin, The State And Revolution

… that July agreement was terrible for the Greeks, and brilliant for the bankers. It was widely panned at the time, for slicing only 21% off the value of Greece’s loans, when Angela Merkel and many others agreed that financiers ought to be taking a much bigger hit. As the German government’s economic adviser, Wolfgang Franz, later remarked in an interview: “If you look at the 21% and our demand for a 50% participation of private creditors, the financial sector has been very successful.” Another way of putting it would be to say that the bankers overpowered even the strongest state in Europe.

None of this was inevitable. Iceland had made it clear that simply defaulting on one’s loans didn’t immediately lead to economic apocalypse. Across Greece, there were massive, repeated protests about the enormous spending cuts that citizens would suffer by paying off Goldman Sachs and the rest. And there was a growing movement in Greece and Portugal and France, among other countries, questioning the legitimacy of some of these loans.

None of these voters, none of these opinions got even a fraction of the consideration, let alone the face time, that was extended to Dallara and Ackermann. At Corporate Europe Observatory in Brussels, Yiorgos Vassalos has been tracking the negotiations over Greece: by his reckoning only the IIF got to have such personal, close-up access. These were summits settling how much misery would be imposed on the Greek people – and no trade unions or civil society groups got a say in them. “The only key players in those meetings were European governments and the bankers,” says Vassalos.

Aditya Chakrabortty – Why do bankers get to decide who pays for the mess Europe is in?, writing in The Guardian.

The IIF stands for International Institute for Finance, which is a clever way to say “lobbying group for the biggest banks globally.”

The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945

Suicide note of Dimitris Christoulas.

Greece is in a really precarious position at the moment, with unelected technocrats calling the shots in Government and being one of the “newer” democracies, having been under a junta in the late 60s to mid 70s.  There’s a great deal of racist and anti-immigrant violence from fascists in Greece, and at the same time a lot of resistance from the left and the various unions.  Debt plans put in place by the IMF are both destroying the Greek economy and the living standards of the everyday Greek people, while bankers continue to profit.