Blog recommendations, for homeless leftists

Cross-posted from Bob From Brockley

We have reached the level of the dark times of the early Middle Ages. The need to reflect on this. The extreme difficulty of reflecting on it. — Victor Serge

Lots of the blogs I have followed for a long time seem to be slowly dying,  but there are new ones out there, and old healthy ones, and ones that are not so new but new to me. Here are a couple that have caught my eye lately. (more…)

Today in 1956: Nye Bevan

Great speeches of the 20th century: Aneurin Bevan

From the Guardian’s “great speeches” series: Nye Bevan: Weapons for squalid and trivial ends, December 5, 1956

Aneurin Bevan: Great speeches of the 20th century Weapons for squalid and trivial ends
This is an edited version of the speech delivered to the House of Commons on December 5 1956.
Read the full speech

Listen to Bevan’s speech
Hear Bevan deliver a blistering address about the Suez Crisis at a rally held in Trafalgar Square on November 4 1956 (5mins 16s).
· Courtesy of the BBC

Tam Dalyell The greatest Commons performance
Tam Dalyell: It was not only loyal Bevanites who judged Nye’s tour de force as the greatest of speeches; it was also opponents and victims.

From the Guardian archives:

Mr Bevan indicts the ‘synthetic villains’
December 6 1956: Mr Selwyn Lloyd was bound to seem pedestrian beside Mr Bevan. He was unfortunate to be drawn against Labour’s brilliant swordsman in the opening round of the two-day contest on Suez.

Miliband and Labour

Two great bits of Milibandism from Shiraz Socialist and Entdinglichung.

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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RIP

Tony Judt:

First, Scott McLemee and Timothy Garton Ash. Next, two surprisingly warm and appreciative obits from the heart of the Zionist propaganda machine: Ronald Radosh in PJMedia and Geoffrey Alderman in the JC. See also more tributes in the JC,

Ken Coates:

An obituary on the Aug/Sept Red Pepper is not on line. [Previous.]

Jimmy Reid:

Jim Denham and (showing I’m not one to bear a grudge) Richard Seymour. [Previous.]

Pat Longman:

Martin Thomas remembers a comrade.

John Sankey:

I have to say I never knew, or even heard of, John Sankey, but I found Paul Stott’s tribute to this Class Warrior incredibly moving.

More catching up

This was meant to be in my last round-up: Don’t blame Bevan, a robust defence of Nye against the Kinnockite scum.

The author, Carl, also has a piece on Christopher Hitchens and prayer and Andrew Coates has a long and very good review of Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch 22. This provokes quite a long comment thread, involving our comrades Mick Hall and Mike Ezra, who recounts the debate in a post at Harry’s Place entitled A Debate with the Indecent Left. The Coatesy comment thread, unlike more or less any at Harry’s Place, is well worth reading.

Meanwhile, as Carl informs me, a furore has raged in the pokier corners of the leftiesphere about said Place, specifically the association with it of one Terry FitzPatrick, street-fighting man, veteran anti-racist and, erm, bon viveur, recently arrested for racism in relation to statements made to Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and Lee Jasper, black liberation tsar. (When I lived in Brixton, Jasper’s names featured prominently in local graffiti, which described him as a police informer, on which I will not pass comment). Here‘s Andrew again, but more relevant are posts by Richard Seymour, Lee Jasper and especially this series at Socialist Unity: 1, 2, 3, 4. Here are the charges against Fitz, to which he is pleading not guilty. I won’t weigh in on this debate (although the links to HP posts in the following paragraphs will show that I am not chopping them out of my on-line life) except to note that Woolley and Jasper’s faith in bourgeois law as a tool to punish alleged racists is rather in contradiction to their disregard for due process in making a big deal of this before the court rules – in contrast, say, to Paul Stott, an anarchist who prefers not to upset the legal proceedings.

Some unrelated things: Lucha, lucha, lucha! (Mexican wrestling superhero activist comics). Diane Abbott is the real (Ralph) Miliband. The sins of the grandchildren (obliquely Milibandist and related to this). Ron Radosh on the hubris of Peter Beinart and the politics of Father Coughlin and on Howard Zinn’s FBI files. Alan Milburn’s Trotskyist past. The miracle of News Line.

Umissable: John Sweeney’s World Service documentary on Stalin’s “useful idiots“.

Jimmy Reid: Last of the great Clyde-built liners slips off; Jimmy Reid addresses supporters of the sit-in in 1971; YouTube Remembering a comrade: Jimmy Reid. A great round-up of obituaries at Socialist Unity (featuring Joan McAlpine, Paul Corby from Labour Uncut, Councillor Terry Kelly, Mick Hall and Johanna Baxter from Labour List), to which we can add Francis Sedgemore and John McTernan in the Daily Telegraph.

Marxist theory: AVPS on Gramsci, internal class divisions and the party; Alex Snowdon on the united front; Duncan Hallas on the united front; Tony McKenna on Lukacs and class consciousness; David Mitchell on autonomism versus democratic centralism; Permanent Revolution say it’s all Lenin’s fault.

History notes: Chris Nineham on Harold Isaac on the Chinese revolution; Summit Sarkar on a Marxian history of India; Poplar 1921; Peterloo 1819; Carry On Barcelona 1937; the British Library and the Czech Legion; Anarcho-philately;

From the archives: Socialist Standard 1924The Blackshirt 1935; International Socialism 1975 (Hallas on the Comintern and the united front); Workers Power 1980Socialist Worker Review 1990 (Callinicos reviews Tariq Ali).

To add to the blogroll if they’re not already there: Divergenta, Reifying the leftIn praise of small things, Enchanted Alphabet (via Airforce Amazons, in praise of the mantilla).


Michael Foot again

http://www.toimg.net/managed/images/10034073/w200/image.jpgI assembled my post for Michael Foot rather hastily yesterday. Here is another attempt. Yesterday, the thought I had was that Foot is remembered today for his 1980s leadership of the Labour Party and the incident of the donkey jacket [sic] at the Cenotaph, and for walking a dog on Hampstead Heath. I wanted to remind people that he was also an important figure in the earlier, complex and contradictory, history of democratic socialism in Britain, with his involvement in the final period of the Independent Labour Party as it tried to stear a course between left social democratic Stalinist fellow travelling and independent, anti-totalitarian democratic socialism – and, later, as that current entered the official Labour Party, Cold War Atlanticist anti-Communist social democracy.

Here are some more recent tributes: (more…)

Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 10:48 am  Comments (8)  
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Michael Foot

Read:

The Tribune obituary, by Geoffrey Goodman.

Arthur Marwick “Leading the Labour Party”: A review of Michael Foot: A Portrait by Simon Hoggart and David Leigh.

Some snips from other sources, about some aspects of Foot’s life less remembered now.

(more…)

Tings and tings

Killing and dying for “the old lie” - World War and the triumph of militarism over anti-fascism.

Spain is nice at this time of year - the BNP and Spanish fascism.

Beijing Coma – can the symbols of classic socialism still be symbols of emancipation, despite their blood stains?

Oscar Wilde on socialist songs – Up, ye People! or down into your graves!

The partisan poet – Adam Kirsch on Abba Kovner.

Ethel MacDonald and Bob Smillie – and Guy Aldred and Fenner Brockway. More Guy Aldred.

Carlo Tresca – The Dilemma of an Anti-Communist Radical.

The sweet and the cruel - Ian Buruma on Occupied Paris.

The Labour Party between the wars - ideological contours.

A postcard from Coyoacan – Trotsky’s last home in Mexico.

TROTSKY’s STUDY – WHERE HE WAS SITTING WHEN HE WAS MURDERED  WITH AN ICE PICK

Translated novels - including Victor Serge’s Unforgiving Years.

Stalin’s Terror – a review by Peter Taafe.

David North on Robert Service on Leon Trotksy (and on James Burnham on Isaac Duetscher on Leon Trotsky) – not sure if I’ve already posted this one.

Open letter to Havana - on Stalinist slurs against the Freedom Socialist Party.

The Black Marxist Tradition – an interview with Cedric J Robinson.

You don’t play with revolution, Alfie – Lady Poverty on CLR James on Marxism. (And here’s James from AK.)

The Search for the Tassili Frescoes – Afrocentrist history and CLR James at Federal College.

The John Hope Franklin File - the FBI, anti-communism and black history.

Stalin: Why and How – Boris Souvarine.

The myth of Mondragon - Louis Proyect debunks Spanish autogestion?

Poplarism - a review of Janine Booth’s book.

Half a century of Hausman’s – from the North East London radicals, from Permanent Revolution.

A Rebel’s dream – Ian Birchall on Ernest Mandel.

George Padmore – forgotten fighter.

Reasoning otherwise - Canadian radicalism 1890-1920.

More years of the locust - Permanent Revolution on Jim Higgins on the origins of the IS.

Decline – Scott McLemee on Cornel West. Plus more from Michael Tomasky.

New from AK: Italian anarchism 1864-92, French anarchism 1917-45, Zapatismo and the Panthers.

Flag Day in Lawrence, MA, 1912 – a slice of IWW history.

What is the CNT? Two from Christie Books:

Facts About the Spanish Resistance 2 – What is the CNT? by José Peirats

Anarchists in LondonThe Anarchists in London 1935-1955 by Albert Meltzer

Clement Atlee for today

Clement Atlee speaks before Picasso's Guernica at the Whitechapel GalleryAlthough he is a little reformist and socialism-from-above for me, I have a soft spot for Clement Atlee, not least because he went to Spain in 1937 to support the Republican cause, and because he was involved in getting Picasso’s “Guernica” to the Whitechapel gallery. Here is Carl Packman on the relevance of Atlee in the economic crisis today (version 1, version 2).

While we’re kind of on the subject (well, very loosely), here’s one labour movement activist’s thoughts on Tolpuddle. And here’s Champagne Charlie on the last British veteran of World War I.

Poumacious

Some day I’ll get around to writing an original blog post. In the meantime, more notes and notelets.

In City Journal, Fred Siegel takes a razor to the horrible, proto-fascist, eugenicist Fabian HG Wells, and argues that he is the godfather of American liberalism. From a conservative perspective, but absolutely right in many ways, although I don’t think that he makes the case for how Wells shaped American liberalism, and that his anti-democratic politics really left a legacy. Wells, however, like his fellow Fabians, represents a socialism-from-above that has been a strong strain in the British left, arguably inherited by the paternalist New Labour project today. Luckily, it has been countered by a tradition of socialism-from-below, running through William Morris, Keir Hardie, George Orwell, Nye Bevan, Michael Young, Raymond Williams and Maurice Brinton. Who inherits that tradition todGeorge Orwell - broadcasting 1984, which is 60 years old next weekay though?

Talking of socialism-from-below, in the Telegraph, the irritating Jeremy Paxman has an excellent piece about George Orwell‘s wonderfulness. Sunday was, of course, the 60th anniversary of Orwell’s 1984, and the chattering classes have been going to town. Here, a number of them twitter about Orwell. Alexei Sayle’s contribution stands out. And, decidedly beyond the chattering classes, here is the late Robert Barltrop of the SPGB.


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