The Road to Wigan Pier

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Paul Stott: History Retold: From Wigan Pier To The Paris Commune

Two interesting uses for Twitter and Blogging.

Seventy five years on, the people behind the Orwell Prize website have been reposting daily extracts from George Orwell’s The Road To Wigan Pier. The format seems to suit Orwell perfectly, and to take one example – his description of Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire, is evocative to anyone who has every visited a sight out of season.

A second use of this method comes from Alex Butterworth, who is tweeting a daily update of events at the Paris Commune, reproducing the voices of the participants – shame we know how it ended!

And a third to mark 200 years on from the days when the Luddites rioted across the north and the midlands – even would you believe, in Wilmslow!

Jim D at Shiraz Socialist:

Of course, the New Statesman has form. Back in the 1930′s it refused to publish George Orwell’s writings on the Spanish Civil War for fear of offending the Comintern and their local agents. Orwell never forgave the then-editor Kingsley Martin, a supple-spined “left” power-worshipper who seems to have uncannily prefigured both Peter Wilby (editor 1998-2005) and the present incumbent Jason Cowley.

The final straw, for me,  came last week with an edition edited by upper class “wadical” Jemima Kahn, largely devoted to promoting the preening anti-semitic loon Julian Assange and other posh friends and relatives like her Tory brother Zac Goldsmith and her ex-hubby Hugh Grant. The high-spot of the issue is Jemima’s own interview with her friend  Nick Clegg , who wails, “I’m not a punchbag: I have feelings.”

Rosie Bell:

On the left there is a hero gap.  Che is dead, Castro too old, Ortega is compromised, and Chavez is a bit of a buffoon. Enter Assange to fill the space.  His appearance adds to the mystique.  He is pale, and looks slightly alien and that along with his giant computer-like brain gives him the air of someone from a science fiction world, some sister planet of Vulcan where they have not evolved pointed ears.  He came as the man of mystery and enigma.


Witty anarchists: Red Star Commando on Marxism and anarchism. Anarchist jokes.

Earnest Trotskyists: Lenin and James Connolly on the Dublin labour war of 1913. Peter Taaffe on Eric Hobsbawm. SOYMB on Chris Bambery. (OYMB not the earnest Trots – Bambery is!)

Alternative socialist traditions: Andrew Coates on GDH Cole, guild socialism and Blue Labour, and via him an interesting Guild Socialism blog, with posts on Karl Marlo and loads more.

Towards a theory of radical history: Dave Osler on generations, and the 2010 generation of radicals.

Unrelated: Dali and the Jews.

Orwell’s diaries get interesting

He’s in Tangiers now:

Two buildings here flying Spanish Republican flag, including one called La Casa de Espana, some sort of club, displaying the usual Government posters. Some shops display Franco posters (the Arriba Espana poster almost exactly like a Government one). Writings on wall not common and pro-Franco and pro-Government ones about equally common, the latter perhaps slightly more so. Generally simply Viva or Muera Franco, or U.H.P., or C.N.T.F.A.I., or very rarely U.G.T. No initials of political parties except the F.A.I., the Phalange and once the J.S.U. All these inscriptions invariably Spanish. No clue to attitude of Moors. (See newspaper cutting Petit Marocain of 15.9.36.) (b)¹

Poverty here not extreme for an oriental city. Nevertheless an immense development of mendicancy, the whole town living on the tourist trade. Not many actual beggars but countless touts for curio-shops, brothels etc. Most people speak Spanish, many French and all those connected with the tourist racket speak some English. Local physique very good, especially the young men both Moors and Spaniards etc. In spite of Europeanisation almost all Moors wear the burnous and fez and most of the younger women are veiled. Estimated earnings of longshore fishermen about 3d. an hour.

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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