Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Articles

The Chartists Sacred Month of August 1839 & the politics of the Greek Oxi

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2015 by kmflett

The Chartists Sacred Month of August 1839 & the politics of a Greek Oxi

oxi

In August 1839 the Chartists proclaimed a Grand National Holiday or Sacred Month.

The ‘Holiday’ was the idea of William Benbow. Like many radical activists in the nineteenth century he ranged across a variety of occupations, from pornographer to coffee house keeper to grocer and journalist, to survive.

Benbow’s plan might well have stayed simply an interesting idea were it not for the fact that the Chartist Convention of summer 1839 adopted it as policy and determined to put it into operation in August of that year, starting on the 12th of the month.

It is was a view of the early labour movement, which in the period of what some call ‘late capitalism’ has, once again, a strong echo.

We are familiar with General Strikes around the world which demand specific things. The Grand National Holiday wanted to go much further. In short it planned to disengage from capitalism until the system stopped working.

This meant that not only was no work to be done, but that supporters of the Sacred Month should withdraw any savings they had in banks or other institutions. They were also required to abstain from all taxable articles such as drink and tobacco. On 12th August 1839 in many, mainly northern areas, the pubs were shut.

It was argued that aside from anything else this prevented any disorder and drunkenness as the month got underway.

How was the call for the Sacred Month implemented?

The weekly Chartist newspaper The Northern Star for the 17th and 24th August 1839 reported meetings across the north, often with very large turnouts comprising a majority of the working population of particular areas, which then proceeded to march to surrounding locations to pull others out in support of the Sacred Month.

Perhaps the best way of describing this is as a mass flying picket, but before the motor vehicle, the only way to do this was to march on foot.

There is not a uniform picture of how long people stayed out for- some days in a number of areas- but not the whole month. Again the logistics were complicated. With so many out, and long before any kind of welfare system, people had to balance support for the holiday with the need to survive in terms of eating and providing for those unable to work.

Perhaps some had small holdings that allowed them to survive without wage labour, possibly being only recently agricultural workers. This was part of the project that became in the later 1840s the Chartist Land Plan, but for the Sacred Month itself detail on this remains, as yet, scarce.

Even in areas where the strike did not take hold there was at least symbolic support. In London on 12th August there was a mass Chartist meeting on Kennington Common for example.

Why did the strike fail?

Firstly because many leading Chartists were understandbly preoccupied with State persecution, arrests and trials, relating to the 1839 Convention and didn’t give full attention to organising the Grand National Holiday.

Just before the Holiday was due to start the comparatively right-wing Chartists, Collins and Lovett, had been jailed.

Secondly because the 1839 Metropolitan Police Act had seen the introduction of new police forces in some areas. For example in Manchester the police, known as the ‘bludgeon men’ attacked and arrested strikers. The authorities, as might be expected, wanted to thwart the Sacred Month, if need be by force.

The historian of Chartism Malcolm Chase notes that with support for the Holiday being patchy the Convention attempted to draw back from a month long cessation from work and replace it with a three day General Strike starting on Monday 12th August.

Yet in some places the tone of Chartist literature was decidedly revolutionary if not even tinged with millenarianism, looking at a final strike against capitalism.

Of course socialists in Greece cannot simply replicate the Chartist tactics of 1839.  Even so in a country where the banking system is at a state of crisis and vital supplies including medicines are under threat, the idea that capitalism is a system without a clear future-something very much in the minds of those who took action in August 1839- must be present again.

The basic idea is an important one. As European Capital tries to disengage from Athens, the Greek labour movement could sue for divorce first.

A version of this post appeared in the Morning Star on July 2nd

 

 

 

Articles

Jeremy Corbyn wins new Beard Award

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 4th July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Jeremy Corbyn wins new Beard Award

corbynBS15

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has bearded Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis by winning the Beard of Summer 2015 poll.

It is the latest in a long string of Awards that have recognised the positive impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s beard in public life.

In winning the on-line poll he also beat such well known beard wearers as Sir Lenny Henry and presenter Graham Norton.

Both Corbyn and Eavis have won previous accolades for their beards, with Eavis being Beard of the Decade in 2010 and Corbyn winning the Parliamentary Beard of the Year vote a record 5 times

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said it is no accident that Jeremy Corbyn keeps winning Awards for his beard. It underlines that he is not some identikit clean shaven politician in a suit but someone prepared to buck the framework of conventional Westminster politics.

Shortlist

Jimmy Anderson, cricketer

Gareth Bale, footballer

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leadership contender

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO

Michael Eavis, farmer

Paul Gascoigne, personality

Sir Lenny Henry, actor

Adam Jogee, Labour Councillor

Graham Norton, broadcaster

Jonny Wilkinson. Sports personality

Beard Week 2015

Mon 29 June: Hirsute Personality 2015 announced: the hirsute person who has made the positive impact in public life during the year. Winner, urban cheesemaker Philip Wilton

Tues 30 June: Beard Friendly Sandwich 2015 announced: the sandwich where the mayo & salad doesn’t get caught in the beard Winner, corned beef & pickle

Wed 1st July: Hirsute Broadcaster 2015 announced: will there be a TV news reporter this year for the first time? Winner, James O’Brien. Special mention Jonathan Agnew

Thurs 2nd July: Pogonophobe of the Year: we name the biggest beard hater of the year. Winner, Katie Hopkins

Fri 3rd July: Beard Friendly Employer 2015 announced: are there more than ever to choose from? Brewdog bars

Sat 4th July: Beard of Summer 2015 announced. The third of the four quarterly seasonal Awards leading up to Beard of the Year in December Jeremy Corbyn

 

Articles

Brewdog bars named beard friendly employer of the year

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 2nd July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Brewdog bars named beard friendly employer of the year

brewdog

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that Brewdog bars, the pub arm of the Scottish craft brewery, has been named Beard Friendly Employer of the Year.

The campaigners say that it is rare indeed not to find at least one and often several interesting beards behind the bar in a Brewdog pub.

The pubs are based across the UK as well as some locations in Europe and further afield

Brewdog in the UK is a Living Wage employer and the BLF says that a generally progressive employment policy is also more like to lead to a beard friendly approach at work.

Winners of the accolade in recent times have ranged from the Church of England to Beavertown brewery

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we think Brewdog bars are a positive model for the beard friendly employer. The combination of craft beer and beards, while not essential, does send an important message of beard friendliness.

 

Beard Week 2015

 

Mon 29 June: Hirsute Personality 2015 announced: the hirsute person who has made the positive impact in public life during the year. Winner, urban cheesemaker Philip Wilton

 

Tues 30 June: Beard Friendly Sandwich 2015 announced: the sandwich where the mayo & salad doesn’t get caught in the beard Winner, corned beef & pickle

 

Wed 1st July: Hirsute Broadcaster 2015 announced: will there be a TV news reporter this year for the first time? Winner, James O’Brien. Special mention Jonathan Agnew

 

Thurs 2nd July: Pogonophobe of the Year: we name the biggest beard hater of the year. Winner, Katie Hopkins

 

Fri 3rd July: Beard Friendly Employer 2015 announced: are there more than ever to choose from? Brewdog bars

 

Sat 4th July: Beard of Summer 2015 announced. The third of the four quarterly seasonal Awards leading up to Beard of the Year in December

 

Articles

Katie Hopkins named Pogonophobe of the Year after Beard Week poll

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 1st July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Katie Hopkins named Pogonophobe of the Year after Beard Week poll

hopkins

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has that controversial columnist and commentator Katie Hopkins has won a Beard Week poll for Pogonophobe of the Year.

Other contenders including Jeremy Clarkson and Nigel Farage hardly got to shave their faces as Ms Hopkins won the poll.

Pogonophobia, from the ancient Greek, is fear or hatred of facial hair.

Ms Hopkins is well known for pogonophobic comments, one of the milder ones (March 2015) being that she would not suggest any woman should marry a man with a ‘naff, bum-fluff beard’

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said,  of course her pogonophobia is only one of a number of areas where Ms Hopkins has expressed reactionary views but it is interesting that her beard hatred hardly warrants  a mention. On that basis she was a worthy winner of the poll

Beard Week 2015

 

Mon 29 June: Hirsute Personality 2015 announced: the hirsute person who has made the positive impact in public life during the year. Winner, urban cheesemaker Philip Wilton

 

Tues 30 June: Beard Friendly Sandwich 2015 announced: the sandwich where the mayo & salad doesn’t get caught in the beard Winner, corned beef & pickle

 

Wed 1st July: Hirsute Broadcaster 2015 announced: will there be a TV news reporter this year for the first time? Winner, James O’Brien. Special mention Jonathan Agnew

 

Thurs 2nd July: Pogonophobe of the Year: we name the biggest beard hater of the year. Winner, Katie Hopkins

 

Fri 3rd July: Beard Friendly Employer 2015 announced: are there more than ever to choose from?

 

Sat 4th July: Beard of Summer 2015 announced. The third of the four quarterly seasonal Awards leading up to Beard of the Year in December

 

Articles

Essential beard care guidelines for the summer heat

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2015 by kmflett

butcherssummer

Beard Liberation Front: essential  tips for maintaining the Beard in 35C heat

  • If the beard is above six inches in length some moderate summer pruning may be in order. If following Marxist guidelines, temporary shaving may be in order (see Marx in Algiers, 1882)
  • If the beard does start to overheat immersing it in the freezer cabinet of the nearest supermarket will provide an instant remedy. Alternatively some public buildings such as the British Library are also hot beard friendly
  • Hand held fans may also be used to ventilate the beard
  • If the beard starts to dry out in the heat and follicles become brittle regular immersion in a pint of craft beer will moisturise and nourish the beard
  • If the beard starts to become brittle in the heat apply ice immediately
  • Beard oils may also help to keep the beard supple during hot weather but immersion in beer is a more effective way of achieving the same end

Beard Week 2015 started on 29th June and concludes with the announcement of the Beard of Summer on 4th July

Articles

JD Wetherspoon retreats from Haringey?

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2015 by kmflett

JD Wetherspoon retreats from Haringey?

The Morning Advertiser carried a report on 30th June that JD Wetherspoon has put 20 leasehold pubs on the market:

http://mobile.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Operators/JD-Wetherspoon/JDW-puts-20-pubs-on-the-market

They include the Devonshire House in Crouch End which is a relatively new pub (although in an area that has a good number) and the White Lion of Mortimer on Stroud Green Rd which is a very longstanding Spoons.

The Crouch End pub is in Haringey and the White Lion is on the Islington/Haringey border, although I think just in Islington (no doubt a local Councillor will correct me if I’m wrong).

Wetherspoons are in the process of opening a large new pub at the top of Muswell Hill which is not so far from either of the (smaller) pubs to be disposed of, and so, while the Morning Advertiser story carries no JDW comment, one might guess at a reason.

Even so Wetherspoons (though not quite in its current configuration) started in Haringey, at a pub in Colney Hatch Lane, Muswell Hill.

It subsequently opened numerous pubs in the Borough and over time has shut or sold many of them as it realised that there is a world beyond Haringey (can this be right?).

One hopes that the Devonshire House and White Lion of Mortimer stay as pubs, but some at least will reflect that, outside of Highgate, the Westbury near Turnpike Lane, and the Beehive in central Tottenham a more important issue is that Haringey still lacks a destination ‘craft’ beer pub of the kind that abound in neighbouring Hackney.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this story develops

 

 

Articles

James O’Brien named hirsute broadcaster of the year

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 30th June contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

James O’Brien named hirsute broadcaster of the year

obrien

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has named LBC and BBC Newsnight broadcaster James O’Brien as hirsute broadcaster of the year as part of Beard Week 2015, a celebration of hirsuteness, which ends on 4th July.

The campaigners say that the world of broadcasting, as the unfortunately now clean shaven Jeremy Paxman made clear in 2013, remains extremely pogonophobic.

The BLF says that O’Brien’s beard has added gravitas in particular to Newsnight but he remains an isolated example amongst a generally pogonophobic culture at  New Broadcasting House.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, James O’Brien doesn’t always have a beard, but when he does appear in hirsute format he underlines the additional gravitas hirsuteness can bring to a role such as Newsnight anchor

Special mention has also been made in this year’s Award to the BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew. The BLF says that while Agnew remains determinedly clean shaven, he has an unsurpassed track record of discussion of facial hair on the BBC’s Test Match Special programme.

aggers

Beard Week 2015

Mon 29 June: Hirsute Personality 2015 announced: the hirsute person who has made the positive impact in public life during the year. Winner, urban cheesemaker Philip Wilton

Tues 30 June: Beard Friendly Sandwich 2015 announced: the sandwich where the mayo & salad doesn’t get caught in the beard Winner, corned beef & pickle

Wed 1st July: Hirsute Broadcaster 2015 announced: will there be a TV news reporter this year for the first time? Winner, James O’Brien. Special mention Jonathan Agnew

Thurs 2nd July: Pogonophobe of the Year: we name the biggest beard hater of the year.

Fri 3rd July: Beard Friendly Employer 2015 announced: are there more than ever to choose from?

Sat 4th July: Beard of Summer 2015 announced. The third of the four quarterly seasonal Awards leading up to Beard of the Year in December

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,301 other followers