Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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After Suella Braverman, E P Thompson on internationalism & refugees

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2022 by kmflett

After Suella Braverman, E P Thompson on internationalism & refugees

After Suella Braverman’s hard right comments on asylum seekers at the Tory Conference and Rachel Reeves unfortunate echo of them I thought it worth reposting the below

From the 1790s the left and working-class movement has had a tradition of internationalism, of sympathy and solidarity with those fighting oppression elsewhere in the world and a welcome for those who had to flee and make their way to Britain.

In the nineteenth century Britain had an uncomplicated tradition of welcoming refugees which is why Marx and Engels, for example, ended up here.

E.P. Thompson in the Making of the English Working Class sums up the tradition well. He wrote:

The French Revolution of 1830 had a profound impact upon the people, electrifying not only the London Radicals but working-class reformers in distant villages. The struggle for Polish independence was followed anxiously in the working-class press; while Julian Hibbert , in the Rotunda, carried a vote of sympathy with the Lyons weavers in their ill-fated insurrection, likening them to the weavers of Spitalfields.

Of course the predecessors of the Daily Mail were around at this time too. The Gordon Riots in London in 1780 raised the cry of No Popery, they were against religious toleration and sought to attack both the houses and persons of religious minorities- numbers of whom were also in the UK avoiding persecution elsewhere.

The Daily Mail may always sing from the same hymn sheet but rioters did not.

The Gordon Rioters decided that another target of their hatred was bankers and marched to the Bank of England. At that point the Government which had been relaxed about ‘No Popery’ called out the army.

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Engels on capitalist crisis (1877)’in the ditch

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2022 by kmflett

Since Kwasi Karteng’s Fiscal Statement the crisis of British capitalism, a very long running programme, has intensified. As the Tory Conference in Birmingham this week has underlined the supposed political representatives of the ruling crisis are deeply split on what to do next.

Engels analysed an earlier crisis thus:

Engels wrote in Anti Duhring (1877)

the headlong gallop of a perfect steeplechase of industry, commercial credit and speculation which finally after break neck leaps ends where it began- in the ditch of a crisis

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Memoirs of a teacher of ‘sociological marxism’

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2022 by kmflett

Memoirs of a teacher of ‘sociological marxism’

Andrea Jenkyns who is a Tory Minister who has some responsibility for higher education claimed at the Tory Conference on Monday that Universities were teaching critical race theory, anti-British history and social (or possibly sociological) Marxism and this was a bad thing.

Anti-British presumably means covering all of British history with nothing left out, which Boris Johnson sometimes claimed he supported.

Social Marxism is more problematic since it has no clear meaning beyond its use by far right US Republicans to cover views they consider as ‘woke’ (Matthew Sweet alerted social media to this). Oddly however the New Statesman has reported that Gove has been at various Tory Conference fringe events promoting something called social capitalism.

In the late 1970s I was myself a promoter of social or sociological Marxism. I studied Marxism as part of my first degree, (and indeed often turned theory into practice with college sit-ins and demos) and then went on to get a PGCE teaching qualification as Sociology teacher.

I was briefly unleased on the pupils of Birmingham but the wider world intervened. Mrs Thatcher was elected in May 1979 and she was no keener on sociology or Marxism than Andrea Jenkyns. I looked elsewhere for employment..

Sociological Marxism essentially sees Marx as one of the great thinkers alongside others such as Weber. It significantly underplays the importance of Marx’s beard something I have always emphasised

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GB News’ Dan Wootton excluded from Beard of Autumn shortlist

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2022 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

4th October

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

GB News’ Dan Wootton excluded from Beard of Autumn shortlist

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that after review Dan Wootton, the former Sun ‘journalist’  who presents on the hard right TV channel GB News, has been excluded from the Beard of Autumn shortlist.

Wootton who is currently appearing unshaven rather than bearded on GB News has worn a beard previously. However the campaigners say that his erratic and sometimes manic presentation risks bringing the hirsute into disrepute.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we look for nominations for the seasonal Beard Awards from a wide spectrum of contenders but we are mindful that the aim is to promote a positive image of the hirsute in public life.

The Beard of Autumn shortlist will be announced later this week

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Cable St 4th October 1936. They did not pass, they shall not pass

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2022 by kmflett

Cable St 4th October 1936. They did not pass, they shall not pass

Today is the 86th anniversary of the Battle of Cable St when Mosley’s fascists were stopped from marching in the East End by a demonstration of the local community, trade unionists, socialists and anti-fascists. As Michael Rosen has noted of his parents Connie and Harold who were present on that day, they had seen Hitler and Franco and now Mosley was trying to do the same in Britain.

The fascists did not go away of course. After the war the British Union of Fascists were backing trying to intimidate Jews. The 43 Group was formed to stop them and the late Morris Beckman wrote a history of it:

The 43 Group was disbanded in 1950 but the fascists remained in active and in 1962 the 62 Group was formed to stop the successors to the BUF, the National Socialist Movement and others from attacking Jews and others.

An excellent series on this was broadcast by the BBC in 2021. Ridley Rd was written by Sarah Solemani who was born in Stamford Hill and whose father was active in the Anti-Nazi League

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/oct/03/sarah-solemani-fascists-arent-just-monstrous-robots-understanding-this-might-help-us

Even after the 62 Group’s work the fascists didn’t go away. By the mid-1970s they were back as the National Front still marching to intimidate minorities. The Battles of Wood Green and Lewisham saw them stopped on the street and the Anti-Nazi League was formed.

Like other fascist groups before them, the NF declined but as before in due course they were back as the BNP. They too were confronted, for example at Welling in 1993 where they had established a ‘bookshop’.

Unite Against Fascism was launched in 2003 and successfully opposed the BNP, which like other fascist groups before them declined.

More recently the EDL guided by Stephen Yaxley Lennon and others became the main fascist group on the streets. It too was confronted by anti-fascists and appears to have declined.

The wider point is that fascist politics are endemic to a market capitalist society, sometimes finding support, sometimes not, depending on context and times. As at Cable St 86 years ago however if they are not opposed they can become a serious problem.

Looking around Europe or the US it can be seen that fascist and far right politics continues to thrive in many places. Opposing it is essential but the task of doing it requires organisation, strategy and tactics and not everyone always agrees. It still needs to be done though.

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Tory Education Minister criticises teaching of ‘sociological marxism’ in Universities

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2022 by kmflett

Andrea Jenkyns who claims to be the Education Minister has criticised the teacy edhing of ‘critical race theory, anti-British history and sociological marxism’ at a fringe event at the Tory Party Conference’ (Guardian)

Sociological marxism may be a variant of cultural marxism. This term which was in vogue with a number of Tories seems to have declined in use, although we have yet to hear from his leading exponent Home Secretary Sullea Braverman. She was asked by the Jewish Board of Deputies in 2019 to stop using the term

In 1979 I was a sociology teacher who had studied actual Marxism at University. Mrs Thatcher was elected and Sir Keith Joseph had a major influence on Tory education policy. I decided to look elsewhere for work.

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Conker players warned, collect your nuts or squirrels will

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2022 by kmflett

Campaign for Real Conkers

Against bans on conker playing

Press Release 3rd October Contact Keith Flett, 07803 167266

Conker players warned, collect your nuts or squirrels will

The Campaign for Real Conkers, the group that opposes bans on conker playing, has said that with the 2022 conker season reaching a peak, grey squirrels are again posing a threat to conker supplies.

The campaign says that numbers of grey squirrels in many areas of the country are increasing. The squirrels can be seen carrying off and burying conkers on a regular basis leading to a shortage of the nut for players to pick up.

Squirrels don’t eat conkers but few seem to realise this and either collect and bury them or bite into them, destroying them as game conkers.

Campaign organiser Keith Flett said, there are plenty of fallen conkers to be had currently. However if players don’t collect them we are now into the nut collecting season for squirrels and they will carry them off instead.

Notes

The CFRC believes that conkers is one of the few sports that can be played for free. All that is required is a conker and some string.

It is opposed to championships, rules, regulations, separate teams for men and women and commercial sponsorship.

It seeks to encourage young people to play conkers. It should not be the preserve of those of mature years

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William Morris, socialist & beard wearer d. 3 Oct 1896. His message to Tories: ‘I want to get mumbo jumbo out of the world’

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2022 by kmflett

William Morris, socialist & beard wearer d.3rd October 1896. His message to Tories: ‘I want to get mumbo jumbo out of the world’

William Morris the socialist and beard wearer died 125 years ago today, 3rd October 1896, died peacefully aged 62.

E P Thompson in his political biography of Morris (Romantic to Revolutionary) noted:

Almost his last words were ‘I want to get mumbo jumbo out of the world’.

His GP reported with ‘unhesitation’ that Morris’s death was due to him being a victim of ‘his enthusiasm for spreading the principles of socialism’.

Another Doctor suggested that the cause of death was ‘simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men’

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Liz Truss fails Tony Benn’s democracy tests

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2022 by kmflett

Liz Truss fails Tony Benn’s democracy tests

On Laura Kuessenberg’s Sunday morning politics programme Liz Truss was asked who had voted for her economic policy. There was a prolonged silence after which Truss asked Kuessenberg to clarify the question. In doing so Truss failed the second of Tony Benn’s democracy tests.

The late Tony Benn had a five tests of the legitimate democratic authority of those he came across:

What power have you got?

Where did you get it from?

In whose interests do you exercise it?

To whom are you accountable?

How can we get rid of you?

Not perhaps what we’d expect from a Church and King PM

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Beard Liberation Front congratulates the Cock Tavern, E8 on 10 Beard Friendly years

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2022 by kmflett

2nd October

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

Congratulations to Beard Friendly Cock Tavern E8 on its 10th Birthday

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has congratulated the Cock Tavern, Mare St E8 on the 10th anniversary of its opening.

The Cock has won the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year award more times than any other pub.

The vote was not held in 2022, post-Covid but will return early in 2023

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we congratulate the Cock on maintaining a beer and beard friendly approach over a decade. It has inspired many other beard friendly pubs and it stands as beard friendly icon

The Beard Friendly Pub

A safe environment for all.

Beard Friendly Pub: a pub that welcomes the hirsute and often has a significant number of hirsute customers, including but certainly not confined to those with modern styles of beards.

Beard Friendly Ambience: a pub that may have fewer hirsute customers but is welcoming to the hirsute through some bearded bar staff and beard friendly beers, plus has a generally relaxed atmosphere for all.

The campaign group says it welcomes diversity in both appearance and drinking. The truly beard friendly pub will have a genuine mix of customers not just a load of old blokes grumbling about life.