Daily Fail

As people will know, the Daily Heil is returning to its historical roots and currently posting increasingly virulent attacks on the travellers at Dale Farm. I want to look at a little snippet from one of their stories that you can find here.  In it, a reporter claims that his story was based on “successfully infiltrating the anarchists at Europe’s largest illegal traveller site”.  And one quote in particular caught my eye.  In it he claims that he talked to

bright Left-wing students arguing passionately about their desire to bring down capitalism and ‘replace it with something better’

You’ll notice the last four words are in direct quotation marks, making it clear he wants us to believe this is what was actually said.  Now, call me cynical, but I’m pretty sure it is highly unlikely that the students he supposedly talked to phrased their opinions in almost exactly the same way as the spoof crusty group, Cyderdelic.

 

Somewhat unusually for the Heil when they do this kind of thing, one of their reporters actually has put his byline on this.

 

Honestly, Arthur Martin, did you think nobody would notice?  Hasn’t Hari just got himself into a lot of shit by doing something very similar to this?

 

Or, as a left-wing student said to me earlier, “you see that Arthur Martin?  That’s your idea of quality journalism, that is”.  Which was followed by his friend who pointed out that “you wouldn’t let it lie”.

 

 

The Obligatory Riots Post

There are currently two narratives doing the rounds that I think are actually both incorrect.

The first is the right wing narrative that the riots are pure criminality and any attempt to analyse them contextually is beyond the pale. Reasonably obviously, this is motivated in large part by self-interest. Any attempt to look at the riots as part of a wider societal picture is going to implicate the right and their policies. And it’s very notable how few of the right wing blogs are so much as able to find a word of sympathy for what is now looking pretty conclusively like the shooting of an unarmed man by the old bill. Let alone actually condemning it. I think that tells us everything we need to know about their ‘morality’. I’m not going to spend much more time on that narrative. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be a common one among readers of this blog. And I suspect most people don’t need convincing that the Tories et al are the class enemy.

The other narrative we’re seeing, from some on the left, is that the riots are basically a good thing. And that they are to be seen as people fighting back against the state, or even as insurrectionary riots. That seems pretty common as an argument.  Despite their very different political traditions, we’re seeing it from both Lenin’s Tomb and Ian Bone.

The problem with that analysis is that its not borne out by events.  It has a lot more merit for the first night of riots in Tottenham.  At that point, I think the rioting was a raw throated shriek of rage against oppression.  However, since then it’s developed well away from that starting point.  We’ve seen the burning out of homes among flats, the looting of small businesses (often ones that are actually pretty crucial for the working class communities they reside in).  We haven’t, much as it might be politically easier if that was the case, seen it just, or even primarily, focused on big corporations and representatives of the state.

 

While riots are always chaotic and unfocused affairs, this series seems qualitatively different than some of the others we’ve seen before.  Compared to the riots of the 80’s, this is a lot more nihilistic and purposeless.  I’d go as far to say this is a new kind of rioting.

 

We’re seeing an extremely materialistic approach in many places; rioting to loot as first motive.  And burning stuff down indiscriminately.

 

This is a riot that reflects wider capitalist society, not one that goes transgresses against it, despite claims from the right to the contrary.   Which is no surprise.  When we all live in the neoliberal dystopia, it would be more surprising if these kind of incidents didn’t reflect that, rather than the fact they do.

 

And, at the end, it’s linked to the fact that the working class are demoralised, disenfranchised, defeated.  That have consistently lost the vast majority of fights in the class war over the last century.  Part of the effect of that is that there are a lot less credible community organisations.  And a lot less awareness of working class interests, which goes a lot of way to explaining the lack of class consciousness in the rioter’s actions.

 

And there are no easy answers or quick solutions.  Unless the crisis of working class representation is resolved (which will take a hell of a lot of work on the ground), we will see more of this kind of thing, with no more direction and no less antisocial actions.

 

The choice of “socialism or barbarism” have never been more stark.

Supporting Anti-fascist Prisoners

Some anti-fascists have been jailed for an attack on some fash attending a Blood and Honour gig.  It’s really important that we make sure that they aren’t left feeling isolated while inside.  If you need advice on sending letters to prisoners, check out “Writing to Prisoners”  in the resources section of the blog.  Details are as follows:
Andy Baker (21 months)
A5768CE
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
London
W12 OAE

Thomas Blak (Unsentenced)
A5728CE
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
London
W12 OAE

Sean Cregan (21 months)
A5769CE
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
London
W12 OAE

Ravi Gill (21 months)
A5770CE
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
London
W12 OAE

Austen Jackson (Unsentenced)
A5729CE
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Rd
London
W12 OAE

Because I still believe that gaming can mean something

 

Fucking A.

Dirty Hari

An interesting little letter that I’ve had emailed to me, regarding Hari and Negri.

In response to Johann Hari’s interview in the Independent 17/08/04 Matteo Mandarini and Alberto Toscano wrote the letter below – the Independent didn’t publish it:

While Johann Hari’s acknowledgment of his own ignorance in matters of social theory (‘The Nostalgic Revolutionary’, 17.08.04) is commendable for its honesty, it raises the question as to why The Independent should choose to publish such a lengthy feature article on a political philosopher that is so openly hostile to minimal standards of intellectual probity and historical accuracy. Hari seems to take pride in his bafflement at a book which many undergraduate students in sociology find engaging and not entirely mysterious. If anything,  Empire has been criticised for over-simplification. Perhaps before indulging in dubious fantasies about his dictionary of sociology (‘I feel like I
have been raped by [it]’), Hari should have consulted it.  It is depressing to see The Independent air views regarding Negri’s
political past that in Italy, today, are only held by the fringes of
the right. The reference to (relatives of) Negri’s ‘victims’ is quite
peculiar, as no one to our knowledge has yet come forward to claim that status. It is ludicrous to insinuate that Negri is a fellow traveller of Al Qaida, just as it is dangerous to associate his support for diffuse forms of illegality such as workplace sabotage and wildcat strikes with ‘terrorism’. To endorse such facile equations today is to consolidate the ideological (and legal) climate in which protesting at arms fairs and planning chemical attacks in metropolitan areas can be brought under the same banner.

Hari’s article is symptomatic of the fact that today philistinism about theory and dogmatism about history go hand in hand. To treat Negri’s observations regarding the creativity of Soviet society (Eisenstein, Bakhtin, Malevich…) as an apologia for mass murder and state terror is a case in point. The bête noire of Negri’s political thought (and action), for better or worse, is the state. It is the unthinking acceptance of the dogma that communism equals state socialism and that the only Marxism is a Soviet one that allows Hari to misrepresent Negri as a ‘nostalgic revolutionary’.

Dr. Matteo Mandarini
Translator of Negri’s Time for Revolution
Dr. Alberto Toscano
Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths College

As a footnote: I was the so-called ‘publicist’ mentioned in the
article(I work for Continuum, the publishers of ‘Time for Revolution’, and was involved in organising the ICA event). A few minor, but incorrectly reported, details that I have personal knowledge of (eg, there was no taxi called, I didn’t say the things ascribed to me, Negri wasn’t behaving arrogantly as suggested, there was no angry  confontation with ICA staff, etc) casts serious doubt on the veracity of anything that Hari says.

The letter as a whole is obviously fascinating, as evidence that people had serious doubts about Hari’s integrity years ago.  What is especially relevant to the current situation however, is the footnote.  Compare and contrast that with Simon Kelner’s (Editor in chief of the Independent and Editor until very recently) 28th June Twitter claim that

@JohannHari101 has worked at @theIndynews for 10 years. In that time, we have not had a single complaint about his misrepresenting anyone

Quite obviously, when you compare it with the text of the letter I’ve posted, this is false.  Either Kelner didn’t know about the existence of the complaint or he’s deliberately misleading people.  Either way, it doesn’t look great for him.  And why did The Independent refuse point blank to publish this letter at the time it was sent?  There are a lot of questions still to be answered and they go way beyond the simple issue of Hari’s actions.

See also here for conclusive proof this is hardly the first time that Hari’s integrity has been questioned.

Paul Dacre Must Die (and can fuck off with frivolous libel threats)

I know that I’m well overdue on the ‘project’.  Real life has interfered.  In the meantime, The Daily Mail have threatened to sue Angry Mob blog for a two year old post.  Specifically, this post, which I reproduce in full:

The Daily Mail are a fucking disgrace of a newspaper. I hope Paul Dacre dies a slow and painful death and that people queue up to shit on his grave. The current top story on the Mail Website (betting it will be front page news tomorrow with a special defecation from Littlejohn who must be drooling reading this one) is this: ‘Mapping out the strain on your NHS: 243 sick babies treated in one London hospital ward…. and just 18 mothers were born in the UK‘. Naturally this story has already found its way onto the Stormfront forums and will no doubt be picked up by the BNP and other racist organisations gathering ‘evidence’ of how the poor white child is neglected in favour of the ethnically diverse child.

I’ve scouted the website of the hospital involved – London’s Chelsea and Westminster – and cannot find a copy of this map or any press release relating to it so I cannot verify any information or put it into any real context – exactly what the Daily Mail wants. The whole article concerns a map made to celebrate the diversity of mothers that give birth in the hospital. It seems to involve mothers being asked to put a pin on a map to show their original birth place. The Mail does not specify the timescale over which the data is collected, nor does it specify whether all mothers were asked or whether the hospital went out of the way to collect data only from foreign mothers.

The whole article is just whinging at the fact that people from other countries have given birth to children in a British hospital. We don’t get given any further information than that because the Mail knows that the headline is enough to get the usual idiots foaming at the mouth about ‘immigration’ and ‘loony-left madness’ etc.

As for those wankstains moaning about the cost to the taxpayer – £1400 a day according to the Mail, not a figure they provide a link for – I may complain about paying taxes as much as the next guy, but you know what, I get a warm feeling when I see this map. I pretend that all of the tax I’ve paid this year has gone on just saving one child’s life and it somehow makes it all worthwhile. A fellow human being has given birth to a child and thanks to the NHS it has survived. It is a triumph for humanity over arbitrary borders, of compassion over hateful ‘not in my country’ types who would pull up the drawbridge and say ‘fuck you’ to the rest of humanity even if they were sick children who would die without our assistance.

When you read this Daily Mail headline – and if you dare, the whole article and comments – it is easy to forget that Sue Reid – the author of this disgusting piece of hatred journalism – is actually talking about the lives of sick babies – something supposedly sacred. Here they are described as a ‘strain’ and used as an example of ‘the changing face of Britain’.

Personally I celebrate the fact that ‘The 243 mothers are from 72 different nations. They include Mongolia, the remotest regions of Russia, Japan, Africa, South America, swathes of Asia, Australasia and even Papua New Guinea’. I think it speaks volume about the value that we as a nation place on human life; that we are in the majority a nation who doesn’t worry about the nationality of a child that might die but instead save it – regardless of whether we can wring the money out of the parent.

I just pretend that none of my taxes go to treating a single sick Mail reader. And I consider them all to be sick for wanting to enrage themselves with such hateful bullshit each day, and for treating the lives of a few sick children as a burden which we must get rid off.

 


Update:

Thankfully Five Chinese Crackers has had the patience (and past experience with Sue Reid) to properly look into this story and has an excellent post on this, please go read it because Sue Reid really is a piece of shit. He also includes the following press release issued by the hospital that demonstrates just what a complete farce the story is, although I suspect the damage has already been done. If Littlejohn uses this story tomorrow (if he can even be arsed to shit out a column that is) then he really will demonstrate that he is never about ‘reporting the facts’ as he so laughably puts it. Here is the press release (massive hat-tip to 5CC for this):

‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a specialist referral centre and cares for patients of many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s very diverse population.

‘Of the 550 babies admitted to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) every year, a very small number of these are overseas patients. In 2009, there have been just two overseas admissions.

‘The map was placed in the NICU nearly four years ago to provide the families of the babies we care for, as well as staff, with an opportunity to indicate their background if they wished. It is not an indication of country of residence or citizenship.

‘It was intended to illustrate the diversity of staff working on the unit and the families of the babies we care for, to encourage everyone to reflect on different cultures, in a fun and informal way.

‘Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s NICU provides intensive care, high dependency and special care facilities for babies and is a specialist referral centre for neonatal surgery.

Fighting Talk Scans

For those that don’t know, Fighting Talk  was the magazine of Anti Fascist Action, back in the 90’s.  For those of you interested in this piece of anti fascist history, there are now scans of most of the issues available for download, via Urban75.

Find individual files here.

And find a single zipped file containing them.

Respectful Shoutout to the CST

Obviously, I have some significant political differences with the CST.  Mostly because I’m a wee bit unconvinced that rejecting physical force anti-fascism actually allows you to claim that you incorporate the 43/62 tradition into your work and a churlish man might think that to claim otherwise is taking the piss.  (In the “Where Are They Now File”, I was tickled to see the claim that Nothing British About the BNP were the exemplars of anti-fascist best practise, shortly before they won the election and all fucked off.  Ah, hindsight is a harsh mistress at times).

But, not withstanding that petty and sectarian snarking (hey, it’s why you all love me so), they deserve serious kudos for this statement.

CST would like to make it clear that we have not organised this demonstration, and we will not be providing security for it.

We will not be providing security because we believe that members of the English Defence League plan to attend the demonstration, and that the organisers have not taken sufficient steps to prevent this from happening.

Nice one.  This is exactly the kind of statement needed in the described situation and other groups should learn from this.  So unconditional applause for the CST here.

Speaking hypothetically, this is exactly what militant anti-fascists should be hoping for.  A best case scenario will be when (as seems to be the case here) we can be absolutely sure that any demo with an EDL presence will be made up solely of a) EDL supporters and b) EDL enablers.

Anti-Fascism; Theory & Praxis Part 1: Introduction

This is the introduction to a planned project I have for the blog.  In it, I’m going to be looking at the methodology of anti-fascism.  To start with, I’m going to look critically  at several pieces that are in this general area.  Before that however, I’m going to outline the main assumptions that underpin the general project, both for informational purposes and so anybody who wants can critique them.

1.  While anti-fascism is reactive in nature, it is still a specific political ideology in its own right.  And, as has been pointed out more people have rallied to the flag of anti-fascism

far more, incidentally, than either fascism or communism
(From Beating the Fascists: the untold story of Anti-Fascist Action, page 21)
2.  Specifically I am looking at this subject from the physical force anti-fascism perspective, as regular readers will be aware.  While several of the pieces I shall be looking at are not from this tradition, I shall be critiquing them with that stance foremost.
3.  My aim is to provide theory which can help inform praxis.  This is obviously a different approach than a standard academic one.  Equally, my theory is informed by praxis, as opposed to existing in the abstract.
4.  I am not taking a vanguardist approach to this issue, nor am I suggesting I have all the answers.  I am merely putting out my own thoughts in the hope they may be of more general use and welcome disagreement and criticism.
5.  I reserve the right to moderate comments as I see fit and make no promises of non-partisanship while doing so.  This especially applies to two groups.  Firstly, any of the far right stumbling across this blog through Google.  Secondly, state-friendly ‘anti-fascists’, especially if they choose to debate through smears as opposed to argument.
6.  While I hope this will be of interest to those without a history of involvement in anti-fascism, my main audience is those who either have been or are involved.  So I may assume a level of basic knowledge of some of the issues and arguments involved.  Although I am happy to clarify any questions people have.
7.  No sacred cows.

There ain’t no party like my nan’s tea party

Anybody up north who isn’t doing anything Friday, may wish to pop along to Huddersfield for the Not the Royal Wedding Party

Not only should it be a good laugh, if you’re really lucky you might even get to meet me.  And I’m dead sexy.