Monday, 29 August 2016

An 'achievement' for which we should feel ashamed'!

Well it's official humankind's destruction of the planet and wanton exploitation of its resources has given rise to a new geological epoch by scientists - the Anthropocene era! In fact in the last few decades thanks to our carbon emmisions, deforestation, sea level rises and mass extinction of other species we've actually managed to end a period which had lasted 12,000 years - the holocene period.

And you have to say that considering we've only been technologically advanced as a species for a few decades that is some achievement, indeed it would appear we've succeeded in doing in a just few decades what nature might take thousands of years to do!

And very sad to report that among those species we look like confining to the history books are those highly intelligent creatures - and fellow mammals - the Elephant. And it would appear we have our very own british government to thank for this truly appalling prospect, the tories having reneged on a promise to ban ivory sales in britain.

But should we be surprised that a government led by someone who boasted she'd incinerate a 100,000 people in an instant with a nuclear strike would give a moment's thought to the survival of the world's dwindling Elephant population? A petition calling for an end to the world's ivory trade has already garnered over 1 million signatures and can be signed here - but dont expect to find Theresa May's name anywhere on it.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The 'Culture War' is a racist War.

The so called 'Burqini' is a completely innocuous and inoffensive piece of clothing. Yet wearing one on a french beach can earn someone an on the spot fine - and removal from the beach and arrest if they refuse to comply with a police demand to remove one.

The spectacle this week of four armed policeman surrounding a muslim woman on a nice beach forcing her to remove the burqini she was wearing and issuing her with fines was utterly nauseating.Perhaps if these same local police (and the french intelligence service) had shown a bit more vigilance the daesh inspired atrocity there last month wouldnt have happened?

Of course the people that will be most delighted with this latest example of the so called 'culture war' will be the medieval homicides of Daesh and also the leader of the far right National Front. Daesh wants to create divisions between muslims and non muslims across the world as it fits in to their warped narrative - in the same way such divisions fit in to the reactionary narrative of the far right leader Marie Le Pen.

You also have to wonder just what kind of signal actions like this sends to france's millions of muslim citizens? So well done to the french businessman who has offered to pay the fines of any one fined for wearing a burqini.

Strangely this 'law' only seems to single out muslims - it was supposedly enacted to enforce secularism yet nuns for example can frolic freely on any french beach without fear of 4 armed policeman showing up and issuing fines and threatening arrest. Worth remembering that in 1930s germany it was the 'law' that jews should wear a star - some laws are simply unjust and should be defied.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Time for 'Team Cymru'

If like me you're someone who thinks Wales should be a self governing country it's hard to feel anything except a sense of general ambivalence when watching the achievements of team GB in the recent Rio olympic games. You certainly cant help but marvel at the performances of superb athletes like Mo Farah - and i was pleased to see Welsh athletes like Jade Jones win another gold medal - but the difficulty i have is my own country (Wales) isnt recognised anywhere in this spectacle. Wales isnt represented on the flag (the 'union jack') the athletes compete under while the anthem which greets medals winners is the anthem of another country (England). So think about it for a moment - any welsh athletes standing on the podium after winning a gold medal does so under a flag on which their own country isnt even represented and stands to an anthem which isnt even their own.  

There is of course one easy solution to this frankly unsulting state of affairs - Wales should enter its own team in the olympic games. Wales already competes in its own right in numerous international sports and with a degree of success - football and rugby being obvious examples - and Wales enters its own team in the 'mini olympics' that is the commonwealth games. So there are no good reasons why Wales shouldnt take its place in the olympic games alongside all the other world's nations, many of whom being much smaller than Wales and who actually have far less tradition of sporting achievements than Wales. So while a cursory glance at this tournament's medals table lists the likes of Vanuatu,Tuvalu and Tonga Wales - a country rich in sporting history and achievement - is alas nowhere to be seen.

I'm defintely with Plaid Leader Leanne Wood when she calls for 'Team Cymru' in Tokyo!

PS Glyn on the highly recommended National Left blog makes some timely observations on the outpouring of british chauvinism which seems to have been triggered by the Rio Olympics.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

It wont only be Rome that burns if Government's keep fiddling!

Amid the continuing chaos and human misery in Syria, the economic travails of post brexit Britain and a neo fascist running for the US presidency it's easy to overlook the fact that important as they are these issues pale into insignificance when set alongside the greatest threat humankind faces - the growing threat to all life on earth posed by human induced climate change.

A recent scientific report revealed that the arctic's sea ice is shrinking by over 10 percent a decade, and in 40 years the volume of arctic ice has almost been halved. And this rapid decline in the volume of arctic ice has prompted real fears among climatologists that the world's icecaps may be entering a decline which is unstoppable. For those who think this might not matter well they need to think again.The melting of the arctic ice sheets will release huge amounts of methane into our atmosphere leading to a dramatic acceleration in the process of global warming.

And again those who are skeptical of climate change need only look at the irrefutable evidence - year on year the world is getting hotter. Nasa recently revealed that July was the hottest month on record. This year over 2 billion people across the world - from India, to china to the middle east to north africa and the US were subject to almost unprecedented and prolonged heatwaves. Parts of the the middle east and north africa are already becoming almost uninhabitable as a result while areas like southern europe and parts of north america are getting dryer and hotter every year.

Sadly given these frightening weather patterns, the reams of statistical evidence and physical evidence like the rapidly increasing acidity of the world's oceans it might be the case that we are already past the fabled 'tipping point' and all we can do is learn to live with climate change and seek to mitigate its worst effects. Unfortunately however if the climate change denying dunces like Donald Trump - and the brainless Australian Senator in the attached video - get their way truly catastrophic climate change might occur sooner than we think.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Black lives do matter!

But for the fact he'd been a former well known professional footballer it's likely Dalian Atkinson's death following his repeated tasering by telford police would probably have been virtually ignored in the mainstream british media. However Dalian Atkinson's one time high profile ensured that the circumstances around his death would not go unreported. But the fact that Dalian used to kick a ball around for a living (and did so very well for those of us who remember his playing days) isnt important to this case - what's important is that this was another black person in Britain dying as a result of actions by the police.

The bare facts of this case also need repeating. Dalian Atkinson was shot with a police taser 3 times - that is fifty thousand volts going thru his body 3 times! So it cannot be argued that the tasering he was subject too didnt cause his death - it surely did. But expect the inquest to clear the officers concerned of any wrong doing, just as the officers concerned were cleared following the death of the homeless Ian Tomlinson and cleared following the shooting of the unarmed Mark Duggan. It was Duggan's killing of course which triggered the tottenham riots 5 years ago this month. It's very sad to report that if someone dies as a result of police actions in the UK their families and friends shouldn't expect justice.

According to recent home office figures black people in britain are 3 times more likely to be tasered than a white person. Dalian Atkinson was also someone with mental health problems, and again evidence shows two thirds of people tasered have some kind of mental health problem. Disturbing to note then that the new British PM Theresa May was an enthusiastic supporter of tasering during her 6 years at the home office.

Dalian Atkinson's fate is also a warning of the likely consequences if the british police were armed, as some on the political right like UKIP advocate. Black people would be far more likely to be shot than white people (which is exactly what happens in societies where the police are armed like the US).

Of course not all british policemen and women are rabid racists intent upon arresting, injuring or killing black people but rather it's the institutional racism which still seems to pervade so much of british society which creates a culture where if you're black you're far more likely to receive the attentions of the police than if youre white.

And we see the terrible consequences of this kind of institutional racism in the US where white policemen shooting and killing black people has become almost routine. It's because of such shocking treatment of black people in the US that organisations like Black Lives Matter have been set up, but Dalian Atkinson's death illustrates why Black Lives Matter are right to organise and protest in the UK too.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Corbynistas Waving - Blairites Drowning.

In these cynical times when it's said there's a widening gap between politicians and the 'man and woman on the street' you would think any british political party would be falling over themselves to welcome new members. And when a party has seen over 150,000 new people join since January you would think it would be the cue for wild celebrations within that party, with everything possible being done to make this massive new influx of members feel welcome and involved. Not so for some in the labour party it would seem. How else to explain the deliberate (and ultimately successful) effort by some on Labour's NEC to exclude tens of thousands of new members from being able to vote in Labour's leadership election?

If anyone wants to see the depths to which the blairite faction in the labour party have sunk to it can be seen in the fact they've given 'off the record' briefings to political commentators like Michael Crick that they would rather see Theresa May's Tories defeat a Jeremy Corbyn led labour in a general election. And when viewed in that context it's easy to see what's been taking place in the labour party in recent months. The blairites and their soft left fellow travelers like Owen Smith know they cannot defeat Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership contest but that isnt what this is really about! What it's really about is damaging Corbyn in the eyes of the general public, so making his already very difficult task of winning a general election even harder (and the contrived mass resignations from the labour shadow cabinet and front bench should be seen in the same light). And alas in this aim at least they do seem to have had some success. As while labour were neck and neck with the tories in the opinion polls as recently as the end of May they now lag ten or more points behind.

As to the motives of the blairites and their soft left dupes? Well on the one hand it's evidently ideological - the Stephen Kinnocks of this world accept much of what the tories have done and arent going to interfere in the workings of the 'market economy' too much. But is there something more going on here? Younger readers will probably be unfamiliar with the term 'the CIA wing of the labour party' but there was a time in the 60s and 70s and beyond when there were senior labour party figures who were certainly under the direction of the british and american intelligence services.

Now you dont have to be a genius to work out why the british and american intelligence services would be alarmed at the emergence of the 'corbynistas' - it's a mass movement committed to genuine social and economic change and which is radicalising lots of young people. Its principal figure (jeremy corbyn) is anti nato, anti nuclear weapons and a supporter of left wing movements around the world - so the prospect of someone like jeremy corbyn getting near to 10 downing street would understandably induce heart attacks among operatives at CIA HQ in Langley, Virginia. Thus we can be sure their proxies in Britain will be doing their utmost to ensure Jezza doesnt get anywhere near the reins of power here - hence his character assassination by the right wing british media and deliberate sabotage by some Labour MPs.

This blogger went along to Jeremy Corbyn's public meeting in Swansea leisure center recently. The first thing that needs to be said is it was packed out - there must have been at least two thousand people there (for a meeting arranged at relatively short notice it should be added). Secondly and perhaps most importantly around of third of the audience was under 30 years of age. Trust me if you'd said to people in Swansea a couple of years ago that a veteran socialist mp would be attracting audiences of thousands to a meeting - many of them young people - you would have been considered stark raving mad!

There were no real surprises during Corbyn's speech, it was what you'd expect from someone who's campaigned for socialist policies all his political life. So there were promises to return the railways and some of the utilities to public ownership. A promise to repeal tory anti trade union laws and a promise to embark on a government spending programme that would invest in deprived neglected communities and building tens of thousands of desperately needed council houses. But it was also very interesting and encouraging to hear him making a number of references to developing renewable energy and combating climate change. It certainly sounded to me as if Jeremy Corbyn is embracing eco socialism - which is surely now the only viable political ideology in a 21st century world ravaged by war, poverty, racism and the devastating affects of climate change.

It was also perhaps a signal a Corbyn led labour party would be open to forging a progressive alliance to defeat the tories at the next general election with the Greens, with a view to introducing PR for future general elections (and he should speak to Plaid and the SNP too). Certainly Corbyn should back Scotland's right to independence and accept that if the labour party in Scotland has any meaningful future it will be as a Scottish labour party in an independent Scotland. Jeremy has always been a friend of the republican movement and an advocate of irish reunification - and he should extend his support for the principle of self determination to Scotland (and Wales too) should their people desire it. Historically speaking the british state has been - and continues to be - a reactionary and imperialist power and no socialist should shed any tears over the possibility of its break up.

Two weeks ago the trade union leader Len McCluskey warned of agent provocateurs seeking to disrupt and discredit Jeremy Corbyn and his campaign Recently i was reading the excellent book 'Undercover' in which the authors detailed the activities of police and corporate spies in sabotaging environmental and left wing organisations. If you have not already done so do yourself a favour and get this book as we can be sure the tactics used by spies and agents and which are outlined in this book will be used against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Indeed we can be sure they will be used against anyone or any group which is seen to represent a threat to the interests of the british ruling class and the CIA.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

"The bigger the lie the more people will believe it"

The Guardian looks at the recent brexit campaign in the UK and the US presidential campaign of the neo fascist Donald Trump and wonders how such campaigns have so easily been able to get away with telling such naked lies?

To understand such things all we need to do is look at the grim lessons of history. In the 1930s in europe someone even more right wing than Farage and Trump boasted 'the bigger the lie the more people will believe it'. All the likes of Farage, Johnson,Trump et al have done is put Goebbel's old maxim into ugly practice.Of course Goebbel's got away with it because he was the propaganda minister in a totalitarian state - Farage, Johnson and Trump get away with it because the media in the US and UK is largely controlled by right wing billionaires like Rupert Murdoch. Someone who is only too happy to repeat and promote the lies of right wing bigots and demonise and smear their opponents via his outlets like Fox news in the States and 'The Scum' newspaper in the UK.