Thursday, 26 November 2009

Die in for troops out of Afghanistan

Lead by Fran and Tameena from Quern Mary's university todays action on
Downing St was an unqualified success. Despite recent happenings in
the student movement our delegation of about 60 made enough noise and
gave us the confidence to see this as a dress rehearsal for a bigger,
badder action very soon.

We did a die in just outside Big Ben then marched round Parliament sq
on to Downing street chanting 'Gordon Brown hear us say, how many kids
did u kill today?'

and simply 'support Joe Glenton'. The soldier who has risked his
freedom to speak out against the war in Afghanistan. More military are
following. Is this our Vietnam?

Well done to all who came. Next time we want to do a 'swoop' so keep
in touch. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Iraq enquiry - Bush, Blair & Brown have blood on their hands

Loads of press swamped them as soon as we turned up.

Here's the CNN report:

Daily Mail:

First-ever global union Twitter petition campaign

We need to turn up the heat on Vale Inco, the giant transnational mining corporation.

3,500 miners in Canada have been on strike since July and the company is not budging.

Over 6,200 of you have sent off protest messages -- and we need to keep growing that number.

But we also have to find new and innovative ways to deliver our message to the company.

It turns out that Vale Inco uses Twitter to recruit new staff.  At the moment, they don't seem to be using it to recruit strike-breakers, but there's no reason why they won't.

If they can use Twitter to tell people how great it is to work for their company, we can use the same tool to tell them what we think.

LabourStart has today launched the first-ever global union Twitter petition campaign.

If you are a Twitter user, please click on the 'Sign and tweet' button on that page. 

If not, please sign up to Twitter (it will take you only a few seconds) and then go to our petition.

Over 1,000 people sent off tweets in the last few days targeting the rabidly anti-union U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Which did not make the Chamber happy at all and provoked an angry response.

Let's see if we can wake up Vale Inco, and bring them back to the negotiating table.

Sign and tweet our campaign today.

Please forward this message on to your lists.

Thanks very much.

Eric Lee

To unsubscribe send an email to
with the subject 'unsubscribe'.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Clare, Kevin & Elly's flying bday party circus

What can we say? Anyone up for a spot of Pythonesque flibbertygibbits?

Since we have this wonderful space we want to bring together the best of a bad bunch and celebrate our madness with you.

Fancy dress absolutely essential: Monty python your little socks off. Prizes for the crackerest costumes and free drinks for the most drunk person!

Date: November 26th
Time: from 7pm - 12am
Venue: Resistance Gallery, Poyser St, London, E2

With Dj's:

Clare Solomon
Kevin Deane
Elly Badcock

and many more...

Film showings of Life of Brian top of the bill, Flying Circus playing on the mezzanine from 7pm

This is a strictly No Politics Party: what other sort would we want?!

"Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who."

On the night we want to have art, visuals and plenty of interactiveness so feel free to contribute anything to the evening.

For those of you who havent been to this venue before (dubbed the avante gard space of our time by the Metro!) you are in for a treat. Normally the space for, as it says on the tin, all sorts of resistance stuff our birthday party will definitely be in spirit of the venues aims.

Anyway, hope you can come.

Unfortunately due to space constraints we may have to do a sort of door policy so please indicate if you are or maybe coming and then change as and when you know that you are more definite (make sense?)

Ciao 4 now and, in the good words of our mate Monty,

A Party to Win? Clare Solomon's expulsion from SWP

(written on my iPhone so I can't see the whole post at the same time-sorry if it's too rambling)

Dear comrades, friends & fellow travellers,

Two months ago myself and James M were suspended from the SWP. James has had his suspension lifted and is able to participate in party debates at conference although is not able to sell the paper, attend branch meetings, central London, Soas or otherwise. It is a great shame that the party has enforced restricted membership on such a dedicated revolutionary.

On Saturday, however, I was expelled. (addition to original post) I was expelled for 1) putting on an event called Mutiny which they claim was autonomist 2) for sending 6 friends a private email and 3) I was accused of 'lying', ie for not accepting that this was a factional email or event.

I have been a member for four turbulent years. My sister and I joined the SWP at Marxism 2005, the year of the London bombings which had me penned in my Brunswick Centre flat in Russell sq, a mere 100yds from the bus bomb.

How glad I am that I was amongst people such as you all at this difficult time and that my distress was channelled into becoming a revolutionary. Through learning from and participating in discussions about how to change the world I was won to the idea of having to do this collectively.

The seed of this was sown in my mind in 2003 when the local Stop the War branch used my restaurant (Char Bar in Cromer St) to hold planning meetings. Coming from a military family background (my dad was in the Military Police!) meeting these people and seeing their desire to fight back against the impending war on Iraq was certainly a life changing experience. My first ever demo was the 2m people one on 15 July 2003. I attended with my own homemade banner with the Gandhi quote 'an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind': my, how I have changed.

After joining the SWP in July 2005 I threw myself into activity at SOAS university, central London, with an unquestioning commitment. I was consequently elected as Co-President of the Students' Union on a Student Respect platform in March 2006 having built up a layer of support through our activity. The people in the SWSS group were extremely dedicated, and we regularly had new people attending the weekly planning meetings and engaging in activity.

And we soon turned the union on it's head. General meetings went from attendence of around 30 people twice yearly to now between 100 and 150 of a student body of only 3,000 on campus every 6 weeks. Election turnouts have become the highest in the country (30-33%) with many candidates standing on highly political manifestos. We did all this not just by handing out tons of leaflets in the rain but by making the links between local issues and national, indeed international, happenings. We also built so successfully by doing a combination of protests, meetings, filmshowings, socials and by getting involved in other societies; by attempting to relate to people on many different levels. This was my first experience of building anything political and this was, I still feel, a very succesful strategy.

Soon after I began my first term I was also elected to the National Council of Respect. Needless to say electoral politics was what I was most familiar with so the transition to revolutionary socialism came about through this process. Although I am not arguing for a 'stageist' approach, it is clear to me that one does not necessarily become a revolutionary overnight: the relationship between activity and theory is continually affected by external influences (and vice versa).

The Respect split of 2007 was very upsetting for me. I remember crying when George left the NC meeting. I had even been on Big Brother's Little Brother as one of his defenders for the upcoming eviction shows. Even as an NC member I was, to be honest, unclear of what had happened in Respect so it is of no suprise to me that many other people have come to lots of different conclusion-it is nigh on impossible to ensure an equal distribution of information. And being remote by either time or space from an event or happening only adds to potential distortions. Luckily the Internet is changing all this, and changing the way we relate to each other. (I am presenting a paper on this topic at HM this weekend-see for registration details).

Just prior to returning to being a student after my 2 term stint in the SU I was asked to be Central London organiser of the SWP for a month, taking the reigns from the previous person who is well known as being a more-than-fulltime revolutionary! I learnt a hell of a lot in this time. It is an extremely hard job both mentally and physically. I focused on changing the way we did paper sales and we had 11 new people attending branch meetings within 2 weeks. We recruited about 7 or 8 to the party in a space of 3 weeks.

Coming back to Uni I was in the strange and disturbing situation of not having any established comrades from the previous year. Some had left SOAS and those that did return we had not retained. We had a new and very different organiser and a whole new National SWSS office team. The anger at the collapse of the banking sytems helped us rebuild a vibrant swss group; we recruited 8 people and retained 6 of them (which is a very high percentage).

SOAS was the first Uni to go into occupation over Gaza and we were central to a number of other occupations. Whilst on one hand this strengthened our already great relationships with a wide layer of people, on the other it left us behind in our school work and slightly fragmented as a group. None-the-less we learnt a great deal from these actions and are all still dedicated to building the party this year.

The combination of having new organisers, of underlying differences in both the party and on the wider left and of having a wide millieu of anti-capitalists around us proved very diffilcult for me to carry out hard party arguments and turn new students into convinced revolutionaries. The doors were also opened to new activist groups having inspired them into getting active. This has given us even more to contend with.

However 3 more Soas people have joined the party since last year.

In the summer myself and a few friends (including James M), both SWP and others, organised a very successful event called Mutiny-Money on Trial which aimed to play around with culture and politics, blurring the boudaries and looking for new ways to attract young people. As far as we were concerned what we did was exactly what revolutionaries should be doing: we took our cue from the post conference bulletin which encouraged us to take creative initiatives. We spoke to the cc prior to the event and took on board their feedback. As a consequence two people joined the party and Mutiny attendees were central to setting up a new branch. Five people that we know of wanted to get more involved and were only put off from joining once they heard of our suspensions. Just to be clear, far from being told not to be involved, a member of the CC said 'if it goes well come back to the party and we can see how to take it forward'.

And now I have been expelled.

I tell you these things not because I want pity or to win your support but because I think it is important to contextualise my involvement in the movement and hence help understand the trajectory which has landed me where I am today.

Being expelled is upsetting to me not just because of any personal attachment to the party but because I understand the need for a coordinated attack on the ruling class and that this can only come from below. We need a strong organisation to be able to carry this out and we only get a strong organisation through constant debate, discussion, disagreement and, hopefully, democratic decision making. There needs to be debate in a revolutionary party to get clarity. The history of ideas is, afterall, the history of the clash of ideas.

Whilst my case has become the source of a lot of distorted tittle tattle for reasons not always clear to people I am pleased that comrades are at least debating the direction of the party and the effect that this will have on the wider movements.

I have great respect for the SWP and do not wish any internal problems to become problematic for building a strong resistance in what looks set to become a period of increasingly deeper recession. The left faces huge challenges for the future both fighting the BNP and organising working class resistance. We need a united fight back and any problems the SWP have will impact on the possibility of this happening.

I reject ALL the accusations against me and I believe thy have made a mistake in expelling me. What concerns me is that it may mark a change in the kind of party the SWP wants to be.

I do reserve the right to appeal to conference in January and I trust comrades to be fair in their assessment of the situation.

Thank you again and I look forward to having these debates in the open.

In solidarity.

Ps. I have obviously been following with great interest the discussions on various blogs and will continue to do so. I would like to thank you all for your lively and lovely contributions (even from you Sacha!) and I welcome any more constructive criticism. Please respect the fact my blog is about building not internal squabling. Some of the analysis you guys have been offering is really rather good-we can all learn so much from each other and these forums have provided a place for us to do this.

football or philosophy?

So, the question today is to what extent does football, or any other sporting or cultural activity detract from political acivity? Can this not be a symbiotic relationship? This debate I find particularly interesting and prescient given the need to find new and creative ways to engage with layers wider than our immediate circle. 

Answers on a postcard and I may just include any good ones in my dissertation!  Thx comrades.

And if 10 of you buy one of these fab shirts we cud create our very own Trotsky team. Quite ironic given the quote, no! Who would be the first group we would challenge to a thrashing? :-)

Oh, and Mark, make mine a skinny. x


Every team needs a fourth international, though expect this particular player to pick up plenty of red cards for dissent. The quote is genuine, taken from Trotsky's 1925 Where is Britain Going? His analysis of the consciousness-sapping qualities of football remains a source of debate! 

Philosophy Football's latest T-shirt is available in sizes S-XXL, plus women's skinny rib fit , from

Sunday, 22 November 2009

silence is golden

Please understand why I have to do this...

See you at Historical Materialism for my scattered and shattered thoughts. Saturday 11.45.

I will also post my talk here.

In solidarity


Friday, 20 November 2009

Free Lynne Stewart!


ANSWER logo2

tell a friend 1

Please forward widely to friends and on social-networking sites

Free Lynne Stewart!

Lynne Stewart
Lynne Stewart speaking at a mass protest against the Iraq war.

To send Lynne a letter, write:
Lynne Stewart
150 Park Row
New York, NY NY 10007

Lynne Stewart was sent to prison today. People throughout the United States and around the world recognize this as a great miscarriage of justice.

Her indictment was an outrage. So too was her conviction. The fact that this seventy year old veteran civil rights attorney has been sent to prison is a crime itself. She is serving a 28 month sentence although the Court of Appeals has remanded her case back to the original trial court with the hope that her sentence will be lengthened. The Bush Justice Department had sought a 30 year sentence.

"Lynne Stewart should be set free," stated Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition. "Her conviction is part of an-going war against civil rights and particularly against the Arab-American and Muslim community. With her jailing the government is sending a definite and chilling message to all the attorneys in this country – 'do not represent Arab people and or Muslims.'

In recent weeks the government has seized mosques in the United States at the same time as they have implanted agent provocateurs and set up sting operations and carried out FBI assassinations targeting the American Muslim community and its leaders."

The irony and hypocrisy of Lynne Stewart's imprisonment can't be overlooked. This admired civil rights attorney who is struggling with cancer is sent to prison while the Bush attorneys who authorized and instructed the most sadistic torture occupy comfortable positions as law professors and serve as judges on the federal bench. It is they who should be disbarred, prosecuted and sent to prison.

The ANSWER Coalition is planning major actions protesting the Afghanistan and Iraq war on Saturday March 20. We will also be demanding an end to the persecution and repression of the Arab and Muslim communities. Lynne Stewart has marched with us and spoken at these major protests in past years. In spite of the threat of prison hanging over her, Lynne Stewart always marched in defense others especially the Iraqi, Afghan and Palestinian people.

On this March 20, 2010 people marching together will now also demand Free Lynne Stewart!

Lynne Stewart in her own words

 The following is excerpted from an interview that Lynne Stewart did with Pacifica's Democracy Now just prior to her imprisonment. She explains key features of her case. 

LYNNE STEWART: I represented Sheikh Omar at trial—that was in 1995—along with Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara. I was lead trial counsel. He was convicted in September of '95, sentenced to a life prison plus a hundred years, or some sort—one of the usual outlandish sentences. We continued, all three of us, to visit him while he was in jail—he was a political client; that means that he is targeted by the government—and because it is so important to prisoners to be able to have access to their lawyers.

Sometime in 1998, I think maybe it was, they imposed severe restrictions on him. That is, his ability to communicate with the outside world, to have interviews, to be able to even call his family, was limited by something called special administrative measures. The lawyers were asked to sign on for these special administrative measures and warned that if these measures were not adhered to, they could indeed lose contact with their client—in other words, be removed from his case.

In 2000, I visited the sheikh, and he asked me to make a press release. This press release had to do with the current status of an organization that at that point was basically defunct, the Gama'a al-Islamiyya. And I agreed to do that. In May of—maybe it was later than that. Sometime in 2000, I made the press release.

Interestingly enough, we found out later that the Clinton administration, under Janet Reno, had the option to prosecute me, and they declined to do so, based on the notion that without lawyers like me or the late Bill Kunstler or many that I could name, the cause of justice is not well served. They need the gadflies.

So, at any rate, they made me sign onto the agreement again not to do this. They did not stop me from representing him. I continued to represent him.

And it was only after 9/11, in April of 2002, that John Ashcroft came to New York, announced the indictment of me, my paralegal and the interpreter for the case, on grounds of materially aiding a terrorist organization. One of the footnotes to the case, of course, is that Ashcroft also appeared on nationwide television with Letterman that night ballyhooing the great work of Bush's Justice Department in indicting and making the world safe from terrorism.

The course of the case followed. We tried the case in 2005 to a jury, of course sitting not ten blocks from the World Trade Center, and an anonymous jury, I might add, which I think went a long way to contribute to our convictions. And all three of us were convicted. Since that time, the appeals process has followed. The appeal was argued almost two years ago, and the opinion just came like a—actually like a thunderclap yesterday. And to just put it in perspective, I think, it comes hard on the heels of Holder's announcement that they are bringing the men from Guantanamo to New York to be tried.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

Click here to unsubscribe from the ANSWER e-mail list.
If this message was forwared to you and you'd like to receive future ANSWER updates,
Click here to subscribe.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Defend Staffordshire University Students Union from BNP attacks

Official statement from Unite Against Fascism

Love Music Hate Racism  

The British National Party - a racist and fascist organisation - has been active in Staffordshire and has nine councillors on Stoke-on-Trent city council. Staffordshire University Students Union has rightly taken a lead in opposing the BNP and defending the university's multiracial and multicultural student community. Union president Assed Baig was elected on an explicitly anti-racist and anti-fascist ticket. He has become a prominent young Muslim activist and a thorn in the BNP's side.


That is why the BNP has now launched an attack on Staffs Union, making legal threats against the union and backing a renewed campaign directed against Assed personally. The ostensible reason for these attacks is a link that was published on the Staffs Union website to another site that allows people to search the locations of alleged BNP members. This link has now been removed by Assed to protect the Students' Union from the BNPs legal threats.


The real reason for the BNP's attack is to undermine Staffs Union's anti-fascist policy, to knock down a Muslim activist who has been outspoken against racism and the BNP, and to intimidate every student who wants to oppose the BNP's racism and defend the university's diversity. That is why we must all rally to defend Staffs Union and Assed Baig against these attacks. If we fail to defend them we are effectively lining up behind the BNP attacks.


Recent assaults on Muslim students in City University in London have highlighted how a heightened climate of racism and Islamophobia can impact directly on the safety of ethnic minority students. The BNP wants to establish itself at universities and colleges in order to whip up race hatred and division. We must not let BNP fascists bully our student unions into dropping or stepping back from anti-racist campaigning. Let's keep our campuses multiracial, multicultural and Nazi free.


Official statement from Unite Against Fascism

Love Music Hate Racism


Statement supported by:

NUS Black Students' Officer - Bell Riberio-Addy
NUS LGBT Officer - Daf Adley
NUS NEC Officer - James Haywood
President of Sussex - Tom Wills
General Secretary LSE - Aled Fisher
Co-President SOAS - Ben Sellers
Essex SU Campaigns Officer - Mark Bergfeld
Leeds SU Welfare Chair - Hanif Leylabi
Goldsmiths SU Mature Students' Officer - Karl Rosen
Sussex Education Officer - Josh Jones
SOAS Womens Officer - Elly Badcock
Goldsmiths Trustee - Ruth Bibby
Sussex Entertainments Officer - Simon Englert
Adam Mason - President, Keele University Students' Union
Ateeqa Darr - Women's Liberation Officer, Bradford University Students' Union
Vanessa Brumby Education welfare officer Staffs uni
President of University of Huddersfield Students' Union Junaid Ejaz
Sussex International Students Officer - Riya Alsanah
Charankamal Singh - Sussex Post-Grad Officer
Syed Bokhari - Sussex UAF Co-Secretary


If you would like to add your name to the statement please email me.



Tuesday, 17 November 2009

SOAS women's soc stuff: Film showing, banner making and more!

Comrade Elly (Women's Officer) and the society has done a fab job. Feel free to join in

Hi everyone,
Hope you're all well. This week we agreed to do a week against violence against women in the run-up to Reclaim the Night. As part of it, we're showing a film today in the JCR at 7pm- "The Accused" [1988] with Jodie Foster. It looks at a woman's quest for justice after being gang-raped in a bar. Do try and make it down- the film is very thought provoking, and scarily relevant 20 years on. Perhaps we can have a drink in the bar afterwards as well and plan/discuss/enthuse the rest of the week?
Tomorrow we desperately need some volunteers for making a banner in the JCR all day- at the meeting we decided to make it say "SOAS feet for safer streets!" and to print footprints all over it. The banner material, paint and old shoes will be in the JCR from 10am but we need someone to paint it! If you can do it, please turn up at any time for as long as you can. Thanks!
Thursday sees the debate "Does SOAS need a straight white men's officer?" It should be heated; I'll be arguing 'no', and it would be great if the women's society was out in force!
...and on Saturday we're having a pre-Reclaim the Night party in the JCR from 2pm, with music, food&drink, open mic, showing of the documentary we made on Monday and art exhibition! If you're a budding musician and want to take part in the open mic, please please email Stephanie Chan at and if you have some art you'd like shown, in digital or physical format, please email Josie Cox at
We'll then be heading to Reclaim the Night at about 6pm, with our beautiful new banner, and smiles!
I've attached the flyer for this week, so do try and print off even a couple and stick them up wherever you get the chance! (you can get the reciepts from the IT support office and claim the printing costs back from Peter Baran).
Thanks a lot,
Elly xx

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Join Soas Play School at art exhibition

See for more details.

You must book a place if u want to come to the preview drinks on
Friday. Text me or email revolution at soas dot ac dot uk

Vive la resistance

Engels on the Underground...

This fab photo is circulating via Twitter. Thought u might like to see
it too - made me smile :-)

a soldier's balard-protest tmrw 5pm Whitehall

Ballad Of Vic Williams Robb Johnson

Not for me
One two three four
Not for me not anymore
Me name it is Vic Williams, I was a soldier to the Queen
I joined up to defend me country in me teens
Not to do whatever they tell you, wherever they draw the line
For the ruling class in Ulster or the capital on the Rhine
They tell you it's a good career, they tell you it's a laugh
They tell you that a pint of beer is cheaper here by half
But not so cheap as soldiers' lives - you find that out too late
When it's off you go for Texaco - gung-ho in Kuwait
They wound us up with racism to get us in the mood
For a spot of collateral damage over the price of a barrel of crude
They talk about legality but they never told me me rights
I couldn't stick their hypocrisy so I swore I wouldn't fight
They sent us down the PX to get some desert kit
For ours was in the desert with Iraquis wearing it
You couldn't hear 'Give Peace a Chance' for Bishops giving thanks
And most of the Brits that never came back got blown to bits by Yanks
They charged me with desertion but I never ran away
The officers gave me orders that me conscience couldn't obey
So I stood up, I spoke out and when the war was done
I went back to Woolwich Barracks 'cos' I wouldn't live on the run
Me name is Vic Williams, I was a soldier to the Queen
But I didn't know the half of it when I was in my teens
The enemy ain't the other side wherever they draw the line
The enemy is the ruling class who draw the bloody line

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

How many cops in the BNP?

I had this video entitled 'How many cops in the BBC?' originally-woops. Mind you, we could ask that question too no? I wondered why no one could find it so here it is again with corrected title...better late than never.

This video was filmed at the National Stop the War demo at which two or three shit heads (racists, fascists?) turned up and hurled abuse at Tony Benn calling him unpatriotic and worse (although I didnt hear exactly what was said other than the 'unpatriotic' coz I was a bit to far away to catch it. They refused to move so we chased them away. And, only a couple of days after the BNP leader appeared on Question Time these (and I think I am correct in saying theya re far right racists at least becasue they refused to deny it) they had the damn cheek, and confidence to come to an anti-war a demo of TENS OF THOUSANDS on their own and scream shit at us.

Anyway, this is why we ned to continue our No Platform position. Don't give these people a platform to legitimise thier fascist views.

(Why is my blog not allowing spaces between my paragraphs?)


An AntiCapitalist Zombie Movie from Halloween from our comrades in Aotearoa. Still loving their creativity...

Monday, 9 November 2009

New student occupation over course cuts.

Hello All!

Oppose LCC Course Redundancies has OCCUPIED LCC's Main Lecture Theatre.

Please come in tomorrow and help us out.

A little bit of your time could equal

- Flyering
- Handing out The Opposer
- Sit in for one hour or two during the day
- Talk to other students
- Bring food

and of course

We are all working together on our assignments and disso proposals, talking about the lectures and sharing our views on what should be done at LCC.


Make a Change!

See facebook group

Please also change ur facebook Twitter statuses to reflect this msg.

did I tell you?... and Mas Naina got elected as Mature Students Officers at SOAS!

We have lots of plans already including a trip to the theatre to see the Brecht play Mother Courage followed by drinks and discussion in the Oxo Tower. And another outing to the Signs of Revolt exhibition this week end.

Full details if you want to join us are on either our new blog

or the facebook group:

Feel free to come Play with us :-)

Thx to all those who voted.

National Week of Action for boycott of Israeli goods


This action is being called by students, but they would like any many non students to support as possible!

Next week is the National Week of Action for boycott of Israeli goods, and student Palestine societies from across London are calling on all students and non-student activists to descend on four locations in central London during the week.

**Monday 9th - Demonstrate outside Camden Road Sainsbury's at 6pm.

**Wednesday 11th - action at a nearby supermarket: meet outside Russell
Square tube at 5.30pm

**Friday 13th - action at a nearby supermarket: meet outside Marble Arch
tube at 4.30pm

**Saturday 14th - Demonstrate outside Sainsbury's at the bottom of
Tottenham Court Road at 5.30pm

Hope to see as many people as possible there - bring you experience, your materials and your friends!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Chris Harman passes away in Cairo

I'm copying this from Luna17activist blog. I wholeheartedly agree with Luna: my son and I regularly read The Peoples History of the World, it's a great resource and pleasure to read.

And send my condolences to Talat and the rest of the family.


"Chris Harman, a leading figure in the the Socialist Workers Party (and its forerunner International Socialists), has died after suffering a cardiac arrest in Cairo. 

Chris Harman has edited all the SWP's publications at various times, most prominently Socialist Worker from 1982 until 2004, when he moved to the theoretical journal International Socialism. He had first become prominent in International Socialists in the late 1960s, as a leading student activist in LSE's Socialist Society. He later wrote an excellent book, The Fire Last Time, about 1968 and the tumultuous years which followed. 

I have many of his books on my shelves - as do most longtime SWP members - but 'A People's History of the World', published in the final days of 1999 as the Seattle protestors started to write a new chapter in radical politics, is his greatest achievement. It encompasses extraordinary breadth, as the title suggests, and is consistent and rigorous in applying the marxist method to history. I won't be the only one who has found themselves returning to it many times over the last decade. 

There is far, far more that can be said, but I'll leave that to the tributes from revolutionaries and socialists which will no doubt be published in coming days. Above all, I recommend turning to the Chris Harman collection at Marxists Internet Archive.

The photo was taken in Cairo last night."

Thanks Hossam and Alex for being so quick to let us know. 

Soas students r amongst those blockading Carmel Agrexco

From Soas comrade Ola Shahbha and Abu Assad via email, text and

Carmel Agrexco blockaded for a second day, public protest tomorrow
Abu Assad | 07.11.2009 09:16 | Palestine

Demonstrate tomorrow, Sunday, outside the gates of Carmel Agrexco, the 50% Israeli state owned company responsible for exporting at least 60% of illegal settlement goods from the occupied West Bank.

Today activists from a coalition of Palestine solidarity groups have blockaded the company for the second day. The activists locked themselves to oil drums filled with concrete and positioned themselves to block the two access roads to the depot. Tomorrow we want the business closed again, maximising disruption to Agrexco at a key time, the start of the Israeli Avocado season.

We are calling for a mass demonstration starting tomorrow from 12pm; bring flags, banners, noise, and a strong desire to keep Israeli goods out of our supermarkets. The nearest train station is Hayes and Harlington, which is served from Paddington station. The 11.15 train from Paddington will arrive in time for the demonstration.

A link to the map of the site can be found here:
Abu Assad

Friday, 6 November 2009

Hello sir... know who you are. I will write something a bit more interesting for you to read soon :-)

VICTORY for Queen Mary anti-missile group...

Dear All,
Just to say that we have won and that MBDA missile company have pulled out of coming to this university. Shows activism really does work and MUST be continued!!!

Thank you for all your support and help during the campaign and also thank you to these societies:


Autonomous Group:

Socialist Students:

Stop The War Coalition:

Tamil Society:

any further questions about it email:, message Julian Duane on facebook.
or call me (Tom) at 07828673539.

An "awesome new tool for activists" is quietly launched

From the excellent Trade Union mailing LabourStart:

In today's mailing:

1) An "awesome new tool for activists" is quietly launched
2) Thailand: Campaign against sacking of union leaders who protested unsafe working conditions
3) Labour newswires go local
1) An "awesome new tool for activists" is quietly launched

Unless you're a regular reader of the official Google blog (and I'm not) you probably haven't heard of Google SideWiki.  But a trade union activist in New Zealand has stumbled on something that he calls an "awesome new tool for activists".   And he may be right.

I won't tell you much more, but will instead suggest you read what Google has to say:

And when you're done, and have set this up on your computer (it will take you less than a minute), go visit and see what I've done to Nestle's global website.

2) Thailand: Campaign against sacking of union leaders who protested unsafe working conditions

The headline just about says it all, doesn't it?

Please go to the ITF website to send off your message and to learn more:

3) Labour newswires go local

Here's a new service for your union's website -- local labour news from your state or province.

If you live in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, South Africa or India and your union website would like to show the latest local labour news, we now have the ability to create customized labour newswires for you.  We've done it for unions in Kansas -- see this page:

If you'd like a customized newswire for your state, province or region, please write to us telling us what you'd like and giving us the details of the website it will appear on.

That's all for now -- have a great weekend

Eric Lee

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The case of the missing Blogfather: Soas takes up Hossein Derakhshan's case

Today marks the one year anniversary of the detention and imprisonment by the Iranian authorities of my good friend and fellow Soas student Hossein Derakhshan.

I am very pleased to see that Soas media department has now taken up his campaign and I urge all fellow bloggers to do the same.

He spoke out against wars and brought attention to many attrocities in the world. He is more famously known as 'the blogfather' of Iran for setting up and guiding thousands of blogs in Iran leading Iranians to be at the forefront of the cyberbattle.

You can read more about his activities and the details of his detention at the new Soas blog here:

We hope to raise the profile of his campaign so please use these messages to get you started.

I am blogging this from my iPhone so haven't worked out how to link to my previous posts yet but will do so once at a computer. Type his name in the search bar for previous articles.

In solidarity.


UPDATE: coz someone is cybersquatting my .net address it is no longer possible to access my old link-GGGGRRRR

So, here's one that I also posted to my overflow blog

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

BBC Exploits Unpaid workers on air and gloats about it

The Arts Group has been working this year on ending the exploitation of unpaid workers,particularly in the Creative Industries, and the blatant disregard for National Minimum Wage Legislation in virtually any sector deemed to be "oversupplied" with graduates and students willing to work for free. Rather aptly, the BBC has now released a programme where they openly admit to making use of unpaid workers, and vompare their conditions of employment to "a victorian workhouse". The presenter, Top Gear's James May, openly gloats about how much cheapertot is to use free labour, and then omits to thank the students amongst the other people at the end of the progamme, or provide any credits.

Welcome to the pit of despicable working practices that is the entryoro the Creative Industries for more than a few.

Please read the post at and let the fight begin properly. All the focus thus far seems to have been on parliamentary Interns getting abused, and this programme is a relatively minor (but public) infringement of employment legislation - they are the tip of the iceberg.

Please find attached the draft of the Arts Group's Policy on Emerging Workers that seeks to deal with this. We will be releasing the final copy of this, along with support from various groups in the coming

Join Post workers and Caretakers protests on Friday

Message from London CWU and London Support Group
"On Friday 06 November, the first of two all out strike days by CWU members nationally, there will be a mass Demonstration at 8.30am outside Royal Mail Headquarters, Rathbone Place W1 (Tottenham Ct Rd Tube)

We will be delivering a P45 to Adam Crozier and the rest of the Royal Mail Board. This will be followed by a Rally at 11.00am at the Indian YMCA, Fitzroy Square, W1T 6AQ" (See leaflet attached.)

Join picket lines Friday 06 and Monday 09 November 7-9am

Rathbone Place, W1; Mount Pleasant Mail Centre, Grays Inn Rd, EC1; Barnby St NW1; Kentish Town Regis Rd NW5; Rosslyn Hill NW3 Raise money for the CWU Hardship Fund Make cheques payable to CWU London Divisional Committee and  take to a picket line or transfer to Unity Trust account 20232065 sort code 08 60 01.

No Cuts in Caretaking! Join the protest

Friday 06 November 6pm

Protest at privatisation and cuts in Caretaking, at Cllr James King's advice surgery Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Rd NW6 2JH   organised by Camden Fed and Camden Unison. (Leaflet attached).

Death threats for journalists covering far right demos

Tough and urgent action is needed in response to violence, intimidation and death threats targeting journalists covering far right demonstrations.
The call by NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear comes in the wake of specific email threats against photojournalist and investigative reporter Marc Vallée, and video journalist Jason N. Parkinson.
The emails follow verbal threats and intimidation aimed at photographers covering a march by the English Defence League in Leeds at the weekend and other EDL protests this year.
Professional journalists covering the events have filed reports with the NUJ detailing physical violence, including one being punched in the head, verbal threats, and attempts to seize cameras and smash equipment. The union is to file complaints to the police.
Jeremy Dear said: "In a week when yet more photographers have been targeted by right-wing hate website Redwatch, when out on the streets professional photographers are subjected to violence and intimidation by right-wing thugs, there must be tough and urgent action in response to these latest death threats.
"These are not idle threats made by kids - these are direct, named threats made by individuals who can be traced - in one case an individual already convicted of stabbing someone. They are designed to silence the media and stop photographers showing the true nature of the protests and protestors. The police must act now before a journalist is killed or seriously injured".
Jason N. Parkinson said: "It is ironic the English Defence League claim they are protesting 'peacefully' against Muslim extremism. Then late Saturday night, after returning from covering the Leeds protest, I receive a threatening email from one of their Welsh and English division organisers entitled 'Fatwa'.
"This is exactly the behaviour and tactics of extremism the EDL claim they are against. Someone should remind the EDL that the fundamental root of all democratic society, including in the UK, is press freedom. Intimidation, violence, Fatwas and death threats are not."
Marc Vallée said: "I find it intriguing that only four weeks after attending a BNP press conference - at London's City Hall - I'm targeted by Redwatch in this way. We should be free to go about our lawful and necessary work without such intimidation. I'm determined that when journalists are targeted in this way the only effective response is a collective one as well as journalistic one."
NUJ Press Release

FREE party with FREE booze! Parliament Sq, November 5th

We from SOAS will be going directly after the Internet for Activists meeting (see post below)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Internet for Activists mtg at Soas

Filmshowing and discussion-all welcome.

 Do spread the word. Note, the date is wrong on the poster. It is on November 5 (not October).

Click, copy, print and put up!

Google Video: The Century Of The Self - Part 1 of 4 - By Adam Curtis

Emailed video

The Century Of The Self - Part 1 of 4 - By Adam Curtis
Aug 14, 2006 - 58:25
"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy." - Adam Curtis

Browse more videos on Google Video

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Great debate by KCL Capital Reading Group on the Future of Capitalism

Meet me and loads others at the Strand entrance of Kings College at
5.30pm May be followed by drinks at the Oxo Tower (we'll buy cheap
bottles of wine)...

Oooh, now that IS champagne socialism for ya!

See u tmrw. Call me if u can't find me.