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Thursday, 31 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
The Viva Palestina convoy, comprising over two hundreds vehicles carrying humanitarian aid for the besieged people of Gaza, has been prevented from entering Egypt.
Since around 11pm GMT on Christmas Eve, the convoy has been stuck in the Jordanian port of Aqaba, waiting to cross the Red Sea and enter Egypt at Nuweiba before continuing on to Gaza.
In order to help the convoy get back on the road, please contact the Egyptian Embassy in London. Express your disappointment that they are not allowing the convoy to proceed and ask the person answering the phone to pass this message to the Ambassador.
You can contact the Embassy:
by phone - 020 7499 3304
by fax - 020 7491 1542
by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The office is closed today, but when I called the number someone answered and I spoke to them. I believe that they are running on a skeleton staff today to deal with emergencies, so you should be able to get through. Please also send an email expressing your disappointment and calling for the Egyptian government to allow the convoy's passage.
Please let others know how you get on by posting on the facebook page HERE.
Friday, 25 December 2009
dishes', 'walkies', shrill 'TIA, come eya' and a great wolfwhistle.
Recently it has learnt 'merry christmas'. Just waiting for it to say 'if I've told you once i've told you a
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complete with nonslip rubber paw motifs on the feet.
I always wanted a pair ever since i was little so when Mum saw these she couldnt resist. They are the most cuddly, comfortable thing we have ever had-I can't believe my son not only put them on willingly but allowed me to take photo & put on facebook! He must be growing up (or it was coz he was drunk!)
Off to watch crappy films; am gutted Sound of Music ain't on again (no,really, I am!)
Happy Christmas everyone. I hope you get a pressie as lovely as
And Happy Birthday to our Palestinian friend, Jesus...
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
SOAS debate w Chris Knight, Hillel Ticktin and William Dixon debate: THE (IM)POSSIBILITY OF REVOLUTION
ALL welcome. And a happy bah humbug to you all (this bit is from me, Clare!)
Chris Knight, Hillel Ticktin and William Dixon debate:
THE (IM)POSSIBILITY OF REVOLUTION
Thursday 21 January, 7.15pm, Room B102, Brunei Gallery,
SOAS, University of London, Thornaugh St. WC1 (Russell Sq. tube).
At the next election millions will vote for pro-capitalist political parties that offer little except cutbacks and austerity. Despite economic crisis, climate chaos and disastrous wars, people see no alternative to capitalism - and revolution seems, at best, an impossible dream.
Yet all three speakers at this debate believe this situation cannot last indefinitely. Their differing interpretations of anthropology, economics and history each show that a 21st Century global revolution is a real possibility - not just a dream.
Chris Knight is an anthropology lecturer, sacked for his involvement in the G20 anti-capitalist protests, and author of Blood Relations, Menstruation and the Origins of Culture.
Hillel Ticktin is editor of Critique, a Journal of Socialist Theory.
William Dixon is a Mute magazine contributor.
(The speakers' names link to interesting articles.)
Please publicise widely, thanks.
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Forgive the email, but we wanted to let all our favourite flookers know that to celebrate the festive season, we're setting up the most amazing, flooktastic competition.
The first prize is a stunning $1799 worth of MacBook Air – 2.13GHz with 2GB memory and a 128GB solid-state drive. (The second prize is a week at Ambient Industries helping us fix defects. Only kidding – of course we don't have defects.)
The winner of our competition will be the person who creates the greatest number of high quality cards between now and January 31st 2010. High quality, you ask?
By that we mean such things as:About great local secrets (events, restaurants, pubs, history, even chewing gum art). With fantastic photos, Correctly located and categorised And pithy, witty words.
Have a look at more cards from our top users on our community page to get the idea. You could also read our blog posting on making great cards.
Judging will be performed by the flook team and a pet robot called Gerald. To enter, just reply to this email letting us know you want to be considered.
That's not all! We'd like to reward you if you get the word out about this competition. Just click this link to tweet about the competition and we'll put you into a draw for an iPod nano!
It's going to be a great Christmas! - the flook team
P.S. If you don't want us to mail you in future, you can change the
mail settings in your profile at http://flook.it
Monday, 21 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Although much older in attendees (I obviously include myself in this category) than Mutiny it was a nice evening at which I bumped into a few people from the circuit including Jess.
Here's what Philosophy Football emailed this morning: the Mindfield gets a special mention. Cheers guys, fiver's in the post! The 2nd video is a great rendition of a song from me youf. Ah ha, ah ha!
"We hope you enjoyed Friday night, and felt it worthwhile braving the near arctic conditions (whatever 'appened to global warming??). As always the gig was packed out, with the event teetering on the anarchic occasionally, but thats the nature of our parties with a purpose.
At Philosophy Football we'd really appreciate your feedback, good, bad or in-between. Email us your comments on the line-up, the venue, the food, whatever, it all helps ensure the next event is even better.
Our ambition is to mix up ideas n entertainment, to contribute towards a culture of dissent that challenges the boxing off of politics from culture and a political practice that appears incapable of recognising the value of pleasure. Big dreams, so did Friday night convince you we might be on to something? Would love to know!
This was our sixth event this year, working with partners including Cuba Solidarity, the Hope not Hate anti-BNP campaign, the TUC and Compass.
And thanks to the brilliant blog http://solomonsmindfield.blogspot.com/ for film of the Oompah band too, see it here >
I was forced to write this post because I was caught on camera so no hiding from the thought police! Photos from Friday, fee to use but please credit Simon Green @ www.eventful.org.uk http://www.flickr.com/photos/eventful/sets/72157622867272972/
[Posted with iBlogger from my iphone ]
Thursday, 17 December 2009
the good news: no one from SOAS got arrested or badly hurt.
the bad news: there was a lot of police violence, tear gas, pepper spray and police batons used on everyone. The demonstration did not achieve its aim of getting into the Bella Centre, and the delegates from the NGOs who were planning to walk out to meet the demonstration were prevented by the police from getting out. HOWEVER the demonstrators did manage to carry out a peaceful People's Summit justoutside the Bella Center, a democratic-ish forum for all the
demonstrators from all over the world to get together to exchange ideas and get them heard. As I type this demonstrators have marched peacefully back to the city proper.
I did not take part in the demonstration but I did make it to the People's Summit. I spent most of the night in the kitchen of the school we are staying in helping to get breakfast ready for the 100- odd activists. This involved skipping at the nearby supermarket at 3AM for fruits and bread and making many many pots of coffee. The first few people were up at 5AM. The police showed up around 7AM, and searched people's bags as they left. On the whole, it is still early to come to any conclusions, but I like to think today's action was a success, and the police left people alone after awhile. People were fearing violence from the demonstrators, but almost all of it came from the police.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Santa Claus banned from visiting locked-up children in UK asylum
Santa Claus was prevented from giving presents to the imprisoned
children of asylum seekers at the notorious Yarl's Wood detention
centre by private security guards. Yarl's Wood is a privately run
prison whose inmates are UK immigrants who arrived seeking asylum, but
whose claims have been denied. They are dragged out of bed in the dead
of night and stuck in mesh-windowed vans without their belongings and
without the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, and then
detained in terrible conditions that have been decried by human rights
advocates, doctors, psychiatrists and other experts. Their "crime" is
trying to escape torture, privation, and disaster.
The rent-a-cops at Yarl's Wood told the Anglican church's leading
expert on Father Christmas (dressed in a Santa costume) that he
couldn't enter the centre to give the children presents. They also
blocked the canon theologian at Westminster Abbey. Then they cancelled
a later scheduled visit with detained families at the centre.
And the whole mess is on video.
But when the Anglican church's leading expert on Father Christmas,
dressed as St Nicholas himself, arrived with one of Britain's most
distinguished clerics to distribute presents to children held at the
Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire, things took a
turn straight out of Dickens.
An unedifying standoff developed that saw the security personnel who
guard the perimeter fence prevent St Nicholas, the patron saint of
children and the imprisoned, from delivering £300 worth of presents
donated by congregations of several London churches.
In a red robe and long white beard, clutching a bishop's mitre and
crook, St Nick - in real life, the Rev Canon James Rosenthal, a world
authority on St Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for Father Christmas
- gently protested that he was not a security threat, but to no avail.
Then as St Nicholas, accompanied by the Rev Professor Nicholas
Sagovsky, canon theologian at Westminster Abbey, attempted to bless
the gifts, the increasingly angry security guards called the police.
The resulting ill-tempered and surreal impasse between church and
state was videotaped by asylum seeker support groups and could become
an internet viral hit.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Hiya, Stephanie from Soas is currently in Copenhagen and this is what she sent me , please read it for a cool update:)
Sorry for not updating for awhile but I have not have had internet access till now. But greetings from Copenhagen! It is snowy and wet and the temperature is -3 right now, but we are surrounded by a huge community of passionate people from all over the world who have descended on this city to learn, get their voices heard and maybe even change things.The SOAS group is staying with Climate Camp at a school in Northwest Copenhagen with about 50-100 other activists. I cannot speak for all of them but spirits are high though energy is waning. We are saving it for the big protest tomorrow. There is a sense of great hope and anticipation everywhere. There are protesters everywhere. Every advertisement in the city says something about the climate. The city is a temporary home for thousands of activists and networks in Copenhagen has been amazingly well´coordinated to provide everyone here with free places to stay, accomodation, meeting places, places to build things, etc. in exchange for their help in running the places, cooking food, keeping watch, etc.They have got permission to turn warehouses and empty schools into places for activist activity.'What has happened:Sunday-- I arrive and meet up with the people of the SOAS group. Hear news of a huge police crackdown on protesters the day before and today (people threatened to shut down port), which none of us are involved in.There is an alternative conference, KlimaForum which is taking place downtown. It involves talks and panels NGOs, scientific bodies, experts fighting climate change and the issues surrounding it. Some developing nations give notice that they might boycott the conference.Monday--- The nations decide not to boycott the conference. Some of us take part in a No borders protest which highlights the situation of refugees and increased immigration due to climate change and occurring now. It is a mostly peaceful protest which ends at the Ministry of Defence, though people do make off with a large balloon tethered in front of the building. Later that night we listen to a panel with Naomi Klein at another alternative meeting in Christiania where she describes the .
TODAY: I hear about the long lines journalists and delegates and NGOs have to stand in to get into the conference. A student from Sussex representing an NGO waited 9h outside yesterday and did not get in. I go with him and some other people to the bella centre and to tell them about hte protest tomorrow. I meet NGO delegates from Indonesia, India and the USA. People are msotly conserving energy for the massive protest tomorrow, where they are trying to get into the Bella Centre to disrupt the meetings. They want to do this because so far, the meetings are not producing any results or taking into account hte views of the developing world. The main reasons is that many delegations from the developing world, NGOs and youth delegates have also agreed to walk out as they feel they are not being heard. The idea is to meet them and have an alternative conference. Th protest march to the bella centre is legal but We shall see what happens.
And here's one of the police dragging people out:
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From the SOAS Mature Students Officers (me & Mas!)
hope you can come to this event (see below) TODAY 15th Dec for London HE staff/students concerned about management/government attacks on their universities. The idea is to get a local solidarity network going between Kings, UCL, City, Westminster, Londonmet, LCC, SOAS and wherever else the attacks are ongoing or on their way. UCU-sponsored but open to all.SOAS has already faced cuts & more are on their way across London. We need all students & course reps to be aware of this. Come to this meeting for discussions on what sneaky tricks to look out for & for what to do when the inevitable happens.Scotland already has an Activists Network Against Cuts. Maybe we need the same. See you tmrw.From the Students' Union exec.
EMERGENCY MEETING TO DEFEND JOBS AND EDUCATION
A London-wide activist meeting for all university staff and students to
discuss what action we need to take to defend
higher education in the face of attacks across London on jobs, working
conditions, research and teaching
Tuesday December 15, 6.30pm
King's College London
Strand basement, S-1.28
Monday, 14 December 2009
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Thursday, 10 December 2009
For my course Advanced Theory & Method I am writing a 4-5,000 word essay on-I think-'The Ethics of Science' (title to be added after completion!)
So Heidegger is the obvious place to start here but I can only find Alex Callinicos' writings on Heidegger in Social Theory, and the odd, very good (not odd!), reference in The Resources of Critique (excellent btw). But he is not as disparaging-or at least his critique is somewhat limited-as I would have thought him to be.
Please could you point me in the right direction as to 1) what the heck Heidegger is talking about in his On the Question of Technology 2) a good counter argument (mind u, if I understood said essay I may be able to analyse it myself!) and 3) any other useful references for this topic.
Your help will be greatly appreciated and will earn u a wiki point.
[Posted with iBlogger from my iphone ]
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
REINSTATE JUAN CARLOS
Juan Carlos Piedra (above), has worked for Office and General for 1 year. O&G are the cleaning contractors at University College London (UCL). Juan Carlos was transferred from Harbour Exchange (Land Securities, Canary Wharf) to work in UCL after being called into a disciplinary meeting and
warned about his trade union activities. He was told that his work was not the problem.
The only problem was his attitude - that he told people about the union, about their right to go tribunal if they were badly treated. Two days after being transferred to UCL he was called into a meeting and told that he had been seen at SOAS protesting against the immigration raid and at union
protests. Then he was told "there is no job for you here" and was made redundant.
Juan Carlos was then reinstated in Exchange Tower (Canary Wharf) after UCL unions Unite and UCU called a protest, but he was not given the same conditions and he continues to be seriously victimised there for union activity.
UCL UNITE, UNISON AND UCU DEMAND THAT UCL MANAGEMENT CALL ON O&G TO REINSTATE JUAN CARLOS IN UCL IMMEDIATELY AND THAT THE VICTIMISATION BE STOPPED
Lobby for the right to be in a union. THURSDAY 10th DECEMBER 13H00. University College London UCL MAIN QUAD (off Gower St, WC1).
Picket for the right to be in a union. FRIDAY 11th DECEMBER 13H00. HARBOUR EXCHANGE, SOUTH QUAY DLR Station.
We all have the right to a union
Get news, entertainment and everything you care about at Live.com. Check it out!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
FROM IRAQ TO AFGHANISTAN
WEDNESDAY 9 DECEMBER 7PM
HOUSE OF COMMONS
PORTCULLIS HOUSE, WESTMINSTER BRIDGE ROAD
Monday, 7 December 2009
I love getting an email like this on a Monday morning.
"I am writing to thank you, your organisation and supporters for the solidarity and support displayed in the recent Carlisle Cleaners dispute in London," writes Mick Lynch, a member of the Executive Committee of RMT, a British union.
"I am glad to report that following two 24-hour strikes, the email/web campaign coordinated by Labourstart, and the media and political pressure we were able to exert, a settlement has been agreed."
It gets even better.
- The cleaners -- who clean Eurostar trains -- won a nearly 6% pay increase effective next year and another increase totalling nearly 10% over 13 months.
- The company has agreed that the London Living Wage is the benchmark for future pay agreements.
- An agreement has been reached on bullying and harassment of staff, to mitigate the redundancy program, and to discuss pensions and sick pay in the next round.
The workers ratified the agreement by a huge margin.
This is what happens when workers stand their ground -- and get support from their union and from trade unionists like yourselves around the world.
Thousands of you sent messages to Eurostar. Your voices were heard.
As another RMT official put it to me today, "this is a massive victory for cleaners."
Online campaigning works -- let no one doubt this.
So here's my question to all of you:
There are almost 53,000 of you on this list. But only 6,936 of you have sent off messages in support of workers at Vale Inco in Canada who've been on strike since July.
There are 46,000 of you who are reading this message who've not yet sent a message to this company.
I'm appealing to every one of you -- please take a few seconds and send off a message right now.
If you're one of the 6,936 who've already done this, thanks -- but let's do more.
Forward this message to other members of your union, to workmates, to friends and colleagues and family members.
We want 10,000 messages in the inbox of Vale's CEO, Roger Agnelli, before Christmas.
We've helped win a huge victory for cleaners on Eurostar trains. Let's now do the same for our brothers and sisters walking the picket lines at Vale Inco.
And one more thing.
Please help LabourStart with a generous end-of-year donation.
It costs money to do these campaigns and we rely on your support -- and your union's.
Thanks very much to all of you.
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Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Committees and Democracy Commisions etc etc this cartoon brings it all
I really should attend the policy committee mtgs in my housing block.
Looking forward to seeing you all. Call or text if any problems. 07850177637
So, now all 30 tickets have sold out-sorry to those who missed out. Hopefully you come to the next one, Pitmen Painters in January. Again tho, 1st come 1st served.
You can reserve a ticket by joining the Facebook event HERE
Or at our official blog HERE
Or calling me.
Here are the details for the Mother Courage evening:
6pm FREE drinks at the Oxo Tower, South Bank, SE1 9Gy, although feel free to come a bit earlier if ur at a loose end.
We will be leaving the Oxo Tower at 7.15 to go to theatre
7.30pm watch the play!
10.30pm go to boat party on the Thames right opposite the National Theatre
Hometime? Whenever you start feeling old! :-)
Any questions please text or msg us. See u soon. C & M
Only £5 for students. See you there :-)
9.00 Registration & coffee
9.30 Terrell Ward Bynum (Southern Connecticut State)
Two Philosophers of the Information Age
11.00 Timothy Williamson (Oxford)
Philosophical Expertise and the Burden of Proof
12.30 Lunch (own arrangements)
1.30 Philip Kitcher (Columbia)
Philosophy Inside Out
3.00 David Papineau (King's College London)
The Importance of Philosophical Intuition
5.00 Panel: The Future of Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century
Chair: Armen T. Marsoobian (Editor in Chief, Metaphilosophy)
6.00 Reception hosted by Metaphilosophy Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
So opens Nina Power's energizing romp from today's co-option of feminism by Sarah Palin's anti-choice and the imperialist justification of war as an act of emancipation through to the carnivalesque possibilities of "vintage porn" and why "socialism must not exclude human pleasure from its program!".
Google's take on 'free love'.
The premise of One Dimensional Woman is that modern feminism has coalesced with capitalist consumerism which fails to place the nexus of struggle in the workplace and recognise the sexualisation and denigration of ever increasing casualisation.
Moreover, Power plays with the possibility that pornography, so long the alpha omega of patriarchal sexual domination according to feminists, actually held out the possibility of subversion of monogamous heteronormativity. Instead, pornography today "deploys sex as something to and treated outside of other human and social relations."
Power asks: "Whatever did happen to those dreams of living differently? To the radical Kibbutzim, co-housing groups, revolutionary cells? … Alternative living these days is more lively to refer to the fact that you've bolted a solar panel to your roof rather than undertaken any practical critique of the nuclear family."
This tantalising possibility, of the erotic offering a moment of resistance against power, lingers.Laurie Penny, writing in the Guardian, tells how as a teenager she was seduced into stripping as part of a Burlesque troupe because of the desperate desire to capture the sexually subversive.
The blogger, who also goes by Penny Red, wrote: "When burlesque began in the 19th century, stripping wasn't even on the agenda. A form of low-budget theatre for the working classes, its main objective was to parody – or 'burlesque' – the cultural mores of the aristocracy."
Sexual exploitation in the form of pole dancing and prostitution has been dressed up as empowerment, as Power delicately unpicks. Inversely, the inducement of sexual liberation on the Left all too often ends up as a grotesque parody of itself.
One Dimensional Woman draws us closer at the introduction by promising the book "looks for utopian intimations in alternative histories, particularly in relation to pornography and to various forms of collective and social living."
But in the penultimate chapter, From Sexoleftism and Deflationary Acceptance, we are exposed to disturbing memories of Otto Muhl's 1970s Viennese commune where members "must have sex five times a day – romantic love was deemed bourgeois, foreplay old fashioned."
She adds: "Predictably, sexoleftism rapidly turned into a tyranny of copulation as Muhl is latter accorded droit de seigneur over every young girl who 'comes of age'. Muhl was eventually sentenced in the 1980s to seven years in jail for child sex offences."
Power is strides ahead of the moralist policing of sex dressed up as feminism and the defence of prostitution as emancipatory. However, there is an unnerving feeling that we have collectively walked full circle and arrived two paces behind Alexandra Kollontai.
All Power to your elbow..
The Commissar of Social Welfare in the post-Revolution euphoria in Russia, Kollontai enacted the most advanced legislation ever seen: one-week divorces, abortion and contraception on demand, the establishment of nurseries and socialised child care.
Before the machismo sadism of Stalin, she was an advocate of "free love" but also a realist in terms of what could be delivered under capitalism. "Only the fundamental transformation of all productive relations could create the social prerequisites to protect women from the negative aspects of the 'free love' formula", she wrote in The Social Basis of the Woman Question exactly a century ago.
"Are we not aware of the depravity and abnormalities that in present conditions are anxious to pass themselves off under this convenient label? … All those masters of the house who rape their servants and throw them out pregnant onto the street, are they not adhering to the formula of free love?'"
Kollontai and Power both present seething and compelling accounts of how the workplace dehumanises and exploits women in their own eras. The 100 years of history which separates them holds in its arms the invention of the Pill.
Capitalist technology has delivered emancipation from nature and conception, allowing women in some societies sexual freedom without the constant fear of childbirth and consequent starvation. It has not yet stripped "the much of ages" in which family values and male sexual domination coexist.
This limited new freedom has given rise to a complex and considered adaptation of 'free love' among feminists, LGBT communities and anarchists. The book, The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities by Dossie Easton and Catherine A Liszt formulates some of the "constellations" and new relations made possible once monogamous family is jettisoned.
Socialists have a long tradition of embracing open relationships stretching back to the theory and practice of Fredrick Engels, author of Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State. From this text springs Kollontai's belief that communism means free love and communal childcare.
Socialists today could abandon their fear of sex sects and not so older men can enamour themselves to young female activists. Rather to strip the stigma from and celebrate current practice in so many working class communities where "infidelity" and the breakdown of monogamous relations cause so much pain and division.
Sexual liberation is not utopia. But the possibility of non-exploitative tactile affection can remind us of the pleasure that comes with human interaction outside the razor sharp competition of the labour market. We can then discover it's not sex alone which needs to be rediscovered.
Power ends chapter 3.3 with an extensive extract from an interview with Toni Morrison published in Time magazine and in doing so brilliantly tips the discussion from sex to communal childcare, and human love.
"[Teenage single mothers] can be teachers. They can be brain surgeons. We have to help them become brain surgeons. That's my job. I want to take them in my arms and say, 'Your baby is beautiful and so are you and, honey, you can do it. And when you want to be a brain surgeon, call me – I will take care of your baby'.
"That's the attitude you have to have about human life. But we don't want to pay for it."
One Dimensional Woman, by Nina Power, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Roehampton University. Published by Zero Books and available at all good book shops - and Amazon.
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