Monday, May 23, 2005

Wrong on Galloway, wrong on the causes of Galloway.

An anonymous commentor says:
Erm, bad call on the Galloway business, no?
Well, I don't think so....

And here comes the science bit.

According to the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, the appeal's chairman, Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat, was involved in the oil-for-food programme "to the tune of many, many millions of pounds".

He said: "Some businessmen involved in trading with Iraq put all the profits in their own pocket, other businessmen put some of the profits into other campaigns around the world that were fighting to lift the embargo.

"Fawaz Zureikat, who was the chairman of the Mariam Appeal, was a big businessman doing business in Iraq.

"That is, buying and selling things in Iraq under the oil-for-food programme."

He admits the charge substantive. This was never about whether Galloway was crooked, and was skimming off the money - although he tried to make it appear like that. This was about the fact that it does seem that Galloway was receiving monies from the Iraqi government, via Zureikat in order to fund his political activity.,

That is, his platform is built on a bourgeoisie provided scaffold. We know that Galloway has in the past funded RESPECT to the tune of £11K (including use of one of his businesses), we know that much of his anti-sanctions work was performed using Mariam Appeal funds.

Do the Maths.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

They live?

Recent comment in an older post:
Hey brother. You may want to check out the movie "They Live" - I've been recommending it to folks on my blog circuit of late and its a wonderful distopia movie. Alphaville is another good one.

Well, I have seen They Live - I didn't realise it was as late as 1988 - anyway.

It is a profoundly disturbing film - the protagonist discovers that when he wears a pair of special glasses that certain nice white middle class types are in fact evil aliens trying to take over the world...

Shade of anti-semitic paranoia anyone? Certainly, the film then revolves around the exquisite pleasure of eradicating these interloping alien scum by our beautiful muscle bound aryan.

OK, so Carpenter may have been being ironic, his films though do tend to revolve around grounds of Zombies and nightmares of collectivism - but given Escape from New York and Escape from LA I am inclined to an Ironic view - I mean, invasion by Cuba?

That said, you have to see the irony, failure of irony can lead to bad things.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Socialism or barbarism

Fascinating post over at Mutualist blog on the age of revolution we seem to be living through, and how some revolutions are more cuddly than others, here - it's quite long, and I freely admit to only having read the first half, the last paragraph may well read "Exterminate the brutes" but I'll take that risk and highly recommend it.

As for barbarism - I recently read an article in Fortean Times about the nut-job tyrant of Turkmenistan - Niyazov - well, apparently he has now gone and closed all the libraries in his kingdom - I know, there are millions in the world who cannot reach any library and are denied information by economic censorship, but still, any such attack is a naked and savage spit in the face of humanity.

I don't know how, but I just feel these stories belong together.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


There are two artistic works I normally cite as political inspiration.

The first, is Doctor Who - which accounts for why I always have a young sidekick to give my explanatory dialogue to.

The other, when I was 16 was V for Vendetta by Allen Moore - an Anarchist graphic novel. Considering I was leaning radical at the time, it was the peice that convinced me of the right of revolution.

Nowadays, obviously, I'd pick holes in the politics - anyone whop knows me knows I normally refer to fucking anarchists as fuckinganarchists. V is the quintessential invisible pilot in the storm.

It occurred to me, partly because my copy has been recently returned by a friend I leant it to, and partly because of Natalie Portman's bald pate, that she has been relatively brave in appearing in the up coming movie version seeing as how the story is one of both a successful terrorist (literally, V prevails by cunning planning and sellective blowing up of strategic government targets) and also the Torture sequences, which must be retained, hence the shaved head.

Expect controversy, I expect a good film, I hope it will be better than previous Moore movie adaptations.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Lazy days and crazy nights.

I'm an idle get.

Here's a round-up of what other people are saying - beats thihking for yourslef (which reminds me of a sort of pomo joke quote I became semi famous for on an e-discussion board once there is no such thing as an individual, so I don't need to think for myself. Still makes me chuckle, but there you go.)

Anyway, Loony has a useful peice about Uzbekistan - we do seem to live in an age of revolutions, and this one is certainly being promoted with less enthusiasm than others of the recent past by the BBC among others. Craig Murray - of of being removed ambassador to Uzbekistan (in, what, to those not ultmiately intimate with the ins and outs of the story, we controversial circumstances) also discusses the case, today.

Ken highlights a line in a recent post by the Despairate Duo (which I had been meaning to get round to reading, it's quite long. It would be disturbing if revolutionaies were egging on war between Merikky and Yurp - more likely though, I suspect, is the thread of the apocalyptic/millenarianism that runs through revolutionary thought, the upheavel that gives the shot at radical change when a system all around seems steady as a rock. FWIW, IMNSHO, I don't rate direct war between those two powers, I suspect more likely the EU will keep manouevring into alliances with other objectively anti-american forces, like Iran and China - much as they have propped up the Palestinian Authority for the past many years.

Finally, Galloway, Harry has gone nuclear over this, and IMNSHO, has pinned Galloway to the fucking wall, with no wriggle room left. Paul Anderson has being synopsising the story (follow The Big Lie titled posts). FWIW, IMNSHO, this is all turning eerilly into a re-run of the demise of the WRP - the background story here from at least one splinter's perspective. Basically, the WRP, the biggest left force in the UK in the 70's (arguably) fell apart, with a charasmatic if somewhat shifty and womanising leader, who took large sums of money from middle eastern regimes to fund the party. Now we have respect...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kingdom of Devon

Wouldn't make a very interesting film, unless it was a return to the Goodies' story about the bunfight at the OK Tea rooms (what do you mean you haven't seen it? never mind...)

Anyway, Ridley Scott's film Kingdom of Heaven - sort of a cross between Magnficent Seven and Zulu with a bit of the Gladiator charm thrown in.

Certainly, it wasn't schlock post 9-11 malarky I'd kind of expected from everyones favourite transatlantic Teessider movie maker. OK, so the film centres on the classic existential hero, he's autonomous, has no links to anyone, comes to a place - a new world (!) - where old structures and forms of feudal Europe don't apply and a man by his own industry may make himself - the Western elements of the film, more or less. Nicely unspoken is the fact that he can only do this because he is the bastard child of a baron who gives him an army and position, but that is easily forgotten as he repeatedly proves himself in bravery, virtue and honour throughout the film.

The Zulu bit is the end, which I will sort of spoil for anyone who doesn't know the result of the crusades. The crusaders lose, big style. But through bravery, ingenuity and resilience, Bloom's character wins a reprieve for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and they are allowed to evacuate the city peacefully. The Zulu element. Against the odds,a nd for no good reason, men stand their ground, and risk death. By being prepared to die, they prove themselves to be human, and (the important bit) gain the recognition of the Other - the Zulus or the Muslims - they win, er, respect.

The film is ideologically anti-ideology - religious fanatics are nut-jobs and idiots, no sympathetic character actually believes in God, and Bloom's triumph comes from an appeal to the lives of the people, to nation rather than religion. This, though, is just anotehr ideology. Bloom is bound by an oath to defend the people, just as the defenders of Rorke's drift are bound by orders to hold their ground. They cannot explain why, indeed, both films make a virtue of the pointlessness (as does Saving Private Ryan) of the heroism. That is, the ideology of duty beyond reason, you will because you must, is all the more powerful than any rationale to go to war.

Thuswise Bloom's character 'knights' all the men in the city, drawing them into the bounds of duty and obedience, because that will make them better fighters. They will fight for their own existence as honourable entities, for their aspirations to honour and duty, not for God. Theirs is a Modern battle, as a supposed modern audience we are supposed to sympathise. We are not supposed to like the idea of the Templar bloodlust for religion or personal glory and ambition - fine feudal traits though they are - we are supposed to enjoy dutiful heroism.

This argument is a work in process, I know where it is going, it may take more time to hammer it into sense, but I can see the shape there. I'll try another quick analogy - think Fraser's Flashman books - there is an enjoyment there because of the success of Victorian ideology. Flashman thinks himself a cad and a bounder, he doesn't want to be a military hero, but the Victorian structures are such that they make him one against his will. That is the central joke. The absence of fanatcism contains the servitude of a fanaticism.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Electile disfunction

Always go for the obvious pun, that's my motto.

OK, election aftermath.

I've began reading
The downfall of the Liberal Party : 1914 - 1935 / Trevor Wilson
- the central thesis of which is that the imminent cause of the collapse of Liberalism was the Asquith government's wartime problems over conscription, the party's general opposition to militarism and war itself. That seemed suitable to me to raise some qustions about the imminent fate of the Labour party.

Some points - Wilson's book doesn't really cover the real sociological divisions in Liberalism - save to note the effect the war had on non-conformism as a social/political force. In passing he mentions how the Liberal grip on the Labour movement was weakened during the war, and the extra role given to the Labour party by being included in Lloyd George's overwhelmingly Conservative coalition cabinet (Lloyd George was the only liberal, and he was basically an apostate).

The Labour party was, of course, teh Liberal Party's golem, conjoured into existence as part of dubious anti-tory pacts to help prop up their own vote (back thern, many seats were multi (i.e. two) membered, so the Liberals offered to run on a joint ticket...doh!).

There desn't seem to be any equivilent force nowadays - Respect are not a left opposition, nor have they colonised any part of the Labour coalition's territory. The Liberal Democratshave been able to soak off quite a few votes, but I don't think they'll ever penetrate too deep, they have to watch their Yellow Tory flank in teh South West.

I believe I've mentioned before that Foot/Benn et al. reckoned they could win in 1983 if the SDP/Liberals had split the vote three ways, and it looks like in 2005 that trick has come off, Labour in government with a risible 36% of the turnout, 9.7 million votes in a country of 60 million. I don't think they'll dare pull that off again, proportional repreentation is coming. Let's just hope it won't be the aweful recommendations of the Jenkin's report.