Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Forget the economy, stupid.

I scored a try last night!

(I just though you should know).

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Monday, July 28, 2008

London Skolars v. Gateshead Thunder

A desultry match - I could see the players wilting in the heat, and lethargically joining the scrum (as they often did due to the highly activist ref. who gave some, erm, odd decisions from time to time).

To be fair, the score belies the nature of the match - hard fought, with completed sets each way - but Skolars were bedevilled by indiscipline and gave aweay many early penalties - and Thunder were able to manage a few streaky breaks.

Even when London had repeated sets on the Tynesiders try line they couldn't punch their way through in the same manner that the visitors could manage.

The North eastern crowd was, of course, boisterous and loud - their chants of "We are top of the league" were, boastful, true and it turned out, justified.

But, hell, Skolars are off the bottom of the table, for a while at least.

London Skolars 18-44 Gateshead Thunder

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Shettlestonians...

Labour stuffed in Glasgow. Are we facing a Canada 1993 with Labour facing utter wipeout? Will that finally lead to the realignment Blair wanted (after all, the liberals would fill the gap, and a good chunk of Labour would desert the old union based organisation).

The big question is, Gordon Brown, what will he do, go, and go now, or cling on - perhaps pursuing a scorched Earth policy? A series of give away budgets?

Stay tuned, to this bat channel!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Now and again, and again, and again...

The man opened a door. It was some kind of storeroom, and he walked Peter inside and slammed the door behind him. "Now, out with it!" he said. The man thrust into his pocket the printed circular, or whatever it was--Peter never saw it again, and never found out what was printed on it. With his free hand the man grabbed one of Peter's hands, or rather one finger of Peter's hand, and bent it suddenly backward with terrible violence. "Oh!" screamed Peter. "Stop!" And then, with a wild shriek, "You'll break it."

"I mean to break it! mean to break every bone in your body! I'll tear your finger-nails out; I'll tear the eyes out of your head, if I have to! You tell me who helped you make that bomb!"

Peter broke out in a storm of agonized protest; he had never heard of any bomb, he didn't know what the man was talking about; he writhed and twisted and doubled himself over backward, trying to evade the frightful pain of that pressure on his finger.

"You're lying!" insisted Guffey. "I know you're lying. You're one of that crowd."

"What crowd? Ouch! I dunno what you mean!"

"You're one of them Reds, aint you?"

"Reds? What are Reds?"
Upton Sinclair's 100%: The Story of a Patriot (1920). And Now:
The signs of something uglier here were apparent first in superficial ways. Some officers had traditional fascist songs as ringtones on their mobile phones and talked enthusiastically about Mussolini and Pinochet. Repeatedly, they ordered prisoners to say "Viva il duce." Sometimes, they used threats to force them to sing fascist songs: "Un, due, tre. Viva Pinochet!"

The 222 people who were held at Bolzaneto were treated to a regime later described by public prosecutors as torture. On arrival, they were marked with felt-tip crosses on each cheek, and many were forced to walk between two parallel lines of officers who kicked and beat them. Most were herded into large cells, holding up to 30 people. Here, they were forced to stand for long periods, facing the wall with their hands up high and their legs spread. Those who failed to hold the position were shouted at, slapped and beaten. Mohammed Tabach has an artificial leg and, unable to hold the stress position, collapsed and was rewarded with two bursts of pepper spray in his face and, later, a particularly savage beating. Norman Blair later recalled standing like this and a guard asking him "Who is your government?" "The person before me had answered 'Polizei', so I said the same. I was afraid of being beaten."
Nick Davies in the Guardian

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Monday, July 14, 2008

The free market in action

The US government is going to provide security on the firms Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae (the ones that provide security on mortgages).

This is the free market in action, it seems - in the heart of free enterprise capitalism, the state is going to prop up the finances of the capitalists who own the firm, let their bankruptcy leads to social collapse.

Just as the Inca Empire used to keep on operating the property of the dead kings as if they were still alive, enacting the will of the long dead - just so the functionaries of the US state capitalism will continue to obey the formalities of private ownership whilst in effect socialising the risk of capital.

Will this have a long term effect? Well, it will if things get so bad that they have to explicitly break with the formalities of private capitalism. Until then, if stability is maintained, and the fiction of private capitalism is maintained, then things will carry on as before. Watch this space.

Update: The New York Times covers the story nicely...

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Uniting the Workers

From the BBC:
Britain's biggest union, Unite, is merging with the US-based United Steelworkers union (USW) to create a new "global" union...Mr Simpson also urged other unions, from Poland to Australia, to join Workers Uniting.
Well, this is good news, a genuine international union, based around the practicality of international firms.

Of course, the T&G (a constituent part of Unite) has always had an international flavour, it owes much of the inspiration for its founding to the Knights of Labor working in the trans-atlantic docks.

Such a move is to be greatly applauded, if not copied, and hopefully it will move the politics of unions away from a national capital perspective towards a more clearly worker and class focused agenda - the mere concept of a transnational (albeit English language) union should be enough to start harumphing from the Blimps and put a little shiver of fear up the spines of certain quarters.

Of note, though, just as the British ruling class is trying to decide between Europe and transatlanticism, so too, clearly, have unite. Lets not forget, the ETUC does exist, albeit not to negotiate directly with employers.

The world for the workers?

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