Friday, 14 February 2020

Time for our Ådalen 31

In the 1930s Norway and Sweden “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and both countries went on to build economies that eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided healthcare available to all and created a system of full employment.

They had realized that, with the 1% in charge, electoral “democracy” was stacked against them, so nonviolent direct action was needed to exert the power for change.

In both countries, troops were called out to defend the 1 percent; people died. (Bo Widerberg told the Swedish story in Ådalen 31, which depicts the sparking of a nationwide general strike.) The 1% had become increasingly desperate as militancy grew among workers and farmers. The misery of the poor became daily more urgent, and the Labour Party felt increasing pressure from its members to alleviate their suffering, which it could do only if it took charge of the government.

This it did. They expanded the economy and started public works projects to head toward a policy of full employment that became the keystone of economic policy.

The 1% thereby lost its historic power to dominate the economy and society. Not until three decades later could the Conservatives return to a governing coalition, having by then accepted the new rules of the game, including a high degree of public ownership of the means of production, extremely progressive taxation, strong business regulation for the public good and the virtual abolition of poverty.

When Conservatives tried a fling with neoliberal policies, Labour stepped back in, seized the three largest banks, fired the top management, left the stockholders without a dime and refused to bail out any of the smaller banks.

Scandinavian society’s high level of freedom and broadly-shared prosperity began when workers and farmers, along with middle class allies, waged a nonviolent struggle that empowered the people to govern for the common good.

Does this resonate with you and will Ken Loach still be alive to make our Ådalen 31

Much of this information is taken from this article

You can view Ådalen31film here

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

UK today - shackled & deported

Of the 17 deported from the UK to Jamaica this week. only five had a criminal conviction. one came out of prison 17 years ago and has not re-offended, the other four had faced charges for minor misdemeanours. 


They were shackled with reports that one deportee tried to commit suicide as they were being detained. Of the 25 that were taken off the plane at least one was in his teens and came here when he was two years old because the UK did a major recruiting in Jamaica for teachers. His mother is a teacher. He knows no-one in Jamaica.


Boris Johnson has confessed to imbibing Class A drugs and he was born in NYC. What time does his deportation flight depart?

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Liverpool, Paris & Mostar

Every year I go to Bosnia Herzegovina to stay with my Mostar ‘family’ who I have known since I was there at the time of the Bosnian war in the 90s. 


I recently wrote to them, “If I was well and 30 years younger I would be a revolutionary. Now I just wanna come and chill with you all. Did you ever think we here in the UK would think nostalgically of Mostar as a place of life and sanctuary. Everything is upside down or, as we say, topsy-turvy!”



Yesterday (4 February) a man climbed on the roof of a Liverpool Jobcentre and had to be coaxed down.


He was shouting that he was hungry and ‘You’re not fucking getting me.” A Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “The welfare of customers and staff is paramount.” Of course it is.



My son receives DWP ‘Personal Independence Payment' (PIP) benefits and yesterday rang the DWP to enquire about the next payment date. He waited for half an hour before anyone would talk with him. 


His PIP benefits were withdrawn three years ago and he had to take the DWP to court to win them back. He only succeeded because he has a cousin who is a lawyer and took on his case pro bono.



Meanwhile and on the other side of the tracks, The Guardian reports that, “The UK is the world’s greatest enabler of corporate tax avoidance and has done the most to break down the global corporate tax system, accounting for over a third of the world’s corporate tax avoidance.”


They fully intend to keep it that way. Theresa May’s comment to Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 about his chances of being PM, “We will never let it happen” now chills my bones. 


As do the words of Roberto Saviano, anti-Mafia lawyer when he said, “Britain is the most corrupt country in the world.”


Meanwhile, and are you surprised, May’s husband Philip has a reputation for tax-avoidance


Talking of fiddles, how much ‘fiddling’ goes on with our voting? I have already written about the private companies who organise the postal ballot.


Then there is the incessant fixing of information carried out by the tax-avoiding billionaire-owned media.

Part of their campaign to not let a Corbyn-government ‘happen’ have been the anti-semitism slurs. Not made against the party with a long history of racism, but against one led by a man who is proud that his mother fought fascists in Cable Street.

As my witness on all this I give you John Bercow, the Jewish and Tory ex-House of Commons Speaker.


The London Economic dealt with this a year ago and the Morning Star located the ‘charity’ at the heart of anti-Corbyn propaganda.

As someone who has depended for my continued life on the NHS, there is its galloping privatisation to consider while we look at the smiling face of Richard Branson. 

Austerity is what lies behind the problems so many of us face while the very few benefit. Noam Chomsky defines it as "Just a fancy word for class war”. 

Back to Liverpool where its mayor has called time on austerity. The Scousers are famous for banning The Sun from their shops and remaining solidly Labour. There is hope.


Further south too, in France, there is hope.


But I am off to Bosnia, but before I go am looking forward to the Dubioza Kolektiv gig at London’s Electric Ballroom next week.


Great music and great politics. What a mix. 

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Spring is on its way

Here is Nigel Farage in celebratory mood and joyous Brexiteers in Parliament Square last night. 

Our (but not my) PM was nowhere to be seen. He has already done his flag stunt. 


We have to settle for his video message which opens with these words, "For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope”. 

There is only one true word in that sentence - ‘astonishing’. I am astonished that this country has moved so fast from hope to despair. When I woke up this morning I thought of this picture from Mel Brooks’ ‘Springtime for Hitler’. 

Unfortunately we are going to have to get down and dirty before we can mock and laugh. We are going to have to learn from the French and that will be no joke.