Friday 19 September 2008

Personally, I prefer Andrex

A vile leaflet has been distributed across Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire, grossly libelling Muslims by accusing them of being responsible for the heroin trade. To add insult to injury, the Crown Prosecution Service has dismissed any chance of prosecuting the perpetrators by claiming it does not constitute incitement to racial hatred (BBC News: Muslim Police anger over leaflet). F**king hell! I bet the German Nazis would have wished that bunch of prats were in charge of the Nuremburg War Trials :-|

However the heroin comes to the UK, its trade has a long and sorry history of Western collaboration - from the 19th century Opium Wars, in which Britain went to war for the right to push opium in China (which is how Britain gained control of Hong Kong, which we didn't relinquish until 1999), through to the CIA turning a blind eye to the Mujahedin (precursers of the Taliban) in Afghanistan selling heroin to finance their war against their (at the time) Russian occupiers. And the main areas in the UK for heroin addiction are those which never fully recovered from the loss of jobs caused by the pit and steelworks closures in the 1980s and early 1990's (such as my home village), which left a pool of despair on which drug pushers profit. The culprits for this are the Tories (who were in government at the time) in particular, and the capitalist Establishment in general - not Muslims.

Yet this is far from the first time Muslims have been slandered by Nazis - Muslims are constantly vilified as "terrorists", "woman oppressors" and have even been blamed for child prostitution. And Islamophobia is, sadly, not confined to Nazis - all the Establishment political parties, even some who claim to be 'left' (notably the so-called "decent left") have opportunistically slagged off Muslims, misquoting the Koran and mis-representing the Establishment in oppressive middle-eastern regimes (such as Saudi Arabia) as typical of Islam. All this feeds prejudice against Asians, let alone Muslims, and gives a false credence to the racist rantings of Nazi groups like the BNP.

I personally am very grateful to the decent majority of Muslims, who have given enormous backing and help to the Stop The War Coalition and to the Respect Coalition. And before slagging off Islam, we should remember that extremists within Christianity have committed some repulsive acts of repression towards women (such as the Magdalen Laundries in Ireland), and even terrorist acts (such as bombing abortion clinics in the US). And the biggest danger to world peace is George W Bush, a born-again Christian :-P

Well, if the CPS and Police aren't going to stop Nazis stirring up racial hatred against Muslims, it's up to ordinary working class people who abhor racism to act directly. You can help build the campaign against fascism by joining Unite Against Fascism, and taking part in action such as leafleting to expose the truth about what the Nazis stand for.

A big demo is taking place tomorrow against the BNP's rally in Stoke On Trent, where the Nazi BNP have 9 councillors and even have all 3 councillors in one ward (scary or what!)

I urge everyone reading this blog to come to this demo, and any future demos against the Nazis where they organise. And help drive the Nazis back into the gutter where they belong!

Thursday 11 September 2008

Penguin protesters and kangaroo courts

It's not every day the Home Office attacks a local council for eroding civil liberties - yet that is exactly what has happened due to Telford & Wrekin Council's policy regarding adults without kids in parks (Shropshire Star: Home Office attacks park policy)!

For once, I agree with the Home Office. It is a dangerous erosion of freedom of movement, when council staff are able to question, even expel, people from public spaces. It also adds weight to some people's concerns that single people are an oppressed group - there is a pernicious myth that single men over a certain age (often around 40) are more likely to be paedophiles (there is nothing really new about this - back in the 80's, when homosexuality was much less tolerated than today, the same group was often labelled "gay"). Not only is this oppressive, it ignores the fact that most sexual (let alone physical) abuse of children happens within the family.

As for the Telford case, it seems to have a political edge. The policy came to light when two Stop The War campaigners were handing out leaflets about climate change, dressed as penguins (to symbolise those in most danger from climate change). Now I've heard of paediatricians being confused with paedophiles, but never penguins :-P

On a more serious note, the park was not only a convenient place for the protest, it was also quite appropriate; anyone doing any outdoor activity this (and last) summer will have been all too aware of how climate change has caused the British summer weather to be increasingly unpredictable (and miserable to boot).

Yet not only were the protesters told to move, they were also told they needed Police CRB checks to hand out leaflets! At this rate, we'll soon need an Enhanced CRB disclosure to go birdwatching :-| If, that is, the poor old robins, blackbirds, blue tits, etc don't all go extinct due to climate change :-(

The council later tried to back-track, saying they only question people "acting suspiciously" in parks etc. Yet"acting suspiciously" is so ill-defined as to be a weasel-word, covering a wide range of behaviour. Including, it seems, peaceful protesting :-(

Also worthy of note is the fact that Telford and Wrekin Council is effectively Tory controlled (the Tories have 27 seats there, exactly half the total, according to their website's political make up of the council web page). Ah well, so much for the Tories' hypocritical bleating about the "nanny state". And their equally shallow environmental pretensions - which already took a knock earlier this week, when a coalition of environmental groups - from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, to the RSPB and the National Trust - produced a report stating that all 3 of the UK's main Establishment parties are failing on the issue of climate change (BBC News: Parties 'fail on climate change')

So, the capitalist Establishment are attacking both the environment and civil liberties. So it's up to civil libertarians and environmentalists to unite. Anong with trade unionists, anti-racists, gay rights activists, and all groups under attack from the system.

Then maybe we can launch a successful attack on the capitalist system, and the capitalist Establishment who it serves. And kick them out - of power!

Tuesday 9 September 2008

When love and hate collide?

Despite the scare stories about the Large Hadron Collider, this will almost certainly not be my last blog article. In fact, the chances of the LHC creating a black hole which will swallow the world are virtually negligible, and I am more scared of the world ending as a result of the capitalist Establishment's obsession with warfare, in the shape of nuclear weapons (such as Trident) and the "son of Star Wars". At the same time, however, I wonder just how disconnected the LHC really is from the Western military machine.

There has been a long and bloody history of scientific discoveries, which could have greatly benefited humanity, being hijacked by the military - for example, would Einstein really have approved of his work in atomic physics being responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War arms race, and the continuing waste of resources in new, potentially even deadlier, nuclear weapons???

What's more, the military continues to be one of the main funders of scientific research in universities, as well as having its own research facilities (eg Porton Down in the UK). And wouldn't the western imperialist war machine just love the ability to research into using artificial black holes as a super-weapon ...

It also seems kinda odd that the LHC was built at a cost of £5 billion (BBC News: CERN collider ready for power-up), while public services and welfare across Europe are suffering cut-backs. But whether or not the LHC has any military connection, it is clear that imperialist militarism has created a black hole of its own.

The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the £76 billion being squandered on replacement Trident nuclear weapons, have left a black hole in funding for welfare and public services!

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Will depression turn to anger?

Depression, recession, credit crunch, slowdown ... whatever word you use, the British economy's stuffed, or soon will be. And even this capitalism-loving New Labour government knows it, as shown by Chancellor Alistair Darling's admission that we are in for a severe recession. What I'm more sceptical about, is the apparent belief that the UK is in a better position to weather the storm than elsewhere.

Recessions are not some natural event, like the weather (although the weather this year seems less natural, and more the result of climate change, but that's a topic worthy of a discussion all of its own!). Recessions are built into capitalism. For capitalists to make profits, ie exploit their workers, they must pay their workers less than the money they make by selling the goods which the workers produce. Since capitalism forces all companies to do this (or go bankrupt), a situation is soon reached where more goods are produced than workers have money to buy.

As time goes on, it is also no accident that booms are becoming shallower - ie with smaller increases in living standards - and busts are getting more severe. This is because it is also the nature of capitalism for the capitalists' rate of profit to fall - due to increased investment in machines and technology. In a rational world, the advances in technology would make life easier for us, liberating us from work. Yet under capitalism, technology has forced the capitalists to exploit us more, making us work harder and for longer hours while paying us less :-(

This time around, the recession is likely to be made especially severe by the one thing which has allowed the system to avoid recession for a relatively long time - debt. Capitalist companies have been able to drive real wages down and still make profits, because relatively cheap loans have been relatively easily available to workers. Trouble is, a growing number of people are now unable to pay these loans back - hence the "credit crunch".

Other factors have come into play, such as the rising fuel prices. Oil is still at a high price, largely aggravated by the illegal and murderous Iraq war and the west generally p**ing off the other oil producing countries (such as Iran) in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the gas prices can't possible be helped by the West hypocritically sabre-rattling with Russia, a large producer of gas. Notably over Russia's invasion of Georgia. After all, the West would never launch an un-provoked invasion of another country, would we Bush and Bliar :-P

A recession will doubtless cause massive hardship, as millions of people are made unemployed and plunged into poverty. Yet the sickening thing is, although goods will no longer be profitable for capitalists to produce, they won't be needed any less by workers. So any job losses must be resisted by strikes, and we must support any and all workers who take strike action to defend their - and our - jobs and livelihoods.

But most of all, we must generalise these economic strikes into a political movement. Only then can we achieve the ultimate goal of getting rid of the capitalist system, which is obviously failing even by its own standards.

And replacing it with a socialist system, based on human need not corporate greed, on people not profit!