Britain

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Dunkirk - was a 1950s English nationalist retelling inevitable?

Nolan’s Dunkirk amounts to a nostalgic remake of a 1950s WWII film where the brilliant cinematography & immersive sound fails to make up for the nationalist myth making and glorification of war.

I approached it ready to suspend political criticisms in the name of entertainment but found this impossible because both characters and story are weak and one dimensional. The story is only somewhat salvaged by the clever device of the three converging timelines that blend into a single story near the film’s end. So if you see it at all make sure to see the 70mm film on as big a screen as you can because viewed at home on a small screen or laptop the film has nothing to offer.

Absolute boy - The Youth Revolt that led Corbyn to a victory of sorts

Corbyn’s strong showing in the June 2017 UK elections has given a big morale boost to the left.  A considerable youth vote, self-mobilising in larger part as a reaction to the ‘me and mine’ selfish society revealed by the Brexit vote seriously set back Tory plans for a fresh wave of Brexit required austerity.  Activists used social networking to overcome what had previously been seen as an all powerful smear machine of the billionaire print press.  Very few outside the radical left expected this outcome, what drove it and more importantly where can it lead?
[ This is a long read so you can also listen to an audio of the text ]

This piece is not going to answer that in terms of assumptions and assertions but as far as possible through hard numbers.  66% of 18-24 year old’s voted Labour, only a quarter of that, 18% voted Tory [p4].  27% of those 18-24 year olds said the NHS was the most important issue for them, even though they are least likely to need it [p40].  For the over 65 age group this was flipped, only 23% voted Labour and over twice as many (58%) voted Tory [p4].  In fact, given the way the UK election system works, if only 18-24 year olds had voted, Labour would have been heading for 500 seats.  If it had only been those over 65 voting the Tories would have had over 400 seats.

Delusional? May be!

Article 50 – or as some hope, Article 1950 or, for the most optimistic, Article 1850 – has finally been invoked. Few would have believed in April 2016 that a mere year later elements of the Tory party would be threatening war with Spain – or that a party whose incompetency on so many levels (not least, economic) would be doing so well in the polls. But then, under Cameron the Tories realised they can talk centre ground – even leftish – but track even further to the right.

Making sense of the Brexit tide of reaction and the reality of the racist vote

The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.

Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?

10 point guide for post Brexit resistance as racist right wins EU referendum

1. The Brexit vote for the UK to leave the European Union demonstrates that even weak parliamentary democracy is incompatible with escalating neoliberal inequality.  In the UK as elsewhere a tiny segment of the population have taken a larger and larger share of total wealth in the last decades.  Particularly under austerity almost everyone else has seen their share of the wealth they produce decline massively.

2. The Remain campaign was headed up by the political class of the neoliberal establishment and backed by model neo liberal corporations like Ryanair.  But because the anger against rising inequality was successfully diverted through scapegoating already marginalized people, in particular migrants, the Leave campaign was also lead by wealthy elitist bigots whose variant of neoliberalism looks to the former colonies and the US rather than Europe.

Observations on Brexit and Lexit in the UK EU membership referendum

 ANARCHISM AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY

1. Anarchists are generally hostile to decision making mechanisms that demand people put their faith in others to make decisions on their behalf without mandate or recall. We favour systems of direct democracy where the people either discuss and vote on an issue directly, or delegate other people to meet up for such discussions but these delegates are both mandated and recallable.

Review: Revolution by Russell Brand

One of the more bizarre developments of the last year has been Russell Brand or, more correctly, the response that he has provoked across the political spectrum. Watching commentator after commentator froth at the mouth and seeing Cameron proclaim in the middle of an election campaign that a comedian was a “joke” was, to say the least, strange. It reached a (to use a word Brand would surely approve of) climax when it was proclaimed by the right that Ed Miliband was “getting into bed” with Brand – by having an interview with him. Seriously?

Boomtime in Poundland: Has Austerity Worked?

With the UK economy finally reaching its pre-crisis peak, many are claiming austerity has been vindicated. We explain why this is nonsense -- the critics of austerity have been proven right while austerity has failed in its own terms.

The London Dock Strike of 1889

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the 1889 London Dock Strike. While this strike was preceded by others which showed of a new spirit of revolt amongst the unskilled, including the match-girls strike and the unionisation of London gasworkers, the dockers’ strike had more of an impact due to the numbers involved. As well as an important event in British Labour history, it also played a key role in the development of anarchism as it provided a concrete example of the power of organised labour and the importance of anarchist involvement in it.

Review: The London Years by Rudolf Rocker

While much attention will be directed towards London for the expensive farce which is the Olympics, 2012 should be marked for far more important events – the 100th anniversary of the two great strikes by tailors and dock workers. At the centre of the epic struggle of the tailors was Rudolf Rocker whose excellent autobiography The London Years covers these events and much more.

  


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