On a gagné !
The French no vote was a great result and sent a message to Tony Blair that maybe European workers don't want his idea of Europe. Yes, what the French call 'anglo saxon values', i.e. neo-liberalism. It wasn't an 'anti-European' vote, it was saying that this is not our vision. The Dutch are likely to follow suit and it doesn't look good for Tony and Gordon's referendum. What are the chances they will actually go away and write a decent constitution, one that puts society first instead of 'free' markets, one that respects small nations and regional voices instead of enshrining the old imperial nation states like Britain, Spain and France?
This is the LCR statement on the NON vote in France. Translation: ha ha, get it right up ye.
On a gagné !
Dehors Chirac !
On continue !
55 % des suffrages ont rejeté la Constitution européenne. C’est un mouvement de fond qui s’oppose à toutes les politiques libérales menées depuis 20 ans en Europe. Ce NON populaire, de gauche, internationaliste, aura un formidable écho chez tous les peuples d’Europe. Ce NON est un encouragement pour le développement des mobilisations sociales. C’est aussi une nouvelle sanction contre Chirac. Rejeté par les mobilisations, désavoué par les électeurs, ce pouvoir est totalement illégitime : Jacques Chirac et son assemblée doivent partir.
Ce NON de gauche suscite un immense espoir. Il faut maintenant poursuivre ce mouvement unitaire et créer les conditions d’un rassemblement des forces militantes pour une rupture avec le capitalisme libéral.
Une autre Europe est possible !
Ce NON du monde du travail, de la jeunesse, est celui de toutes les forces qui défendent la perspective d’une Europe sociale, démocratique, écologiste et féministe : une Europe qui harmoniserait les droits sociaux et démocratiques vers le haut, une Europe qui taxerait les profits financiers, qui imposerait une répartition radicalement différente des richesses au profit du plus grand nombre, qui garantirait le droit à l’avortement et à la contraception gratuits. Une Europe sans OGM et sans nucléaire, soucieuse de préserver les équilibres écologiques. Une Europe de la paix, de la coopération solidaire entre les peuples, qui tournerait le dos à l’Otan et à la militarisation promise par le Traité.
Chirac démission ! Dissolution de l’Assemblée nationale !
Chirac, le chef du OUI, qui s’est engagé sans compter dans cette campagne, vient d’être désavoué. Il doit partir ! Quant à l’Assemblée nationale, elle était favorable à près de 90 % à la ratification du traité. Elle, aussi, n’a plus aucune légitimité. Elle doit être dissoute !
Riposter aux mauvais coups !
Dans les semaines qui viennent, les mesures libérales, qu’elles viennent de l’Union européenne ou du nouveau gouvernement, vont se multiplier : directive Bolkestein, temps de travail, privatisation de Gaz de France, service minimum en cas de grève dans les transports publics, etc. Ce n’est que par la mobilisation, les luttes que nous arriverons à contrecarrer les mauvais coups. L’exemple récent de la mobilisation des travailleurs de Total montre la voie à suivre.
On continue !
Un des acquis, et de la force du NON de gauche, c’est la dynamique unitaire construite. C’est près de 1 000 collectifs dans le pays regroupant des militants politiques, syndicaux, associatifs, ou inorganisés. Les meetings pour le NON de gauche ont connu une affluence record. Toutes celles et ceux qui ont participé à cette campagne ont une envie partagée de continuer sur la base des revendications et des aspirations entendues. Il n’y a pas une minute à perdre pour agir et proposer une alternative au capitalisme libéral, en Europe et en France, qui redonne espoirs à toutes celles et ceux qui ne se résignent pas à une société qui sème la misère, les inégalités, les oppressions, la guerre. Pourquoi pas des assises locales, régionales et nationales des collectifs ? Pourquoi pas, au niveau européen, une initiative qui dessine les contours d’une autre Europe : sociale, solidaire et démocratique ? Nous proposons une démarche qui permette réellement aux peuples de débattre et de décider sur l’Europe à construire.
Quant aux forces politiques, parties prenantes de la campagne, elles doivent aussi prendre leur responsabilité, se rencontrer pour encourager et développer de telles perspectives.
Cette victoire du NON de gauche au traité constitutionnel, nous ne voulons pas nous la faire voler. Alors, continuons tous ensemble !
Le 30 mai 2005
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Live at Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, Friday 27th May 2005
The Fannies never dissappoint. Well maybe they do, but not this time. When you have albums of the quality of Grand Prix and Songs from Northern Britain, well you can't go far wrong. When two of your favourite songs are the first two songs played, well you can't complain really.
Setlist courtesy of TFC message board at the link above.
God Knows Its True
Speed of Light
It's All In My Mind
What You Do To Me
The World Will Be OK
I Need Direction
Ain't That Enough
I Don't Want Control Of You
Your Love Is The Place
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:: Thursday, May 26, 2005 ::
BBC NEWS | Americas | Bolivia admiral denies coup plan Bolivia is a landlocked country, but are involved in a very old and bitter dispute with Chile over access to the sea. Chile nicked their sea ports after one of the regular and bloody territorial wars between a group of latin american countries. This one was in 1879 and they still argue about it and Bolivia still maintains a navy, mostly small craft based on Lake Titicaca. They have one sea going ship which is based in Argentina. So I guess the Admiral has to find something to occupy his time.
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Nationalisation or Death
bolivia.indymedia.org | "¡Nacionalización o muerte!" gritan los movimientos sociales
Well it's a grittier slogan than 'nationalise the top 200 monopolies under democratic workers control and management'. Bolivian landless movement activists and workers are showing the world how to really stand up to globalisation. The type of corporate globalisation that means your natural resources are stolen from you by multinational companies and sold back to you for a profit. The type that take all the surplus value they can for a rich elite whilst the huge majority have virtually no health care and education. Yeah, we will hear a lot about getting rid of third world debt at the G8, but what we will not hear is that aid packages and debt reduction schemes will all come with the kind of strings that force poor countries to sell their precious natural resources to western predators.
More from Ted Grant and pals.
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:: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 ::
Language and Democracy
Interview with Alan Moore: "Text-messaging or The Sun , these are perfect Orwellian ways of limiting the vocabulary and thus limiting the consciousness. So the corollary of that holds true as well. If you want to expand people's consciousness, give them better language, wider language, new words. Learn to love words, learn to delight over a new word that you've found."
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Sniper at Work
Sinn Fein have put the bugging device they found in one of their offices for sale on eBay.
eBay item 3976729749 (Ends Jun-02-05 11:00:34 PDT) - MI5 British Spy Device and a Letter from Gerry Adams: "This auction is for part of a British MI5 bugging device (approx 10.5 inches by 6.5 inches) found hidden in the floorboards of a Sinn Fein office in Belfast in September 2004.
Included is a handwritten letter of authentication from Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
The handwritten letter has been framed and there is a display board for the device.
Legal Notice: This device no longer works and cannot be modified to work. It is solely a historical artefact and has no functional abilities.
This is a unique opportunity. A historical item such as this has never before been made available and it’s highly unlikely that it will happen again."
UPDATE! EBay have removed it.
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:: Monday, May 23, 2005 ::
We are repeatedly told we are in the midst of a war on terror. Suspects can expect the old orange boilersuit and trip to a certain Cuban resort if they are not careful. Unless they have an important polo match coming up of course.
BBC NEWS: "Defendant Luke Tomlinson, 28, also asked to be excused from attending court on Wednesday as he is due to play polo for the England team.
Mr Williams told the court: 'This is a very important week for England and on Wednesday he is representing his country and I ask that he be excused.'
Mr Tomlinson, a professional player who is also a close friend of princes William and Harry, was granted permission to do so by District Judge Timothy Workman."
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The Journals Of Tobireg
The Journals Of Tobireg is a promising new Scottish left blog coming out of the Clyde coast. Check it out.
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:: Saturday, May 21, 2005 ::
Chaos is all the papers want to talk about. What about the chaos of thousands of children dying from hunger because the old men in the G8 won't drop the debt? Note the placard in the background.
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:: Thursday, May 19, 2005 ::
The End of Civilisation
On a lighter note The Woolamaloo Gazette has some excellent suggestions regarding certain 'ringtones' and their manufacturers. I recommend you click the link for the full fury.
The Woolamaloo Gazette, Fry the Frog: "Looking back on the recent election here I can't help but think that if any of the major parties had included a commitment to ban the sodding 'crazy frog' video ringtone and furthermore undertook to have all of the responsible people at Jamster arrested, stripped, painted in verses heretical to the Koran and mailed to Pakistan then I'd probably have voted for them."
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Capitalism expects no trouble in Scotland
Saw an interesting headline this morning, 'police expect no trouble at the G8'. Of course this was in the local free sheet the Herald and Post. Funny how the dailies aren't so interested in that. No doubt there will be a few editors ordering their cub reporters to don balaclavas and get that "mad anarchist" story one way or another. The Black Bloc sponsored by the Daily Mail (yeah I know Black Bloc is a tactic not an organisation.)
Meanwhile the story about how the G8 will really affect Scotland can be found below. The neo-liberal policies of the G8 are being enthusiastically followed by ALL the establishment parties in Scotland. That includes of course the SNP. Yeah, they are all in favour of ending poverty in Africa, they have no responsibility for it and no power to do it. More useful to watch the policies they follow where they do have power.
Corporate Watch: News: "That the G8 is coming to Scotland is particularly significant. This is not only because the free market ideology that underpins the G8 was born in the 18th century philosophical movement known as the 'Scottish Enlightenment', but also because Scotland is a very good example of corporate-led globalisation in microcosm. The Scottish Executive has made it explicit that it wants to use the G8 to 'showcase' Scottish enterprise. What the Scottish Executive is unlikely to be 'showcasing' is the erosion of democracy these companies are causing, and the social and environmental damage they are responsible for both in Scotland and worldwide. It certainly won't be highlighting that the 6th July, the start date of the Gleneagles G8 Summit, is the anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, a clear example of corporate negligence that resulted in the loss of 167 Scottish lives."
The site has a good analysis of the effects of globalisation on Scotland's economy and society.
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:: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 ::
You've got to hand it to George. He played a blinder.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you
promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing
of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of
them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were
Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis
with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop
you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told
the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of
mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had
no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that
Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world,
contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and
American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be
the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you
turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of
them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of
them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies."
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:: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 ::
Off the Boil
Craig Murray - (Times): Ready, steady, cook up reasons for supporting the boiling butcher: "ISLAM KARIMOV, President of Uzbekistan, boils people alive. Why? For the same reason Saddam Hussein put his enemies in a shredder: because, at the time, he could.
When the West is your pal you are able, quite literally, to get away with murder. And what murder! It is a surprise Karimov has time for governing at all, once he has spent the morning formulating new ways to poach, grill, tenderise, smoke and flamb?his citizens to death. Boiling water, electrocution, chlorine-filled gas masks, drowning, rape, shooting, savage beatings, Karimov’s Uzbekistan is the absolute market leader in torture right now. The CIA would not shop anywhere else, which is why a mysterious Gulfstream 5 executive jet routinely delivers terrorist subjects from Afghanistan there for interrogation and, perhaps, percolation. Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador, drew attention to this last year, and the noted socialist Tony Blair acted immediately. He sacked him. "
Read it and weep and then think about the blatant hypocrisy and double standards of our government. How many times were Saddam Hussein's crimes, his attacks on the kurds etc brought out as justification for war? But when it's a 'good dictator' then it's no problem. Turkey can oppress the Kurds all it likes, Karimov can murder 500 demonstrators in the streets. Human rights are universal, that's the point of them.
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:: Monday, May 16, 2005 ::
And with one mighty leap they were free! The transformation to Dunfermline Athletic's fortunes has been profound since the return of Pars hero Jim Leishman as caretaker manager. After a season of draws and losses against poor quality opposition (so much for the advantage of our artificial turf), one 'band of brothers' speech from Jim results in a 5-0 victory over Dundee. And now we have a thrilling last minute goal against Dundee United to secure our place in the top division. From the official Pars website report more on the Leishman method: "Earlier in the week Leishman had spelt out to his squad what Performance was all about. P was not for Performance, Passion or Pride but for Personality. O was for Optimal Productivity. Well as long as it comes in the last two minutes who cares?. As the United choir sang before the kick off it was a "beautiful Sunday". And now we can look forward to being gubbed by the old firm several times a season. Hooray.
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:: Thursday, May 12, 2005 ::
The Go-Betweens, Renfrew Ferry Glasgow
I've been a fan of the Go-Betweens for many years and finally managed to see them live when they reformed a few years ago. This was no Pixies style cashing in reunion, they have since written three albums that stand up musically against their older work. They don't always stand up nostalgically, but they can't do much about that.
This time around they were at the Renfrew Ferry in Glasgow to promote their new album Oceans Apart. They were supported by the very boring Songdog, who complained that the audience was talking while they were playing. That's because your so very dull old boy.
The audience was largely, but not exclusively, in the 30+ category with a sprinkling of celebs. Oh look, there's Pat Nevin, oh nearly spilled Stuart Murdoch's pint, there's that lassie from that band, you know, the thingmys.
Anyway it was all worth it for an hour of the Go-Betweens. An hour? Yes they played more than that, but before the encores started I had to dash for the last train. Curse you Scotrail for not putting on a midnight train, what century is this anyway?
Robert was sporting a very nice dogstooth check suit, which he complained was too big causing him to request the address of a tailor. Grant (who is a big chap by the way, looks like a sheep shearer close up) was more casually attired.
Personal faves were To Reach Me and Cattle and Cane whilst Grant did a nice job on the maracas during The Statue.
There is an in-store at Avalanche in Edinburgh today and a DJ set later in a Broughton Street bar, if you want to catch them.
Nice article in the Australian on their new album with a good overview of their history.
Another recent interview in the Scotsman
And here are the boys playing at Avalanche Records.
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:: Wednesday, May 11, 2005 ::
A message from supporters of Germany's FC St.Pauli football team.
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:: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 ::
Pruning Shears at the Ready
I do try to keep the old blogroll up to date, but it ain't easy. Lots of people start promising blogs, post a few good stories and then give up. I actually discovered that one of the mp3 blogs I linked to in the sidebar had not only ceased, but the blogger had actually died some time ago.
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:: Sunday, May 08, 2005 ::
Ancient and Modern
The great Scots-Italian sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi died on April 22nd of this year. These figures he designed for the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street Edinburgh give a good indication of his extraordinary talent and imagination. They are actually display cases holding decorative artefacts found in Scotland.
For example, this gold hair ornament was found in the North East of Scotland and dates from approx. 1200 BC.
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All your base are belong to us
British General Election - Breakthrough for RESPECT
The RESPECT result was an impressive victory for the anti-war movement in Britain and a severe lesson to New Labour about what happens when you take your base for granted. The big question raised by Alan Thornett in the brief report above is how RESPECT will develop now. Like it or not, RESPECT is a political party now, and will not be seen as a coalition by those who voted for it. It represents a chance to build a new party to the left of Labour in England. That is a big challenge and will involve creating structures that will engage all of the, sometimes diverse, elements involved. It also has some power and the potential for more at next years council elections. That will attract a certain type. Structures to ensure accountability and closeness to the grassroots are essential. Big challenges which will require a bold approach.
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:: Friday, May 06, 2005 ::
The Election in Scotland
Well the night went pretty much as I thought. Labour were punished but were not beaten. Good results for the left in some places particularly for Respect in a few English seats. It will be interesting to see how the Respect project develops now. Full left results can be found at the Socialist Unity Network site.
Below is a report on the elections in Scotland I have done for International Viewpoint.
The elections in Scotland saw voters punishing New Labour across the country. Tony Blair's party lost five seats while the Liberal Democrats in particular picked up votes. The Liberal Democrats were the main vehicle for those voters who wanted to protest against Labour and in particular against the Iraq war. They overtook the Scottish National Party to become the second largest party in Scotland. The SNP had hoped for a breakthrough under their returned leader Alex Salmond, but despite picking up some seats they only showed small progress.
The first past the post electoral system mitigates against smaller parties and the switch to the lib-dems hit the Scottish Socialist Party. The SSP share of the vote was down on the last General Election. The party gained 42,633 votes across Scotland having stood in all but one of the seats in Scotland, which was 1.9% of the vote, down from 3.1%.
SSP leader Colin Fox said the results were disappointing but not unexpected.
"The SSP team is ready for the next game against the leaders of the G8 however. This month we contested 58 out of 59 Scottish Westminster seats, distributing over 3 million election addresses and increasing our membership by ten percent.
"In July we will mobilise tens of thousands against the criminal policies of G8 leaders like George Bush and Tony Blair.
"In doing that we will link up with all those who used their vote to protest in these elections and explore with them the future of all forces in favour of a collective solution to the future of our planet."
Taking up the question of the voting system Colin said;
"The biggest obstacle for smaller parties contesting the Westminster elections is the first past the post system that gives just three establishment parties a monopoly on media coverage and means that not a single Scottish vote for radical minority parties can have any result whatsoever."
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:: Thursday, May 05, 2005 ::
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Venezuela land reform gets going: "But Jaime Branger, whose family owns two of the farms affected, feels a dangerous precedent is being set.
"You begin on the land. The problem is where do you stop? What happens if you have a second home? What happens if you have two or three factories? Is one of them too many? Should one of them be given to social productive uses?'"
Talk about a question which answers itself.
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Well my polling station was reasonably busy this morning when I went to vote. Hoped to meet some of the other parties outside but there were none to be seen. Campaigning in my seat has been quite hard, Alastair Darling is clearly concerned about losing his seat. I don't think he will though. What we will see is a strong move to the lib-dems by disgruntled Labour voters. This will hit the smaller parties like the SSP and Greens who would get those votes in a more proportional system such as we have at the Scottish Parliament level. The Scotsman poll yesterday predicted that SSP and Greens votes would be up on the last Westminster elections, and they probably will be, but nothing to set the heather on fire. Nationally I would predict an increase for the lib-dems and a smaller increase for the tories, with a reduced majority Labour government. But then I thought Kerry would win, so what the hell do I know?
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The Man in the Van w/a Bass in his hand
Mike Watt is a legend, former member of the minutemen and firehose, from San Pedro CA. Last night he was promoting his album 'the secondman's middle stand' about his brush with death and near-fatal illness. An intense piece closer to John Coltrane than the Sex Pistols. Followed up with encores including 'the red and the black' and 'corona'.
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"Punk is whatever we made it to be"
So said Minuteman D.Boon. This sticker was slapped on the side of the organ in Mike Watt and the Secondmen's band who played Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh last night.
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:: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 ::
60 Years Ago
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:: Monday, May 02, 2005 ::
Another Man's Poison
BBC NEWS | Europe | 'Hitler's nurse' breaks silence: "She said Hitler was so paranoid that he even suspected spies had filled his cyanide capsule with false poison." Jesus, that's really paranoid.
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Save the Bandstand
I heard recently about the campaign to save Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow. You can see pictures of the boarded up and disused bandstand here. The campaign have undertaken a feasability study, and are pressing Glasgow City Council to respond and look seriously at restoring the bandstand.
Lurking in the background is the threat that some of the park could be sold off to developers. This is the modern trend, a shortsighted way to raise cash which has seen schools sell off their playing fields, whilst kids suffer from unprecedented obesity levels.
The campaign is being supported by local bands including Teenage Fanclub and Belle and Sebastian.
Seeing the pictures was a shock for me. I have attended various events in Kelvingrove over the years, like this early Billy Bragg concert in 1985 (I think , it may have been '86) which was for the Labour Party Young Socialists' campaign against 'YTS conscription' in the darkest days of Thatcherism.
And then there were the historic demonstrations and rallies, like the one organised by the Anti Poll Tax Federation, attended by 50,000 people.
Kelvingrove bandstand is an important part of the social and political history of Glasgow and Scotland. And it has the potential to be a useful venue for local artists in the future. If it can be done with Princes Street Bandstand, in Edinburgh then why not in Glasgow?
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