:: Monday, July 31, 2006 ::

Lebanon Protest

Lebanon Protest, originally uploaded by alister.

Edinburgh protest about Qana massacre in Lebanon 31st July 2006.

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:: Sunday, July 30, 2006 ::

Stop violence against women

Stop violence against women, originally uploaded by alister.

Mural by Artists for Peace and Justice at St. John's church in Edinburgh. This church hosts the Peace and Justice Centre and is a centre for progressive work in the city.

They also have an excellent record on issues like Palestine, something to bear in mind in the present climate when the right are presenting the appalling atrocities committed against Lebanon as actions against 'fascist' muslims (such as one article in todays observer.)

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:: Thursday, July 27, 2006 ::

bizarrely wigged and conspiratorial

More Ted Grant obits.

The Guardian. "Yet Healy, with the backing of James Cannon, who was now in control of the Fourth International following Trotsky's assassination in 1940, continually manoeuvred against Grant to gain control of the organisation. It was a feud of Albanian proportions that would continue throughout their lives - as late as the 1970s, when both were in their sixties, if ever they met by chance at labour movement events they would still square up to each other, only to be pulled apart by their respective minders." Now that would have been worth seeing.

The Times "In 1937 Grant became a leading light in the Workers’ International League (WIL), which was subsequently to combine with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), founded during the war. He was influential in the vociferous support that WIL/RCP gave to the Soviet Union, once it had become an ally of Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany." I don't think this is correct. Grant opposed the 'revolutionary defeatist' line but was at odds with the CPGB for its support for the Churchill govt once the USSR joined the war.

Financial Times "Incongruously for a Marxist revolutionary, Grant was invariably seen clutching the Financial Times - reading it was the only way to understand what big business was up to, he advised comrades." this practice was copied by all the militant full-timers. Some of them even read it.

Daily Telegraph "Tireless, bizarrely wigged and conspiratorial, Grant was the driving force behind the movement from the mid-1950s. He led its efforts to infiltrate and subvert the Labour Party, a campaign which reached its high water mark in 1983 after the group won effective control of Liverpool Council and boasted three Labour MPs with Militant connections." don't think Ted wore a wig.

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The Festival

Festival time is here. The time when Edinburgh fills up with equal amounts of talent and stupidity. There is so much on that the good stuff gets lost. How to find that great new talent amongst the hundreds of university theatre groups and coked up stand-ups?

So far going to see Ken MacLeod and Charles Stross at the Book Festival. Seamus Heaney was sold out unfortunately. The book festival is a bit of a rip-off. £8 to see a writer talk about his book for an hour, you can see that for free in book shops in normal times.

Also got tickets for the mighty Twilight Singers. Dulli said in a recent interview that he was headed for visits to Tel Aviv and Beirut after the European tour. Guess that might have to be rescheduled.

And not forgetting Michael Franti, star of a recent Guardian article about his trip to Baghdad. He is booked in a rather huge venue, hope he can fill it.

On a musical tip check out fantasy bar on myspace. Used to be in a band with this guy. He went on to greater things in Spain's premiere indie band Los Planetas (no, seriously). Quite like this new stuff.

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:: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 ::

When I'm Gone

Ted Grant obituaries.

The Socialist Party - this group, the Committee for a Workers International, were the majority in the split with Militant and don't miss the opportunity for some point scoring.

Socialist Worker - actually a fair and accurate piece.

Alliance for Workers' Liberty - the list of anti-Militant articles at the end is longer than the obit.

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:: Friday, July 21, 2006 ::


flickrInspector, originally uploaded by alister.

Nice little flickr tool.

I have a flickr score of 1917!

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:: Thursday, July 20, 2006 ::

Ted Grant 1913-2006

Ted Grant, founder of Militant in Britain has died aged 93. Many people passed through the organisation that Ted helped found and a good many, myself included, split from Ted in the early 90's in the period following the anti-poll tax campaign. For a lot of us the news of Ted's passing will be a blow. He was a legendary figure and those who remember him from the mid-Eighties and before remember a keen brain and an impressive speaker with his trademark hand gestures which were copied by a generation of young and not so young trots.

I myself heard him speak a number of times and met him in a rather grotty hall in Glenrothes when Militant was on the up and packing out meetings all over the country.

Ted went on to found Socialist Appeal, an organisation with an unfortunate fondness for the Labour Party. Things have been on the up for SA recently, they have the ear of Chavez in Venezuela and have founded a serious solidarity campaign. In addition they have a succesful website.

There is a lot more to be said about Ted's life but as his comrades say, he was not sentimental.

Ted Grant Internet Archive.

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:: Wednesday, July 19, 2006 ::

Cities Error

Cities Error, originally uploaded by alister.

Liked the error screen for Cities, a witty online game I play. It's simple, free and you are not likely to play more than 15 minutes a day.

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:: Monday, July 17, 2006 ::

Les Citoyens

I missed Bastille Day, so here is a picture of a sans-papier demo in Paris from July 14th this year.

Some excellent French traditions live on, like fighting for your rights.

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:: Friday, July 14, 2006 ::

The Lebanese Bloggers

The Lebanese Bloggers are covering latest developments in the country as Isreal continues military aggression.

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:: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 ::

Junta Minute

A Very British Coup

The whole of this drama is being repeated, for the first time in years AFAIK, on ITV4 on Saturday at 10 pm.

A Very British Coup was written by former left wing MP Chris Mullins (now a Blairite). A Bennite Labour govt is elected and the establishment tries to get rid of them by any means necessary. Recent revelations about the downfall of the Wilson govt. give an edge to this. Yes, the army did carry out a practice coup where they seized Heathrow Airport. Also it features the mysterious death of a government expert which seems eerily close to some other recent events.

A former Sheffield steelworker from a family of committed communists is elected prime minister, but his controversial views on nuclear disarmament and the openness of government arouse powerful opposition. Backed by the media and foreign governments, the civil service begins a covert coup, hoping to wrest back power by stealth and cunning. Award-winning drama, starring Ray McAnally, Keith Allen and Philip Madoc


As Mullins himself wrote more recently in The Guardian: "Thereafter interest might have faded, but for events conspiring to make it topical. In August 1985 the Observer revealed that an MI5 officer, Brigadier Ronnie Stoneham, was to be found in room 105 at Broadcasting House. His job? Stamping upturned Christmas trees on the personnel files of BBC employees he deemed to be unsuitable for promotion. Students of A Very British Coup will know that my head of MI5, Sir Peregrine Craddock, was also vetting BBC employees. What's more, he also had a spy on the general council of CND - and in due course the MI5 defector Cathy Massiter revealed that there had indeed been such a spy. His name was Harry Newton.

Finally, in 1987 Peter Wright, a retired MI5 officer, caused a sensationwith his claim that he and a group of MI5 colleagues had plotted to undermine the Wilson government. Suddenly the possibility that the British establishment might conspire with its friends across the Atlantic to destabilise the elected government could no longer be dismissed as leftwing paranoia."

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Surfs Up

Wired reports that the Firefox 2 Beta is nearly ready: "Firefox now accounts for almost 13% of the user agent share for the entire internet. That's up from the 10% share that was recorded in November 2005. The U.S. user base is closer to 15 percent. Germany, where 39.2% of users run Firefox, is the most Mozilla-mad country." Good stuff. Not sure what happened to that new web 2.0 browser that was going to change the world - flock. It is still beta and not much buzz about it.

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:: Monday, July 10, 2006 ::

We Jam Econo

55 bob dylan, originally uploaded by sporifice.

Out now, the Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo. One of the very greatest and most original bands you could ever hope to hear. Remember Punk is whatever you made it to be...

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:: Friday, July 07, 2006 ::


One year on from the London bombings. Farther than ever from peace, reconciliation or justice in the world. Those in London were innocent victims and every day more innocent people die. They die in Iraq's growing civil war, they die in the impoverished towns of Palestine. Young and old, soldier and civilian. All we can do is our best, to oppose injustice and oppression and to promote unity in our communities.

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:: Monday, July 03, 2006 ::

All balls are not created equal

Taking off !, originally uploaded by Hugo*.

These are French fans in Paris celebrating their deserved win over Brazil.

So much for Argentina then. Ah well, while my heart was with the Argentines, my money was on Italy, so maybe it will all be ok in the end. I am still leading the work sweep by one slim point. If Italy beat Germany it will be looking good. Straightforward enough then?

Interesting world cup facts and tidbits.

Via Inversk Street via Slugger the theory that certain players were refusing to sing God Save Ver Qween because of their catholic republican beliefs. Yeah, I agree, probably bollocks.

The Argentina-Mexico game was the highest ever ratings on Spanish language TV in the US. English speaking fans were apparently turning over to get away from the annoying commentators on the english language channels. Some things are the same the world over.

Adidas are winning the real battle - the sponsors war, with their teams doing better. And not forgetting the world proletariat. In this case the Thai proletariat who are producing the balls. As China Daily reports "But there are some secrets contained in the factory here that most fans presumably do not know: All balls are not created equal. Even with high-technology equipment and top-grade materials, the balls turned out here vary in weight by as much as 30 grams, or 1 ounce, with the final product weighing anywhere from 420 to 450 grams.

"The top players can feel a difference of five grams," Kitano said. This raises the tantalizing prospect that one of the workers in this factory making about $10 a day could help decide the outcome of a World Cup game by adding a few more stitches here, some extra glue there - enough to alter the trajectory of the ball."

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