Sep 16 2020

JOHN MANSON – SOCIALIST, LITERARY CRITIC, TRANSLATOR AND POET (1933-2020)

 

Allan Armstrong writes about John Manson, socialist, literary critic, translator and poet who died on August 3rd.  

 

JOHN MANSON – SOCIALIST, LITERARY CRITIC, TRANSLATOR AND POET (1933-2020)

It was with considerable sadness that I learned of John Manson’s death a month after it occurred on August 3rd. John had been a “a non-party Socialist since the dissolution of the CPGB”[1] and a significant literary critic, translator and poet. I first met John in 2006 and last met him 2012. Those who want to know more about John’s life and legacy should read the fine obituary written by Alan Riach in The Herald on 28.8.20[2] Continue reading “JOHN MANSON – SOCIALIST, LITERARY CRITIC, TRANSLATOR AND POET (1933-2020)”

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Sep 06 2020

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION – A REACTIONARY DEBATE

E&L has appreciated the significance of cultural arena in the struggle for self-determination. We are posting this article by Gearoid O’Loingsidh which addresses the issue of cultural appropriation.

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION – A REACTIONARY DEBATE

 

 

In the world of identity politics and the myriad expressions of it, one topic pops its head up on a fairly regular basis, that of Cultural Appropriation. There is not one definition of it, but it basically goes that people from one particular culture use artefacts, expressions, musical forms, clothing and other things from a culture other than their own, generally to make money, but not always. Sometimes the mere use is enough to provoke the ire of identitarians and the liberal hangers on. Though it is an accusation generally levelled at white people, as Rihanna and Beyoncé found to their cost, anyone can be accused of it. The debate around Cultural Appropriation makes a number of assumptions and ignores the glaring elephant in the room. The first assumption is that culture is static and “belongs” to a particular group. It also makes assumptions about who that group is. Continue reading “CULTURAL APPROPRIATION – A REACTIONARY DEBATE”

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Aug 20 2020

LEBANON – THE CRISES IN AN INSTITUTIONALLY SECTARIAN STATELET SET UP BY IMPERIALISM

We are posting two articles following the horrendous explosion in Beirut which killed mote than 200 people. The first is by Yassamine Mather (CPGB-WW) and shows that this is just the latest crisis in an institutionally sectarian statelet set up under the auspices of  French imperialism The second is from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) and draws some parallels with Northern Ireland, an institutionally sectarian statelet set up by British imperialism. 

 

1. THE PAST WEIGHS HEAVY ON THE PRESENT 

 

 

Less than a week after the massive port explosion that cost more than 200 lives, the entire Lebanese government resigned. Of course, long before that, serious students of the Middle East thought of Lebanon as a failed state. The grossly unfair constitution, the inbuilt sectarianism, the bungled response to Covid-19 and the subsequent economic crisis triggered protests across the country … against hunger, unemployment, inflation, endemic corruption. Continue reading “LEBANON – THE CRISES IN AN INSTITUTIONALLY SECTARIAN STATELET SET UP BY IMPERIALISM”

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Aug 15 2020

THE CASE FOR A  REPUBLICAN INTERNATIONALIST COALITION FOR  SCOTLAND’S INDEPENDENCE

THE CASE FOR A  REPUBLICAN INTERNATIONALIST COALITION FOR  SCOTLAND’S INDEPENDENCE

 

Banner made when Edinburgh RIC hosted the the national RIC contingent on the ‘All Under One Banner’ demonstration on 6.10.18

 

 

a. The Radical Independence Campaign

An examination of the wording of the initials and principles of the Radical Independence Campaign is instructive.

R = Radical, I = Independence, C = Campaign

Each one of these terms is ambiguous. Continue reading “THE CASE FOR A  REPUBLICAN INTERNATIONALIST COALITION FOR  SCOTLAND’S INDEPENDENCE”

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Aug 15 2020

PAULINE BRADLEY SINGS ‘ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE’

Pauline Bradley sings Only Our Rivers Run Free

 

 

 

 

 

also see:-

 

Pauline Bradley sings The Workers Song

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/06/15/14168/

 

Pauline Bradley sings about Helen MacFarlane on May Day

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/05/03/pauline-bradley-sings-about-helen-macfarlane-on-many-day/

 

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Aug 11 2020

ON ‘ANTISEMITISM’

Roland Rance of Socialist Resistance explains the political significance of the term ‘antisemitism’. 

ON ‘ANTISEMITISM’

 

One specious argument that those of us active in Palestine solidarity hear time after time is the hoary line that “Jews are not really Semites, so why say that they are the victims of antisemitism”, or its many variants, such as “Palestinians are Semites too”.

The argument is specious because it is generally used not in a spirit of genuine inquiry, but in order to obscure and even justify incidents of anti-Jewish bigotry. But it is also specious because it uses pseudo-scientific arguments and half-understood etymological claims to make a reactionary political case. Continue reading “ON ‘ANTISEMITISM’”

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Aug 10 2020

SCOTTISH LABOUR FOR RADICAL DEMOCRACY

In the aftermath of the General Election, 89 Scottish Labour Party activists signed an Open Letter making the case for radical democracy (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/02/09/13676/). As the crisis depend in the Scottish Labour Party this has been followed up by another Open Letter  published in bella caledonia on 21.6.20. (https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2020/06/21/scottish-labour-for-radical-democracy/). E&L are posting this letter below.

 

SCOTTISH LABOUR FOR RADICAL DEMOCRACY

“Unlike the leadership of Scottish Labour, we recognise that there is still a clear appetite amongst the Scottish people for a second independence referendum, registered in consistent opinion polls and election results. With a radicalised Conservative majority at Westminster aiming at a hard Brexit while refusing further devolution to Scotland, we also respect and sympathise with that demand. We believe that our position reflects that of the mainstream of the Scottish labour movement, which is being ignored and let down by its parliamentary representatives.

But Scottish Labour’s leadership aren’t the only ones frightened of democracy. While the SNP claim to speak for the people, they have centralised power at Holyrood and repeatedly sided with landlords and multinational corporations against the demands of trade unions, tenants unions and local authorities. They have often done this against the wishes of the SNP’s many left-wing members, while arguing that real change is only possible with independence. Yet as it stands, the SNP’s vision for independence swaps dependency on Westminster for dependency on foreign investors and NATO, promising self-determination in name only.

The Scottish people are trapped between two political systems: a British system dominated by rentiers, bankers and a right-wing media which barely acknowledges Scotland’s existence beyond the SNP; and a devolved Scottish system defined by self-congratulation and complacency, where radical initiatives are stifled by the need to react to whatever Britain’s dysfunctional government and economy does next. These systems are at odds with each other, but at the same time they reinforce each other, keeping Scotland stuck in two minds, neither of which has any good ideas.

The limited constitutional reforms made after the last independence referendum have clearly failed to resolve this, and we have no faith in the even more limited constitutional reforms Scottish Labour now proposes. The sabotage of Jeremy Corbyn by the British media and political classes has demonstrated just how inhospitable the British system is for the politics of basic human decency. The popular demand for a new independence referendum reflects a deep frustration with this situation. It also provides the best democratic means of seriously discussing and deciding on a way out of it, whether it be through a radical constitutional transformation or Scottish independence.

By setting themselves against a new referendum, Scottish Labour’s leadership are forfeiting any right to be listened to by those voters who once placed their hopes for social change in the Labour Party, and now place their hopes in independence and the SNP. By refusing to allow a nationwide, democratic debate on Scotland’s future, Scottish Labour’s leadership are depriving the labour movement of a voice in the narrow, elite-level debate that does exist.

We know that many Scottish Labour members do not share the tribalism and fear of debate that now characterises party strategy. We also want to move Scottish politics beyond the dull speculation over the timing and possibility of an independence referendum, without denying the popular aspiration for a different kind of state. And we know that we are not the only party where members are frustrated with the timidity of their leaders and the failures of the Scottish Parliament. We will be organising a public meeting in the next fortnight to bring together grassroots socialist activists and trade unionists from a range of Scottish parties to discuss the prospects for radical co-operation across party lines as a new Holyrood election approaches.”

 

21.6.20

This letter was first posted in 21.6.20 by bella caledonia at:-

https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2020/06/21/scottish-labour-for-radical-democracy/ 

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Jul 12 2020

THE UK STATE, RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN 2020 – rUK IT or fUK IT?

Allan Armstrong has produced his third online pamphlet, following The Continuing Shift from Neo-Liberalism to Right Populism. This follows the last update which looked at the impact of Right Populism and reactionary unionism on the politics of the these islands after the December 12th UK and February 8th Irish general elections. The contents  of the latest  pamphlet (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress. com/2020/ 08/ dec12th-covid-19-and-blm-scotland2-2.pdf) are shown below. This is followed by two sections from the pamphlet specifically relating to the recent and current situation in Scotland, which form the basis for Allan’s talk on the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Republican Party Zoom meeting.

 

THE UK STATE, RIGHT POPULISM AND  

REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN 2020

rUK it or fUK it?

 A republican communist analysis in the aftermath of December 12th general election, Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter 

Allan Armstrong. 6.7.20

 

 

Contents

A. FROM THE DECEMBER 12TH WESTMINSTER GENERAL ELECTION THROUGH THE COVID-19 CRISIS

Continue reading “THE UK STATE, RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN 2020 – rUK IT or fUK IT?”

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Jul 02 2020

In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest

 Allan Armstrong was reading  How the West Came to Rule – The geopolitical origins of capitalism, by How the West Came to Rule – The geopolitical origins of capitalism by Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglum, as he learned of the tragic death of Neil Davidson. This book was influenced by Neil’s work on Uneven and Combined Development at a world scale.

Allan has engaged in several debates with Neil about how Socialists can address Scottish history. He decided to write a review of Anievas and Nisancioglum’s book, and look at  aspects of British and Scottish history, through the lens they provide.

Allan  sent this review to Conter. He thought that the second  issue of the magazine would be well served if it had a number of articles  in Neil’s memory. However, the Covid-19 crisis has delayed this issue.

 

THE WEST – NO BETTER THAN ALL THE REST

 

Challenging Eurocentric views of the world

I was reading How the West Came to Rule (HtWctR) when I learned of the death of Neil Davidson. Neil is acknowledged by the book’s authors, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu, as one of their inspirers.[1] HtWctR places the Uneven and Combined Development Theory (UCDT) at the centre of its analysis, referencing Neil in doing so.[2] Neil had been making a major contribution to reviving and applying this theory to global history. This led to the conference entitled ‘Uneven and Combined Development for the 21st Century’ held in Glasgow between the 5-7th September 2019. Anievas addressed this conference, albeit on another topic than HtWctR.[3] Although this conference placed historical development in Scotland under the UCDT spotlight, its contributors also examined historical developments over a far wider arena. HtWctR addresses these developments at the global level and represents the most ambitious attempt I have read to utilise UCDT both historically and geographically, whilst also drawing upon other theories. Continue reading “In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest”

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Jul 02 2020

NEIL DAVIDSON MEMORIAL MEETING, 11.7.20

NEIL DAVIDSON MEMORIAL MEETING

Saturday, July 11th, 20.00

 

 

Join comrades and friends in an online event to remember Neil Davidson who died on 3 May 2020.

You need to REGISTER to receive details by email of how to join this Zoom event: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAof-yorjktEtGWmauKAb958o3TEgvpAD–

Neil Davidson was a socialist militant and a highly innovative Marxist historian and sociologist, a member of revolutionary socialism in the 21st century (rs21), a prominent figure in the Scottish left and a lecturer at Glasgow University.

Speakers:
Sara Bennett (opening remarks, Unite / rs21)
Alex Law (Friend and comrade)
Michelle Campbell (PCS)
Steve Edwards (HM editorial board)
Cat Boyd (Radical Independence Campaign, Conter editorial board)
Satnam Virdee (Co-editor No Problem Here)
Jamie Allinson (Salvage editorial board)
Smina Akhtar (Contributor No Problem Here)
Charlie Post (Spectre Journal editorial board)
Maureen McBride (Contributor No Problem Here)
Raymond Morell (Unite / rs21 / Conter editorial board)
Open mic for memories and tributes

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1079869152407045/

You can read an obituary by Neil’s friend and comrade Raymond Morell and add your own memories and pictures here: https://www.rs21.org.uk/2020/05/07/obituary-neil-davidson-1957-2020/

If you’ve not used zoom before there’s a beginners’ guide to joining a zoom call here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UGE128WVZWxNKe1qxubbxgV17ucN9QBFXpPK0V6ibyU/edit?usp=sharing. If you need any help or want to have a practice please ask in good time.

The event will start at 8pm UK time (UTC+1). Please join by 8pm. Participants other than planned speakers will be in the zoom ‘waiting room’ and let in to the event around 8pm.

Hosted by revolutionary socialism in the 21st century. Co-hosted by Conter, Haymarket Books, Historical Materialism and Salvage Quarterly.

 

__________

also see the following obituaries from Raymond Morell, rs21 and George Kerevan in bella caledonia

Obituary: Neil Davidson, 1957–2020

https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2020/05/07/an-appreciation-of-neil-davidson-1957-2020/

 

and the following memorial review by Allan Armstrong

In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest

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