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Author: gavin Page 1 of 20

Extinction Rebellion Occupy Trafalgar Square 10.10.19

I put this together very quickly from my photos and vids after coming back from Trafalgar Square. Love and respect for the occupiers. We need to explore ways in which we can take political, individual and community responsility for tackling the climate crisis and the skewed political and corporate cultures that are destroying the planet and the human solidarity of the people on it.

The Countdown

50 days ago I resolved to do something personally useful while waiting for Brexit so I began a modest exercise and diet regime to regain some fitness. So far I’ve lost 10 lbs and am now 13 st 2 lb. I can push myself to 35 push-ups, do 5 chin-ups and run 5 minutes without stopping. I walk an average of 6000 steps per day, practice the Tai Chi short form every day and can touch my toes. This will not impress anyone who is themselves reasonably fit but it may impress those who have known my recent condition and physical laziness.

I look forward to stepping up my pace and improving over the next 49 days.

We must all do what we can to survive Brexit. Reducing dependency on food might help.

9/11 – Eighteen Years Later

Our intuitive conclusion that the collapse of WT7 was the consequence of a controlled demolition has surely been confirmed by the research evidence from the University of Alaska. Although this happened 18 years ago the implications are enormous as it suggests a criminal conspiracy the scale of whose execution and concealment have been unprecedented.

Freedom of Thought is For All

“..prospective students of Eton are then asked to imagine they are the prime minister and write a speech to explain how they would convince the public that they did the right thing.”

The full question reads:

The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.

You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.

https://www.indy100.com/article/eton-college-entrance-exam-question-army-killing-protesters-private-school-9090156?

Some people seem upset by this.

There are doubtless very many things wrong with this school but getting students to think about ethical and political decisions and decision making through presenting hypothetical situations, or examining real situations, is not one of those things. Questions like this should be part of the general education of students in all schools.

Twenty Years Later …


More than twenty years ago – in November 1998 according to data from the photo – this is a picture of an extraordinary group of young people I worked with in Newham. While I am mostly retired now I still do work with children from time to time.

This week the wife of the young man standing farthest left brought their two children to the ‘Making Worlds and Games’ course I am running at Redbridge Library. I expect to see Rizwan later in the week.

The Immortalists

The Immortalists

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Immortalists follows the life path of four siblings from 1969 to the near present. Gifted or cursed with the foreknowledge of the dates of their deaths, their natures and choices and perhaps this knowledge move them forward towards their destiny. The book reflects engagingly on living and death and is in places quite profound.

It touches on the experience of being Jewish American and the experience of being a gay man and offers insights into those worlds that I do not know. Its journey through the past half century brought back echoes from my own journey. But beyond such particularities Chloe Benjamin gives us characters whose real feeling, failings, victories and defeats and lives resonate with our own humanness.

I would, of course, definitely recommend this as an engaging and reflective good read.





View all my reviews

JohnSun

Delusional, but amusing in its absurdity. Promising a ‘golden age’ is like promising to ‘Make Britain Great Again’ only without the connotation that under a Johnson reign Britain would only become as great as it ever was instead of becoming greater that it has ever been.

Instinctively, I suspect, feel, that underneath the arrogance, greed, gaucheness and stupidity of Donald Trump and Theresa May are buried vulnerabilities and remnants of conscience that make them hesitate at the brink of true evil whereas underneath Boris Johnson’s arrogance, greed, surface affability and wit it is arrogance all the way down to a bedrock of pristine amorality. He will not have a trace of sympathy for anyone and I instinctively have not the slightest sympathy for him.

The Lansman Equation

Jon Lansman posts on Twitter that “People who support the campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party need to read what this fellow supporter has to say about “Zionism” https://t.co/dpq83QNGc2”

First, it is wrong to describe challenging the narrative that there is widespread antisemitism within the Labour Party and that Chris Williamson has said anything antisemitic as a ‘campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party’

Second it is grossly insulting and ludricous to describe the cretin who posted a Jew blaming, Holocaust denying, racist, anti-communist, anti-socialist far right piece of garbage as in any way a ‘fellow supporter’ of any Labour Party member.

The anonymous tweeter that Lansman cites accuses Jews of “lobby[ing] for mass immigration, miscegenation and cultural marxism in every country on earth.” How could anyone in their right mind make the equation that Lansman does?

Still, this is an example of what genuine antisemitism, racism and clear hate speech looks like. And this will grow while Lansman and his fellow travellers turn all their efforts to destroying Corbyn and his supporters.

Shadow World – Arms Trade

After I attended a protest on Wednesday morning against having the arms fair at the Excel Centre in Newham I watched the Shadow World documentary. It’s well worth seeing the whole documentary but I pulled out this clip and it should have us asking why this terrible man Blair is still in the Labour Party and not in jail.

Here is the full video:

Imperialism on Trial : Assange

Tuesday 11 June 2019
Wednesday 12 June 2019

Last week Tuesday, 11th June I attended the first session of the Imperialism on Trial event supporting Julian Assange. I wrote the following the next day:

I had heard of some of the speakers and they were all excellent. The person whose work I knew best and particularly wanted to hear was Chris Hedges. A former foreign correspondent of the New York times, Chris writes a regular column in online magazine Truthdig and has a show called ‘On Contact’ hosted by RT. Chris writes and speaks with a particularly lyrical voice and a particularly moral one that perhaps reflects his background as a Presbyterian minister as well as a journalist, academic and activist.

I filmed parts of the meeting, intending to comment later but I needn’t have bothered since the whole event was being much better recorded. It is really worth watching the whole almost three and a half hours but I may use parts of this to make comments later. I found Chris’s opening speech particularly gripping. I learnt a lot about Equador as well as Assange from Fidel Navarez a former senior diplomat at the Equadorian embassy. Navarez was proud to call Julian a friend and reminded us that Assange had been granted Ecuadorian citizenship and that therefore his being hounded and handed over by the current Ecuadorian government was an act of betrayal. Navarez spoke of being proud of the former Ecuador under Rafael Correa and ashamed of the current one under Lenin Moreno. Listening to and finding out more about the experience of implementing socialism in Ecuador would be instructive for Corbyn supporters who, like me, are unaware of this history.

All of the other speakers – Vivian Westwood, Tommy McKerney, Lauri Love, Catherine Shakdam, Catherine Mercouris, John Wright, Ahmed Kaballo – were also excellent and there is plenty of material here for discussion and reflection. This series of talks is called Imperialism on Trial and one of the speakers said that Imperialism may seem like an old fashioned word but the power of an imperial America with its principal allies that, to use the image of perhaps another speaker, grasps nations like Venuzuela by the throat and berates them for not breathing properly. The Empire also tries to silence, discredit and disgrace anyone like Assange who would reveal their crimes. The mainstream press colludes in the creation of a false narrative and in the oppression of whistleblowers and dissidents like Assange and Chelsea Manning. The attack on Julian is an attack on all of us who seek to know and speak the truth. If we do not stand up for Assange and see his freedom as fundamental to our own freedom to speak and to think then we will lose that freedom. As someone who has always felt the need to speak the truth as I see it, whether anyone else, however powerful, likes it or not, as someone aware of the risks that the small run in contradicting powerful and popular people and narratives, as someone who appreciates the importance of primary sources in getting to the truth of things, supporting Assange is particularly important to me.

I will be at the second session of this event this evening and I will be joining Julian’s supporters outside Westminister Magistrate’s court on Friday morning.

I did attend the second session of the event on Wednesday and found it equally absorbing. I’m not going to write about it in detail as what I have to say doesn’t matter – also, because I knew that the event was being wholly recorded and would be published through the good offices of RT, I didn’t take extensive notes.

Unfortunately I could not join the demonstration outside Westminister Court on Friday morning as I had to prepare for an event of my own the next day.

The two videos total over six hours but they are well worth watching.

Related Material

  1. Useful notes on the meetings from Catherine Brown’s Blog.
  2. Update on the opening of Julian Assange’s extradition hearings from 21st Century Wire

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