Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Still the Enemy Within

STEW DVD Spe Ed for website

Short of ideas for Xmas presents?  Why not pre-order the Still the Enemy Within film about the Great Miners' Strike of 1984-85 on DVD?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Justice for Mike Brown - US Embassy Emergency Protest

Justice for Mike Brown – US Embassy Emergency Protest 
5.30pm Wed 26 Nov
called by Stand up to racism 

Wed 26 November 5.30pm 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ

 We condemn the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in St Louis. This comes on the same day that Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy, was shot dead by the police after carrying a toy gun. We call on all those who oppose this injustice to join us at the US Embassy tomorrow for an emergency protest.

 Speakers will include Carol Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan and Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change campaign, anti-racist campaigners and others.

 Diane Abbott MP said:
 “My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Mike Brown. Not only have they lost a loved one but following the Grand Jury’s decision they no doubt feel the strongest sense of injustice, which can only make their pain worse. The anger and disruption that has already followed this decision extends beyond the killing of Mike right to the root of long standing issues with the criminal justice system. Just as in Britain, the Black community in the US has a fraught history with the police. It is one of the reasons I have always been against the arming of police. A recent report has shown that in recent years young black males in the US were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts. This is shocking, but inequality in policing is not a new phenomenon. Therefore how can it ever be reasonable to allow police to use deadly force against an unarmed young man? And just this week-end A 12-year-old boy has been shot dead by police in the US as he played with a fake gun in a park. And time and time again no one is held accountable. When yet another unarmed young black man is killed and it is “lawful”, it can be no surprise that black people are questioning how much value these same laws place on their lives"

 Carol Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan who will be speaking at the event said:
 “Murder is not legitimate. No one should lose their child. Michael Brown has not got justice and neither has Mark Duggan. The Police are there to protect, not to kill our children”

 Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change campaign said:
 “My heart goes out to Michael Brown’s family and the community in Ferguson. No Justice No Peace.”

 Zita Holbourne National Co-Chair BARAC UK said:
 "Until there is a balance of powers there will be no balance of the scales of justice. Oppression, institutional racism, inequality, poverty & injustice occur because of a division of rights where black people are treated like third class citizens. As Martin Luther King said, a riot is the voice of the unheard. When will the powers that contribute to injustice be prepared to hear?"

 Aaron Kiely NUS NEC said:
 "We join the family of Mike Brown in calling for an indictment of the officer who shot their son dead. We currently live in a world where young black people can be shot dead on the street with impunity. This has got to stop. No justice, no peace."

 Sabby Dhalu for Stand up to racism said:
 “We fully support the family of Mike Brown. Having seen at first hand the pain of his family in Ferguson. We fully support the family’s call for the indictment. This comes within a day of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy, being shot dead by US police carrying a toy gun. The cheapness of black lives in the US is a reflection of racism that black communities face at the hands of the police that must be stopped.”

 Weyman Bennett of Stand up to racism said:
 “I went to Ferguson and met Mike Brown’s family. They have our full support justice must be served.”

 for more information contact info@standuptoracism.org.uk https://www.facebook.com/events/742965182457535/

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Sunday, November 02, 2014

1640: The First English Revolution

John Lilburne - calling for a spiritual revolution in England about 350 years before Russell Brand...

Russell Brand may have played his part in helping the word 'revolution' return to a degree of fashionability recently, but even in sleepy England revolutionary ideas have not simply been widely circulated long before him, but have actually been put into practice.   That Norah Carlin's pamphlet on 1640, The First English Revolution (1983) is now online is therefore most timely - for those wanting more on the historiography of revolution in England, see her earlier analysis of Marxism and the English Civil War.

Edited to add: The John Lilburne 400 anniversary conference

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The Bassem Chit Internet Archive

Friends of the late Lebanese Marxist Bassem Chit (1979-2014) might be interested to know that his selected writings are slowly being compiled online at the Marxists Internet Archive - here: http://marxists.org/history/etol/writers/chit/index.htm

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

How poppies and patriotism muffle the truth about the First World War

The only point which matters about the First World War and its sequels is that they must not be allowed to happen again. Honouring and worshipping those who died in them, praising them for their patriotic sacrifice and wearing poppies as symbols of their blood on the ground where they fell serves only to glamorise the atrocity and pave the way to the next one.
Paul Foot, Galmorising an atrocity, 1989.  

It does not matter now, a century after it started, how sad we are about those the first world war killed. Our soulfulness won’t bring back a single slaughtered soldier. What can make a difference is our historical understanding of the Great War, its causes and consequence. History is worth far more than the illusion of memory, when none of us today actually have a memory of being soldiers in 1914-18...
 Out of the millions who died, this installation is very specific about who it mourns. It does not include the French, who lost a tenth of their young men, or Russia, where the war precipitated revolution, civil war and famine. And of course it does not include a single German. Instead it is accumulating 888,246 ceramic poppies each of which – explains the Tower of London website – “represents a British military fatality during the war.”
If we can only picture the Great War as a British tragedy we have not learned very much about it. Yet some historians today glibly encourage that blinkered vision. It sells books. Popular history has been invaded by revisionists who tell us that far from being lions led by donkeys in a futile bloodbath, the British soldiers who fought from 1914-18 were fighting, as the propaganda at the time claimed, to defend democracy from militarist authoritarian Germany...In so explicitly recording only the British dead of world war one, this work of art in its tasteful way confirms the illusion that we are an island of heroes with no debt to anyone else, no fraternity for anyone else...
Jonathan JonesHistory and all its grisly facts are worth more than the illusion of memory, 2014.

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