Monday, December 22, 2008

Slump and War

Slump and War
The Spokesman 102
Edited by Ken Coates

The election of Barack Obama came as the culmination of a profound surge of optimism in the United States, and of hope against hope in large parts of the rest of the world. Widely detested, the Bush administration was the most unpopular in living memory.

Obama had fought an audacious campaign, calling in question not only the war in Iraq, but the train of events which had brought the United States into contempt all around the world. The American military, far from exercising full spectrum dominance, was arousing full spectrum detestation. Its symbols were Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, water boarding and extraordinary rendition.

As the American economy raced from recession to slump, Obama’s campaign seemed to gather momentum. Earnest crowds of young people were seen on television singing the anthem of Woody Guthrie:
‘This land is your land, this land is my land,
from California to New York Island.’
Would that it were so.

This land creaks with every conceivable injustice, with loss and despair, with cruelty, oppression and contempt, by no means all of which have been exported to the numerous theatres of war. If he were bent upon cleansing the Augeian Stables, the labours of Obama would be Herculean indeed. And yet, the mobilisation of millions of formerly excluded voters, of the young, the blacks, the many minorities, must now be a moment of hope. They could indeed make light work of removing the accretion of filth from the Bush years and earlier. Will they be allowed to do so? Early signals from those with whom the President Elect is surrounding himself may promote doubt rather than hope.

Meltdown Election – Noam Chomsky
South Ossetia – Roy and Zhores Medvedev
From A to X – John Berger
Weapons for Pensions – Richard Minns
The Crisis – Oskar Lafontaine
Edward Carpenter, Unsung Hero – Michael Barratt Brown

Human Rights Watch Continues False Cluster Bomb Accusations
Nigel Potter on Honduras

Ken Coates – Asiatic Mode
Chris Gifford – Denying Denial
John Daniels – Neoliberalism Dissected & Viva Cuba
Michael Barratt Brown – The Economics of Inequality
Stan Newens – TomDispatch
Tony Simpson – John le Carré’s Espiocracy
Henry McCubbin – No More Spin & Forgotten Democracy
Peter Jackson – Wilfred Burchett – Contentious Figure
James Jones – What About Israel?
Abi Rhodes – Twenty Thousand Saints

Cover: With grateful acknowledgements to Steve Bell

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Levellers and The Devil's Whore

The Levellers and the English Revolution
H.N. Brailsford
Edited by Christopher Hill

'To our generation fell the good fortune of re-discovering the Levellers. To the classical liberal historians they meant rather less than nothing. This neglect is puzzling. At the crisis of the English Revolution it was the Levellers and not from its commanders that the victorious New Model army derived its political ideas and its democratic drive.' H.N. Brailsford.

The Levellers continue to inspire public interest. John Lilburne and Thomas Rainsborough are central to Channel 4's current production, The Devil's Whore. The four part series about the English Civil War continues tonight at 9pm, repeated Saturday.

For more information about Brailsford's seminal work and other relevant titles, please visit:

Price: £18.00 816 pages Indexed