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Showing posts from 2011

Ayse Berktay

There is still no word of Ayse Berktay's release from prison in Turkey. Guardian online has just published this article by her friend, Ayça Çubukçu.

"There is a growing disjuncture between those who promote modern-day Turkey as a democracy and those who experience Turkey as a land of arbitrary detentions, political repression and military destruction.

In the past two years, the Turkish state has imprisoned thousands of its citizens under the sweeping rubric of counter-terrorism operations. The recent wave of arbitrary detentions known as the KCK operations has cast such a wide net that participation in a single protest or petition could constitute evidence of an intention to commit terrorism – if not directly, then certainly by association.

Today, even relatively privileged academic colleagues in Turkey face the prospect of sharing the fate of Professor Büşra Ersanlı of Marmara University, whose detention in October 2011 as an alleged terrorist was proudly defended by the prime …

In Place of Austerity

Public sector workers must work together to prevent privatisation

Dexter Whitfield calls on public managers to ally themselves with those opposed to privatisation, in order to protect democratic, flexible public services
Guardian Professional, Thursday 8th December 2011

The financial crisis has created opportunities to accelerate the privatisation and marketisation of public services - but the policies of transformation are designed to destablise services and deconstruct democracy.

We must draw on the lessons learned in opposing marketisation and privatisation over the past three decades to promote action strategies that can stop, slow down and/or mitigate the negative consequences of neoliberal policies.

Public managers committed to radically improving in-house provision will be important allies. More systematic trade union and community intervention in transformation and procurement is required, to organise new strategies, to forge strong alliances, to combine industrial and community ac…

Global Auction of Public Assets by Dexter Whitfield

Reviewed by Hugo Radice, University of Leeds, UK for Capital & Class

Ten years ago, Dexter Whitfield's Public Services or Corporate Welfare? gave us the first detailed critique of the growing use of private resources to 'finance' public infrastructure projects. With Global Auction, he provides a comprehensive account of just how far and wide these forms of privatisation have now spread. A movement that seemingly began as a technical innovation in project financing now threatens to transfer the design and implementation of infrastructure projects entirely from public to private hands, with taxpayers and service users footing the bill. If this continues, the consequence will be to dramatically restrict the scope of democratic decision-making in this vital part of the economy, while simultaneously redistributing income from the poor to the rich. And as with so many innovations in the history of capitalism, successive UK governments have been the most enthusiastic pioneers…

From Hiroshima to Fukushima

‘A nuclear explosion [dubbed ‘Little Boy’] was detonated some 600 metres above Hiroshima at 8.15 on 6 August 1945 … a second, over Nagasaki three days later, was a plutonium bomb, dubbed ‘Fat Man’. It is 66 years since those terrible experiments, which instantly killed hundreds of thousands of people, many of them civilians. Tens of thousands more suffered lingering deaths due to their injuries, caused by intense heat, blast, and radiation sickness … As the nuclear disaster at Fukushima continues to unfold, Japanese perceptions have probed more deeply. Sumiteru Taniguchi survived extensive injuries suffered during the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and, at 82 years of age, maintains a lively presence on behalf of the Nagasaki Council of A-Bomb Sufferers (or Hibakusha, in Japanese). He recently observed that

‘Nuclear power and mankind cannot co-exist. We survivors of the atomic bomb have said this all along. And yet, the use of nuclear power was camouflaged as “peaceful” and continued to p…

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation

The Israel-Palestine situation demands truth and reconciliation. We hope to aid that process.

By Desmond Tutu and Michael Mansfield, Thursday 3 November 2011

Opportunities to break seemingly intractable and deadlocked situations are rare – especially on a scale which has rapidly developed this year from the beleaguered cries of citizenry across North Africa and the Middle East. There is a palpable consensus that the provenance of this movement is lodged firmly in the fundamental prerequisite for meaningful democracy: self-determination. All conventions on human rights have this tenet as a core rationale. Where it is repeatedly denied and suppressed there will never be peace or justice, let alone stability.

On Saturday the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will open its third session: after Barcelona and London, this session will take place in South Africa, the location of a seminal struggle for self-determination by a community oppressed by apartheid. Partly as a result of th…

Raymond Williams in Japan

Key Words 9: A Journal of Cultural Materialism

Much of this issue of Key Words has to do with border crossings. Five of the essays are the result of the willingness of colleagues in Swansea and in Tokyo to cross international borders in order to engage in a transnational discussion of Williams’s work. Three contributions focus on questions of language. While this issue is primarily about Raymond Williams’s work, his ideas and influence, this section brings two other key thinkers into the dialogue – Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Terry Eagleton, who is perhaps Williams’s foremost disciple.


Editors’ Preface

Signs, Socialism and Ethics: Eagleton on Language - Tony Crowley

Terry Eagleton, Postmodernism and Ireland - Edward Larrissy

Williams and Wittgenstein: Language, Politics and Structure of Feeling - Ben Ware

Border Country: Then and Now - Simon Dentith

Raymond Williams in Japan
Essays by contemporary Japanese critics, edited and introduced by Daniel G. Williams

Guest Editor’s Introduction …

The Country and the City

Raymond Williams influenced generations. He was an academic, novelist and critic whose writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature laid the foundations for the modern discipline of cultural studies.

Spokesman Books' new edition of The Country and the Citymakes available, once again, a seminal work. We also distribute Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, published by The Raymond Williams Society.

Price: £19.95 ISBN: 978 0 85124 7991

Call for 2011 World Conference against A&H Bombs

This year's World Conference against A&H Bombs will gather in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the wake of the devastating nuclear disaster which is still unfolding at Fukushima. Understandably, this is one of the main themes running through this year's Conference. Tony Simpson addresses some of the questions raised by Fukushima in the paper he will present to the Conference.

To mark the 66th anniversary of the nuclear bombardment of these two Japanese cities, on 6 August, the Russell Foundation is publishing a new edition of THE LEGACY OF CHERNOBYL by Zhores Medvedev. In his preface to the new edition, Dr Medvedev descibes how, in 1987, he met with members of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. At that time, he had already started to study the available information about what had happened at Chernobyl the previous year, as he was not satisfied with the Soviet report to the International Atomic Energy Agency. His Japanese hosts were not interested in too many details. "We do n…

Peace activists arrested in South Korea

Dear Friends,

There is worrying news to report from Jeju Island South Korea.

At the crack of dawn on Thursday, undercover police officers came to Gangjeong village and arrested three major leaders of the peaceful resistance to the US naval base being built there. They are: Village Chief Kang Dong-Kyun, renowned peace activist Brother Song Kang-Ho, and base opposition leader Ko Kwon-Il.

The South Korean Navy (ROKN) and Minister of Justice Lee Gui Nam also issued a notice to Gangjeong village leader Kang Dong-Kyun and 76 other villagers and peace activists. This notice is a threat to these 77 individuals and civil society organizations for disturbing the construction of the naval base. It specifies the following:
(1) These 77 individuals are banned from getting into the public water or land near the Joongduk coastline where the naval base will be constructed.
(2) The notice bans the staff and volunteers from five civil society organizations – Peace-Life Association, Jeju Environmental Associ…

Shannon Airport Demonstration Sunday 10 July 2011

On Sunday 10/7/2011 at 2.00pm Shannonwatch are holding their monthly demonstration at the Shannon Airport Roundabout in their continuing protest against the growing number of Imperial wars by the EU/US/NATO military axis. The new FG/Labour government, despite its commitment in its programme to ensure that its use would be in accordance with international law has not stopped the flights by US in accordance with international law as laid down in the Hague Convention of 1907. It is amazing that the Irish government and all the other governments of the EU/US axis can still find millions of Euros to fight wars while cutting health, education and social services.

PANA urges people who can to attend, to spread the word via social media (the corporate media largely ignore us) and help in any other way they can. Please use the contact details below if you have any queries.

Roger Cole, Chair of PANA, Tel: 00 353 (0)87-2611597

Gallows and Other Tales of Suspicion and Obession

Excessive PFI profits

HM Treasury 'in dark' over 'excessive' PFI profits
By Rob Cave, BBC News

HM Treasury is failing to monitor "excessive" profits from the selling-on of PFI (private finance initiative) equity, the BBC has been told.

One industry analyst says its "inadequate" records do not reflect the billions of pounds made in the so-called secondary PFI market.

Critics, including some MPs, say the taxpayer should benefit from a share of these additional profits.

In a statement the Treasury said it had some information on most sales.

Criticism about the lack of information held by the government comes as two influential parliamentary committees prepare to take an in-depth look at PFI.

Today the Treasury Committee will hear evidence in its ongoing inquiry into the future of PFI, asking whether it has been value for money for the taxpayer. The following day, the Public Accounts Committee will look at the lessons learned so far from the roll-out of PFI.

More than 700 hospitals,…

Urgent Request from Jeju Island

Call South Korean Embassy - No Navy Base on Jeju Island

The latest word from Jeju Island is that Professor Yang has resumed his hunger strike and has left the hospital in Jeju City and has been taken to a Buddhist monastery. Sung-Hee Choi is still in jail (waiting for her trial to resume on June 22) and she is hunger striking again in solidarity with Professor Yang.

We ask you now to please make another round of phone calls to South Korean embassies in your country. This time Mr. Ko (in the photo below) asks that you give feedback to the village on the response you get when you call. Even if they refuse to talk with you please pass that information to me at and I will send it to MacGregor Eddy who is now in Gangjeong village and she will give it to Mr. Ko.

We ask that you tell the South Korean embassy that you want them to stop building the Navy base because it is leading to the destruction of the soft coral reefs offshore and will destroy the farming and fishing…

Defend Irish Neutrality

The use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to and from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan has gained a good deal of coverage recently, primarily thanks to the wikileaks stories in the Irish Independent.

In Ireland, the new programme for government says Shannon Airport should be used only in accordance with international law. As the Hague Convention of 1907, which has been a cornerstone of international law, says neutral states cannot allow their territory to be used in a war (no US army planes land in Zurich airport), PANA expects the new Fine Gael/Labour government to live up to its promises. In the meantime, please support the Shannonwatch demonstration at Shannon Airport on 12 June 2-3 pm.

Also see which promotes a conference on global intelligence on the 11-13 July in Dungarvan. The speakers include a former director of the CIA and many others.

Since the decisive majority of the people of the US and GB want to see the end of these war…

Missile offence at sea: protest fasts in US and Korea


Coastline of Gangjeong village on Jeu Island ... imagine these rocks covered with cement

At BIW yesterday as workers left the shipyard

I was able to hand out six leaflets yesterday as the hundreds of workers walked past me and hundreds more drove past my little spot on the corner in front of Bath Iron Works (BIW).

I plan on going back again today, and every weekday, as long as I continue with this fast (now 3rd day) in support of the extraordinary people of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.

They build the Navy Aegis destroyers at BIW that are outfitted with missile offense systems and will be deployed at the base on Jeju Island and at other bases in the Asian-Pacific thus forcing China to expand its military in response.

I am grateful to Dennis Bernstein at KPFA in Berkeley who yesterday interviewed me about this story. I was touched by the sincerity of Dennis about Professor Yang Yoon-Mo who today is on his 51st day of hunger strike. You can hear the interview h…

Two reviews of Imperialism

Imperialism: A Study
by J. A. Hobson

Introduction by Nathaniel Mehr
Foreword by Jeremy Corbyn MP

First published in 1902, Hobson’s seminal work was among the first to make the link between political economy and the imperialist expansionism of the advanced capitalist nations at the turn of the 20th Century. A devastating moral critique of the murderous cynicism of imperialism, Hobson’s book paved the way for the influential Marxist theories of imperialism advanced by Lenin and Bukharin and others. It provides an invaluable framework for understanding militarism and war in the 21st Century.

Two reviews of this classic work are available from: Morning Star and Socialist Review

Wapping - An Exhibition and a New Book

On 24th January, 1986, Rupert Murdoch's News International group moved production of its four national newspapers to Wapping in London's Docklands.

Over 5,000 production and clerical workers were sacked overnight. The journalists were not sacked but more than 100 - the "refuseniks" - took a stand on principle and walked out of their jobs.

Wapping 25 Years On, is an exhibition of the dramatic images and accounts of the dispute and the challenges for print and media workers. The exhibition is being held at the Marx Memorial Library, 37A Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU, until 31 May.

The latest podcast from Radio Free Press features a tour of this exhibition. Nicholas Jones talks to a number of Wapping veterans, including the exhibition organiser, Ann Field, a former official with the print union SOGAT and a union activist on The Times, John Bailey, a chapel father for the NGA print union at the Sun, and Graham Dodkins, former library worker at The Times and co-author …

Bad News – The Wapping Dispute

Press launch Thursday 28 April at 3pm, at the Marx Memorial Library, Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU (Farringdon tube)

Bad News – The Wapping Dispute tells the poignant and timely story of an ordinary group of people who were thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and the effects these circumstances had on their lives.

By Graham Dodkins and John Lang

Foreword by Tony Benn

Published by Spokesman on 1st May 2011

On 24th January 1986, some 5,000 workers employed by four of Britain’s national newspapers were sacked: The Sun, News of the World, The Times and TheSunday Times were owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International Limited, and the bitter industrial dispute that followed was to last 13 months.

As the 25th anniversary of the dispute nears, Bad News – The Wapping Dispute is published at a time when there is renewed public anger at a Conservative-led government, and unemployment, police handling of demonstrations, and Rupert Murdoch’s hold over the British press and media dominate the headlin…



Dear Friends,

President Obama visits Ireland on May 20-22.

Since 2001, the Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA) has campaigned against the use of Shannon Airport by US troops en route to Afghanistan and Iraq. We are seeking to ensure this is the major issue during his visit.

We would therefore appreciate support for the following statement: "We support the Irish Peace Movement's campaign to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to and from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Please email your support to:

Roger Cole,
Peace & Neutrality Alliance

Nuclear New Build?

A review of the issues
Christopher Gifford's timely pamphlet critically probes the case that is made for new nuclear reactors in Britain. Its relevance is highlighted by the continuing scramble to contain contamination from six reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

‘This paper attempts to describe the present state of affairs, in particular the issues facing the new Coalition Government. In February 2007, the then government was described in judicial review as having behaved ‘unlawfully’ in consulting on energy policy with information ‘wholly insufficient for the public to make an intelligent response’. Since then, thousands of pages have been published in further consultations and some in response to freedom of information requests, and it has become clear that much detail remains to be provided on matters that may not be decided until licences to build and operate nuclear stations are granted, if at all. The material is usually technical, but there are ethical issues…

Appeal to the World Public

The Russell Foundation has today received an important appeal from a friend in Turkey who has requested its wide dissemination. Today, in Diyarbakir, Kurdish activists commence a sit-in as part of their long campaign for political rights (see below). Our Turkish friend also urges us all to keep a close eye on developments in Turkey.

Appeal to the World Public

Mothers for Peace have erected Democratic Solution Tents in all cities of the Kurdish region on 18 March 2011. Kurdish people, embracing the Democratic Solution Tents and keeping watch over them 24 hours a day have directly and most powerfully displayed the determination and the will to put an end to war.

Kurdish people have declared their demand and will for peace, democracy and freedom once more in a most splendid fashion to the world in the Newroz demonstrations of 2011. Millions of Kurds holding freedom marches from Newroz fields to Democratic Solution Tents scores of kilometers away have shouted out their democratic demands for…

Japan: An Appeal

The Russell Foundation has received the following appeal from our friends in the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo).

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for your warm messages and support to us. Your messages are of great encouragement to us and all victims of the disaster. We have translated your messages into Japanese and passed them on to the victims and all Japanese people.

The damage caused by earthquakes and subsequent tsunami is so horrible. All buildings were swept away. Thousands of bodies are found every day. The number of those dead and are missing is expected to be more than 11,500. The evacuees have increased more than 450,000. They are forced to stay at shelters with not enough food, water, cloths, oil for heaters and gas for cars, etc.

In addition to that, the frightening accident of Fukushima power plants is threatening the safety of people and their uneasiness is growing.

The municipalities and citizens of the damage struck areas have so far given strong support…

Victory for Peace Movement

Press Statement 8/3/2011 - Peace & Neutrality Alliance

Victory for Peace Movement in new Programme for Government

The Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA) welcomes the statement in the new Labour/Fine Gael Programme for Government, promising to implement international law in terms of the use of Irish airspace and airports by foreign powers. Under the section Foreign Affairs, ODA and Defence, the Programme says: "We will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purpose not in line with dictates of international law."

PANA Chair, Roger Cole, a delegate to the Conference, asked for clarification of this statement in the Programme for Government. He pointed out that a key part of international law governing the behaviour of Neutral States is the Hague Convention of 1907 which prohibits the use of a neutral state's territory to prosecute a war. Switzerland quotes the Hague Convention to explain why no US planes land at Zuric…

Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons Petition Launched

On the Start of the New Signature Campaign in Support of “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons”

February 15, 2011 in Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Tokyo

Dear friends,

First of all, I want to express my gratitude to you and all the other friends in Japan and overseas who have given us support in preparing to launch the new signature campaign.

At present, when we will soon see the 66th Summer of the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is rapidly changing in terms of nuclear weapons. With our actions in New York, or in many other cities around the world, the NPT Review Conference in May last year declared it as its goal “to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”, and called on all states to make “special efforts” to establish a framework for it, focusing on the proposal of UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon for the start of negotiations on a convention banning nuclear weapons.

The outcome of the session of the UN General assembly towards the end of the la…

“Projecting Peace: The Perpetual Search for the End to All Hostilities”

The first of our "Projecting Peace" talks is on Wednesday 2nd February 2011 at 3pm. To be held in Room SR 2.06A, The Old Mining Building, Leeds University.
Speakers include: Kate Hudson (Gen Sec CND) and Ashley Wood (Consultant and Project Manager for 'Making Peace' Nobel Peace Prize anniversary exhibition International Peace Bureau, Geneva)

All are welcome.
'Last year we applied for and were awarded a small grant from the British Association for a project to bring academics and others together around the theme of “Projecting Peace”. The proposal grew from a concern that advocates of peace are often accused of being out of touch with the harsh realities of political life and human nature and are often caricatured as well meaning visionaries who simplistically and ineffectually dream of a return to a non-violent golden age. In the face of such criticisms, we propose to establish a network for “Projecting Peace” - to provide an interdisciplinary forum for explorin…

Raymond Williams

Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism

Key Words is committed to developing the tradition of cultural materialism derived from the founding analysis of culture and society in the work of Raymond Williams.

The journal provides a forum for radical thought on history and politics, and explores the role of literary, media and cultural forms in the contemporary global era. Each issue addresses a selected theme of relevance to the arts, media, politics and everyday life.

Further details can be found on the Raymond Williams Society website.

Issue 8, Labouring-Class Writing, has just been published and is available to buy now from Spokesman Books (£15).


Editors’ Preface

Guest Editors’ Introduction: Retrieval and Beyond: Labouring-Class Writing
Tim Burke and John Goodridge

Brute Strength: Labouring-Class Studies and Animal Studies Donna Landry

Close Reading Yearsley David Fairer

Not So Lowly Bards: Working-Class Women Poets and Middle-Class Expectations Florence Boos

Genre Matters: Attend…

New title book launch at Housmans - January 12th 2011

Hobson’s Imperialismpresented by Jeremy Corbyn MP, Alex Callinicos and Nathaniel Mehr

Wednesday 12th January, 7pm at Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross,London, N1 9DX

£3 entrance, redeemable against purchase

This January, Spokesman Books will be re-publishing J.A. Hobson's 1902 classic Imperialism: A Study. Hobson's book was among the first to explore the links between political economy and imperial expansion. It inspired a number of Marxist critiques of imperialism, and was quoted extensively in Lenin's famous pamphlet, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.
The new edition will feature an introduction by Nathaniel Mehr and a foreword by Jeremy Corbyn MP. At the event Jeremy Corbyn and Nathaniel Mehr will be joined by Professor Alex Callinicos, who has written extensively on economics and imperialism, to discuss the significance of Hobson's book in today's world.