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Showing posts from 2012

The Rochdale Podcast

The Mike Harding Folk Show Goes Global

On 30th Dec 2012 at 5p.m. Mike Harding’s new, free, podcast Folk Show will stream out live across the world at

After 15 years at the helm of BBC Radio 2’s flagship folk programme, Mike Harding now brings his passion for the music that matters to a worldwide, internet, podcast and syndicated radio audience.

Continuing to focus on the very best from the world of Folk, Roots and Acoustic music, Mike’s unique understanding of the music, its traditions and its sources will be at the heart of the new show which will appeal to folk fans young and old.

The Mike Harding Folk Show retains all the great things about his previous programmes: the new music, the classic oldies, the emerging left of field talent coming from small labels, and will be adding to that pages of information on tours, new releases, artists' websites, record distributors, folk news, festival listings and anything else that captures his imagination.

Over 15 y…

Ayşe Berktay

Ayşe Berktay has written a letter from Bakırköy Prison accepting her PEN award. The letter can be read in full here.

Roger Waters speaks out for Palestine at the UN

There has been widespread acclaim, particularly from Palestinians, for musician Roger Waters' compelling speech at the UN, on 29 Novermber 2012, in support of Palestine's succesful application for enhanced status. Roger serves on the jury of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, to which he refers in his address.

Roger Waters's speech on behalf of Russell Tribunal at the UN on 29 November is now available online.

Watch it here:

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have prepared this Bulletin, following the end of mass hunger strikes amongst predominantly Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey's prisons, on 18 November. The BDP has 36 members of the Turkish Parliament, elected mainly with the support of Turkey's substantial Kurdish minority, which exceeds 20 million people. Ayse Berktay, long time activist in the Turkish peace movement and a good friend of the Russell Foundation, writes from her prison in Istanbul, where she has been held since October 2011.

Early bird special!

Thrillling double bill at the Renoir Cinema, WC1, Sunday 9 December, doors open 10.30am, courtesy of The London Socialist Film Co-op.

Sunday 9th December 2012


Eran Torbiner, Israel 2011 (U), 48 mins, Yiddish with EST

The Jewish Socialist Bund movement struggled for the right of the Jews to full equal rights. It was strong among Polish Jews on the eve of WWII and was the arch rival of the Zionist movement. Bund supporters who survived the war and chose to emigrate to Israel have tried to continue spreading Bund ideas for over 60 years. Bund activists alive today are over 80 years old but insist on speaking Yiddish and talking Socialism. Now more than ever they insist on dying as Bundists.
Eran Torbiner, July 2012
WHOSE IS THIS SONG? (Chia E Tazi Pesen?)

Adela Peeva, Belgium/ Bulgaria 2003 (PG) 70 mins, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Turkish with EST

Music has the power to evoke passion but how can one song spark so many? Adela Peeva exposes conflicting beliefs of love, religion, revo…


On 20 November 2012, the House of Commons debated the Middle East, at the request of backbenchers. We begin this selection from the debate with Andy Slaughter’s percipient remarks about the pending mass killing of many more innocents in Gaza, should Israel proceed with its ground invasion. Arbuthnot and Ottoway, Select Committee Chairmen, marked low points in the Debate. Hague rather distanced himself from the more partisan comments of the many Friends of Israel in the House. He knows Hamas won the 2006 elections in Gaza by a street, and that they are serious interlocutors. That’s why Michael Ancram talked with them at length after that victory. (see Spokesman 97)

House of Commons Tuesday 20 November 2012 Middle East
Several hon. Members rose

Andy Slaughter Hammersmith) (Lab): Palestinian victims of Israeli atrocities are so many that they often go unnamed. I would like to name the four youngest members of the El Dallo family: Sara, 7; Jamal, 6; Yusef, 4; and Ibrahim, 2. They were fou…

An Appeal for Gaza on Universal Children's Day

Stop Israeli Atrocities against Palestinian Children and People in Gaza!

On the occasion of the Universal Children's Day 20 November and - the 23rd Anniversary for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) we, the International Board on Books for Young People-Palestinian Section appeal to all Children Rights advocates and defenders, to express solidarity with Palestinian children, and to pressure their governments and the International organizations to force Israel to end it aggression and war crimes against the Palestinian children and people in Gaza.

Palestinian children, civilians and whole families are being blatantly targeted by the Israeli military with bombs weighing up to one ton dropped by F-16 fighter jets (more than 1200 raids so far), knowing that Gaza has no safe place and no shelters. Moreover, Palestinians in Gaza have been enduring the shortage of basic human needs and the wrecked infrastructure because of the 6-years-long criminal siege and the criminal war of…

The Latest Gaza Catastrophe

Professor Richard Falk is the UN's respected rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights. He is well worth reading.

The Latest Gaza Catastrophe: Will They Ever Learn?
by Richard Falk – TRANSCEND Media Service

[This post is an updated version of an article published in the online English edition of Al Jazeera, 17 Nov 2012, taking account of some further developments in the new horrifying unfolding of violence in Gaza.]

President Obama, upon his arrival today in Bangkok at the start of a state visit to several Asian countries, reminded the world of just how unconditional U.S. support for Israel remains. Obama was quoted as saying, “There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside of its borders. We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.” Much is missing from such a sentiment, most glaringly, the absence of any balancing statement along the following line: “and no country would tolerate the periodic assassination of its lea…

Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners on prolonged hunger strike

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign


Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners are now taking part in a hunger strike which they have declared is to be indefinite.

This hunger strike began on 12 September, a not insignificant date in Turkey’s political history, with 63 people, including 13 women, in seven prisons. The numbers have grown rapidly with hundreds more Kurdish political prisoners joining the action and it is reported that 600 prisoners are currently on indefinite hunger strike.

The prisoners' demands appear simple and reasonable: the right to education and legal defence in their mother tongue of Kurdish; and the start of direct peace talks to resolve the outstanding conflict by peaceful, constitutional means and with the full participation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.

If nothing is done to meet the demands of the hunger strikers, more martyrs will be added to the Kurdish dead and it is feared that the situation could rapidly …

Trouble in Rushcliffe’s Schools

David Laws MP, who falsified his expenses claims and had to repay Parliament some £56,000, has now been appointed Schools Minister by David Cameron, as we discuss in Spokesman 118. Together with Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, Laws is pushing the Government’s programme of state-funded companies (academies including so-called “free schools”) to run schools, which are then no longer part of the local authority or public sector. This policy of further fragmentation of school education in England is becoming increasingly chaotic, as recent developments in Nottinghamshire indicate.

West Bridgford is one of the leafier parts of Nottingham, south of the River Trent. Ken Clarke lives here, in his Rushcliffe Constituency, five or six miles from where he grew up, in Bulwell, a tougher part of town. County Hall is in West Bridgford. In 2009, the Tories won control of Nottinghamshire for the first time in 30 years.

Back in the early 1990s, the Conservative Government split Nottingham City f…


Russell Tribunal on Palestine New York Session 6-7 October 2012
Leila Shahid and Raji Sourani, two Palestinians, were prevented from attending the New York Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which met in the Grand Hall of Cooper Union during the first weekend of October 2012 with hundreds of people attending over the two days. They weren’t granted visas in good time by the US authorities. Their absence denied the Tribunal direct testimony from Gaza (Sourani maintains the human rights centre there), as well as the presence of one of its initiators (Shahid, together with Nurit Peled of Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Parents for Peace, and Ken Coates of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation issued the initial call for the Tribunal in 2008).

Both Leila and Raji had been present when the Tribunal was publicly launched in Brussels in 2009. Since then, it has held sessions in Barcelona (on EU complicity against Palestine), London (on corporate complicity), Cape Town (on the crime of ap…