South Africa: A sort of justice for Ahmed Timol – freedom fighter murdered by secret police in 1971

It’s taken 46 years for some sort of justice to prevail in the case of Ahmed Timol, the anti-apartheid activist killed in police custody when South Africa was under racist white rule. Timol was a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), which was banned by the apartheid regime. In October 1971, he was arrested for being in possession of the communist party newsletter Inkululeko-Freedom and other material. A few days later he was dead. The initial inquest, held in 1972, found that the 29-year-old activist had committed suicide by jumping from the tenth floor of the main police station in … Continue reading

‘Woman is Man’s Symptom’: Blade Runner 2049

If a film is like a dream, then the images in that dream might be a good place to start: images of rain and sea, water, the symbol of birth and death. Of dust, dryness and colour, and vast space, of chilling winter and endless snow. But this is a peopled space – whatever we might take a person to be. In  Blade Runner 2049 Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford appear as rather lonely men (or ‘men’) surrounded by vital, important women ( or ‘women’) appearing in all the ways a woman might seem to a man: as mother, wife, daughter, leader, sex object, lover … Continue reading

A Corbyn Government Under Attack: What Would We do?

I’ve just been reading China Mieville’s October, his account of 1917 in Petrograd, and wondering about what it might mean to attempt a socialist transformation of British society in the face of the inevitable oppostion.   Assuming Corbyn would face a concerted effort to derail or destroy a Left government, what should we do to avert that? I think we all realise that we need, not just an election followed by a Labour Government that ‘gets on with governing’ old style, but a supportive mass movement outside parliament. That’s easier to say (or write) than do, though. Such things aren’t grown … Continue reading

A Month That Changed the Country? Grenfell Tower Could be a Watershed

It seems fitting that at this time a new series of Twin Peaks is appearing on our screens. David Lynch’s most well known production about a small town in the North of the United States, traumatised by the slow revelation of its dark underbelly. It begins with the murder of a local homecoming queen. An act that on the surface appears totally out of place amid the scenes of bucolic small town life. A darkness that could only have been visited upon the community from outside. Eventually the surface is broken to reveal that what appeared wholesome, functional and everyday … Continue reading

Anti-economist Steve Keen on the UK election

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In the run up to the UK General Election, I interviewed self-professed ‘anti-economist’ Steve Keen on the state of the British economy, the chances of a Labour victory and the future of politics after Brexit. This is the first of a two part interview. WHITE: As the UK goes to vote, the economy is the key question and the recent past will likely shape how people may vote. How would you describe the state of the UK economy? KEEN: It’s recovered partially from the financial crisis, but because none of the people in authority know what actually caused the financial … Continue reading

Achieving Democracy

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Are we getting there? In the years following the independence of the 13 colonies from Britain, voting rights for  women and native Americans were only extended very gradually (1920 and 1924 respectively).  For African Americans the picture is complicated by the different laws in the states, even after the Emancipation Proclamation. Many non white Americans weren’t actually able to exercise their right to vote in the segregated south well into the middle of the 20th century.  Even today, extensive gerrymandering and selective use of felony disbarments as well as ID voting conditions continue to be used to exclude black citizens from … Continue reading