Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Young Labour’s Jess Bernard on the Online Conversation with Richard Burgon about Resisting the Tories

June 26, 2022

I got this message from Jess Bernard yesterday about her conversation with Richard Burgon about resisting the Tories and defying Starmer’s command not to back the striking workers of the RMT. The message runs

A message from Jess Barnard.

GET INVOLVED: Retweet me here // Register here

As resistance to the Tories and their handling of the crisis grows – with massive support again for the RMT strike today – now is the time for the Left to come together, raise our game and meet the challenges ahead.

The stark choice we face is that we massively resist the Tory offensive, or everyone suffers – and that means the movement as a whole needs to go fully behind, and amplify the voices of, all those taking industrial action to protect their jobs and livelihoods.

And that means Labour MPs should stand with working people facing the massive Tory cost-of-living crisis, and not follow Keir Starmer’s anti-trade union edict.

On Wednesday June 29 I am pleased to be joining one of those MPs who is on the side of working people, and joined a RMT picket line this week, to discuss these issues our next steps as socialists and open the online Arise Festival (full details below.) Please join Richard Burgon, Secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, & myself in conversation on the Crisis, Resistance & the Struggle for Socialism.
 

Yours in solidarity,

Jess Barnard, Young Labour Chair, on behalf of Arise Festival.

PS: Please tetweet me here to spread the word, and register here

I’m immensely impressed with Jess Bernard and Young Labour, and the way they’ve defied Starmer and his authoritarianism. And they’re absolutely right to support the RMT and defy Starmer again. The Labour party was founded by the trade unions and socialist societies and organisations partly in order to protect trade unions and their workers from legislation intended to limit them or render them powerless. Starmer should, as head of the Labour party, also be backing the RMT. The fact that he isn’t shows just how much of Tory infiltrator he is.

Not that this should surprise anyone. His hero Blair also threatened to cut the party’s ties with the unions if he didn’t get his way, and he also passed legislation designed to curb union power even further. It’s long past time Blairism was dumped and Starmer replaced by a proper, socialist, Labour leader.

Tolerant Muslim Preaching and Complaints of Misrepresentation in ‘Among the Mosques’

June 25, 2022

I’ve started reading Ed Hussein’s Among the Mosques, his account of his journey through Muslim Britain looking at its culture, differences, and values. He did so by going to the mosques and other Muslim cultural and religious centres in Dewsbury, Manchester, Blackburn, Bradford, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. While there, he met and talked to ordinary local people as well as the worshippers at the mosques, hearing their views and concerns. It was met with a storm of controversy when it came out because he talked about the conversations he’d had with Whites,, who’d suffered from racism, bullying and assault from Muslims in their areas. This was angrily denied, and a people went on Twitter to claim that the area he was talking about wasn’t Muslim but a posh White district. But the critics were talking about a different area from that visited by Hussein, and the book states this. The controversy seems to show the inability of some on the left to deal with the reality of anti-White racism by ethnic minorities.

But I don’t think the book does present a biased image of British Islam. Yes, in some areas, such as Dewsbury, the Islam practised – Deobandi – is austere and based on a theology of cultural separatism, in which Muslims are called to create and maintain a separate cultural and religious identity in preparation for the emergence of the caliphate. In other areas and mosques, the preaching and observance is more relaxed. Manchester’s Central Mosque is Barelwi, a sect based on the teachings of a 13th century Indian Sufi preacher. Their worship includes music, song and dance and the imam’s address was about interfaith tolerance as shown by Mohammed’s example.

Hussein writes

‘The imam continues to develop his theme of the need to change and improve ourselves based on our love for the Prophet. He encourages us to study the life of the Prophet Mohammed and how he acted towards people, even his enemies. Each time his name is mentioned the congregation again kiss their thumbs. The imam talks about the Prophet’s compassion, his kindness to his enemies, his message of co-existence with the Jews, Christians and pagans in seventh century Medina.

‘Are we such model citizens? Do we make our Prophet proud? he asks rhetorically, raising his hands with an exaggerated shrug like an Italian.

He quotes:

Qad ja’akun nur. Certainly a light has come to you.

That light is the prophet and the Qur’an, asserts the imam. ‘Are we radiating this light? Do our neighbours and friends in this country see us as carriers of love? The Prophet is shifa, he is healing. Has he healed our lives?’ (p. 46.) This isn’t that far from the various Anglican and other Christian clergymen in this country also preaching about the need for tolerance and love to heal ‘broken Britain’.

Earlier in the chapter he meets with a Muslim woman, Faiza, and her husband, who has come to the meeting as a chaperone as Muslim women may not meet strange men unaccompanied. She wears the niqub, and tells Hussein that she has reported three of her work colleagues to the HR department because they think she’s an extremist for doing so. She also talks about how the Muslim community in Manchester has been misrepresented thanks to the wretched suicide bomber at the Ariane Grande concert.

”One of the suicide bombers, Salman Abedi, was from a mosque in Didsbury here in Manchester,’ Faiza explains, adding in exasperation: ‘We have almost seventy mosques in this city. Yes, twenty-nine innocent kids died. And over a hundred were injured. For what crime?’ she shrugs. ‘One suicide bomber – one salafi – caused the incident, but what about the hundreds of Muslim taxi drivers who immediately took the injured to hospital? The drivers didn’t charge for this, but just offered their compassion and help. And why do we forget all the Muslim doctors and nurses at the hospital>’ Faiza is speaking passionately but intelligently.’ (p. 38). Elsewhere in the chapter he describes how all the mosques in the area condemned the bombing, but this wasn’t reported in the press coverage. And other Muslims tell him that they tried to warn the authorities six times about Abedi but were ignored. It’s a familiar story I’ve heard about other Muslim extremists – the congregation at the local mosque were worried, and attempted to alert the authorities only to be ignored.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but it seems to me that Hussein is trying to present a fair picture of British Islam. Islam, like most other religious, isn’t a monolith but composed of a number of sects, which may differ considerably in their theology and practise. Indeed, the title of one book we had in the library at College on Islam was The Sectarian Milieu. There are serious issues and challenges from some of the more austere sects, which reject mainstream cultural values and integration. And Muslims are like everyone else – human beings -, and so may have their own prejudices and biases. And some are no doubt racist thugs and bullies, just like some Whites.

These issues have to be squarely addressed, not denied, or distorted so that all British Muslims become tainted due to the actions of violent extremists. If we don’t do this, then it’ll be left to the real bigots and Islamophobes like Tommy Robinson and the EDL.

Answering Simon Webb’s Question about the Contribution of the Windrush Migrants

June 23, 2022

Yesterday, right-wing Torygraph reading internet historian Simon Webb over at the History Debunked channel responded to the Queen’s speech, in which Her Maj referred to the ‘profound contribution’ of the Windrush generation. Webb asked what that was. He’s put up another video today repeating the question, and commenting that nobody was able to give him an answer. A number of people told him he was racist for asking it. So he repeated it, giving as an example of a profound contribution made by an immigrant community the Gujarati shopkeepers who kept their shops open up to eight or nine in the evening rather than shutting at five O’clock. This is a benefit, because it’s led to a change in opening hours which means you can buy whatever you want at any time without having to worry about a rush when the shops open a nine.

I’ve left a reply there answering his question. Here it is:

Okay, Simon – it’s a fair question, so I’ll bite. After the War there was a labour shortage which the Black Caribbean immigrants helped to fill. They were particularly needed in nursing and the care sector. Not a spectacular contribution, but a contribution nonetheless. And here in Bristol the St. Paul’s Carnival is a major local event and very popular, despite that part of the city’s poverty and crime. There’s also a statue up in one of the more multicultural parts of Bristol to a Black writer, actor and playwright of that generation.

Okay, the actor and playwright is obscure – he was mentioned a few months ago when racists vandalised the bust to him, probably in reprisal to the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue. And the St. Paul’s carnival is local to Bristol. Nevertheless, it is spectacular and very popular, with White Bristolians coming into to see it and it is one of the major events in the city’s calendar. As for Black Caribbean workers helping to fill the labour shortage, that’s true whether they did so in response to national appeals for workers or if they were simply looking for better wages and opportunities. And I’d also say that Bristol was made morally better by the boycott of the local bus company because it wouldn’t employ Blacks. The bus boycott was given great support by the-then Bristol MP, Wedgie Benn.

I think Webb might be asking the wrong question, or expecting the wrong kind of answer. He clearly wants to hear about a distinctive contribution made by the Windrush generation. Something revolutionary. But even if the Windrush generation’s main contribution was as workers, the same as White Brits and the other New Commonwealth immigrants that arrived at the same time, that’s still an important contribution. And our hospitals and care homes did need their nurses and ancillary staff.

And just before the Windrush arrived, we were assisted during the War with workers and soldiers from the Caribbean. There’s a bit about them in an anthology of articles on Black and Asian British history, Under the Imperial Carpet. There was, I believe, even a Black RAF pilot, who I’m sure deserves to be better known. As for the post-War years, I’d say that the most profound contribution of the Afro-Caribbean community in Britain has been in the performing arts and particularly music. Apart from some great Black musicians, they also introduced into Britain new musical genres like Ska and Reggae, which were also taken up by White performers. Oh yes, and they introduced the steel band to Britain. One of the school’s in Bristol’s St. George’s ward had one.

I’m very much aware that the Black British community has its problems – higher rates of unemployment, low academic achievement, drugs and crime. But nevertheless they’ve also brought benefits and made a genuine contribution to British society, and Her Maj was quite right to talk about it.

European Court Bans Rwanda Flights, So Tories Now Talking about Leaving It and Getting Rid of Its Human Rights Legislation

June 20, 2022

More dangerous nonsense from the Johnson gang currently holding Britain hostage. A few days ago the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the deportations of the channel migrants to Rwanda was illegal and stopped it from taking place. This has sent the Tories and their supporters into what Molesworth would sa was ‘a fearful bate’. They and various right-wing YouTubers are now suggesting that Britain should leave the court, and that Boris should issue a British bill of rights. You know, like parliament did at the time of the Glorious Revolution. They’ve been talking about this for as long as Brexit has been an issue, if not before. How dare those dreadful foreigners tell us what to do! Patrick Stewart made an excellent video about this issue a few years ago. He played a Prime Minister, who said he was physically sick of Europe and European legislation. His cabinet then inform him that the European legislation on human rights is based very much on British law, and that we were one of the major parties to its compilation. If you’re against European Human Rights Legislation, you’re also attacking it’s basis in British law, at least when it was formulated. But why worry about such petty historical facts when you have the chance to get the Brexiteer public into a frothing nationalistic rage?

And then there’s the problem of what the Tories are going to replace the European legislation with. The chances are that it’s going to be much weaker on protections. We’re already seeing the Tories passing legislation to clamp down on demonstrations, especially after the various protests by Extinction Rebellion. My guess any Bill of Rights the Tories pass will be worse, and very much curb the right to free speech and assembly, as well as a range of other rights, all while proclaiming that it’s doing the opposite.

Tony Benn is absolutely right. He said that what the Tories would do to migrants, they will start doing to the rest of us. And they are.

They are using the public outrage against migrant deportation – outrage they have done much to foment – to begin another stage in their campaign to deprive the rest of us of our rights. Let’s not fall for their lies and nationalist hysteria.

White British Woman Harassed for Wanting to See Movie about Mohammed’s Daughter Fatima

June 14, 2022

Rafida+ is a Muslim YouTuber, and I would guess, a Shia, who’s staunchly behind the British movie Lady of Heaven. This is about the life of Mohammed’s daughter, Fatima, as told to a young girl fleeing from the horrors of ISIS’ regime in Iraq. It was written by Sheikh Habib, a respected Shia cleric, and its executive produce, Malik Shlibak, is also Muslim. Nevertheless, Cineworld were forced to withdraw it from cinemas last week following protests in Bradford, Birmingham and other cities. The protesters ranted that it was blasphemous and causing sectarian hatred. The real issue, it appears, is that it presents the story from the point of view of the Shia. Fatima was married to Ali, who is revered by the Shia as the first Imam and the true leader of the Muslim community after the Prophet’s death. One of the most important works of Shia Muslim theology and jurisprudence it the Kitab al-Irshad, or Book of Guidance. This includes the legal decisions made by Ali. Cineworld pulled the movie because they felt they could not protect their employees. This is the underlying threat presented by such protesters. The teacher at a school in Batley,, who was at the centre of protests after he showed his class the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in a lesson about free speech, is still in hiding. And in Britain these protests can be traced back to the campaign against Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in the 1980s. This was accompanied by cynical, opportunistic fatwa demanding Rushdie’s murder by the Ayatollah Khomeini. As a result, the author was forced into hiding for years.

Rafida+’s video presents the opposite case for the showing of the film. In it, a White British woman explains that she wants to see the movie because she works for the oil company, Saudi-Aramco. As a result, she’s been around Muslims, knows something about the religion, and would like to know more. A security guard at the mall or wherever then walks over to her to rant about how it’s blasphemous, ‘there isn’t an inch of truth in it’, and that it shouldn’t be shown. He keeps walking away and coming back. You can see in the background women dressed in the all-enveloping chador, and there are women’s voices off camera reassuring her that she’s right and the security guard most definitely isn’t and should mind his own business. I’m sure that these are Shia women, who also want to see the movie, and who appreciate the White woman’s interest in their religion.

Normally I’m very much in favour of people’s right to protest, but this right ends when there’s a threat to people’s lives. The protesters have a right to voice their opposition to the movie, but not to the extent that the cinema manager and chain feel their lives and those of their employees are at risk. And just as they have a right to protest, so others have the right to see the movie. If the protesters want to show their opposition to the movie, they are free to make their own movie presenting their point of view, just as they are free to produce books, pamphlets and video material doing the same. This is free speech.

What they should not be doing is demanding the suppression of a film that contradicts and challenges their views with masked and tacit threats.

In doing so, they are the ones trying to stop people learning more about Islam and communities coming together through the movie.

Karen Davies on Feminist Article Debunking Claims that Africans and Other Non-White Peoples Didn’t Know about Biological Sex before European Colonisation

June 14, 2022

I felt I had to put this up, because the fact that activists and feminist scholars like Karen Davies and Jennifer Seiland, the author of magazine article Davies discusses, have to refute this nonsense show how far the ideological fantasies of Queer Theory have poisoned genuine political, feminist and ethnological discourse. Davies is a Black American lady, who’s a sharp, trenchant critic of the transgender ideology and its supporters. She’s a musician, schoolteacher teaching young children, and has also worked in the care sector with the mentally ill. She has very strong, uncompromising views on both the transgender ideology and transwomen which has led to disputes with other gender critical campaigners, like Graham Linehan. However, her views and criticisms are informed by medical scholarship, and she cites the appropriate medical and psychiatric literature to support her case.

In this video she approvingly discusses a piece in the feminist magazine Reduxx by Jennifer Seiland ‘Black Women Are Women. Men Are Not’, concentrating particularly on Seiland’s attack on a frankly weird and bonkers idea going around Trans supporters and ideologues. This is that Africans did not understand biological sex and the gender binary before it was imposed on them by White, Christian Europeans. Davies herself makes good, and sometimes glaringly obvious points against this nonsense. Like Africans obviously knew about the gender binary and the biological differences between the sexes, like everyone else. It would have partly been a survival issue. You wouldn’t let heavily pregnant women go hunting where they were particularly vulnerable to animal attack. Rather, you’d give them other, lighter work to do and leave them with other people in attendance to help them when the baby arrived. She points to great African civilisations like ancient Egypt and asks how anybody could build such a great culture and its monuments, if they were too thick to know the difference between men and women. She also raises the point that people in the ancient world travelled widely long before European colonisation, and that the Vikings probably got to Africa. She also makes the feminist point that not only were Black women frequently denied their humanity, but so were women generally. She compares the attitude that African’s didn’t understand the difference between men and women to nonsense she was taught at Roman Catholic school that Africans didn’t have language until the Europeans arrived.

This all seems to be a development of one of the arguments used by the supporters of the transgender ideology that non-western cultures have a third gender, and that White westerners, as racist colonialists, have imposed their narrow view that there are only two sexes on them. Now some cultures do have a third gender category for people, usually gay men, who are seen as somehow neither male nor female. A few years ago the Indian hijras – eunuchs – were campaigning for official recognition as a third gender. One book I read years ago about Polynesian society described the gay men in those societies, who grew their hair long, dressed as women and took up feminine occupations like laundry. Going further back, Herodotus in his Histories describes how the men of the Scythian aristocracy often dressed as women and did feminine tasks.

Not all cultures outside Europe have such ideas, however, and in many African cultures the sex roles can be very marked. For example, among the Dowayo of Cameroon the smiths are men but their wives are potters. Basket-weaving is also feminine occupation,. The British anthropologist, Dr. Nigel Barley, in his book The Innocent Anthropologist, describes the general hilarity he caused among his hosts when he tried his hand at basked making. To me the statement that Africans didn’t know about biological sex seems to be a new mutation of the old, and thoroughly discredited anthropological belief that primitive peoples, like those of Papua New Guinea, didn’t understand the father’s role in conception. They believed instead that a god or spirit had entered the woman’s womb. In fact later research showed that primitive peoples know very well that you need a biological man as well as a women to make the next generation.

I also wonder how anyone can make such a ludicrous statement that it needs to be refuted by a feminist scholar like Seiland, when there’s a wealth of popular literature about Africa and its peoples that would easily show otherwise. All you have to do is look for the books on Africa in the local library or good bookstore. And there’s some excellent LGBTQ+ literature which discusses homosexuality and related issues around the world. One of these is A Gay History of the World. This describes the case of an African queen, who overthrew her husband, took on male dress and ruled as king. She also had a harem of male wives, who wore women’s clothes. It’s definitely queer, but it seems to me to be a result of very strong traditional ideas about the sex roles. Only men can rule as kings. Therefore, any woman that tries to rule, has to make herself culturally a man, which means dressing in masculine clothes and having a harem of wives. Though as it seems the queen was heterosexual, these were men rather than women.

As for what Davies was taught in Catholic school about Africans not possessing language until it was brought to them by Whites, I honestly have no idea where that notion came from. It’s the kind of rubbish Fascist groups like the National Front used to say. But European explorers and linguists from the 19th century, and no doubt well before, knew that Africans had their own tongues. The Victorian explorer Richard Burton gives a complete description of the language of the east African city of Harar with grammar and extensive vocabulary in his account of his journeys in that part of the continent. In Wanderings in West Africa he talks approvingly of the Mandinko people and the language of the Kru, asking why Brits dealing with them can’t use their own, perfectly good indigenous names rather than give them nicknames like ‘Three-Fingered Jack’. I’m not saying such attitudes towards African languages is common in the church. I know it isn’t. One of the other voluntary workers at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum told me once how he’d heard mass in Swahili when in Africa. It seems pretty clear that this bizarre idea that African’s didn’t have their own languages isn’t general to Roman Catholics, but just held by those particular teachers in Davies’ old school.

I do wonder at the intellectual damage assertions like the idea that Africans had no notion of biological sex are doing. At the moment they’re held by a small, highly ideologically driven elite, but it seems to be an attempt to deny biological reality for ideological reasons. And I fear that it will be enforced by the same people that protest against and sack academics like Kathleen Stock, who simply assert that sex and gender are based in biological reality, rather than mental or cultural constructs.

Convict Transportation to America and Penal Slavery

June 6, 2022

When most people think of the transportation of convicts, they probably think of Australia. But before Britain started sending its convicts there, the destination in the 17th and 18th centuries was America. There’s a ballad lamenting the fate of such criminals, ‘The Lads of Virginia’, in Roy Palmer’s A Ballad History of England From 1588 to the Present Day (London: B.T. Batsford 1979), p. 67. The section discussing the policy on the previous page, 66, taken from A.G.L Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, (Faber 1971) gives a short description of the history of the trade and the way the British government paid merchants to carry it out. It also suggests that once in America, the convicts were sold to the plantation masters. The extract runs

‘For most of the seventeenth century, merchants trading with the plantations were willing, and often anxious, to carry out the relatively few convicts who were sent; bu8t as time went on they found some, particularly women or bad characters, who were difficult to dispose of, and they became reluctant to take them… After the [Transportation] Act of 1718 the Treasury let regular contracts for the job, first for £3 a head from London and £5 from ‘other parts’ but after 1727, £5 for all; when added to the sale price this allowed a good profit, even taking into account losses through sickness or death on the voyage.

The ‘trade’ grew as the years went by. Between 1729 and 1745 the two contractors for London and the Home Counties sent out an average of 280 a year, which suggests that about 500 a year were sent from all England. In 1753 there were nearly 800. During the Seven Years’ War, 1756-63, fewer were transported, for many convicts were sent to the army, the navy and the dockyards… After 1763 transportation to America increased again, and between 1769 and 1776 about 960 convicts a year were sent out. The demand for convict labour in the plantations was so high that in 1772 the Treasury was able to stop paying its £5 subsidy, though contractors were for a time still able to persuade local authorities to pay…. Between 1719 and 1772, the years of the subsidy payments, 17,742 were sent from London and the Home Counties, and perhaps 30,000 from the whole of England. At least two-thirds went to Virginia and Maryland, and very probably more.

Was it an effective punishment? Sir John Fielding, magistrate and penal reformer, thought it was, though in 1766 Mr Justice Perrott declared that for common offenders it was no punishment at all….’

Those Monmouth rebels, who Judge Jefferies didn’t hang, were also transported to the new world and sold, though they were taken to the Caribbean colonies and sold to the planters for sacks of sugar. The transported convicts also included Irish rebels, and I’ve been told that you can still tell which of the slave cabins they occupied on the plantations by the shamrocks they painted on them.

I have to say that while I was aware of convict transportation, I wasn’t aware that once there they were sold, except in the case of the Monmouth rebels. This makes the practice look like penal slavery, which existed in ancient Rome and early medieval Europe. This punished certain types of criminals by selling them as slaves. I feel that the similarity between convict transportation and penal slavery also somewhat complicates the issue surrounding transatlantic African slavery, as it shows that certain punishments inflicted on Whites also approached a form of slavery or unfreedom. Back in Britain, the Scots miners at the time were also unfree. They were bondmen, who were effectively the property of the mine owners and even had to wear something like a slave collar around their necks. It also raises issues when it comes to the payment of reparations for slavery. If reparations are to be paid to the Black community for their abduction, exploitation and brutalisation during the era of the slave trade, it can also be argued that other groups, who suffered a similar fate like the transported criminals and rebels to America and the West Indies, and Scots mining communities in Britain for the enslavement of their ancestors.

Frenchman Who Loves This Country Tells Why He Booed Boris Johnson and Carrie at the Jubilee

June 3, 2022

Well, the great British public showed Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, precisely what they thought of them when the two turned up for Her Maj’s jubilee celebrations today: they booed them. There have been a number of videos put up about this on YouTube by the press and other media outlets, like the Torygraph. This video put up by the Evening Standard is particularly interesting, as one of those who booed the Gruesome Twosome explains precisely why. The gentleman in the vid is a Frenchman, who’s lived in this country for 20 years and loves it here. He likes the monarchy, and wishes his country still had one as he feels it brings people together to have a head of state who’s above politics. But he hates Johnson because of the lies, partygate and Brexit, and feels that he’s dragging us down. And it’s thanks to Johnson that he’s having to return to France.

I think our French friend speaks for many people. I dare say Johnson will find some way to cling on to power. He might even manage to claw his way back into some semblance of popularity, such is the attention span of the British public. But at the moment are large part of the British public, and clearly long-time foreign citizens, who love this country, are sick of Johnson and his endless lies and hypocrisy. And they feel especially insulted by the countless parties he held while everyone else was told to isolate, even when it meant they couldn’t visit sick, elderly and dying friends and family. As for Brexit, whatever nonsense Rees-Mogg and Johnson are trying to sell us about it’s supposed benefits, it’s wrecking our economy and agriculture. It’s made it more difficult for Brits to go to the continent, it’s depriving us of some of the workers we need, such as the fruit pickers for the farms, and it’s forcing great people like the speaker, who enjoy living here and who no doubt have really contributed to our society out and back to their countries of origin,

I suppose that now we’ll be graced by a right-wing mouthpiece going on about how it was absolutely terrible that Bozo was booed, and that it’s all part of some kind of terrible anti-patriotic attitude fostered by cultural Marxists. But Johnson should consider himself lucky. In the Byzantine empire, the Greek-speaking part of the former Roman Empire that survived until Constantinople was finally conquered by the Turks in the fifteenth century, the citizens enjoyed the right to lynch an unpopular emperor at the races. The fifth century emperor, Justinian, was so disliked that he and his bodyguards fought a running battle with the mob right back to the imperial palace.

If all Johnson got was booing, he should consider that he got off lightly.

My Video for Self-Published Book on a Parliamentary Chamber for the Workers

June 1, 2022

One of the great commenters on this blog paid me a wonderful compliment the other day by saying how great it would be if I put up a YouTube channel to combat some of the claims made by a certain internet historian. But as this particular individual puts up two a day, this would be too great a task. Now I did put up two YouTube channels under my own name, David Sivier. The first simply deals with replica musical instruments I’ve made for myself and cardboard models I’ve made of various archaeological monuments and artefacts. Unfortunately, I tried getting the channel to accept images from my mobile, with the result that it no longer recognises me as the channel’s owner and so I have been able to put up anything more on it. Hence the launch of the second David Sivier YouTube channel. I’ve put up a couple of pieces of music there, as well as some political stuff. I may also have put up political material on the first David Sivier channel. One of the videos I put up was for my self-published book arguing that as millionaires and the heads of companies now dominate parliament – about 77 per cent of MPs are businessmen – we should have a separate chamber composed of workers, elected by the workers. The book examines the idea from the 19th century Chartists, who set up their own ‘parliament of trades’ in one of their meetings, through the anarchists and Utopian socialists like Saint-Simon, the German council revolution of 1919, and the corporatism of Fascist Italy to the self-management experiment of the former Communist Yugoslavia, where the local councils had a chambers for the workers.

A few weeks ago I found a launch video for Red Line TV, a left-wing YouTube channel based on the left-wing Labour Briefing. It’s put up a number of videos discussing topics like women’s rights, racism and the trans issue. In the launch video, they were appealing for subjects to discuss and inviting people to come on. I fancied sending them a copy of the book and suggesting they might like to talk about that as something different, and as provocation to get Labour actually representing working people again. Unfortunately, There doesn’t seem to be anywhere on their site you make such suggestions or contact them, except to become a member. I did find something about contacting them elsewhere, but this seemed to be through Twitter, and I don’t have it and don’t want it. I’ve therefore stymied in that department. If there are any other left-wing vloggers who’d be interested n talking about it, let me know.

Anyway, here’s the video:

Bigots Now Blaming Trans People for Uvalde School Shooting

May 31, 2022

I feel I’ve got to put this up. I’ve said in my videos and blogs about trans issues that I don’t hate trans people, and utterly condemn persecution, discrimination, abuse and violence against anyone because of their sexuality and gender presentation. I criticise and attack the trans ideology because of the dangers it poses in falsely persuading vulnerable people, including children, especially autistic individuals and the mentally ill, that they are really members of the opposite sex, who need to be placed on the pathway towards medical transition involving drugs and surgery which can damage their health. I also attack the trans ideology because of the dangers it poses to women’s safety and dignity by allowing biological men into women’s spaces, such as changing room and prisons, simply because they claim to be female. I am also concerned about the attack on language and the attempt to separate ‘men’ and ‘women’ from biological reality. But I also recognise that there are people who really are alienated from their biological sex and for whom transition is an entirely appropriate and necessary treatment. And I also agree with the great commenters on this blog, who have pointed out that the transpeople they’ve known are otherwise normal, decent people who want to live their lives in peace.

Last week there was the shocking news that there’d been another school shooting in America, and immediately everyone put in their own take on it. It’s reignited the debate about gun control in US. Liberals, including Joe Biden, are recommending once again the outlawing of at least certain types of weapons. Meanwhile the gun lobby and the Republicans have circled the wagon to defend them. Well, I realise that in some areas of America gun crime actually went down when they legalised firearms and that there are areas where guns are very widely owned, but have a low rate of offending. I’ve also heard that the greatest drop in the incidence of such crimes was the passage of legislation back in the ’90s mandating a three-day cooling off period for people purchasing guns. That meant people had to wait three days between buying their gun and picking it up. It cut down on shootings because, by the time the purchaser could legally take possession of his gun, he’d calmed down enough not to want to blow away whoever it was who’d annoyed him. I’m aware that over here despite the ban on the public ownership of certain firearms and gun licensing, people are still being shot by criminals with guns. I’m also aware that culture may also play a part in these shootings. Michael Moore in his documentary Bowling For Columbine, which took its title from the Columbine school shooting, remarked on the colossal difference between the US and Canada on shootings. America’s a much larger country than Canada, with 350 or so million people compared to Canada’s c. 22 million. But Canada’s a much less violent society. At one point Moore looked across the Great Lakes from one American town to the Canadian city just across the water. The American town had been hit by several hundred shootings. Over in Canada, there were hardly any. This is despite Canada having much the same gun laws as the US and watching the same kind of violent action movies. People have been puzzling over this difference for a long time. Some have put it down to differences in the countries’ history. The expansion of Canada across the continent and its absorption of the Indian territories was largely peaceful in contrast to the violent displacement of the Indians in the US, although there were wars and Indian uprisings in Canada, such as that of the French-Indian metis Riel. And the treatment of the Amerindians in the boarding schools was every bit as horrific and genocidal as the comparative treatment of the First Nations in those in the US.

And the Republicans have also fallen back on the refrain that the root cause of such shootings is the mental health of the perp. The American leftist Robert Reich destroyed that argument. While the Republicans are now calling for more and better mental healthcare, nationally and locally they’ve cut mental health services when they’ve been in power.

As for the National Rifle Association, they first appeared as a pro-gun control group, co-operating with the US government to make certain types of weapons illegal. 85 per cent of the Association’s grassroots members also want certain types of firearms banned. But the leadership is dead against it, not least because they receive funding and subsidies from the gun manufacturers. This was graphically shown a year ago when NRA leader Wayne LaPierra and his several other leading figures in the Association were banged up for corruption and receiving kickbacks from the gun companies.

And now the racist and other bigots have started spouting nonsense. Today a Black woman has claimed that the police didn’t act, because the ten year old kids targeted by the gunman were illegal immigrants. I doubt this is true, not least because a number of the kids and the teacher gunned down were White. The Black YouTuber, RuinedLeon, put up a video attacking other bigots. One set had decided that there needs to be more vigilance on the Mexican border, because the shooter was an illegal immigrant. In fact the shooter, although Hispanic, was born in the US and from what I’ve seen of his victims, most of them were also Latino. RL also attacked other prejudiced voices, who claimed that the shooter was transgender. This was based on nothing more than their seeing a similarity between the shooter and a photograph of a transwoman or a crossdressing bloke in a dress. A casual glance showed that they were certainly not identical. For one thing, it looked like the transwoman was White. Several of my commenters are afraid that the current attacks on the trans ideology and trans activism from right-wing politicians, YouTubers and broadcasters like Matt Walsh and GB News are being done to stir up hatred against a sexual minority. I don’t think this is entirely the case, as I believe that some of the Conservatives like Walsh oppose it out of conviction. That said, GB News is struggling with the viewing figures, and so I don’t think that it does them any harm to put up anti-trans stories to appeal to their intended audience of right-wingers. And unfortunately this shows that some people have got so caught up in the trans controversy, that they are falsely blaming transpeople for atrocities that have nothing to do with them.

RL recommended instead that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions, although he freely admitted he’d done so about certain issues. As for his own attitude to guns, he wasn’t in favour of gun control. Instead, teachers should have firearms to protect their classes. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, as people like Maximilien Robespierre said in his video attack Donald Trump when he weighed in on this subject, that there would be nothing stopping an aggrieved teacher from blowing away their class. I’ve heard that this has supposedly happened. The Boomtown Rats’ song, ‘Tell Me Why I Don’t Like Mondays’ was supposedly based on a real incident when a teacher did open fire on her class. When asked why she did, she replied ‘I don’t like Mondays’. Schools should be for learning. No-one should have guns in them. As for Trump’s other suggestion, that they should have armoured doors, Robespierre wonder what would happen in the case of a fire when people had to leave quickly. And besides, schools are too much like prisons already, at least in Britain. The gates are our local schools are locked and remote controlled, so that you have to buzz in to request to be admitted. It no doubt keeps children safe, but it’s a sad reflection of the way our society has degenerated.

And the chilling part of these massacres it that there have been so many of them. Reich produced a list of the various school and other mass shootings since 1970. It’s as long as your arm. It’s all too often, almost like a regular event, that some maniac walks into a school, mosque, church, synagogue, nightclub or wherever and starts shooting. Only a few weeks ago a Black man went off and shot the people on a New York subway. I’ve also heard that this year there’s been 200 mass shootings according to the FBI. They definite a mass shooting as one in which there were three or more deceased.

Changing the culture so that it becomes more peaceful takes time and intelligence. It may not even be possible, and would no doubt be controversial. And expanding mental health services would probably be opposed in practice by the type of people who hate big government and anything that looks like a welfare state, no matter how much it’s needed. Really, it seems the only sensible solution is a ban on at least certain types of guns.

So that murderously angry 18 year old kids can’t get their mitts on military grade weapons, at least.

Here’s RuinedLeon’s video:

And this is Maximilien Robespierre: