Posts Tagged ‘the Poor’

Lobster’s Robin Ramsey Explains Why Thatcherism Didn’t Work as Claimed and Why Truss Will Fail

October 2, 2022

In my last piece I said that Lobster’s editor, Robin Ramsey, has a background in economics and that he said in one of his pieces for the magazine that the Tories recognised long ago that trickled down economics didn’t work. They still wanted to cut spending and punish the poor for being poor while giving lots of more money to the rich. They just had to find a better pretext for it. So they started arguing for their wretched policies on grounds of morality. Now Truss has gone back to the old trickle down argument. In the recent issue of Lobster, 84, Ramsey has a piece in his ‘View from the Bridge’ column, ‘All Trussed Up’ explaining why Thatcher’s economics policies didn’t work in the way she thought they did, and even despite her best efforts, and why this means Truss’ policies will fail. He writes

‘On the day that Prime Minister Truss made her announcement about dealing with the energy crisis here, The Times (8 September) briefly mentioned (on p. 39) that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was off to the City to discuss ‘Big Bang 2’ – further deregulation of the financial services sector. Centrally, I would guess, will be a change to the rules introduced after the financial crisis of 2007-9 which increased the amount of capital the banks had to keep in reserve. In other words, financial gambling is going to be encouraged again. The central question with this new government is this: do they really believe that this warmed-over Thatcherism will work? My guess is that they do; that they have spent too long in a free marketeer intellectual ghetto to understand even the Thatcher years. They have failed to grasp that Thatcherism didn’t work on its own terms: it did not ‘cure’ inflation and did not produce more economic growth than its predecessors. Mrs Thatcher’s ‘reforms’ were possible because her government had North Sea oil revenues to pay for mass unemployment; could sell off chunks of the public sector; and, despite her best efforts to kill it, had a manufacturing base three times as big as it is now. The new government has little oil revenue; a much diminished manufacturing base; and not much of the public sector left to be sold. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to grasp that the horse they are enthusiastically flogging is dead.’

For further information, go to https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/article/issue/84/the-view-from-the-bridge-47/

Comment about Poverty and the Destruction of the Irish Health Service from Video of Protests in Eire

September 26, 2022

Earlier this evening I found on my phone a video of a Cost of Living protest posted on YouTube by People Before Profit National two days ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my computer, so I don’t know what’s happened to it. I think it may have been from Eire, by a single comment I found posted to it. That was very interesting, and ran:

‘This cost of living crisis is not a new thing, and people’s lives have been adversely affected for a very long time.

As stroke, cancer, asthma patients, and disabled people have had no access to health, no access to medications, no access to treatment and no access to operations,, and no access to services for over four years, as GPs have stopped accepting medical card holders, and those minority vulnerable groups who are on low pay are faced with no other choice but to pay for GP, prescription and medication costs, in a country where healthcare is supposed to be free.

FF, FG and the Greens have a lot to answer for in the manner in which minority vulnerable groups are mistreated in Ireland, and this coming budget will do nothing to address those massive inequalities, or discriminations the silenced minority already face in everyday life. In 2022 it is a democratic, political and and human rights crisis how the sickest and the poorest people in society are living as fifth class citizens, and I hope the YouTube overlords do not block this from being posted in the comment section, like they do when people speak out against these issues.

Let’s Go Socialism (followed by a heart and a thumbs-up sign)’

The video to which this comment was attached only played for a few minutes before the screen turned black. I don’t know what happened to it or the comment so that I can’t find either of them using my computer. But I am very interested in the comment and what it says about the state of healthcare in the south. I don’t understand Irish politics and know nothing about the Irish healthcare system. But from reading the comment it sounds like Irish government have been starving it of funding, forcing the sick and disabled to pay for GP visits and their medicines. It sounds very much like what Liz Truss and the Tories would like to see in Britain with their cuts and privatisation of the NHS.

Best of luck and solidarity with everyone fighting these policies in Ireland, Britain and everywhere else.

Broadside Ballad: ‘The Poor Man Pays For All’

August 20, 2022

This is just a video of me reading the lyrics for a ballad written in 1630, lamenting that ‘The Poor Man Pays For All’ and playing the tune accompanying it. It’s a bitter attack on the exploitation of the poor by the rich of various professions, including usurers, courtiers, lawyers, pub landlords, brewers, candle-makers, bakers and maltsters. It was written during a period of high inflation caused by the influx of gold from the Spanish colonies in South America. This caused the poor to become poorer, while benefiting enterprising landlords, yeomen farmers and merchants. So like today’s cost of living crisis, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

Words and music from Roy Palmer, A Ballad History of England from 1588 to the Present Day (London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1979)

Alex Belfield’s Viewing Figures Show Secret VOR Channel Is Imploding

August 20, 2022

More on the continuing collapse of Alex Belfield’s popularity, courtesy of the YouTube channel,
‘Latest News on Alex Belfield Stalking Court Case’. And the latest news on Alex Belfield is not good, well, not from his point of view, but from the perspective of everyone who feels ripped off and insulted by him, it’s brilliant. After problems with YouTube over his content, Belfield announced he was off to Ustreme to host a secret VOR – Voice of Reason – club there. Of course, Alex Belfield as the voice of reason is, to use Spock’s description of Klingon justice, ‘a unique perspective’. Mostly it was just sub-Daily Mail rants against the channel migrants, immigration in general, the NHS, the BBC, diversity quotas, the trans cult, Guardian-reading, champagne-sipping Naga Manchushi types and people ‘who are light on their feet’. So, just a bit of homophobia then. Mixed in with this were jabs at Carol Vorderman, who he sent up as ‘Carol Vordernorks’, and Diane Abbott. This was all delivered with very ’70s jokes about ‘jellywobblers’. I do wonder what he had against Manchetti and Vorderman. Some of this was undoubtedly general Tory hatred. They started going after her because she did an advert in contravention of BBC rules. But I think the real reason was that Manchetti had been too good at humiliating Tories with awkward question during interviews. But the from the way Belfield carried on, you would think it, and whatever animus he had against Vorderman, was personal. Did they turn him down for a date?

Belfield was charging his viewers a pound a month or something to watch his Ustreme channel. This has irked an awful lot of his critics and detractors. Former fans of his have stopped watching, and are now posting YouTube videos instead stating very clearly why they no longer support him. One man explained that he doesn’t like the way Belfield insults and sneers at the viewers to his show, nor the way he’s constantly begging for money while boasting about his luxury holidays to places like Vegas. He pointed out that many of Belfield’s viewers are genuinely poor, and so Belfield was exploiting them to make himself richer. As for the humour, it got old. He originally liked it, but now has got sick and tired of it. And I think this fellow’s complaints are the same as many of Belfield’s former viewers.

The video below states that the viewing figures for Belfield’s Secret Vor Club were leaked. He only has 320 viewers, and some of them have cancelled watching him after his conviction for stalking. He suggests that the mad right-winger may go back to YouTube to post there in the time he has left before the Beak sentences him. Others have started speculating whether he’ll be allowed to do the voice of reason from his jail cell.

Whatever happens, Belfield’s popularity is collapsing. And there’s nothing he can do about it.

Open Britain on the Heartbreaking Messages and Satirical Artwork for their Leaving Card to Bozo

August 20, 2022

I also got this email from the pro-democracy organisation Open Britain about the leaving card they’ve been organising for Boris Johnson. They’ve asked people to sign it and send a special message to the inane clown Prime Minister why they definitely are not sorry he’s departing. One of the examples they gave is from someone, who was bitterly hurt by the Covid restrictions that meant they could not socialise with the other mourners at a family funeral for a cousin, who died during the lockdown. And thus Johnson’s repeated parties – a total of 19 in all – are to people like this person and others like them a particularly bitter insult. Open Britain also reports that they’re getting a satirical artist to do the card’s cover. This all looks very fun indeed, and a good slap in the face to Johnson!

‘Dear David, 

We are delighted to announce that legendary satirical artist Cold War Steve has agreed to create an original artwork for the giant leaving card that we will be presenting to Boris Johnson ahead of his departure from Number 10.

Cold War Steve’s iconic art has been a constant feature of our lives since the EU Referendum, reflecting the absurdity and squalor of the Brexit project and the chaos and corruption of Johnson’s subsequent premiership. His work has opened the eyes of millions to the deficiencies in Johnson’s character and the dysfunction of his administration. In his own way, Cold War Steve has forced a kind of artistic accountability on a government famously shy of being held to account. We can think of no-one better to provide the image for our card and are over the moon that he has agreed to do so.

Over 12,000 of you have now submitted farewell messages to go inside the card…and they are still coming in. We’ve been blown away by the response…thank you!

While some of those messages are short and to the point (and…err…shall we say ‘colourful’), many are sobering and heart wrenching.

Here are just a few examples to illustrate that point:

“I am 83 years old and an old soldier. You are the first PM to make me feel ashamed of my government and my country.”

“My lovely cousin died during lockdown. I travelled to Holmes Chapel from Surrey and had to sit 3 metres away from people I love at the funeral. We couldn’t even hug or have a cup of tea together. We all left feeling very sad. You asked us to do that but didn’t seem to think you had to do something similar. It hurts still.”

“Thank you for making your millionaire friends so much richer and the rest of us so much poorer.”

“Jesus, Mary and the little wee donkey, will you not just f*** off into obscurity.”

ADD YOUR FAREWELL MESSAGE HERE

We launched this initiative to counter the outrageous narrative being put forward by Johnson’s political allies and his cronies in the media that he has been a great Prime Minister, who got all the big calls right, and who didn’t deserve to be kicked out of office. We wanted to give Open Britain supporters and the wider public a chance to express their thoughts and feelings on the matter.  Take a moment to read through some of those comments here and you will see that, for all the specious plaudits from his high-end friends, ordinary people have a very different view of him. We are glad those views have been recorded and that they will now form part of his legacy.

If you haven’t submitted your farewell message yet, make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to do so. We have only a few days left before we have to finalise the contents of the card and submit it to the manufacturers so we can get it to Downing Street before Johnson disappears. And, when you have submitted your message, make sure you click on the social media buttons to tell all your friends so that they too can have their say.

Thank you and all the best,

The Open Britain Team

SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT

Your generous support makes this movement possible. Thank you.

Critical Race Theory, White Privilege and the Rhetoric of Ethnic Cleansing

August 2, 2022

As readers will have probably noticed, I have very strong objections to Critical Race Theory and particularly its concept of White privilege. Critical Race Theory is a postmodern revision of Marxism, dreamt up in the 1970s by Kimberle Crenshaw and a group of Black Marxist legal scholars in the 1970s. It replaces class as the instrument of oppression with race. ‘Whiteness’ is a bourgeois quality possessed by all Whites which guarantees them social, economic and political superiority to Blacks and other people of colour. Even if the individual White person is not racist. Racism, it also holds, has not declined, but is just better hidden. Whites must be made to know Black oppression and feel guilty about it. Much of the literature of Critical Race Theory and its activism is about deliberately humiliating Whites. For example, several years ago there were student riots at Evergreen College in Oregon. The college was very liberal, and there had been for decades since the 1970s an annual withdrawal of Black students during the summer months to mark the absence of Blacks during a critical phase in the civil rights struggle or so. By the middle of the last decade, this had changed into demands for the White students to absent themselves in favour of Blacks, in order to appreciate Black marginalisation. This was succeeded by a series of aggressive student demonstration in which Blacks and their White allies insisted on forcing Whites into inferior positions. At meetings, for example, Whites were required to sit at the back and not speak. Brett Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist with liberal views, describes it as ‘Black supremacy’. Not all Blacks supported this aggressive demonstration of racial vindictiveness, and one of Weinstein’s students, a young Black woman, shouted at the mob that she wasn’t oppressed. Students of whatever colour, who didn’t conform, were chased by the mob. Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay also demonstrated the irrationality and vicious prejudice of this woke pseudo-scholarship in the spoof papers they sent to various woke, postmodern journals, which were eventually collected up and published as Grievance Studies. In one paper, they argued that White male students should be forced to sit on the floor in order to teach them about marginalisation and persecution. They believed this would be too much for the academic journal to which they had submitted it. Alas, no; it was accepted with a reply complaining that they didn’t go far enough: the young men shouldn’t just be forced to sit on the floor, but should be chained up as well.

Part of what worries me about the concept of ‘White privilege’ is that privilege is something usually said of rich minority groups, who haven’t worked for their position, such as the aristocracy. Or the half of the British business elite that has inherited the ownership of their companies, rather than having worked their way up. It also recalls the legal privileges that accompanied the European class system, particularly under feudalism, and the legal restriction placed on Blacks in Jim Crow America and in the White-ruled colonies, like Rhodesia, Malawi and South Africa, until the beginning of Black majority rule. For example, until the establishment of democracy in the 1920s in Britain, women were barred from voting and there was a property qualification on the franchise, so that the majority of working class men did not have the vote either. I also believe that there was a property qualification on serving on juries, which was only abolished by Woy, sorry, Roy Jenkins in his socially liberal reforms of the 1960s. Much of the ire directed at Jenkins from the right comes from his decriminalisation of homosexuality and his relaxation of the divorce laws. One splenetic right-winger- from the Daily Heil perhaps? – once described him as a destroyer of British society comparable to Stalin or some other totalitarian monster. Really? Just Jenkins on his own? With his ‘good claret expression’, to use the words of caricaturist Gerald Scarfe. The last time I looked, Britain’s buildings were all standing rather than reduced to rubble by the rampaging hordes, and Jenkins and the Labour party following him had sent a precise number of zero people to concentration camps or re-education centres. But a certain type of high Tory does want all this back. The Financial Times reviewed one such book, which looked forward to the return of the property qualification for juries so they would protect property rights, and the restoration of the old order before anti-discrimination legislation.

In fact there are very strong arguments against White privilege. For a start, east Asian such as the Chinese and Japanese, perform much better educationally and economically than Whites in America and Britain. In Britain the proportion of Asians in management positions, for example, is identical to Whites. In America, they earn more and occupy superior jobs. And while Blacks are sacked before Whites, Whites are sacked before east Asians. This isn’t because east Asians are superior in IQ. It’s because they seem to work harder and have a particular set of cultural skills that allow them to succeed. And in many instances, they earned their position through very hard work against prejudice and discrimination. One social study found that the Japanese in Canada were the most ‘privileged’ ethnic group. But Japanese Canadians had had a long struggle against punitive discrimination which was worse than that experienced by people of Japanese descent in the US. And immigrants to the US from the British Caribbean earn more on average not just to native Black Americans, but also to Whites. For Black conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Blacks are held back not by racial discrimination in the wider society, though he doesn’t deny this exists, but because the majority Black culture hasn’t acquired the necessary social and economic skills to uplift themselves And he is fiercely critical of multiculturalism because he believes it isolates and ossifies different ethnic groups into separate enclaves and cultural preserves, thus preventing from learning from and acquiring the skills of other, more successful groups. As for White privilege, it is hard to see what privilege a homeless White man possesses compared to tenured and respected Black academics and radicals like Crenshaw.

To me, Critical Race Theory and White privilege tackle the problem of Black poverty and marginalisation from the wrong end. Instead of seeing Black poverty as the anomaly which must be tackled, it sees White success as the anomaly, which must be destroyed if Blacks and people of colour are to take their rightful place in society. Thus White people must be brought down and Whiteness abolished. The Guardian, which promotes Critical Race Theory, as claimed that this doesn’t mean White people but Whiteness as the social quality that gives them their exalted place. But one of the writers anthologised in the collection of papers, Critical Race Theory, states that there is no difference between Whiteness and White people. And one of the fears of CRT’s critics is that after attacking Whiteness, the radicals will indeed move on to attacking Whites.

It seems to me that the Critical Race Theory and White privilege are essentially a continuation of the mindset that Whites enjoy their superior social position through mechanisms of power long after those legal mechanisms had been officially abolished and the ideology on which they were based was discredited. It’s an attempted to explain why, after the victories of the Civil Rights movement, the majority of Blacks are still poor. And the rhetoric of decolonisation over here seems to be a direct transference of the bitterness felt by indigenous Africans to privileged White settlers to mainstream British, White society. And that worries me, because of the brutality of the ethnic cleansing of the White farmers in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s thugs at the beginning of the century. I also have to say that I’m worried about the trends in Afrocentric and other Black pseudohistory that claims that Blacks are the original inhabitants of the British isles. Simon Webb of History Debunked yesterday put up a post about the claims in a book on African and Afro-Caribbean communities in the UK, that there are folktales of Africans invading Britain before the Romans. Webb has his own racial biases and some the historical claims he makes are also false. But if he’s right about this, then the author of the book, Hakim Adi, a professor at Chichester university, is talking pure tosh. I am aware of no such folktales, not even when I was a member of the Society for Contemporary Legend Research back in the 1990s. The closest I’ve come to it was in the long-running and sadly missed Celtic warrior strip, Slaine, in the zarjaz SF comic 2000AD. This included a race of Black Atlanteans, the Rmoahals, described as giant aboriginals. The strip’s writer, Pat Mills, based them on a legend that the standing stones of the isle of Callanish in the Hebrides were built by Black-skinned giants who dressed in feathers. Aside from that, the only other source for this curious assertion may be a garbled memory of one of the waves of colonisation that swept over Britain and the continent during prehistory. The Neolithic reached Britain from the fertile crescent over two routes. One was directly across Europe itself, the other was across North Africa and then up from Morocco through Spain. But this occurred so long ago that it was lost to memory for millennia. Archaeologists have only now been able to reconstruct it by using genetic data. Has Adi heard a garbled version of this from within the Black community, from people who mistakenly thought this was a Black African invasion? It also reminds me of the claim made a few years ago that the ancient Egyptians settled in Birmingham before the Roman conquest. This appeared in the Independent, but has, I understand, since been discredited. It also seems to me to have a certain kinship to another piece of Black myth-making, that sailors from Mali discovered America before Columbus, but didn’t enslave the Amerindians. If this happened, it would be truly remarkable, as I’ve seen claims that the Malians didn’t have any ocean-going ships. And the Malinka were a powerful slaving nation, so if they did discover the Amerindians, there would have been nothing preventing them from enslaving them as well.

My fear is that this rhetoric and pseudohistory will cause Blacks, or a minority of Blacks, to see themselves as the oppressed, true inhabitants of Britain and attack the White British as colonialist oppressors. Even if, at present, they claim otherwise. When the Black Lives Matter movement broke out, its Bristol branch stuck up posters claiming that ‘We’ve always been here’ – which is hi8storically very debatable, although some Blacks have been present in Britain at various periods from the Middle Ages onwards. Claims of Black presence further back, such as the supposed Black skin colour of Cheddar man, are more conjectural. Webb has claimed that this reconstruction was based on a false interpretation and has since been retracted, but I have not seen him cite his source for this.

Marx himself held some extremely unpleasant racial views. He’s most infamous for his anti-Semitism, as shown by him sneering at his German rival, Ferdinand Lassalles, as ‘the Jewish ni++er.’ But he also had strong prejudices against European ethnic groups. He held that the Celts, Basques and the Slavs were backward peoples who had no intrinsic right to exist and national independence. When the 1848 Revolutions broke out, he was afraid that their bids for independence would stop the class revolution he wished to promote. In a chilling passage, he looked forward to the class war becoming a race war. This recalls the horrific ethnic cleansing and deportations Stalin inflicted on the national minorities in the USSR, including the Holodomor, the artificial famine in Ukraine which killed 7 million people.

Thomas Sowell in his book Conquests and Cultures talks about the ethnic cleansing by Muslim mobs of the Ibo people by Muslims in Nigeria and the horrific bloodbath of the Biafran war. The Ibos had previously been a minor, poor tribe but had seized the opportunities presented by western, Christian missionary education, which the northern Muslims had rejected as against their faith. As a result, Ibos were better educated and held better jobs and positions of responsibility even in the Muslim north. This was naturally resented, and the resentment grew into violence. Sowell notes that these tensions were heightened by the language each side used against the other. He writes

‘The problem was not simply that there were differences of opinion, but that there were not established and mutually respected traditions for airing those differences with restraint and accommodation. Vitriolic polemic in the press and in the political arena became the norm. Epithets like “fascist” and “imperialist stooge” became commo currency, along with unbridled expressions of tribal chauvinism.’ (p. 127). In the West there are respected means of airing such differences, but the insults sound very much like the language used by the woke, radical intersectional left against its opponents.

And there is anti-White racism and violence. Two decades ago the number of Whites killed in racist attacks was nearly the same as members of Blacks and other ethnic minorities. There have been armed attacks by Blacks on Whites in the past few weeks and months. One was when a man opened fire on the passengers on a subway. Another was when a Black man deliberately drove his car into a parade in a White community. He left behind a manifesto which made it very clear that this was an act of anti-White terrorism. But this was not treated as such by the Biden administration.

I am very pessimistic about the success of affirmative actions schemes in creating a sustainable Black middle class. As I understand it, this was originally intended to be only a temporary measure. Once Blacks had gained entry into education, the sciences, politics and business on a level comparable with Whites, these schemes were to be dismantled as they would no longer be needed. But forty years after the Runnymede Commission recommended ‘positive discrimination’ in which Blacks are to be favoured by offering places with lower grades to universities and colleges, and preferential job offers if they have lower qualifications, the mass of Black Britain still remains poor and marginalised. I don’t, however, know how bad the situation would otherwise be if these policies had not been implemented. It could be they would have been much worse.

Nevertheless I do fear that these policies will continue to fail and that, in their anger and desperation, some Blacks will begin pogroms against Whites, encouraged by the rhetoric and arguments of Critical Race Theory.

Bristol Live on the Local Protests Against Drag Queen Story Hour at a Bristol Library

July 28, 2022

Drag Queen Story Hour, in which drag performers tell stories to children in school and public libraries, is the subject of growing intense controversy. It was started in Los Angeles or one of the other Californian cities with a strong gay community a few years ago. Since then it’s spread across America and into Britain. It’s supporters believe that it promotes tolerance, while their opponents are worried that it’s a forming of paedophile grooming. The accusation has a degree of verisimilitude, as there have been papers written by from the perspective of Queer Theory, a form of postmodern Marxism, promoting Drag Queen Story Hour as a form of ‘queer pedagogy’ intended not to create tolerance and acceptance for gays, or to lead young gay people to become comfortable in their sexuality and become otherwise normal, well-adjusted, happy members of society. Or as happy as anyone can be as capitalism crumbles all around us and the elite get richer while making the rest of us plebs and peasants poorer. No, it has been promoted as a way of getting them to ‘live queerly’ and to make their psychological problems worse in order to generate the militant revolutionary consciousness needed for the violent overthrow of capitalism. One such essay, published in an academic educational periodical is the subject of a series of videos by one of the anti-postmodernist activists and critics. How many people involved in Drag Queen Story Hour are aware of this activist fringe, let alone support it, is a good question.

There have been protests against it in America. An angry group of fathers turned up at a Story Hour event in Texas, where they harangued the drag artiste as a paedophile and groomer. A day or so ago a similar event in Reading here in Britain was stopped after a similar protest was staged. Now there’s this article from Bristol Live, reporting that a Story Hour at a library in the suburb of Henleaze was also cancelled today following protests. The article by Ellie Kendal, ‘Drag Queen Story Hour UK protests: Bristol City Council says discrimination and abuse will not be tolerated‘ begins

‘Bristol City Council has today issued a statement to say it will not tolerate any discrimination or abuse aimed at any community, following protests at a library event for young children in the city. Drag Queen Story Hour was scheduled to begin a series of library appearances in Bristol today, starting at Henleaze Library, however the event was later cancelled as protesters against the event gathered outside.

Drag Queen Story Hour began its national summer tour on Monday, July 25, in Reading where its founder and performer Aida H Dee, who grew up in Bristol, had her reading interrupted by protesters, two of which organisers said had “gained access to the story hour by using their own disabled autistic child as a ‘human trojan horse’.

The police had to get involved and Aida herself had to be escorted out of the event, with officers having to form a ‘human wall’ to protect her from an assault, or a ‘citizen’s arrest’ – something even protesters here in Bristol today said they were planning on doing. Police also attended today’s Bristol event in Henleaze, acting as a barrier between two opposing groups of protesters.

Read more: Live: Protesters clash outside Drag Story Time as group threatens citizen arrest on drag artist

Meanwhile, parents and their young children queued up outside the library mere metres from the protesters – some fearing for their safety. They were let inside, however the event was later cancelled. The next event is due to take place at another library in Bristol at 1pm.’

I think the Reading Drag Queen event was part of a national tour organised and begun by Bristol libraries service. The event got the attention of the American right-wing internet pundits a few weeks ago when there were protests about the ‘family sex show’, advertised as suitable for children as young as five, staged by a group at the Tobacco Factory theatre in Bristol.

On the 120th Anniversary Performance of the Bundist Song ‘In Zaltsikn Yam’

May 10, 2022

There’s a fascinating video on YouTube of the performance by Jewish radical musicians Daniel Kahn and Psoy Korolenko of the Bundist song ‘In Zaltsikn Yam’. It was sent over the internet to the Melbourne Bund as part of the 120th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the Bund, the mass Russian and Polish Jewish socialist party in 1897. Korolenko sings it in three languages, Yiddish, English and Russian. It’s militantly socialist and stridently attacks the rich and Zionism in no uncertain terms.

It begins with the tears of the Jews running into the sea, but the tears of the rich are clear, while those of the poor are bloody. It also sings about Jews and gentiles marching together are comrades in their shared homelands. As for Zionism, it says that the call for Jews to return to Israel is what they’ve heard from the priests. It’s just putting Jews back into another ghetto. The Zionists are concerned with the Jewish people’s fathers in their grave, but have no concerns for the present generation. But there’s a new messiah – the working man, who will transform the world.

It’s a great song which makes the Bund’s anti-Zionism very clear, preformed by too excellent musicians. It also adds further weight to the amount of historical scholarship showing that it was the secular Bund that represented the majority Jewish opinion in Poland and eastern Europe before the Second World War, and not Zionism. That said, I have issues with it that prevent me from putting the video up on this blog. I’m an Anglican Christian, but I found the rejection of the Jewish hope for the Messiah actually shocking and blasphemous. And if it shocks a gentile like me, I wonder how offensive it must be to religious Jews. I also realise that many religious Jews, even some Israelis, are critical of Israel or just disgusted at its treatment of the Palestinians. I’ve blogged before now of Haredi and other very Orthodox Jews, who believe their religious duty is remain in the countries to which Jews have been scattered, until Israel is redeemed by the Messiah. I understand from one of the Jewish anti-Zionist bloggers that one former Chief Rabbi held that view. When he was asked whether the redemption of Israel then would have the same result in the removal of the Palestinians, he replied that under the Messiah it would be done peacefully through negotiation. There are Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem that are under attack from the right-wing Israeli establishment because they criticise their country for its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. I also remember the way Israeli nationalists attacked and vilified a group of liberal Israelis because they said the kadish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, over a dying Palestinian who’d been shot by the IDF. The song interests me as a historical artefact and as part of an alternative tradition of Jewish radicalism that still holds a place in current Jewish society.

But I don’t feel I can put it up on this blog because I genuinely don’t want to offend anyone’s religious beliefs.

My issue is with the Israel lobby and Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and with the way Zionist groups are trying to rewrite history so that only they appear as the true champions and expression of Jewish political aspirations, and definitely not with Jews or Judaism.

If you want to see the video for yourself, it’s on the Bund Melbourne channel on YouTube, and has the Yiddish title of ‘In Zaltsikn Yam – Bund 120 Yoyvl 2017’.

Attila the Stockbroker’s Celebratory Song on Thatcher’s Death

May 9, 2022

A few days ago I posted Chumbawamba’s ‘So Long So Long’ looking forward to Thatcher’s demise. Or at least it did when it was written. Here’s Attila the Stockbroker’s song on the same them, ‘Maggots 1 Thatcher Nil’ which I found on Beau Nafyde’s channel on YouTube.

It starts by singing about how the poor used to look up at the gibbeted remains of tyrants in previous centuries. And so people today will look at Margaret Thatcher as she’s buried – food for the larva of the fly. It also says that Arthur Scargill will lead the cheers, and everyone will get drunk and have a party, especially the homeless, hopeless and ill. It tears into her saying, ‘There’s no such thing as society’ with the vicious response ‘No such thing as you!’ The chorus is like a football chant ‘Maggots 1, Maggie Nil, alleluia.’ It’s a very upbeat, rather cheerful song for all its vicious condemnation of Thatcher.

Commoners Choir – ‘These Are the Bastards’

May 5, 2022

And now, as the late, sorely missed computer-generated video jockey Max Headroom said, ‘More – of the same’. Here’s another deeply satirical musical attack on the Tories and their backers in industry, the media and the aristocratic landlords from Commoners Choir and their channel on YouTube.

It’s presented as a school lesson, showing us the bastards who underfund everything, rarely work, don’t pay tax, print lies, fiddle accounts, and frame our laws. The bastards making money responsible for starting wars, play golf while damning the poor, privatising everything they can while going grouse shooting, and tell lies. The same people who botched the response to the Coronavirus, failed to prevent further deaths by going into lockdown as soon as possible, botched supplying the protective masks and equipment. The Tory and industrial elite that deliberately don’t employ enough staff and underpay those they do, curtail public rights of way, cut grants and condemn the sick. The aristos and toffs who use public school arithmetic to drag everything back to the 19th century and before. They are arms merchants, landowners, the proprietors of the news media, and the rich figures who hypocritically front appeals while enjoying obscene wealth themselves. It also has a go at beardie Branson for suing the NHS and then grovelling for the state to bail him out. It ends with the request that people remember what they learned today, with images of people demonstrating against the privatisation of the NHS and the message spoofing the government’s own warnings about the Coronavirus – ‘Stay alert> Stop the bastards> Save Lives.

It’s less music than an old-fashioned schoolroom chant accompanied with the images of the offenders themselves. They are too numerous to list, but obviously include Johnson, Cameron and co. as well as Murdoch, the Barclay twins, Margaret Thatcher and many, many more.