Friday, 31 May 2019

Wales: Liberation Magazine, Voice of Welsh Socialist Republicans


The Welsh Socialist Republican Movement was formed in 1979-80, but was short-lived. After its collapse, some leading members joined the Communist Party, while others returned to Plaid Cymru, however, its core survived and continued to publish Y Faner Goch (The Red Flag) and then transformed themselves into Cymru Goch (Red Wales) in the late 1980s. Cymru Goch survived another 20 years, continuing the publication of Y Faner Goch until 2003 and establishing the Red Poets' Society, an annual poetry magazine that is active today.
In March 2012  saw the formation of Yr Afionyddwch Mawr to advance the struggle in Wales for Socialism and Independence. Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr is the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement in the 21st century, rooted in the tradition of William Thompson and James Connolly in Ireland and John Maclean in Scotland.
They do not see themselves as  reformist socialists but revolutionary socialists and take their name from Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr / The Great Unrest in Wales, just before the First World War, when class consciousness was high and when national consciousness underwent a revival.
Today, Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr stands for the rebirth and resurgence of Welsh Independence and revolutionary Socialism. They  use the image of the White Eagle of Snowdon, which they believe is a symbol of Welsh resistance to imperialism. That rune is a representation of that eagle, and it is also known by its Welsh name Yr Eryr Wen. Other symbols tied to the movement include the Red Pitchfork, which  they use as a symbol of their rural land campaigns, and the Scotch Cattle, which they use to show  their commitment to class struggle in Wales. Here is link to their webpage :-
They also happen to have a magazine too that helps promote their ideas further.It first appeared in March 2013 and is called Liberation Magazine – Voice of Welsh Socialist Republicanism, that aims to address the question of strategy and tactics for Welsh Liberation. Issue 4 is out now.
It's editorial read's as follows.

"Daring Ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game"

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The reason for Liberation Magazine is that we take the view you cannot win a game where the rules are made by your opponent.

In the case of Wales, the British state determines the rules and Welsh people are supposed to play the Welsh assembly game according to its rules.

It is arrogant imperial intellectual and practical colonialism where very important decisions on Welsh life are taken in London and not Wales.

The Welsh are closely seen as unfit to govern their own country.

Liberation Magazine unashamedly stands for a Welsh Socialist Republic an idea that has been maturing in Wales for over a century.

The Labour Party and Plaid Cymru in Wales have never really embraced the idea of Welsh Socialist Republic.

Sometimes Plaid Cymru flirts with the idea but  quickly backtracks under pressure.

Monarchism has not only inected the Labour Party but also sections of Plaid Cymru.

We launched Liberation Magazine because we want a journal where the Welsh, the Socialist and Republican cases can be argued and discussed. ELSH the lasty

A new strategy and new tactics needs to be developed for the social and national liberation of Wales in the 21st Century if Wales is to arrest its current trajectory of economic and social decline.

Liberation Magazine is about ideas, the precursor of events and the inspirer of people.

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people".

Eleanor Rossevelt 

Within it's pages you can find interesting, thought provoking articles on a variety of themes and issues as far ranging as Tryweryn, Welsh Water, Welsh Land ,Public Banking, International Solidarity. Kurdish Welsh Solidarity, Catalan Independence , Venezuela, First World War Liberal Home Rule , and an account of Welsh soldiers executed in the First World War, to the real meaning of the October Russian Revolution, among other things.
I though non-aligned to any political party do however  support the ideas of an Independent Socialist Republican Wales, that is rooted in real autonomy and radical ideas. As the struggle against the capitalist, reactionary and undemocratic forces that act against Wales and her interests continues, the pages of Liberation at least gives power to the oppressed, with its combination of international solidarity and a historical narrative that still has much relevance in the struggles that we live with today.To obtain copies of this magazine please contact:

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Stravinksy's Rite of Spring

                                                 Vaslay Nijinksy 

Igor Stravinky's The Rite of Spring, ( Le Sacre du Printemps) caused a riot when it was first performed in Paris on the evening of 29 May 1913 in Paris at the brand-new Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in front of a glittering audience. The piece was commissioned  and produced by the noted impresario of the Ballets Russes, Serge Diahilev who had earlier produced the young composer’s The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911). Stravinsky developed the story of The Rite of Spring, originally to be called The Great Sacrifice, with the aid of artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich, whose name appears with the composer’s on the title page of the earliest publications of the score. The production was choreographed by the brilliant Vaslay Nijinksy (photo above).
Details surrounding the events on this evening remain hazy. Official records are scarce, and most of what is known is based on eyewitness accounts or newspaper reports. To this day, experts debate over what exactly sparked the incident , was it  the music or  the dancing, a  publicity stunt or social warfare? Though most agree on at least one thing: Stravinsky’s grand debut ended in mayhem and chaos. As the crowd arrived on opening night, expectations were high.The Théàtre des Champs Élysées had just opened, and audience members came to see and be seen. Stravinsky was nervous because he knew that avant-garde pieces were risky in Paris.Decades before, Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser had been booed off the stage at the Opera. But Stravinsky had had great success here in the past with his  The Firebird and Petrushka.

                                                     Igor Stravinsky

According to accounts I have read as the curtain went up and not long after the opening notes were heard, a ruckus broke out in the auditorium. The opening bassoon solo was set so high that the audience didn’t know what instrument they were hearing. As the lights came up on the first tableau of dancers, people began yelling, and a wilder shouting match began, and it became increasingly difficult to hear the music, and amidst the noise the dancers could not stay in sync.Stravinsky had taken the orchestra, which was associated with high society and culture, and brought it to a carnal, bestial, earthy level. As he heard the roar of the audience begin to build, Stravinsky panicked and ran backstage to intervene. By the time he reached the wings, things were in complete chaos.
But the performance continued. Diaghilev may have expected there would be some kind of ruckus at the performance. Unbeknownst to Stravinsky and Nijinsky, he had instructed the conductor, Pierre Monteux, to keep going no matter what happened.
As some in the audience booed and shouted during the performance, others as loudly and energetically defended the performance, resulting in fist fights and eventually a riot that required police intervention. In the second half , police were unable to keep the audience under control and rioting resumed.  Stravinsky was so taken aback by the audience's reaction, and he fled the scene before the show was over.
Musically, in addition to its provocative harmonic character what was that most shocking to the audience was Stravinksy's abandonment of classical melodic and harmonic development in favour of the rhythmic and tonal properties of the music. The music itself was unlike anything that came before it, primitive and savage , celebrating the raw, the physical, the elemental.
This combined with imaginative scenes of “pagan” Russia,and the evocative, sometimes violent dancing, sharp and unnatural choreography (dancers danced with bent arms and legs and would land on the floor so hard their internal organs would shake), was considered shocking to some, though exciting, brilliantly creative and innovative to others. It should hardly have come as a surprise given the ballet's thematic content. The ballet's title and subtitle alone hint that something darker lurks behind the velvet theater curtains: The Rite of Spring: Picture of Pagan Russia in Two Parts. It's essentially a story that centers around ancient Russian tribes and their pagan celebration of Spring. That offers a remorseless human sacrifice to their gods, choosing a young girl who is forced to dance to death.
The writer Jean Cocteau described a certain amount of manipulation of the whole thing, writing  in a pamphlet called Cock and Harlequin "All the elements of scandal were present, the small audience in tails and tulle, diamonds and ospreys, was interespersed with the suits and bandeaux of the aesthetic crowd. The latter would apply novelty to show their contempt for the people in the boxes.... uniumerable shades of snobbery, super-snobbery and inverted snobbery were represented... The audience played the role that was written for it."

                                     A drawing by Jean Cocteau of Stravinsky playing his music

I will end with a 1987 Joffrey Ballet performance of the work, and you can seen for yourselves how this work might have looked and sounded in 1913.Many years later, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring which foreshadowed rock, punk and jazz, managed to destroy the old order and  still has an edgy, intense, almost out-of-control feeling that makes it so exhilarating, liberating and engaging, this I believe is the immense power that good music carries.The composer Pierre Boulez said "The Rites of Spring serves as a point of reference to all who seek to establish the birth certificate of what is still called "contemporary" music."  Sometimes new music is born, and new births can be violent.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

“Truth Ultimately Is All We Have” Julian Assange Appeals for Public Support

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange  has detailed the repressive conditions  he faces in Britain's Belmarsh Prison and called for a campaign against his threatened extradition to the United States  in a handwritten letter to independent British journalist Gordon Dimmack  who decided to make it public following last Thursday’s announcement by the US Justice Department of additional charges against Assange accusing him of violating the Espionage Act.
Assange in the letter says he is being denied a chance to defend himself and that elements in the US that “hate truth, liberty and justice” want him extradited and dead. The letter  also acts as a critique of Washington’s attempts to crush media freedom, and is a call to action from his supporters.
The WikiLeaks publisher had sought refuge in Ecuador in 2012, claiming – correctly, as it turned out – that trumped-up charges in Sweden would be used to get him extradited to the US.
The new 18-count indictment handed down in the Eastern District of Virginia alleges that Assange actively solicited classified information, goading  former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning Manning to obtain thousands of pages of classified material and providing Assange with diplomatic State Department cables, Iraq war-related significant activity reports and information related to Guantanamo Bay detainees.
In April, prosecutors in Virginia revealed that Assange had been charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion related to helping Manning obtain access to Defense Department computers in 2010.
Assange's initial indictment spared a debate over the First Amendment and whether Assange's alleged role in procuring secret US material constituted protected journalistic activity. Press freedom advocates have expressed concern that a conviction of Assange could undermine protections for journalists to challenge government secrecy.
The U.S. government charged Assange with: one count of conspiring to violate the Espionage Act; three counts of violating a provision of the Espionage Act that targets individuals who obtain information they’re not authorized to receive; and four counts of violating a provision of the Espionage Act in which prosecutors allege Assange “solicited” information.
Prosecutors assert Assange “aided, abetted, counseled, induced, procured, and willfully caused [Chelsea] Manning, who had lawful possession of, access to, and control over documents relating to the national defense” to “communicate, deliver, and transmit the documents” to WikiLeaks. He faces nine charges under two provisions of the Espionage Act for this alleged conduct.
The Justice Department focused on a list published to the WikiLeaks website in 2009 that was titled, “Most Wanted Leaks.”
“Assange personally and publicly promoted WikiLeaks to encourage those with access to protected information, including classified information, to provide it to WikiLeaks for public disclosure,” the indictment argues. And, “WikiLeaks’ website explicitly solicited censored, otherwise restricted, and until September 2010, ‘classified’ materials.” 
 The new charges against Assange have alarmed even the mainstream media outlets that have spent years pouring vitriol on WikiLeaks, as they began to realize his prosecution along these lines would essentially criminalize all journalism. Assange's crime was doing his job, informing us, having shown us the brutality of collateral damage and the cruelty of war  amongst other sinister illegal activities by politicians and governments.
Assange is currently serving 50 weeks in Belmarsh prison for skipping bail – a sentence WikiLeaks described as “shocking and vindictive”. The UN working group on arbitrary detention also said it was a “disproportionate sentence” for what it described as a “minor violation”. Assange’s next hearing is set for Thursday May 30 at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

WikiLeaks responds to espionage act indictment against Assange: Unprecedented attack on free press

'The indictment carries serious implications for WikiLeaks publishing partners, numbering over one hundred across the globe, including The New York Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, who collaborated on the publications and may now face co-defendant charges.
The final decision on Assange’s extradition rests with the UK Home Secretary, who is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the U.K. and elsewhere. Press rights advocates have unanimously argued that Assange’s prosecution under the Espionage Act is incompatible with basic democratic principles.This is the gravest attack on press freedom of the century.'

Below is the full text of Assange’s letter to Gordon Dimmack: 

'I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself, no laptop, no internet, no computer, no library so far, but even if I do get access it will be just for half an hour with everyone else once a week. Just two visits a month and it takes weeks to get someone on the call list and the Catch-22 in getting their details to be security screened. Then all calls except lawyer are recorded and are a maximum 10 minutes and in a limited 30 minutes each day in which all prisoners compete for the phone. And credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in.
A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case. I am defenceless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.
I am unbroken albeit literally surrounded by murderers. But the days when I could read and speak and organise to defend myself, my ideals and my people are over until I am free. Everyone else must take my place.
The US government or rather those regrettable elements in it that hate truth liberty and justice want to cheat their way into my extradition and death rather than letting the public hear the truth for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Truth ultimately is all we have.'


Write to Julian Assange: Here's How 
Mr Julian Assange 
DOB: 3/07/1971 
HMP Belmarsh 
Western Way 
London SE28 0EB
You may send mail to the address above (you must include Julian’s date of birth in UK format, DOB: 3/07/1971. Do not include his prisoner number.
You must include your full name and address on the back of the envelope, or else the letter will not be delivered.
Include a blank piece of paper with a self-addressed envelope for Julian to write back. It must be pre-stamped (UK stamps only). Do not send loose stamps. Click here for stamps. Include 2 UK first class stamps for international mail.
All letters are read by Belmarsh & security. Do not send letters containing sensitive matters.
You may send paper items only, such as letters, photos & drawings. Please do not attempt to send other items. Postcards are not allowed.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Kurdish hunger strikes end in Victory


 Thousands of Kurdish activists have  announced the end of their hunger strikes on Sunday after a call from imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan issued through his lawyers after a rare visit.
 Ocalan, the co-founder of the  outlawed  Kurdish revel group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who has been in prison on Imrali island since his capture in 1999, issued a letter through his lawyers on Sunday four days after they visited him for the second time this month, to activists taking part in hunger strikes against his prison treatment.
“Dear comrades,

In light of the wide-ranging statements my two lawyers will be making, I expect the protests, especially of the comrades who have committed themselves to hunger strikes and death fasts, to come to an end. I would like to express that your intentions with regards to me have been realized and I present to all of you my deepest affections and gratitude.

In fact, after this point, I diligently hope and expect you to accompany me with adequate intensity and will power.

With lasting affection and regards,

22 May 2019, Imralı Prison

Abdullah Öcalan”

Following the announcement, a representative of imprisoned hunger strikers said that they would be heeding Ocalan's call.
 "After the call...we are ending our hunger strikes," Deniz Kaya said in a statement, quoted by pro-PKK news agency ANF.
 Previously, Ocalan had been kept in what his supporters called "isolation" since 2016, and no statements or visits were allowed. Until the visit on 22 May, he had not met with his lawyers in eight years.
Since 2018, close to 3,000 people had joined the hunger strike in some 90 prisons in protest at his treatment. Hunger strikers in Turkey traditionally refuse food but take vitamins and salt and sugar solutions, which prolong life. A hunger strike is not a form of protest to be undertaken lightly. It is a last resort when other methods have become impossible. The fact that this has become a regular resort for Kurdish activists is an indication of the extent to which the Kurds have been made to suffer.
Kurds in Turkey, where they have survived through a century of Turkish ethnic nationalism,  tie their hopes for a better future to their imprisoned leader. His political ideas have inspired the grassroots, feminist, multicultural democracy that is being created in Northern Syria, and that briefly flowered in the Kurdish autonomous movements of Eastern Turkey, before being brutally crushed by the Turkish army. Öcalan is pivotal to any hopes of a peaceful settlement between the Turkish state and its large Kurdish minority.
The longest-running hunger strike has been by Leyla Guven, an MP for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP), who stopped eating on 8 November 2018, beginning a historic wave of hunger strikes which today have claimed victory. Ms Güven argued that by isolating Mr Ocalan and by refusing to allow visits from his family or lawyers, theTurkish government has placed major impediments towards maintaining peace in Turkey. Before being transported to hospital by ambulance on Sunday, Guven said the hunger strike had achieved its goal.
"But our struggle against isolation and our struggle for social peace will continue in all areas. This struggle must lead to an honourable peace," she said in a written statement.

 The HDP said seven people, six in Turkish prisons and one in Germany, had killed themselves in March in protest against Ocalan's isolation.
Ocalan's lawyers said that though the hunger strikes should end, it was necessary to apply pressure to the Turkish government to get them to restart the peace process that originally began in 2013 and collapsed in 2015.
 "Our client stated that if talks were not held in the future, it could be protested by a political struggle, but actions such as hunger strikes and death-fasts should be avoided," they said during a news conference on Sunday.
 "He [Ocalan] stated that the main thing is a culture of democratic political struggle and that it is more important for the strikers to be physically, spiritually and mentally healthy."
finally ended their hunger strike.
Politicians, political prisoners and activists around the world had been starving themselves to protest the isolation of their leader  a key figure in the Kurdish people’s struggle against their oppressor, 
After his capture, Turkey initially sentenced Öcalan to the death penalty. But this was later dropped when Turkey wanted to  join the EU. Öcalan now serves life imprisonment in solitary confinement on  the heavily fortified İmralı prison island.
In a massive international campaign, solidarity activists around the world have demonstrated, occupied buildings, and contacted politicians and European institutions.There were reports of ill-treatment of hunger strikers at Silivri, Şakran and Tekirdağ prisons.  Other reports indicated that, in some cases, authorities had unlawfully limited the hunger strikers’ access to drinking water, sugar, salt, and vitamins.
Despite this  people successfully  lobbied the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), asking it to take action and visit Öcalan in prison. All of these actions amplified the voices of the hunger strikers, making their demands heard, and putting pressure on Turkey.
Turkey has imprisoned Abdullah Öcalan for the last twenty years, keeping him in solitary confinement for much of that time, without access to his family or lawyers. The hunger strikers’ demand was simple: for Turkey to abide by its own law and to lift the isolation.
Turkey finally allowed Öcalan two visits from his lawyers in May. And after months of seemingly ignoring the hunger strikers’ demands, the CPT visited Imrali prison where Öcalan is held. On 16 May, Turkish justice minister Abdulhamit Gül announced that the ban on visits to Öcalan had been lifted.
Imam Sis, 32 who lives in Newport, Wales who  based himself at the Kurdish Community Centre on Chepstow Road, had refused food for 161 days. has also announced that he will end his hunger strike, and said “I would like the Welsh Senedd, which was the first parliament in the world to give full support to the hunger strikers.
“Also to Plaid Cymru Assembly Members Delyth Jewell, Leanne Wood and Bethan Sayed, and party leader, Adam Price, for all their support.
“Ending the hunger strike does not mean the end of the struggle against isolation, we will continue to struggle in other forms to ensure isolation is definitively brought to an end.”
 Mr Sis - who has lost 25kg (55lb) during his hunger strike - will now be assessed in hospital.

Now that Turkey has agreed to meet the protestors’ core demands,  Plaid Cymru – who supported the hunger striker and pressed the Welsh Government to intervene – have hailed a foreign policy victory.
The Welsh Government wrote a letter to Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, with Mr Hunt also contacted directly by a group of 50 MPs and Assembly Members, which included all Plaid Cymru elected members, and appealed to him to intervene.
The Foreign Secretary replied to Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts, saying he had asked Turkey to comply with the findings on a report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment into the conditions in which Mr Öcalan was held.
 Plaid Cymru’s Shadow International Relations Minister, Delyth Jewell AM, said: “I am delighted that the Kurdish hunger strikers have secured victory in their campaign to end the solitary confinement of Abdullah Öcalan.
“Many of them have sacrificed their long-term health in order to secure justice for their cause; it’s such a relief that they will not have to sacrifice their lives as well.
“My constituent, Imam Sis, has gone 161 days without food and faces a difficult battle to recover, but I know he will gain strength from the support of well-wishers from across the UK.”
 Delyth Jewell AM, who represents South Wales East in the Welsh Assembly, added: “While the campaign was an international one, we in Wales played a crucial part by putting pressure on the relevant actors to do the right thing.
“I’d like to thank everyone who played a part in this campaign, from the Plaid Cymru activists who have been supporting Imam, to politicians across the board who have saved lives by acting decisively.
“My hope is that formal peace negotiations can now resume between Turkey and representatives of the Kurdish nation in order to bring long-term peace for a people who have spent centuries fighting for their lives.”
The Kurdish hunger strikers courage and determination has been an inspiration to many, as their strike ends in victory lets continue to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people in their struggle, for peace and to ensure that the isolation is not broken again.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

The magical world of Surrealist Leonora Carrington Part 2 ( 6/4/17 -25/5/11)

Leonora Carrington who was born in 1917 spent her childhood on her family estate in Lancashire, England. There she was surrounded by animals, especially horses, and she grew up listening to her Irish nanny's fairytales and stories from Celtic folklore, sources of symbolism that would later inspire her artwork. Carrington was a rebellious and disobedient child, educated by a succession of governesses, tutors, and nuns, and she was expelled from two convent schools  in acts of rebellion against the Catholic Church and her family whose excessive  piety she loathed. Carrington also despised the capitalist ideals of her father Harold Carrington, a wealthy textile manufacturer in Lancashire, and broke free to artistic and personal freedom.
In The Tempation of St Anthony Carrington  brings these two things together. When he was 20 years old St Anthony's father died leaving him a large sum of money. After subsequently reading Mathew's Gospel  in which the reader is encouraged to sell ones's possessions in exchange for treasures in heaven, St Anthony disposed of his inheritance and embraced asetticism, becomming a hermit. In the desert he was subjected to temptation by demons in much the same way as Jesus had been.  Having resisted these temptations , St Anthony went on to found a monastery based on his own ascetic life. Carrington's interpretation is iconclastic, defying the conventions of Renaissance paintings  that depict St Anthony resplondent in a red cloak. Although St Anthony is given a physical presence in  Carrington's painting he appears as an emaciated hermit,  the resplondent red cloak given instead to his tormentor.

When Carrignton continued to rebel, she was sent to study art briefly in Florence, Italy. Carrington was impressed by the medieval and Baroque sculpture and architecture she viewed there, and she was particularly inspired by Italian Renaissance painting. When she returned to London, Carrington's parents permitted her to study art, first at the Chelsea School of Art and then at the school founded by French expatriate and Cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant.
Before Leonora Carrington became one of the most representative faces of the surrealist movement, she went mad. In the late 1930s, the English debutante was living with her lover Max Ernst (more than 20 years her senior) in a farmhouse in Provence, when Ernst was imprisoned on a visit to Paris and sent to a concentration camp. As the German army advanced, Carrington fled across the Pyrenees into Spain, where, after exhibiting increasingly deranged behavior, she was interned in an insane asylum in Santander. Down Below is Carrington’s brief yet harrowing account of her journey to the other side of consciousness.
It was André Breton who encouraged Carrington to write down her experience. Liberation of the mind was the ultimate aim of surrealism, and Carrington, already consecrated as a surrealist femme-enfant, a conduit for her much older lover to the realms of youth and mystery, had now traveled further than any of them and lived to tell the tale. While she was predisposed to find artistic merit in her experience of madness, Carrington’s reasons for telling her story seem more personal and therapeutic: “How can I write this when I’m afraid to think about it? I am in terrible anguish, yet I cannot continue living alone with such a memory…I know that once I write it down, I shall be delivered.”
Carrington would often look back on this period of mental trauma as a source of inspiration for her art. Just as in Carl Gustav Jung’s famous psychosis, Carrington emerged with a firmer stance on her individual purpose. Thus, on your journey you should embrace abnormalities and eccentricities; trusting that your mind will lead you to a greater path.
In 1941 Carrington married the Mexican poet and diplomat Renato Leduc, a friend of Pablo Picasso. In their short-lived partnership, Carrington and Leduc traveled to New York before eventually requesting an amiable divorce.
In 1943,  after a short  stay in New York, Carrington  moved to Mexico,here she met the Jewish Hungarian photographer Emeric ("Chiki") Weisz,  and the darkroom manager for Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War. whom she married and with whom she had two sons, Pablo and Gabriel. Carrington devoted herself to her artwork in the 1940s and 1950s, developing an intensely personal Surrealist sensibility that combined autobiographical and occult symbolism. She grew close with several other Surrealists then working in Mexico, including Remedios Varo and Benjamin Péret.
A central  theme for many of the women Surrealists was alchemy and their possession of its secret powers, which for them was linked to the mysterious cylcles of nature. Andre Breton had already put forward the proposal  that women possessed these Hermetic powers and suggested that men could unlock these secrets by means of love. Some women Surrealists sought their own enpowerment of this resource for picture making believing that the origins of their own creativity were rested in Hermetic tradition.
Sharing her enthuiasm for alchemy with Vara (1908 -63),  also a European exile, although their depictions are somewhat different they shared a common exploration in paint and poetry, of life's mysteries  and its resolution using alchemy in her one-act play, Une Chernise de Nuit de Flanelle, written in 1945, Carrington developed characters that would later populate her paintings. One character, Prisne, populates the world of the living and dead,  a theme that is used in Again the Gemini are in thee Orchard, the twins representing the same duality.The paintings allusion to fertility, through the allegory of the garden, suggests that this duality is part of the life cycle of humanity.

There are two  constant motifs in Carringtons work after 1945, the partridge and other bird and the egg. the parttridge makes a number of appearances in Carrington's work, most famously in Portrait  of  the late Mrs Partridge from 1947 is seen walking with a partridge that is not to scale and appears incongrous. In one hand the woman carries an egg, while the other gently rsts on the back  of the overgrown partridge.

The incongruity of scale also appears in Baby Giant. This time the central figure is surrounded by normal scale birds, resembling geese, flying around her and from inside her cape. However, she is standing within two Liliputian worlds. The first is a hunting scene at the bottom of the picture, redolent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, the other is a seascape in which appear Viking ships, whales and various sea creatures. The central figure has a mane of wheat  that replaces her hair and is carrying an egg very carefully with both hands. These symbols of the generative and regenerative powers of nature, as exemplified by the egg, are key motifs in the work of many of the Surrealist women artists. For Carrington in particular, the egg also represented  the alchemist's oven.

Women artists, however even  those within the Surrealist coterie, still found themselves outside the circle that formulated Surrealist theories, though they nevertheless contribued significantly  to its language. The erotic biolence in the art of thir male conterparts was replaced  by an art of magical fantasy  that still managed to shift the depiction  of the female within a male dominated movement. In place of depicting women as 'other'  as  her male counterparts had done,  women artists like Carrington  depicted women as self'anticipating the female artists  of the 1970's by some 40 years or so.
In 1947 Carrington was invited to participate in an international exhibition of Surrealism at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, where her work was immediately celebrated as visionary and uniquely feminine. Her work was also featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of this Century Gallery in New York.
Carrington's early fascination with mysticism and fantastical creatures continued to flourish in her paintings, prints, and works in other media, and she found kindred artistic spirits through her collaboration with the Surrealist theater group Poesia en Voz Alta and in her close friendship with Varo. Her continuing artistic development was enhanced by her exploration and study of thinkers like Carl Jung, the religious beliefs of Buddhism and the Kabbalah, and local Mexican folklore and mysticism.
It is worth noting that she was very aware of and supported feminist issues. In particular she championed the newly established women’s movement: In the early 1970s she was responsible for co-founding the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico; she frequently spoke about women’s “legendary powers” and the need for women to take back “the rights that belonged to them”  ”Surrealism has/had a very uneven relationship with women, as has been discussed by many scholars throughout the years.” Andre Breton and many others involved in the movement regarded women to be useful as muses but not seen as artists in their own right. As Angela Carter once said, voicing the concerns of many women artists of her time, “The Surrealists were not good with women. That is why, although I thought they were wonderful, I had to give them up in the end.” Leonora Carrington was embraced as a femme-enfant by the Surrealists because of her rebelliousness against her upper-class upbringing. However, Carrington did not just rebel against her family, she found ways in which she could rebel against the Surrealists and their limited perspective of women.
The student protests of 1968 revealed a further facet of Carrington’s beliefs, her political militancy. In support of the left-wing activists and as a remonstration, she  left Mexico for a while and returned in 1969 continuing to make her views heard in a series of public appearances.
 Today Carrington's style is ecognizable worldwide, a combination of anthropomorphic whimsy and an undercurrent of shadowy darkness. Yet she often rejected the label "Surrealist," insisting instead that she painted what she observed in the magical space between the corporeal world and the subconscious.
Chilean filmmaker and actor Alejandro Jodorowsky, a later Surrealist, wrote of Carrington as one of his "witch" muses, yet she once remarked: "I didn't have time to be anybody's muse; I was too busy rebelling against my parents and learning to be an artist."
Carrington was a prolific writer as well as a painter, publishing many articles and short stories during her decades in Mexico and the novel The Hearing Trumpet (1976). Inspired by the country's rich pre-Hispanic civilizations and the mythologies and occult knowledge of cultures from around the world. One of her best-known works is an enormous mural titled "The Magical World of the Maya," commissioned in the early 1960s for the National Museum of Anthropology.

She also collaborated with other members of the avant-garde and with intellectuals such as writer Octavio Paz (for whom she created costumes for a play) and filmmakerLuis Bunuel. In 1960 Carrington was honored with a major retrospective of her work held at the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.
After a battle with pneumonia, Carrington died in Mexico City on May 25, 2011, aged 94. Her work continues to be shown at exhibitions across the world, from Mexico to New York to her native Britain. In 2013, Carrington's work had a major retrospective at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and in 2015, a Google Doodle commemorated what would have been her 98th birthday. By the time of her death, Leonora Carrington was one of the last-surviving Surrealist artists, and undoubtedly one of the most unique. Carrington's life was a whirlwind tribute to creative struggle and artistic revolution, that still is of great interest to me.

For an earlier post of mine on her see here

Friday, 24 May 2019

No tears for Theresa May

It's the end of May
No tears for Theresa
Strong and stable she never was
Her deceit and neglect still resonates
our tears  fall for her defencless prey
Windrush Brits deported, Grenfell victims
Disabled people systematically abused
Benefit claimants, the sick and marginalised
Four million children in poverty
Avoidable death victims of DWP
No tears fall  now for her cowardly stance
Let's hope we see no more attempts to dance'
As her trade in Machiavelian deceit ends
Her nefarious flagitious poison still flowering
Among the seeds of pain she's sown
Her legacy will for long be known
May her departure precipitate
The induction of pragmatic change.

26/05.19  Above poem can now be found here :-

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Remembering, Isabella Ford (May 23, 1855 - July 14, 1924) Pioneering British Feminist Socialist.

 Isabella Ormston Ford   born  on  May 23 1855. was a Quaker, Pacifist , Suffragist, Socialist,. Labor organizer. Speaker. Writer. Who was the youngest of eight children. Her parents, Robert and Hannah, were Quakers and the young Isabella was brought up in a family greatly concerned with women’s rights and humanitarian causes, an upbringing which would affect her entire life’s work. Isabella became, arguably, one of the most important women ever to write about women’s rights, and women’s working conditions, bringing to the masses, through her pamphlets, speeches and Union aions, the true plight of working-class women, and the conditions they faced in the workplace.
The family home at Adel Grange near Leeds became a place where radicals could meet and discuss politics. As a young woman, Isabella Ford met prominent feminists such as Josephine Butler and Elizabeth Garret Anderson. In 1875 Isabella met Edward Carpenter, a former Anglican priest who had began to question conventional ideas on politics and sexuality.His book 'Towards Democracy is like a Bible to me. Carpenter introduced Ford to socialist ideas and in 1883 they both joined the recently formed Fabian Society  an organisation which aimed to "reconstruct society in accordance with the highest moral possibilities through political means".
In 1885 Isabella helped Emma Patterson, President of the Women's Protective and Provident League, to form a Machinists' Society for tailoresses in Leeds. This was the start of a long campaign by Ford to improve the pay and conditions of women working in the textile industry in Leeds. In 1889 she established the Leeds Tailoresses' Union and the following year she was elected president of the organisation.
Isabella became, arguably, one of the most important women ever to write about women’s rights, and women’s working conditions, bringing to the masses, through her pamphlets, speeches and Union actions, the true plight of working-class women, and the conditions they faced in the workplace. She railed against the accepted convention which suggested that a woman should in no way revolt, but instead should accept any injustice shown to her. To be a woman and to complain was in some way almost irreligious, a woman should accept her lot, no matter how bad.Isabella truly believed, however, ‘that a better day is dawning’, and that the movements she was seeing in the burgeoning women’s trade union movements.
In 1890 helped form the Leeds Women's Suffrage Society with her sister Bessie and their sister-in-law, Helen Cordelia. Three years later, Isabella was involved in forming a Leeds branch of the Independent Labour Party (ILP). The two organizations worked closely together .. By the early 1900s Isabella Ford had developed a national reputation for her talents as a speaker and organizer. Ford was also an important writer of books on the struggle for equality. This included Women's Wages (1893), Industrial Women (1900) and Women and Socialism (1904).
In 1903 Isabella became a member of the national executive committee of the ILP. She played an important role in persuading leaders of the ILP to support women's suffrage. Isabella argued that the emancipation of women and the emancipation of labour were strongly linked and that "socialists should support the struggle of women, just as women should support socialism." In 1904, she was the first woman to speak at a Labour Party Conference, when she supported the motion that women should be given the right to vote on the same terms as men.
Some suffragists disapproved of Isabella Ford's socialism but it 1907 it did not prevent her being elected to the executive committee of the  NUWSS ( National Union of Womens Suffrage Movement.) In 1912 she upset members of the Liberal Party when she persuaded the NUWSS to support Labour Party candidates in parliamentary elections.
Isabella Ford, a life-long pacifist, was deeply concerned by the growing hostility between.Britain and Germany. the summer of 1914, Ford helped organise a peace rally in London. During the meeting at the Kingway Hall held on the 4th of August they heard the news that Britain had declared war on Germany.The women's movement was split over the issue of what role women should play during the First World War. She was however quite capable of making fighting speeches. At the annual conference of the NUWSS in 1914 she spoke against any co-operation with the government for war purposes “with a pugnacity of word and gesture which took everyone’s breath away, and then, having had her say, stamped off the platform and down the hall in almost ferocious style”. (New Leader, 25 July, 1924)
With the outbreak of war Isabella once again found herself working closely with friends and comrades from the ILP in the peace movement. not forgotten As the war went on Isabella found herself more and more isolated and in 1915 was forced to resign from the executive committee of the  NUWSS. After the end of hostilities she continued her efforts to help the movements of peace, socialism and feminism.
In the years, 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922 Ford was a delegate to the Women's International League Congress. Isabella Ford was a woman who fought her entire life for the causes of socialism and feminism and peace who recognised  the need of both women and men  to realize their full potential as equal human beings
At the end of her days age and ill health curtailed her public activities and she never recovered from the death of her sister Bessie in 1919 who had given her so much practical and emotional support. In 1922 she moved with her sister Emily to a small cottage, Adel Willows, and it was here that she died in her sleep on 14 July 1924.  She is buried in the Adel Friends Burial Ground, Leeds, England. Long may we remember her and her valuable contribution for the advancement of social justice and equality that remains an inspiration for us because she addressed such important issues that are still relevant to the modern era , particularly the relationships between peace, socialism and feminism.
I will leave you with her  words :-

Justice is to be the foundation on which we must build, not the kind of justice we have hitherto considered for us, and which many countries pride themselves is their watchword and standard, but a justice that demands freedom for all." 

 Read more about Isabella Ford and other women involved in the early Labour and trade union movements in The Women in the Room: Labour’s Forgotten History.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The Problem with Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party

Brexit has recently got very messy. Especially for Nigel Farage, one of the leading advocates of the United Kingdom's wthdrawal from the European Union, was doused with a milkshake on Monday in Newcastle, England, by a man who said he  was protesting Farage;s "bile and racism.The Northumbria Police said on Tuesday that Paul Crowther, 32 had been charged with common assault and criminal damage for throwing the banana and salted caramel shake from Five Guys on the Brext leader.
Farage's suit was left covered by the milky treat during a campaign stop ahead  of tomorrow's European Parliament election..As Farage gets his suit cleaned for all those that are outraged about milkshakes being thrown on right wing politicians stirring up division, think of all the Muslim people who have been abused on the streets and try and remember where the outrage was for them.
Poor old Farage this jokey, man with a pint, this so called man of the people, who rails aganst the elites, denounces the establishment, then has to face a barrage of criticism on social media for his claims that he is “skint”, despite many pointing out he lives in a £4m townhouse in Chelsea and has been taking a £100,000 salary plus a €300-a-day living allowance, as an MEP for south-east England since 1999. And with further brazen hypocricy. said he would still take his annual £73,000 EU pension after Brexit. However much he attacks the so-called EU gravy train, is more than happy to cash in when it suits him.

Read more:
Twitter: | Facebook:

Read more:
Twitter: | Facebook:
It's worth noting that  he is ranked 748 out of 751 for attendance and, following an investigation by financial controllers at the parliament, will reportedly have to repay about €95,000, with a fellow Ukip MEP, for alleged misuse of public funds intended for staffing his office. And now  the European Parliament's advisory committee will look at whether Mr Farage broke rules by accepting funding from Leae cmpaigneer Arron Banks.
Farage said he did not declare the £450,000 sum to the European Parliament because he was about to leave politics and had been seeking a new life in the US.The committee will examine the case before advising the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.The committee can meet on 4 June.
MEPs found to have acted improperly can be reprimanded, their parliamentary allowance can be withheld or they can be banned from some activities.
The payments from Arron Banks to Nigel Farage were revealed by a Channel 4 News investigation.
Mr Farage confirmed that he was not talking to Channel 4 News, describing them as "political activists", and said he would not allow the broadcaster to attend Brexit Party events.
The editor of Channel 4 News, Ben de Pear, said on Twitter he hoped "to resolve our access ban... ASAP".
Separately, the Electoral Commission has defended visiting The Brexit Party's offices to review the party's online fundraising activities.As party leader Farage  then accused the watchdog of acting "in bad faith" and "interfering in the electoral process".But the watchdog said there had been "significant public concern" about the way the party raises funds.
Farage for many is simply a vain, shallow hypocrite, serving his own self serving agenda, who as a divisive figure in the Brexit debate has often  been accussed of 'peddling racist nonsense'. It's not only recently that he has developed a public relations problem. Let's take a look at his previous history.
In 1981, when Farage was appointed as a prefect at his school, an English teacher wrote to the headteacher asking him to reconsider his decision, citing his fascist views. Another said that on a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) camp organised by the college, Farage and others “marched through a quiet Sussex village very late at night shouting Hitler-youth songs.” Of course his defenders will say this was either youthful antics or a bogus claim from an unverifiable sources.
Skip forward to 2006 – when Farage became the leader of UKIP, the UK Independence Party. The party is on the far right, and campaigned for the UK to leave the EU. Policies included strict caps on immigration, a five-year ban on unskilled workers, and a five-year wait before migrants could claim benefits.
In 2013 Farage said he supports Muslim immigrants who “integrate” into society, but not those that are “coming here to take us over”. In a 2014 interview on LBC, Nige said he felt “uncomfortable” when he heard people speaking in other languages on London transport.That  same year, he said the “basic principle” of Enoch Powell’s infamous anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech was correct.
In 2014 Nigel also said he would be concerned if Romanian immigrants moved in next door to him.
The same year, he blamed immigrants for making him late to an event where he was speaking. He said his lateness “has nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be”.
 Nigel defended a UKIP candidate who used a racist slur against Chinese people. Referring to the incident, he said: “If you and your mates were going out for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?”
 In June 2016, Nigel unveiled an anti-immigrant poster that suggested that immigration was at “Breaking Point”, as part of the leave campaign. The poster was reported to the police on the grounds that it aimed to incite racial hatred. Comparisons were quickly made in the media to Nazi propaganda.  Farage stood in front of a poster of desperate refugees, whose plight was and is entirely irrelevant to the Brexit cause, and exploited their misery for his own shallow gain.

When Britain left the EU in 2016, Nigel boasted that the campaign had been won “without a bullet being fired”. This was eight days after Labour MP Jo Cox was fatally shot.
In 2016 he was  also accused of giving "legitimism to racism" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Reverand Justin Welby said Farage was " accentuating fear for political gain", which he said was "absolutely inexcusable."
Farage also supports Trump's Muslim ban, and has had “absolutely no hesitation” in backing the gun-flashing, homophobic religious zealot and alt-right darling Roy Moore in the US Senate special election in Alabama, endorsed Marine Le Pen and the far-right Alternative für Deutschland, and defended Donald Trump’s retweets of racist Britain First hate posts, arguing that “the level of outrage from the liberal elite” in Britain was “out of all proportion” – although he was surely aware that the MP Jo Cox had died hearing the words “Britain First” from her killer’s mouth.
For several weeks now, Farage has been visiting every part of the country, delivering a stump speech on Brexit that is a lie from start to finish, and no politician has done anything to stop him, aided strangely by a fawning media, that seems to be doing his bidding. Baring in mnd that the Brexit Party was only launched last month, Farage has roared back into the frontline of British politics, and despite his past history.and despite having no idea what the party stands for, with nothing contructive to offer beyond a call for the hardest Brexit possible, the Brexit Party looks set to dominate the European Elections in the UK.The Conservatives and Labour are widely expected to be punished by both Remain and Leave voters.
 All over Europe extremist political forces are on the march, threatening the cohesion of our communities and undermining our values. This campaign was an opportunity for Labour and the Tories to reject the nihilism of the Brexit Party. It has no manifesto because it does not want to create, only to destroy. Farage says it won't publish it's manifesto until after the EU elections. The party represents the politics of hate and division. It is the ultimate manifestation of Project Fear. It has no programme to stop austerity, and while many  are calling for a properly funded NHS and other services, in contrast Farage has previously raised that there should be an insurance based health system run by private companies.
The big parties could have used their campaigning clout and their media heft to hold Farage and his acolytes to account, to challenge their all too often bigoted views and to scrutinise their funding.The sum total of the resistance he has thus far met is £5.25’s worth of salted caramel milkshake. The mind truly boggles!
Upon closer examination, the Brexit Party who are running  seems to be providing a good hiding place for more insidious political beliefs, particularly when it comes to the rights and equal treatment of women and minority groups.Here's everything about the  Brexit Party Candidates they eather you wouldn't know.
Stand Up to Racism co-founder Weyman Bennet recently said "The City trader Nigel Farage, formerly of UKip, has always sown division in this country by looking to blame other communities for problems of austerity and privatisation.
 "He has nothing to offer but racism and bigotry. We should unite to oppose Nigel Farages vision whether we are leave or remain. Unity for us should be the key."
Farage and his rightwing backers know only too well that winning a sweep of MEP seats will be interpeted as a mandate for the Brexiters, as they set about implementing  the most extreme political ideology seen in this country. We must say no to his grim vision,a place where he and his rich friends and right wing backers with hidden agendas will be able to amass ever greater fortunes, as they relax rules, regulations for their own dubious purposes. As Farage sets about re-shaping our world with Mr Trump, it ccrtainly won't be a good idea to be a member of a minority faith or weak or old or foreign.
It's also striking . to those who care to look , just how much his agenda is about class interest, this former city trader. He also opposes extended maternity leave, raising the minimum wage and reducing the retirement age, anything that inconveniences his noveau rich confederates. If he had his way,many of his own supporters would be working harder, longer, for less money, with less protection. That indeed is the reality of his  Brexit dream.
Don't be fooled in handing your vote to Farage and his,Brexit party, that is continuing to try and sell people an idea of Brext that doesn't exist, never has and never will.If you choose to vote tomorrow, do it wisely, vote progressive and not for the far right, and if in doubt vote tactically.We have no guarantee that the Lib Dems or CHUK will work with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (which Labour is a part of) and other left-wing blocs to effectively fight the incoming bands of right-wing extremists. There are a variety of left and progressive options to choose from in the European election, but a vote for the Liberal Democrats, as in domestic elections, is essentially a vote for the Tories
Tactical voting requires considerable thought and a one sized fit all approach is not going to work..  Here's a handy list though.

 The  following new satirical tune from Captain Ska arrives rather timely, best enjoyed with a nice cold milkshake.

Captain Ska - Nigel Farage is a Racist

Nigel Farage is a racist
Don't be fooled by the laughing face
Nigel Farage is a racist
A vote for Nigel is a vote for hate

[Verse 1]
He's rather picky 'bout who's living next door
Homegrown neighbours he likes more
Hatred he's been whipping up
With racist posters full of lies
Remember where this went before?

Nigel Farage is a racist
Don't be fooled by the laughing face
Nigel Farage is a racist
A vote for Nigel is a vote for hate

[Verse 2]
Have you ever wondered why he's on so much TV?
Ratings go up with a pub bore
Normalised intolerance
Supported by the BBC
Not what our licence fee was for!
Oh no!
All together now!
Here we go!

Nigel Farage is a racist
Don't be fooled by the laughing face
Nigel Farage is a racist
A vote for Nigel is a vote for hate
A vote for Nigel is a vote for hate
A vote for Nigel is a vote for hate

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Is your vote for sale? Political advertisers think so

Have you even wondered why you're seeing an ad online? In your social media feed, in apps, or while browsing the internet? What you see is determined in large part by your data. The exploitation of data dominates the news these days - and the use of advertising in politics is front and centre to this exploitation. Advertisers are able to buy access to very personal information about you and then infer even more about you. They are able to use this information to target ads at you with heightened precision, and to send you unique messages that are specially created to appeal to you and people like you. There are many actors in the business of amassing our data and using it to segment and profile us based on our behaviour - data brokers, ad tech, and platforms we use.

It's not only brands and advertisers selling cat t-shirts who are targeting you, political parties, political campaigns and those that work for them tap into and further exploit our data - and it's happening in the dark. Privacy International believes that you should be told and understand how your data is being used by companies and by political actors, and that there must be limits - your data should not be used against you.

In the run up to an election, concern at such attempts to influence and manipulate our views are heightened. This is why PI are working to challenge such practices. There are steps you can take to minimise the ads you see online and questions you can be asking of those that profit from your data. '

Visit for info and advice.
Some say data-driven technologies are an inevitable feature of modern political campaigning, that  are a welcome addition to politics as normal and a necessary and modern approach to democratic processes;  while others say that they are corrosive and diminish trust in already flawed political systems.

With our increased awareness of data violations and the understanding  of  data to violate privacy, take for instance  the misuse of data  recently  by Cambridge Analytica and other companies associated with the firm  that may have altered the outcome of both the U.S. presidential election and the U.K.'s Brexit referendum.
Chris Wylie, the former director of research at Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of illegally collecting online data of up to 50 million Facebook users, said that his work allowed Donald Trump's presidential campaign to garner unprecedented insight into voters' habits ahead of the 2016 vote.

He added that a Canadian business with ties to Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Group, also provided analysis for the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum. This research, Wylie said, likely breached the U.K.'s strict campaign financing laws and may have helped to sway the final Brexit outcome.

People are increasingly aware of how data algorithms are used based on our online behaviors, from Amazon recommendations to targeted ads that follow us from site to site.  Transparency, permission and maintaining privacy—for safety and to avoid manipulation--have all been major topics of whistle-blowers and social discourse.

Regulators and those with the remit to ensure that elections remain fair and free however did not listen to Edward Snowden’s warnings in 2013 about the danger that the misuse of personal data has on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, and on democratic processes, that helps hinder free and fair elections. At at end of day we should all be on our guard about how we seek to protect our personal data and privacy as the misuse of our data in political campaigning  continue to grow.

PI believes that you should be told how your data is being used by companies and by political actors, and that there must be limits - your data should not be used against you.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet

Names and Locations

Names and Location of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet, 2019 – by Jordan Engel

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

 The above map from artist Jordan Engel and the Decolonial Atlas project powerfully shows the corporations bearing the largest responsibility for the climate crisis. His map breaks down the top 100 individuals contributing to environmental waste and climate change across the planet.
The basis for this map is the Carbon Majors Report from 2017 by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), listing the top 100 fossil fuel producers in the world, responsible for 71 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.
The harm that's being done to the planet can be clearly  pinpointed, to a very specific list of companies destroying our planet and environment for profit. At least these companies have CEOs that can be named and shamed, before they kill us all, with their irresponsible actions.

"Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth. Their business model relies on the destruction of the only home humanity has ever known. Meanwhile, we misdirect our outrage at our neighbors, friends, and family for using plastic straws or not recycling. If there is anyone who deserves the outrage of all 7.5 billion of us, it’s these 100 people right here. Combined, they control the majority of the world’s mineral rights – the “right” to exploit the remaining unextracted oil, gas, and coal. They need to know that we won’t leave them alone until they agree to Keep It In The Ground. Not just their companies, but them. Now it’s personal. "

“Names and Location of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet, 2019” was made by Jordan Engel. It can be reused under the Decolonial Media License 0.1.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Kevin Ayers "Shouting In A Bucket Blues" For Kenny Sheehan R.I.P

This one for for one of my dearest friends Kenny Sheehan,who passed earlier this week, my lovely boy, soul mate, surrogate dad, poet, painter, magus, beat, raconteur extrordinary, it would be a huge regret that after all this time he did not get a mention on this blog, from time to time he would have a look at my own poems, give me a thumbs up or thumbs down, my finest critic, so goodbye matey, behave yourself you old devil, say hello to all the others, tell Uncle Bill (William Burroughs) and Jane am not ready yet, you will will be missed greatly.

In light and freedom
weightless without a care
following Pans' cloven hoof
weaving among golden sunsets
scenes of painted sorcery
flickering among the stars
among the vicisstudes of breath
fondly will linger
under the influence
near magic tea rooms
rich in intoxication
your wild flame will ignite
in burning embers of time
in  the blaze of  night and day
the lightning lighting up the skies
you will forever brightly glow.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The ongong Nakba of the Palestinian people.

On May 15th each year, Palestinians and their allies around the world mark the Nakba ( Cataclysm)  the time when more than 750,000 Palestiians, about half of the Arab population  in Palestine at that time, were forced out of their homes and lands and saw  Palestinian villages wiped off the map to establish the state of Israel in 1948. Thousands of people were brutally massacred in Deir Yassin, Lydda, Tantura and many other areas, by gangs which later became the Israeli Defence Force.
The vast majority of Palestinian refugees, both those outside the 1949 armistice lines  and those internally displaced, were barred by the newly declared state of Israel from  their right to return to their homes or the reclaiming of their property, and in doing so Israel violated international law. Ii is the defining event that formed and solidified the Palestinian liberation struggle
This period of remembrance also now marks the anniversary of those killed during the Great Return March in Gaza last year. Thousands of Palestinians, stuck in the blockaded Gaza strip, initiated protests that started in Gaza at the end of March as a way to draw attention to the living conditions in Gaza, where currently more than 1,3 million Palestinian refugees live, but more importantly as a march for the right of return. This Great March characterizes the use of peaceful activism by Palestinian citizens since the early 2000s. These mobilizations aim to defend land rights, rights to resources, mobility through non-violence and sometimes innovative actions to attract international attention demanding their right to return to their homes from which they were expelled in 1948. They were also condemning the continued occupation and siege. Hundreds of people have been killed during the marches, including children, disabled protesters, journalists and paramedics.
Photographer Mohammed Zanoun's profiles of Great March of Return participants, picked up by the Electronic Intifada, explained why the March is necessary and why they keep going back every Friday.
One participant, 20 year-old Shireen, commented: "With the Great March of Return, the world has become aware that there is a nation demanding its rights and that we will not stay silent. The world should support us. I want to live in a developed, free society, which has no occupation, killing or destruction. We are looking for freedom and we will seize it."
In the aftermath of an Israeli election in which candidates vied for who could threaten Palestinian lives the most, and in which Netanyahu promised to annex the West Bank and Golan Heights, starting with the 57th Friday of the Great March of Return and continuing over the weekend of May 4–5, a number of Israeli bombing raids resulted in a devastating number of Palestinian casualties,including at least 25 people killed. The deaths of two Palestinian toddlers and their pregnant mothers were particularly horrific.According to Tareq Baconi from the International Crisis Group, Palestinians were being shot at long before any rockets were fired back. Much has been made of Palestinian responses to the attacks in the international press, whose coverage has repeatedly refused to acknowledge Israel's initiation of the hostilities, or the incomparable force and destructive power it unleashed on the starved and fenced-in population in the Strip.
There is no peace in stolen lands, especially when people still cry for liberation and the right to return to their lands.The fact is the Nakba never ended. It continues every day as Palestinians are evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to be replaced by illegal Jewish-only settlements. It continues as Israel’s occupation obstructs and severely restricts Palestinians’ attainment of rights and fundamental freedoms, including: the right to life, the right to liberty and security of person, and their right to an adequate standard of living,amongst others. Notably, Israel also violates Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement within and from the Occupied Palestinian Territories through its closure policy made up of the Annexation Wall and its associated permit-regime in the West Bank, and its prolonged closure of the Gaza Strip, which has made Gaza uninhabitable for Palestinians.
In the Gaza Strip, in particular, Palestinians continue to be severely deprived of their liberty as a result of Israel’s unlawful closure, amounting to collective punishment. In Gaza, Palestinians are trapped in a humanitarian crisis without adequate water or electricity as they are prevented from returning to their lands inside what is now Israel.It continues with sniper attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, encroachment of illegal settlements across the West Bank and extreme limitations placed on Palestinians' movements within and between towns, courtesy of IDF-staffed checkpoints and all in violation of international human rights law and in denial of the fundamental aspirations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sought “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy … freedom from fear and want”.
Palestinians still have no state and no equality, Refugee camps still exist all over the world and a majority of Palestinians live in the diaspora. Palestine is occupied  in the most brutal way possible.
For the nearly six million Palestinians who live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the nakba remains an ongoing process, as Israel uses a range of tools to restrict their livelihoods.
They remain vulnerable to expulsion, watching an ever-increasing share of their land become off-limits. About half of the occupied West Bank is already inaccessible to Palestinians, designated as military zones or nature reserves, or set aside for future Israeli settlements.The Israeli military control large parts of the West Bank and Gaza is completely sealed and “monitored” by Israeli ships, fighter planes and tanks.
Against their will, the Nakba has divided the Palestinian people between Gaza and the West Bank. Still searching for justice and dignty, rememberance acts as resistance to their occupiers who still try to bury and hide their history. The Trump-Netanyahu alliance has turbocharged the ongoing Nakba, including a recent announcement Netanyahu that a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights will be built named after Trump.
As  Palestine continues to endure al Nakba, this years commemoration coincides with the Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, during which Israel will parade a supposed normalcy, despite its ongoing military occupation, oppression and blockade. The Israeli government has used Netta Barzilai's win in the 2018 competition as a huge PR opportunity. The singer, who has been described by Netanyahu as the "best ambassador of Israel", has served to art-wash the country's continued oppression of the Palestinian people. Palestinians are unable to attend due to Israel’s apartheid wall, and Israel has said it will deny entry to any activists supporting the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign.
Israel's dreams for the peerless success of the Eurovision Song Contest have not matched reality. The expected ticket sales and tourism boom have not materialised and the Palestinian call for a boycott of the event has been answered by campaigners around the world, including over 60 queer and trans liberation organisations from over a dozen countries.
There are alternatives to Eurovision  this year' rather than endorse a blatant Israeli propaganda exercise, fans can tune in to Globalvision, which will coincide with Eurovision though it has not  received the  corporate mainstream media coverage being given to the event in Tel Aviv.  Palestinian artists will feature among acts from around the world in an ambitious, live-streamed event. There is also the No to Eurovision: Party for Palestine concert on 18 May in London, as well as protest actions are expected to take place across the world in the lead up and during the airing of the event.
Despite the international attention that the Nakba has received over the years, especially considering the recent deadly peaceful demonstrations in Gaza, Israel has not yet recognized the Nakba, nor their responsibility in 1948. The right of return for Palestine refugees is a right guaranteed by international law and enshrined in UN General Assembly resolution 194. Knowing that the displacement of Palestinians is still being practiced by Israel today in the West Bank and Gaza, the question of the ongoing Nakba needs to be addressed to achieve justice and peace in the region. The right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land must be the precondition for a dialogue for peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine.
Also today an international coalition are demanding that Airbnb delist properties for rent in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.Campaigners are calling on people across the world to deactivate their Airbnb accounts to mark today's Nakba Day in relation  to the international home-renting company,  for reversing its decision to delist properties in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
The coalition, which includes SumOfUs, Codepink, American Muslims for Palestine, the US Palestinian Community Network, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace, was angered over the global accommodation website’s reversal of its November 2018 decision to delist properties in the illegal settlements.
“If Airbnb wants to continue to allow rental suites on the ruins of Palestinian lives and land then they will continue to get pressured to do the right thing,” the coalition said.“There’s no ‘two sides’ of a so-called conflict in the settlements. It’s stolen land from Palestinians, plain and simple.”
Airbnb initially agreed to stop listing properties to rent in the illegally occupied West Bank and Jerusalem after pressure from human rights groups and a global petition that garnered more than 150,000 signatures.
However, in April the multibillion-dollar company backpedalled, saying it would “not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform.”
An Airbnb statement said it understood “the complexity of the issue,” claiming to take “no profits from this activity in the region.”
The statement added: “Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organisations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”
The development of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine is deemed a breach of international law.
“By doing business in these settlements, Airbnb and other international companies are contributing to the economic viability of settlements and are normalising Israeli annexation of Palestinian land,” the coalition said, accusing the company of “directly promoting discrimination, oppression and injustice.”
Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy spokesman Salem Barahmeh said: “International companies are complicit in perpetuating this injustice and must be held accountable.
“Through the #deactivateAirbnb campaign, people can choose whether to be complicit in supporting war crimes or ending them here's no neutrality in situations of injustice. There's no neutrality in situations of injustice. Airbnb cannot simply donate profits they know are contributing to inequality, land theft and discrimination to keep their hands clean of illegal occupation. The fact remains: Palestinians cannot regain their homes and land, whereas settlers can rent out homes built on Palestinian land with the help of Airbnb.
Tell Airbnb to stop listing Israel-occupied Palestinian homes now!
Despite the international attention that the Nakba has received over the years, especially considering the recent deadly peaceful demonstrations in Gaza, Israel has not yet recognized the Nakba, nor their responsibility in 1948. The right of return for Palestine refugees is a right guaranteed by international law and enshrined in UN General Assembly resolution 194. Knowing that the displacement of Palestinians is still being practiced by Israel today in the West Bank and Gaza, the question of the ongoing Nakba needs to be addressed to achieve justice and peace in the region. The right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land must be the precondition for a dialogue for peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine.
The Nakba still reverberates today because  Al Nakba is constant and continuing, felt through all aspects of Palestininian life, whether in Israel. the Occupied Territores, the refugees camps, or even in settled Palestinian communities abroad. Today, as we observe  the sad sombre event of the Nakba and it's ongoing resonance, lets be stronger and more determined  than ever to stand up to Israeli policies of apartheid. It is more important than ever that the  international community keep defending Palestinian human rights, support Palestinian protests against forced housing demolitions and land theft and put real pressure on Israel to end its occupation and comply with international law. To take all measures within international law to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing strategy resulting in ongoing human rights violations and international crimes committed against the Palestinian People, including forcible transfer, colonization and apartheid. Today therefore is an occasion to reaffirm the inherent dignity and rights of Palestinians and to assert the right of the Palestinian people, as a whole, to self-determination, which includes the right to permanent sovereignty over natural wealth and resources and the right of return of Palestinian refugees, in order to achieve justice and durable peace for the Palestinian People.
The  ongoing occupation of Palestinian land makes the BDS campaigns all the more urgent and necessary. Palestinians are not going to give up and be content to mourn the ghost of Palestine. Today we remember this. The Palestinian people still belong to their land, where they still remain, in their hearts and spirits, still holding and caring for the keys of their houses for the people who left. Time drifts, but for many memory is never erased, still belonging to the land of their ancestors, where hearts and minds can never leave.  It is time for the leaders of the world to understand that there is no homeland for the Palstinians except Palestine.