Martin Smith

Ten years of Loving Music and Hating Racism

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In preparation for the tenth anniversary celebrations of Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR), I looked through my old folder of political memorabilia. There I discovered a copy of the first ever Temporary Hoarding magazine produced in 1977.

Adorning the front cover was a simple but powerful message: "We want rebel music, street music. Music that breaks down people's fear of one another. Crisis music. Music that knows who the real enemy is."

I believe that spirit is kept alive today through the work of LMHR.

Horrors of capitalism

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Is it just hype or is the new horror film Cabin in the Woods a gore fest, a butt clenching, genre defining classic as some claim?

It was a dark rainy night when I along with four friends - Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy - ventured from our home town of Hackneyville to the Ritzy cinema, Brixton, in the deep south (of London) to investigate.

We laughed and screamed as we drove off. All was well as we crossed the piranha infested river Thames, but as soon as we reached the alligator infested swamp of Southwark we were soon lost.

The Nasty, Meek and Militant: How to get the unions back in the fight

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The great potential of the 30 November strike is in danger of being frittered away after unions called off national strikes on 28 March. Martin Smith looks at why the pensions fight has hit a roadblock and how we can restart the fightback

I write this article on 28 March (M28), the day that around 70,000 teachers and lecturers belonging to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU) struck across London to defend their pensions.

Keep kicking

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If you thought racism in football was as outdated as Kevin Keegan's bubble perm or Chris Waddle's mullet haircut, then recent events will have been a real wake-up call.

Football has moved from the back pages of our daily papers to the front, and for all the wrong reasons. Once again racism is rearing its ugly head.

First there was the case of Liverpool player Luis Suarez racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011. The Football Association found Suarez guilty, gave him an eight-match ban and fined him £40,000. This was followed by England and Chelsea captain John Terry allegedly racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry has now been charged by the police and was stripped of his captaincy of England.

Don't make me laugh

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What's going on? It seems like every time I switch on my TV, so-called comedians and panel show celebrities are telling racist and other offensive jokes.

Only the other day, Jimmy Carr was on a quiz panel spouting a tirade of racist jokes about Travellers and their protest at Dale Farm. Two days later Jeremy Clarkson was on the BBC's One Show saying that strikers should be shot in front of their families.

His excuse? It was only a joke. I don't recall the same leniency being applied to the two young men who jokingly called on people to riot on facebook over the summer.

The Prophets Outcast

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''I am an invisible man. No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind."

The opening lines from Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man have remained etched on my consciousness ever since I first read them 30 years ago. The Invisible Man is narrated in the first person, by an unnamed African-American man, who is socially invisible. It could equally be applied to the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities of Europe today.

Fighting Fascism: From Cable Street 1936 to Tower Hamlets 2011

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The English Defence League's plan to march through Tower Hamlets was defeated by an anti-fascist mobilisation. Martin Smith looks at the lessons for the fight against the EDL, while Dave Renton explores the history of Cable Street, where Oswald Mosley's fascists were stopped 75 years ago

Some 75 years have passed since the historic victory at Cable Street. But before the anniversary celebrations could begin, anti-fascists and local people were once again called on to defend the east London borough of Tower Hamlets from the racists. On 3 September 2011 the English Defence League (EDL) said it was going to march through the borough.

The big one

A class above the rest

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I believe a world without art and leisure would be a world devoid of hope, beauty and imagination. And it would indeed be an inhuman world that left no space for any creativity or relaxation. Yet our pursuit of good art, leisure and relaxation is polluted by commercialisation, blandness and conformity.

It was with those thoughts in mind I wrote what I hoped would be an uplifting column about the German football team St Pauli in June's edition of this magazine.

Unfortunately, as Mike Webber pointed out in a letter published in the last issue, the story of St Pauli didn't have a happy ending. They were relegated from the German Bundesliga at the end of last season.

The question Mike poses is a valid one. Can there ever be, as he puts it, a happy ending?

Pirates of the Bundesliga

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If you hate football with every fibre in your body, then read on. If you love football with a passion, then you need to read on too.

How can I square this circle, I hear you ask. The answer to this conundrum lies in Hamburg, Germany. There, nestling between the Reeperbahn (Hamburg's red-light district), the docks, and poor migrant and working class neighbourhoods is the Millerntor stadium, home to the football team St Pauli.

After March 26: how do we beat the Tories?

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The TUC march against the cuts can become a springboard for strikes on a scale that can begin to break the government's austerity drive. Martin Smith looks at the debates inside the trade union movement and asks, how can we move from the streets to the picket lines?


Photo: Geoff Dexter

In politics as in comedy, timing is everything. Given the choice, I suspect that David Cameron and George Osborne would not have picked 10 March 2011 as the day for ex-Labour minister Lord Hutton to publish his report on public sector pension reform. Reform is something of a misnomer for what was a full-scale assault on the pensions of

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