Pat Carmody

A powerful record of resilience

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Spent teargas canisters. Hundreds of these dull grey tubes the size of deodorant cans littered the sand on the walk to the contaminated former landfill site in Calais that became a temporary camp for as many as 10,000 displaced people until late 2016. This was the place called Lande or “heath” by the French authorities, but alternatively “The Jungle” by its oppressed inhabitants.

Zero Hours, Spot on over Orgreave, Small correction

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Zero Hours
Joseph Choonara makes some important observations on the current controversies surrounding zero-hours contracts (Work contracts: A zero-sum game, Socialist Review, June 2014). The main point being that such contracts have not replaced permanent jobs to any significant degree but are of course a useful management tool for disciplining workers whatever contract they are on.

From Peterloo to Parkside

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Maxine Peake recently performed Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy to sell-out audiences. She talks to Socialist Review's Pat Carmody about the poem and her new radio play about a 1993 colliery occupation by miners' wives.


What attracted you to The Masque of Anarchy?

I got approached. I bumped into Alex Poots, who runs the Manchester International Festival, and he just said, "I want someone to read The Masque of Anarchy and then we want to do a discussion about protest and the future of protest in this country. Are you interested?"

Their propaganda and ours

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I joined my first organisation in 1971. The body had more than 2 million members in more than 20,000 branches and provided potentially life-saving information.

The organisation was the Tufty Club, created by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 1961 to curtail the growing number of deaths and injuries to children caused by road traffic accidents.

Tufty's songs, books, puzzles and badges are on show at the British Library's new Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition, a subject, of course, that was not all about helpful cartoon squirrels and their fluffy friends teaching "kerb drills" to small children.

Calling for recognition

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Every night, all around the country, in the 21st century factories known as call centres, some 750,000 workers will breathe a collective sigh of relief as they get the signal that their shift has finally come to an end.

The signal to stop work in the call centre I work in is a manager flicking the main switch off and on - "flashing the lights".

It's a moment of glee as workers are released from the monotony of repeating themselves for hours and the stress of attempting to convince someone to part with a slice of their wages or pension. At that moment, we can all relax. Or perhaps not.

Shelter dispute: charity begins at home

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Oscar Wilde once wrote that "charity creates a multitude of sins".

Were he alive today, Wilde would probably have singled out charity Shelter's chief executive, Adam Sampson, as one of the sinners. Sampson has launched a savage assault on his employees, forcing pay cuts and an extended working week on frontline staff who provide support to some of most deprived in Britain.

Not turning rebellion into money

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My first thought on reading Paul Sillett's excellent review of Julien Temple's Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (Film, Socialist Review, May 2007) was: "You jammy bastard - how come you got a freebie to see the film before me?"

Paul is right when he says that Strummer rebelled against his comfortable upbringing as a son of a diplomat.

I have lost count of the times from the late 1970s until Strummer's death, I have railed against those who accused Strummer and the Clash of being sell outs. Such views are nonsense and do not stand up to any cursory examination.

Sticking the Boot In

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Review of 'Refusal Shoes', Tony Saint, Serpent's Tail, £10

Watching the BBC's Asylum Day recently was a whole evening of incredibly depressing viewing. Apart from the refugees and liberal vicars making a brave stand against the gutter racists, the only other infrequent interruption to the myth promotion was the voice of a former immigration officer and debut novelist, Tony Saint.

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