Following on from my article on anti-Semitism in September’s SR, a few words on Ken Livingstone. The Independent of 6 September quotes him as saying, “It’s now four months since I’ve been suspended and I’m still waiting for the committee to sit down and decide whether what I said was true or not, and I think…the reason they keep putting me off is because I’ve got so much evidence that what I was saying is true.”
In his review of Lynsey Hanley’s Respectable (June SR), Carlo Morelli makes the perfectly correct observation that the book is not informed by a Marxist analysis of class relations.
In his impatience with this fact, however, Carlo kind of misses the most important thing about the book: this is one person’s reflections upon her own life.
Hanley shares with her audience the numerous put-downs in her early life and the sense of suffocation she felt at the limited opportunities on offer to her.
Simon Guy’s article (“The Use and Abuse of the Arab Revolt”, June SR) is a timely reminder of the role of imperialism in the Great War in the formation of the Arab world today.
However I would just like to point out that it was not inevitable that the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers, but the result of an assiduous campaign by the Germans, heavily subsidised by German finance capital and fronted by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Giles was, as always, sharp in his article on Rodrigo Duterte’s victory in the Philippine election (“New Philippines president is a gangster”, June SR).
However, I believe there are a few things we have to consider to understand the situation.
First, the Maoist Communist Party (CPP) is part of the National Democratic Front (NDF), which includes organisations of workers, peasants, students, women, etc. So if we simply regard the CPP as “no force for progress” it is hard to see how we build relationships with these organisations.
I enjoyed Keith Flett’s article “Real Ale, Craft Beer and Anti-capitalism” in the May issue of Socialist Review. The emergence of craft beer is to be welcomed and encouraged. But even the best craft beer can’t match a great pint from the wood. The infrastructure needed for great ale is complex and expensive. Well, it’s a pub! We must focus primarily on protecting and promoting real ale above all. Even the greatest victory can be reversed in time, especially when big business wakes up and sniffs money. We must stay vigilant and protect the gains we’ve fought so hard for.
Following our article on the national Scottish FE strike in last month’s SR (“FE: Not a one day wonder”) there has been discussion about whether our stress on the importance of rank and file organisation means ignoring or taking a hostile attitude to union officials. The answer is no. In a very modest way we’re emulating the Clyde Workers Committee a century ago (and that’s not because they were fellow Scots): “We will support the officials just so long as they rightly represent the workers, but we will act independently immediately they misrepresent them.”
There has been a series of articles in the media on the issue of robots and automation becoming much more sophisticated. Some of the articles claim this could lead to many jobs disappearing. I have recently started a new job for an insurance company. In the first month we were told by management that they are looking to automate certain tasks. They of course told us everything would be fine, but I’m not an idiot — that is going to mean jobs.