Martin Thomas discusses In Defence of Bolshevism and some other modes of politics.
This book, by way of polemics and discussions from different eras, explains what “Bolshevism” means in the field of left-wing political organising. Another way of summing it up would be: the opposite of 38 Degrees.
As in so many areas Labour's 2017 manifesto marked a welcome and significant sea change in the party’s direction and vocabulary on education.
Gone was the talk of driving up standards by competition, increased observation and punishment of teachers who didn’t make the grade. Instead there were welcome commitments to establish a National Education Service (NES), ensure democratic control of schools, and restore funding cuts and genuine commitments to fund further education and Early Years provision better.
Physics pervades our lives, not just in the experiences of gravity, momentum, heat and cold that our ancestors would have felt but with the engines, electricity, communications and computing that are now taken for granted. The laws of physics have been elucidated by a group of people unknown for much of human history - scientists - and this group has been largely, but not entirely, male, the balance changing slowly throughout the last century.
A Munich court announced its verdicts last week at the end of the five-year long NSU (National-Socialist Underground) trial.
Beate Zschäpe, the only surviving member of the Neo-Nazi “NSU trio”, was sentenced to life imprisonment for her role in the ten murders, three bombings and 15 armed robberies carried out by the NSU between 2000 and 2007.
Zshäpe had claimed that she had known nothing of the activities carried out by Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, the two other members of the trio who had committed suicide after a botched robbery in 2011.
Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has recently said that “anti-Zionism” is the new antisemitism. “In the 19th and 20th centuries [Jews] were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel”.
That is true, I think. But it needs explication if we are distinguish well between that anti- Zionism and reasonable criticism of Israel. And it’s been true for a very long time, for decades in fact. It is now the specifically “left” strand of antisemitism.
It is 90 years since the death of the Hungarian Communist Jenö Landler.
His is not a name that will evoke much response today. He did not leave a written legacy but he was one of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes and never occupy the spotlight. Without him and countless thousands of other unsung activists where would we be today? They too should be remembered and honoured along with the “big names”.
No Problem Here — Understanding Racism in Scotland challenges “the conventional ‘race-blind’ narratives that Scotland and its elites have crafted over many years,” according to which “Scotland does not have a serious racism problem.”
This “now powerful myth that there is ‘no problem here’” has put down even deeper roots in recent years as a result of “the new common sense of Scottish politics, the dominant story that has been forged by the SNP and others.”
Last week saw the fiftieth anniversary of Enoch Powell’s “River of Blood” speech”.
The contents of the speech are well known, arguing that black and Asian people were an immutable and alien pollutant in Britain and that immigration should be stopped and reversed through repatriation.
According to a local human rights group, at least 34 unarmed demonstrators have been killed, and hundreds injured, as the Nicaraguan government has attacked protests against pension changes which will make workers pay more from their wages to get less in pensions.
The government has promised to consider changes, but only in discussion with Nicaragua’s bosses’ federation, its main social ally.
Yet this government is headed by Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinista Liberation Front, which first won power in Nicaragua in 1979 as an avowedly revolutionary socialist force.