The Party Game Is Over. Stand And Fight By John Pilger

3 November, 2010 — John Pilger

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew.
Which in sleep has fallen on you.
Ye are many – they are few

These days, the stirring lines of Percy Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy may seem unattainable. I don’t think so. Shelley was both a Romantic and political truth-teller. His words resonate now because only one political course is left to those who are disenfranchised and whose ruin is announced on a government spread sheet.

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Tariq Ali on Britain’s Political Deadlock, Gordon Brown’s Resignation and Pakistan’s Role in the Times Square Bombing Attempt

11 May, 2010 — Democracy Now!

Tariq Ali on Britain’s Political Deadlock, Gordon Brown’s Resignation and Pakistan’s Role in the Times Square Bombing Attempt

In Britain, the unfolding political drama following last week’s inconclusive elections has taken a new twist. On Monday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered to resign as head of the Labor Party later this year. He announced the opening of formal negotiations with the rival Liberal Democratic Party to form a progressive alliance and block the Conservative Party from retaking power. The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, won most seats in Parliament in last week’s elections but fell short of a majority. We speak with longtime political commentator and writer Tariq Ali in London.

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Dead end for New Labour By Leo Panitch

9 May, 2010 — The Real News Network

Leo Panitch: Labour Party will have to split before it can be renewed

Leo Panitch is the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto. Panitch is also the author of “Global Capitalism and American Empire” and his most recent release “American Empire and the Political Economy of International Finance”.


28 April, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

On April 15, news media broadcast the first of three live, 90-minute “prime ministerial debates” between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the leaders, respectively, of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. By the end of the second debate on April 22, the word ‘Iraq’ had been mentioned a total of five times over the course of the three hours of discussion.

One day later, April 23, a wave of bombings in Baghdad were reported to have killed 58 people and wounded more than 100. Seven people also died that day in a series of bombings in the western town of Khalidya. (

As usual, the carnage was mentioned in passing – presented as routine in the way of a traffic snarl on the M25 – and then forgotten. By the end of the following day, the death toll had risen to 85 with hundreds seriously wounded from a total of 16 bomb attacks.

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Keiser Report No.36: Markets! Finance! Scandal!

22 April, 2010 —

Max Keiser and co-host Stacy Herbert wonder why Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud spared the victims of banking fraud; they also look at the scandals behind the Fabulous Fab Tourre’s “monstrosities,” Gordon Brown’s “shock” at Goldman’s “moral bankruptcy,” and at the political markets shocking the currency markets. In the second half of the show, Max talks to author and journalist Afshin Rattansi about the surprise outcome of the UK’s first ever televised political debates; the UK taxpayers nearly $1 billion loss via Goldman’s alleged fraud; and about Tony Blair’s lucrative post-Downing Street banking career.

Obama, Britain and the age of permanent war By John Pilger

26 March, 2010 – New Statesman

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud ‘our boys’. The candidates are almost identical political mummies, shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite love America because America allows them to barrack and bomb the natives and call themselves ‘partners’. We should interrupt their fun.

US war machine

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, ‘bunker-buster’ bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of ‘defence’, Robert Gates, complains that ‘the general [European] public and the political class’ are so opposed to war, they are an ‘impediment’ to peace. Remember, this is the month of the March Hare.

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4 March, 2010 — Stop the War Coalition

4) MICHAEL FOOT 23 JULY 1913 – 3 MARCH 2010

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Afghanistan and NATO: Figleaf summit By Eric Walberg

3 February, 2010 —

The plan voiced at the London Afghanistan conference to pay off the Taliban is belied by the plan at the Brussels NATO conference two days earlier to bomb them into submission, notes Eric Walberg

London has been the venue of a three-ring Middle East circus over the past month. There is the ongoing Chilcot inquiry into the (il)legality of British participation in the invasion of Iraq. Two of the five committee members are Jewish — Sir Martin Gilbert a militant Zionist, and Sir Lawrence Freedman the drafter of Blair’s invasion policy. Despite the deck being stacked, witness after witness has testified the invasion was illegal, and former British prime minister Tony Blair was booed after telling the inquiry he has no regrets.

Then there was an impromptu conference on “saving” Yemen, which the five major Yemeni opposition parties denounced as “intended to save the political regime in Yemen.” Yemen is described by a British official as “Afghanistan with a sea”.

Just as farcical was last week’s summit on Afghanistan, called to “move the international effort forward in key areas of security, governance, development, and regional support.” In reality, it was a cosmetic follow-up to the war council held two days earlier at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the NATO Military Committee met, bringing together the chiefs of defence of all 28 member states along with 35 “partners”, wannabes and observers — an astounding 63 nations.

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Sign MAP’s Open Letter to Gordon Brown- end to the blockade, end the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza

4 January, 2009

MAP is asking supporters to sign our Open Letter calling for an immediate end to the blockade to end the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. Click here to sign the letter.

An Open Letter to Gordon Brown

We, the undersigned, call on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to urgently use all available diplomatic means to bring an immediate and unconditional end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. A year after the assault on Gaza, in which almost 1,400 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured, civilians continue to pay a devastating price.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza means the denial of a broad range of goods, which include food, industrial, educational and medical items, all deemed “nonessential”, for a population who, after decades of occupation and now in their third year under blockade, are struggling to rebuild their lives in the wake of the widespread destruction. With critical reconstruction materials are not entering Gaza, the urgently needed rebuilding of medical facilities, homes and schools is impossible. A recent Medical Aid for Palestinians survey of the most vulnerable families in Gaza showed that a mere 2% had been able to repair their homes from damage incurred during last winter’s bombardment.

Across the Gaza Strip, over 3,530 homes were completely destroyed and more than 2,850 severely damaged. Tens of thousands more homes suffered structural damage. Families now face the winter rains and cold surviving in tents or in the rubble of their destroyed homes. The blockade is directly compromising one of the people of Gaza’s most basic human rights; the right to health. Israeli authorities continue to routinely, and without explanation, block or delay the entry of medical supplies and equipment, leaving hospitals less able to cope. As hospitals falter, patients seeking care outside the Gaza Strip are routinely denied exit for life-saving medical treatment; in just one month this year four people died while waiting for permission to leave.*

Outside the hospitals, a public health disaster looms: with no spare parts for maintenance or repair, water and sewage treatment facilities cannot function. The World Health Organisation reports that over 80% of Gaza’s water is no longer safe to drink, while up to 80 million cubic litres of untreated or partially treated sewage is being dumped into the sea daily.

The British Government has stated that Israel’s blockade must end, recognising its profound impact on civilians. We welcome this statement, but it must be backed up by meaningful diplomatic action. We call upon the UK Government to make urgent representations to the Government of Israel and to redouble its efforts to bring about an immediate and unconditional end to the blockade of Gaza.

This letter has been signed by, amongst others:
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About Patria, Pageants and Poppies By William Bowles

17 November, 2009

“Britain’s last surviving World War I veteran shunned Remembrance Day commemorations Wednesday because he was against the glorification of war” — ‘Britain’s last WWI veteran shuns Remembrance Day’

After eight years and tens of thousands of Afghan casualties, the occupiers are settling down to a war of unknown duration. And contrary to Brown’s earlier declarations that ‘al-Qu’eda’ was operating out of Afghanistan, Brown, all-dressed up for the Lord Mayor’s banquet told the assorted ‘dignitaries’:

“Mr Brown has acknowledged that al-Qaeda is not operating in Afghanistan but cautioned that it continued to recruit and train.

“Al-Qaeda rely on a permissive environment in the tribal areas of Pakistan and – if they can re-establish one – in Afghanistan,” Mr Brown warned.

“He said there were “several hundred” foreign fighters still based in the tribal areas of northern Pakistan, attending training camps to learn bomb-making and weapons skills.”” — ‘Brown plans Afghan handover talks’, BBC News Website, 17 November, 2009

But the real thrust of Brown’s attempt to resuscitate the British Empire is revealed by the following:

“At every point in our history where we have looked outwards, we have become stronger.

“And now, more than ever, there is no future in what was once called ‘splendid isolation’.”

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UK: Sign the petition to bring the troops home from Afghanistan

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. Noting the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and the destabilisation of Pakistan arising from the NATO military intervention in the region, and believing that only the Afghan people themselves can generate a political solution to their country’s problems, we therefore demand that the government commence the withdrawal of all British military forces from Afghanistan.

Submitted by Stewart Halforty of Stop the War Coalition – Deadline to sign up by: 14 November 2009 – Signatures: 2,471

To sign please go to

Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires or just a graveyard with a pipeline running through it? By William Bowles

6 November, 2009

“The US does not need a final victory over the Talibs. Despite their widely advertized ferocious conflict, the US and the Talibs manage to coexist quite successfully in Afghanistan…” — Andrei KONUROV, US Objectives in Afghanistan [1]

Come on folks, it’s just good sense, there is no way the Empire can actually win the war in Afghanistan. As I have stated before it’s not about  ‘winning’ but occupation. Afghanistan is basically a stepping stone on the way to some place else and leaving an oil pipeline behind with a friendly government in place to protect it. Ah, but the best laid plans of mice and men etc…

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‘New’ Labour on the rocks? The last of the lackeys jump ship By Solomon Hughes

3 October, 2009 — The Morning Star Online

I got a sense of the complete exhaustion of the new Labour project when Will Hutton launched a crushing attack on 12 wasted years at a fringe meeting at the party’s conference.

Hutton made his attack in the heart of the Blairite temple, in front of some of new Labour’s high priests, and they responded with a smile and a murmur and little more.

Hutton was speaking at a Policy Network fringe meeting. Policy Network is an “international progressive think tank” founded by Blair in 2000 with Peter Mandelson as president. It is the “third way” made flesh.

Roger Liddle, the first servant of the new Labour gods under the dynasty of Blair, was in the chair.

James Purnell, a junior temple official who rose to the inner sanctum as work minister, was on the panel. Both Liddle and Purnell worked in Number 10 in the first Labour government, they were there when Blair started building his temples to the corporations and launching his wars against the worshippers of other gods.

While Liddle and Purnell did their work for the pharaoh in the name of the new religion of the third way, they didn’t really believe it. The third way turned out to involve pretty much doing whatever the multinationals wanted.

By contrast, Hutton is quite genuinely committed to a third way. His politics and economics do mix together a real interest in putting public welfare above private profit with a commitment to modernising capitalism.

So, on the one hand, Hutton can offer pretty interesting insights into the destructive nature of neoliberal capitalism, but on the other you do get a lot of talk about “experiential businesses,” “flexicurity,” how we “navigate our lives” and a demand that public-sector workers accept zero-hours contracts.

Hutton told the Blairite panel: “Precisely the wrong lessons were learned in the 1992 election, as Brown and Blair retreated further from Labour values and won in 1997 essentially as beaten men. And the problems we now face stem from then.”

Responding to some murmurs from Liddle, Hutton went on: “I think the electorate voted in 1997 for a modern social democratic party, for social investment and reining in the excesses of capitalism, but you [Liddle] and Peter Mandelson were into what you called the politics of assurance.”

This meant assuring the rich and the bankers that they were safe with new Labour.

Hutton continued: “But look, for example, at the Financial Services Authority constitution, drawn up by Brown and Ed Balls in 2001.

“It is essentially drawn up by the City, and it could not question any new financial instrument, the instruments that caused the crisis. Labour bought the neoconservative story.

“The big story is not Tony becoming a neoconservative with his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is Brown joining American economic neoconservatism, giving Alan Greenspan a knighthood and the freedom of Edinburgh – it’s just beyond belief.

“And now we face being reduced to 150 MPs and out of power for decades.”

Faced with this heresy, spoken on the temple floor, Liddle did little more than grimace. Purnell went one stage further – he partly agreed.

Purnell said: “Look at Alastair Campbell’s diaries around ‘96 and Tony Blair became very keen on stakeholder capitalism and you can read them and see it would fit in with Will’s description.”

Indeed they do. Stakeholder capitalism was a moderately social democratic principle asserting that businesses should not only listen to shareholders, they should also listen to stakeholders. The government would force boards to consider the effect on jobs, the environment, welfare and the public good as well as profits.

According to Campbell’s diaries in ‘96, Blair “felt he was on to something with the stakeholder economy idea. It was a way of conveying the economy is about more than money and jobs. It was also about what sort of country we wanted to be … it was a washing line from which to hang all the parts of economic policy.”

David Miliband “was ecstatic” about Blair’s laundry. But it was Brown who stepped in and tore all the ideas off their clothes pegs.

Campbell writes: “It was pretty clear that GB did not believe in the basic stakeholder economy message at all.”

Blair may have felt he was “on to something,” but he wasn’t on it very hard. Brown argued against any demands being placed on capital, so Blair gave up his vague ideas and happily waited for his crown and sceptre instead.

And now, 12 years on, Blair’s priesthood cannot even be bothered to make a defence when their religion is insulted in public.

They seem happy to sit back and watch their pyramids crumble, the nose fall off their sphinx and the new rulers sweep down.

– While Liddle and Purnell gave up on the fringe, there was an alternative strategy on the conference floor. Peter Mandelson demanded there be more real engineering and less financial engineering.

Gordon Brown assaulted the immorality of the bankers. Which means that the other Gordon Browns and Peter Mandelsons, the ones who rejoiced in “lighter than air” industries, light-touch regulation and intense relaxation about the filthy rich becoming richer and filthier, were just imitators.

Or were they the real Mandelsons and Browns? Will the real Peter Mandelson please stand up?

The Labour leadership’s growls against the market and the bankers fail to convince because they spent so long purring in the laps of the corporate elite.

They might rally a few votes, but they are limited by the fact that Labour has done the opposite in power for over a decade.

They do at least show that there is a political space to make these arguments, a task the left should take up if we are not too busy splitting and sabotaging our own initiatives, or launching successful electoral initiatives that promptly self-destruct.

Bewitched, Baffled and Bewildered By William Bowles

25 November 2008

“Whatever else yesterday’s great budget gamble aspired to do, one thing was left unattended to: the thing which is the central disaster at the core of the financial crisis. That thing is, of course, the lack of credit coming from the banks. And there’s no sign that anyone is going to be able to force the banks to do anything. But tonight we’re asking why.

“Indeed, there are an awful lot of “whys” when it comes to the banking sector. I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve been in some way asleep for some portion of it. Did I miss any senior bankers being arraigned in front of the Commons treasury select committee? Have I missed the attorney general sizing up who she can move against in the criminal law courts?

“It seems that whilst these activities have been going on across the Atlantic, nothing is to happen here. Faisal Islam is looking at how credit might be got moving, and we’ll see what we can do on the other matters. — Snowmail, Channel 4 News, 25 November, 2008

Now who is speaking with forked tongue here? Let me get this straight: is Jon Snow giving us his opinions on the cause of the capitalist crisis, or is this the editorial line of Channel 4 News, because I know I’m baffled by this admission of total ignorance of the facts of the situation?

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October 22, 2008

Since starting Media Lens in 2001, we have learned that corporate journalists are very often ill-equipped, or disinclined, to debate vital issues with members of the public.

In 2004, the esteemed Lancet medical journal published a study showing that 98,000 Iraqis had most likely died following the US-led invasion. John Rentoul, chief political correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, responded with sarcasm when we challenged him about his dismissal of the peer-reviewed science:

“Oh no. You have found me out. I am in fact a neocon agent in the pay of the third morpork of the teleogens of Tharg.” (Email, September 15, 2005)

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