‘You see, in this world there are two types of people, my friend – those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.’
‘You see, in this world there are two types of people, my friend – those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.’
“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons…. My own feeling is that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages…. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children” ~ Admiral William D. Leahy, (President Truman’s Chief of Staff and the most senior U.S. military officer during the war)
Although the cowardly and vindictive attack on a densely-packed, defenceless civilian population is still not acknowledged as a War Crime, even the current leadership of the USA would be hard pressed to deny the grotesque horror of Hiroshima, 75 years ago today. That would be impossible, yet the hypocrisy and cynicism of its ruling elite, who retain delusions of exceptionalism and infallibility, and demand the exclusive use of devastating force to impose its will, remain essentially unchanged.
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” ~ Confucius (551 –479 BC)
I have been prepared to give Keir Starmer the benefit of my doubt that he could provide effective opposition to the appalling current UK government, but in the space of 24 hours all hope has been dissipated.
First the new Labour leader bowed down to the rampant Zionist lobby in the media (and all the main political parties) by issuing an ”unreserved apology” to former Labour staff members and to the fanatical anti-Corbyn campaigner John Ware, the journalist who presented the evidence-free Panorama programme on Labour’s alleged ‘anti-semitism’. He even agreed to pay “substantial damages” to Ware and to seven whistleblowers over “defamatory and false allegations” made following the programme.
(By the way, how often must it be repeated that criticism of Israel’s worst excesses is NOT anti-semitism ? )
Now, at PMQs today, Starmer has called for the news channel RT to be banned (it is already refused air-time by Richard Branson’s Virgin Media, which tells its own story). ‘Sir’ Keir told the Commons: “One way the Government can seek to clamp down on Russian influence is to prevent the spread of Kremlin backed disinformation.”
But RT is the UK’s most informative TV news channel, providing truthful, objective coverage of events and offering a platform to dissident voices like George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Alex Salmond and others whose anti-neoliberal stance effectively disqualifies them from corporate media and that now abject government propaganda tool, the BBC.
There are even reports that Starmer is considering the removal of the Labour whip from Jeremy Corbyn, meaning that he would be booted out of the parliamentary party and become an independent MP.
I would hope for (and expect) a mass exodus of true radicals and socialists from the Party if he goes ahead with this, and Labour would deserve its subsequent marginalisation.
It’s apparent that Labour is now firmly in the grip of the Blairites and the Zionist lobby. Sad to say, as a vehicle for the progressive change and the new policies the UK so urgently needs, the once great Labour Party is now finished.
The perpetual occupation of Afghanistan has become so normalized that for most people it serves as mere background noise. A soldier dies now and again, a couple of dozen civilians get blown to pieces occasionally, but nothing is ever enough to stir western populations to demand an end to the shamelessly imperialist project.
This exceptional new documentary by Abby Martin reveals the reality of the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, from the CIA’s duplicity in the 1980s, through to today’s senseless stalemate.
I will not sign.
Sadly, there is no Palestinian state to recognize, within the 1967 or any other borders. These petitions achieve nothing and merely serve to delay the long-overdue death of the so-called ”two-state solution”, the illusion of which has guaranteed Israel’s’s survival as a Jewish racist state for decades.
Crucially, such resolutions would guarantee Israel’s survival in its present racist form within the 1948 boundaries, and actually aim to impose an arrangement that prevented Israel’s collapse.
Well-meaning liberals and progressives, inside Israel and outside, who advocate a ”Two-State” solution are choosing to ignore an alternative, based on the principle of equality for all, on the separation of state from religion, and on an end to discrimination and racial apartheid ;- a One-State Solution : Liberated Palestine !
Among other things, my old mate Mike was founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fitzrovia News, reputedly the longest-running community newspaper in London. Here’s a link to the front page of the June edition, published today :https://towerarchive.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/fn-157-lowres.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3m9A_z4L0JueUeG7TV5UxyRTLgMFjeUt2EsYp94vAo44CIclHVMCJSFlY
And some tributes from colleagues and friends :
The ‘Grauniad’ has also published this obituary (written by our mutual friend Peter Kirker).
My friend Mike Pentelow, who has died aged 73, was a journalist whose work and actions were instrumental in the preservation of the unique character of Fitzrovia, the London district north of Oxford Street from Soho in which he lived for 50 years.
His book Characters of Fitzrovia (2001) – a pantheon of artists, murderers, musicians and revolutionaries who had peopled that bohemian area – came to print after he squeezed his manuscript through the letterbox of a neighbour who was also a multi-millionaire publisher. Felix Dennis had been a defendant in the notorious Oz trial, and may have been persuaded by Mike’s scrawled note: “You’re on page 242.” Dennis’s friend Marsha Rowe wrote an introduction for the book.
Mike had been involved in the revival of the term Fitzrovia to describe the area many years before. In 1973 he and some local friends launched a festival for the then nameless community. They decided to call it the Fitzrovia festival, bringing back a name that had been used whimsically in the 1940s and 50s in the literary coterie around Dylan Thomas’s local, the Wheatsheaf in Rathbone Place, but that had fallen out of use in the 60s. A few years later the community newspaper, the Tower, which Mike went on to edit until his death, was relaunched as the Fitzrovia News.
Other books Mike authored included a walks guide, Freedom Pass London (2014), and A Pub Crawl Through History: The Ultimate Boozers’ Who’s Who (2010). He shared the credit for both with his long-term collaborator the photographer Peter Arkell.
Born in Sheffield but soon to move with his family to Staines, Surrey, and then Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Mike was the elder son of Joan (nee Topham) and Jack Pentelow, an accountant with Smiths Clocks and Watches.
Bashful about his private schooling at University College school, in Hampstead, Mike initially bypassed university and went straight to work in journalism with the Thurrock Gazette. This was in the late 60s, when the docklands were riven with industrial strife. As always thereafter, Mike’s sympathies were with the workers, but his copy was objective.
In his spare time he helped run a yearly rock festival in Grays, Essex (1969-71), giving amateur bands chances to play to sizeable beach audiences.
He was able to combine his love of football with his socialism when in 1970 he joined the Morning Star as a sports reporter. He took leave to study economics at Central London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) and discovered, when he returned with a degree in 1979, that he had assumed the industry brief and alarming political responsibilities. But he was soon a much-loved character in the industrial lobby, and took inspiration, perhaps in more ways than one, from two hard-drinking and erudite NUM leaders, Lawrence Daley and Mick McGahey. In 1983 he went on to a colourful 20-year stint on T&G and Unite in-house titles, where he was known for his show-stopping dancing at work parties. As Unite’s chief of staff Andrew Murray wrote in the Morning Star: “Mike put the social in Socialism.”
Mike had a wonderfully kind temperament; he applied his journalism to the common good and was renowned for his sparkling repartee. He had no immediate family of his own, but developed wonderfully supportive friendships with the children of his friends.
Mike is survived by his brother, Guy, and a nephew and niece.
…. at the King and Queen pub, September 2018.
by Clive Jennings
Above : Mike Pentelow with Lemar and Jean Sveinsson, London, 2010
Above : Mike Pentelow and John Fisher. Bologna 2012
Michael Bond , John Fisher, and Mike Pentelow. London, 2011.
Michael John Pentelow : 26 May 1946 – 1 April 2020
”Well done team” ~ #MikePentelow…. 😊
Some of the most vociferous proponents of ‘woke’ identitarianism are the most privileged beneficiaries of the neoliberal status quo : corporations, the political, cultural and media elites – even (give me strength) the Royal Family.
Far from challenging the establishment, wokeness has become a means through which the establishment is able to reinvent itself. Corporations and public figures are falling over themselves to gain ‘woke’ points by engaging in empty, superficial gestures which win social validation – and accumulate capital – while real, urgent, systemic social injustices remain unaddressed and unsolved.
”Divide and Rule” has rarely been more subtle, or more effective.
~ article by Inaya Folarin Iman ☑️
”Contrary to past anti-racist arguments, many today argue that we should judge people by their race, emphasise racial difference and think along racial lines. And no, this isn’t just the far right – this is what is being put forward by a toxic strand of the new left, woke identitarianism. This illiberal, intolerant ideology is at odds with the universalist, humanist goal of a colour-blind society. It is a disempowering, backward-looking movement….
The current obsession with race often means we are missing the true dynamics in society. Class, for instance, plays a major role in social outcomes, but discussion of it is rare. There are many white working-class people, particularly in the provinces, who do not feel they have benefited from ‘white privilege’. Indeed, they would argue that they are far from privileged. Do their ‘lived experiences’ count?”
Wokeness and Neoliberalism
”We really should stop seeing ‘Wokeness’ or ‘Political Correctness’, or any other aspect of the so-called New Left as being left-wing at all.
‘Wokeness’ is a key part of the neoliberal drive against social solidarity. Wokeness makes a virtue of the atomisation that is a key feature of life in capitalist society.
Wokeness doesn’t challenge the individuation and corrosion of social solidarity that neoliberal society brings about. It simply repackages it as PC and celebrates it. It commodifies our atomisation and sells it back to us as right-on politics.
Far from being a new kind of leftism, the woke ideology is really the militant wing of neoliberalism. It is a campaigning arm of the neoliberal outlook. This is why woke activists and big business make such comfortable bedfellows. Banks and hedge funds and other capitalist outfits love to adorn their buildings in the Pride flag. These days there are really only two places where you see woke nonsense in action : among the trendy, supposedly leftist political class, and in the capitalist class. These people profess to hate each other, but in truth they have a shared outlook…
The bravest and most ambitious political parties today will completely oppose the anti-community, anti-democratic, anti-solidarity, anti-freedom outlook of the woke elites and the business elites. and seek to provide people with that sense of collective belonging and collective influence that they are crying out for. A free and democratic and connected society – that is what we need now.”
~ extract from a speech by Brendan O’Neill at the annual party conference of the SDP, 28/09/2019, (edited).
I see that Liverpool University have just agreed to rename Gladstone Hall because he ”fell short of wholeheartedly fighting for the abolition of slavery”, and because Gladstone’s father was a slave owner.
To vilify Britain’s most progressive 19th century Prime Minister, a vehement anti-imperialist who proposed home rule for Ireland, laid the basis of the welfare state, and vastly extended voting rights, amongst many other important reforms, is beyond ignorant.
Sadly, these ‘woke’ students and academics fall a long way short too – not least in their capacity for joined-up critical thought and historical perspective.
”All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes”. ~ William Ewart Gladstone
….and a thought on Edward Colston.
Colston’s involvement in slavery was as a director of the Royal African Company. The ‘Royal’ in that title is not meaningless. The company was set up specifically to make the monarch rich. A far more practical way to honour the memory of the slaves would be to abolish the monarchy. Now that would be a meaningful action.
”The word “slavery” conjures up images of shackles and transatlantic ships – depictions that seem relegated firmly to the past. But more people are enslaved today than at any other time in history. Slaves clean houses and flats; produce the clothes we wear; pick the fruit and vegetables we eat; trawl the seas for the shrimp on our restaurant plates; and dig for the minerals used in our smartphones, makeup and electric cars…..”
~ article by Kate Hodal
Why should anyone pay a licence fee while the last vestiges of intelligence and integrity are being stripped from schedules to provide extra funding for celebrity trash and pernicious brain-rotting garbage ?
Why should anyone pay a licence fee when BBC News has all but abandoned analytical journalism, as well as its much-vaunted ”impartiality”, to become little more than the propaganda arm of the neoliberal establishment and its tedious and hypocritical ”political correctness” agenda ?
Why should we pay a licence fee when It’s apparent that we are viewed as successfully lobotomised sheep, or rather as obedient slaves to be distracted, propagandised, intellectually emasculated, neutralised and pacified ?
While the world looks away, Palestinians living under military occupation in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank are subjected to extreme state-sponsored violence of the kind seen in the US last week, as a near everyday occurrence.
For one community, the disproportionate violence faced by black people at the hands of US police forces has special resonance as it reflects their own experiences with the authorities.
”Since the early 90s, hundreds of law enforcement officers, including police officers and agents from the FBI, CIA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have either been sent to Israel through police exchanges, or attended summits within the US that were sponsored by Israeli lobby organisations.
Police forces from Florida, New Jersey Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state and others have participated in the training, including one that took place in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed.”