Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category
Police Spy Lambert in Happier Days.
More fall-out from the Lawrence Cases.
Scotland Yard in new undercover police row.
Force accused over attempts to block claims by women allegedly deceived into sexual relationships.
Scotland Yard stands accused of covering up “institutionalised sexism” within the police in trying to block civil claims launched by women allegedly deceived into sexual relationships with undercover officers.
Police lawyers are applying to strike out, on secrecy grounds, the claims of five women who say they were duped into intimate long-term relationships with four undercover police officers working within the special demonstration squad (SDS), a Metropolitan police unit set up to infiltrate protest groups.
The legal bid, funded by the taxpayer, is being fought despite widespread outrage and promises of future transparency by Scotland Yard, following official confirmation last week that an undercover officer was deployed 21 years ago to spy on the grieving family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The Observer understands that police lawyers are asking the high court to reject claims against the Metropolitan police on the grounds that the force cannot deviate from its policy of neither confirming nor denying issues regarding undercover policing.
It is understood that Scotland Yard will say in a hearing, scheduled to be held on 18 March, that it is not in a position to respond to claims and therefore cannot defend it.
Last week an independent inquiry revealed that an officer identified only as N81 was deployed in a group “positioned close to the Lawrence family campaign”. The spy gathered “some personal details relating to” the murdered teenager’s parents. It was also disclosed that undercover officers had given false evidence in the courts and acted as if they were exempt from the normal rules of evidence disclosure.
Blacklist campaigners have called for the Public Inquiry into undercover police spying on the the Lawrence family to be given a wide enough remit to investigate police collusion with blacklisting. Despite documentary evidence proving beyond doubt that undercover police officers were linked to blacklisting there was no mention of this in the statement made by Theresa May to MPs.
On the very same day that the Home Secretary announced a public inquiry into the activity of Special Demonstration Squad officers spying on the Lawrence family, Operation Herne has published its 2nd report into the actions of undercover police officers. Blacklist victims condemned as a whitewash the non-findings of the police report into police collusion in the blacklist conspiracy, which describes police discussions with blacklisting organisations as driven by “civic duty”
Blacklist Support Group statement:
“The Operation Herne report demonstrates exactly why victims of undercover police surveillance have no faith in the police investigating themselves. There is already irrefutable evidence in the public domain that officers from undercover police units actually attended secret Consulting Association blacklist meetings, yet this is not even mentioned by Herne. Undercover Special Demonstration Squad officers are known to have posed as construction workers and infiltrated picket lines and union meetings. Information on some blacklist files could only have come from the police or the security services. In relation to police collusion in blacklisting, the Operation Herne 2nd Report is a complete whitewash.
Only a fully independent public inquiry into the full extent of police links with corporate spying will expose the undemocratic shady practices. Any public inquiry should not be narrowly focused on the Lawrence case but should encompass the sexual relationships with female activists, Hillsborough, environmental and anti-racist campaigners, blacklisting and police collusion with big business.
There are secret political police in the UK – they are called Special Branch, MI5 and GCHQ. They spy on their own citizens who are involved in perfectly lawful political campaigning. We will continue to fight until we achieve justice”.
We are also interested in the career on one Bob Lambert.
Lawyers for the two campaigners announced on Friday that they were seeking to overturn their convictions, alleging that the role of the undercover spy Bob Lambert was hidden from their original trial.
The pair, Andrew Clarke and Geoff Sheppard, were convicted of setting fire to three Debenhams stores in the 1980s to protest against the sale of fur and jailed for three and four years respectively.
They only discovered more than two decades later that the long-haired protester they knew as “Bob Robinson” was actually Lambert, an SDS spy.
After he was exposed in 2011, Lambert admitted he had worked undercover in the 1980s to “identify and prosecute members of the Animal Liberation Front who were then engaged in widespread incendiary and explosive device campaigns against vivisectors, the meat and fur trades.” He said he succeeded in getting Clarke and Sheppard arrested and imprisoned.
Detective Inspector Robert Lambert receiving award by the Islamic Human Rights Commission
“The Islamic Human Rights Commission is proud to present this award to Inspector Robert Lambert (Head of Muslim contact Unit), upon his retirement from the Metropolitan Police Service. In appreciation for his integrity and commitment to promoting a fair, just and secure society for all, which, is a rarity and will be greatly missed.”
Inspector Robert Lambert receiving an award from the Islamic Human Rights Commission in 2007.
At this event, there was a panel, “Challenging Islamophobia”.
Its first speakers was Dr Saied Ameli. He spoke on islamophobia from a sociological perspective and commended IHRCs role in combating it. Imam Al-Asi talked of the zionist factor in islamophobia, something which is often overlooked.
Imam Muhammad Al-Asi the elected Imam of Washington DC Islamic Center, ”spoke about zionist influence on university campuses.
Sister Yvonne Ridley and George Galloway spoke.
Dr Abdul Wahid the leader of the National Executive Committee of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain, criticized western countries selective talk of human rights, and praised the IHRC.
More on Bob Lambert, “During the IHRC’s dealing with the Metropolitan Police, in all the lies, insincerity and deception there was one person the IHRC encountered who genuinely “fought the cause of justice within the police force to try and not demonize the Muslim community” – that was Detective Inspector Robert Lambert. Detective Inspector Robert Lambert is the head of the Muslim Contact Unit at New Scotland Yard. On his retirement from the police force the Islamic Human Rights Commission invited him to join them in the struggle for justice.”
By contrast this what happened in October 2011 when Lambert was a star speaker at the Celebrate Diversity, Defend Multiculturalism, Oppose Islamophobia and Racism conference.
Campaigners today outed the most-senior-yet police spy responsible for infiltrating environmental and social justice campaigns.
Former Detective Inspector Bob Lambert MBE had just spoken at a “One Society, Many Cultures” anti-racist conference attended by 300 delegates at the Trades Union Congress HQ in Central London. He was then challenged by 5 members of London Greenpeace who called on him to apologise for the undercover police infiltration of London Greenpeace, Reclaim The Streets and other campaign groups – an operation he took part in or supervised over two decades, whilst rising to the rank of Detective Inspector.
At present apparently this is what he is doing,
Senior Lecturer (PT) – John Grieve Policing Centre
Dr. Lambert divides his time between two part-time teaching posts: here at the John Grieve Policing Centre and at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St. Andrews. At both centres he teaches postgraduate and undergraduate modules based on his research and published work on terrorism, counter-terrorism, far right political violence and anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Talks Sense on Future of Left.
The Labour Representation Committee (the largest grouping of the grass-roots Labour left) stated before yesterday’s conference,
As Labour’s special conference looks set to vote through the Collins reforms at the behest of Ed Miliband, critics on the left of the party have warned that the proposals set in train a process which could radically undermine the party’s link to the trade unions.
Although the unions have forced Miliband to back down from plans which would have seen an immediate breaking of the link, the transition over five-years to a situation where individual union levy payers will be required to ‘opt in’ as affiliated supporters represents a clear step away from the collective basis of union affiliation. Right wing elements around Progress have already made it clear that they want to re-open the question of the percentage of votes the unions hold at Conference, and their representation on the National Executive Committee in another five years.
Today we learn,
Ed Miliband secured the significant backing – and a cash donation – from former SDP leader David Owen as the Labour leader won his party’s support for reforming its links with the trade unions. Independent.
In the Morning Star on Saturday Robert Griffiths (General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain) makes these very relevant points,
The Communist Party, on the other hand, is clear that the labour movement – and in particular the trade unions – must have its own mass electoral party which is capable of winning general elections, forming a government and enacting reforms in the interests of the working-class majority of the people.
Is tomorrow’s Labour Party, in which the trade unions are no longer able or willing to exercise decisive collective influence, likely to perform such a role? That prospect will recede significantly when the Collins proposals are passed at this year’s Labour Party conferences.
From his perspective,
Britain’s Road to Socialism explains that it has been that party’s affiliated federal structure and its trade union and working-class composition that have ensured the existence of a significant socialist trend within it. It is this structure and composition which is now being put in mortal jeopardy.
It should be added that far from creating “one member one vote” the “reforms” will further increase the power of MPs and the circle around the Party leader.
Conferences, already reduced to impotence, a decision-making system worthy of the most Byzantine Stalinist organisation (with powerless members’ forms at the base and the wheeler-dealers at the top) make claims about the changes increasing democracy and participation hollow.
In these conditions,
……the fragmentation of the labour movement’s political unity is likely to continue. New left parties and electoral alliances will proliferate, falter and reappear in new guises. More trade unionists and even some unions will withdraw from active participation in the Labour Party.
What is the alternative?
Clearly not, “Britain hosting a replay of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, or Scotland taking a separate Cuban-style road to socialism.”
Instead, we need trade union bodies at every level – up to and including the Trades Union Congress – to organise discussions, meetings and conferences to consider how many more workers and their families can be drawn into political activity and representation.
Hand in hand with this effort must go the drive to popularise the ideas and concept of socialism. Tony Benn has often pointed out that our problem in Britain is not a shortage of socialist parties but of socialists.
Many are unlikely to respond to the call for a “stronger Communist Party”, preferring a more general wish for a “stronger Left” .
But forums like the People’s Assembly should be considering these ideas.
Perhaps the Morning Star could open wider, beyond its existing favoured circles, to debate them.
Is this the Shortest Lived Left group ever?
“I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted”.
Not from Richard Seymour, China Miéville, and Magpie Corven and other comrades’ resignation letter from the International Socialist Network (ISN).
Which is here (with helpful comments “intercalated” as Seymour would put it),
To the SC and our comrades in the ISN
With great regrets, we are resigning from the ISNetwork. Many of us were involved in the setting up of the network, and we are very sad that it has come to this. We remain in full solidarity with ISN comrades, and look forward to working with them on campaigns.
Despite the repeated characterisation of us as a ‘right bloc’ (Note: heavens what is the world coming to?) , we do not represent any unified political position beyond our concerns about both the political direction and internal culture of the ISNetwork. It has been clear for some time that our critiques put us in a minority: contrary to a common smear, we have always been willing to argue from this position, and welcomed this political debate. However, there has been an increasing breakdown of trust between us and various leading members of the organisation. It is now clear that we are not welcome in the ISN (Note: But very welcome Chez Tendance Coatesy which we hope you will soon join in our “rotten iqudationist bloc”)
One of us is a woman sex-worker and bdsm practitioner. After many years of self imposed isolation from politics, she believed she had finally found a space where even those comrades who disagreed with her positions would discuss controversial topics of sexuality and desire in respect and comradeship. Instead she has been browbeaten, patronised, marginalised and moralised against, and the topics she wishes to discuss with her comrades dismissed as, in the words of one SC member, self-evidently ‘sordid.’ She has been made to feel so unwelcome that she feels forced to leave the SC and ISN.
The SC has put out a statement strongly implying racism and claiming ‘inappropriate’ argumentative techniques against three of our members. We entirely reject these insinuations and urge anyone interested to examine the threads in question here & “comment currently unavailable” (Note: we wonder why…) and judge for themselves.
That they are over a controversial and charged topic -and one on which the signatories to this letter do not necessarily agree- is not in doubt: however, if there is a single statement made by any comrade that can reasonably be judged ‘inappropriate’, let alone racist, we urge their accusers to state it (Note: be warned, as a reader who enjoys Lacan and Judith Butler and can be seen flipping through a copy of Spinoza on a sunny day – this is hard, hard going).
It is claimed, on the basis of a leaked email thread (Note: Tush!) of a private conversation, that we have been politically dishonest, and set out to split or even destroy the network.
This is wholly untrue (Note: well said!) . As has been made clear in this week’s bulletin, we had intended to launch a platform within the IS Network in order to argue for our position. However, recent events had given us an increasing sense that we might not be able to remain members, due both to legitimate political differences and to the personalised politics of vituperation at the brunt of which we have felt.
Accordingly – as is explicitly allowed in the ISN constitution – we have been discussing among ourselves to work out how best to argue our position within the network, our chances, and our contingency strategies if we felt unable to continue.
At issue here is not just the conduct or content of recent discussions or even the political direction of the ISN, but the question of making a habitable culture of discussion on the Left. When some of us recently wrote an article criticising a politics of anathema within the ISN, we were derided by opponents who denied any such thing exists (Note: how very true, how very very true).
Unfortunately, it does. One SC member has recently publicly insisted that ‘no one is being targeted personally’. The very same SC member recently seconded a denouncement on Facebook, by another SC member, of several of us as ‘arrogant fucks’ and ‘bad rubbish’ to whom ‘good riddance’ (Note: a disgrace the overweening toe-rag twats!).
One leading member expressed a desire on Facebook to strangle one of us – referring to her as a ‘nauseating tosser’ – and not one of the SC members to whom she said this suggested it was an inappropriate comment to make (Note: and they use such discourse well I mean, what can you discursively intersectionalise?).
Several SC members openly expressed their agreement with a status referring to us as ‘parasites’ (Note: there is no room for such language in the workers’ movement!).
Another SC member wrote ‘they should count themselves lucky they haven’t been expelled’ – particularly galling to two of the ‘Facebook Four’ involved in our thread. There are further examples, but this culture is one in which we can no longer work: we also would like comrades to consider whether left organisations can hope to attract a new generation of members if they treat each other in this way.
We look forward to working in a left culture that has ended certain practices inherited from the SWP. These include moralistic browbeating; the implicit claim that various controversial topics are inappropriate for discussion; that certain comrades can not be argued with on them; and that dissenters from these nostrums deserve to be attacked in personalised terms.
We know many ISN members look forward to this with similar enthusiasm (Note: indeed we do!).
“There is some check in the flow of my being; a deep stream presses and some obstacles; it jokes; it toys; he in the centre resists.”
“My attitude is one of defiance. I am fearless. I conquer.”
Not the words of Richard Seymour.
More comment here .
Defend the Seymourites!
For an International Workers’ Inquiry!
“Michael Gove was right when he wrote last week that the history of the era was hijacked in the Sixties by Joan Littlewood and her satirical musical Oh! What A Lovely War, and more recently by Blackadder. “
My English granddad fought in the First World War.
He was a pre-great War Socialist who was seduced by Blatchford with ‘socialist patriotism’.
A ‘Clarion’ cyclist, an East Ender, he signed up as a volunteer with a group of his mates, after a few pints.
I got to know Albert well when he moved back to London and lived off Myddleton Road, N22.
He did not often speak of the First World War.
But when he did it was immense, immense, bitterness.
They were forced to live like rats.
The deaths of their comrades were for nothing.
What had they to be ”proud of”?
I am proud of my granddad.
His complete Dickens’s set is just next to my telly.
I am ashamed to be part of the same country as the Daily Mail.
The Silence of Animals. John Gray. Allen Lane. 2013.
“If a lion could speak we could not understand him” Wittgenstein tersely commented.
John Gray claims by contrast that, “if you turn outside yourself to the birds and animals and the quickly changing places where they live – you may hear something beyond words. Even humans can find silence if they can bring themselves to forget the silence they are looking for,”(Page 165) What cannot be spoken if of the greatest significance. Max Picard, in the World of Silence (1948), described the importance of these moments. About them does The Silence of Animals have anything to say?
This tract praises the birdspotter J A Baker, who preferred “deanthropmorphising himself” in the study of peregrine falcons of the fields near Chelmsford – places he described as ancient countryside – to human society. It ends with an appeal to “godless mysticism”. Does it merit any attention? Or should we be like the apes that appear in its pages, who pass life, and obviously books, blithely by?
That the Silence of Animals figures on Books of Year lists indicates an audience for interested in sallies against the “unique value” of human beings. We are treated (if that’s the word) to broadsides against the illusions of progress (the title of a pre-Great War book by the syndicalist contrarian Georges Sorel that Gray, otherwise the literary magpie, seems to have passed over). There are lurid references to the mass murders, totalitarian dictatorships and capitalist crises, of the twentieth century, and beyond.
In what could be described as an extended exercise in logorrhoea, (a polite way of describing verbal incontinence), the progressive claims of humanity, “highly civilised apes”, are torn to shreds. Progress, we learn is a legacy of Christianity, “a Socratic myth of reason and Christian myth of salvation,”(Page 80) Science shows that this is false, “Human knowledge increases, while human irrationality stays the same.”(Ibid)
From the Enlightenment onwards humans are wedded to an explicit faith in progress and the growth of liberty. History shows however shows repeated “mass killing, attacks on minorities, torture on a larger scale, another kind of tyranny, often more cruel than the one that was overthrown – these have been the results. To think of humans as freedom loving, you must be ready to view nearly all of history as a mistake.”(Page 58)
Progress as Flying Fish.
Gray cites Alexander Herzen (1812 – 1870), the 19th century Russian romantic socialist. Herzen, in his darkest moments, criticised the belief in ‘humanity’ (Consalito Paris. 1849). He described as ‘ichthyophils’ people who think humans long to be free. There can be no deduction of the “possibility of a better world” from our potentials. This ponderous term – a reference to a drawn out analogy with those who deduce the possible capacity for flight in all fish from the existence of flying fish, is employed to dam all reformers, all Enlightenment hopes, and all of the Left.
Every one of the believers in these ideas is “devoted to their species as they believe it ought to be even not as it actually is or as it truly wants to be. Ichthyophils come in many varieties – the Jacobin, Bolshevik and Maoist, terrorising humankind in order to remake it one a new model; the neo-conservative, waging perpetual war as a means to universal democracy; liberal crusaders for human rights, who are convinced that all the world longs to become as they imagine themselves to be.”(Page 60)
Humanity, in short (or at length), is “a fiction composed from billions of individuals for each of whom life is singular and final.”(Pages 6 – 7). Or, rather later, after much pondering, humanity is a selection of “fragments”, which are “as unknowable to humans”. “The settlements they have made for themselves can be as impenetrable as the deepest forests.”(Page 168) Yet, we inhabit this world of our own “fictions”.
Gray thinks then that we are creatures caged by our own myths. Unlike Georges Sorel (cited above) this gives no emancipatory quality to our innate mythic projections of the better future. They are the bars that contain us. And the ‘us’ are “cracked vessels”. We are Devils, not even worth the effort, as Kant advocated, of Taming to bring out our innate rationality.
Gray’s reflections lead from recognition of absolute finitude and meaningless back to something “beyond”. “Admitting that our lives are shaped by fictions may give a kind of freedom – possible the only kind that human beings can attain, Accepting that the world is without meaning, we are liberated from confinement in the meaning we have made. Knowing there is nothing of substance in our world may seem to rob that world of value. But this nothingness may be our most precious possession, since it opens to us the world that exists beyond ourselves.”(Page 108)
What this beyond is the Grail of the Ontology that nobody has yet discovered, the Kantian Noumenal, that has driven so many, from Roy Bhaskar onwards, to the strangest sides of the flux of Being, is a matter of worship for Gray. He considers letting things go, letting the World Be.
Our most “precious possession” – this “Nothingness” is illuminated by Negative Theology. Yet such “Godless mysticism cannot escape the finality of tragedy, or make beauty eternal. It does not dissolve inner conflict into the false quietude of any oceanic calm. All it offers is mere being, There us no redemption from being human. But no redemption is needed.”(Page 208)
Or, one would add, possible. We cannot possibly imagine what payment we could make to be liberated from what we are, and becoming what humans could be, if our premise is that we want to consider what being free from our humanity could be.
Some might go further and say that it perhaps through science and its rationality that we can at least indicate something of the physical ‘beyond’ human culture.
But what of progress and emancipation?
Alexander Herzen’s comments, many will have noted, came in 1849, following the failures of the 1848 revolutions. Yet shortly after these doleful reflections he could assert, “There are periods when man is free in a common cause. Then, the activity towards which every energetic nature strives coincides with the aspiration of the society in which he lives. At such times, which are rare enough – everything flings itself into the whirlpool of events, and in it finds life, joy, suffering and death.”(Omnia Ma Mecum Porto. Zurich 1849).
Against Gray, we remain with Herzen on this.