Entries from July 2016
LAST SURVIVORS OR FIRST MUTANTS? 
Notes on Surplus Population
“For all I was the thing
in history –
the barbaric; the semi-barbaric; the savage
that was me”
– John La Rose
Writing in April 1975 the Race Today Collective reiterated to a bemused leftist, who accused them of touting the same views on unemployment as the then home secretary Keith Joseph, that they, on the contrary, were of the view that “capital seeks to create a reserve army of mobile labour in the whole world, and that the young black wageless are part of such a reserve army.” This theme of the ‘black wageless’ had also been taken up by publisher and activist John la Rose who, in an earlier issue of Race Today, offered that the “wageless black youth, by withholding their labor, are challenging the rule of capital in a fundamentally revolutionary way”. They were, La Rose contends, withdrawing from the work ethic and crucially, refusing to compete with their fellows and making a break with “mundane social conceptions”. The Race Today Collective may well have offered that amongst such ‘mundane’ social ideas were those often voiced by the mainstream left whom it contended was treacherous to the ‘wageless black youth’ demoting them from working class to lumpen status and unsuccessfully tempting them into ‘Right To Work’ marches. [Read more →]
This article brings together various sources and partial translations of articles published on various websites. The author wants to give a general introduction to topics that, especially in the case of the MUOS (Mobile User Objective System, a military telecommunication system of the US Navy) are not of importance in public opinion because it is only marginally covered by the media. Nevertheless, what is happening in a small community of 30,000 people located in a marginal area of the current geopolitical scenario can significantly alter the future of the Mediterranean Sea and its peoples.
The issue of the MUOS is central to NATO’s military interference in all countries “allied” to the United States. MUOS is a means of territorial expropriation that transposes the role of communities – “guilty” of living in these areas – for utilitarian purposes only.
Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS)
AGS is a NATO system that increases the UAV (drone) presence in the Mediterranean.
It consists of five new Global Hawk drones controlled from the Sigonella (CT) Main Operative Base (MOB) in Sicily. This base provides data link connectivity, data processing and exploitation capabilities, and interfaces for inter-operability with command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems1. NATO declared openly that: AGS will be able to observe what is happening on the earth’s surface, providing situational awareness before, during, and, if needed, after NATO operations. Global Hawks are the ultimate in surveillance technology from a very high altitude, drones with large operational autonomy and advanced data transmission capacity. [Read more →]
[This article is an exploration of the forces shaping current educational policy and practise in England in 2015. It is focused on primary schooling (3-11 years old). There is little reference to the UK as a whole because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all remain more committed to the concept of community-based comprehensive schooling, i.e. a less ‘marketised’ model.]
“The economy transforms the world but transforms it only into a world of economy.”
Guy Debord ‘Society of the Spectacle’ 1967
“The most significant outcome in the drive for so-called higher standards in schools is that children are too busy to think.”
John Holt ‘How Children Fail’ 1964
“The educational establishment simply refuses to believe that the pursuit of egalitarianism is over.”
Kenneth Baker, Secretary of State for Education and Science 1986 – 1989 (at the Conservative Party Conference) 1987
In 1944 the ‘Butler Act’ introduced free secondary education for all. This was later than in most other industrialised countries. It was to be a national system, locally administered. With the Nazis and the USSR as models of central control it is unsurprising that British administrators did not favour a centralised system. Today, seventy years on, we have a highly centralised system. This is because England is at the vanguard of the ‘marketisation’ of education in Europe; it is a process that involves an intensified standardisation for teachers and students and a replacement of local, democratically accountable administration with chains of private educational providers overseen by a much more strongly centralised state education department. For example, throughout the 1940s, 50s and into the 60s the Ministry of Education would never have dreamed of interfering in the specific curriculum of individual schools. In fact, in 1960 the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said: “In this country the teacher has the inalienable right to decide what to teach and how to teach it”. This has changed completely.
We can make sense of this drift away from education for social change and inclusion (Kenneth Baker’s “pursuit of egalitarianism”) by recognising it as one aspect of neo-liberalism. This “…aims to defeat the movements associated with state-focused, welfare oriented reform and to install a new systemic logic by which society (from government to the individual) responds to free market imperatives.” 1 In 1974 the IMF loan to the UK required an end to public sector expansion, an end to decentralised operational management and the introduction of detailed central regulation. So just as the idea of a common educational experience for all was beginning to take root the welfare rationale of ‘nation states’ began to disappear, ushering in ‘market states’ or ‘post-welfare states’. [Read more →]
‘These shelves are starting to look worryingly empty’, said Steve Stavrinides of Refugee Community Kitchen with a concerned frown. ‘We urgently need supplies’.
It was one thing having a deluge of volunteers and donations over the Christmas period where the festive spirit runs deep and the misfortune of others sharpens into focus. But with January upon us, the weather worsening and potential volunteers back at work, the future looked increasingly treacherous.
I glanced over at the Snack Shack, a 1984 kebab van that was donated to a sister charity in Calais. Just yesterday, Rufus, one of the tireless Refugee Community Kitchen chefs who works with Steve, had commented on the state of the engine and the telltale smell of burning oil emanating from the chassis. With a critical role delivering 800 hot meals a day to the Grand-Synthe camp, it began to feel that the infrastructure of the relief mission was starting to buckle.
As smoke billowed out from the van, myself and Bastien, a fellow volunteer with Artists in Action began to do some very uncomfortable maths. With funds increasingly scarce, buying a replacement vehicle could cripple the food supply. [Read more →]