Sunday 29 March 2009

32nd Carnival of Socialism

It's here! The 32nd Carnival of Socialism has arrived on this humble blog. Are you ready for your mammoth roller coaster ride through the very best leftyblogland has to offer?

Key cadres of the ruling class are shortly due in London town for the G20 to think up more ways of getting our class to pay for their crisis. Yesterday we were there in the tens of thousands to serve notice that we know what they're up to. We're still waiting for some reportage to work its way through the ether - but thankfully blogs have been filed from
Lenin's Tomb, Penny Red, Liam MacUaid, Harpymarx, and Directionless Bones. Keep an eye out for more!

There's been a lot of comment in the lead up to events over the coming week.
Duncan and Lenin (here and here) have got the goods on the police's pre-protest sabre rattling. In response to this provocation Louise says she will be present with her camera to document and dodgy behaviour on the part of the authorities. If the comrade hasn't got a digital camera I fear she'll need a bag full of film. Walton over at the Red Star Coven looks at the utility of Twitter(!) as a means of getting on-the-spot news out about G20 demos. And lastly Derek reports from a Socialist Party stall against unemployment as a means of plugging next week's march against youth joblessness.

Have you noticed how the bosses and political establishment have come in for a lot of flak this week? It must be that left bias in the mainstream media the right keeps telling us about. Quite justifiably Tony McNulty, the despicable Employment Minister has been dragged over the hot coals for dodgy expense claims on a second home ... owned by his parents.
Laurie is "incandescently angry" about his money grubbing behaviour and dangerously comes close to the average wage Militant position of old. Be careful comrade, Luke Akehurst will be sharpening his ice axe! Stephen of It's a Rough Trade fame is similarly unimpressed. I don't know, surely McNulty deserves an award for his "I acted entirely within the rules" chutzpah?

Speaking of despicable, the hated Fred "The Shred" Goodwin was in the news this week for some minor damage to his house and motor. I was going to write a piece carefully and patiently explaining why this sort of thing isn't a good idea in true Millie fashion but never got round to it. But still, some people had bloggy fun with it - see
Socialist Unity for instance. I Intend to Escape couldn't resist a spot of anarchist gloating either.

Those gentlemen certainly annoyed me this week. But there were another two who irritated me even more. Step forward Matthew Horne and James Corden, stars of the tepidly twee
Gavin and Stacey. It's not their forgettable contribution to the sitcom genre that has me riled - it's their "post-ironic" exercise in misogyny and homophobia known as Lesbian Vampire Killers. See how it is expertly and deservedly taken apart by Lesbilicious. Just goes to show women's liberation has a long way to go - a point underlined by Louise. She demonstrates the unwelcome persistence of some dinosaur arguments on the left. Perhaps Adam Spencer, the Labour Briefing comrade in a lather over the self-organisation of uppity women ought to take a look at Redbird's report on women's committees in Venezuela and tell us that's a distraction from the class struggle. This of course isn't to say the feminist movement is perfect and it's the left that's got a problem - as Monica shows, there are still too many (mainly radical) feminists with serious issues against transwomen.

As noted here before it does tend to be socialist women who raise gender issues in leftyblogland. What's up guys? Don't think gender affects you too?

At least some blokes have been socking it to the patriarch
par excellence this week. Joseph Ratzinger has once again displayed his peculiar attitude to human suffering by reiterating the Catholic church's opposition to contraception. The comrades over at Shiraz Socialist have much fun with Joanna Bogle, the batshit crazy Catholic fundamentalist who appeared on Channel Four News to claim condoms spread HIV-AIDS. Feministing also supplies some light relief. Stroppy can't help but note the irony of the Pope calling on Africans to reject their superstitions ... for the superstitions he propagates. However, The Bleeding Heart Show reminds us the Vatican's stance on reproductive issues are incredibly damaging.

No digest of socialist commentary would be complete without a foray into the dismal science. Amid discussion of further bailouts and fiscal stimulus
Dave looks at Japan's attempts to refloat their economy in the nineties. The results were less than spectacular. Andy plugs a new collection edited by Jon Cruddas that brings together left responses to the crisis and John takes a look at the declining financial markets. Lastly Boffy takes us on a two part trip into the economics of cooperation.

Off to sunnier climes now with a whistle stop tour of Latin American developments. By Any Means Necessary
republishes a piece from the Freedom Road Socialist Organisation on the left's victory in the El Salvadorean general election. Pink Scare takes on the political illiteracy of the New York Times over its characterisation of Chavez. Meanwhile Yoani reminds us that life in Cuba is no bed of roses.

Returning back to Blighty there are several pieces about
New Labour that caught my eye. With some justification the Conservatives are known as the stupid party, but it looks like some in the Labour party are desperate to steal this crown from them. And why not? It's hardly as if they haven't been ransacking the Tories' wardrobe these last 15 years. Charlie provides some evidence for the prosecution. Dave of Though Cowards Flinch asks why Labour should be expecting the unions to trumpet their "achievements". Finally, Journeyman talks about his parents' resignation from the party.

There's quite a few posts out there that defy my rather arbitrary categorical arrangement for this Carnival. So here's my shout out to them.
Jim has a conversation with Chris Goodall, Green PPC for Oxford West and Abingdon. Chris recently caused a shit storm for publicly supporting nuclear power. Strange. While we're on a surreal tip Leftwing Criminologist meets Wales' top copper. He writes "you’re probably wondering what any self respecting Marxist is doing meeting a police chief constable?" Click through to find out why.

Other posts that have caught my eye is Madam Miaow's
flaying of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Histomat's retrospective on Engels and the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist's project of reviewing every episode of Dr Who. Lastly POUMISTA looks at the use and abuse of George Orwell - quite timely as a few right wing establishment writers have made the shortlist for the Orwell prize for blogging.

And that's it for this edition of the Carnival of Socialism, and apologies to comrades for it being overwhelmingly Brit-centric. As always the Carnival needs your support so sign your blog up as a future host - details
here. The next will be on 12th April and your host then shall be Harpymarx. So until next time, red salute!


Anonymous said...

"the unwelcome persistence of some dinosaur arguments on the left"

Very True! That made me laugh for some reason :)

Thanks for the plugs, much appreciated.

Oh is next...!! Time flies....

Phil said...

As I was writing it I thought about renaming it the first carnival of Louise seeing as you kept cropping up!

The Sentinel said...

"Meanwhile Yoani reminds us that life in Cuba is no bed of roses."

What a crock!

I've just come back from a business trip to Havana (and spent several days in the west and south of the Island) and I can tell you that whilst it is certainly not an image of the much vaunted socialist 'workers paradise' it is not doing too bad either.

I saw no real poverty at all during my stay and I travelled around a fair amount (though I was constantly being told that the average Cuban was very poor and of the need to donate - so I had taken some toys with me but beyond the orphanages I now doubt that they were really needed at all.)

The prices in CUC (favoured everywhere) were comparable to UK prices and managed to exceed them in some case, and even at the best restaurants and bars 'ordinary' Cubans were aplenty. Health care is free, so is university (with post-national service obligatory) and housing was provided at reasonable rates and although the Cubans complained of a shortage of housing I saw no one homeless. Crime is relatively low due to tough sentencing and visible policing, as is the terroist threat. The exclusion of US persons and US banking houses has largely insulated them against the recession, as has the selective protectionist polices.

How have they managed all this?

Well, just like that other red experiment China, largely through controlled capitalist ventures. Most notably from the many, many holiday resorts siphoning off hard currency form the visitors into an artificially high CUC. Indeed, without the hard currency from tourism Cuba would be in dire straits.

Sure there are some restrictive policies on travel (mainly aimed at the US) and also at what the administration deems as political dissidents but that is a natural by-product of all imposed governments.

Cuba was doing quite well from what I saw and heard and was doing it from such policies as selective protectionism, staunch international independence, national service (civil and military), isolationism from foreign conflicts that do not concern Cuba, robust policing, tough sentencing, community financed health care and education, the tight control of foreign influence in banking and the economy as a whole and the encouragement of national pride.

Sounds very much like the makings of modern nationalism to me, and a lot of the polices could have come straight form the leading UK nationalist party...

Anonymous said...

Just as a quick comment, the article I reposted on By Any Means Necessary about the El Salvadorian election was from the left refoundationist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/El Camino (, not the smaller, splinter Marxist-Leninist faction from

Anyway, good post, just thought I would point that out

Voltaire's Priest said...

Oh yeah Sentinel, and which "leading UK nationalist party" would that be, pray tell? Not a BNP'er by any chance, are you?

ModernityBlog said...


talking of socialism or the lack of it, will that nauseating article praising the GDR on SU blog be included in the next Carnival, just to show people what to avoid?

ModernityBlog said...

ops forgot the link: