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How is the UK Government Funded? A Primer:

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 7:26am in

This is again from Mike Parr, earlier of this parish… This is about Money, Government, Taxes, Interest Rates’, and the lies that the lying liars keep telling you…. The UK government has three ways in which it can raise money: Borrow by selling government bonds…Tell the Bank of England to create money…Selling assets such as,... Read more

Brexit has woefully diminished Britain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 7:44am in

This is a great, informative thread by Daniel Lambert of wine trade fame… He points out that – even in Mexico – absolutely nobody thinks that Brexit is remotely sensible and that it has diminished Britain. I’m sure it has. Britain has completely lost its way under this Tory administration – it is pretty unfathomable... Read more

BBC bias exposed again in treatment of Israel’s mass murder during war crime raid

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 09/06/2024 - 10:56pm in

Not-so-subtle difference in treatment of Israeli captives vs Palestinian victims of Israel’s slaughter during raid involving new war crime

The BBC’s gross bias in its treatment of Israel’s genocide in Gaza was exposed again in its headlines of Israel’s slaughter of well over two hundred Palestinians – as usual, mostly women and children – in its assault on the Nuseirat refugee camp.

The raid freed four captives – who emerged looking well fed and cared for, in stark contrast to the starved and beaten mass hostages held by Israel – but killed at least two hundred and ten Palestinians, with dead children and body parts spread across the area. It also killed several other Israeli captives. But the BBC’s headline blared, in large text, the news of the four freed while relegating the hundreds of victims to a small subtext, as Greg Herriett’s tweet pointed out:

This behaviour mirrored the appalling speeches by US president Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, both of whom praised the raid but did not mention the murdered Palestinians.

Israel’s raid used fake ‘aid trucks’ to disguise troops’ entry into the area, which – as UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese has pointed out – is a war crime. ‘Perfidy’, banned under the Geneva Conventions, involves passing off soldiers or military equipment as protected peaceful personnel or objects, or as members of the ‘enemy’ they are fighting, is outlawed. The assault was also given practical support by US forces, along with alleged American ‘boots on the ground’.

Yet another Israeli war crime – and yet another of the many ignored by the UK ‘mainstream’ media while they minimise the lives, deaths and suffering of the oppressed Palestinian people.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

ICC prosecutor asks Court to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 10:24pm in

Israeli PM and ministers in panic mode, denouncing move

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, has asked the Court to issue arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant, telling the ICC that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity since at least 7 October last year.

However, in what appears to be yet another instance of the ‘both-sidesing’ that treats oppressor and oppressed as equivalent, Khan has also requested warrants for Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar and military chief Mohammed Deif, repeating against them Israeli allegations of rape that have long been debunked and discredited, including by Khan’s UN colleagues who investigated Israel’s claims.

Israeli government spokespeople are already publicly attacking Khan and appealing again to the US to help kill the warrants. On 30 April, Netanhyahu described the possibility of warrants as an ‘outrage of historical proportions’. Israel is not a signatory to the ICC, but if warrants are issued every country that is would have a legal obligation to arrest him and Gallant if they enter their jurisdiction, and deliver them to The Hague. The UK would, of course, be likely to ignore this obligation as it has its obligations under the Genocide Convention to intervene in Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Israel has so far murdered at least 40,000 people, mostly women and children, in Gaza and maimed double that number. However, some estimates put the death toll at over 100,000.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Breaking: Julian Assange wins right to full appeal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 9:50pm in

Wikileaks founder wins further opportunity to fight extradition after court unconvinced by US ‘assurances’ regarding freedom of speech

The High Court has decided that Julian Assange can appeal against his extradition to the US, after judges were unconvinced by false US ‘assurances’ that he would not be denied an argument on freedom of speech grounds. Assurances that he would not be put to death were accepted by the court, despite the exposure of earlier US plots to kill him extrajudicially.

Demonstrators at the High Court as they waited for news

The fight is far from over, but for now no extradition will take place – though Assange will remain unjustly imprisoned. The US should drop this disgraced case, which should have been abandoned or thrown out of court when its main witness admitted he had lied all along.

The crowd’s reaction after the court’s finding was announced

Congratulations to Mr Assange, his family and supporters for winning this respite and potential step to his freedom and victory for journalism, human rights and government accountability.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

MAYDAY: Assange extradition decision tomorrow – get there if you can, watch live if not

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 7:36am in

Wikileaks founder faces court tomorrow to find out if UK will give in to disgraced US extradition case – supporters have asked for you to join them at the High Court if possible and will be streaming live from London

Julian Assange faces the High Court tomorrow in London to find out whether judges will agree a disgraced US request to extradite the Wikileaks founder to the US to face 175 years in maximum-security jail. The US case fell apart when its main witness admitted he had been lying the whole time, but the UK state has continued to hold and punish Assange pending extradition for revealing US war crimes, despite known US plots to kill him – plots that the court has already refused to admit as new evidence.

His campaign has asked anyone who can get there to gather tomorrow at the High Court by 8.30am and will also be running a live-stream of developments from 6.30am, which will run below as soon as it goes live:

Video will go live from 6.30am on Monday 20 May

Freedom for Assange is a moral imperative, but it is also essential for all our freedom, as governments try to increase suppression of information vital to democracy and justice and to make Assange an example to intimidate other journalists into silence.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Palestine Action marks Nakba Day with string of actions against Israeli weapons plants

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/05/2024 - 11:39pm in

Seventy-six years since the horror of Israel’s violent mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and land, direct action group acts against factories producing weapons for the occupiers

A vehicle helping to block the entrance to Elbit’s Shenstone drone factory (image courtesy of Neil Terry Photography/Palestine Action)

On today’s seventy-sixth anniversary of the Nakba (‘catastrophe’) in which Israeli militias violently forced around 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands, UK pro-Palestine direct action group Palestine Action (PA) has hit several targets across the country.

At the Elbit Systems subsidiary UAV Engines Ltd (UEL) factory in Shenstone, PA activists from locked on and used vehicles to block the plant’s gates and prevent delivery vehicles and workers from entering. At Teledyne Defence & Space (TDS) in Shipley, activists are occupying and dismantling the roof of the factory to bring operations to a halt.

PA says that the UEL factory is a crucial part of Israel’s war machine because it is owned by Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit — which provides most of Israel’s military drone fleet, designing and producing engines to power Elbit’s drones, which are used for both the surveillance and bombing of targets during the ongoing genocide.

At Teledyne, activists began taking it apart to render the factory inoperable, halting the production of key components for missile systems – missile filters – that the firm exports to Israel. The American arms maker has often boasted of its involvement with missile products procured by Israel, including the AGM-HarpoonAIM-120 AMRAAM, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles – the latter reportedly used by Israel to strike Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. The site also produces parts fitted in F-35 Fighter jets, such as the Phobos ESM System used in the AN/APG-81 AESA radar (listed as ‘radar warning receiver’ on their radar components page).

In 1948, Israeli militias destroyed more than five hundred towns villages, massacring over thirteen thousand people – including entire families. This started a process of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, which culminated in the ongoing genocide being perpetrated on Palestinian civilians by Israel since last October, killing well over forty thousand people and, by some estimates, as many as a hundred thousand, overwhelmingly women and children, and driving almost two million from their homes. 

A Palestine Action spokesperson said:

It is a common phrase by Palestinians to say: the Nakba is not an event but a process. And just like the actions of Israel today were set in motion by the Nakba, so too was Britain’s complicity.

The Zionist militias which perpetrated the catastrophe were trained by British soldiers, and today we see history repeat when Britain allows the companies we have targeted today to continue with their business backing brutality whilst Israel butchers Palestinians en masse. This is a crime, and one we fully intend to stop. As we have always said: we won’t stop till the Nakba does.

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Video: CNN investigation exposes Israeli concentration camps and torture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/05/2024 - 8:36am in

US broadcaster daren’t use the term, but it’s clear what they’re showing

An investigation by US news channel CNN has exposed Israel’s use of concentration camps, where Palestinian prisoners, mostly civilians, are routinely beaten, tortured, have bones and teeth smashed and are so inhumanely bound and forced into untenable physical positions that many have to have limbs amputated.

CNN calls these ‘detention camps’, but a viewing of the video makes the reality of what they are inescapable:

The discovery, aided by a whistleblowing soldier, adds to the seemingly endless tally of Israel’s war crimes. Meanwhile, the US and no doubt the UK are desperately pressuring the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and his fellow war criminals.

The video also reveals that Israeli hospitals – against all norms and medical oaths – are refusing to treat wounded Palestinians. The victims of Israel’s mass murder in Gaza are, to a level of around 92 percent, civilians – more than two thirds of them women and children. Those held in these concentration camps are overwhelmingly likely to be civilians too – a fact confirmed by the eventual release of some after they have been brutalised, broken and maimed.

The ICC must not listen and must not delay – and warrants should also be issued for every politician in the UK and elsewhere who colludes in or covers for Israel’s genocide and innumerable other war crimes.

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In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/05/2024 - 8:15pm in

Margaret Galvan‘s In Visible Archives explores the political power of archival material in shaping feminist and queer futures. Applying archival studies and comics scholarship to work from the 1980s by visual artists including Alison Bechdel and Nan Goldin, Galvan’s timely book underscores the importance of visibility in ongoing activism and community-building, writes Max Shirley.

In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s. Margaret Galvan. ‎University of Minnesota Press. 2023.

Archive fever has hit the UK. Tate Britain’s exhibition, Women in Revolt! – which opened in late 2023 and will soon be relocated to Scotland, followed by Manchester – has brought second-wave feminist posters, pamphlets and other radical paraphilia out of the storeroom and into public view. In displays like this, archival material – some of which has gone unseen for over 40 years – is imbued with new life as visitors, activists, and community groups imagine how these items can be (re)used in the ongoing fight for a more equitable future.

Galvan examines how several American visual artists, including the cartoonist Alison Bechdel and photographer Nan Goldin, incorporate activism in their work and create a sense of collectivity.

The political and transformative potential of feminist and queer archives is centre stage in Margaret Galvan’s debut monograph, In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s. Across five concise chapters, Galvan examines how several American visual artists, including the cartoonist Alison Bechdel and photographer Nan Goldin, incorporate activism in their work and create a sense of collectivity. “All these women’s artworks shaped feminist futures,” Galvan writes, “but how they mobilized image and text together to plant the seeds for future community to bloom has been overlooked” (4).

Galvan locates her monograph in the fields of both archival studies and comics scholarship. Building on the work of Hilary Chute and Ramzi Fawaz, among other theorists, Galvan considers the “multilayered relationships between image and text” and examines how “publication venues frame our readings” of images (6-7). Specifically, Galvan pays close attention to the sequencing of comics, photographic slideshows, exhibition guides and other visual materials. How these cultural artefacts are produced, sequenced, displayed and stored contributes to their political and affective power, as well as their potential to build new communities.

Against a backdrop of the 1980s’ sex/porn wars, the phobic Reagan administration, and the AIDS epidemic, these feminist and queer visual practitioners were alert to ‘the hard-won and narrowly kept conditions of visibility for diverse sexual identities’.

The book’s title, In Visible Archives, embodies the tenuous and paradoxical nature of visibility, which Galvan seeks to underscore. For example, the scholar analyses art that is held in both accessible, established spaces and more precarious locations – some in university archives and campuses, while volunteers in community-based and grassroots spaces tend to other items. Indeed, the women artists featured in the text question the heightened visibility of some bodies over others through their aesthetic work. Against a backdrop of the 1980s’ sex/porn wars, the phobic Reagan administration, and the AIDS epidemic, these feminist and queer visual practitioners were alert to “the hard-won and narrowly kept conditions of visibility for diverse sexual identities” (1-2). Ensuring the continued visibility of minoritarian lives and identities is further echoed in the text’s structure, as Galvan closes each chapter with a short reflection titled “Archives and Afterlives”. These cumulative sections examine the contemporary resonances of queer and feminist art from the late twentieth century and allow Galvan to attend to the important but unfinished business of community-building and political activism.

In the opening three chapters of the book, Galvan focuses her investigation on the work of graphic artists and cartoonists. The first chapter explores the enduring legacy of the 1982 Barnard Conference on Sexuality and the beginning of the Feminist Sex Wars. Galvan considers three graphic artists  – Hannah Alderfer, Beth Jaker, and Marybeth Nelson  – who designed the Barnard Conference’s accompanying handbook, Diary of a Conference on Sexuality. Focusing on its collage aesthetics, Galvan begins to underscore the centrality of the image to her analysis and argues that these three artists empowered women’s sexual identities through a visual form that “embraced rather than censored erotic representations” (49).

Reading across several grassroots and community-based archives […] Galvan demonstrates the importance of archival practices in ensuring the visibility of queer and queer-adjacent communities.

Chapter Two offers a series of close readings of the comics of two formative cartoonists: Lee Marrs and Roberta Gregory. In clear, straightforward prose, Galvan explores the pairs’ foundational and pioneering work in the lesbian comics scene and demonstrates how queer communities and subcultures were built through the publication and circulation of grassroots newspapers and zines, such as Gay Comix. At times in this chapter, the close reading and analysis verges on description, but this is a minor complaint. Alison Bechdel’s long-running series Dykes to Watch Out For is the primary concern of the third chapter – one of the book’s strongest. In this section, Galvan offers an adroit analysis of how Bechdel incorporates activism into her modes of artistic production. Reading across several grassroots and community-based archives – in addition to the collection of Bechdel’s papers at Smith College – Galvan demonstrates the importance of archival practices in ensuring the visibility of queer and queer-adjacent communities.

For the final two chapters of In Visible Archives, Galvan moves away from cartoons to survey the work of the writer Gloria Anzaldúa and the New York-based photographer Nan Goldin. The penultimate chapter attends to the drawings and sketches of Chicana feminist scholar Anzaldúa. Galvan argues for a renewed consideration of how Anzaldúa utilised visual storytelling as part of their educative practice. The final chapter contends with Goldin’s curatorial work in her seminal photobook, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and her 1990 exhibition, Witnesses: Against our Vanishing. Here, Galvan provides an inciteful analysis of how Goldin sequences her photographs and curates the work of others in order to “guard against loss” and preserve communities in the face of the AIDS epidemic (198).

The radical potential of art and the archive is unquestionable. What Galvan ultimately illustrates is the need to keep making art and to keep building community.

As the rights of those most vulnerable in society are unceremoniously stripped in the name of culture wars stoked by right-wing parties and politicians, visibility continues to be of the utmost importance. In Visible Archives is a timely intervention which continues Goldin’s project of guarding against loss. Galvan lucidly demonstrates the importance of community-based archives, activism and art and provides an accessible introduction to the work of several women visual artists of the 1980s. The radical potential of art and the archive is unquestionable. What Galvan ultimately illustrates is the need to keep making art and to keep building community.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: Susan Sermoneta on Flickr.

Huge victory for Goldsmiths students for Gaza as uni accepts divestment demand and more

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/05/2024 - 5:34am in

Six months of demos and five weeks of sit-ins see university climb down in face of students’ determination

Students at London’s Goldsmiths university have won a huge victory after months of solidarity with Palestinians, forcing their university to accept their demand to divest from involvement with the Israeli occupation and to set up scholarships for Palestinian students.

Organiser Fatima Zaid explained in a Twitter/X thread what the students have achieved, including the end of an investment contract with a firm closely connected to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – and a review of the university’s use of the unfit (and non-definitional) so-called ‘IHRA definition’ of antisemitism, that has been widely used to suppress criticism of Israel:

The news will strengthen even further the determination of students at a string of other UK universities who have set up encampments – and is already encouraging students in the US facing brutal state repression and foul smears.

Congratulations and solidarity with the people of Palestine and all those who are fighting for an end to genocide, occupation, apartheid and repression.

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