Skip navigation

Tag Archives: British Politics

Critical Education / Education is Critical

Critical Education / Education is Critical

DEMOCRACY AND COLLECTIVE ACTION IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A message from Jeremy Gilbert

A Public Event with:

Angela McRobbie

Hilary Wainwright

Mark Fisher

Jeremy Gilbert

Neal Lawson

November 11th 2014, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Committee Room 6, House of Commons

All details and booking: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/democracy-and-collective-action-in-the-twenty-first-century-tickets-13633868267?aff=eventful%2Fr%2Feventful

‘Reclaim Modernity: Beyond Markets, Beyond Machines’ is a new pamphlet published by Compass and written by Mark Fisher and Jeremy Gilbert. A brief introduction to the pamphlet can be read here, and you can click through to short piece I wrote about the pamphlet for the Guardian website, and then to the actual document, from there:
http://jeremygilbertwriting.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/reclaim-modernity/

A related essay on UKIP, Populism and the Left is here:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jeremy-gilbert/populism-and-left-does-ukip-matter-can-democracy-be-saved
Please circulate widely
Jeremy Gilbert
http://www.jeremygilbert.org
@jemgilbert=

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Strength in Numbers

TO FIGHT AUSTERITY WE NEED A UNITED LEFT

By Simon Hardy, Anticapitalist Initiative (Britain)

October 9, 2012 –  Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

The urgent need for unity on the radical left is something that has been eloquently put forward by Dan Hind on the Al-Jazeera website. Asking a very pertinent question as to whether there can be a SYRIZA-type organisation in Britain, Hind draws out some of the most important lessons of the Greek struggle and poses a challenge to the British left — can we break out of the ghetto as well?[1]

To plot a possible trajectory we have to be clear of the political alignment that has emerged for the left under the Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government. While Ed Miliband’s Labour Party might be surging ahead in the polls, the possibility of a Labour left revival is simply not on the cards. The Labour Party is hollowed out and bureaucratically controlled and all the best intentions and actions of Labour left activists will not change that. The Labour left is reduced to the old argument that there is nothing credible outside the Labour Party. They mockingly point to all the twisted contortions of the far left in Britain in the last decade (Socialist Alliance, Scottish Socialist Party, Respect, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, Left list, Respect renewal, etc.) to forge a new unity and conclude that the Labour Party is the only show in town.

But this is not an argument made from the Labour Party left’s strength, it is an argument about the radical left’s weakness. They cannot point to any meaningful gains made by the Labour left in recent years because there hasn’t been any. Even the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), the only significant bastion of the socialist left in the party, has failed to grow. On the crucial issue of the coalition government’s spending cuts they couldn’t even get any commitment from their municipal councillors to vote against cuts to local government budgets. Some have claimed that the Labour Party could act as a dented shield against the coalition onslaught, but the truth is that the Labour Party is no shield at all.

The most significant recent press offensive by the Labour Party has been to force the government to re-examine the west-coast mainline rail franchise deal, not to re-nationalise it but to try and keep Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains on the line. Yet barely a peep about the privatisation of the National Health Service, including privatising the pharmacies, some of which are also being taken over by Branson’s Virgin company.

The Labour left is generally principled on issues like privatisation and fighting austerity, but they are drowned out by the party apparatus, which is overwhelmingly neoliberal and anti-socialist. John McDonnell’s failure to even get on the leadership ballot in 2010 speaks volumes. As does the obvious non-growth of the labour left activist base. The magazine Labour Briefing, which recently became the official organ of the LRC, probably has a readership of around 500-600 people, smaller than some of the revolutionary left newspapers.

This is not to say that the Labour left has no role to play – far from it – they should just face reality squarely in the face and realise that reclaiming the Labour Party is a dead-end project.

But there is some truth in their criticism of the revolutionary left. Even where we have built new organisations that looked like they were about to achieve lift off (Respect, SSP), they collapsed in ignominy, usually caused by ego clashes and ridiculous control freakery by various organisations. While some of us criticised the political basis of these projects, the reality is that the political weaknesses barely even had time to come to the surface – the inveterate problems of the far left ran these initiatives into the ground long before they even had a chance to be put to the test of any kind of political power.

So a Labour left that can’t get anywhere and a revolutionary left that can’t get anywhere.

What lessons can we draw from these ”realities”? Certainly pessimism, although understandable, would be the wrong conclusion. The lesson of SYRIZA shows what can be done if the left gets its act together, puts aside its own empire-building projects and tries to do something that might actually make a difference. We have to start from the objective situation and work backwards – the reality of the cuts and a potential lost decade to austerity needs to sharpen our minds and our resolve. Starting from the necessity of a united, credible left we can work backwards to imagine the steps that we can take to get there.

I would go so far as to say that anyone at the present time who opposes attempts towards greater unity is, perhaps unconsciously, holding back the movement. The crisis is so acute and the tasks of the hour so urgent that we have no time for people who spend their hours constructing excuses for fragmentation, isolation and weakness. They are the past, and we desperately need a future.

Dan Hind is right and his voice joins a growing chorus of others who see the need for unity on the left. Does this mean every sect and group can just get together? No, of course real differences emerge. But there is so much that unites us in the current political context that it is criminal – absolutely criminal – that none of the larger groups are seriously talking about launching a new united organisation. The three-way division of the anti-cuts movement is the bitter fruit of this backward attitude on the British left — a situation that should deservedly make us a laughing stock in other countries.

If the success of SYRIZA raises the benchmark for what the left can achieve then the natural next question is, “How could we create an organisation like SYRIZA in Britain?“ I think this question should dominate the discussions on the left in the coming months. But let’s be clear – I am not saying we should just transplant SYRIZA’s program and constitution and graft it onto the British left. Such an attempt would be artificial. An organisation like SYRIZA means a coalition of the radical left, united against austerity, united against privatisation, united in action and united in fighting social oppression. The kind of program that any new initiative adopts is largely the result of who is involved in it, certainly it should have an anti-capitalist basis, though it can leave some of the bigger questions unresolved, at least initially.

Let’s focus on the goals that Hind identifies: “campaign for an end to the country’s predatory foreign policy, for the dismantling of the offshore network, for democratic control of the central banks, urgent action to address the threat of catastrophic climate change, and reform of the national media regimes.”

Each constituency does not need to dissolve itself, we just need to ensure checks and balances to prevent “swamping” of meetings. Each local unit of the organisation would retain certain autonomy while a national committee was permitted to adopt political lines, within the remits established at a conference. If an organisation or individual does not like any of the policies then they should have full freedom to speak their mind about it, while accepting that there is unity in the campaigns and actions the organisations agrees to pursue.

Everyone has to accept that they might be minoritised at some point. But they also have to understand that abandoning the organisation over a constitutional dispute or over this or that policy means abandoning the vital struggle for building a credible radical left in this country. Do people want us to live in glorious isolation for another decade or more, as people’s living standards plummet?

We also have to overcome the very real difference in size between constituent parts on the left. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for instance is still the largest group on the radical left in Britain, although it is much smaller than it was when I joined the left in 2001. Members of the SWP argue that launching a new party is not practical because, as they will numerically “dominate it”, it would cause problems (as it has in the past). But there are a number of ways to overcome this, if there is a political will to make it happen. Changing the culture on the left also means changing how we “intervene” into campaigns or broad organisations, and taking a more open approach, transforming sects into networks and “giving of yourself” for the greater need of the new organisation, these can all be thoroughly healthy steps to take.

Possible alternatives, definite pitfalls

The danger is that the left attempts some kind of united initiative, but limits it to an electoral coalition – replicating the Socialist Alliance (1999-2004) but without the enthusiasm. While a genuine socialist alliance would be a step forward from the current situation, it will suffer the same crisis as the last version, where all the left groups did their campaigning work under their own banners but stood together only in the election.

Let’s put it bluntly, British people generally don’t vote for electoral coalitions. They are here today and gone tomorrow, people respect the concept of a party or at least something more tangible that looks like it is going to last beyond the next internal spat. The Scottish Socialist Party was credible because it was united and forced the smaller groups involved to campaign as SSP activists first and foremost. Putting party before sect is essential to the success of any project, just as it was in the early days of the Labour Party or any of the Communist parties internationally.

The Respect débâcle shows the danger of personality politics (the “great man” view of politics, when the entire project is hung around one person’s neck). But its fragmentation also shows what happens when large constituent groups (in this case the SWP) act like control freaks and treat a coalition like their personal property. Although they blamed the disastrous outcome on John Rees, the fact is that the entire party was complicit in the mistakes that were made, both opportunism in political terms and bad practice in the organisational centre of the party. It was a feeling of loss of control when Galloway started to criticise the SWP’s handling of Respect that led the SWP leadership to “go nuclear” in the words of one protagonist.[2] While we can be critical of the conduct of Galloway and some of his positions, the complaint about organisational manoeuvres and people swamping meetings is one that many on the left will be sadly familiar with. This kind of practice must stop.

The political problem with Respect was not so much its “liberal” program, at the end of the day it was largely old Labour social democratic in much of what it said, the unstable core at the heart of it was the drive for electoral success with people who had no real interests in extra-parliamentary movements and struggles. A temporary alliance with careerists can come back to bite you, as it did for Respect in the east end of London, where Respect councillors jumped ship, first to the Tories and Liberal Democrats and then to Labour.

Again this points up the importance of political movements on the streets and in the workplaces as being paramount, with elections as a subordinate part of that strategy. Moreover, it means a much more democratic and accountable relationship between any elected representatives and the rank and file members, one where they are subordinated to the wider organisation and struggle, and not seen as its “leaders” merely because they have been elected to a position within the capitalist state. This is a point that SYRIZA will also have to debate out in the coming months.

Today the remains of the cycle of left unity initiatives exists in the form of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), an electoral alliance between the SWP and the Socialist Party (CWI), as well as a handful of independents. But again the TUSC only exists for elections and has no activist base. It seems to be doubtful that the TUSC can be transformed into something better; rather it appears to be a marriage of convenience for the two bigger Trotskyist groups. Its last conference had less than 60 people at it, despite the fact that the combined membership of the constituent groups must be over 1000 – real decisions are of course taken by the SWP and SP party leaderships.

While the past should not be forgotten, it can be forgiven, if people can prove their earnest support for a new initiative. Otherwise we are locked in a vicious circle with no way out.

Differences with SYRIZA

Regardless of the subjective problems of the British left’s sect-building ethos, there are two objective problems if we consider ourselves in relation to what the Greek left has achieved. The first is that SYRIZA’s success is clearly the result of a country in complete meltdown. Wage cuts of 40% and closure of important services is at a qualitatively higher level than anything we have in Britain… so far. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that only around 10% of the cuts have gone through, so worse is to come.

Second, Syriza was launched in 2004 and has had the best part of a decade to build up its support in elections before the explosion in 2012. In most elections they received around 5% of the vote, which to the British left would be nothing short of a breakthrough. Patience and a long-term view of politics is essential to make such a project work. But then, maybe the British “explosion” will happen sooner since any new organisation built will be involved in tenacious struggle against austerity from day one.

We also could not limit ourselves to electoral politics as SYRIZA seems to have an inclination to do. While some of the more radical elements within the coalition are organising forums and initiatives outside of the parliamentary process, it is essential as part of our strategy to see elections as a subordinate part of the wider struggle, not the primary focus. If SYRIZA imagines that it can really reverse the austerity measures and revive Greece only through governing the capitalist state they will be in for a rude shock. When it comes to Greece’s political and economic future, the European Central Bank and the leaders of France and Germany, not to mention the Greek capitalist class, are all in a far more powerful position than the parliament in Athens; removing their support and control mechanisms would be a crucial task for any radical government.

Campaigning for a united, radical left formation in Britain should be an essential part of the Anticapitalist Initiative’s (ACI) work in the coming months and years. Even more so, 2013 should be the year that serious steps are made to bring together a re-alignment on the left. We have had our fingers burnt in the past, but we cannot let past failures haunt us. If we fail to rise to the challenge, then we will deserve the defeats inflicted on us by the ruling class.

But the working class and the poor do not deserve them. It is not their fault the left is so weak – it’s ours. Now we have to get our house in order so that we can create a movement that can fight austerity and challenge capitalism.

Simon Hardy is a member of the new Anticapitalist Initiative (ACI), which, according to its website, seeks “to search out avenues for unity and co-operation that presents radical and socialist ideas in a way that is more appealing to new layers of activists. We will promote activity and struggle that aims to overcome division and sectarianism and points the way to a new type of society without exploitation and oppression.”

 

Notes

[1] Read Dan Hind’s article here http://aje.me/U5lUOj. It subsequently drew a critically examination from Socialist Workers Party member Richard Seymour at his Lenin’s Tomb blog http://www.leninology.com/2012/08/the-problem-of-left-unity.html.

[2] See http://www.socialistunity.com/galloway-on-respect/ and also http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Car-crash-on-the-left.

Originally at LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Renewal: http://links.org.au/node/3054

**END**

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Richard Alpert

RADICAL FOUCAULT EXPANDED! AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

September 8th – 9th, Universityof East London(Docklands Campus)
Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London
http://culturalstudiesresearch.org/?p=591

Following the  superb international response to our initial call for papers, we have decided to expand the  event into a two-day conference. This has opened up a very limited amount of space for further contributions. Abstracts of no more than 350 words are invited, to arrive no later than Sunday May 8th 201.

The publication of Michel Foucault’s Lectures at the Collège de France, 1983-84 in English will be complete in April 2011 and his first Collège de France lecture course, La Volunté de Savoir will be published for the first time in February. The Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London is holding a an international conference which will re-assess Foucault’s contribution to radical thought and the application of his ideas to contemporary politics. What does it mean to draw on Foucault as a resource for radical politics, and how are we to understand the politics which implicitly informs his work?

Many commentators today would seem to claim Foucault as  the theorist of a politics which eschews all utopian ambition in favour of a certain governmental pragmatism, while others would claim him for a rigorous but ultimately rather simple libertarianism: can either of these positions ever be adequate to the radicalism of Foucault’s  analyses? Does it matter?

What is the significance of Foucault’s ideas of ‘governmentality’ and ‘biopolitics’ in understanding his later oeuvre and its implications; do either of these terms deserve to carry the weight attributed to them by some commentators? What is the ongoing relevance of Foucault’s account of disciplinarity: is, it, as Lazzarato has claimed, a historical category no longer fully applicable to contemporary forms of power?

How can Foucauldian ideas be brought bear on the analysis of austerity politics? Is there a role for Foucault’s ideas in formulating effective resistance to the increasing erosion of civil liberties that operates both within countries and across state boundaries? Can the notion of bio-power account for contemporary forms of racism? How can Foucauldian epistemology enable an understanding of the biopolitics of contemporary scientific discourse?

Confirmed Keynotes:
Stuart Elden, Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University.
Mark Kelly, Lecturer in Philosophy, Middlesex University.

Subjects may include, but are not limited to:
Foucauldian thought and contemporary subjectivation
Foucault and other thinkers
Governmentality and everyday life
Strategic discourses of war and terror
New technologies of the self
Foucault and new forms of resistance
Heterotopias  now and in the future
Foucault and the erosion of the state
Disciplinary society and the society of control
Foucault, British politics and the ‘big society’
Foucault, post-Fordism and post-democracy

Email abstracts to Jeremy Gilbert (j.gilbert@uel.ac.uk) and Debra Benita Shaw (d.shaw@uel.ac.uk)

Registration will cost £110.00 per delegate (including lunch, not including accommodation or dinner) for both days. A day-rate of 65.00 will be available, but delegates will be strongly encouraged to attend on both days, and the organisers cannot promise to accommodate requests to present on a particular day.

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski: https://rikowski.wordpress.com

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Global Economic Crisis

MARXISM AND THE ALTERNATIVES TO THE CRISIS

International Socialism
A seminar hosted by the quarterly journal of socialist theory

Marxism and the Alternatives to Crisis

It has been three years since the economic crisis first manifested. The credit crunch has given way to financial crash and the Great Recession. The ruling classes of Europe, faced with a growing crisis in the Eurozone, have embraced austerity and cuts in order to shift the cost of the crisis to workers, students and the unemployed.

In response, we have seen movements of resistance right across Europe. In countries like Greece, France and Ireland, strikes and protests have been complemented by alternative programmes and debates about the way forward for the movement. In Britain, the student revolt has marked a turning point in the struggle. This seminar will bring together academics and activists to discuss the current situation and what lies ahead.

With:

Alex Callinicos: (Editor of International Socialism and Professor of European Studies at Kings College London)

Jane Hardy: (Author of Poland’s New Capitalism and Professor of Political Economy at the University of Hertfordshire)

Stathis Kouvelakis: (Author of Philosophy and Revolution and lecturer at Kings College, London)

Costas Lapavitsas: (Member of Research on Money and Finance and Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies)

Tuesday 7 December, 6.30pm
Brunei Lecture Theatre,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
Russell Square campus,
London, WC1H 0XG

Free entry – All welcome

http://www.isj.org.uk * isj@swp.org.uk * (020) 7819 1177

International Socialism
http://www.isj.org.uk
+44 (0)20 7819 1177

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

A World To Win

TAKING THE REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

This Saturday – 22 May
A World to Win Conference

Taking the Revolutionary Road

The coming together of the Tories and Lib Dems in a coalition government is a dramatic expression of the way that the economic and financial crisis has an immediate impact on politics. It gives added urgency to the call to create People’s Assemblies as an alternative to the dead-end of Parliamentary politics. As one delegate to A World to Win’s conference says:

“….given the global nature of the crisis there’s a real need for revolutionary solutions not just in Britain but for the whole of our planet and all its peoples, London May 22nd will be a great starting point.”

Register for Conference | Agenda: http://www.aworldtowin.net/about/2010conference.html

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon Profile at: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/cold-hands-quarter-moon/

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

A great video and song, ‘Daystar’ by Will Roberts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6f_pA5XUPk

Vote Clegg, get Brown!

Tory / Lib Dem Government announce Plans for Swedish style ‘Free Schools’

 From Alasdair Smith at the Anti Academies Alliance

 AAA website at: http://www.antiacademies.org.uk

 The new Tory / Lib Dem government has already announced that we will see Swedish style ‘Free Schools’ being opened.

They also intend to rush through legislation to allow ‘outstanding’ schools to become Academies.

The Swedish ‘Free Schools’ have recently received a lot of criticism. Swedish Trade unions, politicians and even the Swedish National Agency for Education have warned that we there are serious problems with the ‘Free School’ model.

It’s not too late for Liberal Democrat members and MPs to demand that these proposals are abandoned.

In every city and town we need to start to prepare to resist these proposals.

No privatisation, No cuts: Defend Comprehensive Education!  

New Anti Academies Alliance briefing on Swedish style ‘Free’ Schools: https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/international/sweden/thecaseagainstswedishstylefreeschools

Recent news articles on Swedish ‘Free’ schools, and the myth that they are successful:

https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/parliament/thecaseagainstfreeschools

An Appeal to Liberal Democrats

The following Appeal has been circulated to Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and activists.

At your Spring Conference in 2009 you passed a motion which stated you would “restore strategic Local Authority oversight and commissioning” of Academies.

The Anti Academies Alliance welcomed this decision. It made your party the only party that recognised a key problem with Academies; that they are schools that are outside of local democratic control.

In our questionnaire to election candidates many of your candidates replied repeating this pledge.

As the discussions about the formation of a future government proceed, we appeal to you to stand by this pledge, and to take this historic opportunity to halt the academy programme and the break up of our comprehenisive education system.

It is also important that the Tories’ plans for further privatisation & deregulation are thwarted. Michael Gove’s plans for “new” schools along the lines of the ‘Swedish model’ must be shelved.

We urge every Lib Dem to contact their leadership to demand that a progressive education policy is not squandered in any coalition deal.

Alasdair Smith, National Secretary, Anti Academies Alliance

‘Free’ Schools – a “disaster for standards”

This was the comment made by Nick Clegg, just a week before becoming Deputy Prime Minister:

Biggest academy sponsor hit by fresh Ofsted ‘failure’

The country’s biggest academy sponsor has been plunged into fresh turmoil after it emerged that another of its schools has been judged “inadequate” by Ofsted.

Stockport Academy, sponsored by the United Learning Trust (ULT), has been told that it needs “significant improvement” to address poor standards.

It is the third ULT academy to be described as inadequate by inspectors in less than a year and is the latest in a line of significant setbacks for the sponsor.

Education Bill within weeks as Tories dig in

The move opens the door for a raft of new schools to be set up by parent groups, charities and local businesses as well as existing school providers, a policy not backed by the Liberal Democrats before the election. Legislation later this month will give all schools ranked outstanding by Ofsted the right to step out of local authority control immediately and become academies.

Heads warn National Challenge schools face job losses and budget cuts

England’s worst performing schools – those categorised under the National Challenge – face redundancies and budget crises from next spring, heads and unions have warned. Improvements to the “named and shamed” secondaries could stall when they lose vital cash during tough financial times in 2011, the school leaders have said. See: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6043684

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowsk

Nick Clegg

 

David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski