Sunday, 28 August 2011

Britishness – an impossible concept?

I think we can all agree that any concept of nation and nationality, wherever they are in the world, are social and political constructs. Nations are historically constructed based upon lines on a map, often many hundreds of years old. As an island nation, the lines of the map are rather more easy to define for Britain, but historically, the “kingdom” of Britain could have included much of northern France, and if it were not for the various struggles of medieval Britain, the concept of Britishness, and of much of Europe, could have been very different today.

Nations are also constructed on ethnic grounds. These ethnic divides were accentuated as history progressed, with various ethnic groups settling in different geographic areas, often based upon the same artificial lines described above.

But nationhood is also capable of encompassing ethnically diverse groups. We are quite familiar with concepts of British-Asian, British-Afro-Caribbean etc. and many people self identify as such. National identity along these lines allows different groups to come together and construct a shared identity based upon common values and engaging in common expressions of democracy and government.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Analysing the riots - sort of

Analysing last week's riots is going to take a long time. There are such big issues at stake that trying sum up the root causes simply cannot be done in a news report or newspaper article. As a Marxist, when someone asks me my opinion, all I can do is sit down and sigh. It is simply too big for me to do.

And let me take a line from all of the politicians – I'm not making excuses. But when someone says that the riots are “criminal”, a whole series of questions goes through my head, as well as the Daily Mail type answers.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The People's Charter - Not just an anti-cuts campaign

Recently the People's Charter was described to me as "the CPB's anti-cuts campaign".

The People's Charter is not an anti-cuts movement. Yes, if adopted, it would mean that none of the government's cuts would be enacted. But more than that, it is a document for the future. It is a set of policies and demands that lay the groundwork for the building of socialism in this country.

As for the CPB reference, I hand over to John Hendy QC

Taken from the Morning Star 17/05/2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

Activists planning autumn strikes and mass protests

Taken from This is Plymouth

ACTIVISTS in Plymouth are planning further strikes and mass protests against cuts to jobs and public services.
Around 40 trade union figures and campaigners met to discuss their autumn action plan over the weekend.
They are to stage dozens of events in coming months, including marches, rallies, "flash mobs" and festivals.
Unionists urged the city's public sectors workers to support a national day of action, due to be held across the country on November 8.
The latest call to arms follows mass action at the end of June, which saw thousands of people support striking teachers and civil servants in Plymouth.
Plymouth Fightback Against the Cuts held the latest conference at the Quaker House, Mutley Plain, on Saturday.