Every morning I wake up on

The wrong side of capitalism

Hi and Ken Loach

Hello, I, er, haven’t posted here for ages. I post so rarely now, that I feel I ought to re-introduce myself every time I do. Anyway, I’m still at Sussex , but I’m back in Cambridge at the moment, working.

I just saw the film, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.� I won’t attempt to write a review here (for more information see here), but I’d just like to make one point. I liked that the film puts even some of the extremely harsh actions of the Irish republicans in context. The film is not a straightforward glorification of the republicans. It shows, that the old IRA did some fairly unpleasant things (for instance, the killing of someone who really only informed on them out of fear). However, these things are not shown to be simple atrocities. We see why the characters think that these actions are necessary, in the context of a war against the British. The film starts with a young man being beaten to death by the Black and Tans for refusing to say his name in English. The characters feel that they must be brutal against an enemy like that. Although I am certainly not a pacifist, I dislike that kind of brutality (even if the killing of the rather frightened and repentant informer helped them tactically, it still would not be justified, in my view), but it was good to see it contextualised.

I do have more to say about this film, but I will need to do a bit more research first. I intend to post more frequently now that I’m not studying.


Hi. I haven’t posted on here for ages, since I’ve been rather busy with the second year of my degree, and I’ve found that I haven’t really had much to say. Also, I think I used to have a rather naïve position on issues like anti-capitalism and feminism (possibly as a result of reading too much Chomsky), and I’m trying to decide what I actually think at the moment. Anyway, I’ll get on with the post.

“The rhetoric of today’s political leaders serves neither construction nor conservation. Its aim is to dismantle. Dismantle what has been inherited from the past, socially, economically and ethically, and, in particular, all the associations, regulations and mechanisms expressing solidarity.â€?

I’ve just been reading John Berger’s article on the protests in France (he is quoted above – I got the link from Lenin’s tomb). In it, he writes about the rhetoric used by politicians to hide the “process of dismantling, � to make it look as if it were natural and inevitable. However, I think that this article makes it seem as though the dismantling of public services is inevitable. He seems to mostly express nostalgia for “what has been inherited from the past, socially, economically and ethically�.

I really like the article about the protests on the K-punk blog. K-punk says that “if anti-capitalism is equated with ‘immobilization’, not only will it prove ineffective, it will actually serve as part of the ideological framework of Capitalism.� This is because it confirms that “capital owns the future,� and the only option for us is to take a stance that we know will be defeated.

Mostly, when I talk to friends about neo-liberalism, they agree that it’s bad, but they say that they think it is inevitable. None of my friends want job insecurity and terrible student loan debts, but they think that it’s going to happen anyway so they may as well get on with it, and make the best of it (k-punk writes about how arguments in favour of neo-liberal reforms appeal to reality, rather than to improvement in the post “Capitalist Realist Straw Women�. Unfortunately I can’t find a way to link directly to it). They really have no reason to protest against it, while we take this “romantic but inevitably defeated Canute-like stance�. I just don’t really know how, practically, we can protest against these reforms, without being nostalgic.

Recently there was a library occupation at Sussex, just after the lecturer’s strike, in protest against the neo-liberal reforms at Sussex (I couldn’t get to it, unfortunately). The demands do seem to have been mostly defensive, for example, “opposition to the introduction of top-up fees.� I’m not sure what the solution is, possibly to oppose top-up fees, and to try to take over the university! I think I remember Tim suggesting something like this ages ago.

Also, I’m not sure why there were yoga classes at the library occupation. Hippies are damn annoying! Now I really should get back to work (I have to read about Heidigger and moral realism today.)


More New Orleans

The other day, I read an article in the Observer, which quotes someone who says that, in the convention centre, people were taking guns to defend themselves:

>’…The police kept telling us buses were coming but they didn’t. People started getting aggravated and then one policeman got mad, he caught an attitude with somebody and they caught an attitude back and started banging on his car, and that’s how it started. He called for back-up and the next thing I know the military are down there throwing stun grenades. Everybody started running, bumping into each other, hurting each other.’

>As the repeated promises of buses failed to materialise, people in the shelters started stealing cars. ‘How do you expect people to act right when they’re starving to death?’ asked Williams. ‘There were bodies all over. We were just throwing them out the front. They (the authorities) are blaming it on the people, making it look like it was the people’s fault, but it’s really their fault because they’re not giving us what we need to survive. So now people are going and getting guns in order to fight back, in order to survive cos they don’t want to help us.’

Another article from the Guardian describes the looters as heroes:

>But to the people inside the convention centre, he was one of a band of heroes keeping them alive. “The people who were going into the stores would give us water and food, said Edna Harris, Henry Carr’s aunt. “There would be ladies with babies and they had no milk, and these guys would break in and bring them milk.”

Also a great article, by Mike Davis, written after a hurricane in New Orleans in 2004.



I haven’t posted on here for a while since I’m spending most of my time reading philosophy and economics stuff for next year but I don’t have much to say about that yet. I need something to distract me from microeconomics (oligopoly and game theory) now though. I tried baking a cake but that didn’t turn out too well: it was flat and I think I used too many eggs (the recipe said to use 4 but I’m fairly sure that 2 or 3 would have been better).

At work, on Wednesday I argued with people about the Gate Gourmet caterers, and the solidarity shown by the BA workers. Most people at work disapproved of the baggage handlers because the strike was unofficial. I always find it very strange when people say that illegal action should never be taken. What are we supposed to do? Simply feel sorry for the sacked workers (and allow then to remain sacked?). The story would surely not even have been mainstream press news if it hadn’t been for the solidarity action. From Lenin’s tomb:

>There’s a line spun by the media that we should all feel sorry for the sacked workers at Gate Gourmet, but that we should also condemn the solidarity action taken by BA baggage handlers. In other words, we’re being told that it’s ok to see people as victims, but we mustn’t actually do anything about it (except bring our own packed lunches if we’re travelling by plane).



I spent the evening (well from when I finished work, which was about 10.30) watching TV, which is something I haven’t done much recently, owing to the lack of a TV at university (back home for the summer at the moment). I watched Sugar Rush, which I think Tim is completely wrong about. It was great, although the ending was somewhat unsatisfying. I then watched two episodes of Sex and the City. Until now I hadn’t realised how irritating Carrie is.

Also: read k-punk and Lenin on the bombings.



I have exams in a few weeks, and I’ve been doing more work than I ever have in my life before (mainly because last term I spent the whole time getting drunk, and got quite behind). Economics gets worse and worse. Macroeconomics started with the Keynesian multiplier (if consumption, government spending, or investment is increased, or taxes decrease, production will increase by a larger amount owing to the multiplier effect), and we have ended by learning about how if inflation is too high, you have to increase unemployment (by increasing the interest rate, and therefore decreasing money growth - i think this is right anyway, it is quite late now).


Vote nobody pirates

I got dragged into an action the other day. It was the first time I’ve done any activist stuff in ages (apart from going drinking with people - not sure whether that counts). Autonomous Students did a vote nobody action, which involved dressing up as pirates waving black flags, disrupting an “election day” and knocking over the conservative students table while handing out “vote nobody” leaflets. I think they disrupted an election meeting also, later but I wasn’t there. We were chased out and some people were threatened by security guards. It was weird - I haven’t been chased by and cops/ hired goons for quite some time. I was a little worried, however, that dressing in black and marching to disrupt a n election meeting could have been interpreted as crazy fascism.

I’ve been reading Nozick today - a crazy right wing anarchist, who thinks that we have natural property rights (I thought he would have justified private property on utiltarian grounds instead). We had a lecture on Mill and Nozick and freedom, and the lecturer spoke about laissez faire capitalism creating “strong individuals”. It’s interesting going to these philosophy lectures, and then revising microeconomics stuff in which the individual fufils their potential by choosing the right combination of eg. burgers and pizzas.

Just realised that the autonomous students page on the union site descibes us as “libertarian socialists.” Quite pleased with this - it’s a much better description than anarchist.



I’m spending my easter mostly studying economics. (I have to write an essay on “competative markets”), and I’m getting quite bored with this, so trying to distract myself in anyway possible. Just read a good article on the wealth gap between black and white Americans.

I aso heard about the debate on why women don’t write blogs. Blogging is another one of these things like science, activism, comedy, juggling, chess playing, computer stuff that women don’t seem to do. This could possibly be why.


21st birthday

Since Tim is away fighting capitalism in a skiing resort, I thought I should probably write something :). It is my 21st birthday today, and I am so hungover from going out last night that I can’t think of anything remotely sensible today. I’m trying to cut down a bit on drinking now, since it actually does make me incapable of working, but it is very difficult since all my friends drink lots.



I haven’t posted anything for ages mostly because I’ve been ill or busy. I’ve actually completely given up activism now (apart from - I have to book a room for a southcoast indymedia meeting). This has left something of a void, which I have to fill up before I become an alcoholic. I’ve started reading the wretched of the earth by fanon, which seems really good but I don’t think my brain is in a fit state to recall any of it at the moment, so will probably post more on it soon.

Earlier, I found on the sussex union website the information about Autonomous, the group I used to be involved in. I thought this quote was quite good:

>A spectre is haunting Sussex…The bete noire of enterprising vice-chancellors and stalinist union officials alike, Autonomous has been accused of being behind a list of scandals over the past 10 years, including strikes, occupations and forms of sabotage. Leaving aside the questionable accuracy of such allegations, it is important that Autonomous should be judged not according to the superficially scandalous aspects of certain manifestations through which it makes its appearance, but according to its essentially scandalous central truth.