I see my e mail chum Vivian Bolus is getting a bit of stick from the bible bashers in the Hackney Gazette this week.
It is interesting that some four weeks after Vivian criticised Hackney Police sky pilot Supt Leroy Logan, someone has been found to come to the defence of Supt Logan - a Mr Paul Ingham, who does not even live in Hackney.
Clearly the Christian e mail groups, that worked so quickly when rallying support for Supt Logan's nutty schemes earlier ths year, have slowed down somewhat. Is it too much to hope they will soon fall silent?
I noticed the following letter in the National Secular Society's excellent weekly e mail newsletter.
From Steve Radford:
Michael Igoe (Newsline 17 Nov 2006) should not be surprised to hear George Galloway MP attacking Richard Dawkins. It is sad, but true, that Gorgeous George has an unpleasant tinge of religionism (as well as unprincipled opportunism) running through his politics.
Apart from Galloway’s personal religious beliefs, his (supposedly socialist) Respect coalition is despised by many on the progressive left (like me) because it has compromised basic socialist and secular principles to ally itself with Islamist bigots such the the Muslim Association of Britain – a UK echo of the Islamic Brotherhood in the Middle East. In the 2004 Euro elections I (as a candidate and spokesman for the Alliance for Green Socialism in Yorkshire) was obliged to publicly denounce the candidate heading the list for Galloway’s Respect coalition in this region (Anais al Tikriti of the Muslim Association of Britain) because he was a essentially an Islamist, rather than a socialist candidate.
Respect candidates seek votes in many areas based on a naked appeal to Muslim identity and Islamic sectarianism. As this coalition also includes the Troskyite SWP (which was the largest leftist party in the UK before it started allying itself with religious reactionaries) it has also paralysed progressive secular organisations in other fields – notably education.
The Socialist Teacher’s Association, for example, has found it difficult to organise opposition to the growth of sectarian religious schools largely because SWP members in the teaching unions have been instructed by their Central Committee not to oppose Islamic schools – because they are seeking support from Islamists and Muslim clerics for Respect election candidates (see http://www.respectcoalition.org/elect/local.php?seatid=34&a=1&ite=760 for a typical example).
Many readers may not feel particularly dismayed by this (it is clear from the letters in Newsline that some NSS members have fairly reactionary politics) but all secularists should be concerned at the poisonous growth of Islamist influence within formerly secular areas of the UK political scene.
Ian Bone's autobiography "Bash the Rich" is probably the most mainstream Anarchist book to be published in the UK since Stuart Christie's autobiography "Granny Made Me An Anarchist". That is not the reason why you should read it though - it should be read for its honesty, its humour and the manner in which the author places himself (and Class War) in a radical British political tradition that should be supported.
Michael Stone is an idiot.
His attack on Stormont today will result in one thing - his licence as a freed paramilitary being revoked, and his return to prison. Add to that possible charges from the weapons he was allegedly carrying, plus his scuffle with security staff, and his days of swanning around London as an "artist" - piss or painter - will be over for some time.
It seems his attack was motivated by his opposition to the current political process in Northern Ireland. When the Unionists stop stalling this will see the Rev Ian Paisley as First Minister and Martin McGuiness as his Deputy. Yet this is exactly the same process that Michael Stone himself signed up to in 1998, when he was one of the UDA prisoners Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam went to see in The Maze.
Where did Stone think that process would lead to, other than a Loyalist led Assembly at Stormont, but with significant Republican representation?
How could it have led anywhere else?
At the Anarchist bookfair last month I met some people from the German organisation the Socialist Patients Collective.
Reading their famous book "SPK - Turn Illness Into A Weapon" I came across this fascinating quote:
Since the Civil War in Northern Ireland is raging the number of depressive illnesses and also the rate of suicides has fallen to a flabbergasting degree, being now only half of their former levels. This can be found with men of the lower social classes, who are the persons most engaged in those struggles. Men of the upper classes and in some of the quieter parts of Northern Ireland are now suffering more from depressions than before.Dr H.A. Lyons, Purdysburn Hospital, Belfast. Originally quoted in Frankfurter Runsdschau, 21 August 1972.
Put simply - "the troubles" gave people something to live for, that was more exciting than pressing buttons in a factory, or shuffling paper in an office. It does not say much for day to day, "normal" Western societies, does it?
The article below was written for the first issue of Class War's theoretical magazine, Touch of Class. You can order the magazine for £2 from Class War here.
What's All This About?
So, you have in your hands a new magazine, A Touch of Class, published by the Class War Federation. Having parted with your hard earned cash, you probably want to know what it is all about, and also what it is we are aiming to do with this magazine.
Firstly, we are publishing it because we feel we have something different to say. If you want stale old leftist positions, identity politics masquerading as socialism or anarchism reproduced as a fixed ideology
bordering on the religious, there are (sadly) plenty of vehicles for that already in the UK. There is none
of that drivel here.
The second reason for producing this magazine is a recognition that working class communities, both here and abroad are changing rapidly, indeed faster than ever before. The last time Class War produced a magazine, some thirteen years ago, new Labour was barely off the drawing board, ASBOs were unheard of, council estates were run by the council, bombs that exploded in London were marked "made in Belfast" rather than "made in Leeds", Oldham Athletic were in the Premiership, and the numer of Polish builders in the UK could be counted on one hand.
We want somewhere to discuss these changes - the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to debate how they effect the working class, how they effect this society and how they effect the world. And most importantly we want to not only respond to those changes, but to set our own agenda.
Importantly for us, this magazine is also an attempt, tentatively at first, to reposition Class War. Doing
anything else, given the changes mentioned above, would be silly. Many of Class War's current membership cut their political teeth in some of the overt class struggles of the 1980s and early 1990s - times that have, if we are all honest, long gone. Whilst we will all be there dancing on Margaret Thatcher's grave when she dies, we are conscious also of the teenager London CW met at an event in Hackney who asked us, in all seriousness, who Margaret Thatcher was. We need to fight the next battle, not the last.
Can a magazine play a role in setting a political group's development? The simple answer is yes. This is something the British National Party did very succesfully with Tony Lecomber's Patriot magazine in the late 90s - indeed if you re-read it now you can see them planning for much of their recent political activity. From stealing the Front National's political clothes, understanding the Internet and new technology, seeing a threat from Islam rather than trying to flog old anti-Jewish conspirary theories, right down to them predicting they would win significant numbers of seats in a "old northern mill town abandoned by the Labour party", it was all there. They were thinking strategically, whilst the left anarchist movement was simply bumbling along from one paper sale or demonstration to the next. Unpleasant as the BNP are, there is method in their madness.
Class War itself has not always done strategic thinking well. One example is the strategy discussion
at our October 2005 conference, where discussion rapidly moved onto commemorating the 1926 general strike and the 1916 Easter Rising. Fine ideas if we had 100,000 members and an active history society, of less use to an organisation with a fraction of those members attempting to work politically in the present day.
We need to forge new directions, and work around the here and now, not the ever decreasing circles of the past. We hope you will join us, either as a Federation, or perhaps by committing some of your thoughts to this magazine, and any similar publications that emerge.
Onwards and upwards!
I can't say that I am crying buckets of tears for the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, currently seriously ill in a London hospital. As the media reminds us every few minutes, it is suspected he has been poisoned, allegedly by Russia's FSB security agency.
As an ex-FSB man himself, Litvinenko hardly cuts the mustard as a progressive. His case has also smoked out one or two oddballs - the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky gave a curious interview to Sky News at the weekend where he commented that he did not meet any Russians in London (for both security and "political" reasons) but that he knows Litvinenko well, and regards him as a good friend. As the saying goes - go figure!
If the anti-Russian assault continues in the UK media - how long until the Russians respond? After all if you accept that the Russian security services go round trying to kill people, is it not likely that the British one's do exactly the same? And that the Russians have one or two juicy stories about MI5 or MI6 that they would love to see in the international media?
The letter below has been e mailed around London offices recently, and has been described as the "complaint of the year". It probably is!
I think it shows one of the problems of consumer society - yes we have money to spend, and no one is starving in the streets, but on one level we have never had less control over our lives, or felt as helpless when faced with crap corporate capitalism. I only have to hear the words "your call is important to us, please hold" and any doubts I have about being an anarchist just fade away. Call centres - whether here or in India - may well oppress their workforces. But what the hell do they do to those who actually use them?
I can't say that I particularly agree with the Dutch government's proposal to ban the burqa. Whilst I can see the reasons behind it, I think people should broadly be able to wear what they want. Equally the ban is likely to be rallying call for Islamists in Holland - of which, sadly, there are many.
One of the arguments against the burqa is that it inhabits communication between certain Muslim women and the rest of the society. Yesterday whilst returning my library books, I was behind a burqa wearer who was asked to confirm her address before she could take any books out. Because her mouth and nose were behind a big piece of cloth, she had to repeat the address three times before she was understood. You do have to question any practice that inhibits communication between human beings in such a way.
The article below is one of the best I have read about the issues surrounding Islam in Holland. Although its a couple of years old, it serves as a background to the debate in that country about the burqa.
Dutch find the strength to take on their 'new Nazis'
By Daniel Johnson Daily Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/11/2004
The assassination of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker whose funeral took place yesterday, is something new in Europe. There are, of course, antecedents. Fifteen years have passed since Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie: the first shot in the culture war between fundamentalist Islam and the West. But there is no precedent for the ritual slaughter of a prominent artist in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam.
For the Dutch, this murder is not only sinister: it is symbolic. Van Gogh - distantly related to Holland's most celebrated artist - was shot on his bicycle, another national emblem. As he writhed on the ground, the murderer cut his throat without mercy and left him with two knives protruding from his body: a method that is apparently common in North Africa, but unheard of here. Just in case there was any doubt about the symbolism of this butchery, a note was found pinned to his chest, containing death threats against three other public figures.
The resonance of this hideous crime, not only in the Netherlands, but across the whole of continental Europe, is difficult for the British to comprehend. We have no conception of the status accorded to the artist in countries that have known totalitarian dictatorship within living memory. The Nazis and the Communists liquidated or exiled the intelligentsia wherever they could. Persecution cast a shadow across the Continent from which it has still not wholly recovered.
Hence the reverence in which the artist is held. Hence the cult of dissent at any price, however absurd, pretentious or childish. Hence the aversion to censorship of any kind, including self-censorship. For a post-traumatic culture, the artist is a high priest. The murder of an artist for the sake of his art shocks secular Europe rather as martyrdom once shocked Christendom. Theo van Gogh is a secular martyr.
What had he done to deserve such a fate? Submission, the film that occasioned the attack, is by no means an attack on Islam as a religion. It does not, as Rushdie did, ridicule the Prophet Mohammed. What it does is to denounce the barbaric treatment of women in many Islamic societies, focusing attention on forced marriage and the penalisation of rape victims under the guise of adultery. The imagery is deliberately provocative: verses from the Koran are inscribed on a naked woman, to drive home the message that Muslim women are human, too, beneath the veil.
It does not require much imagination to see how this tableau would strike strict Muslims, who regard the Koran as the literal, uncreated word of God, and whose customs forbid the public display of the female face, let alone her body. To them, the broadcast of such an image on television is both blasphemy and sacrilege. In their eyes, it adds to the gravity of the case that the Somali woman who wrote the script of Submission, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is a former Muslim - in other words, an apostate. She has been condemned by fatwa and survives only under police protection.
Van Gogh, as a non-Muslim, was mistakenly assumed, both by the authorities and himself, to be less at risk. In his book Allah Knows Better, however, he added insult to injury by castigating the misogyny and puritanical attitudes of local imams. Defiant to the last, he refused to alter his bohemian lifestyle, as if the Netherlands were still the haven of toleration that it had been since the revolt against Spanish rule four centuries ago.
That habit of toleration is an integral part of Dutch identity. Van Gogh's death, like that of the politician Pim Fortuyn two years ago, echoed the assassination in 1584 of the Prince of Orange, William the Silent, who is still seen as a martyr not only to the Protestant cause, but also to that of freedom of conscience. The words of the historian Motley about William the Silent - "When he died, the little children cried in the streets" - could have been said yesterday of Theo van Gogh.
In the 17th century, Holland was the only country in Europe where a Jewish apostate, Spinoza, could publish philosophical works challenging the very basis of revealed religion. The Jewish community could expel and curse Spinoza, but neither Jew nor Christian dared to harm him.
Only under German occupation was this tradition of toleration interrupted and temporarily crushed. When the Dutch Catholic bishops made a protest, the Germans responded by deporting clergy of Jewish origin, including the nun, philosopher and saint Edith Stein to Auschwitz. Anne Frank and her family were protected for four years, only to be betrayed as liberation approached. The bitter experience of occupation and collaboration has made the Dutch hypersensitive to intolerance in any form.
Now, with the manifestation of a violent form of intolerance in their midst, the iron has entered their souls. After decades of welcoming immigration and preaching multiculturalism, they now propose to expel failed asylum-seekers and to assimilate those who settle, rather than permit de facto religious segregation. If neo-conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, the Dutch are fast becoming a nation of neo-conservatives.
While the Arab-European League accused the Dutch immigration minister of giving a "Hitler speech" at a rally in protest at van Gogh's murder, the Dutch know who the real Hitlers are. Even the most liberal society is illiberal when it is a question of survival. The Dutch see those who dream of Europe under a revived caliphate as a threat to their way of life. The prospect of Islamist imams imposing sharia law on Dutch cities amounts, they feel, to a new Nazi occupation.
Unlike his great, great, great uncle Vincent, Theo van Gogh was not a genius. Was he really an artist at all? But van Gogh's murder has proved him right about the hardline Islamists. Their ideology is inimical to all that the Dutch hold dear. Last night, as van Gogh's cremation was seen on television, the tension was palpable. Holland is now the crucible of Europe. Not even the most tolerant people on earth can tolerate the Islamists.
All of a sudden Hackney Council seems to want to know what people think.
Recently I have seen two consultation requests - one concerning a proposed 20 miles per hour zone for De Beauvoir, and the other proposing restrictions on goods vehicles in South Hackney.
I am opposed to 20mph zones. Quite simply roads are for cars and buses, and they should be as free as possible. Cycle lanes should either be in a kerbed off area to the side of the road, or on part of the pavement. These amendments would make the roads far safer than they are now, and most roads in Hackney are big enough to allow it to happen. It would also help if it were possible to physically get on to buses on the most popular routes!
Hackney Council should restrict lorries exceeding 7.5 tonnes in south Hackney. This is an area it defines as Kingsland, De Beauvoir and Hoxton - all firmly residential areas. Due to long term government policy there are far too many lorries as it is.
Let's squeeze them out of our residential areas, and make life more pleasant for all road users.
Just checking the viewer statistics for this blog, and I am now approaching 3500 page views in about 4 months.
Most popular pages appear to be my article about gangland Manchester (Paul Massey appears to have plenty of supporters, as people googling his name visit the site most days) followed by the articles on Hackney. Of these the Nicky Cruz scandal brought most attention. Articles on the 9/11 cult bring quantity if not quality surfers to the site!
I had no great masterplan when I developed this blog, but I do hope I have made a contribution to debates. More is to come.
Everyone should have heard by now - Class War are planning a huge party for Trafalgar Square at 6pm on the first Saturday after Margaret Thatcher dies. Some of you may have got a bit excited after spotting the old bag hanging onto John Major at Remembrance Sunday - not long to go now!
People are already promoting this event in lots of different ways - a postcard campaign, stickers and posters, blogs like this, and now a myspace account. You can view it here.
As soon as the glorious day arrives, we will need to get on radio phone in's and on 24 hour news channels trying to put forward the truth about Thatcher - that she was a disaster for this country and this society.
If not - the only voices that will be heard will be the likes of Tony Blair and George W Bush. And that is to allow history to be re-written.
Ian Bone seems to be getting a bit of media work following the publication of his excellent autobiography "Bash the Rich".
This evening More4 saw Ian debating with Labour MP for Hendon Andrew Dinsmore, and the Respect Party's Salma Yaqoub, on "Starkey's Last Word". I personally find the theatrical Starkey rather irritating, and he seemed to take up a significant part of the programme rambling about prisoners slopping out and subsequent human rights cases. This is of course the same slopping out procedure that was supposed to end after the Strangeways riot in 1990........
Ian was at his best talking about the concept of "rights" - what price human rights if they have to be "given" to you by a politician? Andrew Dinsmore, as a typical new Labour lawyer naturally loved the Human Rights Act, and of course was left to defend some of the more curious cases arising from it. To be fair to Starkey, he is quite sharp behind his hammy persona - bowling Salma Yaqoub a bouncer about George Galloway's poor attendance in the Commons. All she looked capable of hitting was her own stumps!
Perhaps realising time was pressing, Ian managed to raise the failure of the UK anti-war movement - a failure for which Respect must take a considerable slice of the blame. As each march and demonstration gets smaller and ever more pointless, we have to ask what purpose does the cabal of Ken Loach, Tariq Ali and Salma Yaqoub serve?
If the US invades Iran, are we to repeat all this nonsense again?
I went to see Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed speak in Maida Vale this evening, discussing war, terrorism and international relations. Ahmed is best known for three books he has published in very short succesion about the "war on terror' and more recently for his book on the 7 July bombings.
The Good Old Days?
Ahmed started from the position that the war on terror is a continuation of an Anglo-American imperialism that has been going on for some time, with Britain accepting the role of "junior partner" at the start of the Cold War. To Ahmed the Bush/Blair partnership is not unique, but historically consistent. Secondly the Cold War saw the "Communist threat" justifying American expansion into all corners of the globe - Ahmed argues this threat was not only greatly overstated, but that internal government documents indicate that by and large both the British and the Americans were far more concerned about "ultra-nationalist" movements. As for terrorism, the Gladio (stay behind) networks in Europe after World War II indicate the clear involvement of the US in terrorism, often in the name of left-wing organisations.
Friend or Foe?
With the Cold War ending, the US was faced with both new opportunities, and new challenges. Ahmed argues that America still sees its rival in several significant oil-producing areas as Russia, whilst in the long term China is its principal fear. Given this he feels it essential to look at areas where American interests overlap with those of Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda. Ahmed sees clear evidence of this in different parts of the world - the Caucases, the Balkans, North Africa and Chechnya were cited. Indeed Dutch intelligence reports from Bosnia (where Dutch troops are accused of failing to prevent a major massacre by the Serbs) indicate the Americans severly de-stabilised the area by bringing ex-Mujahideen fighters into the region.
Although there is not a lot of good published material in English on developments in Algeria, Ahmed cited Robert Fisk on the dirty tricks in the war between Western intelligence agencies, the Algerian state and Islamists. This has included bombings on the French Metro which appear to have been conducted by groups after they had been thoroughly penetrated by the French intelligence services.
In conclusion Ahmed sees two major roles for Al-Qaeda - they justify the militarisation of western societies, and they justify Western intervention in parts of the world that are rich in natural resources. As these resources become increasingly under threat, such struggles will become more important, not less. Pessimistically he sees the world approaching the end of a particular epoch, the American epoch, and one that will get very unpleasant. Ahmed called for the development of new values, and new thinking that rejects capitalism and respects the environment. As a Muslim, he believes this should have a spiritual dimension.
From The Floor
At talks like this making an intervention is a rather inexact science. However the size of the audience required brevity, and one of the three activists from the 9/11 Truth Movement rather struggled with this concept. Ahmed was critical of the general conduct of the Britan and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement, who appear less relevant and more closed in their thinking than similar groups in the States. The central point is perhaps this - 9/11 showed the world as it is, rather than being some sort of Year Zero for a new world order.
Another intervention came from Shane Collins of Lambeth Green Party who talked of the need to introduce "carbon quotas" which could be bought and sold by individuals. As that appears to suggest that the very wealthy such as Roman Abramovich are going to be able to do a lot more than me in this future green world - count me out!
Personally I was deeply impressed by Ahmed's grasp of history and his use of sources. If I have a criticism of his talk it is that he actually repeated a mistake I have seen from the 9/11 Truth campaigners - he talked of America and Britain, but not of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, all "players" with dishonourable intentions of their own. Indeed Iran has looked to greatly increase its influence in the Muslim world in the past decade - from Sudan, to the Lebanon and most recently to Iraq. Imperialism can come in all colours, and in small packages as well as large.
For more from Nafeez Ahmed see any of his four books, or his blog here
Not many people seem to talk about the Italian games shown live each Saturday on Bravo.
I have just spent an excellent evening watching Roma win 2-1 at AC Milan. Milan apparently had the benefit of a pre-match team talk from none other than the old crook Slivio Berlusconi. Whatever he said, they did not appear to be listening!
The monarchy in Nepal has been teetering on the brink for some time.
For King Gyanendra the choice is clear - if he loses power, he will be shot unless he manages to make it into exile. If Britain is one country that he might consider as a place to spend his ill-gotten wealth in, he should be aware that he has his opponents here as well.
The picture below shows the sign at the Royal Nepalese Embassy on Kensington Palace Gardens. Not only has the word "Royal" been removed, but the embassy itself appears in no hurry to replace it.
"To achieve and maintain decent homes and a good environment for all our residents by 2010"
That is the mission statement of Hackney Homes, the Council's housing arm. Every two months I get their glossy magazine posted to me, telling me how well they are doing. I would much prefer it if they demonstrated their successes, not in publications but on the streets of Hackney.
The two pictures below show how my flat was left after re-wiring work last year. I did not ask for this work, and had no say in how it was done, I was just told it was being done - a real school dinners service. You get what you are given. Meanwhile repairs that are desperately needed - such as the removal of the unhygenic Garchey sinks in my block - remain light years away. Do the pictures below suggest to you Hackney Homes will reach its goal by 2010?
I think yesterday was heaven for Manchester United supporters.
Chelsea lost, Arsenal lost, and Arsene Wenger blew for ever his false reputation as "Mr Cool". Whinger has always had a bad temper, but has somehow managed to convince the media that he is some sort of Gallic James Bond figure, forever shaken, but never stirred. Then again the British press do tend to think someone is sophisticated if they drink wine instead of lager!
As he ranted and raved at Alan Pardew yesterday, even trying to sneak round the back of the fourth official to get a punch in, we saw Whinger in his true light. Oh the joy!
I rounded off a perfect day by spending the evening at the Class War bonfire in London Fields, watching figures as diverse as the Mayor of Hackney to the Prophet Mohammed being thrown on the fire. There is something about being next to a natural fire that is soothing, in a way that other forms of heat are not. I could have stood there all night.
It can get a bit messy when middle class people write about football.
I am currently reading "The Dark Heart of Italy" by Tobias Jones. This book covers the authors experiences as a Briton living in Itlay, and in particular his views on aspects of Italy not always seen - or understood - by tourists. The corruption, stifling bureaucracy, and the failure to properly explain and bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks from the late 60s to early 80s, the "years of lead".
Jones also looks closely at Tony Blair's favourite European politician, Silvio Berlusconi, his party, his business dealings and his football club - AC Milan. The football sections provide some background to the scandals that rocked Italian football earlier this year, leading to the enforced relegation of Juventus. They are however the weakest part of the book. When middle class people write about football, it does tend to get a bit silly. I blame Nick Hornby and "Fever Pitch" - the year zero for middle class football fans.
I do not doubt that Jones is a capable writer and knows a lot about Italy. Annoying Silvio Berlusconi and his goons also shows some bravery. But Jones has managed to publish one of the more embarrassing sentences about football I have seen from a writer in many years. Speaking of Berlusconi's AC Milan he writes:
Arrigo Sacchi, a little-known coach who was then manager of Parma, was picked as the new coach of Milan. Saachi introduced what was then a revolutionary new style of 'total football' in which players paid little attention to traditional positions in an all-out siege on the opponents goal. Gone were the days in which Italian teams played 'catenaccio', 'lock-out' defensive football.
Nobody who knew anything about football would write that sentence. As any football supporter knows, total football was the invention of the great Dutch sides of the late 60s and 1970s managed by Rinus Michels - firstly Ajax, then the Dutch national team. How could anyone forget Johan Cruyff?
Milan's great team of Gullit, Van Basten etc came more than a decade later. Quite simply, as a football supporter, Tobias Jones is an imposter.
Made in Holland!
The writer and journalist Peter Fryer passed away this week. His Guardian obituary is here Fryer was best known for two significan tcontributions he made to the British left. Firstly as Daily Worker correspondent in Budapest at the time of the 1956 uprising he refused to toe the Soviet line, ultimately leading to a major haemorrage in British Communism.
Secondly Fryer's "History of Black People In Britain" was extremely influential in the 1980s.
I saw him speak circa 1994 about fascism at one of the North London colleges - he was not a bad speaker, a bit plummy though. Whilst leaving the CPGB after the disaster of Hungary 1956, Fryer quickly adapted the sectrarianism of any Trotskyist. In his "History of Black People in Britain" he managed to leave out the great Black Mancunian Len Johnson.
Whilst Fryer may have been unaware that Johnson was only denied the chance to fight for the British Middleweight title in the 1930s due to his skin colour, he cannot have been unaware of Johnson's politicial work in the north west after the war, or even his friendship with Paul Robeson.
Johnson is of course left out Fryer's book because he was a Communist who stayed in the CPGB, standing in elections and briefly writing a boxing column for the Daily Worker. All rather sad..........
Yesterday I spotted one of Hackney's urban foxes emerging from underneath a parked car (?) near London Fields at 5.40pm.
I know the nights are darker, sooner, now the clocks have gone back, but even I had not expected to see a fox so early in the evening. Equally the animal did not seem in the least perturbed by the gaggle of Halloween revellers nearby.