Monday, March 16, 2009

Carnival of Socialism

I'm a bit sad I suppose, but I do enjoy trawling around the blogs and doing the Carnival is a good excuse. Its a general Carnival this time, but I have some themes within it. I'm not pretending to be balanced here, its what has caught my eye.

Last week was the 25th anniversary of the start of the Miners Strike. Bloody hell that makes me feel old !
I was particularly involved with women's groups and "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners"and so have added this, an old blog post, as there a film of the activities of LGSM and a little clip of the "Pits and Perverts" benefit .I was there !!

Quite a few bloggers have written about this anniversary and their memories. Will has a post and a YouTube clip and states , in his usual delicate prose:

Meanwhile, Thatcher is dying slowly, and hopefully in pain, while she pisses and shits in her filthy stained Victorian knickers like a rodent does -- not having control over anything in that department like.

Dave reminisces and discusses the tactics at the time :

Back in the day, I was a skinny young student Trot with an exaggerated ‘aircraft carrier’ version of the flat top haircut all the boys then used to sport in honour of Morrisey, and like hundreds of thousands of other people, an ardent supporter of the dispute.

I was frequently to be found shaking a bucket outside Leytonstone tube station to raise cash for the local support group, and was actively engaged in attempting to win miners to my group’s particular brand of far leftism. Mainly this seemed to involve buying them beer and discussing intensely how victory could best be assured.

And whatever quibbles I had, then or now, I remain convinced that strategically speaking, Scargill’s handling of the situation was right. Indeed, he probably had little alternative but to act as he did.

In another post he goes on to look at the continued impact of Thatcherism on the former mining communities, as does Chris Dillow, who highlights the social and economic costs of pit closures .

For more on the Strike check out : Tom Watson MP, Mick Hall, Bob from Brockley, Snowball and HarpyMarx.

Last week was International Women's Day and to mark that here are a collection of posts that highlight the struggles and crap still facing women both here and across the world.

Now regardless where you stand on sex workers, I'd say most would agree that a 14 year old girl should be treated as a victim of rape and not taken to court for 'profiting from criminal earnings' . The school found lubricants and condoms in her bag and called the police not social services. Surely this was a child protection issue ? Check out the F Word for more.

The F Word also has some posts on the worrying attitudes to domestic violence and rape, including:

between 10-20% think domestic violence is acceptable in some way in response to “nagging”, flirting with other men, dressing in ‘sexy’ clothes in public, and not “treating him with respect”.

Another post highlights the rise of domestic violence in London.

Rape is often used during war against women, Feministing reports how it is used in South Africa against lesbians to 'correct' them. Murderers of lesbians also seems to be walking free there.

Caroline critically comments on coverage of a young woman who killed herself, which attributes some responsibility for the bullying that lead to it to her 'slutty' behaviour.

Fighting back, Coatsey reports on Iranian Women activists with links to demos on IWD.

Charlie also has a post for IWD looking at women's role in the context of the wider working class struggle.

Meanwhile a 75-year-old Syrian woman has been sentenced to 40 lashes by a Saudi court, for “mingling” - ie having two men in her house who are not related to her.

Moving on to religion and women, the F Word also highlights the Vatican's contribution to IWD. What's contributed most to women's liberation ? Well of course this is all relative to where you live , but generally most would suggest the pill, access to abortion, right to vote, equal financial rights, work etc.

Wrong, its the washing machine! Of course, because that's women's role isn't it, breeding and housework. Love this quote:

The author writes that "even though early models of the washing machine were expensive and unreliable, the technology had improved to the point that there is now the image of the super woman, smiling, made-up and radiant among the appliances of her house."

Radiant and smiling, hm, think it might be another 'appliance ' they are thinking , though I have heard of 'uses' for the spin cycle.

Yeah, keep women in their place, but even worse is the lack of humanity in this report of the Catholic Church in Brazil towards a pregnant nine year old girl:

In Brazil, there is a horrific story of a 9-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated (h/t Falloch’s comment). It’s believed that the rape was committed by her step-father. The girl was not only pregnant at that young age, but also pregnant with twins. And so, as makes perfect sense, she had an abortion. Because she was raped, because she was much to young to have a child, and because the stress of having twins would of course have been far too much for a 9-year-old’s body to handle. And she could have died.

Now, the Catholic Church has excommunicated both the girl’s mother and the doctors who performed the abortion, which likely saved the girl’s life.

Well then. At least they didn’t excommunicate the girl, right? Maybe they decided that she was much too young to have made the decision to have the abortion on her own, or to understand what was happening. But not too young, apparently, to be forced to give birth to the twins caused by her rapist. Not too young to quite possibly die in the process.

In defending the decision, the Church’s lawyer has said:

“It’s the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder,” Miranda said in comments reported by O Globo.

But rape, apparently, is a-okay. After all, I don’t see the step-father, who allegedly admitted to having raped the girl since the age of 6, being excommunicated. Killing a fetus is apparently worthy of such censure and shunning. Horrifically violating a small child, though? Well, we all make mistakes. And this stance is of course nothing new.

How anti abortionists have the nerve to take the moral high ground and express concern for life when that seems, for women, to end when they are born. How could anyone with any compassion make a child, a 9 year old abused child, go through giving birth to twins .

This post by Will highlights the double standards and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church.

A final post on religion, this time from New Humanist highlighting some delightful t-shirts produced by The Passions for Christ movement . These include a series of "Ex-" T-shirts in which members declare that, thanks to Christ, they are now ex-fornicators, ex- masturbators, ex-homosexuals or ex-porn addicts. They even have a link to a blog where :

P4CM member Dameco wrote a blog on her myspace entitled Overcoming Masturbation, which testified to her 7 year battle with masturbation and God's power to deliver her from this sin. Since then, people from all over the world have been writing in saying that they too have battle with this sin and did not know they could be free from it until they read her testimony.

There is a clip where she talks about overcoming her 'appetite for lust'.

MarshaJane has suggested we should bring out some Stroppyblog t-shirts after a recent debate here.
Perhaps 'wanker, you say that like its a bad thing!' or 'I have an appetite for lust'? Suggestions please.

I really don't get what their problem with wanking is. I mean if god bothers want to insist people wait for marriage before sex then surely let them have a wank? Why is it wrong ?

Anyway, enough of that.

Right , a few more posts here, some sent to me, that don't fit into my themes .

Jim is cheered by the news of Bristol Palin not going through with a forced marriage and also posts on what Labour Party members think.

Two posts from Phil .One assessing "History and Class Consciousness" and another on building a campaigning Trades Council.
Phil is also hosting the next Carnival.

"Life is complicated yet beautifully simple" has a post on the 'detention' of Phil Woolas .

And finally a book review from Benjamin Solah .