Saturday, January 27, 2007

Carnival of Socialism - 'Liberation politics and the left'

Right, here it is at last - The Carnival of Socialism, as picked by yours truly.
I must admit it has been more work than I thought. There are two reasons for that. One is I am obsessive sometimes and have ended up trawling through many many blogs, it is quite addictive.Secondly the theme , 'Liberation politics and the left' , has been a factor. I had hoped, but guessed unlikely, to have been sent posts on liberation issues such as gender, LGBT people, the family, disability, mental health, race and class. I was mostly sent posts on Palestine and Iraq.

The theme was chosen to try to highlight and debate other liberation issues and that's what I will do (bar one exception that I will get to later) . If people don't like it then offer to do a carnival (contact John) on Iraq and Palestine . Any day on the left will find many posts and comments on these issues , its not being ignored. I wanted to take this opportunity to look at other areas of liberation. I am aware there were issues that have been left out but in the end I ran out of time and this post was getting very long. I might do some one off posts on them later.
I have tried to highlight blogs that some lefties may not naturally go to, as well as some of the usual suspects. This post is long, but indulge me and read through and click on to links. It's the least you can do after all my hard work:-) It was though enjoyable and interesting, which probably says something about me , a bit sad really :-)

Right, first off the racism row and Celebrity Big Brother. Why this? Well it has created a debate on racism. I think the trouble is that the mainstream press has focused on Jade and personalised it without asking the difficult questions. She is an easy target, someone feted for her ignorance and stupidity, ill educated and unable to articulate herself up .
There is no excuse for racism but the left needs to look at why someone like Jade bullied Shilpa and made racist comments. Why did she feel such anger for Shilpa? When the BNP is making headway in white working class areas such as Dagenham the answer is not to just condemn,it needs to understand in order to challenge. Jade is all too easy to dismiss as stupid and thats why the media are happy to make it personal.

There are many posts on this subject but I will pick just two to highlight. Firstly Phil makes a stab at understanding without excusing Jade.
Next is the only post I have come across that really delves into the wider issues as to what creates the Jades of this world . It is by that one and only ultra leftist adventurer himself... South Paw. Yep Southpaw, recommended by some wussy feminist in the labour party. This might result in all sorts of reformists toddling over to your site :-)

I would have liked to find some posts on women talking about their experiences of being feminists on the left. I didn't, but Phil, as part of his PhD is interviewing activists in both the Socialist Party and the SWP. On his blog he publishes an interview with a woman activist on her experiences . This is only one persons account but it would be interesting if Phil shares other interviews at some stage.

Sex. Yep it's what Stroppyblog is famous for. Seriously though sexuality is an important issue. I would hope that a socialist world would not be moralist and judgmental on this issue. I believe that the issue of sexuality is a valid one for discussion on the left so I have included a couple of posts on the subject. TWP on her blog discusses her experiences and I thought this was an interesting post on a feminist blog .

I wandered on to green leftie blogs for the next area of liberation, that of animals. Yep I know it's seen as wussy and liberal by some of the left. Personally, I believe how we treat animals says a lot about our humanity. Just because animals are weaker and can be controlled does not mean we have to eat or ill treat them...hey would we do that with small children! Anyway, over to Derek Walls site for a discussion on this topic

One area where I have found many posts has been on religion. Most who read this blog know I am uncomfortable with how sections of the left seem to critically support reactionary religious groups if they are seen as anti- imperialist (and sod women, LGBT people and others who are at the sharp end of their prejudice). So I was pleased to see the left come out to criticise that well-known supporter of Equalities Ruth Kelly and the Catholic Church, backed by the Cof E, on opt outs on adoption. Some posts to check out include Kit , Bill and Janine .
Jim (possibly aided by a bottle of whisky) weighs into the debate in typical Denham style.
The Provisional BBC are also worth a look for their spoof report .

MarshaJane makes the point that Ruth Kelly seems to have misunderstood her brief. Note to Ruth - it's about arguing FOR equalities not against. MJ calls for her sacking. There is also a link to a petition on the post.
The final word on the adoption debate has to go to Hakmao, who has dispensed with niceties all together with this post and makes the point with few words and a good pic .

A number of blogs also covered the demonstration by some religious groups. Check out Hakmao , Mike (who demolishes bigotry with wit and intelligence ) and Tatchell (who needs no introduction) .Robin recounts his experience of trying to reason with the bigots (give that man a medal ) .

An area I wanted to highlight was disability as it is not often addressed by the left and when it is can sometimes slip into paternalism.
Kit wrote this post in response to the carnival and I look forward to hearing more about his work as Disabilities Officer for SYN.
A few weeks back there was the story of the 'Pillow Angel ' . I could not find any leftie blogs covering it, but I recommend looking at 'Wheelchair Dancer' , who writes from the perspective of someone with a disability , here , here and here. I also found a post looking at the issue from a feminist perspective .
The story of 'pillow angel' (the very name raises issues in itself) highlights the rights of disabled people, the lack of resources for families and carers and the importance of listening to the disability rights movement.

Janine has written about domestic violence and police attitudes , a much neglected issue on the left. Linked to this is the need to defend support services against cuts in public services as it is not a high priority for local authorities.

Right, a few posts as a concession to looking at national liberation. I was sent a post, by David, on the experiences of Native Americans today. It highlights the ongoing struggles they face against big business forcing them from their homes. Reading the maps sent me a post looking at Maori history and drawing lessons for the present. Dave has written about Scottish Independence, an issue for debate for the left in Scotland but one that will impact in England as well.
Finally, as my concession to Iraq I draw your attention to the IraqiLGBT blog. The attacks on LGBT people, as well as trade unionists and women, is something that both the anti war and pro war left like to ignore as much as possible.

Right, that is the last time I volunteer to do a carnival …