Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Carnival of Socialism ..and about bloody time!

Better late than never…I hope. Here is the Carnival, the second of the relaunch.I have tried to capture a number of themes and posts that have caught my eye, and a few sent me. I would have liked to have had more from beyond the usual suspects, but time has been a bit short this week.

Here goes…

Last week there was the annual Green Party conference and so there are a few posts from there .

Greenman has some links to updates from the conference.

There is also a temporary blog , set up by that very busy Jim Jay , who introduces it :

What is Caucus? Well, it is what it is really. No more, no less. It’s a one off journal, primarily for the Green Party Reading conference that discusses ideas, raises issues and is a modest contribution to progressive politics.
Caucus is not a Green Party publication, and indeed half the contributors are not Green Party members. Nor is Caucus part of any group inside or outside of the Greens. Where it has an agenda it’s there for all to see.
The contributors share one thing in common, a desire to raise the level of political debate on the left, and they want to do that by talking to people with whom they do not always agree.

There are a number of posts on there, check out one on trade unions and a green society by Peter Tatchell and a post on ethical tourism by Jim.

As an aside, and sort of linked to travel, check out the rumblings over Max and his Guardian (who daddy works for)travel blog.

Let Max introduce himself :

Hello. I'm Max Gogarty. I'm 19 and live on top of a hill in north London.

At the minute, I'm working in a restaurant with a bunch of lovely, funny people; writing a play; writing bits for Skins; spending any sort of money I earn on food and skinny jeans, and drinking my way to a financially blighted two-month trip to India and Thailand. Clichéd I know, but clichés are there for a reason.

Basically nepotism+wanky gap year+skinny jeans = some arsey comments on the Guardian site having a pop at young Max and his skinny jeans. Who would have thought that of the Guardianistas !

Of course a few leftie blogs joined in including DSTFW and Ian Bone.

Will, Hakmao and some others are on form and highlight the arrogant and obnoxious behaviour of many gap year kids 'finding' themselves as they use places like Thailand and India as their own, cheap, playground.

Hakmao tells of one bit of revenge :

They are considered to be scum in South East Asia. One always does one’s bit…
A young travel agent and I once entered into a spontaneous and unspoken agreement to fuck up the week of some gapistas. It was in Mersing, waiting for the boat to Pulau Tioman, they were giving it large about what a shithole they thought Malaysia was, and said worse about Thailand. The travel agent lad offered to cash traveller’s cheques for them, but they sneered that they would get a better rate ‘on the island’. He agreed that they were undoubtedly right and I kept my trap shut. There were no currency exchange facilities on Tioman

Anyway, where were we , yep Greens.
Here goes, a few more Greenie posts from the conference .Two posts in particular are of interest to lefties both pissed off with the left and its behaviour and wondering whether there is an alternative to what we have . So check out 'Is the Green party anti-capitalist' .

In another Jim ponders(that word sort of suits Jim :-) )on the nature of the conference and reflects on it from his past leftie experiences:

What has always impressed me about the Green Party is its unflinching openness of process allowing members access to every bureacratic decision and influence over how their conferences are run. When deciding what motions get heard first its the members who decide, not some closed committee; When Standing Orders Committee report it is thoroughly discussed in workshops and voted on on conference floor so any controversial or inept decisions are laid open for the members to see; Members decide what fringes occur at conference and they decide
whether they can be bothered to go to them too.

Coming from a more traditional left background this was a real culture shock to me at first - it just seemed crazy to allow members direct possession over their own conference, even when they are a bit silly. But crazy in a lovely, lovely way.
So that means when there is a fringe meeting on policing you get lots of really interesting people attending who feel it's their meeting - even if the person who called it is not *entirely* suited to chair the discussion. When we have a fringe on prostitution we get blazing rows, I mean heated debate, because the person who called the fringe opposes Green Party policy (which is for total decriminalisation) and favours the Swedish Model.

Staying on a green theme, but away from the Green Party conference , check out Phil’s post on carbon credits .

Right, thats enough of the Greens.

Economics and banking now. Yep, this is a serious political blog ...sometimes.
Check out dave's site for an anaylsis of the Northern Rock nationalisation.
Pop over to a guest post by Ed over at Jim's on the credit crunch.

Crime and young people has cropped up a bit and been covered from different angles. Its an area that the left doesn’t really grasp well,how to balance the brutalising effects on kids of poverty and capitalism with the reality that juvenile crime hits the working class hardest. Dave starts a debate and check out our old mate Mr Puritan (he is Paddy Garcia there) for his tough no nonsense send them to Iraq, that will get them running crying back to their 'junkie mummies' approach in the comments.

Meanwhile Natalie Bennett highlioghts the reality for many kids in this society , reporting on a debate on children in detention, children in care and unaccompanied children asylum-seekers.

On a related note Leftwing Criminlogist outlines draft Principles of a Marxist Approach to criminology. Go on Paddy, join in there :-)

The 15th February was the 5th anniversary of the big anti war demo. A number of bloggers have reflected back on that day and its after effects on the left.
Check out Complex System of Pipes, Jim D and Andy for a mixed bag of anaysis.

On the wider issue of antiwar activity, Ian Bone criticises the ‘passive-ism’ of the STwC and the failures of the StWC :

It’s a failure of us all………………but………..with the implosion of the SWP and the widely perceived bankruptcy of marching from A to B then the possibiliy of a broad base direct action campaign - including both pacifists and non-pacifists as Yukka states - may be on the agenda again.

Still on the subject of war, Michael Greenwell suggests that it is is not a natural part of human behaviouir.

Now the next few posts are dedicated to Mr Eddie Truman,to show I take a pop at all religions :-) Over at the New Humanist blog I found these , starting with the catholic church in Australia having to train up more exorcists :

The Catholic Church in Australia is facing a massive shortage of exorcists – and hundreds of priests are to be trained to help plug the deficit. Church leaders are blaming a rise in Satanism for the increasing demand for exorcisms.

The Church has now vowed to "fight the devil head-on" by training hundreds of new exorcists. Father Gabriele Amorth, 82, the Pope's Exorcist-in-Chief, recently announced a new initiative to ensure every Catholic diocese has a group of trained exorcists, saying: "Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the devil. You have to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist."

As for the Brisbane priest, who asked the Sunday Mail not to name him for "fear of reprisals", he remains troubled by the threat of possession: "We are not very plentiful and certainly need more of us to cope with the big occult following that is emerging today. It's frightening what can happen when you invite entities into your life which are not meant to be part of God's world."

He provided the newspaper with one example of someone carelessly inviting these entities into their life: "He said one woman he had met had been plagued by demonic manifestations since taking part in a playground witch game as a child."

Right, now a post on bible bashers in the US using their small children ‘to convert the world’s sinners’

First up – and arguably the "star" of the show – was seven-year-old Samuel Boutwell from Mississippi, who is forced by his parents to stand on street corners urging sinners to repent. We first meet him as he preaches outside his local abortion clinic and we follow him on a road trip to New York, where he hopes to convert those urban heathens. As his Baptist minister father observes, "more people means more sinners. Fact". Needless to say the people of New York prove somewhat unreceptive to the sight of a child preaching fire and brimstone, and his father comes in for some abuse from passers-by. Unable to understand why the urban populace refuses to repent, Samuel eventually breaks down crying.

In case there was any doubt where this child acquired his religious zeal, an interview with his father informs us that, when he was three, Samuel asked him if he was going to Hell. Mr Boutwell responded by asking him if he had ever "sinned against God". Samuel didn't know the answer, so his father asked "have you ever disobeyed your mother?". Samuel answered in the affirmative, so he was kindly informed that yes, if he didn't mend his ways he would burn in Hell for eternity.

Yep, lets privilege religion and the right to fuck up kids!

Right, end of that rant.

Just as I was finishing the carnival , news came through about Castro retiring, so here is a last minute entry .Check out Dave's post
I know, another post from Osler, but honest its not favouritism. I couldnt find many posts anaysling the situation and Dave recycled one from his trip to Cuba. Add others in the comments.

Now I am going to be all upbeat about the left. It won't last mind. Check out a post from Jim saying what he loves about the left! On a similar positive theme, check out this post by Organised Rage on a school rebellion.

And on a practical note , Dave Riley is working on a wiki activists toolkit .Its a collaborative project where people can add to and edit and work together . Im keeping my cynical streak in check , I won’t say anything negative…

I’ll just finish off with the ridiculous. Phil has a post on conspiracy theories, lamenting the quality of them these days.
Mind this was before the latest rantings at the Diana inquest. Check out Hakmao for her take on it .

Right that’s your lot . Next carnival is over at Jack Ray's blog on the 29th February.