A certain topic has been dominating headlines and infuriating lefties yesterday, today and probably will for the next generation or so. However I won't be talking about it directly, because I think the more interesting topic is what exactly the government is currently scrambling to put out under the radar while people are either avoiding the press or religiously reading the special pull-out sections of waffle.
As my hastily put-together montage shows (and special mention to the Scotsman here - what were you guys thinking when your constituency is even less interested than the rest of us?) there's not a lot of room being made for headlines such as Cameron's [url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/family-filters-wont-block-soft-porn-david-cameron-retreats-in-war-on-internet-porn-admitting-there
Today's ruling that every part of workfare other than the Mandatory Work Activity scheme breaks the law has given campaigners against workfare a huge boost - we were right all along. But the DWP have already said they will be doing a simple rephrase of the regulations and trying again and we need to make sure that doesn't happen by piling on the pressure now.
For people already on workfare, or who have been sanctioned because of it, this is fantastic stuff. It means people have the ability to literally just walk out of the unskilled jobs they were doing for no money and to potentially claim back much-needed money from the government.
I've been off blogging recently for various reasons, but having put together a few audio files recently it struck me that there's not really anywhere that such things are being collated (or the specific files at least). This might be something for a dedicated section on libcom one day, I don't know but in the meantime, I thought I might list a few bits and pieces over the next little while...
Circled A (Resonance FM)
Relatively long-running radio show which is also turned into a regular podcast. Covering a wide range of topics, it's hosted by Yodet Gherez with Donnacha DeLong regularly guest hosting when she's not about.
[b]Anarchism in the UK (to 2009)
I’m a little sad to announce that Black Flag won’t be coming out with a London Bookfair issue this year, as all three of the core editorial members are just too swamped with other commitments to put it together.
We’re hopeful that this isn’t the end of the road for the magazine (though that is a possibility), as we’re not shutting down due to a financial mess or lack of interest/contributors and our reputation remains, as far as we know, pretty decent. In terms of what we offer as a non-denominational anarchist class struggle magazine there’s not really much out there that compares.
This reply has been a while in compiling, as Hoffman has, for a man regularly protesting how little he cares about the opprobrium of the anarchist set, been remarkably hardworking in his efforts to send letters to pretty much anyone who will listen to him say what a great guy he is and how Freedom is basically Dr No's richer, more unscrupulous successor.
I'm dealing here only with direct allegations Hoffman has been making over the last couple of weeks, in an effort to clarify matters.
To whom it may concern,
As you may or may not have already heard, Freedom Press is in some difficulty, both financial and in terms of volunteer labour – basically we need you.
As part of getting our act together to deal with these problems we are proposing to have a series of public meetings where you ask any questions you may have and discuss how we can drag the paper, the bookshop, the publishing house and the building out of trouble.
As some people on libcom may already know I write a column in Black Flag magazine called Breathing Utopia, about the ways different workers see their roles and industries changing in a communist society. I'd like to expand it to book length.
I've been doing this for a few years now and the answers people come up with, often at very short notice, can be fascinating.
A librarian for example reckoned his industry would expand to provide expert help finding and sharing everything you might need once in a while, from books to heavy machinery.
I've started doing the odd day at Freedom for a while as I have some spare time and was handed the standard guide for new fish today.
I thought I'd throw this in because amongst the usual "pick up phone, take messages, don't steal things" schtick is an entertainingly accurate assessment of "safety" for anarchists who find themselves holding the fort at this hub of libertarian socialism in London:
Sparks are celebrating a major breakthrough in their battle to stop a co-ordinated attempt by some of Britain's biggest construction firms to deskill their jobs and impose pay cuts of up to 35% after main player Balfour Beatty threw in the towel.
Balfour has given up on trying to kill off JIB, an industry-wide agreement on pay and conditions, so it could be replaced with the vastly inferior Besna plan, which would have let contractors raise and lower hourly pay depending on what tasks were being done, rather than maintaining a standard wage for skilled work.