Working Class Self Organisation

Carol Malone, Benefits Street, and mental health

Journalist at the Mirror and general scumbag, Carol Malone, has attacked an individual on Channel 4's 'Benefits Street - calling her a lazy, feckless, thief, and denouncing her mental health problems as a 'sob story'... This is my brief response.

Earlier today I had an unpleasant experience. I was forced to remember that Carol Malone, her yachting blazers, and bouffant wig, still existed.

Ordinarily, an individual, who in the name of journalism – claimed that illegal immigrant receive free cars, and that the Philpott deaths were an accident waiting to happen because they claimed benefits – would live long in the memory.

Christopher Alder: death in custody

In light of the recent ‘lawful killing’ verdict in the Mark Duggan case, and the increased interest around the conduct of police, deaths in custody, and corruption, I am re-visiting the case of Christopher Alder who died in 1998, face down on a police station floor in Hull. Christopher’s death was initially ruled to be an ‘unlawful killing’, but the decision was over-turned by a judge in 2000. Fourteen years of lies, cover-ups, and heartbreak for his family, have followed.

I met Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, several times through a shared activist circle in 2002/3. Whilst she will not remember me, I certainly remember her. Janet was(is) an inspirational figure, who had dedicated her time to fighting for justice for her brother, and for others who had died in police custody.

Pussy Riot released: a PR stunt of Olympic proportions

The last two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova, were yesterday released from prison as part of an amnesty granted to around 22,000 prisoners. Whilst their release is obviously good news for everyone concerned, it is more of a public relations stunt by Vladimir ‘Bonaparte’ Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics in early 2014 - than it is clemency, or a relaxing of Putin’s regime.

There have been 22,000 prisoners released from Russian jails this week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Russian constitution.

My Favourite Libcom posts / articles of 2013

A run-down of the ten Libcom blog posts / articles that I found the most informative, interesting, or thought provoking in 2013.

10 Steven
Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

9 Joseph Kay
Dawkins and liberal racism

8 Juan Conatz

Protesters clash with police at Rote Flora social centre eviction in Hamburg

Over 8,000 protesters have clashed with riot police as they protested against the planned eviction of squatters from a popular social centre, and against the eviction of hundreds of people from heir homes. The largely peaceful protest erupted following a baton charge, and use of teargas, and water cannons by the police. The protesters responded by building barricades, throwing stones, fireworks, and bottles. It is reported that over 500 people has been injured, and around 150 arrests made.

The Rote Flora is an old theatre building which has been used as a social centre since 1989. The initial sale of the building to developers took place in 2001, and has sparked widespread outrage and protest. There are also wider issues relating to an old apartment building nearby, the ‘Esso houses’ that had been the home to around 300 people, until they had been evicted last week.

Brazil World Cup 2014: workers' deaths, racism, gentrification, and cultural terrorism

A brief look at the deaths of four construction workers at the World Cup 2014 stadium construction sites, and at several other scandals associated with next summer's tournament, FIFA, event organisers, and the Brazilian political elite.

Despite everyone knowing the opposite to be true, the Brazilian sports minister claims that all the world cup stadiums will be finished and ready to hand over in January 2014. His smugness over the speed of their completion has come with a heavy cost.

Nelson Mandela: some thoughts

Some brief reflections on Nelson Mandela, his politics, and legacy.

I must admit to having a lump in my throat when I found out that Nelson Mandela had died (although not sure why) Whatever my thoughts are on him as a person, the ANC, or his legacy, the passing of such a towering international figure deserves honest reflection.

Security guards murder locals scavenging for gold in Papua New Guinea

Private security guards employed by ‘Barrick Gold’, aided by local police have killed at least five miners at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The shootings came after mine security confronted a group of 300 locals who they deemed to be ‘illegal miners’ and ‘trespassers’. Barrick Gold – the world’s largest producer of gold - has a long history of using violence, gang rape, and murder against their workers, and local people in Papua New Guinea. Barrick founder and owner, Peter Munk, claimed that ‘gang rape’ is just a ‘cultural habit’.

The mine bosses are denying any responsibility for the trouble, claiming that their staff was attacked by trespassers, and they called for police assistance.

Violence has spread to nearby villages. The following is a description of events via an eye-witness at the Protest-Barrick campaign:

As Argentinian police go on strike, the people go shopping

As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city, Cordoba, the people have gone on a huge shopping spree, emptying every supermarket in the city. Despite there being massive unemployment and poverty across the city, the media and government have claimed the the shopping spree has nothing to do with being poor, and everything to do with ‘common criminality’.

The widespread emptying of supermarkets in Cordoba comes just twelve months after similar actions spread across the whole of Argentina.

Sheffield strikes back, occupy tallest university building in the UK

Sheffield Strikes Back, a newly formed broad left group of Sheffield students, have occupied the Arts Tower – the tallest university building in the United Kingdom.

The group, which includes activists from Sheffield Autonomous Students, Revolutionary Socialists Society, Labour Students, Socialist Students and the Living Wage campaign, walked into the lecture hall at about 7:30pm and have now claimed a major lecture theatre and the building foyer.