Here’s a lengthy interview with Robert Fisk. He’s worth at least one million Friedman’s.

looks promising;

Fred, my grandad, was another pragmatist. He had a big plumbing shop in Salford near Strangeways prison on this green hillock. Eighteen apprentices. His idea of a good time was reading a book on plumbing, on how to dispose of shit.

He’d stand outside Strangeways and recruit ex-prisoners, get them making lathes and pipes. At the time they were recruiting for the army and he’d say, “You’ve got a choice – you either go to Ireland or you come with me.”

I bump into them when I’m in Manchester sometimes – fellows who are about 55. They just come up and say, “You’re Fred’s grandson, aren’t you?” and I’ll be thinking, “Oh fucking hell. What are they going to say now?” But they’re really complimentary – they say things like, “Your grandad met me outside Strangeways one Wednesday afternoon, and he turned my life around.” Different times then, different people, unlike the ungrateful musicians I employ.

They say that there’s a generation gap: you’re not actually like your mam and dad, you’re more like your grandfather or grandmother. In this respect I had more in common with my grandad than I did with my dad – just hiring people off the street. If they go, they go, if they don’t, they don’t. I’m not really bothered where people come from. Mind you, I don’t understand why everyone makes such a big deal about where they go, either. The other members of the Fall came, they saw, they fucked off, and now I no longer see them. I find it all very boring, to be honest.

read the rest

From the latest issue of the LRB;

Conspicuous by its absence in case after case is any evidence, expert or otherwise, proffered by the prosecution that attempts to explain the most basic concepts of Islam to a non-Muslim jury. Take the instance of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad familiar to all Muslims: ‘Fight the unbelievers with your wealth, yourselves and your tongues.’ Should a man who made a supplication in those terms in Regent’s Park Mosque on the holiest night of Ramadan four years ago, in support of the citizens of Fallujah who were that night defending their city in the face of the announced eradication by US troops of all who remained there, have anticipated that he might be breaking the law, or that he could be charged and prosecuted in 2008 after a friend’s home video of his prayer was found by police in a raid? He had, after all, repeated those same challenging words many times over the years, and explained again and again to the public, to the police and politicians, one of the most fundamental concepts of Islam, the Ummah, which makes every Muslim anywhere in the world the brother of every other Muslim, so that if one is attacked others are obliged to help. Should he be surprised to be prosecuted for having reiterated these same words of support in a mosque? The answer lies in Blair’s warning: ‘The rules of the game have changed.’ Previously accepted boundaries of freedom of expression and thought have been redefined and are now in effect being prosecuted retrospectively, with the result that our criminal justice system is becoming further distorted as many truly innocent defendants plead guilty, against their lawyers’ advice, terrified by the prospect, as they see it, of inevitable conviction and ever lengthening prison sentences. Thousands of others, all of whom have searched the internet, watch with horror the process of criminalisation and punishment.

Its fucked. Read the rest of this important article here.

This much discussed and excerpted speech is worth listening to in full. Unfortunately, it is still relevant. Can’t seem to upload it here, so listen to it here.

you also might enjoy this 1 1/2 hour talk by Naomi Klein on her book, The Shock Doctrine. I haven’t read it yet. But I have read excerpts and find her argument intriguing.

The paper I am writing and my new temp job making sandwiches give me little time to blog. I suggest you read Invaders From Marx: On the Uses of Marxian Theory, and the Difficulties of a Contemporary Reading by Michael Heinrich. Its short, has an excellent history of Marxist thought, and it dispels many of the common misconceptions about Marx. Its more learned then anything I will post.

Listen to the conference here. .

or stay here and Release the Bats;