Thursday, September 24, 2009

Similarly, the problem is not that writers sell-out, but that, as Noam Chomsky told the BBC’s Andrew Marr, “if you believed something different you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting". (The Big Idea, BBC2, February 14, 1996) Chomsky once related a story he had heard from a civil rights activist at Harvard Law School:

“He once gave a talk and said that kids were coming in to Harvard Law School with long hair and backpacks and social ideals and they were all going to go into public service, law and change the world. That's the first year. He said around April the recruiters come for the summer jobs, the Wall Street firms. Get a cushy summer job and make a ton of money.

“So the students figure, What the heck? I can put on a tie and jacket and shave for one day, because I need that money and why shouldn't I have it? So they put on a tie and a jacket for that one day and they get the job for the summer. Then they go off for the summer and when they come back in the fall, it's ties and jackets and obedience and a shift of ideology.”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Megrahi’s case for appeal. “The commission is of the view,” said its chairman, Dr Graham Forbes, “that based upon our lengthy investigations, the new evidence we have found and other evidence which was not before the trial court, that the applicant may have suffered a miscarriage of justice.”

The words “miscarriage of justice” are missing entirely from the current furore, with Kenny MacAskill reassuring the baying mob that the scapegoat will soon face justice from that “higher power”. What a disgrace.
One of the functions of a capitalist state is to defend capitalism from itself, to defend capitalism from the capitalists. It was Marx—dare we mention him? I hear he’s coming back in style. It was Marx who said one capitalist will kill many other capitalists, that the system begins to consume itself. We see that with Bernard Madoff and the like.

Friday, September 04, 2009

My reading of 1945 tells me that we ended up making a shameful deal with Stalin, under pressure from Roosevelt to do so, giving the Soviet tyrant the very 'free hand' in central Europe that we had impotently sought to deny Hitler. The difference was that by then we had sacrificed huge numbers of lives, all our wealth and our Empire. For what? If we had stayed out of power struggles in which we had no power, there'd have been no need to make a deal with Hitler, or Stalin either.
Joyce - the first senior Government figure to resign over the war - said: "We need to make it clear our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. For many, Britain fights, Germany pays, France calculates, Italy avoids.