the Disillusioned kid: March 2004
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Sunday, March 28, 2004

I had hoped that I would keep this thing updated regularly with information and links on important political developments, as much for my own benefit as anything. Unfortunately I'm far too lazy to do this well and as a result many of the important events of recent times have past unreported and apparently unnoticed by this blog. The American/French/Canadian backed coup in Haiti is a case in point. Similarly the Madrid bombings and the consequences for the Aznar government, the UN bugging scandal, the Israeli assasination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the emergence of George Galloway's Respect Coalition, International Women's Day and the pogroms in Kosovo. Maybe I'll get better at this in the future. Or not.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Someone (I forget who) once said you can judge a society by looking at it's prisons. If this is right, the UK must be a real basketcase...

Recent staitstics show that the UK now has a l prison population of 75,191 up 20% since New Labour came to power and more than any other country in Europe. This has been followed by the emergence of a system of forced labour derided by critics as little more than slavery, mirroring developments across the Atlantic. As the government increases privatistion of prisons these probelms are only likely to increase. Rather more bizarrely it has also emerged that the victims of serious miscarriages of justice are to be charged for the bed-and-breakfast bill for their time inside!

Check out this report from the Independent Working Class Association website for more info.
I'm really not very good at updating this thing am I? But, given that the chances of anyone actually reading it are slightly better than nill I don't s'pose that matters much. Anyhoo...

Given the response by the Blair/Bush Axis to Iraqi offers to disarm (honest or otherwise) it is interesting to watch Tony Blair's attempts to improve relations with Libya's "Colonel" Gaddafi, a man described by Robert Fisk as "one of the weirdest, battiest, funniest, deadliest Arab dictators of them all." Various right wingers have criticised Blair for what they see as the hipocrisy of his criticism of the Madrid bombings in light of his meeting and greeting the man they hold responsible for the murder of Westerners killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie and the British police officer apparently shot from the Libyan Embassy. The dictator's human rights record doesn't seem to be an issue, Libyans - mere Africans and Muslims - are of course unimportant.

Many, including myself, have been distinctly dubious about claims as to the extent of Libya's supposed WMD programme, in light of the lies, exagerations and half-truths which preceded the invasion of Iraq and indeed a report in yesterday's Independent suggests that we haven't been told the whole truth.

It is also interesting to note how quickly Western companies have moved into the country. Shell has already signed an agreement with the country's National Oil Company and arms manufacturer BAE Systems says it is in talks over aviation projects. Whether or not Blair's visit helps to make the world any safer (we can only hope) it certainly isn't going to hurt Britain's capitalists.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

March 20 saw demonstrations around the world to mark the 1st anniversary of the US/UK invasion of Iraq. While the National Stop the War Coalition had originally called for a decentralised day of action with local events, in the great traditions of internal democracy and imagination for which they are famous, they decided instead to call a demo in London (again!). As ever those of us from the rest of the country dutifully trooped of to join the festivities.

Two coaches went down from Nottingham, not a bad turnout given the political context, but nothing to write home about given the size of the city. The weather was similarly not great with occasional bursts of rain. Numbers of people on demos is notoriously difficult to gague, but there were certainly more people there than I had expected.

The demo followed a typically unexciting route from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, for the typically unexciting speeches. I met up with a friend which helped to make the day more interesting and a group of us gave out leaflets promoting the new Grassroots Opposition to War (GROW) network. We met a ridiculouly large number of people we knew along the way, suggesting that the British progressive movement is even more incestuous than I had realised.

On reaching Trafalgar Square we gave out the remainder of our leaflets and, deciding that we couldn't be bothered with listening to people tell us why we were there, gave up on the speakers and headed for the pub. Priorities, priorities!

Monday, March 08, 2004

Believe it or not, it's almost a year since the US/UK invasion of Iraq. To mark this and to protest the continuing occupation of the country various anti-war groups around the world have called an international day of action on March 20th, the anniversary itself. This is shaping up to be huge and will see demonstrations in all of these locales...

Courtesy of add event to Add. Courtesy of add event to Add. See also United For Peace & Justice.

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