Headline »

Never Underestimate ‘Ordinary’ People’s Ability To Bring About Radical Change | Ian Sinclair

November 21, 2016 – 11:00 am | 2 Comments

“THE greatest lesson that we can take from our history is that we can only implement our vision and apply our values when we win power and form a government,” Labour MP Owen Smith repeated …

Read the full story »
Neoliberalism

The dominant ideology of modern times is hard to pin down but its influence is global and catastrophic. A mixture of bogus economic theory, direct assaults on behalf of class power and a Trojan horse to subvert democracy – everyone needs to understand the nature and influence of neoliberalism.

Corruption

Our taxes pay the wages of politicians, the police and the civil service. These people take our money and our trust to look after OUR interests. When they decide to play the game for themselves and their friends its called corruption and it should always be exposed and challenged.

Corporate Capture

Politics, the Civil Service, the media, the police, the EU Commission – the list of organisations that should bat for us but instead bat for corporate power is depressing – we chart the slide and the fightback. We follow the money, the cushy appointments, the backroom deals all the way to the top

Squashing Dissent

If there is one characteristic of the modern neoliberal era its that the establishment has become hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism and organised protest. We keep track of all the latest legal and illegal ways that legitimate peaceful protest is undermined, bullied and squashed.

Spying

The role played by the ‘security services’ of the UK and the USA in the mass Orwellian surveillance of innocent people was exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden – we will trace developments of this terrifying new front in the battle to defend democracy and basic freedoms.

Guest Articles, Headline, Neoliberalism »

Never Underestimate ‘Ordinary’ People’s Ability To Bring About Radical Change | Ian Sinclair

November 21, 2016 – 11:00 am | 2 Comments

THE greatest lesson that we can take from our history is that we can only implement our vision and apply our values when we win power and form a government,” Labour MP Owen Smith repeated ad nauseam during the recent Labour leadership contest.

Owen Jones, generally considered to be on the leIft of the Labour Party, seemed to echo Smith on the issue of power and influence on his YouTube channel in August 2016.

“Instead of sticking our fingers in our ears and going ‘lalalala it’s all fine’ there just needs to be strategy to improve those ratings,” the Guardian columnist argued about Labour’s poor poll ratings.

“Otherwise we are finished, and the Conservatives will run the country for years. I’ll just keep doing my videos whinging about things, coming up with ideas. Waste of time. Just words, isn’t it? Just words.”

However, despite what the two Owens assert about the futility of opposition, the historical record suggests a far more hopeful conclusion.

capitalism-is-not-working

“Power is not the only factor instrumental in creating change,” Salim Lone, a former communications director at the United Nations, noted in a letter to the Guardian in May 2016.

“In fact it’s what one does in ‘opposition’ that has historically paved the way for real change. Humanity’s progress has resulted primarily from the struggles of those who fought for change against entrenched power.”

US author Rebecca Solnit agrees, noting just before the US presidential election that “election seasons erase the memory of movements that worked for years or decades, outside and around, below and above electoral politics.” She describes these as “the histories that matter.”

Producing change while not in power can broadly be separated into two camps: transformation that is forced on an unwilling ruling elite, and government policies that are stopped or modified by strong opposition.

And let’s not forget that any change from below almost always involves an extra-parliamentary direct action struggle, from the setting up of trade unions and women winning the vote to the success of the US civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s — all forced on an initially resistant ruling class.

In the 1990s direct action played a key role in stopping the “biggest road-building programme since the Romans” planned by the then Tory government and the attempt to introduce GM food to Britain.

Indeed, a close reading of the news demonstrates that successfully making change while not in power happens all the time.

Last month the Guardian headline was “Poland’s abortion ban proposal near collapse after mass protests.”

Back in Britain, Corbyn’s Labour Party has inflicted a number of defeats on the government — on planned cuts to tax credits and housing benefit, and the proposed prison contract with Saudi Arabia.

It was a Tory-led government, let’s not forget, that introduced gay marriage — 25 years after it introduced the anti-gay Section 28.

And responding to the Chancellor’s recent announcement about investing in the economy, shadow chancellor John McDonnell quipped: “It’s clear Philip Hammond is now borrowing from Labour to invest in his own speech.”

Unsurprisingly, governments will try to take the credit for any popular changes — former prime minister David Cameron making it known he had personally intervened in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, for example.

But rather than taking the powerful at their (retrospective and self-justifying) word, a more accurate explanation of the process of positive change is highlighted by Tony Benn’s famous dictum: “It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.”

Of course, being in power is preferable to not being in power. Far more change is obviously possible when one is in control, when it can be planned, co-ordinated and sustained. Those attempting to force change from the outside do not have control of the process, the timing or the details.

However, it is important not to underestimate the power of social movements and activism — the power of “ordinary” people to create real, long-lasting change.

Indeed, with Donald Trump likely to be in the White House for the next four years it is essential this hopeful understanding of political change is widely understood and acted upon.

The signs are promising: with Trump reviled and distrusted by a large section of the US public, it is likely there will be a much-needed resurgence of progressive activism following the unjustified lull during the Obama administration.

Trump is dangerously unpredictable, so making predictions about his foreign policy is difficult, US dissident Noam Chomsky noted in a recent interview. However, he ended on a note of optimism: “What we can say is that popular mobilisation and activism, properly organised and conducted, can make a large difference.”

source

Is Modern Life A Mistake? Part Two | Paul Edwards

November 14, 2016 – 3:19 pm | 2 Comments

There is a common narrative that we broadly share without realising it. This narrative concerns how we live now in comparison to how we lived in the past.
It is an article of secular contemporary faith …

Spoiled Americans now want to flee what they created | Malak Chabkoun

November 12, 2016 – 11:25 am | 2 Comments

The reactions of many Americans to the Trump victory is a symptom of their political immaturity
.
.
Many Americans woke up on November 9 (or didn’t sleep to begin with) panicking about the future of the United States.
Citizens …

Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be ‘game over’, scientists warn

November 10, 2016 – 6:42 pm | One Comment

New research suggests the Earth’s climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an ‘apocalyptic side of bad’ temperature rise of more than 7C within a lifetime.
If the Earth’s …

Is modern life a mistake? Part One | Paul Edwards

November 10, 2016 – 12:01 pm | 8 Comments

In a new series for Sodium Haze Paul Edwards will write about his deep soul felt feeling that many aspects of modern western life are a mistake. Mistakes that politicians, media outlets and market triumphalism are keen to represent …

It Was the Rise of the Davos Class That Sealed America’s Fate | Naomi Klein

November 10, 2016 – 12:15 am | One Comment

They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the …

Bernie Sanders would have beaten Trump. The Democrats have betrayed the world.

November 9, 2016 – 10:18 am | One Comment

So the USA has spoken. It wants Donald Trump as President. Much of the world will look on in aghast, incredulous horror.
His victory was predictable – those outside the media bubble predicted it  and preventing it …

Little Englander’s won’t gain anything worth having via Brexit.

November 8, 2016 – 2:57 pm | 5 Comments

Little England seems to be getting smaller all the time. In this Brexit wonderland, bile and spittle seem to fly in all directions – with new groups added to the list of “traitors” on a daily basis.
For daring to suggest that …

Britain’s real enemy is the corporate media – not our judges

November 4, 2016 – 2:24 pm | 2 Comments

Every day I look at the mainstream media and I see a war in progress. This war has two combatants and one battle. A daily shelling is conducted by vested corporate interests against anyone who tries to speak the truth. As far as …

Labour MP’s insisted we had to elect Corbyn twice – now THEY must face an election

September 24, 2016 – 11:00 am | 7 Comments

Of all the chutzpah that Labour’s right wing MP’s have brazenly fronted in the corporate media recently – the most laughable is their expertise on ‘electability’.
Every ‘electable’ candidate the right wingers have put forward has been trounced by Jeremy …

Provoking nuclear war by media | John Pilger

September 18, 2016 – 10:52 am | 3 Comments

The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried …

Assad’s Death Warrant | Mike Whitney

September 18, 2016 – 10:42 am | Comments Off on Assad’s Death Warrant | Mike Whitney

“Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising …

David Cameron: The worst Prime Minister in British history.

September 12, 2016 – 5:36 pm | 2 Comments

So David Cameron is to step down as an MP. Time to reflect on his baleful legacy in public life.
I genuinely can’t think of a more poisonous, dishonest and self-serving figure in public life than …

Sociopathic criminals own and rule our world – let’s not kid ourselves otherwise

September 12, 2016 – 2:25 pm | Comments Off on Sociopathic criminals own and rule our world – let’s not kid ourselves otherwise

One of the things that the TV show ‘The Wire’ taught me was that crime doesn’t pay – because sociopaths and bullies can do far better inside the system than outside. Though raised on the street, even Stringer Bell …

Corbyn bats for Democracy – Smith for Corporate Power. It’s that simple.

August 18, 2016 – 2:24 pm | 4 Comments

The outcome of the Labour leadership election is a critical moment in British political history. Voters currently have a choice between a democratic activist in Jeremy Corbyn or a shill for corporate capture in Owen Smith.
The anti-democracy element within the Labour Party and their millionaire backers are working …

When Systems Crumble: Looking Beyond Global Capitalism | Richard D Wolff

August 16, 2016 – 12:41 pm | 2 Comments

As global capitalism staggers painfully, unevenly and dangerously in the wake of its 2008 collapse, its critics divide into two broad camps. One commits to fixing or reforming a capitalism that has somehow lost its …

Sri Lanka’s garment workers: paying a high price for cheap clothes | War on Want

August 16, 2016 – 9:09 am | Comments Off on Sri Lanka’s garment workers: paying a high price for cheap clothes | War on Want

Behind the electrified fences of Sri Lanka’s free trade zones are factories full of women, paying a high price for making the cheap clothes sold on the UK high street. War on Want’s Thulsi Narayanasamy …

Israel’s stolen babies remains the state’s darkest secret | Jonathon Cook

August 13, 2016 – 11:23 am | Comments Off on Israel’s stolen babies remains the state’s darkest secret | Jonathon Cook

It is Israel’s darkest secret – or so argues one Israeli journalist – in a country whose short history is replete with dark episodes.
Last month Tzachi Hanegbi, minister for national security, became the first government …

Our Greatest National Security Threat? Perpetual War

August 13, 2016 – 10:27 am | One Comment

The United States is now engaged in perpetual war with victory nowhere in sight.  Iraq is chaotic and scarred. So, too, is Libya. Syria barely exists. After 15 years, “progress” in Afghanistan has proven eminently …

Class war engulfs Labour: The Owning Class vs The Membership

August 12, 2016 – 8:17 pm | 2 Comments

Of all the words uttered about Labour’s internecine strife – a few words from establishment media pundit Owen Jones illuminated the ongoing class war within the movement perfectly:
…it has become increasingly common in politics to reduce disagreements to bad …

Tom Watson’s tactics are despicable – he should resign.

August 11, 2016 – 9:31 am | Comments Off on Tom Watson’s tactics are despicable – he should resign.

I don’t whether to laugh at Tom Watson, be angry or pity him. Perhaps all three.
I warmly applauded (on this very site) his work on the topic of child abuse . But following Corbyn’s …

Owen Smith to agree with all Jeremys everywhere

August 10, 2016 – 10:57 am | Comments Off on Owen Smith to agree with all Jeremys everywhere

As Owen Smith triumphantly moved into third place in the two horse race to be Labour leader – the crown jewel of his glittering array of policy announcements is to be expanded to meet demand.
Bored teenagers and people cadging free ice creams …

Labour’s Blairite ghouls are committing political suicide – let’s enjoy the spectacle

August 9, 2016 – 5:35 pm | 6 Comments

Alan Clark once famously remarked:
“There are no friends in politics – we are all sharks circling”
Labour’s careerist Red Tories are not sharks – more a confused shoal of herring. Watching them chase their tails in pursuit of Jeremy Corbyn …

Observer a laughing stock as Corbyn smears hit new lows

August 7, 2016 – 1:01 pm | Comments Off on Observer a laughing stock as Corbyn smears hit new lows

Oh what a tangled web The Guardian Media Group weaves as it colludes with New Labour plotters to deceive! Now the GMG’s smears against Corbyn are not just fact free journalism – they are rapidly …

Labour’s grassroots must triumph and displace the right wing bullies forever

August 3, 2016 – 12:59 pm | 2 Comments

The Labour Party hasn’t tried to make a case for Socialism for over thirty years – that is why we have a civil war in the movement right now, being fought between people who want that …

Owen Jones is a fraud. Don’t listen to his rhetoric of failure.

August 1, 2016 – 4:07 pm | 27 Comments

Its time that people in the Labour movement woke up to how dangerous Owen Jones is – dangerous because he wants a swift return Labour failures of the past – dangerous because he bats for the status …

Don’t forget the role of the press in Brexit

July 30, 2016 – 10:02 am | 4 Comments

They lied and they got away with it and that’s outrageous – since the referendum this sentiment has prompted hundreds of thousands of words of commentary, and rightly so. A crisis so grave and unexpected …

Schools versus communities

July 30, 2016 – 9:11 am | One Comment

THE case of Michaela Free School, which was revealed to be placing children in “lunch isolation” if their parents fell behind with paying lunch money, reveals so much about what is wrong with recent education …

Soon nurses will pay for their education – they should demand higher wages

July 30, 2016 – 8:58 am | Comments Off on Soon nurses will pay for their education – they should demand higher wages

The NHS doesn’t have enough nurses, nor are enough being trained to meet future demand. And yet the government has confirmed it is scrapping nursing bursaries, which cover the cost of tuition fees. Instead, prospective …

Owen Smith to be replaced by Dusty Bin from 3-2-1

July 29, 2016 – 1:36 pm | Comments Off on Owen Smith to be replaced by Dusty Bin from 3-2-1

Owen Smith faces calls to withdraw from the race to be the next leader of the Labour Party and be replaced by a “unity candidate” – 80’s quiz show legend – Dusty Bin from 3-2-1.
Explaining the growing support for Dusty, veteran Labour …

Fossil Fuel Industry Continues Wrath on Renowned Climate Scientist Michael Mann

July 28, 2016 – 10:57 am | Comments Off on Fossil Fuel Industry Continues Wrath on Renowned Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Despite—actually, because of—the innumerable peer-reviewed studies and national academies that have affirmed his work, Prof. Michael Mann from Penn State University continues to be on the receiving end of the fossil fuel industry’s wrath.
In Canada, …

Do please register with Sodium Haze

  • FREE ACCESS
  • FREE NEWSLETTER
  • SUPPORT CHANGE

100% secure and it only takes a few seconds. Thank you!