Cummings and Johnson ‘behind bars’
at Downing Street

Johnson’s attack on McDonnell a taste of what’s to come

When the General Election is finally called, you can be sure that Boris Johnson will rival Donald Trump when it comes to fake news, outright lying and slandering of political opponents.

Trump and Johnson are political arsonists who like nothing better than to pour petrol on the flames and watch as the fire then runs out of control.

Spirit of Contemplation (detail) by Albert Toft (1901) Laing Art Gallery

Escaping the gilded cage

A new show highlights the way that 20th and 21st century female artists have challenged how women were, and often still are, reduced to goods and chattels… And how beauty can be a double-edged sword.

Review of the Enchanted Interior at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle.

Saracen on the streets of Derry

Lifting the lid on the British state’s dirty role in the “Troubles”

Investigations by journalists, a major BBC series and a multi-million pound inquiry by the ex-chief constable of Bedfordshire Jon Boutcher have revealed secrets the British state would rather you didn’t know about.

As crisis deepens, what it will take for Corbyn’s plan to ‘put people in power’ to succeed

Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court

In the wake of the judgement against Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn’s rousing speech to Labour’s conference said: “The tide is turning. The years of retreat and defeat are coming to an end. Together, we’ll take on the privileged, and put the people in power.”

However, the present constitution does not have this proviso. And the Supreme Court will, in other circumstances, side with the status quo. The present constitution is the form of state rule that is centred on capitalist ownership and control while denying the people any real decision-making powers over their workplaces and communities. Read more

School climate strikers lead the way to a democratic revolution

The school strikers are offering real leadership on the climate emergency. Increasingly, they are questioning the fundamentals of the economy – continuous growth in pursuit of profit, built-in obsolescence, and a total disregard for the wellbeing of people and planet. They are helping to create the conditions for a democratic revolution.

Photos from Global Climate Strike on 20 September in London

Global Climate Strike on 20 September in London

FAB Summer Head

Who am I? New work by Frances Aviva Blane

“Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or it will not be at all”. The last sentence of André Breton’s 1928 Surrealist novel Nadja could have been written in reaction to the work of Frances Aviva Blane.

Democracy reboot through a crowd-sourced charter

In the radical spirit of the great reform movement, the Manchester People’s Assembly for Reform has launched a digital brainstorm to crowd-source ideas that rethink democracy.

Six Acts to Reboot Democracy launches this weekend as part of the celebrations/commemoration of the Peterloo Massacre.

South Tyneside prepares for people-powered change

Local activists laid down a powerful marker towards creating a Citizens’ Assembly in South Tyneside at an initial event held at the South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on June 29. They included environmental campaigners, trade unionists, local councillors as well as members of political parties.

Glastonbury 2019: The kids are alright

This year’s Glastonbury story began with youth leader and grime artist (though I don’t doubt he’d make a good Prime Minister) Stormzy.

Review by Dylan Strain

Semblance and reflection

There is a tension, a longing, in this splendid first-ever retrospective of Peter Clossick’s work. Through prolonged observation and countless applications of the brush, pencil or charcoal he creates a sensuous image of inner thought.

Review by Corinna Lotz

GoncharovaRussia’s female firebrand – a history with blank spots

The world is on fire but it’s a great time for art – thus Tate Modern’s director, Frances Morris, opening the first-ever UK show devoted to Russian artist Natalia Goncharova.

Goncharova burst on the Moscow art scene on the eve of World War I. She was a Pussy Riot figure whose first solo show in 1910 sparked a press campaign against her.

System failure: give people the power to transform UK democracy

The Real Democracy Movement has launched a petition to back the launch of Citizens’ Conventions to develop proposals for a new, truly democratic system and a transfer of power to the people. Please read and sign:

We believe that the UK’s political system is broken at all levels. It is now incapable of representing the diverse views and aspirations of citizens in any meaningful way.

The current Brexit deadlock is merely one symptom of failure, which has led to deepening inequality, austerity, record levels of homelessness and poverty, crumbling public services and runaway climate change.

Despite having the right to vote many of us feel that we lack real power.

We therefore call for the setting up of grassroots Citizens’ Conventions throughout the UK.

They will develop proposals for a new, truly democratic system based on a written constitution and a transfer of power to the people.

As an inclusive society, we can confront the ecological emergency together.

The economic and social well-being of all our citizens, not that of the corporations, will be our number one priority.

Sign at Change.Org

From stone tablets to emojis

It’s been calculated that globally we will be exchanging over 293 billion emails each day by the end of 2019. And that’s not counting WhatsApp, Tweets and Facebook messages. So how did we get here?

Making your Mark, an elegant show at the British Library, traces the evolution of writing over the last 5,000 years.


How Evald Ilyenkov was ‘found’Finding Evald Ilyenkov by Corinna Lotz

How a philosopher considered the most significant theorist of the Soviet era came to influence Nordic, British, American and German thinkers, as well as revolutionary activists, is revealed in Finding Evald Ilyenkov.

Through the cameo stories of leading Ilyenkov scholars, Finding Evald Ilyenkov traces how academics, researchers and practitioners in the UK, Denmark, Finland, Canada and Russia were drawn to his work.

Written in an accessible style it introduces an uncompromising thinker to new generations searching for dynamic approaches to knowledge and practice.
Order for £5

There’s nothing green about bio-energy

The story of bio-fuels is a moral tale of how marketised, profit-driven responses to climate change will both fail to solve the problem and cause unconsidered damaging outcomes. Penny Cole reviews The Bio-fuel Deception: Going Hungry on the Green Carbon Diet by Okbazghi Yohannes

Neoliberalism is the engine driving the climate crisis

A Presentation to South Shields meeting “Make 2019 the year Corbyn becomes PM” jointly organised by Real Democracy Movement – Penny Cole, on line from Lochwinnoch

The IPCC report that came out at the end of last year stated there are 12 years left to act before catastrophic climate change becomes unavoidable. News of the report mobilised hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to go on strike and brought the start of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

Poetry as witness and engine of change

I am large, I contain multitudes. Walt Whitman’s words in Song of Myself capture the generous and expansive spirit of one of America’s best-known poets. They also perfectly describe the outcome of months and years of labour by fellow poet and editor al-Sayegh who has just published two books by poets Stephen Watts and Jenny Lewis in Arabic & English.
Read more

John Ruskin Study of Spray of Dead Oak Leaves 1879 Watercolour and bodycolour on paper © Collection of the Guild of St George / Museums Sheffield

Ruskin – a man of his time and of our time

Events around the country are celebrating the bi-centenary of John Ruskin’s birth on 8 February – #Ruskin200. Thinker, campaigner, artist, scientist, educator and social critic John Ruskin was one of the most contradictory of all the famous Victorians.

He was both a man of his time and a man looking to the future – even while distraught about the world around him. Read more

Why capitalism is crisisWorld in Crisis

A new slump is certain, sooner rather than later. What is the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, and why should you care? Mostly because the global capitalist attempt to restart the world economy after the slump is unravelling fast. Can we take a fresh round of deeper austerity? Read more

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Democracy Unchained by the Real Democracy Movement

Democracy Unchained

Democracy Unchained discusses what is wrong with the existing system, what real democracy would look like and how it can be achieved.

>> get the FREE E-BOOK

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“The book provides a good digest of problems and possible solutions and emphasises the gravity and urgency of the situation.” Tim Hart

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