Putting profit first is a killer

The very idea that there should be a “trade-off” between public health and the economy is repellent and immoral. Yet as the second Covid-19 wave sweeps the UK and the rest of Europe, the UK’s political class is reduced to bargaining over the economic cost of local lockdowns.
This amounts to a total cross-party failure, sitting alongside a state machine in disarray which in turn is directed by a Tory government totally divided over what to do next. Read more


Covid 19 – a catastrophic failure of government

This little book about the pandemic carries a real punch and will be read with dismay in government circles. It denounces the actions of governments, particularly the US and UK ones, in stark terms: “Every death was evidence of systematic government misconduct – reckless acts of omission that constituted breaches in the duties of public office… Missed opportunities and appalling misjudgements were leading to the avoidable deaths of thousands of citizens”. Read more…


Rishi Sunak should retrain as a human being

Dylan Strain talks to Efa Supertramp about her new album “Apocalipstick Blues” and her revolutionary outlook on life.

Efa Supertramp hit the headlines around the time of Glastonbury 2019, with first The Times, then the rest of the media trying to drag the owner Michael Eavis through the dirt thanks to him giving a platform to Jeremy Corbyn in 2017.  Read more…


Aching

“I’ve been concerned with politics since I was aged 11. My parents were refugees from Nazi Germany who influenced me by saying you must be aware of what’s going on in the world, be engaged with it.it.”

Julie Held is Artist in Lockdown No. 7, by Corinna Lotz


Educating for real democracy

Our education system does not produce citizens who know how to use democracy, or even know what it is. Civic education teaches the “authorised version” – that the system of democracy we already have is an unchangeable given and the best we can achieve. The Real Democracy Movement’s education working group is developing a series of workshops that take on key challenges. Penny Cole reports.


A sense of liberation

Artists in Quarantine No.6

A second wave of infections, more quarantines, lockdowns, as the invisible virus searches for new hosts. Uncertainty about what the future has in store. When will we meet friends and family again?

Sculptor and multi-media artist Caroline Pick’s recent evolution can be seen as a metaphor for this moment of collective uncertainty. She is a many-sided personality who embraces a wealth of media, modes, disciplines and genres. Read more…


A sight for sore eyes

Oh no, not another Impressionism show! Gauguin again? Is this to pull in the punters with a bankable display of old favourites? Recycling the reliable?

Well, actually no. The first major London show to open since the pandemic is not a spectacular blockbuster. Instead it’s an intimate and moving experience. Beautifully displayed in the Royal Academy’s new spaces in the former Museum of Mankind, there’s so much to enjoy and mull over.

Read more…


Five days that shook Seattle

Fiona Harrington praises an account of an amazing time when workers took complete power in the city of Seattle.

Over a century ago a historic general strike took place in Seattle on the Pacific North-West coast the like of which had not been seen before in the United States and it is fair to say, not since. In fact, this kind of total shut down verging on revolution has happened a mere handful of times anywhere. Read more…


The old Irish republic is dying – forward to a new one!

After some 140 days of manoeuvring, Ireland has a new government. The rival right-wing parties, Fine Gael (FG) and Fianna Fail (FF) who lost badly at the February general election, found their salvation in the shape of a divided Green Party. Read more…


Starmer taking the knee

Starmer dances to Johnson’s sinister tune

As the Tories lift the lockdown, principally for economic rather than public health reasons, some might expect a challenge to this business-led strategy from the opposition in Parliament. Don’t hold your breath.”Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition” is back in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation. Read more…


Artists under Quarantine: a new series by Corinna Lotz

No.5 The chess piece logic of Cuckooland

Ray Bradbury was born 100 years ago in August 1920. Richard Walker re-imagines our pandemic world through Bradbury’s iconic Sci-Fi book Fahrenheit 451 in a brave forthcoming show at Art Bermondsey Space.

Read more…

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No.4 The Covids are coming

David Downes captures the very Zeitgeist of the pandemic: not angels on Peckham Rye, but Covids in the sky. Locked down in Manningtree, in Constable country, David made one painting each day under the impact of the pandemic, which he sees as the biggest crisis and tragedy of our times”. Read more…


No.3 Mind games under lockdown

Isolation has led to a new intimacy in the work of a distinguished member of the London Group – Peter Clossick.

“Far away from the merry-go-round of the market place, the only reasoning is to keep going on and stay safe,” he says.

Read more…


No.2 Virus – dimensions unknown

The Freud Museum was the perfect location. Frances Aviva Blane, an artist who plumbs the depths of the human psyche, and Susie Orbach, one of the most distinguished psychotherapists of our time, were to have a public conversation. The theme? Oil paint on canvas as “a metaphor for the disintegration of personality and self”.

Read more…


No.1 A silver lining for a scary time

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Michele del Campo felt he could not bear to carry on painting in the same way as before. The extremity of the moment drove him to reconsider.

Read more…


The best of times and the worst of times

We are locked down, and yet the wealth of offerings via digital platforms has blossomed to extraordinary proportions.  It’s truly an embarrassment of riches. 

Artists, performers, galleries, museums and television producers are making use of video-conferencing, pod casting and Instagram in ways that we could not have possibly imagined. Read more…


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Make system change the new ‘normal’ after pandemic

Now is absolutely the right time to consider what kind of society we want when, thanks entirely to the heroic efforts of health service, other front-line workers and community solidarity, the coronavirus pandemic is eventually suppressed. Read more…


Transmission ‘agent’ for deadly virus is capitalism itself

What is apparent is that the Covid-19 virus has its own specific, socially-constructed “agent”. The vector is without doubt neoliberal capitalism. Read more…


Beyond Covid19: Demands for ourselves & others for a far brighter future

In 2020 & beyond Coronavirus, it is high time people became more who they were meant to be, more who they want to be, follow the heart.

Read more…


How a pandemic led to financial contagion

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a contagious crash in the world’s stock and money markets already inflated and distorted by cheap credit intended for but not directed into new investment. In other words, they were ready to blow.

A global recession now appears inevitable as production dependent on global supply lines comes to a grinding halt in sector after sector while much of the workforce is in enforced self-isolation or off sick with the virus. Read more…


Virus just one part of a deadly cocktail

Take one rampant market economy directed by an authoritarian state more concerned with suppressing dissent than public health, add in debt-driven globalisation, throw in extreme weather patterns and broken political systems and you have a deadly cocktail.

That’s how the coronavirus pandemic originating in China, the stock market collapse, climate change and the slow death of liberal representative democracy are inextricably connected, each reinforcing a global crisis of the system, also known as neoliberal capitalism. Read more


Baroque: art in a turbulent time

King Charles II, his red cape borne aloft by cherubs, sits enthroned on a mound of prancing steeds, muscular servants, tritons and nymphs.

So what is this crazy hodge-podge painted by the Neapolitan artist Antonio Verrio, all about? Verrio’s Sea Triumph, a forerunner of Britannia Rules the Waves, depicts the King as a triumphant victor, an image of maritime supremacy celebrating the Restoration, as the curators of British Baroque: Power and Illusion at Tate Britain explain.

Read more…


Why Long-Bailey’s call for a ‘democratic revolution’ deserves support

Rebecca Long-Bailey’s call for a “democratic revolution” in the wake of Labour’s election debacle is welcome. In doing so, she raises crucial questions about where power is located, the nature of the state and removing the Tories sooner rather than later. Read more


The way forward after Labour’s defeat

Real Democracy Movement supporters give their views about the future for Labour, the case for a democratic revolution, why we should campaign to bring down Johnson and the need to address the fundamentals about the state and constitution. Four blogs to respond to…


Links made with Real Democracy Movement in USA

The Real Democracy Movement in the UK are really pleased to have established links with the Real Democracy Movement in the United States. Check out their website and the campaign to sign ‘The Great Mandate for Democracy”. We hope to organise some joint events in 2020.


William Orpen The Spy

All is not what it seems: the mysteries of a war artist

The conflicts within war artist and society portraitist William Orpen: review of an intriguing show at the beautiful Watts Gallery deep in Surrey.


Iraqi protests demand democracy

Iraqis around the world are accusing the Baghdad government of crimes against humanity in a brutal crackdown against opponents. Some 300 people have been killed since demonstrations against the Abdul Mahdi regime began in early October. Iraqis are appealing to the United Nations and international courts to hold their government responsible for gunning down protesters with live bullets and tear gas canisters.


Setting the record straight – jazz & justice

Jazz and Justice is a broad, panoramic sweep through the social, economic, and political history which conditioned, and continues to be conditioned by the lives of the mostly American musicians who made and make the music sound.

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Governments have fuelled a new toxic debt crisis

Experts are busy assessing the signs of an oncoming global recession and a new financial crash, poring over charts, columns of figures and graphs, reading about warnings from the International Monetary Fund among others.


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.


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.


 

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 

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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.

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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