International Women’s Day
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChosetoChallenge. If there was one person about whom this could be said it was Larissa Reisner.
This legendary woman was at the very juncture of the worst and best in humanity. A new translation of her Civil War despatches, The Hammer and the Anvil, evokes a key moment in the Russian Civil War.
Behind all the budget ballyhoo, the picture is clear: capitalism is in intensive care and the Tories have deployed the state to keep it afloat at the expense of the majority of the population. Read more
Democracy does not come in one form. There are many different types of democracy, from the ancient Greek system where only men over 20 could vote directly on issues to modern representative democracies. What this means is that simply being a “democracy” isn’t good enough. Read more…
The unseemly dispute between the European Union and AstraZeneca over the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine just about sums up everything that is both wrong and rotten about the system, aka capitalism.
In a rational world, where public health and wellbeing came first, a global pandemic would be met with a universal, planned response. Vaccines would be distributed on an equitable basis and a mutually-agreed strategy put together. Read more…
The extraordinary achievements of the Cuban health system could not have happened without the revolution of 1959 and the new social relations that resulted.
Getting a handle on reality in our image-dominated world is more vital than ever. A new book looks afresh at a thinker who set out some basic ideas about the essential nature of change. Turkish professor Kaan Kangal examines the controversial work of the man Karl Marx called “Fred” or “the General”.
The storming of the Capitol by Trump’s supporters dealt a huge blow to the US constitution and poses a great challenge. The existential crisis for US democracy affects us all… here’s how it can be resolved in favour of positive change. Read more…
Dear friends in the UK and around the world.
Warm thanks for your support over the past year. Here are some thoughts and our plan for 2021. Stay safe and well in 2021!
The Real Democracy Movement is working with others to create a free online political education course that people can do in their own time.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a cruel, unjust and unequal economic and political system and compelled many people to consider alternatives. Our course will contribute to learning about how to bring about revolutionary system change.
If you want to help, please get in touch!
A landmark book by US Marxist John Bellamy Foster is a sweeping and fascinating account of revolutionary thinkers and doers. We discover that William Morris wore out his copy of Capital in a short time, how women like Eleanor Marx were key figures and how Soviet scientists inspired the British ‘Red Scientists’ of 20th century.
Read Corinna Lotz’s appreciation and critique
For over a decade, firefighters have been at the forefront of the fight by trade unions and their allies against austerity cuts imposed from on high by successive Tory governments. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has vowed to continue the resistance after the chancellor’s latest attack.
Penny Cole talks to holocaust survivor Ruth Barnett about the importance of a new, critical approach to education and learning in the struggle for a democratic future.
Joe Biden will take office – assuming he is actually allowed to do so – in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed over 225,000 Americans, a divided country and with the economic and political conditions that created Trump very much in place. Addressing these issues in any meaningful way is, frankly, beyond the capacity of the Democratic Party or the American state. The country needs a new people’s constitution and activists can make it happen. Read more…
They couldn’t be more different. Frances Aviva Blane is notorious for her “shock doctrine”; Claudia Clare’s decorated pots convey a contemplative serenity. Could they possibly work together? With her current show, Zuleika Gallery founder Lizzie Collins has banished this sceptical thought. Read more…
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
81-year jazz legend Joe McPhee talks to Corinna Lotz about how the pandemic has changed his life and his music.
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…
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…
“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
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.
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…
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.
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…
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…
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
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.
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…
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.
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”.
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.
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…
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…
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…
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.
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…
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
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.
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
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…
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.
The conflicts within war artist and society portraitist William Orpen: review of an intriguing show at the beautiful Watts Gallery deep in Surrey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 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.
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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