Boris Johnson is a clear and present danger to the UK political system and to everyone’s democratic rights. Yet the man who is set to become prime minister next week is having a clear run at moving into 10 Downing Street.
The Islamaphobe and misogynist – on record encouraging a physical attack on a journalist – who is prepared to shut down Parliament to force through a kamikaze-style, no-deal Brexit, is a Trump-like populist who cares little for democratic conventions and traditions or his own pledges.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
By Mark Zobov, chair of the Moral and Intellectual Choice Association, Ukraine
The Ukrainian people made their choice: they elected a novice as president, and were condemned again as a bad bunch. They had once voted for a “packet of buckwheat”, now they had voted for a laugh — they were not a proper people, but just a population, biomass, cattle. These are descriptions by politicians, political experts and other “educated” worthies following the election of TV comedian Volodymyr Zelensky.
The announced closure of Ford’s engine plant in Bridgend, South Wales in 2020 is emblematic of the continuing decline of capitalist production worldwide. In May, global manufacturing output crossed the line from growth to contraction. Again.
This is the latest sign of a long-term trend.
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.
As Theresa May reaches out to Jeremy Corbyn in her efforts to solve the Brexit crisis in Parliament, it’s clear that the usual form of politics in the UK has ended.
Brexit is viewed by many people as an unnecessary and dangerous right-wing diversion from the big issues facing society as a whole. But this is a one-sided view. As Laura Kuenssberg noted in her BBC2 documentary, Brexit has now essentially morphed into a crisis of the political system…
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
Thousands of people responded to the call by Extinction Rebellion to close down roads and bridges in London on April 15 in support of the demand to the government to begin to respond to climate breakdown. At Waterloo Bridge, one of the main crossing points from South London over the Thames hundreds of people surged across the road at both ends blocking all traffic except bicycles and pedestrians. Photo-report by Peter Arkell
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
A hugely successful ‘Make 2019 the year Corbyn becomes PM’ meeting in South Shields agreed a programme of action to take the fight against neoliberalism and for real democracy into other parts of the North East. Jointly organised by Momentum South Tyneside and the Real Democracy Movement, the event at the South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on February 23 was warmly supported by local activists. A range of speakers made contributions alongside workshops discussing how to meet the attacks a Corbyn-led government would face from the state, big business and finance, the media and from within the Parliamentary Labour Party. These were based on the scenarios in What if? published by the RDM.
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.
The resignation of eight Labour MPs and three Tories from their parties in order to form a reactionary “Independent” Group in the House of Commons is a clear indication that the present Parliamentary system is in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Holding the fractured system together looks like mission impossible. A strategy to renew and extend democracy is essential, especially for the Labour Party if it is to succeed in ousting the Tories and coming to power. Read more
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.
The photographs are stunning, of war and poverty and suffering mainly, all in black and white and accompanied in each of the ten display rooms by a revealing quote from the photographer who took them – Don McCullin. McCullin who is 83 now but still working, grew up in a deprived part of north London and got his break with a picture of a gang, all mates of his, posing and looking cool inside an old house that had lost its frontage. Read more
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
RDM supporters from around the UK came together in November at Wigan’s Sunshine House. Getting to grips with neoliberalism teach/learn-in discussed four presentations – on climate change, precarity, democracy and culture and identity. Read the report: Mapping out the road from Wigan Pier.
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
The RDM and its supporters condemn the criminal actions of the Israeli government with regards to the violent, unprovoked response to peaceful Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return on the Gaza/Israel border.
We also condemn the complicity of the UK government in failing to acknowledge the Israeli government’s persistent violations of international law and the export of arms to the Israeli armed forces.
We affirm our support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and ask RDM supporters to find ways to support it. The Palestinian people, who on May 15 mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba – when 700,000 had to flee or were expelled from their lands – cannot win their rights and a future on their own. They need global solidarity.
We also send our support to the six Israeli human rights organisations currently taking court action challenging the shoot-to-kill policy of the Israeli Defence Force. A small but growing number of Israeli teenagers are refusing to join the IDF for their national service and their stand gives hope for the future.
We salute the heroism of those Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. It is clear that a fresh approach is needed, for the two-state policy has collapsed. President Donald Trump has put the final nail in its coffin with his illegitimate recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
We support the courageous one-state campaigners inside Israel – and others who campaign for this policy – as the only route to a peaceful solution where Palestinian and Israeli people of all ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations can live together.
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