My review of “Winter Hill” by Timberlake Wertenbaker at Bolton Octagon

lipstick socialist

Winter Hill, towering over Bolton, is an iconic landmark to people in the northwest: one that in 1896   pushed  thousands of activists to march to it to demand the right to roam. In a new play called Winter Hill, playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, uses the landmark to explore modern day themes about women’s political activity and to what ends should people go to to  defend their community.

1896 mass roam

In 2017 the numbers of older women involved in politics is notable. The play touches on an important theme: how do you feel if you have been politically active over many decades but now feel, in the face of rampant capitalism – in this case the selling off of land on Winter Hill for a luxury hotel that will be the preserve of the rich -a sense of hopelessness about how you can  ever change anything.

As five women of a book club…

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America First? Transatlantic conversations on class reality and revolt 

Angry Workers of the World

ferguson-riots.jpegUS / UK Series – What’s this about?

AngryWorkers and friends are holding a series of meetings to get in touch with comrades in the USA to discuss the hot topics of the day.

The left, the right, the front pages and conversations across the globe have been chewing over the election of Trump and what this signifies. This has been echoed over here with the Brexit vote, as well as the recent French election. An ‘anti-establishment’ message combined with ‘protectionist’ promises and anti-immigration propaganda has a significant appeal within the local working class in the UK. We think it would be useful to speak directly with comrades in the States about recent developments in order to understand the similarities and differences. This might also have a mobilising effect on how and where to centre our political activities over here.

Amongst the left, there are two predominant ways to look at…

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In Defence of Our Land: Historical Similarities Between the Enclosure of Common Land from the Thirteenth to Nineteenth Centuries and the Privatisation of Public Land in the Twenty-First; or, Why the Class War Never Changes, Only its Historical Form

We Like history.

architectsforsocialhousing

These extracts are from John Wright’s recently published book, A Natural History of the Hedgerow (2016). I began reading it partly out of my love and hatred of hedgerows, about which I have written before on this blog in an article on Land Values, but also as an escape from the violence, injustice, political corruption and urban squalor of estate demolition. Little did I expect that, far more than a natural history of the hedgerow, Wright’s book also contains a social history of the struggles arising from the enclosure of common land in England and Wales between the Thirteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; and reading it I was struck by how similar the motivations and injustices of enclosure were to the conflicts arising today from the privatisation of land through the programme of estate demolition, not only in London but across the UK. Above all, I was struck by the…

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Positive change in Southend

A few of us went along to the Southend Radical Fair that took place on Saturday May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect but when we turned up, we were greeted with the welcome sight of a busy, buzzing event with plenty of deep conversations and networking taking place. The stallholders were a fairly eclectic mix ranging from greens, community gardeners and vegans through to groups dealing with gender issues and some funky ‘zine makers.

Basically, the kind of groups who want to start making a difference in the here and now – in other words, starting to build a new world in the decaying, fractured shell of the one we currently endure. In all honesty, a bit of a contrast to the more class struggle focused, combative, stroppy attitude that we have here at the Stirrer! Which is…

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Elections and other ballots.

It hasn’t escaped our notice that another orgy of representative politics is underway, with folk who do nothing else offering to lead you hither and thither.

When we conceived this event back in February we made a collective decision not to accept bookings from political parties, without anticipating that a general election would be scheduled for the following week. Some of the participants in the bookfair are members of political parties and will be participating in the forthcoming shenanigans, nevertheless we ask comrades to refrain from electioneering on the day.

We don’t want to labour the point; it’s just not what we’re here for.

May Day in Southampton 2017

Monday 1st   May 11am Palmerston Park, Southampton Centre, SO14 1ND

Southampton Trades Union Council, Unite Community and People’s Assembly Against Austerity will celebrate International Workers’ Day with a family-friendly march and Rally.

11am Assemble at Bandstand

11.15 March from Bandstand to Peace Fountain, past the Cenotaph to Bargate and back through the parks to the Bandstand

12.00 – 3pm music, poetry, speakers, with local trade union, left and progressive stalls and Indian food

There will be a large marquee in case of bad weather.

Donations welcome toward the cost of event

For peace and a united Working Class. HAPPY MAY DAY!

Universal Basic Income – no tool for liberation

Angry Workers of the World

pocket-money-uk-standard-webpicwm.pngWe wrote the following as a contribution for discussion at a recent event on UBI in London…

Can’t buy me love – UBI ain’t working for workers’ liberation

Parts of the radical left see the Universal Basic Income (UBI) demand as a potential vehicle to a) ‘make people think’ about productive potentials and wealth distribution in capitalism; and b) unify a (fragmented and atomised) working class through a common demand. We think that the demand ain’t helpful for the following reasons:

  • The demand takes a problematic starting point. In capitalism individual income disguises the fact that in order to live we depend on each other. The wage in particular disguises exploitative relations as a ‘fair deal’. Capital and the state seem to be the productive social forces which hand out an individual income to us – although it is the social work of all of us which makes us survive…

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Lob a spanner in the works and let’s have some real change!

There has been a lot of speculation as to why May has done a massive U turn and called for a general election on June 8th. A fair few people think it may have something to do with the ongoing election expenses scandal that’s dogging the Tory Party: Claims May called an election to escape Tory expenses scandalhttps://politicalscrapbook.net/2017/04/claims-may-called-an-election-to-escape-tory-expenses-scandal/ The Crown Prosecution Service is currently investigating claims that up to 20 Tory MPs broke spending limits during the 2015 general election.

If these MPs were prosecuted and had to stand down thereby forcing by-elections, the government’s slim majority would have been made considerably slimmer or possibly even wiped out. Given that May is facing enough grief trying to negotiate a Brexit deal, the thinking is that she’s taking a gamble on a general election in the hope that the Tories will get a big enough majority to give her…

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