Spooky prescience from the author of ‘The Making of the English Working Class’
Historians are classically shit at prophesising anything, but, back in early ‘60s, a Marxist one predicted the future.
The BBC had just aired a three-part lecture series attacking the New Left – the then-emerging movement of radical students and academics calling for a socialist politics beyond Stalinism and watery Western social democracy. And E.P. Thompson, one of the highest-profile New Leftists, set about writing his own talk in response.
Originally, the intention was to get it broadcast on the BBC. If Auntie was happy to transmit three hours of reactionary propaganda, the reasoning ran, it would surely have to give the New Left some sort of right to reply.
I went to see Black Panther for my birthday, and thought it was very good. I don’t usually like films, or the cinema, or birthdays, but a mate convinced me to give all three a try, and for once I was only vaguely disappointed.
I can’t fully endorse it – they spent $200m making a comic book movie while thousands of people (a lot them African), starved to death. But for a stonkingly profligate corporate blockbuster, Black Panther is fairly radical.
A long addendumto the post about Oxbridge. A few days after finishing it, I ended up in Oxford – partly through sickening hypocrisy, partly because I wanted to visit one of my oldest and closest friends who studies there.
It was interesting for two reasons: one, because it reaffirmed everything I remembered about Oxbridge. And two, because it was a rare chance to commune with someone with a very similar worldview to mine.
Oxford is different to Cambridge. It’s noisier and busier, and there’s a lot more of it. It’s a city. Cambridge is just a glorified town.
But the universities are near-identical. They’re both made up of thirty-odd self-contained ‘colleges’, fabulously rich and bafflingly archaic. And they both serve the same mainly white, wealthy, South-Eastern demographic.Continue reading “An Oxmas Carol”→
Every now and then, the media will fuss about Oxbridge. Usually it’s in response to some new set of figures that show it’s (still) excruciatingly privileged.
Everyone will broadly agree that’s bad, there’ll be a flurry of public outrage for about ten minutes, you’ll see a bit of back-and-forth in the broadsheet opinion pages, then the issue will vanish. Nothing will change.Continue reading “Oxbridge should be got rid of”→
Agitpod is always annoying, but the Clive Lewis one put me off my cheese and salad baguette.
I listen to it despite the nauseating chummy banter because it’s a useful insight into the wobbly end of the Corbyn coalition — the panicky, one-foot-in-the-mainstream types who verged on calling for him to go last summer.
Jones and O’Hagan are probably decent people, but I don’t trust them. For years, I’ve watched them and journos like them mock the suggestion that working at the liberal end of the corporate press compromises them politically — only for them to prove themselves embarrassingly susceptible to media groupthink about Corbyn just at the point when the project needed loyal intellectual outriders the most.
Venezuela’s gone south, and finding nuanced explanations why is hard.
The media’s obviously unsubtly propagandising in favour of elite Western interests – painting Maduro as a savage dictator, and cheerleading a coup-prone, US-funded opposition movement led by embittered members of the pre-Chavez Establishment.