Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in first lines

Last year, I took a cue from the late Norman Geras, and summarised 2012 in first lines of each month's blogging. Here we go for 2013. Sad to see these lines marked by two losses, those of Norm himself and of Shaun Downey.

January: I was pretty young during the Falklands war, but it was my first uncomfortable experience of being out of step with prevailing opinions.

February: Hundreds of people gathered outside Lewisham Hospital last night in the aftermath of health secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement in Parliament on the future of emergency and maternity services. 

March: As an early riser with a long commute, I cross London with twitter to accompany me. For non-tweeters, like I used to be, Twitter seems the reductio ad absurdum of social media: the most banal and superficial of platforms. For me, though, it is a window into hundreds of stories and worlds un-reported by the mainstream media. It satisfies an itch to reach out that also motivates my blogging, and is easier to squeeze into a cramped life than blogging.

April: I was shocked and saddened last night to hear, from my friend Francis, of the death of  Shaun Downey a couple of weeks ago. Shaun's blog, The Poor Mouth, was a year younger than mine, but I always thought he'd been blogging longer: he and his blog epitomise what blogging was once about for me, and should be about. Shaun (who blogged as Jams O'Donnell - more below on why) reached out on his blog, creating a large, dispersed and diverse community.

May: My run of bad blogging might come to an end soon, but in the meantime read this superb take-down by the Unrepentant Jacobin of the unspeakably awful Glenn Greenwald, who is inexplicably given a platform in the increasingly dishonourable virtual pages of the Guardian. 

June: ‘Forget “Islamism”:  Let’s Tackle Foreign Policy’ has been the subtext of a number of responses to Woolwich.  These have (rightly) been torn apart by many commentators.  Now Douglas Murray, in apiece entitled ‘Forget “Islamophobia”: Let’s Tackle Islamism’ appears to be deploying Greenwaldian logic in order to ‘explain’ anti-Muslim bigotry.

July: It's about the morality of killing fascists, basically, and the morality of even debating the morality of it

August: Rococo Left is a term coined by a friend of by Noga of Contentious Centrist to talk about what has also been referred to as the "Indecent Left", the part of the far left that allies itself with far right forces abroad like Ba'athism and Islamism, while converging with the far right in the West in basing its analysis on anti-american and often anti-semitic conspiracy theories, instead of an ethical concern with social justice or a materialist critique of global injustice.

September: I am very familiar with the EUMC working definition of antisemitism. I have defended it on several occasions. This is not to say it is perfect, or that I could not give or take the odd clause. But I was extremely concerned by the way it was ditched by the UCU – by the terms used to dismiss it and the tone of the discussion around the issue.

October: On Wednesday night, I was reading my six-year-old his bed time story: The Strange Bird by Adele Geras. It's a story we both love, but it's had a poignant edge for me these last months, since Adele Geras' husband Norman has been ill. I realised I'd not heard from Norm on Twitter for a little while, and I wondered how he was doing. I was terribly sad to hear on Friday morning that he had passed.

November: Lots of the blogs I have followed for a long time seem to be slowly dying,  but there are new ones out there, and old healthy ones, and ones that are not so new but new to me.

December: I was sent the Goldsmiths UCU press release on strike action at Goldsmiths in New Cross today. I've never been treated as a respected news outlet before now, so it seems churlish not to reproduce it, so I do so below. Also below, student solidarity with the strike, and two items on other London strike actions: on the 3Cosas campaign at Senate House and on London's tube workers.



1 comment:

Brian Goldfarb said...

Re your August entry, Bob: Noga also coined the term "Rancid Left" (which I told her was no longer her copyright, as it is too good to be confined to just her blog). Further, I feel it should be contrasted with some variant of "Sane Left" for those of us who, irrespective of detailed ideological identification, are on the Left but refuse to fall into any racist traps, such as deciding that, inter alia, Israeli and Jew are synonymous, that only Israel is to blame for the ME situation, etc, while reserving the right to criticise the actions and policies of the Israeli Govt. Sometimes harshly or even intemperately.