Mike Wood's blog

Socialism, Feminism, Meaning and Understanding

A few weeks ago I was at a meeting in Leeds, entitled “Socialist Feminism and the Fight for equality”, publicising Feminist Fightback,. The meeting quickly became a debate on whether socialists need to be involved in the feminist movement, and whether they need to describe themselves as feminists. Comrades from Workers Liberty argued that yes, they do, and comrades from Workers Power argued that no, they didn’t.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Tory Councillor in Racism Shock

If you haven't heard about this already you might like to look at this article.

Its about a Tory councillor and prospective Parliamentary candidate, Ellenor Bland, sending a horrendously racist poem around the office. She says she recieved it from her husband, who is also a Tory councillor. This just gets better.

Issues and Campaigns: 

England Prevails

A nice review of V for Vendetta for you. I hope you like it.

This could’ve been great. V for Vendetta is an angry story about the overthrow of a British fascist regime, originally written as an attack on Thatcherism and British nationalism in the 1980s. Its central character, V, remains essentially anonymous throughout. He is an idea; the personification of the Vendetta the government has earned from its people. He is literally their creation – the homicidal product of medical experiments conducted on concentration camp inmates. The concept, the message, and the imagery of V for Vendetta all lend themselves to making a really great film.

Zanon at York University

We had about 50 people at York University to listen to Jose Julian Penuneri from the occupied Zanon factory in Argentina last Thursday (16/02/06). That’s the biggest left-leaning meeting I’ve personally seen at the University, with people from the Socialist society, Anarchist society, and People and Planet group attending, to name a few.

Cartoons

It appears the internet has exploded. The protests around the world over the publication of the Danish cartoons have resulted in deaths, boycotts, embassy storming, and a large amount of flag burning. Flame has been liberally chucked around online as well. The AWL decided to publish the cartoons on our website and this has provoked quite a response elsewhere, as was to be expected I suppose.

Helpful hints to stop rape

Since the Amnesty report revealing a disturbingly large number of people think that drunk girls do indeed somehow deserve to be raped there have been the usual array of commentators asking what young women can do to stop rape. I felt a bit left out at first, seeing all of these bits of advice, none of which really tell me what I can do as a man to help. Fortunately a rather helpful list of things I can do has been written here. So whilst the mainstream media can concentrate on telling young women what to wear and what to do the Blogosphere can tell men:

But where's the personal sacrifice?

A few weeks back I had a big argument with someone I met at the FEM 05 conference, and I’ve been dwelling on it for a while since. I knew them from York University, and they knew me as a No Sweat activist. We talked briefly about the left at the Uni, and what campaigns were ongoing, or coming up. She said she had problems with a few of them, and then remarked that she disagreed completely with No Sweat’s methods in particular. Why? Because we don’t call for boycotts.

Nick Griffin and George Orwell

I was at a protest against the BNP yesterday at Leeds Crown Court. Highly enjoyable. Quite a few anti-fascist protestors turned up (1000+) and only a hundred or so BNP members themselves. Most of the BNP were late as well. When I first arrived there was only about 30-40 of them, which cheered me up no end. They had the usual bizarre selection of banners and Daily Mail headlines, plus a large amount of George Cross flags. what really shocked me was that they also had a large banner with a quote from George Orwell on. It proclaimed: "In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act". Bastards.

Lord of War

A nice review of Lord of War. Directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Nicolas Cage.

Lord of War is a film with a point to make. From the opening credits through to the very final shot this is a bitter, angry, film, but also a very funny one. I enjoyed it immensely.

He's not even Yogi

This Saturday was Freshers Fair at York University, where I study. It’s a pretty small university compared to most around the country, but it has, for some reason, a huge amount of societies. I was on the People and Planet stall and we were opposite, for example, the stall for “Quiet Soc”; a society for the appreciation of Quiet. It is accompanied by a “Loud Soc”, whose stall was fortunately in a different room. I like quietness as much as the next man, more so probably, but why you would devote time and energy to a society for it is beyond me.

Who Watches the Watchmen, Pt II.

A large part of the brilliance of Watchmen is the sheer scope of it, and the seamless way in which the variety of subjects it touches are blended together into one work. It builds from an analysis of individuals and the smallest of events in their lives, and connects this to a commentary on the nature of society in the twentieth century. Nothing special for literature I suppose, but remember that this is still essentially just a comic book.

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I’ve been reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen again recently. I’d almost forgotten how brilliant it was. While my enthusiasm for it is still strong I thought I’d write something about it. I’m sorry if you’re not very interested in mid-80s comic books. I can only console you by saying that it really is a very good mid-80s comic book. I’ll write this in a number of parts I think – because it’s a massive subject.

Land of the Dead

Land of the Dead is the fourth zombie film from George Romero, who pretty much started the genre with Night of the Living Dead in the late 1960s. Romero uses the backdrop of a zombie plague to look at the way people interact, their motivations and their flaws. Land of the Dead is considerably more upfront about this than even his earlier, rather bold, films.

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