The South Essex Heckler - Archive

News, views and commentary with an anarchist twist

Readings

This is where we want to share readings we’ve found to be interesting, thought provoking and even provocative. Please note that inclusion in this section does not always mean a full endorsement. Sometimes a reading will be included because we think a reasoned debate on the issues it raises is needed. The readings are grouped into subject categories which are listed in alphabetical order. Within each category, the most recent additions are at the top.

Class & Race

Special Report: Wish You Weren’t Here – Postcards from the Edge of London in the Age of Brexit
Every Friday morning, a pensioner and his grandson gaze across a vast demolition site in east London, one of them remembering a life working at the Ford factory there and the other wishing he could help tear its old buildings down.

London Is Shit – Lisa McKenzie | Dog Section Press | January 2020
This is a love letter to working class Londoners struggling every fucking second of every fucking day trying to survive – disappearing into the walls of the packed public transport that they travel further and further on to get to a job that doesn’t pay the rent.

SBS BRADFORD CONNECTION AND THE POLITICS OF SIMULTANEOUS RESISTANCE – Pragna Patel | FiLiA 2019 | 19 October 2019
Both Bradford and Southall saw seminal anti-racist struggles in the late 70s and early 80s waged by radical Asian youth movements. Amidst chronic industrial decline and rising racism, including police racism, South Asian youth, men and women, rose up to defend their communities against racist and fascist violence and provocation in the way that Afro-Caribbean youths had done elsewhere.

‘Are they even aware that we can see them?’ Working-class Britons on Brexit politics – Lisa Mckenzie | 8 October 2019
Lisa Mckenzie (Durham University) revisits some of the people she talked to just after the referendum, and finds them very engaged with the politics of Brexit but more alienated than ever from ‘Westminster class’ politicking.

Working class versus minorities? That’s looking at it the wrong way – Kenan Malik | The Observer | 14 July 2019
But while experiences are often shared, the sense of being bound together in a common class rarely is. What it means to be working class has become blurred. Work was always the anchor for working-class identity. But the character of work has changed enormously. Traditional industrial workers now make up less than a third of the working class.

COVID-19 / Lockdown / The ‘new normal’

The New Normal: What is the UK Biosecurity State? (Part 2. Normalising Fear) – Architects For Social Housing | 28 August 2020
What is fear? This is the question the Italian philosopher of biopolitics, Giorgio Agamben, asks in his recent commentary, published on 13 July, on the coronavirus crisis. And his answer is that fear is fear of the ‘thing’ — which is to say, of an entity that, because we have isolated it from and therefore lost its relationship to the world, threatens us.

The New Normal: What is the UK Biosecurity State? (Part 1. Programmes and Regulations) – Architects For Social Housing | 31 July 2020
The UK, and with it the nation states of Western capitalism, is undergoing a revolution. In comparison to the momentousness of this change, the neoliberal revolution overseen in this country by the Government of Margaret Thatcher merely created the political hegemony for the expansion and administration of a global economy. But the world of parliamentary democracies, of civil liberties and human rights, including our rights of assembly, speech, thought, privacy and a fair trial, of the division of powers between an executive, legislature and judiciary, of media scrutiny of Government, of freedom from censorship, of political activity itself, is now over.

Child and adolescent mental health in a post-lockdown world: a ticking time bomb? – University of Nottingham | Vision | Health and Medicine | June 2020
Much has been said about the trade-off between risk of disease transmission and impact on educational outcomes, and the wider economy. Very little consideration has been given to the voices of the children and adolescents, and to the impacts on their wellbeing and mental health. From the beginning of lockdown many in the research community, and in frontline practice, were concerned about the impact on those with existing mental health problems and those who may be vulnerable to developing them whilst in lockdown (literally anyone).

Mass-Tracking COVI-PASS Immunity Passports Slated to Roll Out in 15 Countries – Raul Diego | Mint Press News | 26 June 2020
Through the magic of Internet meme culture, most Millennials will be familiar with the famous opening scene of the 1942 film, “Casablanca,” where two policemen stop a civilian in the “old Moorish section” of Nazi-occupied French Morocco and ask him for his “papers.” The subject is taken away at once after failing to produce the required documents. The cinematic exchange has been used ever since as a popular reference to the ever-encroaching hand of the state, which is now on the verge of attaining a level of control over people’s movements that puts the crude Nazi methods to shame.

Covid-19 and children: what does the science tell us, and what does this mean as the lockdown is eased? – Rethinking Childhood | 14 May 2020
The government’s plans for relaxing the lockdown, including greater freedom to spend time outside, and the possible re-opening of schools, have unsurprisingly generated huge debate. At the same time, evidence is growing on how Covid-19 affects children, and of children’s role in the spread of the disease. This post shares my take on that evidence base and its implications.

The Science and Law of Refusing to Wear Masks: Texts and Arguments in Support of Civil Disobedience – Architects for Social Housing | 11 June 2020
There are few issues about which the medical profession – which throughout this crisis we have seen subject to external political and financial pressures – is so divided; but an overwhelming mass of medical and scientific opinion is not only that masks do nothing to stop the spread of SARs-COV-2, but that non-medical masks of the type we are being advised to wear on public transport by the Government – a supposedly life-saving device it recommends fashioning from an old T-shirt – can endanger the wearer by increasing the chance of infection.

Lockdown: Collateral Damage in the War on COVID-19 – Architects for Social Housing | 2 June 2020
One of the things to have been revealed by the crisis caused by the global response to the coronavirus is that the overwhelming majority of people, and certainly in liberal democracies, would rather believe a lie to which we’ve been told how to react – in this case a civilisation-threatening viral pandemic that can be combatted through standing two metres apart, increasing the powers of police to arrest us and biometrically tracking our every move – than believe a truth to which we don’t have a clue how to respond.

Manufacturing Consensus: The Registering of COVID-19 Deaths in the UK – Architects for Social Housing | 1 May 2020
In my most recent article on the coronavirus crisis, Giorgio Agamben and the Bio-politics of COVID-19, I ended by saying that I would continue to read, as others apparently are not, the official statistics on deaths attributed to COVID-19, in order to show that they do not justify the dictatorial regulations and intrusive surveillance being imposed on us by the UK Government.

Good Morning, Coronazombies! Diary of a Bio-Political Crisis Event – Architects for Social Housing | Updated daily – 2020
The following are the daily entries in my diary since 9 April, and follow on from the four articles I have published on the coronavirus crisis, COVID-19 and Capitalism, Sociology of a Disease, Language is a Virus, and Coronazombies! The conflicting information about the virus and the disease it can cause is spreading so rapidly that this seemed a better way to respond to daily developments.

Coronazombies! Infection and Denial in the United Kingdom – Architects for Social Housing | 9 April 2020
It’s a curious fact that, in every disaster movie that comes out of Hollywood, whatever threatens Western Civilisation, Humankind or Planet Earth typically starts with the United States of America, usually New York, but sometimes Los Angeles. Whether it’s alien invaders, nuclear war, the rise of artificial intelligence, terrorist attacks, a tsunami wave, an earth-bound asteroid, environmental catastrophe or a deadly epidemic, it’s as if the propaganda arm of the US state is preparing its population for the disasters to come.

Sociology of a Disease: Age, Class and Mortality in the Coronavirus Pandemic – Architects for Social Housing | 24 March 2020
Okay, slow down, take a breath, start thinking again. Now, let’s have a look at the facts. I know this crisis has already gone far past that, and nobody cares about facts these days anyway, least of all those demanding the government – the government! – tell them the truth. But stay with me.

Debates

Why We Don’t Vote – Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement | 8 August 2020
We argue that electoralism ensures that a statist perspective becomes dominant. Everything is seen in terms of state intervention and following the decisions of the leaders, which has always proved deadly to encouraging a spirit of revolt, self-management and self-help – the very keys to creating change in a society. Rather than being something other people discuss on behalf of working class people, anarchists argue that politics shouldn’t be a specialised activity in the hands of the so-called experts (i.e. politicians) but instead lie in the hands of those directly affected by it in the process of participation, direct action and self-management.

Women’s rights in the far left – are feminists actually neo-fascists? – Ziggy M | Medium | 15 July 2020
Despite the capitalist patriarchal status quo manufacturing consent and ideological hegemony through various institutions, there have always been places where radical thinking and debate has taken place. Two of these were radical left intellectual circles and academia. The past few years I have seen both these places a turn away from critical debate and the use convoluted arguments to justify ignoring, and participating in, a backlash against feminism.

Flower Bomb: An Obituary for Identity Politics – Flower Bomb | 12 June 2020
Rewind back to a time and place where people used pagers and pay phones. When front porches and public parks were the hang-out spots. A time when conflicts were resolved face-to-face and shit-talking came with real life consequences. These were the days before ‘call-out culture’, ‘troll-baiting’, and other internet-dominated social activities. Some say the internet and technological expansion have advanced the fight against oppression. My opinion? The internet is where all potential for social revolt goes to die. In addition to pointless petitions and endless memes, recognition as a rebel can be gained through pity parties and academic loyalty rather than hands-on direct action.

Eco Protest

Extinction Rebellion Training, or How to Control Radical Resistance from the ‘Obstructive Left’ – Cory Morningstar | Wrong Kind of Green | May 6 2019
Extinction Rebellion (XR) officially launched on October 31, 2018. On November 2, 2018, a video was uploaded to the Extinction Rebellion YouTube account. The video documents the training session held by XR co-founder Roger Hallam: “This was filmed at the Extinction Rebellion Local Coordinator training in Bristol. Roger Hallam explains some the key dynamics of building a mass movement from the level of personal resilience to creating system change.”

Capitalising on Crisis: Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal for Capitalism – Architects 4 Social Housing | 10 October 2019
All this accords with Extinction Rebellion’s trenchant refusal to identify capitalism as the primary cause of our environmental situation. In the more than 5,000 words its website devotes to explaining ‘The Truth’ about climate change, not a single one of those words, incredibly, is ‘capitalism’.

Extinction Rebellion Inhibits Revolution – Liam Campbell | Deep Green Resistance | 7 August 2019
This article will focus on how the Extinction Rebellion’s core principles, based on Maria J. Stephan’s research, result in the inhibition of meaningful revolution against climate collapse and global extinction. There are three main points to address: Extinction Rebellion’s definition of non-violent movements, their policy of protecting fossil fuel executives and politicians from being named, and the structural contradiction of their core principles.

Historical

HOW LABOUR GOVERNED 1945 – 1951 – Originally published by the Syndicalist Workers’ Federation as Direct Action Pamphlet No.5 | 1960
WITHIN six days of the Labour Government taking office in 1945, it sent conscript troops into the Surrey Docks, London, to break a ten-week-old strike against a wage-cut that J.Donovan, National Secretary of the Docks Group, Transport and General Workers’ Union, admitted had placed them “in a worse position financially than the workers in industry generally…the dockers’ basic wage of 16s. per day represents a rise of only 23 per cent during the war…the lowest of any industry.”

Housing

The hidden history of housing – Colin Ward | History & Policy | 1 September 2004
Unofficial settlements are seen as a threat to wildlife, which is sacrosanct. The planning system is the vehicle that supports four-wheel-drive Range Rovers, but not the local economy, and certainly not those travellers and settlers seeking their own modest place in the sun. These people have bypassed the sacred rights of tenure, but still find their modest aspirations frustrated by the operations of planning legislation.

Technology

5G and the Myth of a Green Transition – Jo Baker | Rethinking Security | 11 September 2020
Far from absurd conspiracy theories about spreading coronavirus, Jo Baker argues that the rapid and seemingly unstoppable spread of 5G is happening without consultation or due consideration of the economic, environmental and climatic impact of such technologies.

The Far Right

Blood…or Soil? Fascism, Leftism, and the Coming Food Crises – Rhyd Wildermuth | Gods & Radicals Press | August 2019
Cities are far removed from all the processes which deliver food to them, so far in fact that the only way most people living in a city will ever begin to understand the collapsing food system outside their apartments is through food shortages and price spikes. Even if the capitalist media does cover food-related crises, it’s not even clear most would understand what was happening until it was too late.

The Pagan and Occult Fascist Connection and How to Fix It – Amy Hale | Medium.Com | 5 August 2019
Make no mistake, there are reasons why new activists from the radical right are attracted to Paganism and the occult, and it is not only because of the mythic connections between historical Nazis and shadowy secret societies. It’s because there are uncomfortable structural compatibilities between some aspects of Pagan and occult culture and the ideals of some sectors of the radical right.

Workplace

Pamphlet: We want a new society – and don’t we need it! – Angry Workers of the World | 11 November 2019
We can easily imagine a different society. A society where we don’t work for someone else’s profits, but for a good life with everyone. Most of the jobs in the current society only exist because of the need to increase and defend profits: through advertising, insurances, stock-markets, useless goods, military interventions. If we abolish these jobs and focus on what we need for a good life we would have to work much less.

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