A range of figures from across British society

This is a very eclectic and wide ranging list, isn’t it?

Signatories include Grahame Morris MP of Labour Friends of Venezuela, Colin Burgon, Chair of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, filmmaker John Pilger and Frances O’Grady, Trade Union Congress General Secretary, alongside student leaders, peace campaigners, community represenatives and array of others from across British society.

In the political field, further signatories include MPs Dave Anderson, Michael Connarty, Frank Doran, Paul Farrelly, Hywel Francis, George Galloway, Fabian Hamilton, Kelvin Hopkins, Ian Lavery, John McDonnell, Linda Riordan, Jim Sheridan, Mike Weir, Chris Williamson and Mike Wood, alongside Baroness Margaret Prosser plus Elaine Smith MSP.

An impressive array of further supporters in the trade union and labour movement include the general secretaries Len McCluskey (Unite the Union,) Billy Hayes (CWU,) Steve Murphy (UCATT,) Bob Crow (RMT,) Manuel Cortes (TSSA,) Doug Nicholls (General Federation of Trade Unions) and John Smith (Musicians’ Union & President of the International Federation Musicians) plus UNISON Assistant General Secretary Roger Mckenzie.

Other prominent people to add their support from across British society include filmmaker Ken Loach, actor Andy De La Tour, lawyer Louise Christian, plus a range of academic and writers including Professor Ernesto Laclau, Professor Doreen Massey and Dr. Francisco Dominguez.

Prominent campaigners for peace and social justice include Bruce Kent, Zita Holbourne (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts,) Salma Yaqoob, Maggie Bowden (General Secretary of Liberation,) Lindsey German (Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition,) student leaders Aaron Kiely (NUS Black Students’ Officer) and Matt Stanley (NUS Executive) plus Bob Oram, Chair of the Morning Star Management Committee.

They’re missing John Hari and Ritchie though…..

41 comments on “A range of figures from across British society

  1. No mention of Seumas Milne or Owen Jones who were recently high profile international observers at the last Venezuelan elections,

  2. They are also missing Livingstone, who is the .. er .. Honorary President of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

    And most of their Patrons, such as Tony Benn and Diane Abbott.

    Perhaps they didn’t offer a suitable tax arrangement.

    They also seem to be missing the signatures of the political prisoners in gaol in Venezuela.

  3. The petition must have gone round on the day Polly’s pen had run out of ink and Billy Bragg was having his guitar lesson.

  4. “make the economy scream”

    It’s funny how western capitals imperial pig economies always seem to have the power to do this to worker paradise economies but the progressive economies never seem to get strong enough to reciprocate.

  5. Ironman – Let me explain to you how this works: you see, the corporations finance Team America, and then Team America goes out… and the corporations sit there in their… in their corporation buildings, and… and, and see, they’re all corporation-y… and they make money.

  6. Forty years ago they’d have been signing petitions in support of that nice agrarian reformer, Pol Pot.

    Is there any group of people more reliably wrong than the British left? Even doomsday cults are bound to get it right one day.

  7. “Peace campaigners” and “community representatives”. Why am I surprised?

    “Black activists rising against the cuts”. Giggle.

  8. “Forty years ago they’d have been signing petitions in support of that nice agrarian reformer, Pol Pot.”

    They can’t help it. Not one of them is capable of thinking outside of the herd. Once that herd goes blundering towards yet another precipice it cannot change direction and is doomed.

    Except, sadly, they all seem to survive for the next disaster, unlike the poor citizens under the regimes they support.

  9. It’s the academics that fascinate me:

    Professor Ernesto Laclau – Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex. Ernesto is an Argentinian Marxist who chooses to live in Britain rather than one of the exciting Latin American workers’ paradises like, say, Venezuela.

    Professor Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the Open University, wins the prize though:

    “Since 2007 Doreen has also been working in Venezuela, where her concept of power-geometry has been adopted as a means of thinking through the programme of decentralisation and equalisation of political power. In particular this involves affording the possibility of giving a meaningful political voice to both poorer regions and the previously excluded within the cities. In early 2007 5 ‘motors’ of the revolution were outlined, including emphasis on constitutional reform and popular education. The fourth motor was defined as “The new power-geometry: the socialist reorganisation of the national political geography”. The work has involved discussions, seminars, public meetings and tv appearances in Venezuela.”

    Kip’s Ma lives! Venezuelans queuing for toilet paper owe her a debt of gratitude.

  10. Signatories? Mere ink on paper. Come on comrades! Let’s hi to beleaguered Venezuela. Till the fields, shoulder to shoulder with our brave latino brothers. Share with them the rigours of the struggle. Show solidarity comrades!
    (Gone awfully quiet round here)

  11. My thoughts exactly Rob. When I was at school, geography was capital cities, locations of bauxite mines and landscape erosion.

    The only reason these peope have any pull or sway at all is because the BBC creates the cultural river into which their effluent is discharged.

    Privatise the BBC.

  12. Notable omission are representatives from the ‘White NUS ‘ and ‘White Activists Rising Against Cuts’. They’ve been banned as racist, no doubt.

  13. Rob, Interested – geography has been Marxoid since the 70′s at least.

    When I was a lad back in Nineteen-Canteen, my school geography textbook was full of odd suggestions, sneaked in between descriptions of oxbow lakes and whatnot, like recommending we set up local cooperatives to promote equality and resist capitalist destruction of the environment. I imagine modern versions are full of climate change bollocks.

  14. Steve, I was at school in the 1970s (and 80s) but it was a public school, so there was less of that bollocks (but more violence).

  15. Interested – more violence?

    Maybe on the rugby field.

    In state comprehensives you had the ever-present threat of flying sausages with forks stuck in them, and Mr Bronson.

  16. I take great exception to people claiming that the usual suspects will have supported Pol Pot. Everyone knows that
    1. places few people know about are workers paradises.
    2. places where oppression is obvious are not socialist because
    3. Places where Socialism failed weren’t socialist and no one except fascists claim they were ever socialist anyway.

  17. I can’t believe I actually read through that turgid statement. Are people seriously still writing that shit after leaving student politics? I particularly liked

    “We believe that respect for democracy requires accepting the outcome of legitimate elections even when you lose.”

    A bit at odds with all the howling about the results of the last UK election.

    “make the economy scream” – as pointed out above, the Venezuelan government are doing a pretty good job of this themselves.

  18. “The Open University is the only university in the UK dedicated to distance learning.”

    Yes. You are in London, your Marxist professor of ‘Geography’ is in Venezuela.

    “We believe that respect for democracy requires accepting the outcome of legitimate elections even when you lose.”

    You, I, they and everyone else knows that this is only ever going to be applied one way – when they steal an election.

  19. Nick:

    “White activists culturally cringing because other people with the same colour skin as them make small cuts in public expenditure” perhaps?

    I don’t see the “Nutters against reality” group there, or am I just not seeing the wood for the trees?

  20. The people of Venezuela clamour for this declaration to be printed a million times, on good quality, absorbent paper.

  21. @Steve

    ‘Interested – more violence?’

    It was an off-the-cuff commnent, but yes, I suspect so. A lot can happen when you’ve got 800 boys lumped in together 24/7 with masters who are either themselves psychotic, or blind, or who believe that getting your face kicked in is character building. The brakes are off, basically.

    The rugby pitch was one of the less violent places, as there was a referee in place to see fair play.

    I was biggish for my age, and reasonably good at sport, so not a victim, but some of the boys suffered terribly.

    School was actually not dissimilar to Venezuela – no bog roll, awful food, informers everywhere, a pretence of equality and massive propaganda fed to gullible leftists, sorry, parents.

  22. Interested – speaking of bog roll, Izal was character building.

    I believe it was originally invented by Spanish penitents because the scourge and cilice were seen as too luxurious.

  23. ‘The people of Venezuela clamour for this declaration to be printed a million times, on good quality, absorbent paper.’
    Nice one Rob!

  24. You must admit that it’s impressive in its way. No more Moscow Gold (I assume) and still they peddle their old songs.

  25. Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC)

    God, I remember laughing myself silly at this when I first saw it. It never gets tired. Just brilliant.

    I see these chaps (or another v.similar groupsicle) down in Brixton sometimes, with their pasting up table and leaflets, shouting at people.

    Happily I can report, that they’ve no real support amongst ‘The Workers’ (that near mythical species of heavily romanticised, flat cap, steel bashers) who, to judge from overhead conversations on the bus/pub are far more concerened with where to go on friday night, XBOX vs PS4, The Footy, making money, and all the sundry other bits and bobs that normal people are interested in.

  26. I expect there are a few more who won’t bother signing until the regime gets up to about half a million deaths.

  27. @”Steve
    December 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

    It’s the academics that fascinate me:

    Professor Ernesto Laclau – Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex. Ernesto is an Argentinian Marxist who chooses to live in Britain rather than one of the exciting Latin American workers’ paradises like, say, Venezuela. ”
    A bit like Ralph Miliband and East Germany.
    Seriously I wish there were a way that British people who think Venezuela is paradise and Venezuelans who don’t think that way could swop passports.
    It would great for both countries although Owen Jones etc might regret their choice after a few years.

  28. David – That would be wonderful.

    Only a hardy few of socialists have ever had the courage of their convictions to actually move to one of their workers’ paradises.

    Even famous socialist activist Lee Harvey Oswald found he preferred being exploited by cold hearted capitalist oppressors for some reason. Apparently Hell is other socialists.

    I’m fascinated by Professor Doreen’s story. How does an English geography teacher end up working as a shill for the Venezuelan regime? (I’m assuming she doesn’t go there to happy-clap the Chavistas at her own expense, and they wouldn’t let her hold “discussions, seminars, public meetings and tv appearances” there if she was critical of the regime.)

    Also, I wonder if Doreen has to queue for toilet paper and suffer all the other routine hardships and humiliations ordinary Venezuelans have to put up with, or is she given the five star treatment like useful idiots on pilgrimage to Stalin’s Russia in the 30′s?

  29. Doreen will be paid in actual money and not the toilet paper substitute that passes for Venezuelan currency. If you can get your hands on greenbacks (or pounds, euros etc.) then the nine-to-one disparity between the official fantasy exchange rate and the one that exists in the actual, corporeal world means you can live the life of Riley. I’m sure her socialist convictions aren’t so strong as to compel her to buy Bolivares for what the government says she should. And holding dollars when inflation is eating the value of the local stuff but the government is fixing prices is fantastic: it’s a risk-free return.

  30. “Only a hardy few of socialists have ever had the courage of their convictions to actually move to one of their workers’ paradises.”
    Funny that. I would like to make the same scheme for people who live in Northern Nigeria and don’t like Sharia law and Muslims in the UK who think it is wonderful.
    Although I doubt many Muslims in the UK would take it up.

  31. A bit OT but is the OU funded from taxation?

    I’m assuming so – so why am I paying for a set of ‘professors’ who are in Venezuela?

  32. Steve – “Only a hardy few of socialists have ever had the courage of their convictions to actually move to one of their workers’ paradises.”

    Well, few of them moved there and remained socialists. I know a reasonable number of people who had first hand experience of socialism and so changed their minds.

    In trivia this week, recently deceased Iran-born Doris Lessing used to be married to Russian-born Gottfried Lessing. Whose parents seem to have fled the Socialist paradise that was the USSR for Germany when he was a child. Only to have to flee Germany in the 1930s because he was Jewish. He moved to the UK, and then to Rhodesia. Where he became one of the prominent members of the Rhodesian Communist Party, before he moved back to the UK and joined the CPGB. And then moved to Berlin and went on to become the East German ambassador to Uganda where he was killed during Idi Amin’s reign. So he was a member of at least three Communist Parties. Which is kind of an achievement.

    So you have to give him credit for taking his principles seriously. Although the idea of him being lynched by an angry Ugandan mob is not one of those crimes crying out to Heaven for vengeance in my opinion.

    “Even famous socialist activist Lee Harvey Oswald found he preferred being exploited by cold hearted capitalist oppressors for some reason. Apparently Hell is other socialists.”

    He was trying to get to Cuba though.

  33. Max, Rob,
    If Doreen Massey is an Emeritus Professor, that means she’s retired, and is free to spend her time as she sees fit.

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