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What do Florence + the Machine, Candi Staton and Jamie Principle have in common?

As it is Christmas something different is in order.

Things on the left have not been great over the last year. It is a times like this that one needs to think about other things as well, to have as Dennis Healy defines it, “a hinterland”And I have found myself listening to more music.

The music in this case being old skool house.

I found myself going back to the start, to the music I listened to as a teenager, when it was still startlingly new and only just seeping across the Atlantic into London’s clubland, spawning a bacchanalia that was to last for years.

I have gone back to tracks that have rolled around my head without ever really knowing who did them, their inter relationship, or where they all came from in the first place. Such arcane knowledge was not really of great interest to me then.

Obviously it is of more interest to me now as I reach a certain age.

It is by mere happenstance that in the charts (can you really say that anymore?) is yet another re-imagining of You Got The Love by Florence and the Machine

The original called Your Love and is generally considered to be the first house tune (if not record, the first to be actually pressed was On and on by Jesse Saunders).

It was. remains on of the most perfect dance records ever made. It is often credited to Frankie Knuckles, but is actually by Jamie Principle. A lot of the early work of Frankie Knuckles is intertwined with Jamie’s so often confused. But then Frankie Knuckels was Chicago’s most important DJ at the Warehose club (which gave house music its name) and Jamie principle was just a kid in his bedroom.

Which makes it all the more extraordinary that this was the work of a youngster who’s musical background was more church music and glam rock than disco and electronica.

He would go onto create some other seminal tracks such as Bad Boys, Waiting On An Angel and of course the very early Baby Wants To Ride, one of the oddest dance tracks ever committed to vinyl with its mixture of ecstatic sexuality and agitprop. Its a great tune, maybe I’ll post about it another time.

Anyway, Your Love was an overnight sensation in the clubs of Chicago but only circulated on tapes and wasn’t issued until some time afterwards. It has never really had the recognition it deserves.

It did became a world wide hit under a new guise. This time it was when a DJ under the name of The source laid vocals on top of it by Candi Staton (best know for Young Hearts Run Free) to create You Got The Love.

It was a smash hit has been regular feature on the radio ever since.

This all came as something of a surprise to Candi Staton when she was told that she had an international hit. She said that she couldn’t remember recording any such record. then she remembered, she had recorded it for the soundtrack of a documentary about a very obese man trying to lose weight.

So one of houses greatest records being released by Florence And The Machine (a purveyor “soul inspired indie rock”) is not the strangest thing that could have happened with this track.

Its still quite a nice cover and she belts it out in a way that does just to its ecstatic nature.

And if anyone wondered what You Got The Love without Jamie Principle sounds like, here it is..

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The end of the right to strike? Or, £68m of Ingratitude

The BA strike has been, as was expected, ruled illegal by the courts.

As the law on strike ballots stands it is practically impossible to organize a ballot that does not trip up on something or other.

The union has announced that there will be another ballot, which means that any strike action will not happen for a considerable time. They will also have missed their chance to take action when it would be most effective.

This has not stopped BA from implementing the changes that the workers oppose in the meantime

Workers seem to be angry, but also increasingly disillusioned. And who can blame them?

Though obviously a grievous blow to the union it is hard not to wonder how serious the union’s leaders ever were about actually striking.

Strike action has just become a threat that union negotiators bandy about in a dance with management.

Ballots increasingly seem to be organized to be kept in their pocket for safekeeping.

How else can Tony Woodley go on television and say that he could “guarantee” that if management come back to the negotiating table (and that’s it, not even that they withdraw the changes already made) the strike would be off?

Well that’s democratic isn’t it. Workers as a stage army to be marched up to the top of the hill and down again at the behest of the Grand Old Duke of Wallasey.

Reports in The Guardian suggest that workers are angry at the union’s legal team for their inability to organize a legal ballot.

For once it the union has to be defended on this one. It is now practically impossible to organize a ballot that doesn’t get caught out on at least one failing.

To give an idea of how byzantine the regulations have become one should listen to Bob Crow on his union’s battles with the courts (its about three minutes into the clip).

To have lost the right to organize effective legal strikes, a basic human right, is shocking in itself.

But what adds insult to injury is that this situation exists after 12 years of rule by the Labour Party, the party set up by the unions a hundred years ago to guarantee the right to strike.

The present Labour Party has done nothing to restore our trade union rights.

And Unite has just become another victim of them.

And how much does Unite pay into the Labour Party?

Since 2001 the unions that now make up Unite (TGWU, AEEU, MSF, GPMU) have paid £68 million to the Labour Party.

What have they got back?

To see donations by trade unions to the Labour Party click here

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Who’s squeezing the Freedom Pass?

Freedom PassIn last year’s mayoral election there was something of a push on the left to support Ken Livingstone to keep Boris Johnson out of City Hall. This was a push that inevitably spilt over into a general “vote Labour” to keep out the Tories.

Personally, like all on the left, I did not want to see Boris elected and the Tories to winning in the assembly. And so I gave my second vote to Ken for the mayoralty.

I did not think this was a reason not to stand against him, nor did I think this was a reason to fall into a back Labour position.

When Labour is the party implementing pro-big business policies is not the time to start pretending that there are real qualitative difference between their policies.

It should not move from giving grudging electoral support as the lesser evil into political support. If you tell people that Labour will be better you only court disappointment when it turns out otherwise.

One of the reasons much put about to back Ken against Boris was that he wanted to get rid of the Freedom Pass. Something he does not actually have the power to do, but hey that’s politics.

So it came as no great surprise when I was informed that there is a threat to the Freedom Pass, and that it comes from the Department of Transport, and the Secretary of State, Sadiq Khan, Labour MP for Tooting.

At present the Freedom Pass in London is funded one third by local authorities and two thirds by central government (elsewhere it is fully funded by the government).

At present this costs the Treasury £29m, a drop in the ocean of state spending.

The Department of Transport is now proposing to pay only half of the cost rather than two thirds. More will have to come out of the already straightened budgets of local councils, at a time when, due to the recession, their services are more in demand than ever.

So the party we were meant to vote for (Labour) to defend the Freedom Pass is the party now squeezing it.

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Dave Nellist announces the new left coaliton at the Conference on politcal representation

Dave Nellist  announces the new coaliton of the left to fight the General Election at the conference on working class politcal representation held in London on 9th November.

For more on the coalition click here

Part 1

Part 2

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The Communist Party and the General Election

There has been some speculation in the blogosphere on the role of the Communist Party of Britain in the successor initiative to NO2EU and standing candidates in the general election.

The article below is a report on last weekend’s meeting of the CPB Executive Commitee.

It appeared in today’s Morning Star. It also appears on the CPB website.

‘Time to resist ruling-class offensive,’ say communists Sunday 18 October 2009 Printable Email “Whichever government is elected at the next general election, the ruling class offensive will continue to unfold,” Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths told a special meeting of the party’s executive at the weekend.

“Big business and its politicians are determined to maximise monopoly profit, cut and privatise public services, undermine trade unionism and further restrict democratic rights to make workers and their families pay for getting Britain out of capitalism’s crisis,” he pointed out.

“But a Tory victory would deepen demoralisation within the working class and a Cameron government would go even further than new Labour in its reactionary policies,” Mr Griffiths argued.

“A Labour victory, on the other hand, might produce a government more amenable to mass pressure for policies such as those in the People’s Charter, enabling the labour movement to go on the offensive instead,” he said.

The Communist Party executive called for the formation of local grass-roots campaigns for the charter and its policies for public ownership, wealth redistribution, a greener economy and full employment, urging a big turnout for the People’s Charter conference in London on November 21.

“It is not too late to compel the Labour government to change course, ditch neoliberal policies and challenge big business profiteering in the interests of the mass of ordinary people,” Mr Griffiths insisted.

The special meeting also decided, with only one vote against, to pursue further discussions with a range of left and labour movement organisations to establish a general election coalition to fight leading new Labourites and the fascists, as well as the Tories.

“The struggle against reactionary ideas and policies in the labour movement, including in the Labour Party, needs to be sharpened, not compromised or avoided,” the CPB executive committee declared. Britain’s communists will also stand independent Communist Party candidates and take part in the Unity for Peace and Socialism alliance with domiciled communist and workers’ parties from overseas.

The special executive also urged active solidarity with the postal workers due to take national strike action on Thursday and Friday. It also called for protest letters and actions against the BBC for inviting BNP fascist leader Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time later this week.

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Christine Bucholz: Revolutionary in the Bundestag

christine-buchholz-webOne of the newly elected members of the Bundestag for Die Linke is Christine Buchholz.

She is a Die Linke acitivist in Hesse and is a supporter of Marx21, a network that was formerly the Linksruck orgasnisation, connected to the SWP in this country.

The success of Die Linke in the recent elections was stunning, but the fact that there are now revolutionary socialists (she was not the only one eleted  for Die  Linke) sitting in the national parliament  of Europe’s largest economy is of some signifcance in itself.

There is an interview with her in this week’s Socialist Worker. To read it click here

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“Make Capitalism History” dielinke.SDS

This weekend DieLinke.SDS, the student organisation of Die Linke is having a conference “Make Capitalsim History”. I thought the video was rather nicely done.

For the Make Capitalism History site click here

For the Die Linke.SDS click here

For their Youtube channel click here

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