Showing posts from October, 2013

The American Indians and the shame of my culture

I have been meaning to write about the American Indian peoples and their clash with ‘Western’ civilisation almost from when I set up this blog. Some visitors might have seen and perhaps clicked on some of the video links detailing some fragments of Indian history. Many of these are deeply moving, but they are only fragments. I have recently read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee , an amazing book which approaches the clash between Indian and white people from the point of view of the various Indian tribes which were defeated by ‘white’ civilisation. I am now reading another book on the American Indian Wars. However the more I have read, watched, and heard, the more this topic, with its tragedies and dreadful abuses, expands beyond my capacity to deal with it in a blogpost or website article. Like the Lakota (Sioux) man Albert White Hat said of his personal predicament in this video from the terrific PBS series The West , “it’s too much”. There are a great many factors

A question to Jon Cruddas on Labour’s “organisational renewal”

I was fortunate to get an invite to a talk by Labour’s Policy Review Coordinator Jon Cruddas yesterday evening hosted by the Civitas think tank in Westminster. Cruddas made a typically interesting and enigmatic speech, on the theme of ‘ One Nation Labour:   work, family and place ’ (transcript here ), outlining how the Policy Review is unfolding around these themes and exploring them in some detail. I won’t go into much of that detail here (click the link above to read the speech); instead I want to focus briefly on the “organisational renewal” within Labour that Cruddas spoke about in glowing terms. This is the attempt, led by the American community organiser Arnie Graf , for Labour to become more connected within communities, engaging with voters more on their terms and with less focus on “harvesting their votes” using Voter ID data (which puts you into categories and defines you without campaigners even needing to meet you).(For some of Graf’s own thoughts, click h