Blast from the Past

It’s good to read in tehgraun that “some of Italy’s most senior police officers have been given jail sentences of up to five years for what the prosecution called a “terrible” attack on demonstrators at the 2001 G8 meeting in Genoa and an attempted cover-up”, though sad also to read that, as with so many criminal trials with political ramifications in Italy, statutes of limitations mean that jail sentences are unlikely to be served.

Someone who may very well be unhappy with these verdicts is Tony Blair. British readers may remember what his spokesman said at the time, when reports of police brutality were beginning to circulate: “The Italian police had a difficult job to do. The prime minister believes that they did that job.”

Over the fold is a bit of eye-witness testimony of the events in question, from my friend Uri Gordon, an Israeli anarchist and G8 protester, which I was privileged enough to be able to publish nine years ago in The Voice of the Turtle:

Continue reading “Blast from the Past”

Ferenc Puskas, RIP

Long before he published his fine book about football in Eastern Europe, Behind the Curtain, Jonathan Wilson was writing for The Voice of the Turtle (currently in hibernation). Here’s his review of Puskas on Puskas: The Life and Times of a Footballing Legend, from 1999.

UPDATE [2.30pm]: I see that Jonathan also supplied something of an obit for tehgraun.

Elections in Zimbabwe

These are taking place shortly. I haven’t really been paying attention this time around, but last time around, we managed to publish a string of articles on the 2002 Presidential elections over at the Voice of the Turtle by our various Zim correspondents, Leo Zeilig, E. Lovemore Moyo (here and here), Patrick Bond and Raj Patel, and a chap who went by the odd name “Zim Admin” for safety’s sake (here and here).

For blogstuff on this lot of elections, there’s Zimbabwean Norm here and here.

UPDATE [31.3.05]: Class Worrier Raj has a bit more.


After a fairly quiescent 2004, the new year’s started pretty well over at the Voice of the Turtle: this morning I’ve uploaded an essay on racism by Alana Lentin, which is a bit more academic than the stuff we usually print, but is still fine for all that, a piece by Peter Waterman standing up for the horizontals in the wake of the European Social Forum in London, Class Worrier Raj Patel’s report from the World Forum on Agrarian Reform held towards the end of last year in Spain, and a reprint of an essay by Karl Polanyi on “The Essence of Fascism“, all of which join two essays on the aftermath of the Indian ocean tsunami — Malinda Seneviratne, writing from Sri Lanka, and David Martinez on Banda Aceh.

A couple of the pieces still need a slight editorial tweak here and there, but they’re basically ready for consumption. So go and consume.

The Mao of Pooh

From yesterday’s Guardian:

“The Turtle has long been concerned with the education of our junior comrades,” proclaims the statement on the holding page. “Disappointed with the bourgeois drivel that passes for children’s fiction these days, a Turtle Collective has formed to combat the indoctrination of our youth with a series of heart-warming tales involving a bear, his best friend Christopher Robin, and socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The Voice of the Turtle is a witty, transatlantic online free-for-all of leftwing politics. Equally irreverent and militant, it has recently subverted Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh – a subversion of A. A. Milne’s children’s classic – into a Maoist text. What might sound like a children’s book from indoctrination central translates to a witty example of fan fiction and a glorious satire of the children’s book in the spirit of Animal Farm.

Congratulations, Raj, on this smidgeon of recognition from the bourgeois press for your heroic labours on the Text of the Mao of Pooh…(Me, I just do an editing job on Raj’s draft. And add an average of about one joke per instalment.)

Birthday Greetings

I went to London yesterday for my fine Trotskyist friend David Renton’s 30th birthday party, in the function room at The Sol Arms pub just off the Euston Road. And it was a happy occasion: the London Socialist Historians’ Group brought their banner, various literature was passed around, and the assembled company follwed the traditional singing of “Happy Birthday” with the similarly-traditional Internationale — in (at least) two languages.

Britain’s finest man of letters Keith Flett, of the Beard Liberation Front, was there too, wearing a Philosophy Football Eric Hobsbawm T-Shirt — which, I thought, was an odd thing to do for a man who is waging a one-person campaign in the correspondence columns of the nation’s magazines drawing attention to the fact that EJH might have had time to write so many excellent books because he didn’t seem to sell many newspapers during his time in the CPGB. Dave, who by contrast both continues to sell a lot of newspapers and to write a lot of books, was distributing copies of his latest, Classical Marxism, which, he tells us, is the first volume of a projected five. If he continues his present work-rate, the other four will, no doubt, be out by Christmas.

It was also excellent to see a comrade from the Voice of the Turtle, Leo Zeilig, for the first time in months. He will soon be in the dock facing preposterous charges of “incitement to violent disorder”, after being the Person with the Megaphone on a recent antiwar demonstration in London, a charge which carries a possible five-year prison sentence. The defence campaign is already organising itself — and the party was a good occasion to collect signatures and donations on behalf of the Trafalgar Square Three (or whatever they will come to be called). More on this soon.


Week-end update of new material this week at The Voice of the Turtle: Marc Mulholland’s review of Roy Foster’s The Irish Story, and Ted Vallance’s thoughts on the new Star Wars film. (Both very positive, oddly enough).

Richard writes [20.5.2002] to recommend this article from The Weekly Standard, making the case for the Empire. (This is the Star Wars Empire, not the Hardt and Negri Empire, though people sometimes make the case for that one, too). Then he writes again, mere moments later, to “recommend a (politically better) version of much the same thing”, this time in Salon magazine. And then again he writes, to point me towards this one, which is really rather good, and which I hadn’t seen before.


The silence of the weblog has not, however, coincided with any stilling of the voice of the turtle, which continues to be heard in the land.

Recent additions to the site include a smattering of poems (the silliest of which is here), three articles written around the dramatic events of the French Presidential elections, from Dan Gordon’s reportage from before the first round through to commentaries by Dave Renton and Peter Dwyer on the aftermath of the poll. Joe Bord has been sorting out the crisis in Britain’s public services with his thoughts on the railways and the NHS. Naima Bouteldja has an axe to grind with ATTAC; Mark Engler (who once sat in one of my Harvard classrooms, lucky man) has a report from the recent demonstrations in Washington, DC; and new material on the books pages includes James Thompson’s treatment of my Magdalen colleague Ewen Green’s book on Conservative political thought; John Lea’s enthusiasms for Istvan Meszaros’s Socialism or Barbarism and Leo Zeilig’s constructive critique of Patrick Bond’s Against Global Apartheid. And to complete our coverage of contemporary culture, Sean Jacobs has been to see Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony; Raj Patel has been fuming about Ali G; and J. Carter Wood has been listening to the new Billy Bragg record.

Excellent stuff, and there is more on the way.


Recent material at the Voice of the Turtle includes two essays by E. Lovemore Moyo on Zimbabwe, one on the trade unions and another on the election fix itself; another piece on the elections by Raj Patel and Patrick Bond; an article by Sean Jacobs on the apathy of young people in South Africa; some comments from Aziz Choudry on the Australian government’s hypocrisy about children; J. Carter Wood’s German perspective on the War on Terror; the ruminations of Ted Vallance on regicide; the poetry of Trevor Landers; and the Situationists’ meditative Theses on the Paris Commune.


New material at The Voice of the Turtle this month includes David Bleakney’s attack on and Petie Petrovich’s defence of the recent behaviour of U2’s Bono (but see here for the final word on this controversy); Radha D’Souza’s thoughts on the problems of the Global Commons; Friederike Habermann’s two separate reports, one in English, the other in German, from the crisis in Argentina; the words of the blatantly pseudonymous “Zim Admin”, who writes from the crisis in Zimbabwe; Jonathan Wilson’s article on the changing world of football in the former Soviet Union; a report of Naima Bouteldja’s recent conversation with Susan George; as well as a new agreement with Freezerbox Magazine, which has led to a new home on our site for Michael Manville’s excellent article on the Drugs War in the USA. And there’s a German text of the Manifesto of the Communist Party posted on the site, together with the text of Ken Knabb’s new translation of Guy Debord’s Situationist Classic, The Society of the Spectacle, complete with hypertext index.

Richard wrote [12.3.2002]: 1: Voice of the Turtle t-shirts. You know you want one. 2: Laugh at this.