Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
In his new book, A New Waste Land, Michael Horovitz has deployed all his many talents to produce a passionate, poetic and immensely powerful polemic against Tony Blair’s New Labour administration for the policies he pursued as prime minister – and in particular his wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, his threats to Iran and his consistent and deliberate deception of the British public and parliament to justify his actions.
For those who have been advocating a war crimes tribunal to arraign him and President Bush this poetic charge sheet could be used by any lawyer as a brief to guide him in preparing his case. Since no such trial has ever taken place A New Waste Land will remain on the record as a reminder for all those around the world who do not wish these crimes ever to be forgotten.
Michael was disappointed that the hopes raised in 1997 were so quickly dashed. Even those who, like myself, never expected as much as he did, find it hard to believe that it went as badly wrong as it did.
His style is brilliant using historical quotations, pictures, cartoons and poetry laid out in a way that elevates it to the level of art to make his point and it is effective in a way that no speech could do. Thoroughly researched, with footnotes to justify his assertions, he tackles a wide range of subjects, ranging from atomic weapons to privatisation as a deliberate instrument to diminish the role of the electorate and transfer the power back to the powerful economic forces that today dominate the political process so comprehensively.
Reminded of Hiroshima, we see the decision to renew Trident in its proper historical context as a conscious decision to maintain weapons of even greater power that could – if ever used – inflict death and destruction on millions of innocent people.
Palestine’s unanswered pleas for peace and justice feature strongly, and we are reminded of the wicked practice of unspeakable torture that we have come to accept, as well as the rendition process, which makes it easier to transport the victims to countries where it can be done in secret, leaving the perpetrators to deny their own responsibility.
A New Waste Land was published on the 250th birthday of William Blake and, wherever his spirit now rests, Blake will be proud to read such a clear re-statement of the principles that he enunciated and that have – as this book will have – a permanent place in the libraries of the world and in the minds of those who read them.
But horrific as the picture Horovitz paints may be, we must never allow it to drive us into pessimism about the future, for hope is the fuel of progressive movements and fear is a prison into which we confine ourselves. Knowing Michael’s indomitable spirit I am sure that he too retains the hope we shall need if a peaceful and just world is to be built – as it must be.
‘Timeship Earth at Nillenium’
(from A New Waste Land)
Is not a reverence
– for all land, sea and air
Shock and Awe Basher Bush,
Trade and War Preacher Blair?
Have you no shame?
to follow Christ
when your fame has spread
so many dark days and nights
across so many lands, from your hands
famed oily blood brothers
who wrought so much hurt, loss and fright
– dread of so many children and mothers
whose weapons ignite still more terror and plight
filling land, sea and air
with endless infection, bombs and despair
‘Love thy neighbour
‘An eye for an eye’
is what Jesus preached,
Big Top Barker Bush,
A New Waste Land (New Departures) is available, price £25 hardback, £15 paperback, from Central Books www.centralbooks.com
Louis Mendee explains the real human costs of climate change for the global south.
From climate change to automation to demographic shifts, Mathew Lawrence explains the challenges our economy will face in the coming decade.
Fifty years after the Abortion Act, women are still dying from being denied basic services, write activists from Feminist Fightback
We need to tackle the patronising ideology that lets Tory think-tanks sneer at social tenants, writes Emma Dent Coad
Acid Corbynism allows people to imagine a future beyond the paltry offerings of capitalism, writes Keir Milburn
'We wanted to use a shared love of the beautiful game to stand in solidarity with those living under occupation', writes Kate Hadley.
Priti Patel's shady deals are business as usual. Enough is enough, writes Eleanor Penny
Boris Johnson is a local disaster and a national embarrassment. He must go, writes James Clouting
The global elite have been stealing from society on an unprecedented scale, writes Tom Walker
Richard Murphy says that the appropriate political will and understanding of tax can put an end to offshore avoidance and evasion
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes