Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Is it Meme(the name of the game), or Me!, Me! (like the heroine of La Boheme)?

I've been tagged by Madame Miaow in a sort of game called political meme where you all answer a few questions about yourself then pass it on to someone else. That urbane guerrilla from exotic East Eight reckons ruefully that this kimd of exercise must help Special Branch, but way I see it, when you get to my age you can fill up their files and wear down their pencil stubs, and will to persist, by loading them with useless information. So here goes:

First political experience Difficult to say, and depends what you mean by 'political' and 'experience'. I did ask why some people had big houses, gardens and lots of money, and we didn't, and why the government did not tax the rich and give it to the poor to make us all sort pf 'middle class' , a phrase my Mam liked, but she advised me to be careful or people would call me a "Communist". That seemed strange because the "communists" in my Yankee war comics were bad guys, and there was a young guy in our street home on leave from fighting communists in Malaya, his pal had been killed, but he could not answer my questions as to why the troops were there. When we visted some friends of my parents whom they'd described as Communist I found these seemed nice people, they had lots of books and magazines, and though they were working people like my Mam and Dad, they seemed to know and understand all sorts of things, but were always friendly and jolly, not like the teachers at school.

I also remember a discussion in our house once, it might have concerned the "Doctors' Plot", or the fate of Soviet Yiddish writers, or the Prague trials, and the grown' ups were saying "How can you have antisemitism in a communist country?", and so on. Someone mentioned Marx, someone then mentioned Trotsky, and a Mr.Rosenfelt said "Ah, now Trotsky was a real communist!" Later when my friend Dave whose parents were in the CP was referring to "Four great leaders, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin", I asked about Trotsky. He said Trotsky had been a "traitor", though he could not say why. Mind you, he also said Tito was a traitor, and as I was reading keenly about the Yugoslav partisans then I wasn't having that! But we stayed friends.

First vote Well, I was taking part in votes in the youth movement, and so on, and in 1959 I also helped left-wing Labour MP Frank Allaun in his campaign, his vote went up though over the rest of the country, Labour did badly, but to be fair I think he would have done well even without my support. In those days you did not get the vote till you were 21, so the first general election I voted in was 1964. By then I was in London and had just been chucked out of the Labour Party as a Trot, for selling 'Keep Left' , but I still voted Labour, for Reg Freeson, one of the people who had chucked me out.

First demo: Not sure. Could have been CND or May Day, or might have been a Connolly Association march in Manchester over two guys called Mallon and Talbot who were facing a murder charge - in those days a hanging matter.

Last vote: European and London Mayoral, though I am not that fond of either institution. If I remember rightly I voted for No2EU, Yes to Democracy, though I'd wished it had a more positively socialist name and policy, and voted Labour, for Ken Livingstone as mayor though again, I'm not his greatest fan, but just hoping to keep the Tory Boris out.

Last political activity: See my previous blog. I was in Grosvenor Square with the Iranians, partly just to find out more, but partly also to give support. Whatever one makes of the Mujihaddeen-e Khalq, I don't like to think of a refugee camp being surrounded by troops and riot police, at the mercy of a regime which, let's face it, Britain and the US put in place. Something has to be said.
And now I must get on with another political activity, editing a members'bulletin for the Jewish Socialists' Group. This was by way of a break!

And not sure how you "tag" people, being old and technologically challenged, but I'll go for Jim http://jimjay.blogspot.com/

and Stroppy or Janine, http://www.stroppyblog.blogspot.com/

Incidentally, does anyone know whence this word "meme" comes, and is it supposed tobe pronounced like "Mame" (there is nothing you can name) as in the musical, or like Mimi, whose tiny hand was frozen in La Boheme?

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At 9:38 PM, Blogger John Angliss said...


The text where it all began (and where Dawkins even tells you how to pronounce it, smug bastard that he is!)

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Damn, hadn't realised you had already done this when I also tagged you this morning - I was tagged by Harpymarx. Interesting as I expected though - is the rumour of a memoir still just a rumour?

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Madam Miaow said...

"... urbane guerrilla from exotic East Eight "

Ha, ha! I shall wear it with pride.

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Sarah Irving said...

For descriptions of some other Connolly Association marches in Manchester, see http://radicalmanchester.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/the-connolly-association-in-manchester-1938-1962/


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