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The string quartet takes residence: class, community, curricula

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/09/2021 - 3:42pm in


Music, Diversity, class

Keynote lecture in the Diversity and the British String Quartet Symposium, held on 14th June 2021. Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Lecture by Professor Laura Tunbridge (University of Oxford)

Chair: Dr Wiebke Thormählen (Royal College of Music)

We will hear from Beethoven and string quartet expert Prof Laura Tunbridge on the history of performing quartets working in UK universities.

It’s About The System, Not The Individuals: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 30/07/2021 - 10:21pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

If the working class had as much class solidarity as the ruling class has there never would’ve been a ruling class.

Stealing someone’s labor is worse than stealing their property, because it’s theft of their life; you can replace property if you want, but you can’t replace hours of life. And rigging the system so people need to work longer hours in order to survive is this form of theft at mass scale.

Right now it’s ass backwards: people have to spend their lives away from their loved ones in pointless jobs, and if you tell the cop your employer stole hours from you he’ll just shrug while if your employer tells the cop you stole a company iPad you’ll be hauled off in chains.

This would all be a lot less confusing if we said people get paid by the Life Unit instead of by the hour, because it makes it much clearer what you’re actually trading. “You want a unit of my life for seven dollar bills and a quarter? Fuck you.”

Six months into Biden’s presidency it’s definitely not okay to be a grown adult and still believe Trump was a uniquely monstrous president.

Biden may be stopping all progress and breaking most of his campaign promises, but he did also campaign on bringing back the Obama years so in that sense he kept all his campaign promises.

Focusing on individuals instead of the system creates the illusion that if you replaced the individuals you could fix the problems with the system. The individuals are symptoms of the disease.

This is true whether you’re talking about oligarchy or the official elected government. Leave the systems in place and get rid of Jeff Bezos and another greedy plutocrat will just move into his niche. Get rid of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and you’ll just get different Democrats killing progress in the senate. It’s fine to criticize them, but it’s not about them. You criticize them to draw attention to the systems.

Sociopaths will keep getting elevated to the top as long as there are systems in place which elevate sociopaths. Right now wealth and political power go to whoever’s willing to do anything to get to the top and step on anyone in their way. That’s what actually needs to change.

Really the people just need to find a way to seize power and create systems which work for everyone instead of rewarding greed, sociopathy and corruption. But they’ll never do that by working within the current systems, because those systems are designed to do the exact opposite.

Sure Biden is shit. That’s what happens in a system which elevates shit. That’s why his predecessor was shit, and why his replacement will be shit. Without that system Biden would just be some creepy asshole in an assisted living facility who all the caregivers try to avoid.

But also it’s never actually about Biden; it’s about a system wherein mass-scale human behavior is driven by profit, and where war, ecocide, exploitation and corruption happen to be profitable. As long as that’s the case it will just be endless assholes ruling our world until they get us all killed.

  1. Be a government
  2. Do evil things
  3. Make it illegal to report those evil things
  4. Sentence anyone who does to draconian prison terms as a deterrent
  5. Keep the public from knowing what you’re doing
  6. Force them to guess
  7. Label this guessing “conspiracy theory”
  8. Censor them

For every whistleblower you make an example of you prevent a thousand others.

Republicans live in such an awesome world. There’s a war on white men, powerful anarchists rule the streets, the president is a Marxist, and US officials are being taken out by communist microwave beams.

Feds definitely knew about the Capitol raid in advance and definitely let it happen yet you’re meant to believe the only reason rioters didn’t lynch Nancy Pelosi and take over the US government is because their diabolical plot was thwarted at the last minute.

Imagine if the memesters who went to Area 51 in 2019 actually got in (because military forces opened the doors for them), wandered around for a bit and then left, and then this was hailed as worse than 9/11 and used to advance authoritarian agendas and legal precedents… and people believed it.

It would have been exactly note-for-note identical to what happened with January 6th. The one and only difference is that there was no ideological angle on the Area 51 memesters.

As a kid I certainly never imagined that I’d end up spending such a significant portion of my adult life arguing with strangers who think the government should be allowed to do extremely evil things in secret.

Still shits me how we all know our governments and institutions lie to us all the time about important things but when people are distrustful of those institutions they get treated like they belong in a straight jacket. Sure this distrust can manifest in ways that are not well-informed or truth-based, but expecting all rank-and-file members of the public who work full time to have a perfectly erudite understanding of every situation is absurd. The distrust is reasonable and it’s not their fault.

If people distrust their government and institutions, the blame rests exclusively on the shoulders of the government and institutions who created that distrust in the first place. You can’t create distrust and act like people are crazy for distrusting you. That’s not a thing.


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Economic recovery for some, millions still struggling

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/07/2021 - 2:33pm in


unions, class

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg boasts that “Australia is leading the global economic recovery” and that living standards have risen by a “remarkable” 5.8 per cent over the past year.

Some people are doing very well indeed. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), company gross operating profits rose from 2.6 per cent in March 2020 to 11.9 per cent a year later.

Property speculators are making hay as house prices rocket.

But the headlines disguise the fact that millions of workers are doing it tough, whether they have a job or not.

The ABS reported that at the end of March there were 1.1 million people holding down at least two jobs—covering 7.5 per cent of all jobs. Both are record figures. The number of people with two or more jobs has grown by a third since the end of June last year.

This reflects years of slow wage growth that have left most workers struggling to cope with living costs.

A thinktank, the McKell Institute, has reported that the average Australian worker would be earning $254 more a week if wages growth had continued at the rate achieved under the last Labor government.

Under Rudd and Gillard, from 2007 to 2013, wages grew by 4.6 per cent a year. But that rate plummeted to 2.5 per cent a year between 2014 and 2020 under the Coalition.

There are a range of factors at play here including public sector pay freezes, wage theft, modest minimum wage increases and, of course, anti-union laws that contribute to very low strike rates.

Another is the proportion of workers in full-time jobs with leave entitlements.

Alison Pennington at the Centre of Future Work reports that, in 2017, the number of such “good jobs” fell to just less than half of all employment for the first time on record.

She writes: “It’s still low, with around half (50.5 per cent) of all jobs full-time with paid entitlements at end-2020. This means, around half of employed Australians now confront one or more key dimensions of insecurity in their work (casual, part-time, marginal self-employment).”

Another reason workers are facing the pinch is revealed in inflation figures from the ABS that show the cost of basics has been rising twice as fast as the cost of luxuries.

The ABS is using a new method for calculating the level of inflation for necessities like food, housing, healthcare and transport separately from the inflation rate for discretionary items such as takeaway meals, alcohol and holidays. Together they make up the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

As Emma Dawson wrote in The Age: “Broken down this way, the figures released last month reveal that, during the ‘dog days’ before the COVID recession, the price of non-discretionary items increased by 14.8 per cent, while discretionary inflation was 12.9 per cent.

“Not too different—but when you take out the cost of tobacco … discretionary inflation was just 6.4 per cent. As less than 15 per cent of Australians are regular smokers, this lower figure is a more accurate reflection of the typical household.”


This is bad news for people on benefits such as JobSeeker, Parenting Payment Partnered, Special Benefit, Youth Allowance and Austudy, which are adjusted in line with overall CPI movements. (Age Pension, Service Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment rates are only partly linked to CPI.)

When benefits go up in line with the CPI figure, recipients are falling behind, given that they spend all their income on essentials whose prices are increasing at a much higher rate.

Jobseekers are also facing a fresh Coalition attack. People making new claims will not get paid until they have signed a job plan, which takes on average ten days.

The result is, according to the government’s own figures, that this change will affect about 144,000 jobseekers each year, with each to lose $450 in payments on average.

The Coalition are presiding over more poverty and misery. But we know there is an alternative.

In the middle of 2020, the Coronavirus Supplement meant poverty was briefly abolished.

According to the ABS, the share of disposable income going to the bottom one-fifth of households leapt from 4 per cent to almost 12 per cent.

People were able to pay bills, buy food and have the occasional treat without stress.

As a minimum, we need to fight for Jobseeker to be increased to $80 a day, for higher pensions and for more public housing.

Poverty is imposed by capitalism. It can be abolished if we resist.

By David Glanz

The post Economic recovery for some, millions still struggling appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Race, Class and Identity Politics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/04/2021 - 11:25am in

by Kaveh Yazdani* Of late, numerous liberal, right-wing and even some leftist journalists, academics and politicians have readily embraced the prism of “leftist identity politics”. More often than not, they have done so under the cloak of liberal universalism by freely exhibiting their ignorance or indifference on matters of institutional discrimination and forms of oppression […]

Don’t Dismiss Mitch McConnell’s ‘Warning’ to Corporations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 6:39am in

Photo Credit: Christopher Halloran/ _____ As you know, the Republican Party is the party of business. It has been that...

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