Friday, January 10, 2003


Good piece in the Times the other day by Michael Gove about left anti-Americanism and Blair's problem in addressing this in the Labour Party. However I have my doubts about one element of Gove's arguement:

Why then do the myths of America the Hateful take such powerful hold? Because anti-Americanism provides a useful emotional function which goes beyond logic and reaches deep into the darker recesses of the European soul. In centuries past those on the Left who wished to personalise their hatred of capitalism, who sought to make it emotionally resonant by fastening an envious political passion on to a blameless scapegoat people, embraced anti-Semitism. It was the socialism of fools. Which is what anti-Americanism is now.

An American friend, with tongue in cheek, asks if this makes him politically Jewish, in the way that some claimed in the 1980's that the Irish were politically black?

posted by BA on 10:19 AM link

George Bush is wrong to claim that North Korea is a "rogue state".

A rogue sounds a bit naughty. A sort of rascal from a Dickens tale. In fact North Korea is nearer to being a cult state. It is surely the kind of place Scientologist founder L.Ron Hubbard would have had dianetical wet dreams about.

This is a country after all that ten days ago celebrated New Year not by bringing in 2003 but the year Juche 92.

The calendar of the Democratic People Republic of Korea was 're-organised' after the 'revolution' to begin at the year zero of the birth of the 'dear leader' (or is it beloved leader?) the late Kim Il Sung, father of the current leader and the creator of the Juche (self-reliance) principle

So what was Juche New Year in North Korea like then?

Well where better to look than the amazing homepage of the remarkable Korean Central News Agency?

Pyongyang, January 9 (KCNA) --Working people throughout the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are stepping up production in different sectors of the national economy, encouraged by the new year joint editorial published by the newspapers of the Workers' Party of Korea, the army and the youth. The Pyongyang Thermal Power Complex has overfulfilled its daily assignments from the first days of the New Year by fully exploring inner resources to solve the shortage of heavy oil and keeping the generators in full-capacity operation under difficult conditions.

The Sunchon District Youth Coal Mining Complex has also carried out its daily quotas by arousing coal miners to attain the New Year's goal to create 66 coalfields, introduce a new coal mining method and put the computerization of coal production on a high level.

From the beginning of the year, the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex has increased the coke and sinter output 1.2 times the figure at the end of last year by keeping furnaces in good conditions and machines in full-capacity operation. The Songjin Steel Complex is topping its daily targets in molten iron and rolled steel production by considerably decreasing the standards of electricity consumption per ton of steel and increasing the frequency of teeming.

Such achievements in production have also been reported from the Rakwon Machine Complex, the Sinyang and Puryong forestry stations under the North Hamgyong Provincial Forestry Complex, the June 4 rolling-stock works, the Sinuiju Comestics Factory and other industrial establishments.

For the elite however it was an entirely different occasion.

Pyongyang, January 9 (KCNA) -- Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Andrei Karlov hosted a friendly gathering at the embassy on Wednesday evening on the occasion of the New Year, Juche 92 (2003). Present at the gathering on invitation were Minister Paek Nam Sun and Vice-Minister Kung Sok Ung of Foreign Affairs and officials concerned. Speeches were made there.

I bet they were.

But what about the New Year over in South Korea? According to the KCNA, celebrations were wrecked by the Yankee imperialists:

Pyongyang, January 9 (KCNA) -- A GI broke a windowpane of a shop in Chunchon city, Kangwon province at the dawn of the New Year's Day and two GIs damaged a car in a parking lot on Jan. 4. In this regard Rodong Sinmun Thursday in a signed commentary says that more crimes committed by the U.S. imperialist troops in South Korea from the outset of the New Year only go to prove that they are a group of ruthless hooligans and beasts in human skin steeped in misanthropy to the marrow of their bones.

Happy Juche New Year to you all.

posted by BA on 9:34 AM link

Well that was an excellent Christmas break and apologies for not announcing that there would be no posts for the best part of a month. Still, only a click isn't it? And to those who have been emailing me - yes Sectarian Worker will also be back in business shortly, well sometime next week if the rest of the contributing collective get into gear.

I'm not a fan of blogs that divulge all manner of personal details, so suffice to say that the break gave me a chance to have a think about the whole blogging thing and also the chance to meet up with some regular readers provided me with some additional food for thought. The result is things might slowly change around here in the next few weeks maybe a little less politics, a little more fun and diversity - well let's see.

One criticism I heard that was fair was that too often my links to stories were to mainstream media that people read anyway. It is a fair comment - does anyone really need a blog that links to the Guardian and the Independent all the time? Probably not. So from now there will be more of an attempt to uncover stories and opinions in unlikely places - obscure newspapers, mailing lists and websites as well as other blogs and mailing lists etc.

I'm also thinking of upgrading to allow pics and other features. Any bloggers who use blogspot willing to comment on whether it is worth paying $5 a month for the Proplus thing?

posted by BA on 8:51 AM link

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