Skip to main content

In Memoriam: Nina Fishman

posted 11 Dec 2009 00:14 by Dick Pountain   [ updated 14 Dec 2009 20:01
 


Nina Fishman, who died on Dec 5th, was a well-respected historian of the British labour movement and a much loved friend of mine. In the late 1970s Nina led me back from a wilderness of post-situationist disillusion into realistic left politics; Nina shamed me into overcoming my adolescent contempt for opera and introduced me to some of the best musical experiences of my life; in 1987 I helped Nina organise the first attempt to use tactical voting to unseat the Tories (it took two more elections to catch on); Nina launched the political supper club that supplied a bunch of North London lefties with mental stimulation for a decade. Before succumbing to her final illness, Nina completed her political biography of Arthur Horner the great miners' leader, to be published next year by Lawrence and Wishart. She will be sorely missed.

You can read Donald Sassoon's full G
uardian obituary of Nina here and there is now an archive of Nina's writings.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Playing The Goat

Steve Bell’s goats cartoon hits home because “herd immunity” was indeed the worst gaffe so far in the coronavirus emergency, a verbal disaster on a par with Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” which may have given us the Trump presidency and all that’s followed from that. Herd immunity is a perfectly respectable technical term in epidemiology: “ a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.“

There are two huge problems with its use in this crisis. First, it contains the word “herd” which is grossly offensive when applied to human beings in a democracy, though perfectly acceptable when used in the abstract about biological systems. It has no place in any political discourse and deploying it was more or less like throwing a hand grenade into a crowded room.

There Must Be Some Way Out of Here

I've been expecting Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister ever since he was Mayor of London, and was only mildly surprised when Michael Gove's little Brutus-act delayed his progress by a couple of years. I don't possess any supernatural powers of prediction, it just seem blindingly obvious that he's the only politician with sufficient ruthlessness and charisma among the current professionalised political class. What was a bit surprising was just how inadequate they all proved at dealing with his Machiavellian skills during those grim months from October to December last year (when even the speaker of the Commons was trying to egg them on like a rowing cox).

This post is the text of a talk I gave in January to a panel discussion organised in Finsbury Park by Phil Cohen, under the name 'There Must Be Some Way Out Of Here'. The other speakers were Phil himself, Andrew Calcutt, Valerie Walkerdine, Tim (T.J.) Clark, Lynne Segal and Baroness Ruth Lister: 

Dick Pounta…

The Do Re Mi

I’m occupied at present preparing a review of Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital and Ideology’, which turns out to be one of the most important books I’ve read in many decades. Piketty makes perfectly plain that none of our current problems are soluble until we get to grips with a drastic economic restructuring. Call it reform, call it revolution, call it whatever, none of the other issues that keep presenting themselves as a way forward - gender, race, identity, even climate - are tractable until the power of big money is vanquished. Piketty acknowledges that both social democracy and state socialism have now failed, and offers suggestions for economic structures that could lead further.
He also analyses aspects of our current situation that made my blood run cold:
“Let me be clear about the meaning of negative public capital such as we find today in the official national accounts of the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. Negative capital means that even if all marketable public assets…