Nov 16, 2016 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 158


Topics: An interview with Virginia/Scotland socialist organizer Emily Robinson (@see_em_play). Produced: Nov 13th, 2016.

Episode 158 (49 min):
AFD 158

Discussion Points:

– Dissecting the disaster of the 2016 election and what to do next.
– What was the campaign like in Virginia this year?
– Should you join Democratic Socialists of America?
– What is Scottish Labour Young Socialists working on?


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“What distinguishes Labour”

Whether it comes from a Democrat or a Labour member, I’m always glad to hear someone vocally explain what distinguishes a mainstream left-leaning party from the alternatives, after so many years of “triangulation” and wishy-washy hedging.

Here’s an excerpt from Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson’s column in the Daily Record jokingly headlined “The Labour Party is up to its old tricks – standing up for working families”

Have you noticed that the Labour Party is up to its old tricks? I’m delighted to say it’s true. We’re making the wealthiest pay a bit more to help those who need support. And we’re holding the powerful to account to secure a fairer deal for the ordinary citizen and working families. That, after all, is what distinguishes Labour from the other political parties.

Policies to help young people and tax wealthier citizens to pay for progressive programs benefiting the working class are described and detailed thereafter. He also questions the leftist credentials of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in light of their tax policies, which he says don’t favor redistribution. (Since they’re independence focused, I think most of the SNP’s funding plans derive from using North Sea oil royalties or tax revenues extracted from England to fund projects in Scotland, which is its own kind of redistribution, I suppose.)

It would be nice to hear more Democrats arguing non-defensively (like Matheson for Labour) about helping “ordinary citizen and working families” get “a fairer deal” via taxes on the wealthiest, i.e. those who can comfortably afford it.

100th Episode! September 24, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 100


Topics: Implications of the Scotland no vote, ADA non-compliance in higher ed, 100th episode celebration. People: Bill, Nate, Persephone. Produced: September 21, 2014.

Discussion Points:

– What are the implications of the Scotland referendum outcome for the United Kingdom and other European separatist movements?
– Why aren’t colleges and universities doing more to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act?

Part 1 – Scotland:
Part 1 – Scotland – AFD 100
Part 2 – ADA Compliance, 100th Episode:
Part 2 – ADA, 100th Episode – AFD 100

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links
Segment 1

Boston Globe – Opinion: On education technology, college lobbyists are keeping disabled students behind
USA Today: U.S. Justice Department sues Kent State over student’s therapy dog
CentreDaily: ADA football parking changes off to rocky start

Segment 2

BBC: Madrid opposes Catalan referendum
Financial Times: Alex Salmond brushes aside the foreign policy facts for Scotland
AFD: April 14, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 80, Part 2: European Nationalism


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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

J.K. Rowling labels Scottish ultranationalists “Death Eaterish”

I guess the gloves are off now in this year’s Scottish independence referendum:

ROWLING has been subjected to an extraordinary torrent of online abuse from Scottish independence supporters after she donated [UK 1m pounds UK or US $1.7m] to the “No” campaign.

The creator of Harry Potter found herself targeted by the cybernats — the Yes backers who thrive on insulting those with different views — immediately after declaring her support for the Better Together campaign.

The writer, who lives in Edinburgh, is the most prominent figure to donate to either campaign. Her donation is a major coup for the pro-union campaign, which feared being out-financed by the Yes camp.

Yes Scotland and Better Together are now limited to spending $2.6m before the referendum — but the figure does not cover staff costs.

Rowling has previously made major contributions to research on multiple sclerosis, which her mother suffered from, and said that she was concerned about the effect a “yes” vote would have on medical research and on the economy.
Rowling launched a pre-emptive strike against the cybernats. She said that, although intelligent and thoughtful people made up the majority on both sides of the debate, “I also know that there is a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence and I suspect, notwithstanding the fact that I’ve lived in Scotland for twenty-one years and plan to remain here for the rest of my life, that they might judge me ‘insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view.”

She was born in the West Country, brought up on the Welsh border, and has Scottish, English, French and Flemish ancestry, and says that her allegiance is to Scotland.

“However, when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste,” she said, in a reference to characters in the Harry Potter books.
“Scotland is subject to the same twenty-first century pressures as the rest of the world. It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery. The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks.”

If Scotland secedes, UK can annex Hughesovka, Ukraine

Russian Federation troops may be massing on the border of the Russian-dominated Donetsk region of Ukraine, but snarky Ukrainian activists in the region’s capital city, with a mind toward history and an eye toward remaining free of Russia, have other ideas for their economically depressed region:

The industrial city of about 950,000 people on the Kalmius river was once known as Hughesovka or Yuzovka, after its Welsh founder John Hughes.

Hughes was an engineer, born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1814 or 1815. After building a successful shipbuilding and ironworks company in Britain, which was known primarily for developing armored plating for warships, he was invited 1868 by the imperial Russian government to buy a concession in eastern Ukraine to set up a metallurgy and rail-producing factory.

According to a 2010 BBC feature, “Hughes provided a hospital, schools, bath houses, tea rooms, a fire brigade and an Anglican church dedicated to the patron saints St George and St David.”

Satirizing the question posed in the very dubious recent referendum in Crimea, activists have pitched a self-determination referendum for the city of Donetsk, giving “voters” even more exciting options than merely joining Russia or remaining in Ukraine:

According to the Moscow Times, “more than 7,000 people had supported the proposal by Sunday, with an online poll showing about 61 percent of respondents favored accession to Britain, and another 16 percent favored ‘broad regional autonomy’ with English as an official language.”

More from that Moscow Times article:

The online appeal asked the people of Donetsk — “fellow Britons” — to seize the “decisive moment” and have their say on “where your children will live and what language they will speak.”
“For more than a century Russians have deceived us by saying that this is an indigenous Russian city, and Ukrainians — that it is Ukrainian,” the online appeal said.

The mock referendum’s slogan, according to a Google translation of a Russian-language site, is: “Glory to John Hughes and his town! God save the Queen!”

One of the banners circulating on social media promoting it looks like this:


Now might be a good time to make a bid for accession to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, due to the upcoming Scotland Independence Referendum, to be held this coming September.

Although all three major British political parties (Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats) have already banded together (with additional help from the European Union) to make it extremely unpalatable and economically suicidal for Scotland to vote for independence, I think Britain could also offer a spot to the city of Donetsk to further demonstrate to Scotland that it is eminently replaceable with another industrial area — and one that probably has a lower prevailing wage, which would help UK companies’ bottom lines.

Here’s to Hughesovka: the cheaper Eastern European replacement for Scotland.

Plus: If the Russian Empire is making a comeback on the Black Sea, it’s only right and sensible that the British Empire return to the region to counter growing Russian power.

March 10, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 76

AFD-logo-big-new Description:
Nate and Greg join Bill to talk about rising vaccine hysteria, the importance of public vaccinations, and how the “debate” fits into the broader arc of American politics and ideology. European correspondent Persephone looks at the debate over Spanish time zones and siesta culture. Finally Nate, Greg, and Bill look at Crimea in the context of other separatist/independence movements, such as Scotland and Catalonia.

Part 1: AFD 76

Note: This week, the online/podcast version contains an additional segment not aired on WVUD for time purposes. The whole episode with all 3 segments this week is an hour long.

Related Links

Mother Jones: Study: You Can’t Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind
BBC: Analysis: Why Russia’s Crimea move fails legal test
Slate: Crimea referendum: Is the U.S. hypocritical about which independence movements it supports?
The Globalist: A History of Spanish Autonomy
The Globalist: Spain Urgently Needs Consolidation
The Globalist: To Secede or Not to Secede: The Case of Europe


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