To begin – with help from Diego Rivera

Today I begin shouting from the electronic rooftops. Like most of the other fifty million rooftop shouters, I begin without knowing who, if anyone, will be listening in the street below. I begin without even knowing the sound of my own voice. Those things, among others, will only become clear over a period of time.

This blog is intended to be a commentary on working class politics and history, with occasional digressions into the related worlds of reading and writing, science and nature, farming and fishing, bourgeois culture and thought, and who knows what else. It is addressed above all to those who have a sense of the deepening crisis of capitalist society, and who look to the lessons of history, especially the two hundred years of working class struggle, for clues on how to orient oneself in the midst of this crisis.

The headline image is a detail from a mural painted in 1932-33 by the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera in the Detroit Institute of Arts. That industrial workers should be the subject of a work of art is unusual enough in itself; even rarer that they should be portrayed without sentimentalism, without condescension, without pity. Rivera’s workers are not just oppressed and exploited, they are also dignified, confident, creative, and bound by solidarity. Rivera’s workers think and fight. My goal is to write this blog in the same spirit.

The whole business would be pointless if it remains a purely one-way traffic, and so I invite you the reader to comment, criticise, offer corrections, and generally engage with the ideas presented here. To the best of my ability I will respond. The degree to which an exchange of ideas develops on these pages will be the main measure of my success.

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