George Walford: Evidence

Speaking of the difficulty of providing reliable evidence in ethnography, Morton H. Fried notes that harder sciences share the problem. The eminently respectable photograph of the night sky taken by the astronomer, for example, “is something of a fiction. The ‘stars’ and other phenomena in the picture never were, are not now, and never will… read more »

George Walford: How Wrong Can You Get?

Fourth World Review, Issue No. 48, complains: “despite the fact that we have more colleges, schools, professors, students, textbooks, magazines and research workers devoted to the subject of economics than was ever possessed by any previous civilisation we have been unable to solve a single economic problem.” (pg. 3) That sounds deliberately perverse; some of… read more »

George Walford: Ideology of Everyday Life

Most people – at least, most of those willing to consider such questions – now accept that ideology affects political life; they recognise its influence in the behaviour of their opponents if not in their own actions. Many will also agree that ideology influences some of the more intellectual activities outside politics in the narrow… read more »

George Walford: Government Supports Pushers

In 1983 the Spanish government (socialist) decriminalised the possession of drugs for personal use while retaining penalties for dealing. An article in the Sunday Times (13 October 1991) now reports the authorities admitting the presence of over 100,000 addicted to hard drugs in Madrid, a demonstration of 20,000 “from five poor suburbs” demanding stronger action… read more »

George Walford: Steam Engine Time (54)

Thinking people have mostly discarded the hero theory of history. They agree that Alexander, Julius Caesar, Napoleon and the others appearing as makers and shakers of the world owe their prominence less to personal qualities than to coincidence between their abilities – admittedly exceptional – and the conditions of place and time. But when a… read more »

George Walford: Small is Unsuccessful

Some twenty-five years ago Fritz Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, launched his Interediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), intended and expected to produce a revolution in ways of living, especially in the less developed countries, by the introduction of small-scale technology. Unlike The World Wildlife Fund and Amnesty, both founded around the same time, ITDG… read more »

George Walford and Adrian Williams: Class War

A letter from Adrian Williams Sir, IC 53 carries an advert for Angles on Anarchism which includes the statement “… the anarchist movement has settled down among the other members of the political cast; accepted almost respectable but of mainly theoretical importance.” I enclose with this letter a copy of Class War issue 49, which… read more »

George Walford: Doing the Splits (54)

Contrasting the anarchistic or libertarian socialists at the tip of the range with the Leninists and social democrats, Frank Girard (an anarchistic socialist) comments: But if they are splintered, our ‘force’ is atomized consisting of small groups and grouplets each with its own publication and small circle of members and sympathizers. Except for the Socialist… read more »

George Walford: What Will Do It?

An article in the Observer (15 September) opens with a ringing declaration that under the series of Conservative governments which began in 1979 crime figures have more than doubled, from an annual 2.2 million offences to a “staggering” 5 million projected for 1991. (Why we should be staggered by 5 million and not by 2.2… read more »

George Walford: GAIA

Several years ago a valued friend telephoned, full of enthusiasm, to pass on the news of James Lovelock’s “Gaia hypothesis.” She met a dismissive response; the idea of the earth as alive was just too close to “Oh, the wonder of it all!” to be taken seriously. On belatedly reading the book that reply turns… read more »