Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do as thou Wilt!

Anarchism

Didn’t Margaret Thatcher, UK Prime Minister and bosom pal of President Ronald Reagan, boast that society is dead? Where does society come into this Anarchistic advertisement?

It sounds like the old Rabelaisian motto, “do as you like” or Aleister Crowley’s and the Wiccan’s “do as thou wilt”—theough the Wiccans do qualify their motto—and if the maxim of anarchy is also “do as thou wilt” or its equivalent, do they expect us to switch magically from imperfection to perfection—the imperfection of this greed driven capitalist world, to a world of Libertarian competition only to the extent of outdoing each other in lovingkindness? That is the Christian dream of precipitate divine intervention ridding the world of evil. Indeed it is equal to dying in the wicked world and being resurrected into a heavenly new world. In short it is unrealistic and unlikely, if not utterly impossible, and in any case could not be achieved without planning for it.

We are social beings and, if we hope to remain human, cannot avoid having a duty to our fellow beings in our society. Capitalists demand more and more liberty to do as they like—freedom to exploit their fellows in increasingly dishonest ways. But socialism requires us to respect our social instincts of caring and sharing, and protecting.

Here then are two different freedoms—“freedom to” and “freedom from”. “Freedom to” is quite impossible in any society—no one except an absolute dictator is free to do just as they like. Society necessarily constrains us. Most people do not seek more and more “freedom to” do things, they are happy to be “free from” care, starvation, loneliness, and insecurity. That is the purpose of society. It is why we cannot step magically from the imperfection of capitalism to some fanciful anarchistic or even Christian dream. We cannot be free or approach human and social perfection until capitalism is long gone, socialism has been established, and time has liberated us from the greed and selfishness of capitalism. That time is a necessary period of transition.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where Did All the Money Go?

The treasuries of the world's capitalist countries have been turned over to the banks by our corrupt political caste of morally deficient opportunists. The banks are keeping the accounts of the rich minority topped up because of their losses through junk bonds. The bankers and bond traders have lost their rich masters' money through their excessive risk taking, believing assets would continuously grow in value. They didn't. Many banks should have been declared bankrupt according to capitalist theory, but were not. Governmental lackeys bailed them out with our taxes, and now governments have to recoup the tax money out of us! Of course it suited the capitalists because they want government to be minimal, merely to serve their own purposes and not the needs of the people, whence the cuts in public benefits and services, and the refusal to tax the rich, whose greed caused it in the first place.

"In 2001 there were 497 dollar billionaires with combined assets totalling $1.5 trillion. In 2010 there were 1,210 of these super-rich with assets totalling $4.5trn—more than the gross domestic product of Germany"

The Communist Manifesto: Some Notes

The Communist Manifesto is among the most widely read and widely discussed written work known. It was a short statement of the aims and arguments of the revolutionary movement in Germany, but was soon recognized worldwide.

These notes on it, lightly edited, are from the pages of the Texas Communist Party.

Introduction

Communism already (in 1848) inspired fear among Europe’s rulers. Communists needed a public explanation of their views, goals, and tendencies. Thus, progressive leaders of many nations gathered in London to create this straightforward declaration, this manifesto.

1. Workers and Capitalists

  1. Class struggle explains all written history.
  2. The main economic classes of the past, such as slaves, aristocrats, kings, and serfs had the relationship of oppressor versus oppressed. They fought constantly until, eventually, they either destroyed themselves or transformed society into a new and better stage.
  3. Capitalism sprang from the ruins of feudalism as property owners took power from the aristocrats who had ruled. As capitalists took over governments, they re-shaped them to advance capitalism. Governments in capitalist countries are committees for furthering the interests of the capitalists.
  4. From the 18th century, capitalism raged through the planet. It destroyed other economic classes and exploited the lands and peoples of all nations.
  5. Some previous classes all but disappeared as the capitalists took power, but the working class became the main opponent of capitalism. Capitalists are driven to improve their methods of production to outpace other capitalists. One result is that they tend to drive down prices. Another is that they constantly try to lower workers’ wages and benefits. Just as capitalists constantly need more and better machinery, they also need more and better-trained workers.
  6. Big capitalists tend to displace small ones, whether farmers, small producers or small shopowners. As they are displaced, they become workers. Thus, capitalism creates more workers. Through constant training and regimentation, capitalists also strengthen the working class and make it more and more capable of taking over.
  7. Capitalism reduces all economic and social activity into a search for profit. Capitalist politicians act on the behalf of their own national capitalist class.
  8. This is especially evident in foreign affairs, where the politicians are willing to sacrifice the lives of millions to gain advantage for their own capitalist class.
  9. Even though the capitalists have created marvels far surpassing those of previous societies, it is a serious mistake to think of capitalism as purposeful. It is not. It’s only “purpose” is to create profit for capitalists. Any and all other accomplishments are incidental.
  10. The third class evident in modern capitalism consists primarily of small businesses, farmers, shopkeepers, and some professionals. They fight the capitalists to maintain their own incomes, but their fight is not a progressive one. In fact, it is anti-progressive, because these middle-class people wish to move history backward to stop the relentless march of big capital. Only the working class is revolutionary, and only the working class can grow in power enough to challenge the capitalists.
  11. A fourth “class” is sometime considered, but they are extremely weak and not at all progressive. These are the idlers and criminals, who neither produce nor play any independent fighting role. They may temporarily help the workers, but not in any consistent way. They are usually available for hire by the capitalists against the workers.
  12. When class fought class in previous societies, the revolutionaries had fewer members than the rulers. But the working class movement is a movement of the vast majority of people. They fight within their own nations to overcome their own capitalist oppressors.
  13. Capitalism, as noted, is capable of great developments, but its progressive role in history soon ends. Instead, its main role becomes that of oppressor, warmongerer, polluter, and destroyer. As capitalism’s progressive role came to an end, the revolutionary role of workers became more important and more evident.
  14. Fortunately for human kind, the capitalists have created and organized their own replacements. Given the survival of our planet, the fall of capitalists and the victory of workers are equally inevitable.

2. Workers and Communists

  1. Communists have no interests separate from those of the world working class. We do not have a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” to impose. Every strategy, and every tactic, is taken to enhance the working class and make it stronger. Even though workers’ struggles take place within their own nation, communists maintain a world view.
  2. The immediate goal of communists is to help the workers form and improve the working class to grow in power and, eventually, overcome the capitalist ruling class. History shows that this changing relationship between oppressor class and the oppressed has ever been the same.
  3. Communists and workers are no threat to freedom for ordinary people. Rather, they threaten the power of capitalists to continue exploitation. Communists have no intention or reason to take away ordinary people’s property, but they fully intend that the means of production should pass under the democratic control of the people. The authors point out that the workers want no more than what they have created. Capitalists, of course, want it all!
  4. The rights of women and of children are emphasized.
  5. As workers, the majority of people, come to power across the world, divisions among people will begin to terminate. Artificial national boundaries and armies will no longer be needed, as people on both sides of every border share common interests. Workers have no separate country.
  6. Communists strive to extend democracy to all aspects of modern life, including economic decisions. The capitalists control the economies today with no concern for democracy. Workers have always struggled for more democracy, and have won many smaller battles. Once the working class controls the economy, the battle for democracy and the socialist revolution will be complete.

The goal of communists is stated at the end as:

…we shall have an association in which the development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

3. Analysing Socialist and Communist Positions

This chapter is delightful for the authors’ use of language and vocabulary as they demolish the rival philosophies of their time. We don’t have to look at the 19th century to find dishonest authors and quacks with fake answers. Our news stands and bookshelves are full of them today

  1. To analyze our problems and recommend honest solutions incurs the wrath of the capitalists, while phony analysis and meaningless solutions are safe—often even a good way to make an income and become famous!
  2. Reactionary spokespeople criticize capitalism, but recommend, as a solution, a return to the romantic fantasies of feudalism, in which the main characters are knights and beautiful princesses, not mud-covered serfs. Other reactionary “socialist” writers attack capitalism, but hope to advance the values of the ruling class. Marx and Engels, Germans, were particularly infuriated by middle-class philosophers of Germany who copied their ideas from the French, but made them even more abstract, spiritual, murky, and obscure.
  3. Many authors espoused ways to “improve” capitalism and make it more humanitarian. They say that corporate “free trade” schemes will help workers, or that clever corporate personnel policies will lead to a form of socialism. They preach that capitalism will become more and more humanitarian and will eventually become socialism without any need to organize the working class. The capitalists, they say, rule for the benefit of the workers. The historical anomaly of post-war prosperity gave a measure of undeserved believability to these harebrained ideas.
  4. A third general category of anti-Marxist philosophers was extremely popular then, and enjoyed a resurgence in the 1960s. They are well-meaning “utopian socialists” who criticize capitalism but do not want to organize resistance against it. Their criticisms may be valuable, but their solutions are useless and no threat to capitalism. They organize “counter-cultural” institutions, such as communal farms, private schools, or whole communities in peaceful nations such as Costa Rica, and even in Texas. While clever and brave, they opposed political organization of the working class and thus had no future.

All these “philosophers” are tolerated, even rewarded, by capitalists. Our universities are crammed with them. They make fine after-dinner speakers!

4. Communists and their Opponent Parties

Thoigh short, less than two pages, books have been written about the ideas in this brief chapter. Arguments about it continue still.

  1. Marx and Engels explain clearly that Communists are with the working class on its immediate aims whatever they may be. They talk about the many and diverse kinds of short-term coalitions they joined in different countries. But Communists also keep their “eye on the prize” of a long-term settlement with capitalism.
  2. Communists always remind workers of the basic class antagonism with capital. Communists keep the question of property, “who owns what”, in mind. Communists of all countries labor for union and agreement of all who treasure democracy.
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers Of All Countries, Unite!

A Communist Library for Today

Hundreds of pamphlets, booklets of political analysis, and flyers issued by the Communist Party of Britain, all freely readable on line or for download.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

US Imperialsm for Beginners

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cronin’s The Citadel and the British National Health Service

Aneurin Bevan: Founder of the National Health Service

A J Cronin’s famous novel, The Citadel, a story of a coal mining company doctor’s struggle to balance scientific integrity with his obligations to his employers, incited the establishment of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. It exposed the inequity and incompetence of medical practice at the time. In the novel, Cronin advocated a free public health service to defeat the wiles of those doctors who "raised guinea-snatching and the bamboozling of patients to an art form".

Dr Cronin and Aneurin Bevan, the British Labour Party cabinet minister who devised and introduced the “free at the point of delivery” National Health Service (NHS)—at a time when the UK was flat broke and deep in debt as a consequence of the war—had both worked at the Tredegar Cottage Hospital in Wales, which was the basis for the NHS. Now, although the UK is much wealthier than it was then, the Tory government is trying its best to undermine the NHS prior to selling it off piecemeal to the private sector. There is no reason or excuse for it except doctrinaire capitalist politics.

-oOo-

 

 

 

  • Refer to Wikipedia, sv "A J Cronin" and "Aneurin Bevan" for more information.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wealth Distribution in the USA:Worse than we Imagine... Much Worse!

A revealing video with only the fault that its dismissal of socialism as equality of income is propagandist and not true. Socialism means "from each according to their ability to each according to their work", but with a much more equitable distribution of wealth than under capitalism, and so approximating more to what the film depicts as the average US citizen's idea of an ideal distribution.

Sylvia Pankhurst—Trailer

This is the trailer for the inspiring new feature length documentary Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is possible now available on DVD from the charity WORLDwrite. The full film is packed with little-known facts, rare archive imagery, expert interviews and exclusive testimony from Sylvia's son, Richard Pankhurst and his wife Rita. The campaigns Sylvia led embraced far more than 'votes for women' as she uniquely understood the fight for democratic rights required a challenge to the system. For full details visit:
www.worldwrite.org.uk/sylviapankhurst.

A Tribute to Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution

Uploaded on Jul 8, 2010

In this programme in the Islam Channel's Timeline series, Stop the War's John Rees investigates the revolution of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.