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Andrew Westley

A History of Assassination

The recent assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey reminds us that this particular form of political violence is still very much in use. Both states and those without states (‘terrorists’ or ‘freedom fighters’) believe this tactic still to be useful in furthering their political agendas. Perhaps a brief historical perspective on the phenomenon could help us decide whether they are correct in their continuing belief of its efficacy.

Who Decides What and How

Does complexity rule out meaningful democracy?

When socialists speak of democracy we mean something very different from the concept the mainstream media provides. Instead of giving you permission to vote for some toff or careerist to serve and define your political interests (improbably) for five years we insist that any meaning democracy must entail the involvement of the community at every level in political/economic decision making.

Letter: If Robots Take Over

Dear Editors

In your October edition you published an article entitled ‘Robots of the World - you have nothing to lose but your blockchains’.

Although it was highly amusing it only superficially dealt with a problem in economics that intrigues me. At the moment automation (robots) are merely advanced tools (constant capital) where the profit is made by the labour manufacturing the programming and fabrication (variable capital). What happens when the robots become ‘self-programming’ and able to build themselves? Does the ‘organic composition of capital’ become such that the variable part is so negligible that profits plunge? Will profit levels be held up by the monopolistic ownership of these robots and the increased productivity they represent? Surely the capitalists not within that particular industry would object on free market grounds?

Andrew Westley, Cambridge

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