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The State

Dissing the Establishment

The resignation of the UK’s chief representative to the EU, Ivan Rogers, gives us an unusual glimpse into the inner workings of government.  His very public (if formally veiled) criticisms of government ministers goes against the normal practice of confidentiality and secrecy that lies at the heart of the relationship between civil servants and ministers.  This suggests not only a breakdown of the machinery of government, but also highlights the changes of the personnel in office, as well as the enormous difficulty of the choices facing politicians in charge of responding to the Brexit vote.

Marx on Force

“Force is the mid-wife of progress!” How completely this expression is misunderstood by many who use it! What Socialist Party speaker has not been confronted at some time or other by a callow youth or a bewhiskered old fogey who has either indignantly demanded to know why the S.P.G.B. has thrown the teaching of Marx overboard, or has condescendingly, not to say pityingly, “explained” that nothing can be done through Parliament. To most of our critics, “force” means almost anything but action for the capture and control of the State machine. It may mean the “general strike” or, as Daniel de Leon preferred to call it, the “general lock-out of the capitalist class." It may mean the blind, spontaneous upheaval of an unorganised mass or the deliberate insurrection of an armed minority. It may mean a combination of all these reactions to capitalist pressure; but nowhere does Marx indicate that it is to action on these lines that we must look for deliverance from our fetters.

The Powers of Government

'The Powers of Government'
Speaker - Robert Barltrop, with lengthy introduction by 'Hardy'
Conway Hall, London

Recorded: 
Friday, 12 April 1974

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Little Brother is Watching You

It has always been fashionable for the champions of so-called Western Democracy to describe in horrifying detail the horrors perpetrated by Big Brother Stalin, Big Brother Khrushchev and the other dictators, in order that we might be comforted by the thought that circumstances here might be a lot worse. When one looks around, though, the differences aren't as great as they are made out to be. Everywhere one looks there are myriads of little brothers—the petty bureaucrats and officials that are apparently indispensable to modem society. So vast and impersonal has the State machine become, that the sum total of all the little brothers appears to make a very big brother indeed.

One of the most disturbing features about this is the way in which little-brotherdom has been taken for granted, few now questioning the supervisory rights exercised by the multitudes of little brothers.

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