January 12, 2018 at 11:04 pm #131270TheMightyYoghourtParticipant
Well, Alan, first of all, I don't have a problem. But you're asking me what I believe. Do I believe that socially-conditioned halfwits who have been stupefied to the point where they think that 'X-Factor' is more important than saving the planet from their own stupefaction? I do not.Do I believe that seven billion semi-evolved simeans who have miraculously overcome their capital-generated idiocy and achieved an understanding of the nature of the system that produced them can then reorganise society so that it serves the interests of the entire planet? Not in my wildest fantasies!Sadly, the burden of proof lies with the SPGB, and I remain unconvinced. Given that the movement is in a slow and steady and seemingly inexorable decline – and, incidentally, the watertight case remains watertight within its own logic – I do think that party diehards still have all of their work ahead of them. For my part, I'm with Bill Hicks. Humanity is a virus with shoes. Or to update Bill's view, a virus with laptops.January 12, 2018 at 11:35 pm #131271
Do you know anything about the history of the African continent, Ike? Of the empires and the civilisations that existed there.For instance, did you know that the richest man in all history was Mansa Musa of Mali from the 14th Century. While our billionaires all have fortunes of less than $100 billion, this king had $400 billion to his name. At the height of its power, Mali had at least 400 cities and was very densely populated. Try wiki on those empires and kingdomshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kingdoms_in_pre-colonial_AfricaThere rises and falls is not very different from our own European history or Chinese/Asian history. But you ask why Africa can't take care of itself?It can as it did before. Capitalism or should i say mercantilism and the slave trade then colonialism and post-colonialism happened.The potential of Africa is still staggering in its resources.Our modern technology could not exist without the rare metals found in Africa.It has the capacity to help feed the world. Africa was transformed from a net food exporter into a net food importer in the 1980s – a deliberate policy by the IMF/World Bank and others an not because of population growth, natural calamities, and conflicts. African countries were told that they need not invest in agriculture as imports would be cheaper and were promised that private investment and exports would soon follow cuts in public investment, thus paying for imports. But of course, these organisations omitted to mention that the transnationals would drain the capital from Africa to tax havens. Now, there is attention to Africa's agriculture after the dramatic global food price rises but it is now land-grabber foreign businesses that are buying farmland to use to export food or cash-crops, just as they grabbed the ores and minerals.Certainly, the local elites are also culpable in the continued pillaging and looting of Africa but they couldn't achieve it without the complicity of non-African accessories and collaborators in the financial crimes and corruption. You may care to take a look at or Africa-focussed blog, Ike, and do a search of its diverse postshttps://socialistbanner.blogspot.com/January 12, 2018 at 11:49 pm #131272TheMightyYoghourtParticipant
Got to admire your committment, Al. If you can convince a cretinous fuckwit like 'Ike' of the practicality and possibility of socialism then it'll be clear that you were right and I was wrong. I'm waiting without bated breath.January 13, 2018 at 1:43 am #131273
Hopefully, it will be a combined effort…and i am sure you are able to contribute positively in persuading him, as well, MightyY.But it isn't Ike who should be our main audience, it is the many more folk who aren't so entrenched in their ideology that rather than get out of their hole, keep on digging it deeper. It is people who you and i know, family and friends, neighbours and work colleagues, who have been brought up with many misconceptions about the world around them. Some of which you and i have broken free from but what makes us the exceptions since there is nothing particularly special about us.That is the Big Question for me since i know a lot of people who aren't fools or idiots, who are, in fact, much cleverer than me who accept capitalism, reject socialism, and either see no need for a change in society or see no hope of a change in the system.I offer no magical answer, i await for no miracle to happen. I reached a conclusion that the trajectory of humanity is in a spiral downwards. There is not much i can do to stop it but the little i can do isn't costing too much of my time and energy. I still can enjoy life, the sacrifice is minimal, engaging in trying to end capitalism has brought me into contact with many worthy comrades and broadened my own knowledge more than all the educational institutions could have.In the past, i have questioned the SPGB case – and many members will testify i still challenge aspects of the Party's case but walking away from trying to build socialism is simply not an option for me. When politics and the state of the world come up in conversation as it always does – i say it as i see it. That is all the commitment a socialist is required to make, and a member of the SPGB's only additional responsibility is to ensure an organisation like it continues to exist and doesn't disappear. Ike has the same thinking qualities of a fellow-worker as i possess. For all i know he may well have an honours degree in Philosophy as a postman i knew but academic qualification mean little in relating to other people and understanding events. That well-educated postman was a guilt-ridden Catholic who viewed the world with jaundiced eyes and saw history from a persecuted religious viewpoint. But we can drop mistaken ideas and adopt more accurate ones but it isn't an overnight process, and sometimes baby-steps are necessary at first. Sometimes, we stumble and fall. And one of the purposes for political associations such as the SPGB is there is a helping hand to assist you up to your feet. That is why some emphasise that we are a SOCIAList Party, first and foremost, a party that offers empathy but not sympathy, even to those workers like Ike who have absorbed anti-social beliefs.January 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm #131274HollyHeadParticipant
Can I ask — what is it that raises TheMightyYoghourt above the rest of us stupid half-wits?January 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm #131275
@TheMightyTosserActually, I am a former member of the SPGB. I know what the case is. I know the script. I've already been convinced. There is no 'convincing' to be done.If I were you, I would get over the superiority complex. At the moment, we can't see your head as it's stuck up your arse.January 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm #131277
@ Alan JohnstoneI am a former member of the SPGB. I know what socialism is. I know where all your blogs are, including the African one.I don't need you to tell me anything.I already know what the arguments are. Your post above in response to mine does not answer my question. You don't explain why Africans can't take care of themselves. In fact, if anything, your response underscores my concerns. If Africa is so rich in resources, why should there be a difficulty?You will say it's capitalism and the market system, and to an extent this is true, but even that does not help me understand why Africans seem to lack the capacity to help themselves. Even allowing for the perversions of the market, they still practically live in a natural paradise: why are they always in difficulty? This doesn't augur well for socialism. In a socialist system, there would have to be a degree of self-reliance. You will say, 'everybody will help out everybody else', and again, of course that's true in principle, but that sugar-coats how a REAL world socialist system would operate in PRACTICE.Let me put the question a different way…Do you accept that what happens in countries is at least in part due to the people in those countries?January 13, 2018 at 4:07 pm #131276AnonymousInactive
Ike, where and how did you make your original application to join the SPGB? Africa has a capitalist class and a working class, they are not just 'Africans' So will need to specify which 'Africans' "can't take care of themselves" ? Do you mean this man? Cos he seems to be doing fine.January 13, 2018 at 4:26 pm #131278
@ VinThe circumstances in which I joined the SPGB, or anything else, are none of your business. I only mention it because it is being assumed that I do not know the socialist case. I do. Ignorance is not what is behind my simple question, which by the way you still haven't answered.Western countries do not have any significant difficulty feeding themselves, despite capitalism. Therefore, although I do accept that the market system causes immense difficulties in its own right and I agree it probably should be abolished, it doesn't on its own explain why Africans cannot feed themselves.The best way to answer my question would be to produce some bullet points for me. I'm busy and I don't have time to read through large spamming blocks of texts that tell me what I already know or regurgitate what famous people have said. I want to get to the root of the problem. The market system does matter in this, I acknowledge that, but it's not the root issue.My view on this reflects a variety of different perspectives. I think Africans (and other non-Western peoples) are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves within their own cultures. The problems start when those cultures are taken from them. In a nutshell, I think there are different types of people, some are almost different species, and that it is best to allow separate development. I think that any 'global' or hegemonic system, be it capitalism or world socialism, will always reflect the material interests of one group at the expense of another and will harm those who cannot adapt to it, no matter how well-intended the people behind the system are.January 13, 2018 at 9:42 pm #131279AnonymousInactiveIke Pettigrew wrote:@ VinThe circumstances in which I joined the SPGB, or anything else, are none of your business.
It is my business to know how racists are entering the SPGBJanuary 13, 2018 at 11:42 pm #131280
In your many posts over a very long period, this is the first occasion that you claim membership of the Party. It is understandable that some of us are sceptical of this claim.Quote:I don't need you to tell me anything./quote]Then don't ask for answers to any questions, then, Ike.And the length of the replies i give is to offer you the respect of a full answer and not to score debating points. In fact, as a regular visitor to this discussion ist, you should already be well acquainted with my style of writing and know i give verbose commentsI mentioned more than just the market, though, in that reply i gave you on Africa. I mentioned corruption. In passing, i mentioned that there are historical events unique to Africa that still impacts on today's issues.But when you have seen a hard-working Cambodian eating roasted rat, then you understand that hunger = poverty is not merely an African problem. But there has also been famines in Asia – Bangladesh being one of the later ones. But China under Mao was perhaps the worse. I recall the mis-named Irish Potato Famine. But the last European was the Dutch at the end of WW2. And one of the latest famines is in Yemen with the US/UK permitting a Saudi blockade. Soon, of course, it will be climate change famines. Be like the Dustbowl years in the American mid-west, climate refugees fleeing hunger if not starvation and locals putting up the barriers as California did to the Okies, supposed fellow-Americans but nevertheless, outsiders and therefore foreigners and described as sub-human by many who wished to exclude them…sounds famiiar, eh?Vin, Ike, as he has told us before, is not a racist – he is a racialist.I know, Vin, a distinction without a difference to you and me but for Ike, it is something of import…he isn't some ignorant red-neck racist but being "scientific" in his white-supremacy.January 14, 2018 at 3:12 am #131281
@ VinI don't know if your problem is lack of comprehension skills or just obstinacy, but let me make it clear: I am not a member of the SPGB. You can infer from this that at some point my views changed. You can, in turn, infer from this that at the time I joined the SPGB, I had different views to the views I hold today. You can infer from this that "racists", as you call them, are not joining the SPGB. Therefore, any inquiry into the circumstances of my joining the SPGB would be of absolutely no assistance to you in understanding a non-issue that you have invented in your head. I hope that clears matters up, but if not, might I suggest you make enquiries at your local library about classes in adult literacy?January 14, 2018 at 3:35 am #131282
Ike, you cannot but expect a little amount of curiosity, that you are an ex-member of the SPGB. As i said, in all your previous contributions to the discussion list on many different threads, you never once mentioned or inferred former membership. In fact, you have never expressed any sympathy for the SPGB case at any level.Over the years we have had ex-members of the BUF, NF and BNP and Conservatives (plus from all the left-wing groups) join the Party but it is their earlier views that changed.You are indeed the first member who i have known to resign and move to the right. It is indeed unusual. You are also the first ex-member i have known to show a reticence to reveal the full details of this membership…when and where and for how long. I can understand the reluctance to reveal your identity but some other information need not be confidential. Was it an online or postal membership application or through a branch?But this does explain why you still feel a desire to visit and engage on this forum, when from your own political standpoint, it is a rather much a waste of your time and energy.January 14, 2018 at 3:49 am #131283
Before I respond, I want to make it very clear that I am genuinely appreciative of the replies from Alan Johnstone, and if it sounds like I am getting annoyed at times, that should not be taken personally. He's bound to annoy me, as I'm bound to annoy him, as we each have not only different views, but we come at things from fundamentally different principles, but he still defends the socialist case with good humour: he is a credit to the SPGB.alanjjohnstone wrote:In your many posts over a very long period, this is the first occasion that you claim membership of the Party. It is understandable that some of us are sceptical of this claim.
It doesn't matter: I WAS a member of the SPGB. If it really came down to it, I can prove it. In fact, start a thread for this purpose, if you like, and we can have an inquisition in which you interrogate me on the socialist case, the main traditions of the Party and key book references – Barltrop, etc.. It's been a good number of years, so I'll make some mistakes, as any genuine person would, but I can practically guarantee I will pass. You will say I can look for the information online. This is true, but cheating would only assist a charlatan to a limited degree. We both know that there is no shortcut to a genuine understanding of the socialist case or knowledge of the key books. You'll catch me out if I'm not genuine. So, over to you – that's if you think it matters.alanjjohnstone wrote:Then don't ask for answers to any questions, then, Ike.
My point is that I don't need to be lectured to in a canned manner about the socialist case. I already know it. Of course, though I have read hundreds of books on Marxism and socialism, I am not an academic expert and there will be lots you can teach me about it, I am sure. This is not arrogance on my part. I am asking a question that, I believe, cuts through your received wisdom and I am interested to see how your ideas cope with it. Parroting your rigid dogmas back at me is unimpressive in my eyes because I have already seen it all, and to me, it represents your defeat because it shows you cannot cope with new or different information. It's like watching a magician do a magic trick that I've seen before or a comedian tell the same joke: it's wearing thin.alanjjohnstone wrote:And the length of the replies i give is to offer you the respect of a full answer and not to score debating points. In fact, as a regular visitor to this discussion ist, you should already be well acquainted with my style of writing and know i give verbose comments
Just to make something clear – I am NOT criticising you for verbosity. Please don't take offence. If you want to provide lengthy responses for the benefit of people looking in, then you go ahead and do that. I am sensitive to this criticism because we are similar. I tend to look at things a bit 'leftfield' myself and I can be quite verbose at times, which is the result of trying to 'think'. That's why I'm anxious to make clear I wasn't being offensive. I think it's horrible and small-minded when people dictate to others about their writing style or length of replies. Please continue with what you do – but I rest on the point I make above, that a canned regurgitation of the socialist case has no effect on me, since I already know it.alanjjohnstone wrote:I mentioned more than just the market, though, in that reply i gave you on Africa. I mentioned corruption. In passing, i mentioned that there are historical events unique to Africa that still impacts on today's issues.
Yes, but none of those factors tell us why Africans have this difficulty. I'm sorry to say that you still haven't answered my question, even though you think you have. Corruption is not unique to Africa. And even if we can accept that Africa has suffered unique historical troubles (I don't, by the way: I think that African problems nearly-always have had historical analogies in Europe), that doesn't explain why Africans haven't got over these problems. Haven't Europeans had problems..??? I think we have. Lots and lots of very serious obstacles and problems, but men of European descent created a space programme and don't seem to have much difficulty running capitalism and feeding themselves.alanjjohnstone wrote:But when you have seen a hard-working Cambodian eating roasted rat, then you understand that hunger = poverty is not merely an African problem. But there has also been famines in Asia – Bangladesh being one of the later ones. But China under Mao was perhaps the worse. I recall the mis-named Irish Potato Famine. But the last European was the Dutch at the end of WW2. And one of the latest famines is in Yemen with the US/UK permitting a Saudi blockade.
Of course. I agree that problems are not confined to Africa. We could broaden this out to Third World peoples (to be fair, I think I did in a previous comment). But we're still left with the same question, which still is unanswered. We could equally ask why the African-heritage peoples of Haiti can't run their own society under capitalism? I think you are in denial about differences in human types. This is partly due to what appear to be innate liberal-leftist inclinations that you have and that you fetishise, with the result that you’re sugar-coating how socialism would be experienced in practice. The lack of formal compulsion involved gives a misleading impression that people would not ‘have to’ work, when in reality they would. The nature of ‘work’ would of course be very different, in some places more like leisure, in others it would be quite similar to now. Whatever is the case, in practice there would have to be a strong sense of self-reliance, or the system could not work. Indeed, anybody who understands the SPGB case thoroughly will immediately appreciate that unless people have the capacity to look after themselves, socialism will quickly collapse. With this in mind, I might put my question a different way. Never mind asking whether Africans are fit for capitalism, we could ask: Are Africans fit for socialism? Or would people in the West find themselves in much the same position they do today, subsidising and aiding populations that would otherwise starve? If they do, I imagine some of your future socialists will be asking the same simple question I asked: Why can’t Africans take care of themselves?My provisional answer to my own question, to repeat, is that Africans CAN take care of themselves, within their own culture, but they CANNOT take care of themselves within a culture imposed on them by others, a point that I believe does not augur well for socialism – for the reasons given. [Note: I use the term 'African' for brevity, I know that it's a very broad term].One way you could address my objection is by explaining how socialism in practice could be culturally-flexible. Let's say an African community wish to maintain a traditional agricultural subsistence economy and a pagan belief system and wish to have no involvement in socialism, will they be 'allowed' to (i.e. left alone), or will they be told that property- and tradition-based societies, even very primitive ones, are no longer acceptable and that surplus produce must be circulated to other Africans? I think that, for Africans, the enforcement of socialism could be the route to squalour, corruption and starvation in much the same way that the enforcement of the market system is the route to squalour, corruption and starvation for them now. The good intentions of white liberal-minded Western socialists are not enough. The reason that Europeans can cope under capitalism, and probably in socialism too, is that they live in a 'socialised' society, i.e. civilisation, in which tradition and the natural basis of market economy, personal authority and property ownership have been eroded and dismantled in favour of depersonalised 'systems'.January 14, 2018 at 4:09 am #131284
Alan Johnstone's last post crossed with my own. I think I have dealt with most of this in the second part of my response above: I am willing to submit to an inquisition, in which case, please start a thread.alanjjohnstone wrote:Ike, you cannot but expect a little amount of curiosity, that you are an ex-member of the SPGB. As i said, in all your previous contributions to the discussion list on many different threads, you never once mentioned or inferred former membership. In fact, you have never expressed any sympathy for the SPGB case at any level.
This is not quite true: your recollection is faulty or you are perhaps inferring views to me that I do not have due to the 'noise' I make. In fact, I have great intellectual sympathy with Marxism and socialism, it's just that I depart from the SPGB on certain important points. The problem here is quite common: most people, even intelligent people such as yourself, do not treat ideas objectively and instead infer emotional allegiances. So-and-so is a 'Marxist', or a 'Nazi', etc. I am a rare type of person in that I am strictly objective about it. I look at the merits of ideas, and I recognise the merits of Marxism. I therefore treat it as nothing more or less than an analysis of society, which is either right or wrong to some degree, and I naturally look with interest at the SPGB case, which is an extension of Marxism, because I was once myself in the SPGB.alanjjohnstone wrote:Over the years we have had ex-members of the BUF, NF and BNP and Conservatives (plus from all the left-wing groups) join the Party but it is their earlier views that changed.You are indeed the first member who i have known to resign and move to the right. It is indeed unusual.
What you are referring to there are allegiances, not views. My allegiances have changed back-and-forth over the years because I was not mature enough to 'think' properly. I am now only interested in developing my own ideas, which starts with a recognition that capitalism is a bad system and is responsible for many of the problems I can see in society. What's wrong with that? But I want to be an independent thinker: not in a pretentious way, but purely for my own satisfaction. I will never influence anybody, but I have my own take on things.alanjjohnstone wrote:You are also the first ex-member i have known to show a reticence to reveal the full details of this membership…when and where and for how long. I can understand the reluctance to reveal your identity but some other information need not be confidential. Was it an online or postal membership application or through a branch?
I don't like nosy questions, and questions like that are nosy. Have you heard of data protection? You have no right to demand such information. I have always believed that the first rule of internet discussions (or really, any sort of discussion) is that you assume good faith in your opponent. It's much more productive and informative that way. You seem a bit close-minded, maybe fearful, but I am not trying to dissuade you from socialism – I have no interest in doing so – but I might broaden your mental horizons a little.alanjjohnstone wrote:But this does explain why you still feel a desire to visit and engage on this forum, when from your own political standpoint, it is a rather much a waste of your time and energy.
I doubt you know what my political standpoint is. Do I even need to have one? Does opposing enforced diversity and mass immigration make somebody a pariah among thinking people? If it does, then I think that's very sad and reflects more on the 'thinking people' than it does on the 'pariah'.
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