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Indeed there was and that was where i got a lot of info from. I am a non-apologetic plagiariser and cut and paste merchant, as many in the Party know.
I increasingly find Al Jazeera despite its faults for a Mainstream News Media to be a well worth source of information compared to the others and I recommend we all have it on our favourites. In relation to this debate and the OWS and Iran comparisons this article is pertinent. I am not sure which thread to post it upon “One way of assessing what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is capable of is to examine whether its adversaries have a chance of being defeated. OWS has generated a great deal of debate since its inception as a movement that has sought to push back against “politics as usual”, to “change the dominant order”, etc. Yet this debate has rarely touched on the political framework within which the movement assembles and reassembles itself…” “…The fact that both conservatives and reformists had always been faced with the possibility of real defeat – permanent elimination from official politics and economic integration – characterises Iran’s domestic politics…Republicans and Democrats in the US system share the same discursive practices and the same patrons…Moreover, neither side has it, as its fundamental goal, to permanently eliminate the other from politics, economic integration etc, as they are indeed both part of the same network.”[BTW, I touched on this in a SOYMB blog where I quoted Lloyd George ‘Is it not a real advantage to the country that there should be two great parties, each capable in turn of providing responsible administration for the service of the Crown? How much better our system of government, as worked upon this balance, than in those countries where there is a permanent governing class, with all those interests of wealth and privilege massed around them, keeping the rest of their fellow-countrymen in sullen subjection by force of arms’] http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/may-farce-be-with-you-old-fraud-with.html”…US political parties try to distinguish their position from one-another by rallying around, and highlighting, specific issues such as abortion, gay rights, or even taxation arrangements. But even these differences between the two groups are firmly situated within “politics as usual”, and unlike the situation in Iran, there is no contest over the doctrinal foundation of the state in the US. The result is that, while people go to the polls every four years in the US, substantive political discussions are generally absent from everyday life.Conversely, substantive debates are prevalent in Iran within each movement’s plethora of public spheres (in taxis, bread lines, coffee houses, private gatherings, religious sermons, hayats, etc). Yet these debates often lead to a mediated criticism of the state that creates a crisis of legitimacy – as a result of real competition between, and the possibility of permanent elimination of, each side.In short, reformists created a political crisis in Iran because conservatives had a chance of losing. OWS, on the other hand, cannot create a crisis of political legitimacy in the US, because its adversaries dominate completely and are not faced with the possibility of defeat…This sober perspective on where OWS stands points to the enormous task that lays ahead of the movement…” “…a word of caution for OWS activists whose involvement with the movement stems from their lived-experience of dealing with poverty, police brutality, etc, along with the lower middle class that is now being pushed down to the ranks of the proletariat. Be wary of those whose activism stems from their abstract understanding of your problems. We have seen many of these activists (such as Marxist millionaires and privileged ideologues) join the movement and become, in many instances, its de facto spokespersons…While their hearts are in the right place and they can articulate your problems brilliantly…That maybe [they are] not as radical as [they] think [they are]… the same top elementary/middle/high schools, the same Ivy leagues, and the very same sources that bankrolled it all have produced some of our most firebrand activists… Never relinquishing their credit cards, never refusing to deploy their enormous cultural capital, their sympathy for your problems, while real, stems from an abstract world, a world that could never produce an alternative discourse…”taken fromhttp://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/2012411152431103541.html That last statement reminds me of Marx and Engels constant refrain to the workers’ movement to be cautious of intellectual leaders.
I can’t help myself once i get started. So Chomsky insists that voting Democrat is the better option for the American worker aned is prepared to ignore, or should i say, over-look, Obama’s pro-business, and consequently, anti-union, bias. Recent actions of the Obama administration seem to support low wages are the answer to globalization and runaway shops (ie out-sourcing). General Electric, a company President Obama called a “model for America” because it had returned some work to its U.S. factories.Obama is committed to GE’s wage-slashing approach to revive manufacturing, calling it “insourcing” regardless that it is squeezing its workers, cutting pensions, wages and benefits. In January’s State of the Union speech, Obama highlighted a consultants’ study that said low wages, weak unions, and high productivity will soon make Southern U.S. states competitive with China. He argued that companies that bring manufacturing jobs back onshore—even if barely above minimum wage—deserve new tax incentives. http://www.alternet.org/labor/154990/50_percent_pay_cuts_at_ge%27s_plants%3A_is_this_the_future_of_american_jobs_/?page=1 And socialists are expected to vote for him as the lesser evil !! I have taken the liberty of quoting a few articles that in my opinion should be our approach which is to expose Obama and to oppose those on the Left an inside the union movement who become de facto apologists for Obama which i think Chomsky regardless of all his other valued insights and criticisms has been guilty of being. He is failing to build or give support to those who wish a re-allignment of labour and politics. And what i argue is not nuetrality or passive apathy but we should be urging our fellow workers to take the leaf out of the book of those GE workers who are organising themselves without the President voicing support or encouragement to theie employers efforts to undemine it.http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/12674/ge_workers_vote_in_union_for_first_time_in_ten_years/The Los Angeles Times reported that labor leaders are talking about “shifting” their tactics by spending less on politics and more on movement-building. The Times reports that the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents some 190,000 transit workers in the U.S. and Canada, “has shifted ‘the culture of [the] union from…political activity to broader coalition building,’ ” ” Clearly, more rank-and-file involvement is needed to both challenge union officials and undercut misconceptions on the left about the labor movement. Ultimately, real union power is not displayed by workers canvassing for Democrats. It’s exercised by workers on the job, like the 70 UE factory workers who again occupied their workplace last month and won their demands to keep the plant open while they find a new buyer, or perhaps run the factory themselves. Or the nearly 500 Seattle port truck drivers who went on strike for two weeks in February in protest against abuse and deregulation that has prevented them from organizing with the Teamsters. Or the teachers in New York City and Chicago who, along with Occupy protesters, have led fiery demonstrations against budget cuts and school closures. “…Two years ago, Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), lashed out at President Obama who she said was part of the “blame the teacher crowd” of education reform. “I never thought I’d see a Democratic president, whom we helped elect, and his education secretary applaud the mass firing of 89 teachers and staff,” she said – referring to the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island earlier that year. Last month, the AFT executive council unanimously voted to endorse Obama for reelection. Last year, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka criticized Obama for aligning with the right and cutting social programs. “If they [Obama administration] don’t have a jobs program, I think we’d better use our money doing other things,” the leader of the nation’s largest union federation said, threatening to withhold labor’s support for Obama. Less than two months later, Trumka told reporters that the AFL-CIO would most likely endorse the reelection campaign, saying, “President Obama has been a friend for us.” The AFL-CIO’s executive board unanimously voted to endorse Obama. Last month, Last year, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka criticized Obama for aligning with the right and cutting social programs. The reason for the turn-arounds – the lesser evil. “Notwithstanding all our disappointment with the Obama presidency, it’s clear that the clowns on the Republican side would be devastating to working people,” a Communication Workers of America (CWA) official told In These Times last month. “But we’re anticipating a tougher challenge motivating people because there is a lot of disappointment and letdown,” he admitted.That’s probably because workers are hard-pressed to imagine what could be more “devastating to working people” than what they’ve seen in the last year alone. Workers have faced the erosion of collective bargaining rights, the first state in the Midwest passing “Right to Work” legislation, an FAA reauthorization bill signed by Obama that makes it more difficult for airline workers to organize, plans for massive layoffs of postal workers nationwide, and ramped-up attacks on public education.And that’s by no means an exhaustive list of the recent blows suffered by the labor movement. Both Republicans and Democrats have been ratcheting up the war against unions, a fact that is making it increasingly difficult for union leaders to justify their support for Obama to their rank-and-file members. In addition to the AFT and AFL-CIO, major unions that have declared their endorsement for Obama’s reelection include SEIU, AFSCME, Laborers’ International Union (LIUNA), United Food and Commercial Workers, CWA, the Machinists, United Farm Workers, United Steel Workers, and the National Education Association. The list is sure to grow as the election season moves forward. Chris Townsend, Political Action Director of United Electrical Workers (UE). “How many more times is labor going to go back to the members and tell them to vote for some Democrat that has left us hanging? It’s no wonder that many union members and workers are not buying the Obama-Biden rhetoric this time. Instead of tackling the corporations and the Republicans head-on, the White House stands by in silence while organized labor is subjected to a life and death struggle in Wisconsin and Ohio. If union members get stuck voting for Obama because Romney is so much worse, we should just tell the truth. We are trapped in a profoundly corrupt and rigged political system. By going back again and again and hanging the union seal of approval on candidates who are not supportive of our cause, we merely hasten our own demise.”In an apparent mission to turn the U.S. into a source of cheap labor, policymakers in both political parties have for decades demonstrated their commitment to permanently lower working-class living standards. And recently Obama has been less shy about his role in this effort, touting his own policies for helping to make the U.S. more competitive with low-wage countries.Sometimes there are tactical reasons for unions to engage in electoral politics, but trade unionism is not about electing Democrats. Workers join unions to enforce decent pay and working conditions on the job. Organizing in an active union also raises the consciousness of workers around working-class issues beyond an individual workplace, like national healthcare policy and globalization. And like other social justice movements, labor cannot attribute much of its success to voting within the corporate confines of the two-party system. Real power for workers and the oppressed exists in the streets and in the workplace, in the form of militant grassroots struggle. Every national election points to the urgency for radicals to free the muscle of the union movement from the grip of the Democratic Party – to tighten the grip of the working class around the machinery of profit.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/14-9 This is what Chomsky’s mistake is, by recommending a Obama vote, he is continuing the illusion that the unions and the Democrats share a common interest. And those of us who in this country who suggest we should all vote Labour and condone our unions and our union leaders support for Labour are equally in error.
StuartW has on a few occasions defended Chomsky’s lesser evil option by arguing that according to Chomsky, Democratic administrations have been more beneficial to the working class than the Republicans. I asked for some references for Chomsky’s conclusion but Stuart has not yet replied. Chomsky has made a judgment call, but it doesn’t make it or him infallible. In 1996, Peter Edelman resigned from his post as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services to protest the welfare reform the Democrat Clinton administration had just enacted. At the time, Edelman told his staff: “I have devoted the last 30-plus years to doing whatever I could to help in reducing poverty in America. I believe the recently enacted welfare bill goes in the opposite direction.” The old program dates from the New Deal; it gave states unlimited matching funds and offered poor families extensive rights, with few requirements and no time limits. The new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, created time limits and work rules, capped federal spending and allowed states to turn poor families away. Many people found the system more hassle than help, a gauntlet of job-search classes where absences can be punished by a complete loss of aid. Some states explicitly pursue a policy of deterrence to make sure people use the program only as a last resort. Some states took new steps to keep the needy away. They shortened time limits, tightened eligibility rules and reduced benefits (to an average of about $350 a month for a family of three). Since 2007, 11 states have cut the rolls by 10 percent or more. They include centers of unemployment like Georgia, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Michigan. Arizona cut benefits by 20 percent and shortened time limits twice — to two years, from five. “My take on it was the states would push people off and not let them back on, and that’s just what they did,” said Peter B. Edelman, now a law professor at Georgetown University “It’s been even worse than I thought it would be.” recently re-stated in the New York Times. Liberal critics had warned that its mix of time limits and work rules would create mass destitution — “children sleeping on the grates,” in the words of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat. Recent studies have found that as many as one in every four low-income single mothers is jobless and without cash aid — roughly four million women and children. Just one in five poor children now receives cash aid, the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Paul Ryan, the top House Republican on budget issues, calls the current welfare program “an unprecedented success.” Mitt Romney said he would place similar restrictions on “all these federal programs.” Rick Santorum, calls the welfare law a source of spiritual rejuvenation. Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, who helped draft the 1996 law as an aide to House Republicans and argues that it has worked well.Obama spoke favorably of the program in his 2008 campaign — promoting his role as a state legislator in cutting the Illinois welfare rolls.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/us/welfare-limits-left-poor-adrift-as-recession-hit.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=Peter%20Edelman&st=cse&scp=1 As I say, I require proof from Chomsky that the Democrats, in contrast to the Republicans, deserve to be favoured by workers in the approaching election. But, of course, we can all cherry-pick our facts – me, included ! As an aside, even if we are generous and accept that it was just a bad call in the drafting of the welfare legislation, it still confirms that well-meaning politicians and their well-intended palliatives often do not have the desired effect and can sometimes back-fire with new additional problems – yet another confirmation of what the SPGB has often pointed out in the past in its case against reformism and the political parties that promote it.
Taking the thread title why some people think Noam Chomsky is wrong, here is a link trying to explain why one person thinks he is wrong – unfortunately – it concerns his language/grammar theory, not his politics. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/books/review/language-the-cultural-tool-by-daniel-l-everett.html?nl=books&emc=edit_bk_20120406
Banks Are Not MysticalOf related interest, a debate between NYT Paul Krugman and Australian economist Steve Keen and others on money/credit supply. Is it the Fed or is it the banks and involves understanding Hyman Minsky “who wrote that markets are intrinsically in a state of disequilibrium” so that is where i get lost. I am sure others here will have a better understanding and clarify things to me. Apologies for the scattered and probably unrelated links for you to follow .http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-krugman-vs-steve-keen-2012-4According to Keen “One key component of Minsky’s thought is the capacity for the banking sector to create spending power “out of nothing”” His argument is that banks lend first then seek reserves. The Fed will accommodate banks by providing enough reserves to meet any reserve ratio at its target rate; The Fed targets a rate not a quantity. Banks are constrained by capital requirements and borrower demand, not by reserve requirements. While for Krugman “the bottom line: the Fed controls credit conditions…, all the talk about banks creating money…is irrelevant to the actual economic discussion.” Krugman argues that bank lending doesn’t necessarily increase demand in the economy—it just shifts money around. Banks don’t create demand out of thin air any more than anyone does by choosing to spend more; and banks are just one channel linking lenders to borrowers. Canadian economist Nick Rowe was on the side of Krugman with a post arguing that, while commercial banks can create money out of thin air, they are contrained by their reserves. “Commercial banks promise to redeem their money at a fixed exchange rate (at par) for central bank money,” Rowe explains. Which means the central bank controls the size of the money supply, because it is the source of bank reserves. http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/04/02/ptolemaic-economics-in-the-age-of-einstein/According to Keen, “Minsky thought that irrational market actors can exacerbate disequilibriums when they perceive future stability in the markets. For example, banks in the early 2000s continued extending loans to home-buyers with poor credit because they did not foresee (or did not want to accept) that home prices could not continue rising. Even the initially conservative activity of extending loans to creditworthy homebuyers soon became speculative, as home prices skyrocketed out of control because of unsustainable demand in the market. While it is quite conceivable that bank behavior did indeed exacerbate the housing bubble in this manner, Keen argues that this behavior demonstrates a deeper ideology: fiscal and central bank policy have far less power in controlling credit conditions than we would like to believe. He writes: We cannot rely upon laws or regulators to permanently prevent the follies of finance. After every great economic crisis come great new institutions like the Federal Reserve, and new regulations like those embodied in the Glass-Steagall Act. Then there comes great stability, due largely to the decline in debt, but also due to these new institutions and regulations; and from that stability arises a new hubris that “this time is different”—as the debt that causes crises rises once more. Regulatory institutions become captured by the financial system they are supposed to regulate, while laws are abolished because they are seen to represent a bygone age. Then a new crisis erupts, and the process repeats. Minsky’s aphorism that “stability is destabilizing” applies not just to corporate behaviour, but to legislators and regulators as well. Banks, Keen insisted, form the crux of the problem since they are in control of the monetary base. Banks’ assessments of the risks and rewards to lending grows virtually without reference to the deposits they receive, so banks—and not the government—ultimately determine credit standards.” Keen quotes “Senior Vice-President of the New York Federal Reserve, noted that the key Monetarist policy prescription of regulating the economy by “a regular injection of reserves” was based on “a naïve assumption” about the nature of the money creation process: “The idea of a regular injection of reserves—in some approaches at least—also suffers from a naïve assumption that the banking system only expands loans after the System (or market factors) have put reserves in the banking system. In the real world, banks extend credit, creating deposits in the process, and look for the reserves later.” Holmes would turn in his grave at Krugman’s naïve assertion, half a century later, that banks need deposits before they can lend ” In the same piece Keen quotes Schumpeter who “put it clearly during the last Depression: he described the view that Krugman puts today, that investment (which is what the most important class of borrowers do) is financed by savings, as “not obviously absurd”, but clearly secondary to the main way that investment was financed, by the “creation of purchasing power by banks … out of nothing“. This is not “Banking Mysticism”: this is double-entry bookkeeping: “Even though the conventional answer to our question is not obviously absurd, yet there is another method of obtaining money for this purpose, which … does not presuppose the existence of accumulated results of previous development, and hence may be considered as the only one which is available in strict logic. This method of obtaining money is the creation of purchasing power by banks… It is always a question, not of transforming purchasing power which already exists in someone’s possession, but of the creation of new purchasing power out of nothing. (Joseph Alois Schumpeter, 1934, p. 73)Paul Krugman counters “As I read various stuff on banking — comments here, but also various writings here and there — I often see the view that banks can create credit out of thin air. There are vehement denials of the proposition that banks’ lending is limited by their deposits, or that the monetary base plays any important role; banks, we’re told, hold hardly any reserves (which is true), so the Fed’s creation or destruction of reserves has no effect…First of all, any individual bank does, in fact, have to lend out the money it receives in deposits. Bank loan officers can’t just issue checks out of thin air; like employees of any financial intermediary, they must buy assets with funds they have on hand.But the usual claim runs like this: sure, this is true of any individual bank, but the money banks lend just ends up being deposited in other banks, so there is no actual balance-sheet constraint on bank lending, and no reserve constraint worth mentioning either. That sounds more like it — but it’s also all wrong. Yes, a loan normally gets deposited in another bank — but the recipient of the loan can and sometimes does quickly withdraw the funds, not as a check, but in currency. And currency is in limited supply — with the limit set by Fed decisions. So there is in fact no automatic process by which an increase in bank loans produces a sufficient rise in deposits to back those loans, and a key limiting factor in the size of bank balance sheets is the amount of monetary base the Fed creates — even if banks hold no reserves. So how much currency does the public choose to hold, as opposed to stashing funds in bank deposits? Well, that’s an economic decision, which responds to things like income, prices, interest rates, etc.. In other words, we’re firmly back in the domain of ordinary economics, in which decisions get made at the margin and all that. Banks are important, but they don’t take us into an alternative economic universe.”This brought forth Scott Fullwiler, an MMT economics professor who declared that “It’s really just a matter of double entry book-keeping, Fullwiler argues. When a bank makes a loan it creates a liability for itself—a customer deposit—and an asset for itself—the loan. The customer, of course, has the mirror opposite: an asset called a bank deposit and a liability in the form of an amount owed to the bank. But what happens when the bank customer who borrowed from JPMorgan Chase spends the money he borrowed and the guy on the other end of the deal deposits the money in Citibank? The deposit gets transferred from JPMorgan Chase to Citigroup. This typically happens by having the Federal Reserve debit reserves from JPMorgan Chase and credit reserves to Citigroup. If JPMorgan’s reserves were to run short of the requirements, it would borrow the reserves on the interbank market. If the reserves were unavailable on the interbank market for some reason, the Fed would automatically credit JPMorgan with a loan of the reserves. In short, the amount of reserves would grow. “Note that it cannot be any other way. If the central bank attempted to constrain directly the quantity of reserve balances, this would cause banks to bid up interbank market rates above the central bank’s target until the central bank intervened. That is, central banks accommodate banks’ demand for reserve balances at the given target rate because that’s what it means to set an interest rate target. More fundamentally, given the obligation to the payments system, it can do no other but set an interest rate target, at least in terms of a direct operating target.” Another commentator writes “…banks make loans first and obtain reserves in the overnight market (from other banks) or from the Fed after the fact (if needed). New loans result in a newly created deposit in the banking system – from thin air!…Banks are capital constrained. Banks can always find reserves from the central bank so banks do not check reserve balances before making loans. Instead, they will check the creditworthiness of the borrower and their own capital position to ensure that the loan is consistent with the goal of their business – earning a profit on the spread between their assets and liabilities. Banks attract deposits because they want to maintain the cheapest liabilities possible in order to maximize this spread on assets and liabilities. Banks are, after all, in the business of making a profit! ” HUMMPHHH…I just get more bamboozled the more i try to comprehend.
By coincidence SOYMB had a post on the cash mountain being hoarded by companies. http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2012/03/telegraph-and-socialist-standard.html
“Arthur Scarghill is a genuinly nice bloke.” I have never met him so i will take your word for it. He gracefully accepted a copy of Socialism Or Your Money Back when we gave it to him at an Edinburgh May-day rally. Whether he read it or not, i have no inkling. I once got a pint from Mick McGahey, he is a nice guy too but i have never liked his son. And Tommy Sheridan has cracked a few jokes in his speeches that i have heartily laughed at. I will also accept what many witnesses have said that Adolph Hitler was a great host and great company too, a vegetarian and animal lover to boot. Personal attributes of an individual are irrelevant. It is a person’s politics that matters to the Party. Some members may not like me and i may not like some of them but we are political comrades. I can live with that and so can they. And yes we do accept that a leopard can change its spots and that a persons political views can change over the years. I simply said that we would require confirmation of that from certain people who’s political position is well known and previously at odds with our own. He might be a nice guy as a person but Scargill is the undemocratic leader and i will emphasise that – the UNDEMOCRATIC LEADER – of the SLP, controlling it by the affiliation of the NUM pensions branch, full of dead men’s votes. He shares very little of our idea of socialism or how to achieve it. I would however gladly welcome a change of politics by him, Galloway and Tariq Ali just as i would from a ordinary member of the BNP or EDL.
Galloway stood in the Scottish Parliamentary election on the PR-based Glasgow regional ‘list’ in May 2011. He picked up 6,972 votes, which was short of the 10,000 to 12,000 which he himself had estimated he would need to secure election. (Galloway’s estimate was accurate: the Greens won a Glasgow list seat with 12,454 votes.)In that election he directed much of his campaign at Celtic supporters, leafletting Parkhead. He promised that “anti-Irish-Catholic bigotry” would be the first issue he would take up if elected to Holyrood.In his attitude to acquiring a political power base, it is a matter of different strokes for different folks
OGW, I wasn’t commenting on Imagine just the interview. Firstly to show that some debates are continual debates – the vote for lesser evil. And Lennon’s approach to propaganda should be discussed “They’re dreaming someone else’s dream, it’s not even their own.” – false consciousness. “…to constantly put before them the degradations and humiliations they go through to get what they call a living wage.” – But as Stuart suggests we do not do that by highlighting their weaknesses but rather than focus on their strengths. Yes i consider Imagine to be socialist except being written in a tempo that doesn’t make it into our anthem to sing along on marches, too many ohooooo-oohoooos and ahaaaaaaaaaas. I prefer Working Class Hero , much more grittier and angrie. Many of Lennon’s lyrics express socialist sentiments. Many other musicians and songs do as well. No-body so far has linked to “Dr Who’s” article yet.http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/depth-articles/society-and-culture/imagine-john-lennon I think you are a bit too quick to put the party and fellow members down. There is not any unfair criticism by members generally of him. Many do rate Imagine as an expression of socialist thought. Some have had Imagine played at their funerals. Of the others you mention, the Stalinist Scargill, the Labourite Galloway, the Trotskyist Tariq – i will grant you there would be great scepticism of their Form A to join the party and it would be reasonable to question them fully about their ideas and opinions they have voiced in the past and to ask if they still hold that their previous political views to be correct and valid. Regardless of the publicity such personalities would undoubtably bring to the party. And thats debatable taking into account Scargill’s SLP miserable electoral showing whenever they stand and Respect’s poor results overall. Also contrast a year ago in the Scottish Parliamentary election in Glasgow and Galloway’s poor performance – something overlooked by those apologists for him that argue the Muslim vote was not important in his election in Bradford. We do demand that it is the case and not the face that is the most important issue for eligibility to join. Even John Lennon may have had his application rejected on the grounds of his support for Irish nationalism although we can all understand and sympathise with the anger he expresses about the Bloody Sunday massacre but really, is recommending repatriation for the Ulster unionists a socialist answer??!!
Again linking to other threads and discussions of the lesser evil, i see in the interview that was raised too. JL:…Like Richard Neville said, there may be only an inch of difference between Wilson and Heath but it’s in that inch that we live….TA: I don’t know about that; Labour brought in racialist immigration policies, supported the Vietnam war and were hoping to bring in new legislation against the unions.RB: It may be true that we live in the Inch of difference between Labour and Conservative but so long as we do we’ll be impotent and unable to change anything. If Heath is forcing us out of that inch maybe he’s doing us a good turn without meaning to…JL: Yes, I’ve thought about that, too. This putting us in a corner so we have to find out what is coming down on other people… Lennonism TA: How do you think we can destroy the capitalist system here in Britain, John?JL: I think only by making the workers aware of the really unhappy position they are in, breaking the dream they are surrounded by. They think they are in a wonderful, free-speaking country. They’ve got cars and tellies and they don’t want to think there’s anything more to life. They are prepared to let the bosses run them, to see their children fucked up in school. They’re dreaming someone else’s dream, it’s not even their own. They should realise that the blacks and the Irish are being harassed and repressed and that they will be next.As soon as they start being aware of all that, we can really begin to do something. The workers can start to take over. Like Marx said: ‘To each according to his need’. I think that would work well here. But we’d also have to infiltrate the army too, because they are well trained to kill us all.We’ve got to start all this from where we ourselves are oppressed. I think it’s false, shallow, to be giving to others when your own need is great. The idea is not to comfort people, not to make them feel better but to make them feel worse, to constantly put before them the degradations and humiliations they go through to get what they call a living wage.
“Unless this was intended to be a tongue in cheek description I’m simply staggered to see such sanctimonious sycophancy on a socialist forum” ;-p I may criticise Chomsky but i do find him to be a great thinker. Indeed, your criticism requires qualification. “We are not hero-worshippers, and we are keenly conscious of human frailty. Fulsome flattery and empty phrases are not our way, but we know how to estimate the worth of a man.” http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1920s/1929/no-297-may-1929/death-comrade-jack-fitzgerald If you challenge Chomsky’s merits, its up to you to demonstrate that and simply not make assertions and repeat the fault i lay upon Stuart on in this discussion. Many comrades describe Marx and Engels as great for all their faults, and they were not few. The Standard has described Engels as great.”Marx, together with his great co-worker, Frederick Engels” (my emphasis) While we consider ourselves as historic materialists we do not deny the influence of individuals upon ideas.”Hook’s theoretical treatment of the role of “great men” in history is essentially sound and far closer to Marx than the absurd view sometimes put forward as Marxian that their historic influence is practically negligible.”http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1930s/1933/no-347-july-1933/understanding-marx
Stuart, if Chomsky is talking about the long stretch, he omits to take into account that for a long period of its existence the Democratic party consisted of racist Southern Democrats and some of the concessions to the Northern working class was made upon the condition of the acceptance and continuing segration and exploitation of blacks in the Democrat-controlled Southern states. “Democrats had majorities in the House every election from 1930 to 1992 (except 1946 and 1952). Most southern Congressmen were conservative Democrats, however, and they usually worked with conservative Republicans.” – From Wikipedia The trouble with American politics it has been moved so far to the right that we forget that the policies of the so-called liberals are still fundamentally right-wing. Nor is it just foreign policy as you seem to believe. What happened to the pro-union legislation Obama once promised? Forgotten. What happened to universal healthcare – now a watered down version of Obamacare, inspired by the republican Nixon’s proposals and an adaptation of Romney’s own. 50 Million in the US without medical insurance. The Heathcare reform aims to add 32 Million to insurance by 2014. That still leaves nearly 20 Million without coverage. For those 20 Million it is clearly not universal, many being migrants. Chomsky has made a value judgement upon what constitutes a lesser evil – i beg to differ from it and although he has asserted that there is good evidence , he has never produced or cited the evidence in any of the interviews. I am sure he has some so perhaps you can provide it for me to study, Stuart. We could argue that most of the 19th C reforms to the benefit of the working class in the UK was from the Tory Party and not the Liberal Party therefore historically we should be voting Conservative. In America who were the slavery abolitionists – the Republicans. Much of the Democratics pro-labour credentials are probably from the New Deal and Rooseveldt, the rest was fought and won by labour movement against both Democrat and Repubican presidencies. Chomsky’s endorsement of Obama reinforces the AFL/CIO endorsement of him rather than challenging it. tHE Communications Workers of America union leader condemned Obama legislation for making it harder to organize workers in the airline and rail industries. As here in the UK Obama has increased federal workers pension contributions . Health and safety legislation has been delayed. Employee Free Choice Act which would have made it easier for all workers to unionize by allowing them to bypass secret ballot election if they so choosed, he allowed to die entirely. He hasn’t didn’t given a single major speech on the subject of workers’ rights. Obama’s most recent State of the Union address did not mention the attacks on workers’ rights at the state level, in places like Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In fact, United Electrical Workers union Political Director Chris Townsend argues that the most high-profile comments the Obama administration has made regarding labor law have been speeches attacking teachers unions. Townsend points to a speech by Obama at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in March of 2009 calling on teacher unions to allow more flexibility in their contracts; he also points to the president’s remarks endorsing the mass firing of unionized teachers in Central Falls, R.I., in March 2010. Townsend, whose union is not endorsing Obama for re-election, worries that by glossing over Obama’s deficiencies, the federation’s unions hurt their credibility with their own members.“Why should union leaders—from shop stewards right up the national union president —why should we sacrifice our hard-earned credibility with our members for the sake of some politician? Do they sacrifice any of their precious credibility for us, in our battles with the bosses? Rarely, if at all, and only at election time. The membership knows this, and there’s no point in trying to conceal it or gloss over it with good-news-only press releases. It’s bad enough we are locked in this two party trap. We don’t have to make it all worse by not leveling with the members about what we are really facing.” Exactly! And Chomsky commits the same crime in my view by recommendations to overlook Obama’s failings because in the long stretch things might be for the better ! As for the lesser evil here is the view of South Carolina AFL-CIO President Donna Dewitt who has refused to endorse Obama, in a state where its governor has said publicly that “unions are not needed, not wanted and not welcome in the state of South Carolina,” disagrees with this approach. “I run one of the only state federations that did not endorse our Democratic nominee for governor last time around,” says Dewitt. “He was a nice guy, but he did not know how to say the word—union.” Dewitt says that unions also hurt their credibility with their members when they go all out for Democrats who are lukewarm at best in their support for organized labor. “I spend half of my time trying to talk to membership upset with their international. We have to act like labor leaders and not corporate labor leaders,” Dewitt says. “We don’t have strong labor leaders. They are always making a deal on something. I don’t know how we keep [union members] in places like South Carolina if we don’t truly represent them.” http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/not-all-labor-leaders-happy-with-afl-cios-obama-endorsement/ As i have argued here, and before, on the issue of voting for the lesser evil, i feel Chomsky breeds illusions which will ultimately lead to disillusionment, and little counter evidence has been produced by you to prove otherwise, Stuart, except by evoking the authority of the great man himself as the argument for the lesser evil.
The free-marketeer capitalists appeal to the Occupy Movement to join against the corporate capitalists which will turn them into simply a more radical Tea-party. http://reason.com/archives/2012/03/16/what-occupy-wall-street-gets-wrong “Occupy Wall Street has the banking establishment in mind especially when it rails against the 1 percent. Steve Jobs was a 1 percenter, and so are many sports and entertainment figures, but they are not the objects of anger. Rather it is Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase that get the brickbats. There is a sense that Wall Street is up to no good. In light of the last several years, this is an entirely justifiable attitude. Big, well-connected players in banking and finance were at the heart of the housing and financial debacle , in partnership with the government, of course. Free-market advocates should hold no brief for any of them. It is important to understand that throughout American history no industry has had a cozier relationship with politicians at all levels than banking and finance. The 1 percent as we know it is not the product of the market.”
The question of democracy, responsibility and structure within the Occupy movement has been raised a few times here on this thread. And some say we should not be so critical. This link about Occupy Maine highlights the weakness of those who oppose leadership but also oppose some sort of majority decision-making. http://www.thebollard.com/bollard/?p=9782 “Why are there so few people here?” I asked those assembled. “I thought we had reached consensus that all camp residents were required to attend G.A. meetings.“It was decided that we are a movement of autonomous individuals, and as such, no one has the right to require that anyone do anything.”“Well, if that’s the case, then the “zero tolerance” policy concerning illegal drugs and alcohol is meaningless,” I said.Much to my astonishment, my statement was greeted with nods and smiles. I was told that Occupy Maine considered itself to be an absolutely open and free community, in which people were to be trusted to do the right thing.Other occupations in cities all across the country had instituted loose rules and codes of conduct. These other occupations had rightly come to the conclusion that without some regulation through consensus things would soon fall apart.In adopting this patently insane concept that “autonomous individuals” had no right to institute even the basest of rules, Occupy Maine had turned its back on any concept of responsibility. But the writer however concludes “We cannot get confused and believe that the camp equals the movement. Occupy is, and always has been, much larger than a campsite. The cause of Occupy is still noble and incredibly important. The movement has already changed the political discourse in this country, and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead. It will be an exciting and wonderful thing to see. I look forward to being a part of it.”