ALB

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  • in reply to: Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance #222223
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Yes, she is missing the point. Several points, actually. Even if more women were to be involved in decision-making (as simple democratic principles demand), under capitalism what can realistically be decided is constrained by the economic laws of the system. After all, we have seen, and still have, plenty of women prime ministers, other ministers, mayors and local councillors and that hasn’t made any difference.

    As has been said, humans might propose but capitalism disposes. It is only on the basis of the common ownership of productive resources that the decisions humans make can be effectively put into practice with the desired result, where we can both propose and dispose.

    in reply to: The ‘Occupy’ movement #222222
    ALB
    Keymaster

    One thing that the Occupy movement did was to make the use of the word “capitalism” more acceptable and more widespread. Unfortunately more in the sense of finance capitalism than in our sense and which gave currency crank ideas a new lease of life, including its anti-Semitic fringe.

    It is my guess that this would be how anti-semitism (not just anti-Zionism) got into the Labour Party with a lot of people who had supported Occupy joining under Corbyn. Just a guess, mind you.

    In any event, this is why it is important to understand capitalism as the whole system of class ownership and production for profit and not just financial capital and its dealings.

    in reply to: Hong Kong #222195
    ALB
    Keymaster

    That election does seem to have been a real one for those candidates and lists that passed the “loyalty” test in so far as there was a choice between 14 competing lists. Nothing like in the rest of China where people don’t have even that limited and truncated choice.

    Official Chinese government news agency report on the elections here.

    in reply to: Hong Kong #222191
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I thought I’d look up the result of that election in Macau. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

    “The turnout of the election was only 42.38%, marking the lowest since the 1988 election. The mass disqualification was said to be the reason of residents not voting, but officials claimed the weather and pandemic as main factors instead.The number of invalid and blank ballots broke record, with some writing “trashed election”, “democracy”, name of disqualified candidate Antonio Ng, or foul languages.
    Pro-democracy camp won 2 seats only out of 33, whilst the remaining were under the control of pro-government and pro-Beijing parties and politicians as expected.”

    Only 14 of the 33 seats are directly elected.

    The official results were:

    Eligible voters 323,907
    Valid votes 132,056 96.20
    Invalid votes 2,082 1.52
    Blank votes 3,141 2.38
    Turnout 137,279 42.38

    So blank and spoiled votes were nearly 4 percent. Turnout was down by 15 percent.

    in reply to: The revolution will be televised #222145
    ALB
    Keymaster

    There are thousands and thousands of charities, all trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. No wonder someone had the idea of deciding which was the most urgent. The trouble is that most of them are.

    in reply to: Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance #222143
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here’s a killer admission from the Business Secretary:

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/kwasi-kwarteng-blames-free-market-for-global-warming-l3dm9dpnn

    He is reported as saying;

    “If market solutions naturally greened the world, we wouldn’t be where we are. Clearly there’s been a market failure.”

    in reply to: Extinction Rebellion #222141
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Another consequence of these protests is that the government is planning to give the police more power to deal with them. The Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill which is going through Parliament expressly mentions XR’s protest tactics as a justification.

    This will make things worse for others too as the new powers won’t just be used against XR.

    in reply to: Extinction Rebellion #222128
    ALB
    Keymaster

    They did it again this morning and this time nearly caught me. Luckily my satnav diverted me away from junction 9 on the M25 to another route. But if I had have been blocked I confess I would have been tempted to join the angry motorists trying to pull them away. But of course I wouldn’t have done this but handed them some of the leaflets that I always carry in the back on my car as they seem in need of a bit of political education.

    I don’t know what they are hoping to achieve. Most people are already convinced that there is a climate crisis and don’t need any more convincing. The only reactions from people I have heard have been: “crazy”, “stupid”, “silly”, “dangerous”.

    Anyway, who do they think they are? Arrogating themselves the right to stop workers going to work and socialists going about their activity. And it is not as if they were demanding anything radical or claiming to be anti-capitalist. Just asking the government to spend more on insulating houses quicker. That would only have a minor effect while capitalism, the cause of the problem, continues its destructive way intact.

    in reply to: Left and Right Unite! – For the UBI Fight! #222119
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Although they are being called “vouchers” people there will in fact be given a plastic card with £100 pre-paid on it which they can use in shops and restaurants (as long of course as these have terminals that can accept cards, as most will have these days).

    Anyone for labour-time plastic cards? Like the SLP of America and certain Council Communists who still think in these dated terns, for instance.

    in reply to: Left and Right Unite! – For the UBI Fight! #222115
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I suppose it could be seen as a mini version of it except that the consumers are not being given money which they can do what they like with (for instance save it). The NI scheme is handing out vouchers that cannot be saved (or spent on gambling) and which have to be used by a certain date. The aim is rather less ambitious too. It’s to help local shopkeepers rather than to try to relaunch the economy through stimulating consumer spending.

    I would say that it has more in common with local currencies, as the aim of both is to help local shops. Also some local currencies devalue if they are not spent within a given time period.

    in reply to: Left and Right Unite! – For the UBI Fight! #222108
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I don’t know if this qualifies as UBI but it is a universal and (very) basic income — everyone over 18 in Northern Ireland who applies is to be given vouchers worth £100 to spend in local shops.

    This is not new as it had been done in Taiwan quite a few times.

    The Northern Irish vouchers have to be spent in October and November, so that £50 a month or £600 a year if it really was a permanent UBI. Which realistically is about what UBI would pay if ever introduced as a universal payment to everyone.

    in reply to: Extinction Rebellion #222039
    ALB
    Keymaster

    They’ve gone and done it again , the idiots:

    “M25 traffic: Thirty arrested and drivers delayed after climate activists block parts of motorway in rush hour
    Protestors blocked at least five junctions, causing miles of queues along the motorway. Footage shared on social media showed angry drivers attempting to drag the protestors from the road.”

    in reply to: Coronavirus #221959
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Reading through an article from the Socialist Standard from 1905 which refers to “any female over 18 years of age, who has been vaccinated” being able to be a teaching assistant, it seems that there is a precedent for compulsory vaccination (in this case presumably against smallpox) to carry out certain jobs. This would have made sense.

    There were anti-vaxxers even in those days as a report in the October 1905 issue of a debate against the S.D.F. that had taken place in August, records the S.D.F. speaker is as saying:

    “He was an anti-vaccinist because he objected to having his child poisoned. This was not Socialism, but a question of human well-being.”

    in reply to: Afghanistan #221828
    ALB
    Keymaster

    That confirms that he’s just a mad mullah who’s living about 1500 years in the past.

    in reply to: Afghanistan #221762
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I see the Taleban have announced a government, “inclusive” in the sense that apart from mad mullahs it includes a few bandit leaders. It looks as if they are going to come unstuck trying to run a capitalist state according to pre-mediaeval laws as well as in the interests of one particular tribe. Serves them right.

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