ALB

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  • in reply to: Some more philosophy podcasts to download #86714
    ALB
    Keymaster

    The discussion on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning on the ancient Greek philosopher Heraklitos (the first “dialectical monist”?) was very interesting. It’s now here.

    in reply to: The ‘Occupy’ movement #86432
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here’s the London Occupy LondonSX official statement on their meeting yesterday with the head of the Financial Services Authority.Looks as if they being drawn into making suggestions as to how to run capitalism and are setting off down the reformist road.

    in reply to: The need for a transnational state #87169
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Just realised that you wrote “transnational” in the title when you meant “transitional”.Also, although we reject such terms as “transitional state”, “socialist state” and “workers state”, we are not anarchists and do envisage that the workers, once they have become socialists, should aim to win control of political power, ie of “the state”, in order to stop it being used against them and to co-ordinate the changeover to socialism and, even, to deal with any violent resistance by a pro-capitalist minority (however unlikely).The point is that, since workers already run society from top to bottom and since private property is at present guaranteed by the state, this working class control of the state need not last very long. In fact, private property in the means of production can be abolished at a stroke by simply declaring all stocks and shares and all property deeds null and void. They can then be used to make lampshades.

    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here’s the answer given to the government’s claim that their debt is our problem by a striking healthcare worker on 30 November (and published in the Times the next day):

    Quote:
    The Government is in debt but why should I have to pay for it?

    Good question.

    in reply to: The need for a transnational state #87168
    ALB
    Keymaster

    There’s this article on this site about “The Myth of a Transitional Society”. There is also an article on “The ‘Transition Period'” in the January 1946 Socialist Standard but this does seem to be on (yet?).As to the history of the SPGB, online are this,  this and this.There’s also this article but you have to register and pay to see it, so that’s no good then.And there’s this on the “impossibilists” of the Socialist Party of Canada.

    in reply to: “Sharia Law negates Human Rights” (8 December) #87162
    ALB
    Keymaster

    This seems the best way to deal with islam. Leave it to ex-Muslims (rather than ex-Christians and ex-Jews). Unfortunately this is not a debate with real Muslims but with a breakaway sect, the Ahmadiyya, who are not regarded by orthodox muslims as muslims and are in fact persecuted in Pakistan and Iran.I heard Maryam Namazie speak at a meeting of SW London Humanists. She’s good. She’s also a member of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran which has the same definition of socialism/communism as us.

    Quote:
    The immediate aim of the worker-communist party is to organise the social revolution of the working class. A revolution that overthrows the entire exploitative capitalist relations and puts an end to all exploitations and hardships. Our programme is for the immediate establishment of a communist society; a society without classes, without private ownership of the means of production, without wage labour and without a state; a free human society in which all share in the social wealth and collectively decide the society’s direction and future. Communist society is possible this very day. (….)The essence of communist revolution is abolition of private ownership of the means of production and their conversion into common ownership of the whole society. Communist revolution puts an end to the class division of society and abolishes the wage-labour system. Thus, market, exchange of commodities, and money disappear. Production for profit is replaced by production to meet people’s needs and to bring about greater prosperity for all. Work, which in capitalist society for the overwhelming majority is an involuntary, mechanical and strenuous activity to earn a living, gives way to voluntary, creative and conscious activity to enrich human life. Everyone, by virtue of being a human being and being born into human society will be equally entitled to all of life’s resources and the products of collective effort. From everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need – this is a basic principle of communist society. [From here]

    The trouble is that they are Leninists and have a minimum programme of democratic and social reforms to be implemented under capitalism.And I don’t think she reveals that she wants (like us) a classless, stateless, moneyless, wageless society when she’s speaking as a secularist-humanist. Pity. 

    in reply to: The ‘Occupy’ movement #86431
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Six of us there again today. Despite the cold the usual discussions, leafletting, video interviews, etc. A young Irishman, who said he’d taken part in the occupation of Panton House in the Haymarket after the unions strike march on Wednesday, told us that while occupiers in Glasgow and other places were into banking reform and funny money theories a lot of the people at Occupy London were New Age mystics who were awaiting the Great Awakening next year. We have no way of knowing whether or not this is the case. It could well be, but would be disappointing. As an occupier himself, he’s in a better position than us to know. Be that as it may, some of the visitors have come because they are attracted by the camp’s anti-capitalist image and we’ve had more discussions with them than with those in the tents. We’ll be back next Sunday.

    in reply to: Scumbag Clarkson #87159
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Believe it or not I actually saw the first part of the programme in question and before I switched it off I heard him answer a question about why he never travelled by train by saying that it was because they were always held up by someone falling on the tracks. The two idiots interviewing him joined in the general laughter. It’s since emerged that the whole thing was a set-up with the programme’s producers encouraging him to be outrageous. It’s clear that TV producers are just as much scumbags as the editors and newspaper executives being exposed before the Leveson inquiry.

    in reply to: Scumbag Clarkson #87156
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    It is understood Clarkson earned £479,000 in dividends in the 12 months to March 2009

    How can you earn dividends? In the past even the Inland Revenue recognised that dividends were “unearned income”, as they are. They’re a property income, a tribute levied on the labour of those who work. So it’s not surprising that Clarkson was against the strike. He’s a Fat Cat himself (and even looks like one).

    in reply to: The 30 November TUC “day of action” #87088
    ALB
    Keymaster

    A clearer picture of the front of the march at Kingston dominated by SWP “He’s Got to Go” placards. This gave the wrong impression about what the strike and march were about. Kingston is in fact an administrative centre in its own right and there were pickets outside the Crown Court, Surrey Council County main offices, Kingston University, Kingston hospital as well as Kingston Council. There weren’t any pickets outside the local Jobcentre. In fact I saw strikebreakers there at their desk, no doubt striving to fulfil their quota of hounding people off benefits. At the outdoor rally the chairperson asked those who were on strike for the first time to put their hands up. Over half of the 500 present did. Capitalism is educating a new generation of workers.

    in reply to: 100% reserve banking #86739
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Banking reformism seems to be rampant at the moment. Here’s what was proposed in yesterday’s Mourning Star (handed out for free at the trade union rallies) by Jerry Jones, their economic expert (and also that of the Communist Party of Britain). He’s talking about how to re-impose the sort of credit controls that existed in the 1950s and 1960s:

    Quote:
    This could be achieved by restricting bank lending to, say, 80 per cent of savers’ deposits plus what the Bank of England was prepared to lend banks at an interest rate that it decided depending on the economic circumstances.

    This amounts to calling for banks to maintain a cash reserve of 20 percent of deposits. Not quite as economically illiterate as calling for them to hold a cash reserve of 100 percent. But just as irrelevant.

    in reply to: The ‘Occupy’ movement #86429
    ALB
    Keymaster
    J Surman wrote:
    I’ve just read an article by Badruddin Umar, Bangladeshi Marxist politician and historian, about a ‘Finish Capitalism’ movement within the Occupy Wall Street mvt.

    Just checked who he is. Unfortunately he turns out to be a “Marxist-Leninist”, ie Maoist, nationalist and advocate of state capitalism.

    in reply to: The ‘Occupy’ movement #86426
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    We can also possibly comradely debate Graeber on democratic practice and the rights of minorities when he explains that in Occupy Wall St. “From the very beginning, too, organisers made the audacious decision to operate not only by direct democracy, without leaders, but by consensus.The first decision ensured that there would be no formal leadership structure that could be co-opted or coerced; the second, that no majority could bend a minority to its will, but that all crucial decisions had to be made by general consent”

    Nothing wrong with no leaders of course but this talk about a majority bending a minority to its will is the old individualist anarchist nonsense about “the tyranny of the majority”. It’s what made William Morris say that he wasn’t an anarchist and that an (individualist) anarchist society was impossible.This is what he wrote about decision-making in the chapter “How Matters Are Managed” of News from Nowhere:

    Quote:
    Said I: “And you settle these differences, great and small, by the will of the majority, I suppose?””Certainly,” said he; “how else could we settle them? You see in matters which are merely personal which do not affect the welfare of the community – how a man shall dress, what he shall eat and drink, what he shall write and read, and so forth – there can be no difference of opinion, and everybody does as he pleases. But when the matter is of common interest to the whole community, and the doing or not doing something affects everybody, the majority must have their way; unless the minority were to take up arms and show by force that they were the effective or real majority; which, however, in a society of men who are free and equal is little likely to happen; because in such a community the apparent majority is the real majority, and the others, as I have hinted before, know that too well to obstruct from mere pigheadedness; especially as they have had plenty of opportunity of putting forward their side of the question.”

    No doubt consensus decision-making can be useful in small groups and in committees but it is not practicable everywhere or at all times (sometimes consensus just cannot be reached) and the decisions reached will tend to be the lowest common denominator.As it happens, the working class movement in England developed procedures for democratic decision-making, as incorporated in Citrine’s ABC of Chairmanship. Perhaps not as quaint as the hand signals involved in consensus decision-making but much more practicable and safer (avoiding the “tyranny of structurelessness”).

    in reply to: 100% reserve banking #86738
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Good point. Question for currency cranks: do rich individuals and loan sharks also create the money they lend out of thin air? Of course not. They have to have the money to lend in the first place. Banks are no different.The Times (23 November), reporting on the situation in the northern Chinese city of Ordos, clearly explained where the money for “underground lending” had come from:

    Quote:
    Money made from the region’s huge coal reserves or land compensation has made many residents rich, people who, instinctively, have looked for ways to invest that money as real interest rates from bank savings have slipped into negative territory. By way of loan sharks and other methods of underground financing, that money has been churned back into property investment and more building.This year the official figure for real estate development loans in Ordos was 597 million yuan (£60 million), while the true scale of property investment was closer to 40 billion yuan. More than 85 per cent of the money came from the underground lending market.

     

    in reply to: The 30 November TUC “day of action” #87085
    ALB
    Keymaster

    SWP placard calling for a mere change of prime minister (photographed in Kingston this morning but also carried on the main march in central London and no doubt elswhere, especially in towns with universities).Headline of this morning’s London edition of Metro showing that trade union consciousness despite its weaknesses is at least a higher level than Leninist consciousness

Viewing 15 posts - 8,416 through 8,430 (of 8,486 total)