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Thank you for updating this useful & informative guide.
Stephen Murphy writes as an ‘avid reader’ of our Journal yet his question suggests otherwise. The very idea of socialist society seeking to persecute people meeting to meditate, ponder, ‘pray’ or forbid them from doing so is anathema to us. Similarly, we can reassure him that there would be no active campaign to eradicate what remains of religion in a socialist world, or any attempt made to dictate majoritarian views. There is, of course, one caveat: do no harm. Thus a post-capitalist world striving to leave its primitive past behind is unlikely to accept circumcision for non-medical reasons, FGM, virginity tests, marriage to children, etc. Such practices should be thrown in the dustbin of history along with creation ‘science’ for example.
Religion has been described as our first attempt at science. And with our increasing understanding of the world around us and beyond has been in retreat, relying on the fog of faith, eschewing evidence and reason. The concept of an all-knowing/loving/powerful creator god, which many religions share, just does not square with our ‘design’. Consider, we are made largely out of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea, our eyes see less than 1 percent of the light spectrum, we have sub-optimal plumbing (breathing, eating, excretory and reproductive) and are programmed to die (yet Turritopsis dohrnii medusa, a jellyfish. is immortal!). Furthermore, at least 40 percent of animal species are parasites, and over 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct, the result of five mass extinctions prior to our arrival. This staggering series of creative cockups does lend support, however, to the idea proposed by some Christians, that their God has blessed us with Trump! Joking aside, there is good reason here to agree with Bakunin: “A jealous lover of human liberty, and deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”
The Socialist party of Great Britain asks, “When did the people of Venezuela get collective ownership of the means of production?” This is part of that perpetual argument, “True socialism has never been tried.” If the argument of the Socialist party is that many who claim to be acting in the name of economic equality get into power, focus their efforts on securing their grip on power, and then act in their own interest and only their own interest . . . yeah, no kidding. Thanks for noticing, guys:
One of my favorite Twitter accounts is the official Twitter feed of the Socialist party of Great Britain. Folks often criticize me for engaging with it because it is so irrelevant, even in socialist circles. That in itself is a kind of accomplishment. It’s like the guy who attends Civil War reenactment-society meetings, but dresses in full Klingon battle regalia and screams at everyone that no one knows how to fight Romulans. “You call yourselves warriors, but none of you even knows how to swing a Bat’leth!” Virtually every time anyone says anything critical of Maduro’s — or Stalin’s — socialism, the SPGB Twitter feed leaps into action, raining “ACKSHULLYS” down like a UFC fighter beating on a 98-pound mugger. “Actually” real socialism is collective ownership of the means of production! Real socialism has never been tried! Soviet Communism was “state capitalism!” You can almost smell the old socks and stale urine wafting up from the guy tweeting from some public-library computer, his overstuffed shopping cart full of dog-eared copies of Das Kapital and back issues of Juggs close by his side. But that’s kinda what I like about the SPGB. At least they take their ideas seriously. They’ve constructed a wholly hypothetical alternative world that is simultaneously as plausible and impossible as Middle Earth or Westeros or a great meal at a Wolfgang Puck Express at the Newark airport. It sounds like it could be real, and it’s kind of fun to think about, but it’s not actually reality. It’s like they think they can pluck the Platonic ideal of a hamburger out of the ether and use it as a rhetorical cudgel to say a Five Guys burger “isn’t a real hamburger! Real hamburgers have never been tried!” Even the Wikipedia entry on the SPGB says: “The party’s political position has been described as a form of impossibilism.”
Cited here: Cognitive Dissonance: The Psychological Phenomenon that Explains Why Intellectuals Can’t Stop Believing Socialism Works
One of my favorite guilty pleasures is the Socialist Party of Great Britain’s Twitter feed, which insists daily that the socialist ideal has never been tarnished by real-world socialists. A tweet permanently affixed to the top of their page reads: “Are you about to tell us ‘Socialism was tried in Russia’ or ‘Look at Venezuela’ etc? It has NEVER EXISTED! It comes AFTER global capitalism!”http://lat.ms/2BCKi6e
ERNIE McKONEDeath struck Haringey Branch for the third time in recent months with the passing of Comrade E.L. (Ernie) McKone. at the age of 79. Ernie first came into contact with the Party in 1918 through its outdoor meetings. He had been in the army during the First World War but deserted in France after stopping by a pond to take a drink and seeing a human arm floating in the water. At one point in the early forties there were four McKones in the Party – Ernie, his son and two brothers. Like a number of members, he had to drop out of Party activities during the 1939-45 war but rejoined in 1956.Being self-employed he was able to speak his mind freely and would often button-hole passers-by outside his house and put the Socialist case to them. Despite declining health in later years he was a regular attender at the Branch and was constantly urging it into activity. Our sympathathies go to his wife and family.JULIAN VEIN(Socialist Standard, November 1978)
Metro.co.uk has contacted the Met Police for a comment. They previously told the Times in a statement: ‘Due to concerns for public safety, officers attended Speakers’ Corner and advised people to come down from ladders. ‘Further discussions have taken place around the use of ladders this week and it has been agreed that two-step ladders can be used if it’s safe to do so. ‘However, if officers believe it’s unsafe due to crowd numbers they can make an operational decision to ask speakers to come down. Police continue to support open-air public speaking, debate and discussion at Speakers’ Corner.’http://bit.ly/2rQffhW
But it gave me great pleasure earlier this morning to switch on the tv and see hin standing on the platform along with other candidates for Islington North as the election results were announced.February 10, 2017 at 4:12 am in reply to: Theatre On The Edge presents Dan Billany: Made In Hull. Thu 9 – Fri 10 Mar 2017 #124831
I mentioned Billany as he was a member for several years during the early 30's, not because of THe Trap…