2000s >> 2001 >> no-1167-october-2001

Voice from the Back

Worldwide genocide
Under the headline “Scientists to probe worldwide genocide” The Observer gives yet more proof about how awful modern capitalism is. “The world’s first centre for the investigation of genocide is to be set up by British scientists with experience of working with some of the most appaling war crimes of modern times. The International Forensic Centre of Excellence for the Investigation of Genocide (Inforce) will use expertise gained in excavating mass graves in the Balkan conflict to provide independent evidence of war crimes and state-sponsored killing from across the world … The new centre, which could be up and running by the end of next year, plans to investigate atrocities in Sierra Leone, Central Africa and Indonesia. It is estimated that about 170 million people have been murdered by their own governments in the past century.” A hundred years of political reformism, thousands of “peace” conferences and this is what capitalism produces. Inside a socialist system we will have no need for an organisation called The International Forensic Centre of Excellence for the Investigation of Genocide. Who knows? We may even have one called The Global Centre for the Understanding of Diverse Cultures.

Sour notes
Rupert Murdoch’s Times has been sponsoring a long running campaign against the British government adopting the Euro currency. Now it seems they have another reason to be anti-Euro – it offends their aesthetic sense. “The euro banknotes are stark, bland and dead. With no recognisable building and no friendly humanity, they look as though they have been designed by committee, as they have … The design principle could not differ more from those of the pound. On the £20 note an imposing portrait of the Queen dominates. Flip it over and there is Sir Edward Elgar, with Worcester Cathedral in the background. There is nothing so bold on the euro notes.” The Times, 31 August. But all those lovers of bits of paper depicting parasites and monuments to outmoded institutions should not despair. Inside socialism you would still be able to see them in the Museum of Ancient Artifacts alongside such displays as the flint axe and the suit of armour. Who knows, it may even be housed in Worcester Cathedral.

Freedom of the press
Shock, Horror, Probe, Startling Revelations and all the other stupid cliches of the media. The Guardian of 6 September astonished us all with its findings. “Rupert Murdoch’s influence over editorial policy at his most prestigious British title, the Times, is so great that journalists are censored by executives frightened of offending their proprietor, according to a former member of the paper’s foreign staff. In a stinging attack in the London Evening Standard Mr Kiley wrote that Mr Murdoch’s friendship with Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister, and Mr Murdoch’s extensive Israeli investments led executives to extensively rewrite copy.” Of course, the proprietors of The Guardian never interfere in the dissemination of truth. That is why you often see articles in that journal attacking private property and advocating World Socialism. Don’t you?

Another brilliant ‘Marxist’
The Socialist Party has always insisted that China and Russia were never socialist, had nothing to do with Marxism and were in fact examples of state capitalism. The recent antics of the Chinese leadership show how correct we were. This piece of nonsense was reported in The Guardian (13 September) under the heading “China’s leader tries to wed Marx and Blair”. “President Jiang Zemin of China has stolen the mantle from the late Mao Zedong in a new press campaign that suggests he is a brilliant Marxist as well as a great leader. Mr. Jiang has made a “new contribution” to Marxist theory which should be studied throughout the country, the Communist party’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, said this week. And according to Hong Kong reports of a recent top level conference, Mr. Jiang and his supporters now wish to study the experience of European social democracy: “Many in our party believe that the Third Way is not such a bad idea,” a party theorist, Yan Shuhan, told Asiaweek magazine, referring to the credo with which Tony Blair is most identified.”

A mad, mad world
Amidst the millions of words pumped out by the media on the hijacked aircraft carnage in the USA, the following short letter in the Guardian (13 September) contained probably the wisest. “Shortly after 3pm British time, as the events in the US were unfolding, BBC News began analysing how the situation would affect share prices – surely yet more proof, as if any were needed, of what a sick world we live in.”

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