Right about Kenya
The letter “Wrong on Kenya?” (March Socialist Standard) by Okoth Osewe can’t be taken as a passing cloud.
Osewe knows very well, if he has been existing in Kenya, that no attempt at socialism has been made here. Those few who have talked about it are, like him, opportunist or capitalism’s apologists. Thus his Kenya Socialist Democratic Alliance (KSDA) party is non-existent or it exists only on paper.
On the issue of the constitution, Osewe knows very well that this process was hijacked by opportunists(like him) and politicians. During the campaign for either yes or no, it was clear that these were campaigns not to either reject or support the document, but to propel some people to positions of leadership. Many politicians saw this as an opportunity to prepare themselves for next years general election.
Why people like Osewe “pambana” (struggle) join the campaigns for the draft leaves a lot to be explained. Why the need to use so much money to campaign for the rejection of the draft?
The No campaign was lead by politicians (like Osewe) who are always opposing the government. The campaign was tribalistic, hatred was obvious, propaganda for swing vote. Those who always think that they are the ones who can lead (and not be led) positioned themselves in the Orange Democratic Movement(ODM). This wasn’t a campaign for a constitution but for proper elections. Kenyans know better.
Socialism can only be brought about by a majority of workers organising for it. Politicians like Osewe and many others will not, will never get anywhere near establishing socialism.
Kenyan workers know that their situation has never improved despite our constitution being amended so many times since independence. The situation isn’t likely to get anywhere even with the introduction of the so-called “Bomas Draft”, “Wako draft” or any other document. Reforms which have come and gone haven’t made changes in our lives.
Kenya is surely ripe for socialism but people like Osewe will only manage to have beautiful socialist titles but will never manage to organise Kenyans for socialism.
I invite him to join us in our struggle for common ownership, democratic control and leaderless cause.
Only when we join hands will our desire for socialism materialise. And then socialism will rule the world, Kenya included, in the not too distant future.
PATRICK NDEGE, Nairobi, Kenya
I don’t always manage to remember the many downsides of capitalism and how much better things could be. But there’s nothing like personally falling foul of the functioning of capitalism to bring this point home. Once such occurrence happened to me recently. I thought I’d share it with you.
I’d bought some Mr Muscle Sink and Plughole Unblocker, which I’d recently seen advertised on TV, as the sink in my room had recently become blocked. The advertisement had shown a happy man and woman gently pouring the product down their kitchen sink. The name of the product gives rise to images of a magical little creature that pops out of the contained and does the job required, and as an imaginatively-inclined person I tend to be a bit too taken in by this kind of imagery. I had a smile on my face as I gently and slowly poured the magical product down my bedroom sink, bit by bit. It did occur to me that I could smell it, but I thought nothing of it at the time, and I was delighted to find twenty minutes later that my sink was working once again. Hurrah for Mr Muscle!!!
A couple of days later I found myself with a seriously painful sore throat. I wasn’t sure exactly what it had been caused by although I had a number of ideas as possibilities. Swallowing was agony for a couple of days. After I’d gotten over the worst of it I went to the doctor to see if he had any advice. He told me that sore throats were only really caused by infections or by chemical fumes. I told him about my use of the Mr Muscle product and he said he regarded it as a very likely cause.
I thought I’d tell a few people about what had happened as a warning to them not to be as imprudent as I’d been. A friend told me that when he’d had a blocked sink he’d asked the hardware store shopkeeper what the best thing to use was, and had been told that a couple of kettles of boiling water was as good as anything. He’d tried this and it had worked perfectly. “Oh” I thought to myself, feeling a little humbled…. and my mind wandered to visions of a society in which TV advertisements were replaced by helpful practical advice, and dangerous toxic chemicals were presented for what they were…. Wow! What would that be like?
Adam Waterhouse, Bristol
Wrong about Ireland?
I was saddened by Richard Montague’s “The Easter Rising – 90 Years On” (April Socialist Standard). Montague’s contemptuous view is not shared by many socialists in Wales, to whom national liberation continues to be an aspiration. Even a bourgeois republic would be a blessed improvement and relief from eight centuries of thraldom, stagnating under English rule.
Whatever the faults of Padraig Pearse, James Connolly and the five other signatories of the Irish Proclamation of Independence at Easter 1916, they were men of principle and courage dedicated to the well-being of the working people of all Ireland. We honour their memory, and the noble cause for which they fought and died. Pob bendith arnynt!
Alun Hughes, National Secretary, Plaid Gomwnydd Cymru/Communist Party of Wales.
Reply: Members of the Socialist Party in and from Wales, including those who speak Welsh, do not aspire to “national liberation” but to the emancipation of all humanity through the establishment of world socialism. It is not “English rule” that is responsible for the problems faced by workers in Wales, but capitalism. Which is why they would continue even if a “bourgeois republic” were to be established in Wales. Just look at Ireland – Editors.
In the April Socialist Standard, Ivan took the time and trouble to profile the Labour MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey. He correctly describes how she mal-represents the workers of South London who may have voted for her.
What he omits is the most tragic part of the story. Unlike workers in every other constituency at the last election, those in Vauxhall had the opportunity to hear and vote for the case for socialism, because our candidate, Danny Lambert, stood against her in last year’s general election.
It is worth noting, that alone at the hustings, Comrade Lambert put forward the case for the genuine interest of the workers, unlike Hoey and all her fellow pretenders to office.
Perhaps any south London electors who read Ivan’s article may care to reflect and lament upon their choice; however some for them have the chance to put things right, as three socialist candidates are contesting the local elections in Lambeth this May, where workers will once again have the choice of voting to overthrow a rotten system.
Bill Martin (by email)
There is also a Socialist Party candidate standing in Kingston in the local elections on 4 May.