Voice From The Back
THE FAILURE OF REFORMISM
We are opposed to trying to patch up capitalism, we always say that such reforms will end in failure. So often do we engage in attacking these schemes that cynical opponents have dubbed us the “we told you so” party. Now we have one of the reformers telling us that his reforms are useless. “Tony Blair began his Let’s Talk initiative yesterday by admitting for the first time that both his Sure Start scheme for under-fives and policies for children in care have failed the socially excluded” (Guardian,16 May). But he will carry on his task of patching up capitalism. “If we are to change that we need a different way for government to operate …” When this “different way” ends in failure, remember – “we told you so”.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
“Ken Lay, his family, his friends and legal advisers joined hands in a circle of prayer on the steps of Houston’s Federal Court last night and, with the help of their family pastor, asked for divine intervention. But their plea came too late. A 12 strong jury had already decided Lay’s fate and that of Jeff Skilling his right-hand man in the most celebrated criminal enterprise in Wall Street history” (Times, 26 May). The multi-million dollar fraudsters of Enron now await jail sentences for the 25 guilty verdict between them. Although Mr Lay’s faith in prayer might impress the gullible it should be noted that Lay and Skilling also employed a team of lawyers costing $20 million. So they weren’t only relying on divine intervention.
Away back in 1848 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto. Ever since its publication it has been attacked by supporters of capitalism. Today the main criticism is that it is outdated and old-fashioned. Is the following passage outdated? “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet. the man of science, into its paid wage-labourer.” The Guardian (31 May) carried the following report, “Lecturers today threatened to take further strike action and toughen up “other sanctions”, after they voted to formally reject the latest pay offer from universities.” Far from being out-dated the Manifesto appears to be bang up to date.
A MAD SOCIAL SYSTEM
The madness of capitalist production was recently illustrated by a European Commission directive to order nearly a billion bottles of French and Italian wine to be turned into fuel and disinfectant. “The commission’s announcement that it would spend 2.4 million euros to distil 430 million bottles of French wine and 371 million bottles of Italian wine into fuel was met with protests by French wine growers …” (Times, 8 June). Another 2.4 billion euros is to be spent digging up vineyards across the continent. Inside a socialist society wine like every other product will be produced to satisfy human needs not to make a profit. Jesus was supposed to have turned water into wine, but only capitalism would turn wine into disinfectant.
Pope Benedict XVI raised an interesting question when he recently visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. “In a place like this, words fail. In the end, there can only be a dread silence – a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God. Why Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?” (Time, 12 June). Like we say – it is a good question, but we doubt if the holy father has had any reply. God has remained singularly silent since biblical times.
SUFFERING IN SILENCE
A recent study by the charity Men’s Health Forum, that questioned 1,212 men, found that 66 percent of them experienced depression or anxiety at some period in their lives. “Depressed men often suffer in silence, under pressure to keep up a macho front. …The most common causes of anxiety and depression were work (44% of sufferers said it was a factor), financial worries (44%), fast paced living (27%) and relationship problems (25%)” (Herald, 12 June). It seems that capitalism is turning large sections of us into basket cases. Let’s throw capitalism into the out-basket of history.