On the road to nowhere
Two academics list some actual and proposed responses to the ‘refugee and migrant crisis’, which include international summits – seven in 2016 alone – and an island between Italy and Tunisia, before advancing their own: ‘a set of loosely-connected self-governing units we call “Refugia”, brought into being mainly by refugees and displaced people themselves, with some support from sympathisers’ (theconversation.com, 7 August). They see Refugia as ‘a utopian solution to the crisis of mass displacement’. The Oxford dons are correct about one thing – their proposal is Utopian, but not a solution: creating more countries in a world where competition between them can result in war (one reason for the ‘crisis’ in the first place) and leaving the real culprit, capitalism, intact will fail. In a socialist world of production for use not profit, there will be no more refugees seeking escape from war and want. The only borders will be natural ones and citizens will be free to migrate where they want.
Another dead end
The actor Mark Rylance asks ‘who can remember the dreadful battles of the First World War commemorated recently without remembering that World War One was meant to be the end of war?’ and wonders ‘when will we stop this madness?’ before imploring us to join Stop the War. STW was formed following the September 11 attacks of 2001. The sponsors involved include some past Labour MPs and Jeremy Corbyn plus the dead hand of the Socialist Workers Party. Left wing groups are selective about the wars they oppose and have come out in favour of dictatorships e.g. North Vietnam if such are under attack from the West. By contrast, the Socialist Party has the unique record of opposing both world wars, in fact all wars other than the class war since its formation in 1904. Wars are not fought in our interest and are not worth the shedding of a single drop of working class blood. We make our opposition to capitalism, its wars and other attendant ‘problems’ clear. Here is one example from the front cover of the October 1968 edition of our Journal: VIETCONG, NO! MAO, NO! CHE, NO! SOCIALISM, YES!
‘”If the Chinese gain control of the Donglang region, they will hold a commanding position in the Chumbi Valley and would gain the ability to essentially cut off India’s access to the north-eastern states in case of a conflict,” says The Diplomat. Border skirmishes were once a common occurrence along the 2,520-mile frontier zone, the most notable of which was the month-long Sino-Indian War of 1962 (theweek.co.uk, 7 August). The ongoing tension between these countries is of no surprise to socialists. The expanding sphere of influence of capitalist China started before 1962 and spread to Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos and Tibet. These days, Chinese capitalist interests extend into Eurasian and African regions through the Belt and Road Initiative. Other competing Asian states such as India and Japan seek similar expansion of their interests and for the time being are working together on an alternative Silk Road.
Streets paved with gold?
‘Could gold finally have a purpose? New research says it could help in the fight against cancer’ (cnbc.com, 7 August). Sultan Erdogan has, it is rumoured, gold-plated toilet seats in his gigantic 1,150 room palace. Tens of thousands of tonnes of it collect dust in vaults throughout the world. But we do not need to turn to Thomas More’s Utopia, where bathroom fixtures are made of gold, to find other uses for this metal. Contrary to what the article suggests, there are various, established medicinal uses for gold and the metal is also employed in other fields including electronics, dentistry and photography The vast stockpiles of gold in a socialist world would likely mean an end to its extraction through mining and, consequently, associated pollution and fatalities.
This road is unique in that you cannot be lead there. Should a majority of us come to understand and desire socialism we will be able to explain to the next generation, any visiting aliens or cryogenically unfrozen humans – probably capitalists – that ‘People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.’ Actually, that is what Captain Picard says in the year 2364. A socialist world of free access and production for use has been possible since the last century. Let us not wait until the 24th.