"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Faster, Higher, Stronger

EXTRACTFor communists the London 2012 Olympics Games are a truly lurid and ghastly spectacle, whatever Danny Boyle manages to conjure up in the opening ceremony on July 27 - though you can predict with relatively certainly that it will be far removed from the genuine splendour of 28 days later or Sunshine. Every Olympic game, ancient and modern, has been about pitting state against state - warfare by other means. The global elite are coming to town and the British government - to name one - is going flat out to make every business and political deal it can. Meanwhile, working class sports fans can barely afford a ticket or engage in any actual sporting activity themselves - local facilities are being closed down or are just too prohibitively expensive in a time of austerity, wage-cuts and job losses. Instead, just gawp passively at the athletes on the television.
The national one-upmanship and horse-trading that invariably attends the Olympic Games themselves is a fitting, though extremely unedifying, example of how sport under capitalism is turned into its virtual opposite. Rather than being a genuine means of self-expression and self-fulfilment, played for the simple joy of the sport itself, it is utterly driven by commerce and, of course, chauvinism - Team GB can compete with the best. Wave the flag. Sing the national anthem.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bans Could be a Double-Edged Sword

EXTRACT: It would be profoundly mistaken to think that Miliband’s speechifying at Durham is just Blairite/New Labour business as usual - to be totally dismissed as reactionary politics and nothing more. And the same goes for his Hyde Park speech last March at the TUC-organised ‘March for the alternative’ protest - a mass display of resistance to the politics of austerity. Could you imagine Blair or Mandelson, the New Labour apostles, turning up to either event or making such speeches? Over their dead bodies, if truth be told.
Yes, ultimately, Miliband represents the politics of capitalism within the Labour Party and the wider workers’ movement - that is obvious. Unlike New Labour though, Ed Miliband’s Blue Labour - in so far as you can call it that - represents a form of working class politics, albeit one that is thoroughly nationalistic and backward. The fact remains that Miliband’s Blue Labourite recognition - and extolling - of the existence of the working class, with its “values” and “community”, does represent a partial step to the left when compared to the naked money-worship espoused by creatures like Blair, Mandelson, etc.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Miliband Clutches at Banking Straws

EXTRACTThe plain fact of the matter, and something both communists and Boris Johnson can agree on, is that the sole and overriding function of the City is to make money - there is no other reason for its existence. Therefore money will be made by any means necessary or possible: ethics need not apply. But for that to happen capitalism needs constant access to credit, whether it be “predatory” and parasitical finance capital or productive capital sectors like transport and manufacturing. Ultimately, Barclays Bank is no more or less immoral than your local haulage company trying to maximise its profits and Bob Diamond is no more or less a ‘wealth creator’ than any other capitalist - all of them are nothing of the sort.
Obviously, for communists, the capitalist system is by definition a global international order and hence can only be challenged and overcome on a world scale - to peddle any form of national socialism is an objective crime against the working class. Logically meaning that we do not bovinely call for the nationalisation of every fish and chip shop or cafe selling Devon cream teas. However, we also believe that under certain concrete circumstances, calls for nationalisation are apt and progressive. The point is that in the here and now banking, just like healthcare or the natural utilities (water, electricity, gas, etc), needs to be taken immediately out of the realm of profit-making in order to ensure its role is that of a service.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Berlin Delivers Reluctant 'Solidarity'

EXTRACT: However, the Merkel administration blinked in the very early hours of June 29. Some reports say she was “stunned” by the unrelenting intransigence of the ‘Latin bloc’, taking brinkmanship to new heights. François Hollande, now comfortably bedded down in the Élysée Palace - and the de facto leader of the ‘anti-German’ alliance - made his intentions clear straightaway. He declared that he had come to Brussels purely in order to get “very rapid solutions to support countries in the greatest difficulty on the markets” despite the fact that they have “made considerable efforts to restore their public finances” - like Spain and Italy.

In retaliation, Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister - a key German ally, along with the Finnish government - came out in support of Merkel and announced that the only way Spain and Italy could emerge from the crisis was to “bite the bullet” of austerity and “reform their labour markets” (ie, introduce yet more attacks on the working class) - there would be no direct help from the EU, no deviation from Plan A. But the ‘Latin bloc’ leaders would have none of it and demanded “solidarity” from Germany and insisted on the use of bailout funds to buy new Spanish and Italian bonds to ease borrowing costs at debt auctions over the summer. If not, they threatened - arms crossed - they would “block everything” unless Germany and other euro zone countries acceded to their calls for immediate help.