"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)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Turing: Calculated Pardon

The man and the machine
EXTRACT: But central to the sheer volume and intensity of the praise heaped upon Turing is the fact that it was a Briton who invented the computer and laid the basis for the worldwide web, and it was British ingenuity that rescued the world from Nazi tyranny, etc. Get the picture? Turing is now almost up there with Winston Churchill in the pantheon of national heroes. Hypocritically, Turing is being politically used to promote a narrow nationalist agenda.

There is another dimension to the Turing question which is far more welcome, however. Namely, the steady normalisation of homosexuality in society. No longer does being gay mean ostracism or criminal charges. Nowadays, even members of the Dáil in Ireland can mention they are gay without generating an uproar - a significant shift in societal attitudes. And virtually no-one in official Britain would bat an eyelid if an MP or government minister announced they were gay - so what? Stop boring us and get on with it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crocodile Tears Over Salary Recommendation

Crying all the way to ...
EXTRACT: The communist position on this matter is unequivocal. An MP’s job should not be a lucrative career option. What of the idea that you need high wages to attract “high-calibre” people? Quite the reverse: anyone who wants to be an MP purely for the money is by definition the sort of person you want to keep out of the House of Commons. MPs should live on a wage close to the people they are supposedly representing, receiving the average wage of a skilled worker, plus any legitimate expenses. A communist MP would unilaterally do that, irrespective of what Ipsa finally decided. He or she would take only such an average, handing over the excess to the party.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Miliband’s Media-pleasing Funding Proposals

Ed Miliband: a welcome from Tony Blair
EXTRACT: The clash over Falkirk shows that the Labour Party remains a site of struggle. Therefore it would be foolish in the extreme to urge the trade unions to simply up and leave. Of course, that is exactly the position of Peter Taaffe and his Socialist Party in England and Wales. In response to Falkirk, SPEW declares that now is the “time to discuss the bold step of disaffiliation”, Falkirk demonstrating once again “the political transformation of Labour from a party based on workers, that had socialist aspirations, albeit with a pro-capitalist leadership, into a pro-big business party with similarities to the Democrats in the US”.3 Apparently, Labour is “unreformable” and ever since its leadership “accepted the free market” and dropped clause four (which “envisaged nationalisation and socialism”), it ceased to be a site for class mobilisation and struggle.

What is SPEW’s alternative for Unite and the unions in general? An “emergency executive council” should be called to discuss the crisis and pass a resolution for a “recall rules conference” which would remove the references to Labour Party affiliation, thereby “facilitating disaffiliation”. We further read that this conference should also “discuss political representation for the working class” - there should be meetings and conferences of trade unionists, from affiliated and non-affiliated unions, with the aim of “forming a new workers’ party” armed with a programme of fighting the cuts. In other words, unions should walk out of Labour and join the no-hope Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Comrades, this is a pathetic, delusional fantasy - it will never happen.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

By Their Friends Shall You Know Them

Weapons from friends
EXTRACT: All of which poses an obvious question. Why is the dictatorship in Qatar supporting the “Syrian revolution”, as our comrades in the Socialist Workers Party have insisted on calling it? Fabulous wealthy despots do not tend to back popular uprisings. Yet as recently as June 18, comrade Judith Orr was worrying in Socialist Worker that “open” western military support for the anti-Assad forces “spells disaster” because “the revolution” will end up “becoming a pawn for imperialist powers”. Comments echoed, or repeated, in the same issue by comrade Bassem Chit of the Socialist Forum organisation in Lebanon - warning that if western intervention goes ahead then the “revolutionary struggle” in Syria would become “collateral damage”, the US doing everything it can to “suffocate” revolutionaries.

In reality though, the west has thrown its weight behind the anti-Assad movement, however you care to define it, almost from the beginning of the crisis - even if this was done under the cover of supplying advice and non-lethal items such as mobile phones, body armour and power generators. You did not have to be much of an armchair general to work out what the opposition would do with their ‘non-lethal’ mobile phones - to find out the location, size and composition of enemy forces then move against them with US and British made weapons delivered to them by agents of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.