"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)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cameron Decise to Do God

Get evangelical

EXTRACT: Therefore we call for the disestablishment of the Church of England, the confiscation of all its property not directly related to acts of worship, the end of all state subsidies for religious institutions, and so on. Of course, not being liberals, Marxists ultimately aspire not just to freedom of religion, but freedom from religion. Hence we do whatever we can to overcome superstition and religious prejudice, which in the very last analysis is a diversion from the class struggle and is used by the ruling class as an antidote to socialism.

However, we are utterly opposed to the idea of a ‘war against religion’ - we no more want to live in an atheocracy than we do a theocracy. Nor do we espouse the elitist and overly pedagogical approach seemingly adopted at times by Richard Dawkins and his followers - the great man who will guide the ignorant masses to the path of rationalist enlightenment.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ukraine: Peddling Absurd Fairy Tales

Internationalist response needed

EXTRACT: This Russophobic drivel from the Alliance for Workers' Liberty and Socialist Resistance almost perfectly mirrors the propaganda that comes out of the White House or Downing Street - a narrative that portrays an ‘expansionist’ Russia as the villain of the piece, aggressively set upon a “Crimean Anschluss” or worse.2 But such attempts to demonise Russia or Putin are entirely one-sided. The orange-brown ‘revolution’ in Kiev, enthusiastically backed by the west, and an extremely ugly resurgent Ukrainian nationalism are just as much to blame for the crisis - if not more so. It was hardly an accident that the very first acts of the new Kiev government after it had booted out Viktor Yanukovych (despite coming to a ‘compromise’ deal with him only the day before) were to strip Russian of its official language status, move to outlaw the Communist Party of Ukraine and appoint six members of far-right and fascist groups to the most senior positions in the new cabinet - including minister of defence, commander of the national defence and security council, deputy prime minister, prosecutor-general, and so on.

Similarly, we have had little time for the hypocritical cant about the exceptionally authoritarian (even ‘totalitarian’) or corrupt nature of the Yanukovych administration. On what objective or rational basis was his government any less ‘legitimate’ or more ‘corrupt’ than previous Ukrainian governments - or today’s, headed by the shady Oleksandr Turchynov? At the end of the day, Yanukovych was elected in a reasonably free and fair election, with the support of large sections of a Russophone population that had suddenly felt disenfranchised by the central authorities in Kiev - for good reason, not just because of an outbreak of Russian nationalism.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First the 'red wave', then the blue

Marine Le Pen: long-term strategy

EXTRACT: More generally, Marine Le Pen appears to have something approximating a long-term strategy - unlike her father and former FN president, Jean-Marie, who would chase a prejudice, no matter where it took him. She is attempting the ‘de-demonisation’ of the FN - in that way, she hopes, it will eventually be regarded by the majority of the population as a mainstream and ‘respectable’ party. This strategy involves, for instance, distancing herself from her father’s more explicitly racist remarks and excruciating anti-Semitic puns. She still rails against the effects of “globalisation” and “financialisation”, but the anti-Jewish undertones of this are now unspoken. She claims to be hostile to the idea of French Jews moving to Israel - explaining that for the “Zionistic” FN, “the Jews of France are Frenchmen, they’re at home here and they must stay here and not emigrate”.

She wants to appear a modern and democratic politician on the side of ‘ordinary folks’, with her heavy emphasis on ‘bread and butter’ issues. At the same time, there are the very familiar FN themes - campaigning for France to quit the euro zone and indeed the European Union altogether, for example. She portrays her party as the defender - if not the incarnation - of ‘law and order’, agitating for a referendum on whether to reinstate capital punishment, which was abolished in 1981 (the electorate would be presented with a choice between restoring the death penalty and introducing life imprisonment without parole). Le Pen is resolutely opposed to same-sex marriage, euthanasia and abortion, and, of course, fulminates against ‘unchecked’ immigration and the ‘threats’ posed by multiculturalism and communitarianism. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Osborne's Plans for Election Victory

Buy-to-let boom?

EXTRACT: In reality, just like the ‘help to buy’ racket, Osborne’s pension reforms are centrally about keeping the housing bubble afloat and generating that warm feel-good factor by injecting a quick stimulus into the economy. He knows full well that pensioners will use their newly ‘liberated’ pension pots to buy property as a retirement income, especially buy-to-let investments - and, admit it, you would probably do the same. It would hardly mean you were a Rachman or property magnate. Property, when all is said and done, still looks the best investment in a country like the UK, with its obscenely skewed economy. Either that or watch your precious savings dwindle away under rock-bottom interest rates. Not very smart. Significantly, the average age of buy-to-let landlords is 53, which is 20 years older than the average age of their tenants. It is now set to get older still.

Margaret Thatcher talked of a ‘property-owning democracy’, where everyone has a stake in society. Our own front door which we can paint any colour we like. Osborne’s budget is like a zombie version of that dream, given that all measures in this direction have not had the desired end result. In fact, things are going into reverse. Thatcher’s property-owning democracy is in retreat, with first-time buyers having an average age of 37 and eight out of 10 only able to buy with family help. For the first time since the post-1945 building boom, more people now rent privately than live in social housing - the latter having shrunk by more than two million through the right to buy.


Thursday, April 03, 2014

West's Wounded Imperial Pride

Nato: threatening both military and diplomatic action

EXTRACT: Communists unequivocally oppose the pro-sanctions campaign mounted by the west and the attempts to more or less demonise the Russian authorities - making out that its “expansionism” is the central cause of the conflict. This is clearly nonsense. At the very least, the western-backed orange-brown ‘revolution’ in Kiev and a resurgent Ukrainian nationalism are equally to blame. A nationalism that by definition is virulently anti-Russian and to a certain extent coloured - or shit-stained - by anti-Semitism.

Though it should hardly have to be said, being the ‘A’ of Marxism - never mind about the B or C - alas we find that we have to remind some comrades of an irreducible maxim - communists are implacable foes of nationalism and national chauvinism. Therefore, we in the CPGB condemn the noxious, pro-imperialist stance of the increasingly Russophobic Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, last week’s Solidarity proudly proclaiming that the AWL is for the “Ukrainian armed forces” in any “fight against Russian domination” (March 17). Straight into the first camp without passing ‘go’.