mardi 30 septembre 2008

Consolation

"There are obviously a lot of very powerful and privileged people sweating more bullets tonight than they have sweated in many and many a year. They have roused the drowsy beast of popular anger at last, and no one can say what might happen next. Probably nothing -- or rather, more of the same, in some form or another. But still, it is good to see the icy beads of panic dotting the brows of elites who have inflicted and/or countenanced so much death, destruction, terror and degradation in the past few years. Today they have suffered a very rare defeat in the relentless, remorseless class war they have been waging against us for decades. And that is something to celebrate -- at least for one night."

This guy gets it pretty much on the button. Today, the stock markets all over the world have rallied. So, without the bailout, they bounce back into near normalcy. Plus, billions nearly a trillion dollars is pumped into the rotten system. Why all the fuss over some bailout when the central banks oblige so readily?

Over here in France, there is talk on the TV about how banks are secure and that the government can secure all deposits up to 70000 euros. These guarantees raise the question of inequality in my mind first. Who the fck are these people with more than that amount in their accounts?! I've just got paid a lump sum for some overtime and ironically we've never had so much cash in our account. (it's not that much on the scale of things - sorry only begging letters for amounts under ten euros. . . ) and now they've put it into my head that 'the banks might go bust'. They haven't said that of course. But if someone said "Look I'm really not going to kill you ok?" you would check out where the exits where. That's an analogy I know. Forbidden things but in singular times, I think one or two are allowable. I mean, if they are saying (like in Ireland where the government has guaranteed all bank accounts) that the government will back you up when it comes to getting your cash out of an atm. . . it suggests that something a really big something is headed our way. It puts the idea into your head, it's a hint, a warning.

I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong at least. But it sounds like the elites are letting us down gently and preparing us for the worst, which they, as much as us, can't really say isn't going to happen.

I hope where you are, you've got a contingency plan, because this little hiccup in the way of things is going to get more awkward as things carry on. OK the shares have rallied but no one thinks it's anything other than a dead cat bounce.

Anyway, think optimistically. Capitalism is very ill - kick it whilst it's down in any way you can. Try some sabotage something daring some act of resistance. Don't let them scare us into submission just because their stinking blood drenched system is having a nervous breakdown!

Don't stop the golden parachutes

We're all for golden parachutes here at REL. Take those cheps from the banks and all those other rancid CEO's out in a helicopter over the ocean somewhere, strap a golden parachute to their backs and fling the fckrs out forthwith.

Good point

"This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars! "

Watch out

for a lot of "Marx is dead lets leave him there", "So what's the alternative then?" and "Union threaten strike action capitalise on government woes" articles from the usual dronespecs (Cohen, Kettle, anyone in the Times, HP etc. etc.).

When the good times roll, Marx is "irrelevant" "out of date" - when the bad times roll the stories the same but told with more fervour and urgency. After all, this time. . .

Bush whacked

Just seen the top chimp on AlJazeera speiling his best before the Dow opens. He looked in a bad way and trotted out some desperate gunge. In the end, they'll get their way. Though, it can't be about protecting the American tax-payer 700 bill. isn't going to make that much difference to the seize up - so really it is all about a certain charmed few grabbing the loot while there's still time to convert it into paintings, petrol gold and food and then - the ultimate bail-out when the ATM's shut down, the shops get boarded up and the factories stop the Bushes Paulsons and Darlings will disappear without so much as a 'That's All Folks!'

Well, that's what George Bush's face in a sudden flash of insight said to me as he stammered on.

UK economy grinds to a halt [Guardian]

My economy ground to a halt years ago. Relax a bit. It ain't so bad. Degrowth isn't such a bad idea - it just needs a revolutionary redistribution of those means of. That's all.

lundi 29 septembre 2008

All bets are off

OK, are you seeing this? I'm sad, I like to check the stock figures every now and then - ok most days. Usually little happens, but today obviously, things are afoot. Jusr checked the Dow and as I was logging in it had fallen by 350 points and I've just checked now five minutes later and it had fallen by another 100 points. Over at http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/ for today, they're creaming themselves. Huge capital letters "Bailout defeated" but 'they' surely can't let this happen? A bank contagion is how they're calling it over here on Channel 2 news in France, but they're trying to make out that France is somehow immune. Doubtful.

It's when capitulation sets in that things will get interesting. . .

It's funny how over the weekend all media nozzles were 'reassuring' us that the measure would get passed and all would be well. That report (below) was correct - the media is all about the management of feelings. Well, I'm feeling pretty happy atm for the next ten minutes or so whilst I have a right good laugh about all this.

It's ben confirmed on French news that the bil has been defeated. But they'll get round it I guess.

But there is some good news

A straw of good news on this bleak Monday (Austria, Sarkozy, bailout etc.) - "Shares in Britain's banks plunged today after it emerged that they could face a multibillion pound payout to cover the cost of nationalising Bradford & Bingley.
Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled by as much as 20% after B&B was taken into public hands. Lloyds TSB and HBOS also plummeted, putting their merger in doubt."

Take a thirty second silent gloat..............................a scapegloat in fact.

Share prices are an epiphenomenal feature of global capitalism, though. I wonder what caused the 1929 crash - increased working class resistance throughout the 20's in the US and Europe or just the usual scum bag operations of capitalism. Research needed.

Democarcy


Long ago, during some academic dronefest we were all asked to draw what we thought democracy looked like. It's a flagrant category error, of course, but dumbly I obliged. The most common sketch was a circle. You, know inclusiveness and all that. (Actually, that doesn't even work on its own terms, thinking about it now - a circle excludes as well). I drew a blased tree, on a bleak landscape and was. . .exluded.

Austrians to the rescue!

Nationalism is garbage. One should never allude to a country as having characteristics. Scots aren't mean. Irish people are certainly not stupid, the French aren't arrogant etc. As commies, we shouldn't really even acknowledge the existence of countries at all. There is simply working people and leech bosses, the latter who do their utmost to divide and coquer the far superioir former.

But sometimes. Sometimes, the people in a country do rubbish tihngs. All the time. Again and again. I mean, Austria. You'd have thought that given the last radically right-wing person to come from the place, that they would think again about voting extreme right. But no! Amidst a profound economic crisis, war in the middle east and the Caucases, unemployment on the rise and international tensions that mount by the day these are the results: votes/%/seats

Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ)
1,316,091/ 29.7 /58
Austrian People's Party (ÖVP)
1,134,837/ 25.6 /50
Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ)
797,993/ 18.0 /35
Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ)
486,397/ 11.0 /21
The Greens - The Green Alternative (GRÜNE)
433,810/ 9.8 /19
Liberal Forum (LIF)
84,764/ 1.9 /0
Citizens' Forum Austria - List Fritz Dinkhauser (FRITZ)
78,119/ 1.8 /0
Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ)
34,107/ 0.8 /0

This is shit news. Ok, it's good that the mainstream social democratic and conservative parties get their worst results since 1945, but, obviously, the combined 29% score for the the far right dickheads is a depressing result. Remember, last time this happened the EU imposed sanctions against Austria. But do not despair - it is easy to look at the sorry little blip at the foot of the poll and think once more, along with the likes of Linsey McGoey in a truly rubbish article, that Marx is dead.

The true operations of the social world are kept hidden from the people. The media, especially at times like this, will do their best to conceal the brutual mechanisms that keep the status quo. It has always been like this. The challenges that revolutionaries face today are not different in kind to those faced by revolutionaries in the past. We must plough on, organise, inform yourself and others and never despair. After all Austria is a small place - the working class is four, five billion strong.

(This is not being aggressive toward any individual Austrian of course and REL sends comradely greetings to the working class forces in Austria itself).

Scaremonger

Hopefully. Dr. James N. Herndon, of Media Psychology Affiliates has done a survey based on sample groups' 'feelings' and has come up with the claim that we are about to witness an increase in economic insecurity, anti-semitism and a load of pogroms. Christians in poorer parts of America and Germany are more likely to catch this disaese,

“If current trends are left unchecked, we believe that by late 2007, a feeling of economic desperation will begin to overtake large sectors of the lower-middle-class in the US, as well as the welfare-dependent classes in Germany,” he warned. “Our results strongly suggest that this will provide the emotional trigger for the scapegoating of Jews, toward whom feelings in our sample were unexpectedly negative, and often violent.” , he said.

Let's hope the left gets its act together before history repeats itself.

Herndon also noted, “Media exists to manage feelings. Our results strongly suggest that Jewish and Israeli organizations, in particular, are in the process of rapidly losing control of their PR initiatives. Opinion leaders in both the US and Europe must not stand-by passively as these trends develop.”

Hang on 'the medai exists to manage feelings'. That is an interesting way of thinking about the telly and the radio. The viewer is not being informed but manipulated. We always knew that in a way, but it's good to see it confirmed from the inside.

Incidentally, the link to the story comes via one 'Cracksmoke republican' whose deep anti-semitism sadly confirms Herndon's prognosis. It's all 'cabals', 'jewish baners' and 'anti-Israel' stuff. Anti-semitism is so ingrained in western culture. Even teaching about Nazi Germany doesn't protect one's students fully form its horrors - after all, they see Goebell's propoganda posters in the textbooks. Some people need to blame - just blame. Any target will do.

Us Marxists don't blame - we are certain whose fault all this!

Hammered and Sickle

Over at www.whatreallyhappened.com "PEOPLE ARE HORRENDOUSLY PISSED ALL OVER THE INTERNET .

Well it's a bit early for me - but with capitalism about to implode, here goes! Cheers y'all!

vendredi 26 septembre 2008

Tories go rancid

Deep down, they're racist and they like it that way. It's an easy, lazy thoughtless way for them to pick up support and reassure their core voters. Racism to the Conservative true blue is what redistribution was to the traditional left. So it comes as absolutely no surprise that the Tory response to the economic crisis is not to propose any economic change, any regulation or moves to tax the criminal rich, but instead to attack the idea of multiculturalism.

It's a distraction, it's putrid but it will work for them for a while and alas it will have the effect of allowing the government to put in place further (repeat) racist measures in response. How rotten British politics will become as this crisis takes hold.

The insect BNP must be cleaning their mandibles with childish glee. Fuck the lot of them.

What's gone bust today?

One day maybe the internet will file for chapter 11.

German terror arrests

This 'plot' will unravel like all the others.

Liberation

Liberation is the name of a French daily newspaper. It's is nominally on the left, but you wouldn't know it from reading it. Today for instance its headline runs. 'Sarkozy our saviour'. Now when I saw it one French24 this morning, like the presenter, I thought "Hmm irony - bit early for that but irony all the same." But no. In fact it seems that the paper has bought into the idea that Sarko is tacking to the left and that, anyway, the socialist party would have done and said pretty much the same thing. The journal is backing Sarko.

It comes to something when the only 'left' paper, remaining (poor old Humanité) looks dangerously left wing in comparison to it erstwhile competitor on the left scene.

Bad air

On the increasingly shrill sounding BBC News24 (too many adverts to watch for more than 20 minutes) there's a drastic piece on the latest Western effort to assist in ridding the world of malaria. Millions die horrible deaths and the disease is preventable. To that aim, western governments pledge pledge three billion pounds to eradicate it. There's Gordo looking ashen and strained and, o no, Bono (1). No mention of time scale, but for sure, the first effects of this will be felt long long after the hundreds of billions have been handed out to the drooling bankers.

Soon one will have to start saying - eradicate this system by any means necessary.

___________________
1 Sure he's given 30 million quid and so he should, but one generous gesture isn't going to solve this enormous structural social problem. Not even a hundred such acts. This way of 'tackling' the world's problems must go down with the laissez-faire economic system. The two are interrelated.

Signs of resistance # 1

This feature of this blog has been upgraded. Back in April, when the world was 'normal' there were 'tiny signs' of resistance. Hopeless, or near hopeless acts like Palestinian boys throwing rocks at Israeli tanks, military recruitment centres in the US getting a peace-over paint job.

Now things have changed and leftwingers ought to be feeling more vibrant about the political climate. True, those of us who survive the break down of civilisation could all be interned in camps run by uniformed guards this time next year(yawn) , but come on - don't bottle it before the game is not even half way through. (Worse, things could actually return to 'normal'. . .).

And, yes, this sign of resistance is only a smidgen above chucking pebbles at heavy armour, but its symbolic significance bodes well for the future. Its an idea by someone in the US to demonstrate on Wall St. against the taxpayer handout to the rich. People have been encouraged to bring along any old 'toxic' waste and rubbish they have lying about their place, dump it infront of the bull statue and demand the government buy it. OK, it's not the storming of the Bastille, or 1905 St.Petersburg, but it's a start. It also demonstrates the power of the internet as a political weapon. The left where you are should be organising similar demonstrations. IF not - get a fecking move on and organise one.

Send me any more sign of resistance please!

Bank rupt

Washington Mutual goes bust - it's the biggest bank failure in US history. It gets a couple of seconds on the news and makes the inside of the papers somewhere. When collapses like this are received with a collective shrug - things really are circling the plughole.

mwa ha ha ha

Cranks over at www.whatdoesitmean.org are convinced that something is to go down in the US come October. Big bang, troops on the streetss election cancelled, you know the drill:

"The nuclear warheads in the missiles were supposed to have been removed before taking the missiles from their storage bunker. The missiles with the nuclear warheads were not reported missing and remained mounted to the aircraft at both Minot and Barksdale for a period of 36 hours. During this period, the warheads were not protected by the various mandatory security precautions required for nuclear weapons.”
Also, and as we had reported on in our September 16th report US To Declare October ‘Economic Emergency’, Suspend Elections, the use of these suitcase nuclear weapons do, indeed, appear to be designed to deal the final death of the Western Nations political and economic structures in their continued efforts to shock their citizens senseless and allow them to institute the final set of laws needed to totally enslave these peoples forever."

The powerless love predictions of armageddon - having sneered that, though, one day some crank somewhere will get something half right. And the "I told you so's" will be nigh on unbearable.

jeudi 25 septembre 2008

Joke time

1. French President Sarkozy receives an award for his humanitarian work.
2. Q. What's the difference between a line from Oscar Wilde and the line from the White House? A. One's a shaft of wit, the other's a whaft of shit.
3. Q. Who is the saviour that gives us this day our daily bread? A. Jesus Chrust.

What is to be done?

a top quote from the comrades at www.wsws.org on the guess what, current crisis : "Already in those early years, the financial oligarchy span “a dense mesh of interlocking dependencies over absolutely all economic and political institutions of modern bourgeois society,” Lenin wrote."

Marxism is so out of date. . .

Cracking up

The US government is in a state of disarray at the moment. The election campaign has ground to a halt, the plan is evaporating and Bush seems totally lost.

The only meaningful powers left, are the working class and the ruling elite's army - on its way as we speak.

May we live in mad times.

Trickle down bullshit

I didn't read the article, life is too short, but there's someone in the US who's against the bailout plan because it's 'trickle down communism'. From one point of view, at least the word 'communism' is getting some different publicity. Usually you only see the word next to 'Russia', 'Stalin' 'gulag' or 'horrendous crimes'. The role of this is obvious. But it seems that further political lies have to be poured on the idea, now that the American public has been pushed further to the left thanks to the economic seizure their country is undergoing. So, this elite 'idea', the idea of some tool in the power structure of America, is to associate communism with state bailouts. Naturally, those with even a sprinkling of knowledge about the subject know that Marx envisioned 'the withering away of the state' and that Marxists see the state as a repressive instrument of the ruling class.

To equate this handout of free money, and monies that come from the broad mass of the American people, with the idea of a peaceful harmonious world run according to aility and need and not the profit of the few, is a major intellectual failure. (Or a knowing and deliberate piece of ideological banter and distraction). It was reported verbatim and uncritically in the Guardian, of course. That rag is really doing its utmost to instil a sense of normalcy for its readers, as their world undergoues seimic shifts, and it is desperately trying to shore up the sinking government. To that end, for instance, Martin Kettle, king lipspittle, had a terrible piece in today's offereing. It deserves a post to itself though.

update - I've read it, it's guff all the way through

Iranian economics lesson

Bush spared Iran from an Israeli punishment beating last Spring. Tel Aviv pressurised the Americans to allow their fighters to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. Incredibly, Bush refused to back the attack. Bush actually did something sensible, as crazy as it may seem. The reasons, well, hmmmm, difficult to work out weren't they? Retaliation, major World war, that kind of thing. But anyway, the Iranian president is not going out of his way to repay the top chimp for his assisstance. The latter remarked on the nature of the current (possibly fake) crisis thus: "“The world,” explained Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “no longer has the capacity to absorb fake U.S. dollars.”

Now, does this say, all dollars are fake or that the world can absorb the real ones but has had enough of the countraband? Slippery bastards these politicians.......speaking of which.

Here in France, Sarko bobbed up on the TV for a major announcement on the state of the economy, financial crisis, world going down toillette etc. The address had been flagged for a good week on all channels so I was expecting the tiny turd to say something half-way interesting. Naturally, he didn't. The upshot of his ramblings seemed to be that laissez-faire was dead but his reforms, now to be accelerated, would increase France's, er, competitiveness.

This kind of double-think got short shrift from irrascable pundits all over the media, and Sarkozy's presidency limps on with no one to put it out of its and our misery.

mercredi 24 septembre 2008

Ideological work

Recent events have exposed the nature of things at the social and political level. The Fed's 'rescue" plan shows who the American economy works for (for those left who had any doubts, that is), politicians are not their to protect the people nd the media is their to distract and mislead.

These obvious points re obscured when the economy booms. In a downturn, especially one as severe as this one's looking, the role of the state becomes stark.

A tiny example of this in that most ideologically important papers, the Gruntinaid. Today, McCain suspended his election campaign in order to concentrate on a bipartisan solution to the catastrophe. Aljazeera called this a 'bombshell', French BFM (a rabidly pro-business channel) had the story on point this morning. Over at the Guardian, though, and the front page headline reads like something from the fifteenth century. See, the government has decided to change the rules concerning the monarchy. Now, Catholics and first born daughters can become King or Queen. In all this chaos and uncertainty, why choose that as the big news?

Sure, people in the government directed the editor to do it, but the question is just pushed back to why is the government releasing this information now? Nobody is really interested in this kind of dusty 'constituional' stuff. (Nobody really cares about religion or the monarch, really. We republicans have been opposed to the idea for so long, that it's as if we live in a republic anyway. Come the revolution, there will be no crown).

With a economic crisis this emmense and a political crisis of historical proportions devolping in the US, one can only conclude that this is a desperate measure to make readers think that fundamentally, all is well and that there's nothing to be worried about. Given that this ideological manipulation is being used, though, is a major hint that the crisis is even more profound than we thought. . .

And just to make sure that any reader might be hoping for a left wing response, the paper keeps up its drip-drip of anti-left wing news "Surge in support for far right ahead of poll reflects centre-left crisis across EU". Yeh well, fuck the centre left is, hopefully, their response

Further, what to make of this, in the same rag?
"De Menezes 'scared' by terror attack
Cousin tells inquest how Braziian shot in the head praised restraint of British police officers ". A truly terrible piece of reporting, or some more ideological manipulation?

mardi 23 septembre 2008

Life on Mars

Here in France, things are a bit behind blighty. Not totally in a bad way, les francaises have missed out on all that subprime stuff frinstance, but we only get Brit TV long after it has been watched, digested and forgotten. So tonight for example, we are only just getting the third and fourth instalments of LOM. And it makes for strange viewing. For me, it works on a lot of levels - nostalgic, sociological and pretty "personal" in that all the father and son stuff resonantes wierdly with me own life. The plots are bare and sparse but the coma idea (no! don't tell me the end!) make the whole tihng compelling viewing. Atmospheric and ghostly. One thing Britis telly certainly does better than anyone.

General point

Lenin writes "The system is failing, the neoliberal solution doesn't work, parliament is increasingly impervious to our needs, and we're facing a crisis in which we find elected officials happy to pour money into the City, but extremely reluctant at best to do anything which alters the fundamentally unfair distribution of wealth and power in the society.", over at the tomb.

A point that's going to apply wider and wider.

For instance in France at the moment there's a postal strike against government plans to privatise the service. What great timing. Just as the neoliberal system is exposed for the sorry sham it is, Sarko is pressing ahead with selling off a public good to the useless greedy bastards that have got us into this mess in the first place.

Bourgeois sentimentalist


I began my distrust of Orwell when I read in 'Homage to Cataonia' that he didn't soot a fascist when he had the chance because the Franco soldier was having a shit at the time. Of course, the fascists would have behaved with such gallantry! Such ridiculous behaviour helped seal the left's fate. That and Stalin. And Hitler. But just because a fascist takes a shit is no reason not to shoot him. You soft bastard.

lundi 22 septembre 2008

French socialists provide cover for Sarko's Afghan adventure

The French Socialist Party, neither 'S' nor 'P', has, effectively, given the French government its support for the continued involvement of French forces in the doomed occupation. With 52% of French people opposed to any involvement of their country in the war, one would have expected a clear 'NO" position from a left(ish) party. But no, never underestimate the power of the French PS to isolate itself from any potential source of popular support. They did vote against the government in the debate in the Parliament but the Socialist President said ""Nous ne votons pas contre la poursuite" de l'engagement français, "nous votons contre une conception politique et militaire qui nous conduit dans une impasse", which means nothing. In the end, the French Parliament voted to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.

The hopelessly ambiguous position of the PS reduces the chances of organising opposition to the senseless Afghan campaign. None of the man parties are treating this issue with the gravity it deserves. The majority of French people have no idea why their compatriots are fighting in Afghanistan and want them to come home. The opposition party equivocates, the troop numbers increase.

That's bourgeois democracy.

Arf!

"Who would have ever thought that Russia would be the good guys? "

Eternal war


In a document entitled "2008 Army Modernization Strategy" the US military has just published a chilling reminder of just what this so called war on terror is all bout. Of course, it's been about resources all along. The document forgoes any ideological justification for the 'Global War on Teror'. Gone are any references to human rights, democracy or freedom. It's just about straightforward economic competition with 'near peer rivals' (ie China and Russia) but the main enemy is you and me. Or rather the younger versions of me and you.

The Irish Times notes "It predicts that "21st Century operations will require soldiers to engage among populations and diverse cultures instead of avoiding them". The document reveals that new US tactical doctrine provides a template by which air, naval and field commanders will no longer just secure traditional strategic targets such as airspace, seaports and bridgeheads, but will, of necessity, also deploy and fight amongst and against the target population itself to win wars. " [emphasis added].

It couldn't be clearer. The US is at war to further the material confort of a select few of its population. There is no political cover anymore for how could there be - back home neo-liberalism has collapsed and democracy is dead.

The paper goes on "The explicit reference in this context to future resource wars, however, will probably raise eyebrows among the international diplomatic community, who prefer to couch such conflicts as human rights-based or rooted in notions around freedom and democracy. The document, however, contains no such lofty pretences. It goes on to list as a pre-eminent threat to the security of the US and its allies "population growth - especially in less-developed countries - which will expose a resulting 'youth bulge'."

I like the "...prefer to couch..." touch. The writer is astute enough to recognise that our leaders play up to what they regard as their population's sensibilities, but in reality Blair and co go along with the GWOT in full knowledge of its real teleology.

It's a war on us. There's no excuse this time - we really have been warned. The left really had get better get its shit together. We need a conference - "Getting our shit together" would be a good working title......

dimanche 21 septembre 2008

Don't celebrate yet

Friday's rally in global shares, not followed up that convincingly in Asia, were pretty sickening to watch. There was a news report Friday night on BBC that showed some fat city dick as he received the good news about the bailout - his and his colleagues' triuphal gestures and cheering were the message to the viewers. 'We have won! We have got away with it! Fuck you!'

But there joy is illusory. The 700 billion (but in effect limitless.....) stumped up by the US is insufficient to cover the new wave of losses steeeeaming towards the shore. "All serious economic comments agree that an end of the crisis is not in sight. “The most frightening aspect of the past 24 hours is that any faith that central bankers and finance ministers could get a grip on the crisis has evaporated dramatically”, wrote the daily Die Welt on Thursday. And the British business paper Financial Times wrote on the same day: “We are without question in the worst financial crisis since 1929. We still do not know how many banks and institutions will collapse.” "

It is galling to see brokers' fat faces gleaming with joy and news presenters telling us that the markets are making progress - but it's all fake and temporary. Let them have their made up little triumphs - deep down, they know they're fucked.

American democracy

From the bail out bill to be passed by Congress next week -"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

So the poor gulled American proletariat not only gets the pleasure of picking up the rich man's tab, but is prevented from asking any questions about it too. A nice democratic touch. In other words, they can do what they like without anyone anyone getting to even see what the emergency powers are actually doing. Isn't anyone ever going to react to all of this? Is it because of the way it's presented in the media, as some minor entertaining anecdote and without any serious analysis, the way that after Friday's "climax" when the stock market bounced, the news programs effectively downgraded the story? Because it's not as if people everywhere aren't outraged and appalled by all of this. Just watch how the media desperately tries to manage this.

Gordon Brown yesterday said he's do "Whatever it takes." to solve Britain's economic crisis, perhaps he's thinking the same thing. If the American oligarchs can pull this enormous scam off, could he? What America does Friday, Britain follows on Monday.

Forget writing to your MP, if you ever considered it as a useful political methodology. Take to the streets at the first opportunity.

samedi 20 septembre 2008

A Labour council!

I remember Kinnock shouting this about Derek Hatton and the Miltant controlled Liverpool council during the eighties. Hatton was a bit of a dick, though Militant was a good starting point for young lefties, like me. We all got expelled because of entryism - imagine wanting to enter the Labour Party now?? - and for having extreme views such as the nationalisation of the top UK banks. What fools we were we were constantly told.

How times change - "Kaletsky [Principal Economic Commentator and Associate Editor of The Times of London] had warned, “Even the apparent rescue of Halifax Bank of Scotland may result in a bigger crisis, if the drowning HBOS drags down its rescuer, Lloyds TSB.... If this fails, it will take down all Britain’s banks.”
He expressed little confidence in the viability of the new bank if it was not offered “some kind of firm government safety net”—paid for, of course, by the taxpayer—for shareholders and was instead a “pure private sector solution.” If not, then “market attacks against HBOS will soon be revived and redirected against the merged bank,” leaving “only one solution— nationalisation of the entire British banking system.”

It's only a pity the wretched things weren't nationalised when they were making a profit. To say the least.

Here's hoping

Writing on the scale of the crisis in the Times on September 17, Anatole Kaletsky noted, “Two weeks ago nobody would have imagined that, before the end of the month, the Bush Administration would have nationalised the world’s biggest insurance company, that two of the four biggest global investment banks would be out of business and that the US Government would take responsibility for three quarters of the country’s new mortgage loans.”

“Sadly,” he went on, “the events of the past two weeks may be only the prelude, not the climax, of this amazing crisis.”

We're not gloating, we are organising. . . .

vendredi 19 septembre 2008

bbc

Round to a friend's house - they are back in the UK and we check up on the place every now and then - I couldn't resist switching their telly on because they get British TV. The weakest link is still going and still the same but with Ann Robinson's face looking even tighter than it did last time I saw the tedious program three years ago.... but the news afterwards was different from how I remember it. It was more aggressively ideological and authoritarian - one news item stood out for its committment to keeping the racist levels up to spec. The story of a sixteen year old Dewsbury guy who'd downloaded some info about napalm and crank jihadists. He ended up getting two years. The news lapped it up, no context, no explanation, just some deliberately poorly staged interviews with some 'Asian' taxi drivers to give the piece a semblance of balance.

The rest was a celebration of the stockmarket bounce and an airing of 'emails' in response to a bbc program that looked into bullying in the army. New recruits are getting beaten up etc. "We should turn these young layabouts into steely eyed killers" ran one 'email' that the item flagged up on the screen. These little moments of propaganda and ideological conditioning......

wsws

You've got to hand it to the comrades over at wsws.org. Their analysis and style is the best on the web. They're tough uncompromising revoltionaries and their take on the absolute scandal that is unfolding over this bank bail out is astute and convincing.

"The immediate line-up of both parties and the media behind the bailout plan for Wall Street stands in the starkest contrast to their indifference and inaction in regard to the plight of millions of American working people, who face a rising tide of home foreclosures, layoffs and sinking living standards. When it comes to the social needs of the people, the universal cry from corporate America and the two parties is, “There is no money,” but when the fortunes of the financial elite are threatened, the full power of the government and unlimited resources are marshaled virtually at a moment’s notice."

Compare that to the faux cheer of the bbc or the gruntiad.

A New Dawn

The Guardian really does think all is well now that the US taxpayer will go bust rather than the paper's friends. Today's headline links the record stock market bounce with the idea that the PM's comeback starts today. The ideological purpose of the supposed left leaning rag is brazen and plain for all to see.

Comment on the bailout

Everyone breaths a sigh of relief. Thank God that's over. The taxpayers (whoever they are) are going to have to find a trillion dollars on top of the 600 bilion over the past month to sort things out, but like that nice Mr.Paulson says, it's wht we need for a return to stability in the housing market. The last ten years has seen a lot of that - he has a point hasn't he. So don't be bitter, knuckle down and when you notice your quality of life getting slightly worse again over the next few weeks and months, less wage, higher bills, higher food costs, higher fuel bills - just remember it's a price worth paying.

I mean don't start any trouble now.

In the comment section of the Guardian, though, this type of bromide (above) isn't going down well at all. The paper itself is torn between its left wing readership and its neolib controllers. Of all the seventy or so responses, they're all fiercely and justifiably angry about the rip off of the century that's just been pulled off.

There's one or two dissenters -

"Scorf
Sep 19 08, 11:47am (about 4 hours ago)
Seems to me that the US and UK governments are showing a refreshing pragmatism to events rather than clinging onto ideology.
Not that the same could be said for so many of the posters on here, who cling to their Marxism and are doubtless desperate for the crisis to escalate.
Its not "fair" that banks etc can be propped up in this manner, but when has life ever been fair. I'd rather the authorities stepped in and acted"

Ah yes 'pragmatism'. The trouble with that idea, as T.S. Eliot pointed out, is that it doesn't work. This bail out won't either. The market surge is nothing other than an irrational frenzy of speculative buying that will crash next week. "cling to their Marxism" - well there was a lot of left wingers on the site - as long as capitalism clings to life, there will, alas, be Marxists. Yes, let the crisis escalate. I agree with the trolly bastard there.
I have ceased to be patient with anyone who tops off an argument with the smug sneering "yes well, you know life isn't fair." They do not say it when their council tax doubles or they personally get ripped off. Old lady mugged? Well, life's not fair you know.

And somebody called "TristanJakobHoff " who unsurprisingly comes out with a long pro-banker speil inter alia saying that fianace industry is necessary for all those ps3's and mobile phones (that's the best he can do) and turd like this utter sickbag stuff "Yes, the people who work in finance get paid a lot. This is because of the huge sums of money involved and the unbelievable stress of their jobs." and this bullshit so awful, so bitter, so class sneeringly dogshit bad that it deserves quoting in full "If you prefer high unemployment, a declining property market and rising inflation - all inevitable effects of lower corporate and personal financing - then go ahead and gloat. If you feel the government is wrong to try to intervene to save the country's biggest industry, then I genuinely hope you never find yourself in any position of power. Before you lob the next volley of stones, don't forget - you live in this glass house too."

When the revolution comes - he's booked his place.

But I like to think that this type of boiling anger displayed in the comment box is like a wave of anger over a huge crowd. It's gathering force and magnitude and everyone all over the world can feel the raw unjustness of all this being stuffed in our faces. People everywhere are seething with political rage over this. All that money for some FAT CAPITALIST BASTARD STOCK BROKERS the instant they squeal their little piggy faces and some steam of piss for the starved million in the world?

Do they want terrorism to become justified? I mean, someone somewhere is angry enough and mad enough to wreak some crazed revenge over this. Not me! Obviously. But it's as if the string pullers and money gods are inciting resentment, rage, madness and terror by the shameful greed, hypocricy and murder they spread with total impunity.

Think about 911 now. Not the poor people like the cleaners and firemen and the normal good Americans that died in that mad act. But the symbolic nature of it. Somehow, after all this, it doesn't seem that bad anymore.

jeudi 18 septembre 2008

I'm 28% chav







An upper class wanker yesterday
Following up a Socialist Worker link on the class nature of 'chavs', I stumbled upon this site called 'boredandlazy'. Now I'm neither, well maybe the latter every now and then, but hey this was research, ok.


Any road, there's this test you can take, see, to find out how chavvy you are. I take it everyone knows what a chav is? It's an urban person under the age of 40 or so who hasn't got much money. What little moneyy they do have, o no, they spend on 'cheap' clothes and carsetc. Essentially, they (or 'we'.....) are those in the working class whose tastes offend the Archer listening comfortables of soft middle England.


So I took the test. It was a simple yes/no affair with standard looking unimaginative cliché prompts pretty much all the way through - "Do you have any preference over Burberry or Aquascutum check?" "Have you ever worn jewellery from 'H Samuels'? "Have you ever owned a pair of white Reebok Classic trainers?" and so on. But rather like a interrogation that lulls you into the yes/no thing and then springs the really important questions on you as you get 'hypnotised' by the reponse drill, there were questions like


"Do you think Marks & Spencer's food hall is too expensive?"


"Have you ever not paid for a ticket on public transport?


"Have you ever referred to pudding as 'dessert' or 'sweet'?"


and snobbishly of all,


"Have you ever referred to a loo as a 'toilet'?" - (there was no space to put "Yep but usually we call it the shithouse.")


It's a joke a joke - well I fucking know that. It's just there are hundreds of these sites and a whole movement out there that seethes with hatred against, frankly, some of the most economically vulnerable and politically isolated people in society. As the economy deteriorates, it's those at the arse end of this rotten society of ours that will pay for the wild boom year's that those upper class vulgarians - the true vulgar cultureless nihilistic fckrs - have frittered away on the 'education' of their dumb appallingly behaved spawn, their shit ideas of taste and their ecodisaster holidays.



The pure upperclarse unadulterated class hate here, reeks(1). To mock people for thinking something like MnS food is too expensive or taking the risk to fare jump is, as the SWP article says an indication of just how fraught class tensions are in the UK irrespective of anyone's quaint views about 'classlessness'.


Rise up ye chavs and take over. Some retaliation is in order.
________________________
(1) My pure unadulterated class hate here, is ideologically motivated and entirely justified, of course.

Latest scam

"The Fed is buying an insurance company? Where exactly is that covered in the Federal Reserve Act? The Associated Press calls it a “government takeover,” but this is not your ordinary “nationalization” like the purchase of Fannie/Freddie stock by the U.S. Treasury. The Federal Reserve has the power to print the national money supply, but it is not actually a part of the U.S. government. It is a private banking corporation owned by a consortium of private banks. The banking industry just bought the world’s largest insurance company, and they used federal money to do it. "

This has to be their last shot.

This is 1989 not 1929

We have developed a mistrust of the practice of analogies over the years. You know, 'the state is like a ship' (ok, where tf is it going then?), 'life is like a game of chess' (how come the most stupid seem to 'win') and most loathsome of all, 'that argument is like appeasing Hitler'. I'm sure you can find your own examples.

The problem with analogies is that they are a lazy way of thinking. Rather than actually look at what's going on, unique and strange in its historical context, one lumps it together with what's gone on before - the more familiar and predictable - thereby neutralising whatever it is is being discussed. The state becomes something far smaller, a ship, that has familiar and misleading conotations, we all have an interest in keeping it afloat, there are alotted jobs and positions for all on board, there is a need for social stratification and so on. Life as chess match becomes something rule bound, 'played' and won or lost and not something far to difficult to put in a nutshell. And any argument for not going to war make you Neville Chamberlain, which is, apart from anything else, to assume a simplistic interpretation of thirties British foreign policy as well.

Thus the widespread usage of 'this is 1929 all over again. Sure, the aim is to convey the immensity of the past week's events. But you can do that by simply giving us the figures. But there are two further weaknesses. Firstly, not many people really know the history of the 29 crash. It was a sell off, people jumped from windows it caused the depression. These are about the LCD for most people who actually give a flying fck about economic history. The anaology in this case might as well be subsituted for the shout "Holy shit! This is, like, really big!" It only serves to give the often wrong impression that the talking head on the TV or the journo pundit knows wtf they're talking about. And face it, for much of the time they don't.

Further, in this particular context, the analogy seruptitiously hints at the idea that if the crash isn't solved by any means necessary (ie taking your money from your wages, from your pension for your education system) then there will be depression à la 1930's, dictatorship and eventually world war. And do you want that eh? eh? Well foot the shook up and get used to it.

When really, if you're going to do analogies, without putting the 'anal' into it (or vice versa), today's turbulence is more akin to the fall of the Berlin wall.

But generally avoid analogies, it's like someone trying to sell you a model of the real thing. (And irony too cos not enough people get it).

For real?

Over at the Tomb an excellent find from the Times. Which makes a change from the appalling Guardian. It's a piece about the effects of the credit crunch and looming financial catastrophe that we're all probably in for and is written from a banker's wife's perspective. The writer recounts the anguish, sorrow and panic that she and her (supposed) rich friends are having at the moment. There are some wonderful quotes, the best being, after a paragraph of wondering which holiday to cancel, what are they going to do about the nannies, school fees and pondering on the effects on the local unemployment rate their drop off in spending will have, she says "...and that water pump for the African village will have to be put off now."

It's a brilliant spoof. I don't think many really fell for it. The thing is, why can't the left find someone as funny as this?

mercredi 17 septembre 2008

Bank merge

More evidence that Marx had a point. As capitalism degenerates, profits dry up and takeovers lead to private monopolies. TSB and Lloyds are merging with HBOS, meaning there will only be four banks on the high street in the future. Larry Eliot in a video clip at the, sigh, Guardian makes the point that the bail out of HBOS was organised and came from the government. And that all will be well.

Buy gold then.

Some good news

Ashley Seager writes in the Guardian that - depite the ominous rise in UK unemployment these last few months (150000) all told, which excludes all those dashed off in the last few weeks' stock market rumpus - there is some good news : "wage growth remained absolutely flat, and low at around 3.6% in spite of headline inflation rising to a 16-year high. That should allow the Bank of England to cut interest rates vigorously. But the cuts will come too late to prevent hundreds of thousands more people losing their jobs."

Things are so bad and so confusing at the moment that, for some people, getting poorer is good news, or the Guardian is a neoliberal rag.

Lighten up

After all that serious sporty stuff and the paralympics, a friend suggests that Britain is well placed to organise the Paralitic Olympics where drug dehancing drugs would be compulsory.

Sports would include:

Drunk football
Archery on Acid
Pub Fighting
Magic Mushroom synchronised swimming
Falling down stairs
Stoned fencing
Free style projectile vomiting
Marathon street sex
High jump

Blue Monday, Terrible Tuesday Wanky Wednesday

"Key events on Wednesday included:

Beleaguered HBOS in merger talks with Lloyds TSB after a steep fall in its share price

US insurance giant AIG being bailed out by the US government

Volatile stock markets as global investors remain nervous

Trading on the Russian stock exchange being suspended

Barclays snapping up key assets from Lehman Brothers after its bankruptcy"

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The poverty of philosophy

The Guardian is shyte - we all know that - but it has excelled itself today in its shitness. The economic turbulence continues despite all the free cash the bankers and scammers get, and in response, the paper has asked several 'prominent' left wingers what they think about the current fiasco. Their selection of left wingers must have some kind of political message behind it - it includes Ken Livingstone and Jarvis Cocker, hardly left wing or serious respectively. It is a message that says in a jokey tone - "Look everyone, in the name of balance, here's a load of goofy lefties with their crackpot ideas!".

(Hmmm What's this......?)

Now, I have to say, in the last few minutes the report has been erased from the Guardian site so I only have this excerpt from a 'philosopher' on the crisis.


Michel Onfray is a contradictory figure. He's a French philosopher for a start - arf(1), just joking - and combines elitism, psychoanalysis and support for the French Revolutionary Communist League. What he has to say about the situation atm does not reflect very well on my idea of joining the new party the leader of the LCR has just set up:

"Is this the end of capitalism? Absolutely not. The key feature of capitalism is that it's malleable. It has been through antiquity, feudalism, the industrial era, it has worn the guise of fascism and now it's wedding itself to the ecology cause. After this latest event, it will take on a new form. It is indestructible and works like the Hydra of Lerne, cut off one head and another grows in its place. Is this the end of society's obsession with money and credit? Not at all."

Now, how to make sense of that word salad. Capitalism has been through antiquity? Wha'? How can the idea of capital exploiting labout take on 'another form'. What kind of form - a six foot lizard conspiracy change of form?

But what puzzles me on a number of levels is his claim that capitalism is somehow 'indestructible'. Firstly, why on earth describe someone as left wing if they think like this. True, this is an extremist website - left wing means revolution or at least profound social change in favour of the working class. To say that capitalism is 'indestructible', though, is to basically give up, (See 'Yawning financial chasm' below), snuggle down and learn to love the system. Slight to moderate changes may well be the best 'we' can hope for but failing that OK OK I'll just get on with teaching philosphy and forget about everything. Further, there is something insiduous about the inclusion of Onfray in the list. Not conspiratorally so, but nevertheless pointed. His views have been included to calm expectations down, nullify doubts, reassure, soothe and calm.

True, the list did have Chris Harman next on the list - but the article was pulled before I got to his contribution. But the point stands - this philosopher is just another social policeman, posing about on the left to quell sign of dissent and to confuse and disorientate the people who really count and who really have the power to solve the ongoing fuck up that is contemporary capitalism - i.e. US.

_____________
1 As in, the idea of being French and philosopher were two contradictory ideas given the madness of Descartes, Satre, Foucault etc. But obviously this was just a poor joke brought about by by my thingstodothismorning hurried writing here. Désolé.

With one bound they were free!

Phew. . . thank goodness the crisis is over! Just think, all it took was a measly 200 billion dollars or so. A price well worth paying to ensure those poor stressed out bankers get a good night's sleep.

mardi 16 septembre 2008

Bring it on

This plunge is starting to look different

"With analysts comparing the implosion of Lehman Brothers and the rescue takeover of Merrill Lynch to the crash of 1929, chancellor Alistair Darling this morning said it was vital that the world's central banks acted together to provide stability. Shortly afterwards, the Bank of England injected another £20bn into the markets to avoid liquidity freezing up again, but despite the move the cost of overnight borrowing leapt to its highest level since 2001.
"This global financial crisis has sent shockwaves across the industry," said Graham Goddard, Unite deputy general secretary.
"It is apparent that the free market system has completely broken down. Confidence in the financial services sector has been shattered."

The unions are calling for something to be done. The latest plunge "prompted Britain's biggest trade union, Unite, to call for urgent action."

Which would be the taxpayer stumping up further billions of pounds. Given that the European banks, only yesterday, were saying that there would be no 'concerted action' to stave off looming financial catastrophe, all central banks have been quick to volte face and - as per usual - to chuck money at the problem. It won't work(1) and, be clear, there is no defence for it. If the market wants to collapse - then let it. We've lived through 25 years of smug upper class politicians telling us that our problems (NHS, education, crime etc.) cannot be solved by throwing money at them. And now......the first sign of a - face it - not very big capitalist hiccup (alas, there are no huge worker deomnstrations, strikes, riots and toppling governments...yet (o, hold on, the Ukrainian government's just evaporated)) , the first sign of trouble and the bastards send the cheques out. But to the greedy fat guilty cats who bet and lost.

Lastly, the terminal thing a bloody union needs to do is to call for rescue measures for the very system that's caused the disaster in the first place. Get rid of these social policemen ffs.

Trouble is, it'll all blow over and things will 'return to normal' - unless people agitate for change. . .

____________
(1) "Having pumped £5bn into the markets yesterday, the Bank of England today presented another £20bn in fresh liquidity. Banks rushed to take up the offer, which was three-times oversubscribed. This is the Bank's latest attempt to keep retail banks lending to each other. But the cost of overnight borrowing still spiked today, as banks again held onto their cash - threatening a new credit crunch.

Yawning financial chasm


What difference does it make to we small sect of revolutionary Marxists if,


"As a result, the credit default market is best described as an insurance market where many of the individual trades are undercapitalized. But even worse, many of the insurers are grossly undercapitalized.


In one case in the New York courts, the Swiss banking giant UBS is suing a hedge fund that said it would insure nearly $1.5 billion in bonds but was unable to do so. No wonder — the hedge fund had only $200 million in assets.


If A.I.G. collapsed, its hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-related assets would be added to those being sold by other financial institutions. This would just depress values further. The counterparties around the world to A.I.G.’s credit default swaps may be unable to collect on their trades. As a large hedge-fund investor, A.I.G. would suddenly become a large redeemer from hedge funds, forcing fund managers to sell positions and probably driving down prices in the world’s financial markets. More failures, particularly of hedge funds, could follow. "


So a load of besuited greedhead bankers have lied to eachother about the amount of money they had. More banks go down, credit dries up jobs are lost. What has changed form our perspective? I mention this because over at the tomb there's a tiny debate going about the nature if the current crisis and its future impact on politics, namely the chances for social change. (I mean real social change, not just a tax break for the lowest paid and recognition of union rights etc. which would be the least any self-respecting reformist party would grant). This tiny debate involves one of our REL operatives and a user called 'On the Ball Patriot'. However, the debate starts from something 'Lenin' (ie Richard Seymour SWP and blogger), on 'Lenin's Tomb'


Lenin's Tomb is essential reading for any armchair revolutionary and for real ones too for that matter. It's up to date well written and above all socialist. His, or their, analysis of the Iraq conflit has been excellent and the international coverage is extensive and in depth. Yet this one post on the economic turbulence wreaing news programs around the world, jarred a little.


After correctly assessing the current phase of this economic belch we're experiencing as indicating the extent of US governmental power he concluded weakly "If the world economy slides into depression, the only way it will be able to raise money will be through war bonds. And who knows - another jumbo round of accumulation-by-dispossession, though risky, could destroy enough capital to help restart the whole shaky enterprise, and secure another American century."


True the "who knows" means Seymour doesn't fully endorse a what we could call a 'capitalist determinist' position, namely that whatever happens the fundamentals of capitalism are never going to go away. You could substantiate this position in any number of familiar ways.


1. Capitalism is the least worst system of production - don't bother changing it the alternatives are worse.

2. Capitalism is harmonious with selfish human nature.

3. The ruling classes are just too strong for any alternative politics to develop and threaten the economic order of things.

4. Even in times of economic crisis, the working class will not resist because they will be too scared, poor and miserable.


Capitalist determinism (CD) is a counsel of despair but in a critical form. It accepts the shortcomings of the system, the collapses, the wars, the unemployment and so on, yet closes off the possibility of change.


In the comment box, "On the Ball Patriot" replies to one of my posts therein thus:


"The reality is that when millions are thrown out of work and social conditions worsen there is also a burden shift to those that are still working that further worsens conditions to a point that all are lacking in resources and the sole focus becomes survival not resistance.A further reality -- hang on to your ‘buds of hope’ for this one -- is that you can add on top of all of the aforementioned misery and insecurity; mountains of recently enacted civil rights constraining legislation, an enormous amount of newly installed surveillance networks, and beefed up domestic ‘law’ enforcement that is trained and ready to step in where needed.


The bud of hope is to recognize the reality for what it truly is."


The ironic use of the 'bud of hope' was in response to my idea that "And, returning haphazardly to you first point, and as for "resources"... do you think the revolution was going to be funded by Master Card? People are resouceful, resilient and increasingly pissed off. Don't squash all buds of hope before they've even seen the light of cliché/day.....please?" itself a reply to OTBP's belief in capitalist determinism. He'd (or she'd) said


"Not to mention the fact that millions of people are going to end up enduring real misery and insecurity, and that crime will probably drive people out of their minds with fear, and that poverty will cut an inch into the average arse-bone. Y'know, all that stuff.”I would add that it also leaves few resources to mount any resistance. Which is also a key part of the Strauss based neocon global grand design being implemented here. " [wha'? - REL]


Now I know this is so insignificant in the great scheme of things and it looks and sounds like I 'he said - she said ooo the bitch" but there is a serious point, which is that, what is the difference between a socialist analysis but with a pessimism of the will and of the intellect and a straightforward support for the capitalist order of things?


I'd say, not very much. Note also OTBP 's tone - it's the familiar sneering contemptuous one of someone convinced the system is going to stay come what may and anyone who dares challenge it is a naive fool.


His CD rests, clearly on number 4 above. A strange belief for any left winger to have. Consistent with this approach is the following - There is little chance of any revolutionary change in times of economic boom. People are working too hard to attend meetings or even think of a political alternative. Further, when times are 'good', why should people want to change? They have cheap food, technology, houses and holidays. (True, this only applies to western workers atm but things will progress you see...). So there's no point in arguing for social change. People will just larf at you.


Fair enough. Anyway, a central tenet of marxism is the idea that capitalism inevitably immiserates the working class. (O come on look it up). They are exploited, repressed and laid off etc. . Marx's idea was that this grind would produce an awareness of what was going on socially and that the working class would seek to organised itself. The rest is history.


Now, if you're going to deny that, well history has ended for you. The working class is either too satiated by capitalism's wares or too dpressed to organise and change things. Capitalism reigns for ever. The exploitation goes on, the social breakdown deepens and wars grow in scope and ferocity - but it's all grist to the mill for 'socialist' analysts and wanna be academics.


Of course, no one is disputing people's right to attack socialists for their beliefs, it just seems a strange way to spend your time - to go on a left wing site and argue against social change. My suspicion is that with a name like "....Pariot", the writer is some kind of troll, perhaps acting unconsciously. His/her belief in Straussian conspiracy that keeps people down apart from being bad faith, is pure political solipsism. It's isolated and irrefutable, but irrefutable nonsense and a conspiracy theory that ignores the larger uncentred one that makes you convinced that resistance is futile.


Absofuckinglutely

"The entire financial system must be taken out of private hands and nationalized in the form of a public utility under the democratic control of the working class, with provisions taken to safeguard the holdings of small depositors and share-holders. It must be subordinated to the social needs of the people and dedicated to developing and expanding the productive forces in order to eliminate poverty and unemployment and vastly improve the living standards and cultural level of the entire population."

Of course, we expect peaceful cooperation from the ruling class and their orderly disengagement from the economy and political situation that they have left in such fucked up states.

lundi 15 septembre 2008

Plunge, plummet and dive

We're all so bored with the financial crash here at REL. It's dragged on for over a year now and so what if some Brothers go bankrupt - it ain't so bad. The thing is, the real consequences of the last twenty five years of squander capitalism are hidden from view, rot and die unseen. On Aljazeera this morning, a programme about people on a Pacific Island called Maru who are undergoing cruel deprevations in the boom's aftermath. Short term profit in the 90's, technology, cheap stuff changed their society but destroyed the enviroment they lived in.

The working class now has to drink boiled rain water, do without electricity and make do with seventy dollars a week.
One guy, father of three kids who all live in a caravan by the road, smiled as he reached for an Encylopeadia Britianica - "We found this on the dump and read it together every night." He smiled ruefully and then tore a handful of pages out of it and put it on the stove to get the fire going.

The manager of a supermarket sighs and says that all he can sell is the real basic stuff. "Once people have forked out for rice, sugar and flour - there really isn't very much change left over." (Face it, it could be you very soon.....but so what - are we that hooked up and dependent on the vile capitalist way of life that its breakdown leaves us panicking and desperate....I doubt it).

Further down the road there's a detention centre where the local athletic stadium used to be. The Australian government emprisons refugees and asylum seekers in it. The Maru government needed the money and ceded to Canberra's request. Out of sight out of mind.

So fuck the credit crunch and the so called never get round to happening melt down of the entire gross financial system. Even if it were to happen, the damage it has done has gone beyond a crisis. Thing will only get interesting when the people start to fight back.

Distraction

The real reason I don't spend too much time on 'conspiracy' theories is that they distract people from the real work of analysing the true nature of the grotesque capitalist system. Buyt occassionally....

Pakistan troops fire on Nato invaders

The war on terror has long been out of control. Gitmo, Iraq the Afghanistan debacle, etc.etc. ad infinitum, but lately it has taken a truly deranged twist, with NATO and/or the Americans now virtually AT WAR with Pakistan. The latter, under the hypercorrupt Sheraff, was a one time ally of America's way back pre-WMD, but now things have gone all bush.

The time has come for 'bush' to enter the English language as an adjective - meaning i) 'totally fucked up' ii) 'a really stupid idea' and iii) 'shit'. As in:

"Car won't start, the battery's all bush."
"Don't do drugs, it's just bush."
"This post is bush, sorry".

Could?

"Deal for troubled stockbroker Merrill Lynch for around $50bn (£27.8bn) could resolve the firm's funding crisis."

Could?

Capital meltdown

Since Labour is in meltdown (see below) - an overused word, sorry - it's oly fair that capital has its own meltdown as Lehman Bros. goes tites up [sic] and shares crash. Both have shown tedious resilience in the past; though there are signs that this week could be significant.

One minute's quiet gloating is now allowed.

Right - now form the Revolutionary Socialist Party that will sweep the working class to power.

dimanche 14 septembre 2008

Bolivia

Just wait for the US to steam into Bolivia on the pretext of protecting the Santa Cruz 'indigenous' population. A kind of Georgia anaolgy. George Bush is just the guy to put the 'anal' into analogy.

Purists can scoff at Morales, but sometimes you've got to be prepared to say that if the forces of human subjagation do go in that you're gonna get on a boat, cross the sea and actually get your hands dirty for once. . . Yeh, bravado. It'd be a sorry 'revolution' that depended on ageing European lefties, I know....


Besides, the Bolivians will revolutionise their little province issue and things will really change or failing that, Chavez'll sort their bastards out. . .

samedi 13 septembre 2008

Labour meltdown

It is embarassing to think that I was once IN the Labour Party, given its current degenerated state - and indeed given its dreadful record in office. Dreadful, as in for those of us on the receiving end of the policies it dished out. For those on the inside and in power it was business as usual of course. Still, to see it in its death throws (today another MP has called for Brown to go and has got dashed off, five MP's have demanded nomoniation forms be sent out and the whip has been sacked and so on) does not bring about unalloyed joy. Sure a twinge of, what, schadenfreude, perhaps, no doubt misplaced. For however wrong the Blairites were about everything they touched and fucked up, they got away with it and got the book deals. Is it a feeling of vindication? A powerless urge to scream 'We fucking told you so you bastards'? Well one is allowed at least some consolation. A dread foreboding about what the future Tory administration has in mind for when it duly gets it 200 seat majority. That certainly. But, having said that all the problems Brown faces does, albeit passively, prompt some joy at least, I have to say. For it could be worse, from a revolutionary's perspective. The Blairites could have been right all along. We could now be in the midst of a neo-liberal paradise of smoothly functioning economies inhabited by happy slaves, zero price inflation and successful wars of liberation where the ingrate foreigner actually DID lay flowers before the glorious triumphant Western armies. But then again, that was never the deal, of course. They never really cared about 'it' working. There never was an 'it'. Only a 'me' and 'my' and 'career'. Even the wars of liberation were probably a cover for the real and monetary reasons for 9/11 going down. (Face it, it WAS an inside job). So that rationalisation is as unsatisfactory as all the above reactions to Labour's disintegration. Perhaps, though, one should indulge in something long forgotten and left at the bottom of the box. In the tale of Pandora's box, of course, after the heroine of the story had let out all the terrible things contained therein, hope was the one last thing at the bottom. One was urged at school, in fact one uncritically accepted that, hey, at least there was one good thing in the box. No one could live without hope. Fate, or the gods or the future could not be all bad. Bourgeois bastard education! This naive optimism soon got knocked out of you though. For, like Grandpa in 'The Grapes of Wrath', hope, one saw more clearly after a hundred or so trips down the Job Centre, is a delusion followed by disappointment and death. But every now and then, one decends into the cellar to fetch the old dusty bottle with its mouldy etiquette and cobwebbed top and uncork it and allow half a goblet of the dark red stuff to gurgle out. Take a sip and hope just one hope.

Believe for once.

That when the Tories do get in, the ruined economy will topple on their overeducated heads and one enormous social whirlwind will sweep them and their Tweedle Dee other into the broiling sea.

vendredi 12 septembre 2008

Sarko meets the Pope

Religion is long finished, it doesn't deserve respect in itself nor do its practitioners merit our awe or concern. People can do and think what they like, as long as etc., but thinking that you are a chosen one, that you have moral superiority or that there are unbelievers who deserve to roast in flames after they die, pretty much excludes you from serious earthly and political considerations.

Pretty uncontroversial stuff, I'd have thought. Thus, it was with dismay that I turned on the box this afternoon and saw Sarko himself abowing and ascraping to the head of some established religion or other. The thing is, he's the secular head of a secular state - but there he was practically bowing down in supplication. He spent a lot of time waffling on against Islam as well as droning on about the spread of human values. This from a guy who has sent another 1000 troops to the ongoing slow motion train crash that is Afghanistan.

Sarko himself is on a downward trajectory from here on in. He's tried to 'triangulate' between the rock of working class anger and upper class resentment (in the form of numerous attacks on the former and, o my, a one percent tax on the profits of the latter for the RSA - a minimum wage solidarity fund) and is losing support form both and now probably needs some help from any metaphysical being going.

Thus, any port in a storm. He's trying to make himself look other worldly now the worldly realm has turned darker on him.

You say you want a revolution

According to a poll reported by the wretched BFM French news service this morning, nearly twenty percent of French people think Olivier Besancenot, the postman head of the new anti-capitalist party in France, is the person best placed to counter Sarko and his band of sorry arsed neolib wannabes.

You can be a purist about this and sneer at the new party, but at least the petit bourgeois revolutionary is actually trying to be revolutionary.

Infinitesimal thing

We should concentrate on the big issues - but the bankrupcy of the holiday firm XS is like capitalism encapuslated. There are sixty odd thousand stranded holiday makers, people pretty much like you and me, who will have to pay their own way home, again, in that they've already coughed up the cash before they flew out, but what they shelled out disappeared down the tubes when the business bit the dust. Meanwhile, in the city, capitalism's little dirt grubbers were actually gambling on the share price of the stricken company. So while loads of people had to fend for themselves after getting ripped off, some sharp suited wankers were making a profit at their expense.

It's not Palestine, it's not Iraq or sub-Saharan Africa, but sometimes the personal little things reveal with refreshing closeness, the political mess we're in.

jeudi 11 septembre 2008

Seven years later

And the wars go on, fluctuating, mutating, expanding but always killing innocent people. Bush sounded as dreadful as I've ever heard him at today's ghastly memorial for the 2001 'attacks'.

Democracy is now an even more tarnished word, Britain is damaged goods but most of all, most importantly of all, the Iraqi people have been torn apart by the senseless actions of one lousy American administration out for 'revenge'.

How the world has changed. Yawn

mercredi 10 septembre 2008

Absofuckinglutely

"Because the war on terror quite simply is a war on us, not on Muslims."

Another frame up collapses

"U.K. jury finds 3 men guilty in bombing plotLONDON --
Three British Muslims with ties to Pakistan were found guilty Monday of conspiracy to murder in a terrorist bombing campaign but jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether they plotted to blow up multiple trans-Atlantic airliners with liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks.

The failure to get convictions on the more serious charges was a major setback to the British government, which has struggled to put suspected terrorists behind bars with intelligence from multiple countries.

Last month, government prosecutors failed to convict three other men of helping to plan the deadly London transit bombings of 2005 -- the worst attack on Britain's capital since World War II. [/color]In Monday's decision, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and co-conspirators Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain were convicted of trying to make a bomb out of hydrogen peroxide.

But the jury struggled to find enough evidence to support prosecutors' claims that the men planned suicide attacks targeting passenger jets flying from London to major North American cities. The three will be sentenced at a later date.The men were arrested on Aug. 10, 2006 -- a date that would go down in history as the day when air travel changed dramatically.Airports in the United States and Europe ground to a halt with hundreds of flights canceled over security concerns. Planes were stuck on runways for hours. Tempers flared as passengers lined up to surrender carry-on items under new security precautions that severely restricted the quantity of liquids in their luggage -- limits that remain in place today. "

Terrorists are deeply misguided and dangerous people - whether US bomber pilots liquidating Afghan civilians or 'Islamic extremists' blowing civilians up. These guys, however, weren't terrorists. Dickheads maybe,

("Ali, Sarwar and Hussain told the jury they had wanted to create a political spectacle in protest over foreign policy. It would have included fake suicide videos and devices that would frighten rather than kill the public. Ali, Sarwar and Hussain, along with Savant, Islam, Khan, and Zaman, also admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance by making videos threatening bombings. "),

justifiably angry with Western imperialism definitely, but dangerous terrorists, no. Read it again. They are not guilty. (Not that you get that impression from the way the defeat has been reported in the MSM).

Still the shady British establishment figures behind the prosecution want a result. Notice the way this story has been handled. The implication is, it's all the jury's fault for being, so, well, so fucking reasonable and focusing on the lack of evidence. How unpatriotic. The Guardian report trumpeted 'Liquid bombers found guilty', the spooks went even so far as to hint strongly that there will be a retrail.

Whenever the ruling elites don't get their way, whether in trials, referendums or elections, they always blame the people a demand a rerun. Here, though, they've come royally unstuck.

Recall, this 'affair' came to light in Summer 2006 just as Israel launched its catastrophic war against Lebanon. The war went spectacularly wrong and highlighted the deeply flawed nature of the on going waronwhateveritis. Something had to be trumped up.

These guys were patsies designed to deflect attention from the appaling deathfest our leaders have engaged us in. They haven't got their way legally this time, but I allege there will be trouble for some Muslim gentlemen pretty soon somewhere in an English inner city. To deflect attention away from this failed attempt to deflect attention away. And so on.

mardi 9 septembre 2008

Kiss Fanny goodbye

Over at some American market blog somebody called Bill Cara gets all mystical and almighty about the Fanny and Freddy fiasco. Writing a day before the handout was announced he wrote "Fannie & Freddie have quite recently publicly announced that their enterprises have adequate capital to sustain operations until well past the coming change of Administration. Then, why the panic?" Hmmmm. . . . I'm no investment expert but this guy isn't going to get rich any quick soon.

Still he is more illuminating a paragraph later when he intones "What is wrong with America – the greed and gluttony of Wall Street and Washington insiders – will look like smack-mouth football in the next month, and the central characters behind it won’t give a damn. This is wrong – they know it; you know it.
The fact there is nothing you can do about it – to the detriment of your children and their children – is a tragedy. The decisions made in September and October by your elected representatives – societal leeches of the highest order -- will steal the wealth created by a whole generation of Americans."


Halleluyah! Nothing winds up middle America more than money going south. It's that 'in the next month' that interests me. Despite his huff and pouff and bluster, does he know sometihng big is going down? Still, someone in the comments box hits the nail -


"And it is disappointing. Socialist capitalism. Comrades! During good times we collect the profits, during bad times you pay for the losses. All animals are equal, but pigs are more equal than others. "

Surely irony. . .?

On the very idea of democracy

On the Labour Government's draconian (and unworkable) work for benefit legislation:

"So right-wing and authoritarian are the proposals that Conservative work and pension’s spokesman Chris Grayling told Parliament, “Since these are Conservative proposals we will certainly support them. I know you will have some difficulties getting them through your own party. Can I assure you we will help you get them through this House even if you have a backbench rebellion to contend with.”

And we are told we live in a two party democracy.

lundi 8 septembre 2008

Chill out

"It is time to get past the 'death and violence is the answer' mentality. We can not afford to let it continue. "

Happy capitalists

They're all happy again in the City bless them. On Friday they were a tinsy bit nervous but, now Bush has promised that the rich won't have to pick up the bubble bill and that the ordinary joe will cough up the five trillion dollars that have evaporated, they've all gone on a buying spree confident in the philosophy of the private gets gain the public get the losses.

Nationalise things sure. But when they're amaking billions in profit not when they go belly up with trillions of debt. When will any reaction set in? What does the government have to do? Come on to the streets to kidnap people and sell their organs before anyone anywhere resists?

samedi 6 septembre 2008

A glimmer of good news

The supine TUC faces calls for a general strike at its conference in a few weeks. Doubtless, nothing will come of it - but it is a sign of life, at last.

vendredi 5 septembre 2008

Reslump


Another selling bout in the markets. Over here in France the markets has fallen 5% in two days. But politically, the working class reamain disengaged. The unions are doing their job very well. Our living standards are eroded and the only response they can come up with is a miserable day of action in October some time. the unions play the same role in Britain, of course. Sure they were battered by Thatcher, but it was just for show. They are as much part of the establishment as the judicary and the BBC, both of whom came under the Iron Lady's cosh too. Their principal job is to diffuse worker anger and to instil the idea that resistance is futile and costly.


I remember a day of action in the college where I used to work. We stood about on the 'picket' line and handed out leaflets for our cause. Some sorry claim for a 2% pay rise which we never got. A couple of days later I received a letter from 'Human Resources' (bless them eh?) that informed me they had docked my pay ninety quid and given it to the student benevolent fund - in an ironic flourish. The thing was, I only worked two hours the strike day anyway. The union boss shrugged and said 'So it goes.' We got fuckus allus, but I threw a sicky the next week to even things up a bit. A bloody good riot in the town centre would have promoted our 'cause' a damned site better, I sometimes think.


But then again, the state has a monopoly on violence. Just look at the events outside the Republican conference today. The revolution will proceed peacefully or as peacefully as possible. Or not at all you may sneer. In tht case violence will be like Orwell said. But in the meantime, the worker, atomised and isolated and pitted against eachother do what exactly? Just wait and become passive, smile and accept it? Surely not. . We can smile with satisfaction as the stock market plummets - I sincerely hope that capitulation sets in, but without any political mobilisation it could fall to zero and the joe on the street will be forced to pick up the bill, work harder and face wage cuts and things will drag on and on and on with no change in sight. People's anger will grow. Slowly at first. It'll manifest itself in a general bad temper. Alex Chancellor in The Guardian, ever at the cutting edge, (ie not) reckons that the looming recession will make people better mannered and less up-tight. Of course it won't. When you can't pay your bills or have a good time on the peanut wages you're on, people will get pissed off. That sentiment will find expression somehow. given the lack of representation, the lack of democracy and the lack of respect for working people, eventually you have to say whatever people do in response is justified. After all, I for one am not going to listen to lessons on peaceful protest from a shower of shits in power that have unleashed endless war in the middle east. And all states have tooled themselves up for just this kind of confrontation.


They have given their police forces up to date horrible weapons and train their henchmen for all kinds of public disorder situations. They know what's coming. It isn't going to be pretty. But those on the left are going to have to face it. There is going to be trouble ahead. It's no use hiding behind purist declarations of non violence. The fuckers we are up against will have no consciense problems with using live rounds on furious demonstrators. I'm a pacifist but I'm not a defeatist. As the crisis deepens, the violence will come from the state in all sorts of ways - wage cuts, price hikes and forced work programmes they're all forms of violence. In the end its their political violence against ours. In the up coming struggles you take sides and stick with it no matter what. Fuck the fucking fuckers and their stinking fucking stock market.

Dead politics

Any lingering doubts about the fate of Gordon Brown disippate on reading his response to the impact of the crisis on the 'fuel poor': "Not short-term gimmicks, or giveaways, but firm steps towards making every home in Britain more energy efficient, thus reducing bills not just temporarily, but permanently. You cannot address a long-term problem - the supply and demand for oil - with a short-term gimmick."

It is the speil of the undead. The speech was conducted via a ouija board. Almost every word falls flat: 'firm steps' that 'towards' and that truly squirmy 'not just' as in "Hey not just a million pounds but world peace too!" As for the argument at the end - it's glimmeringly eye-squintingly false. The petrol stations respond with a price hike short-term gimmick immediately on supply and deamnd shifts.

Besides, and sorry this is obvious, the rich get the bailouts when thier wretched banks sink under tons of debt - and this is Brown' response to povved out people in Britain whowill go cold this winter? "Put a jumper on."

Conservative victory - then civil war comrades.

jeudi 4 septembre 2008

You may ask yourself

Just where are those economic sunny uplands, where is that beautiful house, what have you done? Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

How long?

Jobs are evaporating in the US - hence the sell-off on Wall Street yesterday. But the good news is. . . productivity is up! The workers who are left have to work harder, see. Oh, and for less wages. A Capitalist Bastard Daily editorial observes that, "“Labor costs were up just 0.6 percent from one year ago, an indication that the economic slowdown and weakening jobs market is making it hard for workers to command higher wages.” Good news cheps, what!

Except even on its own terms, if workers produce more, at least for the domestic market, and there is less demand, who's going to buy the junk they make? And how long will it be until the people realise the election is phoney and the only actors who are going to improve their lives are they themselves?

Bilingual? I'm not even monolingual

From the comment section of an article that criticises the French education system for its cuts on teacher numbers whilst promoting the learning of English:
stimresp
Sep 04 08, 11:24am (21 minutes ago)
"Whatever about the cutbacks, the dominance of English in business and science throughout Europe means that teh French are absolutely correct to increase access to english language for it's younger generation.
French is a beautiful language and is no fear of becoming defunct. However, failure to learn good english will be a serious business disadvatage in the furture.
In short, learn English or you will be left behind "[sic]

Surely someone's idea of irony.

Inflation

'Too much money chasing too few goods.' I'd explain to my students. That covers about 1% of it. But reading this , "Many electricity and gas companies have recently announced fresh price rises, which will continue to put upward pressure on inflation for months to come. But eventually they will start cutting prices and that will have a big impact on inflation, especially as the price levels will be compared with higher prices a year earlier, thus giving a downward push to the inflation figures, which always show year-on-year price changes."

makes you think again. Effectively, next year even if prices stay where they are (i.e. rip-offingly high) inflation goes down, index linked pay increases fail to match rising prices, the government looks better and it looks like the free market has solved another crisis.

Economics is the illusion placed by power around money.

mercredi 3 septembre 2008

Cheap shot

The story of the three guys who plotted to assassinate Gordon Brown were, we presume, caught with silver bullets, wooden stakes and zombie manuals - for how else does one kill the undead?

Back in the USSR

No thanks. 'Neither Washington nor Moscow' makes as much sense now as it did when the barnacly old SWP has it as a slogan on its front page. That is, quite a lot. Edward Lucas in The Guardian warms up the stale old dung of who supported who in the one-sided Russia Georgia war.

First he writes as if what he conveys is original, when it's been hashing about in the bloggiverse since the squalid little war started. All that gloaty stuff about the 'old lefties falling in line behind their erstwhile Moscow allies - tsk task!', the trusty old anti-Americans and "In odd alliance with the anti-globalists are the champions of international business." This 'Look at who supports this argument too though!' line of critique is thin stuff. You object to the death penalty. So does Margaret Thatcher! As if sensing this or letting his real reason for the article shine through; Lucas strays into outright anti-Russianism.

His conclusion is that "It is all very odd. Russia is an oil-fuelled fascist kleptocracy ruled by secret police goons and their cronies." which vitriol is odd since the neo-liberals (assumption: Lucas himself is a neo-lib. Check this - Ed.) helped to set it up that way. He ends his little tantrum by remarking incredibly that " However bad other countries may be, it is hard to find anything there worth emulating."

His anti-Russian feelings are as pointless as the anti-American ones he criticises earlier on in his text.

When faced with a spurious "either/or" choice - always think about the "neither" option.

His wider analysis (put forward in his blog where we discover that he must be a neo-lib since he writes for the Economist) is the devastatingly unoriginal idea that another cold war has broken out between west and east. The old cold war was a complicated conflict with subtleties and facets that Lucas, judging by his wild remarks in his blog , is unfit to analyse. As for the phoney new one - it's guff. Just like Lucas' book.