samedi 31 janvier 2009

More bad news

The depression has deepened and accelerated over, even, the last four weeks. Wall Street had its worse January on record (dramatic, if difficult to make sense of, but not good for the capdogs), the unrest in Greece is normalising, Eastern Europe is in open revolt, Iceland, Ireland French general strike and huge demonstration, strikes and occupation even in Britain.
One thing, the left won't have it its own way by any means. It would be tempting to think, just for a second, that economic collapse and political paralysis should automatically bring about revolution and socialism. It won't. One can be fatalist or determinist about our prospects, though. The fatalist says the bleeding man is "...going to die, let it happen, there's nothing you can do about it.", the determinist calls an ambulance and does the first aid. All life is work, so revolutions are no different. Agitate, infiltrate, organise...

The bad news is that, if reports can be believed, the US is getting close to reintroducing the draft. The new organisation is called the "Civilian Expeditionary Workforce". It's been set up to "be trained and equipped to deploy overseas in support of military missions worldwide, according to department officials.
The intent of the program “is to maximize the use of the civilian workforce to allow military personnel to be fully utilized for operational requirements,” according to a Defense Department statement."
That means the government can call up the unemployed. Is such thinking very far behind in the UK? The strike against that would be a strike to support unambiguously.

vendredi 30 janvier 2009

British Jobs for British workers

The depression will throw up unpleasant scenes for everyone in their turn. For the left, the prospect of workers going on strike in protest against foreign workers getting employment is not good news. Especially when the bloody union rep says things like this, "Bobby Buirds, a regional officer for Unite in Scotland, said the workers at Grangemouth were striking to protect British jobs.
"The argument is not against foreign workers, it's against foreign companies discriminating against British labour," he said. "If the job of these mechanical contractors at INEOS finishes and they try and get jobs down south, the jobs are already occupied by foreign labour and their opportunities are decreasing. This is a fight for work. It is a fight for the right to work in our own country. It is not a racist argument at all."
The talk of nationalism and fighting sound all to familiar, and dangerous. This is a capitalist crisis and the left must never sanction talk that divides the working class internationally. The target must always be the bosses and not the foreign workers. This union rep should be sacked. The strikes, though, should be supported. The MSM would love to blend the two themes "Racist strikes!" but the strikes are about the same things as the strike yesterday in France. Economic woe.
The good thing about the British situation is that the strikes are outside the union passification zone. The thing about the French strike was precisely that. The goal is a combination of the two - a nationwide worker strike that cannot be controlled within established political mechanisms.

jeudi 29 janvier 2009


The demo in Angouleme was pretty big. Angouleme, you've never heard of it unless you're a history buff, is a fairly small city near Bordeaux in the South West of France. There were about five thousand of us, from 'all walks of life' all protesting against 'the way things are'. And why not? Demonstrating might not get instant results, but it is a warning to the government that says 'We still exist and we hate you.' After all, what has been the point of anything that the government has done, if you want to ask the naive but ever present question 'What's the point in demonstrating, in striking?' - all Sarkozy has done is take the people's money that they said wasn't there last Summer ("The funds are empty everyone sorry!") and given it all to the banks. After you write so many letters and emails that are ignored, what then? How long do you keep saying "What's the use in demonstrating/striking/acting?" If voting changes nothing, what's the use in that - what's the use in doing anything political at all....why don't you lie down and just accept the diminution of your living standards in quiet? That's the terminus of that line of talk. The passivity of the happy slave.
The demos today might not bring anything about in the short political term, but they are a marker. But today is turning out to be HUGE. And they do work - given impetus and stamina - look at the CPE climbdown in 2007 and....Iceland, and who knows where next.....

update - Wrong again. Guessing crowd numbers is really difficult. But I was way off. There were 30 000 people in the end, really big for a moderately sized city about the size of Bradford.

mercredi 28 janvier 2009


The strikes in France have already prompted the same ideological tics. The teachers's strike starts media talk of the 'service minimal' and the transport strikes of 'the unions taking the people as hostage'. The latter is an incredibly irritating and lazy characterisation of the scene. A strike is unanalogable to a hostage taking situation. Then again, the government could start shooting and kill all the hostage takers and free the hostages. Only, then, who would drive the trains? The madness of analogy.

General strike

The unions are keen to bury the signs of discontent and anger over here in France, as they are elsewhere. But despite their efforts, there's going to be a pseudo-general strike tomorrow, for which the turn-out is expected to be high. I wonder if this MSM emphasis on the high turn-out is designed to damn the marchers whichever way the numbers turn out to be. If it is high, no big deal everyone was expecting it. If it's below a million or so - well the government feels more confident and the unions can breathe a sigh of relief. But "As no solution is readily at hand, does not this oppositional movement risk spreading, as the crisis deepens, to all of Europe?”, the lamentable Figaro frets.

We are not theists in anyway here at REL, but feel compelled to pray for the affirmative. Will try to put up so photos from tomorrow's effort.

lundi 26 janvier 2009


"This is a terrible post again. It's well worth coming here - like looking under stones and stuff. And what things crawl from underneath. So Barrack talks in a clever way. People believe him therefore he is hypnotising them? Did Bush do the same? Probably - as probable as the Barrack claim. Did Blair, Did Putin - all of them did. In the end,though, no one was really fooled. Your emphasis on this conspircay theory is merely a sign of your depression over the fact that your racist theories have just been utterly stone dead refuted. Keep up the good work - it's a hoot"


It is noticable that the Icelandic government capitulation has received an underwhelming amount of press emphasis. With Ireland next, serious commentators have even begun to question whether Britain will follow. And so on. If these are birth pangs of a new world order, then what are its death throes going to be like?


Are we courageous enough to fully look at realism in the face? What ethics would arise. The austerity of simplicity and equality, the abolition of money and work as we know it. How the world would tumble about our ears. But what music it would make.

Wiped off the map

Another couple of wars like that and Israel will wipe itself off the map.

On executions

Liberals and those further to their left, are in something of a dilemma with regards to the death penalty. One is fundamentally opposed to it in the here and now, but its hold loosens upon thinking about Hitler or the last Tsar of Russia, say. Orland Figes writes in his worthy History of the Russian People' that the Bolshevik execution of the Romanov was a 'barabric crime'. This seems wide of the mark and a curious lapse for a historian who are meant to stay aloof from such crude moralism. One can construe, though, that the crime the Bolsheviks are accused of by these bourgeois historians here, is the one of lesse majesté - the 'topsy turvy' idea that the lower orders should topple and fall upon their masters. Kings, Tsars and dictators can kill hundreds of thousands and, as long as they are useful allies, they will remain untouched by this kind of condemnation. But a group of armed professional revolutionaries withdraw their country from a hellish pointless war, then dither over what to do with one of the principal authors of the conflict then shoot the lot of them in a messy farce to keep them from rallying civil war enemies - and somehow it is a crime.
Personally I would have put them all in a room the day after the Bolshevik tooke over, chucked in a few grenades and then smoked a fat cigar. If the Bolsheviks hadn't been so soft, Stalin might never have got to were he is today.

We really are in trouble

When politicians begin to sound desperate, it's time to start stocking up. "The economic crisis should be treated as "the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order", with new rules introduced on trade, Gordon Brown says. " and when they use tired tired metaphors like that (the last time it got trotted out was by Condaleeza Rice during the Israeli - Lebanon war in 2006 - look how apt it was then) you know they are reaching the point of capitulation.

May we wish them all speed.

The face of capitalism

There can be no starker illustration of the priorities of Homoculus Capitalistus than the headlines in the business section. '67 000 Jobs Axed in one day', 'Crunch brings down Icelandic Government', 'Darling plans new rescue package' - and FTSE up 156 points.

Distant ontology

The seas, mountains and stars are not even indifferent to human concerns.

samedi 24 janvier 2009


Believe as little as possible. But even this is a tremendous amount.

Speculative realism

There should be nothing speculative about realism. Whilst there is no necessary relation between ontology and politics nevertheless politics modifies ontology - the city is ruined, the politician basks in acclaim. Ontology modifies politics. The centre bolt in the helicopter's rotor system fails. The aircraft plunges to the ground, explodes and the politician is killed. Ontology's revenge.

On risk

One hears much about capitalists and their risk taking. It is the risk they take for which they are rewarded with bonuses and profit. That is the cover story anyway. In reality, it is those at the bottom of the existential Ponzi scheme that take the risk up the pipe whilst the toffs trouser the golden eggs. It is now, amidst this financial fiasco, that investment would be risky, but the banks do not invest because the risk is, er, too high. And what kind of risks are involved anyway? For the little people, health, self-respect and finacil stability. A worker toiling away in a factory breathing hostile fumes and deafened by machinery to the cleaner depressed by the sheer monotony of work into smoking and drinking to the burned out office worker who just can't see the point anymore - these are the risk takers. All the risk is on their side. What does the capitalist risk - somebody else's money. Or getting bailed-out when everything goes wrong. Some risk.

Iceland ice pick

The Icelandic PM had to be rescued from his own citizens Friday, after the opening of Parliament met with a different reaction to Obama's voter reception two days earlier. Haarde, an apt name since he'll have to be hardy to get out of the country alive, was trapped in his car for twenty minutes as it was pelted with paint, eggs and tins (though no shoes since given the way things are, the Icelandic people are going to need those) until pepper spraying riot cops came to the rescue. The PM caved in and called elections to get him voted out of the mess he's got the place into so he can clear off somewhere quieter.

One can only smile with pride at the actions of these ordinary Icelandic people and hope that they deepen and extend themselves to the rest of Europe. The people as well, they sound like a fun loving bunch. The actions will happen soon enough. Like the, now, familiar joke, what's the difference between Iceland and Ireland - one letter and six months...

Back to Poland

A while back, people like Migrationwatch, those hopeless liars, were saying that Britain was going to be invaded so much by economic migrants that British people would be 'over-run' by foreigners and the popultion would increase so much that social services would not be able to cope.

The depression has put paid to all that. The Poles, for instance, who migrated here for the jobs during the boom, are upping sticks and heading back home. Other 'peoples' are to follow suit. Given the rapidly deteriorating situation in the UK, its possible that in the months to come, British people will be going to Poland to look for work.

vendredi 23 janvier 2009

BBC refuses free airtime to Gaza appeal

How does one interpret this decision? For this to happen, somebody powerful decided to take sides. If you do, there has to be a reason for it. A form of self-censorship, perhaps, that tries to make people believe that the Isreali.Palestinian situation is like the Catholic/Orange dispute and maintain 'balance? But in this instance, objectively, there is a humanitarian crisis. To deny airtime is to prevent the public from participating in making life better for people in Gaza. Why would anyone make that kind of decision??. . .

The religious mind

A random meeting on skype and a written conversation on religion banters back and forth for ten minutes or so. The Egyptian writer asks me what I think happens when 'sweet' river water mixes in with the sea water at an estuary. The salt solution of the sea is diluted by a very very small amount, I suggest. But that is not taken seriously as my response. 'Please give me a clear answer', I am asked. But how could it be made any clearer? What is there to make clearer? Allah has the answer. The two do not mix and are kept apart. We part in mutual, but amicable, incomprehension.

On colour

We experience the clear sky as blue, yet the earth's atmosphere scatters the blue light and all that reaches our eyes lacks the wavelength that 'corresponds' to blue. Colur, then, is an abscence.

When wars end

The aftermath of a war in the MSM is like the run-up, in that you don't hear about it. The damage, pain and clearing up in Gaza are not considered news and attention switches to, what. Recession, petty politics and showbiz.

mardi 20 janvier 2009


Things are hapening very quickly and dramatically everywhere. Not the swearing in thing. That was a historic moment, but one that will soon subside in significance in the next few months if not weeks. Be prepared for some serious enough economic and even social disturbances. The worst, and maybe the best, are yet to come. Avoid isolation. Stock up on essentials. Don't believe the news. And above all, revel in the chaos.

lundi 19 janvier 2009


Usually, we distrust anaologies, here at REL offices. They're too loaded and tend to beg the question. But sometimes they break out of their linguistic confines and burst into reality. Does the above need explanation? To round it off, the troopers should have been opening fore on the losers clinging on to the sides of their Economy Class. . .

Punishment beating

"The goal of the operation was to terrorize the civilian population so that Palestinians would be afraid of Israel. This is the dictionary definition of terrorism."

The politics of envy

The politics of envy is a worn out phrase used by right wingers to express feelings of anxiety on being challenged by a social democrat about raising taxes on the rich. We've all heard the neo-liberal ideology about trickle down, incentives and 'fairness', and it was all garbage. Just a cover story for social and economic larceny. However, it continues to be made use of. Peter Mandleson was brought back into the Labour Government last Summer and no one could really explain why. It was, of course, to provide cover for Labour's right flank.

Gordon Brown wanted to make sure that the business class didn't get too worried that somehow, the Labour Party was going to revert to form or cave into grass roots pressure and suddenly start being socialist. Because the recession is putting strains on us little people and since we never had a great time, economically, when things were 'good', now that they look - face it - very bad indeed, we think, well, perhaps now is the time for a bit of redistribution, levelling the playing field and giving us some bastard money.

Mandleson fits the job perfectly. He's a truly repugnant old stoat who manages to feel up the rich and get to their slimy hot spots right away. As if giving the banks all that's left of the country's coffers, here's PM (even his initials drip with ambition) on a particularly complex area of political theory,
"Lord [fucking what? LORD? Since when? - ed.] Mandelson warned Labour yesterday not to impose big taxes on the rich during the recession as he urged the party not to revert to the "politics of envy".
At a Fabian Society conference entitled Fairness Doesn't Happen by Chance, the business secretary described as "ugly" the view prevalent in some Labour circles that politicians can promote fairness by "dragging down" the wealthy."

Ah, dragging down the wealthy - like, where from, when they're the lowest form of life there is? I suppose this is the idea that socialism is all about the equality of misery. The idea that everyone should get the same of not very much, rather than let a minority get filthy rich and, thereby, 'lift all our boats'. Well, the lifting of all our boats (a stupid analogy - again) doesn't seemed to have come off too well, given the way things are what with millions more facing starvation, the huge growth in poverty and the beginnings of serious political instability in Europe and all over the world. But who is to say that, to take the accusation at its strongest, a just distribution of limited resources instead of headlong economic 'growth' (with tricklie down et al. to mitigate capitalism's inherent inequality), would be any worse than the catastrophe we are now heading into? A more just distribution of fewer resources or a free for all of a (seemingly) ever increasing array of goods, through unsustainable production system, is ultimately preferable.

One's critique of the capitalist system does not proceed from the sentiment of frustrated entightlement. The Poor Side inhabitant would be forgiven for wanting the trappings of a rich man's life - the holidays, the huge garden, the cars etc., but her political analysis would not spring from this murky feeling. The 'envy' and the goods that are its object are both products of the malfunctioning and corrupt capitalist system. If there is a feeling at all to be attributed to this aspect of political behaviour, the term 'resentment' would be preferable and more dangerous from the elite's perspective.
For resentment is a dynamic critical state of being, rather than a passive sentiment like envy, and contains within it the possibilty of acting outside the stifling confines of normal capsoc expectations, viz. saving up, being inspired by the rich man's life-style, getting into debt, stealing and so forth, and instead..., well, who knows, we'll see in the next couple of months. But the PoE refrain is now so threadbare that the real reason it has been used is all that is left of this shoddy thought, that of a crude slander against those who want to see a fairer, cleaner and more efficient way of doing things rather than watching the earth's recourses get flushed away by the ugly wealthy elites.

It's not envy but resentment. And its growing all the time, everywhere.

Sinister place

From Hareetz, "The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an "army of bloggers," to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent Israel in "anti-Zionist blogs" in English, French, Spanish and German."

You don't emmigrate there, you get absorbed. If there's any of those blogger volunteers reading, "Hello. Did I say 'Hello'? I meant 'fuck off'." An 'army of bloggers'. Every aspect of Israeli society is geared towards military conquest and colonisation that even tapping away on the computer has to be interpreted as an armed struggle. If it is, it is one they are losing and losing badly.

dimanche 18 janvier 2009


The MSM tries to convince us that the governments of the world are nationalising their banks - whereas, in reality, it is the banks that are privatising the governments.

The philosophy of poverty

When you are down to your last fiver and dole/pay day is not for another week, are you relatively or absolutely poor?

Doubtless, it all depends. The absolutists argue that there can be no poverty in the west, since it is the people in places like Bangladesh, the Ivory Coast and Iraq etc. who are really poor.
The relativists dispute this by saying that it is only within a society that concepts like 'poor' make any sense. If one is a hrad-headed Marxist materialist with a conviction that truth and other metaphysical concepts are objective and independent of our epistemic schema, then one is put in a bit of a bind about this.

The philosopher and revolutionary ought to give his/her last fiver away to a beggar or the party of course, but also thinks that to side with anything 'relativist' somehow compromises adherence to the anti-relativism in epistemological realism (a realism certainly not to be confused with the misuse of the term in politics). Marx was, of course, a relativist on the poverty issue famously arguing that a man can build a house and feel rich but if a prince builds a castle next door, he will soon feel, and in a way 'be' different afterwards.

Then there is the point that the absolutists in the poverty debate are from the political right. In a way, it helps their argument, that we here are not poor so long as there are desperately poor people elsewhere in the world, if the system they support actually makes people there poorer. Then, as living conditions in the West stagnate or deteriorate for 'the masses', they can never describe themselves as poor (and therefore dangerously morally correct in their political demands) since the distance between them and the poor in the 'Third World' is increasing all the time as the capitalist machine grinds people into the floor, but just at different rates.

In the end, only the absolutely dead are absolutely poor. And before that point is anywhere near reached, the people rise up and riot all the same - see Greece and swathes of Eastern Europe as we speak.

The poverty of philosophy

Over at K-Punk, "The world is due for a resurgence of original speculative metaphysics. The New Metaphysics series aims to provide a safe house for such thinking amidst the demoralizing caution and prudence of professional academic philosophy."

Please no. . . one thing the world doesn't need is anymore metaphysics, speculative or otherwise. Especially anything remotely influenced by that epic fraud and bore Immanuel Kant.

vendredi 16 janvier 2009

Thought experiment

Philosophy is often accused of being remote from everyday concerns. Its practioners often use thought experiments to highlight ethical situations for instance. This is a real life example

"A man who said he robbed a downtown Shreveport bank because he was out of a job and hungry has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree robbery.
Roy Brown, 54, of Audrey Lane, pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court to robbing the Capital One bank in December 2007.
Brown admitted walking up to a teller with one of his hands under his jacket and telling her it was a "stickup." The teller handed the man three stacks of bills and he took a single $100 bill, told her he was homeless and left, police said.
Brown surrendered to police the next day, telling them his mother didn't raise him that way.
Police let him sober up and interviewed him two days later. Police said Brown told them he needed money to stay in a downtown detox center, had nowhere to stay and was hungry -- so he walked up the street and robbed the bank. "

In any social context this is plainly provocative. In an economic slump and surrounded by news of bailouts and made offs with it is a virtual declaration of phase II of the class war. We are all Roy Brown.

mercredi 14 janvier 2009


"The foreign secretary, David Miliband, today argues that the use of the "war on terror" as a western rallying cry since the September 11 attacks has been a mistake that may have caused "more harm than good".
In an article in today's Guardian, five days before the Bush administration leaves the White House, Miliband delivers a comprehensive critique of its defining mission, saying the war on terror was misconceived and that the west cannot "kill its way" out of the threats it faces."

No shit.


There is a current trend for teenagers to send semi-clothed or naked texts to eachother. 'Yawn. Sigh. Ok, maybe that is intersting. . . ' Once the purile mood has passed one thinks as to why, given the nature of the crisis we are going through, why the US government is charging the self same teenagers with possessing child pornography. This is a question of liberty and censorship. What they're doing is a 'self-regarding action', even if there are other selves regarding them regarding the camera. So leave them alone - it's stupid, but that's giggling teenagers for you. But I doubt whether the Mels and the decents will defend them.

The idea of Malanie Phillips sexting herself has ended any further thoughts on this subject....................

Things begin in Greece

It might come to nothing or it could be one of the greatest acts of modern solidarity the world has seen for a generation. The decision of the Greek street, the people, to force its 'government' to prevent the massive shipment of arms from America to Israel from docking at Astakos is an encouraging sign that the concern expressed by the French Union of Jewish Students (see below) has some foundation. The idea that the Palestinian cause could well act as a lightning rod for wider social and economic grievances has come to being in Greece. As everyone knows, Greece has seen a near uprising over a police killing and paralysing economic problems. As everyone knows, Israel is brutally crushing innocent Palestinian people right now. Put the two together, and, well, political philosophy isn't that difficult - so the potentialities of the two combined and - it warms the heart.
Sensibly, for them at least, the government saw the obvious and told the US to fuck off somewhere else with their 300 tonnes of ammunition. No one's bombing their supply lines with bunker busting bombs - but their ammo's been stopped by something far more powerful and dangerous. . .

mardi 13 janvier 2009

'. . . Still occupying/though you forget...'

The Israeli state's present aggression starting with the seige at the latest, is working out pretty well. In all likelihood, the Israeli leadership have got a end point in view - viz. the expulsion of as many Palestinians from Gaza (and who knows where next) as possible, by making their lives intolerable, and for them to end up absorbed in wretched refugee camps scattered all over the Middle East.

This aim is so outrageous that it has to be withheld from MSM opinion for as long as possible, and various pretexts lobbed about. Far from being weak, the Israeli state is too strong. After all they have quelled and/or co-opted the leaderships of all surrounding 'hostile' neighbours. They can do pretty much as they want, (though I doubt they will bomb Iran). Pipes' analysis is therefore as wrong as much else he comes out with. To say "For this reason, I see Israel as a lost polity. . . " is just nonsense. A glance at a map showing the growth of Israel since 1949 shows a state in full rigour, witness the domestic support for the current slaughter, certainly not a lost polity.

This is in no way to condone the appalling Israeli actions in Gaza, but to (try to) reach the conclusion that the current war on the Palestinians is not a war of religion but a war of opressor against oppressed. I do not want to suggest that those under white phosphorous fire as we speak should pray for the coming international working class uprising, but really what else is there if we, we/they/all do not act in this way? There is neither a military alternative nor a bourgeois political solution. In the mean time, the imperative is to protest but not underestimate the nature of the enemy; of which the Israeli working class is not a part.

That's what I want

The current horror in Gaza overshadows much, as it should. One interesting snippet from outside the 'horror bubble' is interesting enough, though. The British state has sanctioned the printing of, " extra money without having legally to declare it under new plans which will heighten fears that the Government will secretly pump extra cash into the economy. "

Thus ""there is nothing to stop an unreported and unmonitored flooding of the money market by the undisciplined use of the printing presses."

Reassuringly though, "The reforms, which are likely to be implemented later this year, will make the Bank of England by far the most secretive major central in the world, experts said."

But we can trust our political elites, can't we.

Mwa ha ha ha!

Melanie Phillip's article tours all the faimilar rationales for the ongoing Israeli assualt on Gaza. There is a new twist, though, to the 'no other state wold tolerate these rockets' drone via the amusing anaolgy of Ireland Britain. Imagine if Ireland had fired rockets at Britain
"The equivalent would have been the Irish government firing 6,000 rockets at England.
Does anyone seriously doubt that, in such a hypothetical situation, Britain would have been at war with Ireland long before that total had been reached?"

It's so mind bogglingy absurd an analogy that it is unprocessable.

The arguments get increasingly florid until will we reach Mel's deep seated beef in the 'conclusion', "But the Middle East conflict will not end until and unless the West comes to realise that Israel is in the frontline of the West’s own fight for survival, and starts properly defending the country struggling to defend civilisation instead of siding with those waging holy war against it."

Presumably the paper version of the article came with a Mad Despot Evil Over-Lord manic laughter computer-chip attached and sprung to life as you read that last bit.


It is clear that the Israeli assault on the Gazan population is intended to make life totally intolerable and so drive the Palestinian population out of the strip and into....well, the Israelis don't really care after that. Get thee unto a refugee camp in a desert somewhere and die quietly.

lundi 12 janvier 2009

Idiot Royal

Harry, the bastard son of Lady Diana and that Hewitt clown, is in the papers for calling a fellow soldier 'p*ki' and using the term 'rag-head'. Here at REL, we don't care what the Royals do or say, but wish someone would do a Lenin all the whole lot of them all the same. But what is striking about this little story is the universal and orchestrated way it is being handled.
All the leaders of the main political parties have trotted out the same line that it was just a bit of idle banter, that Harry's heart is in the right place (with the implication, granted, that his undersized brain isn't) and that we should all just bladdy well move on. Even the Guardian, that supposed defender of liberal values, pitches in with a vomitty gobbit from someone called Bob Stewart. The sycophancy is too awful to read in places, but it pantingly absolves Harry of any real misconduct.
Any wider analysis of this issue is, thus, ruled out. There is the statement that "of course Harry isn't racist" and that's it. But how else would one describe somebody who uses these terms and dreses up to fancy dress parties as a nazi? What else could his actions be telling us? Plus, it's not as if the British upper classes aren't already predisposed to a touch of racial superiorty here and there. So the spawn from which he came are a racist bunch but any acknowledgement of that fact would be 'politically incorrect' and inappropriate to raise. Any hint that the ruling classes are the pinnacle of the idea of white supremacy must be firmy quashed for fear of wider awkward questions being raised. All the main parties have an interest in keeping up this ideological front. It leads on to too many difficult unresolved questions about Britain's continued role in World politics, its role in the on-going wars and its support for Israel, for instance. Given the latter, Harry's braindead remarks have to be played down so as to stop political anger from spreading.
See this.
Imagine if he'd used the word 'y*d'. Now that might have got a different reaction.

Update: Whilst Harry gets away with it - others aren't so affectionately indulged. Chanting racist stuff at black football players is stupid. As stupid as what the royal bastard said. How come no commentators in the MSM are leaping to these 13 and 15 year olds' defence?

dimanche 11 janvier 2009

We're not often right!....but we're worng again

There was a pro-war march! London yesterday 15000 pro-Israeli's turned out to condemn Hamas, support the troops and say proportionality has nothing to do with it when there's a war on. (It's refreshing that in the reports there's none of this scepticism about how many attended. 15000 exactly, none of the "1000 according to the police" nonsense!)

There's some serious theoretical work being done on the term 'proportionality' of late. The idea that Israel actions might be disproportionate hurts its supporters. It looks like a form of irrationality. Thus Glucksman (below), Walzer on Aaranovitch watch, the talking head from the Stewart clip on the Tomb and the geezer on the demo. Their case seems to be (I need to translate the Glucksman piece) that Israel can act in any way it sees fit, and thus 'out of proportion' because its very existence is under threat. There is no limit set by the proponesnts of this argument. How many must die, they ask rhetorically, 'a lot', Walzer answers and Glucksman gives the impression that he believes the same.
Thus, all 1.5 million Palestinians who live in Gaza could be exterminated and this would not be out of proportion for firing a thousand Qassam rockets into a old military town like Sderot. Arguments against proportionality are dangerous things. They end up justifying mass graves for the slightest misdemeanour. It is the case that few would find life tolerable under the threat of rocket fire. But then again, few of us live in land stolen from somebody else. Is firing rockets a disproportionate for having the land beneath your feet taken away from you in a criminal action? I don't know for sure. But once you start eroding the idea of proportionality, which is the same as not over reacting, staying calm - then you end up justifying (without realising) suicide bombers and nuclear attacks.

samedi 10 janvier 2009

In cold blood

Truman Capote's 'novel' about two guys who killed an entire family in Kansas is a cold read, brilliantly written. One line stood out. The two killers are driving across the desert to their destination, "At the edge of the sky a full moon was gathering."

React now

One hundred thousand marched through London, 90 demos in France and demos all over Europe and the rest of the world. If the Israeli position were 'right', why aren't there similar numbers out on the street supporting the IDF's actions in Gaza? OK, why aren't there ANY pro-War marches anywhere?
My fear is that, like the 2003 march against the Iraq fiasco, these reactions will have no discernible effect. That is why the pro-war people don't need to mobilize. The bribed, blackmailed and willing western leaders do it all for them.
Exile your fears - react now.
update - The fact that there was a pro-war demo does not, er, undermine the fact that there were not 'similar numbers' out on the streets. The peace rally was ten times as better attended.

The executioner's orders

The IDF has dropped leaflets on Gaza that say they are going to escalate the war. But not to worry the leaflets say "The IDF is not working against the people of Gaza but against Hamas and the terrorists only. Stay safe by following our orders."

Like the one that said "Don't stay in that building there - go there. You'll be safe." 'Safe' as in 'Your corpse will be no danger to us.'

Business as usual

Whilst all the deafening horror is going on in Gaza, it is easy to lose sight of what's going on in the maw of the beast itself. The three black guys killed by the NYPD in just two weeks, are a reminder of the sad possibilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong kind of police about, or of the culmulative radicalism at the heart of the ruling class' desire to eradicate all those whom it regards as irrelevant to its project. "[T]his war is not between Muslims and Jews, it is between the oppressed and the oppressor".


Given the tumultuous events happening right in front of our eyes and all around us, it's reassuring to know that the enemy is showing distinct signs of dementia. How else does one explain the official White House website headline that President Bush and family are deeply saddened by the "passing" of their pet cat? Their pet cat.
It could be that the Bushes are so isolated from the "real" world that the only concerns they have centre on their domestic trivialities. The less sympathetic interpretation is the more likely one, that the lot of them are so calloused over intellectually, that they just don't care one little bit about the horrors within which they and their allies are steeped.


A review of Deutcher's biography of Trotsky, from 2004, ends "All that can be said is that when the unimaginable climate of revolution returns, as in some shape it will, young men and women will read and understand Trotsky and Deutscher as we no longer can."

Start reading Trotsky.


Why is the Israeli war attracting so much attention. I mean so much? The death of civilians obviously, but there is something else that keeps one returning to this abject conflict. It is the idea that Israel itself, the politicians 'in charge' and all the history and fighting, encapsulate the tensions, hatreds and contradictions not only of Israel, of postmodern Europe but perhaps even capitalism itself. Here is how it expresses itself on the personal level, ""It's weird that we have to take lives in order to save lives," Ms. Znaty says. "But we were held hostage by Hamas while our government ignored us, and now we fight back. I am sorry, but I am happy."

vendredi 9 janvier 2009

Picture round

Usually, it would be against REL policy to potray conflict in such an either/or way, but for obvious reasons, today is not usual. We are forced to ask, judging from the above photos "Whose side are you on?"
(Yes, the international working class, ultimately, but sometimes. . . )

mardi 6 janvier 2009

Who are the terrorists?

'Since Israel attacked Gaza to defend its people it has killed as many Israelis as the Hamas Rockets.'

Read that again. It does make sense. The IDF have killed four of its own misting them for Hamas fighters.

Over here in France, the second news item on the main news, was about an attack on a synagogue is Toulouse. The conjunction was not an accident. As the news coming from Gaza turns into another PR disaster for the Israelis (something which we are evidently meant to give a flying fuck about), one can expect a greater concentration on stories like this. Their role is blatant and obvious. The problem is a small one, but when is asked to 'condemn' such atttacks (a car set on fire and driven into building's metal cage, in this instance) we cannot 'condemn' - for what verb would you then use to describe one's attitude towards the shameful and dihonourable action brutally taking place in Gaza? It is clear that these acts, whoever they have been done by, are pointless, stupid and destructive. They serve no role in solving the deeper social and political problems that have created the current virtually intenable situation.

From a wider point of view, the Palestinian cause threatens to evolve into a channel down which wider anger at the current situation (CS) could direct itself. This is something all Western European states want to avoid. The word 'Greece' should be enough to remind ourselves why.

In the wise words of the French Jewish Students Movement En période de crise, [c'est possible que] «la cause palestinienne canaliser» une rage latente. ("In this preiod of crisis it is possible that the Palestinian cause could act as a lightning rod for wider discontent").

That partially explains the ambiguous EU response to the slaughter. For me, Sarkozy's position (scuttling about condemning everyone) stems from a perception of the dangers of this other form of 'contagion'. They want either a quick Israeli victory, so it'll all blow over and leave the Gazans to settle down to a quiet beseiged death or force a cease-fire somehow sometime quickly. They have been shaken not only by the size of recent demonstrations (70000 in Paris on Saturday) but by their focused anger and unity.

The lesson for us - march, demonstrate, connect and agitate.

Honest Israeli

"Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources... The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions" Ur Shlonsky, quoted by Ghali Hassan, Gaza: The World’s Largest Prison, Global Research, 2005)

This account is at least an honest explanation of what the Israelis are doing in Gaza. All that Qassam rockets and terror reasoning is just for the kids at home.


Some troll wrote a message over in the comment box at Lenin's tomb : "Mike does have a point in that Hamas brought much of this on themselves - they could have avoided it. They are certainly just as culpable as Israel in many respects.Steve Brown Homepage 6 Jan, 04:37 # "

Obviously this wasn't anyone at REL, but some crustation that goes under the name of "Mike". If you've followed the link expecting a pro-Israeli website, we're so sorry to disappoint.

Mike, if you're reading this: Fuck off you failure of a human being.

lundi 5 janvier 2009

Israel and its discontents

The war in Gaza has two fronts, at least. One is on the ground the other ideological. There is perhaps a relation between the two. As the situation on the ground spins out of control (the miliatary either faces defeat or is committing acts of savagery that are too horrendous for the PR guys and girls to contend with), maybe the propaganda gets more and more dirty and desperate. I can think that this must be the only way to explain an extradordinary article in ynet news, " Israel's most comprehensive, authoritative daily source for 24/7 breaking news & current events from Israel and Jewish content online."

It is written by Adi Dvir and is called "Don't pity the Palestiniains". The first thing to notice is that the piece is extremely short. True, size doesn't ordinarily matter. Lugwig Wittgenstein's PhD was 'only' just over 20000 words but changed the course of Western philosophy, for instance. I'm sure you can think of other cases. But Dvir thoughts run to about two hundred words at most. That's a bit short even for a blog entry. Maybe, though, he makes up for it in profundity.

Alas, thers is not much reflection in Dvir's offering, either. I won't waste time deconstructing what he says too much. Read it for yourself . The main points are that the Palestinians are babies unable to take responsibilty and to pity them amidst all this carnage, is to patronise them. Until they get rid of the Hamas leadership they don't deserve a state since "It requires inner strength and the ability to create rather than destroy. This is what Israelis proved time and again for over 60 years, and this is what Palestinians have yet to prove." This propaganda dressed as 'opinion' is a flek of the barrage all the MSM are launching against the critical mass of the world's population. But the deep contempt for history, accuracy, rationality and style that this article illustrates, is the same emotion that drives all the other journos in London, New York, Paris, Rome that scribble away, trying to defend Israeli action in Gaza. That they have to keep thier deeper opinions hidden is only due to the fact that the target population of the Western European MSM is not on a war front like some of the Israeli population is or engaged in a war of liquidation.

Dvir's gobbit only reveals what a terrible place Israel must be to live in right now and prompts the thought that the left there, have a hell of a job on their hands but also that they are intellectually strong to survive this type of brainwashing (which must be deep and widespread at the most peaceful of times) and that they deserve recognition for their endurance. That and a pity for Dvir really at the end of it - to embody a consciousness that can produce material like that must be hell. And I for one don't pity the Palestinians. It is not pity that motivates people to attend marches but something a lot harder more coherent and dangerous.

working class? then fuck off

The communities secretary (wtf?) in Britain is concerned that "Many white working-class people across the country feel their concerns about the impact of immigration are being ignored." Blears was responding to, "A report for the Department for Communities and Local Government based on interviews with people living on estates in Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Thetford, Runcorn and Widnes, found that some people believed that the same rules were not applied to everyone equally."

The report and its publicity by Blears are wholly cynical in nature. (People on the left are often criticised for being cynical. We are not. If anything we are starry eyed idealists - at least in comparison to stuff like this). It has all been designed to show the government is in touch with its roots (it isn't and this exercise merely illustrates the gulf of incomprehension and mutual distrust between the two) , without causing too much of a scandal like the last time Blears blundered into this area, and to try to shore up both the right flank of the Labour Party and the Mail reading middle Englanders at the core of the party's now disintegrating electoral coalition.

The story's cynicism stems in part from the report's superficial nature, its wholly unscientific methodology and from the nature of the issue the report focuses on. The government, or at least Blear's department wanted to highlight immigration and send out the message that "something will be done" and "the government will get tough" on this in order to appease its coalition and media chums. To do this is narrowed the subject down to immigration and sent its little psychological bean counters to set up focus groups and write the questions in order to get the results it wanted.

A hey presto in one fail swoop, Blears can at once say "Look we're onto the problem of immigration we're on your [the white working classes] side." whilst with an almost imperceptible nod to the liberal decents, that says "Look at these working class types and their racist whinging! Imagine them having anything to do with politics?" as a way of reassuring its middle class voters that all the 'return' to' socialism' in the last few months are just temporary tactical measures that will bring about normal service soon and are not going to go any further. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown bought this line and spews for a rancid rant that blames the working class for all manner of ills, the main one being that the white working class is racist - all of her claims being totally unjustified.

If the 'study' had focused on pay differentials, child-care, the NHS or a host of other far more important issues than immigration, then the report might have had some validity. My point being, immigration is not the problem - inequality is. But these are real class issues and, well, fuck off would say the government.

Brown's piece, though, picks up just where Blears wanted it to. The assault on the working class has intensified of late - the depression is having serious economic consequences on working class communities and, on the ideological sense, the state will try everything it can to distract, disparage and divide people whether they are white, black or other.

In truth, the working class has no colour and belongs to no mainstream party.

dimanche 4 janvier 2009

Another swallow

It is no big news. Not really, not in the current context. There are no homeless, injured and dying and there are no riots in the streets. But the news that the British public believes that punitive taxes on the rich are in order, is a worrying sign for the government and the wider UK state. Pessimism on the left and hopeful, spiteful thinking on the right, expects no reaction to wider social events from the wider (largely unpoliticised(1)) public or 'working masses' as comrades over at term them. The left, perhaps, has been so traumatised by supposed defeats (the collapse of the USSR, the 'victory' of neo-liberalism, the unappearance of the revolution to pick out three) that many have defected to the 'decent' field of political opinion, sunk into quietism and bitter despair or swung entirely over to the capital realist wing of the managerial party machine.
The failure of the working class to react and even to behave contrary to its own political interests are two reasons for this abandonment of a socialist perspective. Reagan, Thatcher, Sarkozy. Their electoral successes are incontrivertible. Even saying, as many left-wing organisations did, that elections are just snapshots, when there are a lot of them, 1979-1997, in the UK, 2002, 2007 France and other trends throughout the world, it begins to look like a broader (inescapable) picture.
All that has changed in a relatively brief period of time, the causes of which are by now, well known. The crisis is spreading materially through the world economy, that much is clear. Workers are losing their jobs in the US at the same time as in China and at the same time Russians are losing their pensions and Iceland is disintegrating socially and politically. For the first time, sustained political action on the streets of a European country, Greece, have not only continued and intensified but have caused political decsions in other countries, with the withdrawl of education reforms in France by the Sarkozy government.
Events are turning our way. Slowly at first, but now there are one or two more swallows on the phone lines.

1. 'Unpoliticised' as in unorganised, unaware of their strengths and even, up to a point, underinformed.

On History

Complexity and hope

Israeli left wing demonstrators protest against the war. Tel-Aviv

In the MSM the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is portrayed in diochromic terms. Either/or for/against One state/two and so on. In this type of thinking, catch 's proliferate. If the Israelis stopped the bommbing then Hamas would stop the rockets but the other won't til the other does - who do you support? But on the ground, there are inconsistences and contradictions that upset the slack way of thinking. There are Israelis that don't support the Israeli actions, there are Palestinians in the West Bank that don't support Hamas. The world may be divided ultimately on the dichotomy of class - but other idealistic divisions eventually disolve and give way to something smaller and much more fragile.

samedi 3 janvier 2009

Hell's jaws open

It is, I was going to say 'interesting', but it's not, it's drearily monotonous, that the BBC and the Guardian have described the invasion of Gaza as Israeli dogtroops going for a sightseeing trip: "Israeli troops 'move into Gaza' [BBC] " "Israeli troops cross border into Gaza [Guardian]. The verbs used are deliberately anodine. To say 'move in for the kill' (more accurate, more to the point) would ruffle to many feathers and upset masters presumably. Still, the very act of smarming like this, the very manner in which this brutal tactic is being so blatantly misreported undoes all the PR work that the ideological machine puts into it. The half critical viewer dismisses it and looks at it just to see waht she is expected to believe, and then finds an alternative news source that she can have at least some kind of faith in. The MSM is over.
And whatever the splits in the Palestinian people (between Ftah and Hamas, Gaza and the West Bank etc. one must still keep the class perspective and in no matter how small a way build a socialist alternative to this unfolding nightmare).

Israel Gaza again

The MSM is running flat out to convince the (undecided) public that Hamas had it coming and all the civilian deaths are just retribution, if bad for Israel's PR. The means are obvious and the media blitz is everywhere. Read this little disingenuous gem from the Times, " Israel launched the offensive after more than a week of Palestinian rocket fire that followed a six-month truce."

It's not that what is written there is manifestly untrue, but it is deliberately and purposefully misleading. It is not untrue because chronologically, the bombing has come after the rocket fire. But, and the crucial thing is, it was Israel that broke the truce on November 4th. True, the conflict in general is more complicated than a latest truce breakdown, but these details are important for obvious reasons.

Yet, the mealy mouthed Times reporter cannot, for MSM reasons, say that it was Israel that broke the truce, let alone that Jerusalem had plans for this action six months ago, since the backers of the financers of the backers who control the people in charge of the brokers who control the editors of the Times, want to protect the intellectual and ideological aspect of the project. Their role is as blatant as that of the pilots who are as we sit, gleefully dropping explosive on infants, but their task is the destruction of crucial parts of people's minds who are exposed to the Murdoch press - to raze sceptical areas, destroy critical thinking infrastructure and subdue any incentive to action.

So the truce was broken by Israel, the rockets were fired in puny retaliaratory rage and the slaughter continues.

Signs of Resistance

New Year same old shit usually. But this in from Counterpunch "In this bleak landscape, came a surprise at a factory in Chicago. "You got bailed out. We got sold out." So read the banner at the sit-in strike of the workers of the Republic Windows and Doors factory. Having been robbed off their jobs in a stealthy shutdown, over 200 unionized workers and their families occupied the factory and demanded severance and vacation pay. They got it, too. The action drew national attention. In a sign of changed times, politicians, celebrities, public figures turned up at the factory to declare support. Even Obama said he agreed with their demands. The media which, pre-meltdown, would have savaged the strike, were less hostile. "Prior to the economic crisis," says Carl Bloice who writes in the Black Commentator, "the police might have gone into the factory and evicted the workers as trespassers." Post-meltdown, it was a different story. Bloice says the United States has not seen such a labor action in decades.
Impressively, ordinary citizens went up with food hampers to help out the strikers. Could we be witnessing the start of more militant labor action in the United States after decades ? And could we be seeing greater sympathy here for such actions after decades, as job losses mount?"

Small signs but signs nevertheless. Learn and take heart. . .

vendredi 2 janvier 2009

Israel and the future

"At the Shifa hospital, a dentist told the New York Times that his friend, Ehab Madhoud, has just died. Madhoud, a doctor, had been responding to an emergency in the Jabalya refugee camp when his ambulance was hit by a missile. "I can't understand why Israel would hit an ambulance. . . " "

Israel has no right to self-defence in the current context. The reasons for the murder are not, therefore, self-defence, but have some other motivation. Internally, every Palestinian corpse is good electorally. Externally, it says "We, the consumers of the world the US and the western capitalists, will not tolerate any objection let alone resistance, to our world order. This is how we deal with offenders. Be warned." It is a message to the Iranians aswell. "We may have been humiliated in 2006, but we can hit hard and fast. Be warned." To the rest of us, this is how the powers will deal with problems in the future. The economic breakdown is going to be so disorientating, prolonged and deep that it will, eventually, lead to urban areas that will be near no go zones and where the civilian population will have to be regarded as enemy combatants to be contained, processed and ultimately destroyed. With ruthless barbaric and indiscriminate brutality. Be warned.

And as for wondering why they would hit has to wonder whether Madhoud's words above are in some sense dissembling. For he cannot think that somehow the Forces' troops are in any way concerned about the collateral damage they are enjoying inflicting? GIve him the benefit of the doubt, though, at least. After all, the west is giving them nothing else.

jeudi 1 janvier 2009

New Year's Daze thought

Some opinions are better than others - but that's just a matter of opinion.