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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Funny is not the Opposite of Seriousness

Terry Pratchett: humour used for savage criticism
EXTRACTAccording to fellow fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, who co-authored Good omens with Pratchett in 1990, his writing was “powered by fury”: anger at the headmaster who declared that the six-year-old Terry Pratchett would never be smart enough to pass the 11-plus, anger at “pompous critics” and those who think “serious is the opposite of funny”, anger at his early American publishers, who appeared to have little interest in promoting or selling his books. But his anger was always tempered by kindness and compassion, and Granny Weatherwax’s definition of sin - “When you treat people as things” - tells all you need to know about his ethics.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nationalist Shock Waves

Voting SNP: logical for anyone wanting separation
EXTRACTPrior to the referendum, we were told by some on the left, including a minority within the CPGB, that a clear ‘no’ would be a vote to preserve the unity of the British working class movement and stop nationalism in its tracks.
This was always a delusion, no matter how worthy - as we now see. Yes, of course, the class struggle is still happening in Scotland, but it is taking place in a deflected form - certainly not on the basis, as some doubtlessly imagined, of a 1970s-style wave of militant strikes, working class demonstrations, etc. In any case, such an approach was thoroughly economistic, as it downplayed the fight for democracy and high politics: ie, we must vote ‘no’ in order to get the national question out of the way and then return to ‘normal’ working class actions like fighting the cuts, and so on. But a ‘no’ vote was never going to magically deliver working class unity, especially if the vote was relatively close. What these economistic arguments fail to understand is that we first need the conditions for working class unity, which were obviously lacking, otherwise there would not have been a referendum in the first place.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jihadists and Spooks

Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John
EXTRACTCommunists, however, do not regard the likes of Mohammed Emwazi as just irrational - totally crazy people from a different world. Look at what imperialism is doing every day in the Middle East, with its actions and polices, leading to mass suffering, death and murder. Look at the liars, Jack Straw and Tony Blair, with their dodgy dossiers and phantom WMDs, pushing for a war in Iraq that had totally predictable results - social chaos, dismemberment and barbarism. Judged from this perspective, the jihadist response to imperialist oppression is understandable. The crucial point for us, however, is that organisations like IS are part of this barbarism, never part of the solution - which requires consistent and principled working class anti-imperialism.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Austerity in the Colours of Syriza

Golden Dawn: on the march
EXTRACTIf you find yourself in a situation where there is absolutely no reasonable or viable prospect of carrying out your full minimum programme, then you should remain a party of extreme opposition - something that stands full-square in the Second International tradition, to which Lenin and the Bolsheviks fully subscribed. Regrettably, sections of the left think the Weekly Worker is mad for raising these issues - showing how they have lost their historical memory. But there are objective, material factors that cannot be overcome by an act of will or even a big popular vote. Greece, at the end of the day, is a small and economically weak country that does not produce much in terms of industrial production and, if placed under siege, would be unlikely to be able to feed itself: essentially it is a tourist and shipping country.
What Syriza should have done, if it had being any sort of a genuine Marxist party, is resist the temptation of government (‘taking power’) - let the pro-memorandum parties take responsibility for the shit they created. It should have concentrated instead on building up its own forces and digging deeper roots in society, to the point where it became genuinely hegemonic within Greece. Most importantly of all, it should have aimed to develop and deepen its European connections and contacts, with the eventual aim of taking power on a continent-wide basis alongside other working class parties.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Dodgy Bankers, Dodgy Clients

Greedy for money
EXTRACTWe now have a crazy situation where most non-doms today inherit their status from their parents. As a result, it is perfectly possible for people who have been born, raised and educated in Britain to have non-dom status, even if they hold British passports. No wonder London has become a playground for the rich. Lawyers say they sometimes go back as far as the 1930s when they are establishing a non-dom claim. If that is not tax evasion, then what the hell is?
Yes, naturally, both Tories and New Labour said the non-doms rules benefited the country - incentivising them to spend extremely large amounts of hard-earned cash on houses, servants, cleaners, Rolls Royces, millionaire meals, etc. Watch the wealth trickle down. OK, sure, Ed Miliband has talked fairly passionately about cracking down on tax havens abroad (Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, etc). There is no particular reason to doubt his sincerity, especially given that he is more reliant on union funds than either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. But the main point is that Britain itself has become one vast tax haven, where the wealthy, rich and well-connected get to enjoy an obscenely privileged existence. One law for the rich, another law for us. Even more crucially, both the Tories and New Labour shamelessly sold their souls - assuming they ever possessed such a thing in the first place - to multi-millionaires and newspaper proprietors.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Did Free Speech Allow the Nazis to Come to Power?

It wasn't UAF that did for the BNP
EXTRACTThe main political lesson of Marxism is that this state, at any and all times, is the main enemy - not “the Nazis”. Nick Griffin or any other far-right crackpot should be perfectly free - as far as the police and state are concerned - to expound their garbage. Laws against ‘extremism’ or ‘radicalisation’ are just as much a threat to communists as they are to fascists or political Islam - far more so, in fact, as we have a fundamental class hostility to the bourgeois state.
Yes, we in the CPGB are perfectly prepared to use the no-platform tactic under certain circumstances, but we oppose the traditional far-left approach, which boils everything down to often pointless displays of physical force or, in the shape of UAF, a liberalistic, ‘something must be done’ howl. But it is a profound mistake to elevate no-platform into a principle.