"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)
"Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached."
(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)

Thursday, November 20, 2014






Coup That Never Was

Seems legit
EXTRACTHere we come to the heart of the matter. The rightwing press is terrified that ‘Red’ Ed will somehow win the next general election - which is a bit strange if you think, like some on the left do, that the Labour Party is a bourgeois party just like the Tories and the Lib Dems. But, of course, it is not - though currently the left within it is in a truly wretched state. The Mail and all the rest of them demonstrate that the rightwing media will go to almost any lengths to discredit and demonise any Labour leader who is perceived to be deviating even in the slightest degree from the neoliberal and ‘common sense’ consensus.
Meaning, needless to say, that the recent attacks on Miliband are part of a long tradition - a standard feature of British political history. Michael Foot was ceaselessly derided for his supposedly loony left views and for ‘inappropriately’ wearing a donkey jacket to the Cenotaph. Neil Kinnock was mercilessly mocked and abused as the “Welsh windbag”, culminating in the legendary Sun front page in which his head was superimposed on a light bulb: “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”. Lest we forget, Gordon Brown was lampooned as a ditherer who could not even sign his own name. The only Labour leader not to be vilified in this manner was Tony Blair - telling you all you need to know about Blair: the press recognised him as someone they could do a lot of business with.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014







End the War On Drugs

Adriaen Brouwer's The Smokers , circa 1636
EXTRACTBut one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that if there has been a fall in use or addiction levels amongst some sections of the population it has nothing to do with the government’s policy of prohibition - it happened despite the drugs laws. Yet there is a much broader point to be made, at least for communists. Human beings have always taken drugs for stimulation or relaxation, whether for positive or negative reasons - whether to feel happy or dull the pain. The evidence for this is overwhelming. Therefore from the larger historical perspective, drug-taking of various sorts is not some abnormal or deviant activity - quite the opposite. To one degree or another, psychoactive substances have always held an appeal. There is absolutely no reason to believe that human nature will fundamentally change in the foreseeable future, including the communist future.
In which case, the only logical conclusion is to call for the legalisation of all drugs - not just marijuana. Not because we naively believe that legalisation is some sort of universal panacea that will immediately create a perfect society of happy, well-adjusted, non-alienated individuals. Communists fully recognise the potential danger of drugs, including those that are presently legal. After all, why do some people drink so much booze that it threatens their health? It has something to do with the grossly unequal and profoundly alienated society we live in, a set-up that generates misery and escapism. Hence our call for legalisation is principally motivated by the desire not to make a bad situation worse, not starry-eyed hippy idealism. For us it is unacceptable, rationally and morally, that swathes of the population are criminalised by the current prohibitive laws. All serious evidence and research, strongly hinted at in the home office report, shows us that the legalisation of drugs would be far less harmful than the present regime.

Friday, October 31, 2014





Adding Insult to Injury

Lady Fiona: hardly an outsider
EXTRACTLady Woolf protests, perhaps a bit too much, that she is not a member of the establishment. No, Fiona, of course you are not - merely a commercial lawyer, member of the Competition Commission, alderman for the ward of Candlewick, the lord mayor of the City of London, non-executive director of Affinity Water Ltd, senior adviser to London Economics International, honorary bencher of Middle Temple, and also a former sheriff of London and president of the Law Society (not to mention a member of the Parochial Church Council of St Clement Eastcheap). Still, maybe in the circles she moves in, that is considered slumming it.
However, the real problem was caused by the fact that she has social connections with Lord Brittan and his wife, having gone to dinner parties with them on five occasions. For those with a taste for dark humour, we discover that the home office had to inform Woolf of the exact dates and times of these parties - meaning that the secret state were keeping a close watch on someone you really would have to strain your imagination to picture as the enemy within.

Thursday, October 30, 2014






Infighting in the Vatican

Unrecognised
EXTRACTThe passages in the relatio that most offended reactionaries like Burke was the suggestion that the Catholic church should be “welcoming homosexual persons”, and that “homosexual unions” could provide “precious support” to each other, despite the “moral problems” associated with them. Even worse - or so it seems - was the following idea: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community ... Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” (my emphasis).
There was an immediate furore - this was beyond the pale. Conservative bishops loudly protested that the report had been “hijacked” by liberals added to the drafting committee at the last minute by Francis. In fact, a devious attempt was made by a faction of conservative, English-speaking bishops to deliberately muddy the waters by getting the synod secretariat to release a new English translation of the relatio that changed “welcoming homosexual persons” to “providing for homosexual persons”. Another alteration was that the phrase “partners”, an incendiary term that implicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of same-sex relationships, became the much chillier “these persons”. Such was the uproar and confusion over the English ‘translation’ that a Vatican spokesperson was forced to confirm that the original version of the relatio was the only official document.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014






Euro Zone: Going Nowhere Fast

George Osborne: gloomy
EXTRACTHowever, the International Monetary Fund’s fears run even deeper. Blanchard admitted it was “entirely possible” that the developed countries will never return to their pre-crisis growth levels: a big chunk of economic production has been permanently lost. We are now entering a period of secular stagnation - ie, there has been a structural decline in potential growth rates. And the achievement of even these lower rates of expansion - one of the more optimistic scenarios - would require interest rates to be maintained at historically low levels over a lengthy period, and that brings its own problems, of course.
Yes, rock-bottom interest rates, combined with quantitative easing, has generated copious amounts of cheap money. But it has not done what was intended, which was to reawaken the animal spirit in capital and hence encourage investment - that in turn would power economic growth. Rather, delighted speculators have had casino chips stuffed into their hands. Or, in the words of the IMF’s financial counsellor, José Viñals, we are facing a “global imbalance” - with “not enough economic risk-taking in support of growth”, but instead “increasing excesses in financial risk-taking” that are “posing stability challenges”.

Thursday, October 16, 2014




Nick Griffin on Question time
EXTRACTThe last incident shows that we need the SWP’s “united front” strategy like we need a hole in the head, given that it sacrifices independent working class politics in favour of building the broadest populist fronts possible - effectively constituting itself as a ‘left’ outrider for the establishment. With absolute predictability, the SWP is now repeating the same mistake with the UAF’s sad mirror image, Stand Up To Ukip. In the Internal Bulletin the SWP tells us that it is “important” to restate that Ukip is “not a fascist party”: therefore, it requires a “different” kind of response from that developed to “beat back” the EDL and BNP. What would that be perchance? You guessed it: a “broad-based” campaign with the “single intention” to “undermine” and “expose” Ukip - essentially portraying it as some sort of alien or ‘extremist’ menace to the status quo. Unpatriotic. In pursuance of this wretched aim, as the SWP used to say on its website and still does on Facebook, it wants “people of goodwill” to come together and say no to Ukip’s “racism” - “regardless of our differing views on Europe or other political issues”, which presumably must include anti-Ukip Tories.
In other words, there is nothing “different” about the SWP’s response to Ukip - it is the same old approach of tailing the liberalistic, anti-racist/anti-fascist consensus, only this time the word ‘Nazi’ has been scratched out and replaced with ‘Ukip’. The comrades do not even consider challenging the national chauvinism which Ukip shares with the mainstream parties, a key component of which is bourgeois or institutional anti-racism and myths about the ‘anti-fascist’ crusade fought by British imperialism during World War II.

Thursday, October 09, 2014




Farage parks his tanks

Nigel Farage: balance of power?
EXTRACTThe SWP spectacularly misses the point. The idea that Ukip is so utterly different from the Tories, Lib Dems or - for that matter, Labour - is delusional. As we have pointed out quite a few times, Farage is coming out with the thoroughly mainstream view that migrants are a problem if there are too many of them - acting as a drain on the NHS and taking jobs that should go to British workers, as Gordon Brown pointed out not so long ago. In other words, Farage fully signs up to the ‘common sense’ national chauvinist consensus - or, to use the words attributed to him in the SWP’s internal Party Notes, this is “not a race question”, but rather a question of “our country’s needs” (May 5 2014). From that angle, communists have no problem in believing Farage when he says that Ukip is a “non-racist” party - why shouldn’t we, or is Gordon Brown a racist too? Then what about George Galloway, who argues for a points-based immigration system? Or the No2EU lash-up between the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party in England and Wales, which wants to introduce ‘socialist’ border controls?
Leaving aside the SWP’s cynical attempt to earn brownie points from the establishment, Farage genuinely wants previous immigrants - whatever their ethnicity - and their descendants to integrate into official British society: enthusiastically waving the flag, fighting to preserve the union and loving the queen. In reality, to one degree or another all the mainstream parties appeal and pander to British nationalism.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014






Cameron's Can of Worms

No return to the status quo
EXTRACTThis serves to illustrate that, contrary to the arguments of many on the left, whether supporting a supposedly socialist ‘yes’ or ‘no’, the referendum was never a simple or straightforward question - a philistine and naive idea, as we in the CPGB always said. Rather, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to what exactly? Alex Johnstone, Tory MSP for the North East Scotland region, could not have been more wrong when he said the people of Scotland made a “very definite decision” on September 18. The politics involved are complex, which is the main reason why referenda are so problematic. By dealing with just one issue out of its wider context, they tend to atomise people and obscure what should be fundamental lines of class and democratic demarcation: the very opposite of what we Marxists want.
Referenda are clearly not a properly democratic way of proceeding and foster the sometimes dangerous illusion that people do actually have direct power - which can easily turn to disenchantment when cold reality sets in. Near perfect conditions for all manner of reactionary ideas to flourish - especially nationalism, of course, as we are seeing right now. As internationalists and consistent democrats, we were correct to call for a boycott of the referendum and a pox on both houses.

Monday, September 22, 2014





Catalonia: backward project of nationalism

Result would be a cert
EXTRACT: What is the communist response? We fight for the maximum level of working class unity that is objectively possible - which of necessity requires extreme or consistent democracy. Therefore in Catalonia, for example, we call for the abolition of the undemocratic basic law which denies the right of Catalonia and other peoples, such as the Basques, to self-determination. As a matter of principle and elementary democracy, they ought to have the right to freely decide their own future. The unacceptable status quo must be ended, just as in Scotland.
But that does not mean for a minute that communists are indifferent as to how that right is exercised or its potential consequences. We do not want to see a fracturing of the Spanish working class or a Balkanisation of the country - that would be a disaster. Therefore we reject the nationalist demand for separation. Catalonian nationalism, just like Scottish nationalism, is a fundamentally backward project - driven by the politics of resentment and petty grievances, real and imagined. We want to positively deal with problems where they exist, which by definition requires the transcending of national resentments and antagonisms - by ending all arrangements based on involuntary ‘unity’ and instead move towards genuine voluntary unity as part of the revolutionary struggle for socialism.