"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)

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.

Sunday, September 21, 2014




Ukraine: No Siding With Nationalists

Nothing progressive about him
EXTRACTThe reactionary, and totally utopian, nature of the statement is clear. To call for the self-determination of Ukraine “as a whole” by definition means the denial of the right of the Russian peoples in the south-east to self-determination - ditto with the demand for the “restoration” of Crimea into Ukraine. And how is this going to be done exactly - by force of arms? The current crisis was not sparked off by Russian expansionism, as the AWL would have us believe, but far more by a western-backed coup against Yanukovych, carried out with the aid of fascistic street fighting squads. It was hardly an accident that two of the very first actions of the Kiev government were to downgrade - delegitimise - the Russian language and to move towards banning the Communist Party of Ukraine. Explicitly far-right and Banderite militias comprise the main bulk of the Ukrainian National Guard, forces that have pitilessly bombarded Donetsk, Luhansk and other cities.
READ MORE

Friday, September 12, 2014




Debating out Differences

Camilla Power: communism is our nature
EXTRACTStill on the theme of war, CU stalwart Hillel Ticktin gave three talks on World War I, whose impact is still felt today. After all, it led to the collapse of three empires (Austro-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey, tsarist Russia) and produced the Russian Revolution. The ultimate cause of the war, in the opinion of the comrade, arose from the fact that Britain was the world’s imperial overlord, but was in a state of relative decline - in the period leading up to the war its share of global production had slipped from 32% to about half that; France was also slipping down the ranks. The US and Germany were eager to muscle in.
Slightly more controversially and revealing his “pathological anti-Stalinism” - as he cheerfully put it - comrade Ticktin dismissed Stalin almost from the day he was born as a “criminal” and “incompetent” who never amounted to anything, and reiterated the idea that Trotsky should have seized power and become a “revolutionary Napoleon”. Some comrades were not convinced, emphasising the objective factors facing a desperately backward country like the Soviet Union - a better explanation than Stalin’s original sin. Comrade John Bridge spoke of how Stalin to a very large degree was forced to do certain things, it is the very nature of freak societies to throw up weird leaders - Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim il-Sung, etc.