"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)

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Sentence to Remember

Roy Bhaskar
"Indeed dialectical critical realism may be seen under the aspect of Foucauldian strategic reversal of the unholy trinity of Parmendean/Platonic/Aristotlean provenance; of the Cartesian-Lockean-Humean-Kantian paradigm, of foundationalisms (in practice, fideistic foundationalisms) and irrationalisms (in practice, capricious exercises of the will-to-power or some other ideologically and/or psycho-somatically buried source) new and old alike; of the primordial failing of western philosophy, ontological monovalence, and it's close ally, the epistemic fallacy with it's ontic dual; of the analytic problematic laid down by Plato, which Hegel served only to replicate in his actualist monovalent analytic reinstatement in transfigurative reconciling dialectical connection, while in his hubristic claims for absolute idealism he inaugurated the Comtean, Kiekegaardian and Nietszhean eclipses of reason, replicating the fundaments of positivism through its transmutation route to the superidealism of a Baudrillard"
*Roy Bhaskar - Plato, etc: the problems of philosophy and their resolution (London: Verso 1994, p.215)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Imperialist Crimes Exposed

EXTRACT: Of course, the deluge of classified war logs overwhelmingly confirms what was already known about the Iraq war to anyone with a few active brain cells. That, far from bringing civilisation and democracy to Iraq, as obscenely claimed by the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons - preening RoboCops - the US/UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq brought carnage. This finally nails the miserable lie that to call for the unconditional withdrawal of all troops from Iraq would be to recklessly invite a “bloodbath” - a common barb directed against anti-war campaigners. Rather, as the Wikileaks documents painfully catalogue, it is the imperialist presence in that country which unleashed precisely that. Yes, the Saddam Hussein dictatorship - originally installed and backed, of course, by the US as a bulwark first against communism and then against the Islamic republic of Iran - was truly grim, but what came afterwards was even worse.
Furthermore, Wikileaks blows out of the water the claims made by ‘leftwing’ apologists for the war such as Norman Geras, Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch, Alan Johnson, the Euston manifesto and the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. US victory did not bring democracy, trade union rights and ‘civilised values’. With absolute predictability, the exact reverse happened - with the working class movement crushed in the iron vice of imperialist oppression and Islamist reaction. Secularism has been set back decades, as has women’s rights. The country lies in ruins, dismembered, with less than half its population having reliable access to potable water and even fewer to electricity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Iraq - License to Torture and Kill

The Wikileaks release of 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq war reveal a horrific, barbaric, state-sanctioned policy of systematic torture, brutality, intimidation and mass murder. The US/UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has brought nothing but carnage and misery to that country - with some 122,000 deaths, mainly civilians by anybody's definition.

"A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes. Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
Read more here and here
Samar Hassan screams after her parents were shot by US troops in Tal Afar in January 2005. Hussein and Camila Hassan died when they failed to stop their car at a checkpoint. Their five children survived.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Comradeship and Populist Demagogy

EXTRACT: "Needless to say, the vulgar and distasteful media circus surrounding the rescue has obscured one very basic fact - that these miners, just like other miners throughout the world, are the victims of naked capitalist exploitation by the mining companies. Indeed, this entire mineral-rich region of Chile is home to numerous predatory companies determined to make a profit come what may. And due to “budget constraints” - what a surprise - there are only three inspectors for the Atacama region’s 884 mines (out of a grand total of 18 inspectors for the entire country). Capitalist heaven.
Inevitably, the result of such unfettered exploitation is that thousands of contract miners in the north of the country in small and medium-scale mining are forced to labour under inhuman conditions that endanger their lives on a daily, almost hour-by-hour, basis - for pitiful salaries. From this perspective, the San José disaster was no ‘accident’, but rather the result of the chronic and institutionalised negligence of the mining companies, transnational corporations, subcontractors and the government - all partners in crime chasing ever bigger profits."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For Services Rendered

Liu Xiabo: pro-capitalist
EXTRACT: "So, what do communists think of Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08? The answer is quite simple on one level. As revolutionary democrats, who believe that the struggle for democracy and socialism are inseparable, we have nothing but sympathy for his platform of democratic demands and individual plight: you cannot help but admire his personal bravery. After all, he has spent a total of nine years in hellish Chinese jails or labour camps. In the shape of Liu Xiaobo we have the politics of sincere conviction and deep commitment. To belittle or denigrate such a person or activity would be cynicism, pure and simple.
But having said that, we are obliged to tell the truth. Liu Xiaobo and his comrades, for all their courage, have no real democratic answers for China - no idea of what is to be done to free the Chinese masses from oppression and exploitation. Rather, when it comes down to it, Xiaobo and the other Charter 08 signatories and activists essentially look to western ‘bourgeois democracy’, especially the United States, for their model or inspiration."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Edward Gorey

Browne Review Calls For No Limit on Tuition Fees

"If I'm a good boy, keep my head down, do as I'm told - then I might be able to pay off my debts by the time I retire"
Universities in England should be able to charge unlimited fees, a major review of university funding has recommended. Lord Browne's review calls for the £3,290 cap on fees, which students borrow in loans, to be scrapped. Instead it proposes a free market in fees - setting out models of charges up to £12,000 a year for a degree course.

Woopie - a lifetime of debt! Read more.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Tails and Wagging Dogs

Rightwing stalking horse?
EXTRACT: "Self-evidently, the married tax allowance should be opposed as it discriminates against the nearly two million single parents in the UK - who should be treated equally, not as second class citizens, by the tax system. Ditto for Osborne’s thoroughly retrogressive attack on universal child benefit. Yes, obviously, £44,000 a year is well above the average wage, but it hardly makes you ‘rich’ - after all, some skilled manual workers can earn up to that under favourable conditions. For instance, if you are one of these better paid workers living in London - say bringing up three kids on your own or with a partner on a much lower wage - then you may be able to get by, the horrific London housing market notwithstanding, but you are not exactly living the champagne and jet-setting lifestyle.
Rather than declaring war on those working class families who might earn more than other working class families - the so-called “middle class” families we hear so much about from the lying tabloids - the way to deal with the genuinely rich is not to abolish universal child benefit but, to coin a phrase, to tax them until the pips squeak under a progressive taxation system and introduce a maximum wage for all. There is the more general point that the raising of children should not be seen as a purely private affair of the parents, almost as an indulgence, but more as the responsibility of society as a whole. From that perspective, a communist one, attacks on the universal child benefit system are a move to further privatise child rearing under capitalism."