"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, March 29, 2013

After Cyprus, Who Next?

Deal rejected by the masses
EXTRACT: There were warnings that the impact could reach beyond Cyprus, particularly to Russia. The country’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, bitterly complained that the troika are “continuing to steal what has already been stolen.” Russian officials and the press have repeatedly compared the Cypriot ‘stability levy’ to the expropriations carried at the time of the 1917 revolution - only this time it is the capitalist Euro-bureaucracy doing the expropriating.

But the potential ramifications go beyond Russia - compared to Cyprus, other countries have even larger banking sectors relative to GDP. For example, in Luxembourg, the euro zone’s biggest champion of banking secrecy, it is more than 20 times GDP - the Luxembourg government has admitted it is “concerned about recent statements and declarations” on the “alleged risks” of out-sized financial sectors. And Malta’s finance minister has expressed similar concerns about what would happen if a second Mediterranean island encounters such problems.

What about the City of London, a major contributor to the tax-base of the UK and no stranger to ‘casino banking’ - a pioneer of financial speculation, in fact. If ‘stability levies’ can be imposed on Cypriot banks in times of crisis, then why not in the UK?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pope Francis: Silence Equals Complicty

Cardinals: most appointed by the last two popes
EXTRACT: In his inaugural mass, Francis told a slightly revealing anecdote. Whilst in conclave, with the votes being counted and things seeming, in his own words, a “bit dangerous”, the cardinal sitting next to him - an old friend from Brazil - embraced him and said: “Don’t forget the poor”. The new holy father added that the reminder had made him think of none other than St Francis, a man “who wanted a poor church”. According to a star-struck Guardian, adopting the name of Francis was a “clear signal” by Bergoglio of his desire to “reset the priorities” of the embattled Catholic church (March 16).

All this professed concern for the poor is pure hypocrisy. The official Christian attitude towards the oppressed and exploited, whether it be the Church of England or the Catholic establishment, is essentially encapsulated by the saying attributed to Jesus: “The poor will always be with us”. Of course, for communists this is an utter obscenity - both to believe that class society is eternal and also to ascribe such a wretchedly reactionary position to the apocalyptic revolutionary communist Galilean, Jesus - a Jewish Spartacus who wanted to abolish class society, not ameliorate it or appease the oppressors.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

SWP Factions: Two Errors of the Opposition

Easily defeated
EXTRACT: In fact, the opposition as a whole should have done the exact opposite - stepping up the attack, doubling the number of posts, holding more meetings and so on. You can only fight fire with fire. But from the start, IDOP leaders were seeking a ‘reasonable compromise’ with the CC in order to put the whole unpleasant business behind them. Shake hands like ladies and gentleman. Hence IDOP’s disgraceful decision not to support the Facebook Four - the comrades expelled just before the January 4-6 annual conference for discussing whether to form a faction. For IDOP that would have rocked the boat too much.

Instead, they should have threatened the CC. Not threats of physical violence, of course - we leave that to the apparatus and Alex Callinicos’s “lynch mobs”. Rather, the threat of solidarity - of walking out in a collective and disciplined manner if the bureaucracy went for the throats of Seymour, Miéville, etc. Possibly, though now we will never know, even the SWP leadership might have blinked at the thought of losing 532 members or more overnight.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Snapshot of Political Failure

Nigel Farage: very good second, fruitcake
EXTRACT: Many voices are being raised saying the Tories urgently need to move to the right in order to reclaim the ground allegedly stolen from them by Ukip - start banging on about tighter immigration laws, repatriating powers from the Brussels bureaucrats, and so on. Cameron’s recent call for a simple in-out referendum on European Union membership, though hailed by many at the time as a brilliant political manoeuvre, does not seem to have warded off the dangerous Ukip beast - at least not yet.

Expressing this anxiety, Michael Fabricant - the Tory vice-chairman who last year called for an electoral pact with Ukip - issued a series of tweets about how the Tories’ voice is “muffled and “not crisp”: it does not “clearly project” Conservative Party “core policies or principles”. For Fabricant, Ukip “clearly connected with Conservative policies” at Eastleigh. Or, as Nigel Farage put it more straightforwardly, the “real problem” the Conservatives have got is not with Ukip, but rather that their own supporters “look at a Conservative Party that used to talk about wealth creation, low tax and enterprise and it now talks about gay marriage and wind farms” and other such highly undesirable issues. Instead, back to reactionary basics.

Unhappily for the Tories though, this sort of prognosis is at best crudely simplistic and at worst plain delusional. If only life was so simple. Take a quick look at the Tories’ Eastleigh candidate, Maria Hutchings. She came across as more Ukip than Ukip’s own Diane James. Yet it counted for nothing in the end.