"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, April 19, 2013

Thatcher Funeral: A Woman who was Hated

Should expect better from the left
EXTRACT: The Socialist Workers Party’s response to Thatcher’s death has been atrocious. As part of Socialist Worker’s “Rejoice! Thatcher’s dead special pull-out”, we are treated to a picture of Thatcher with a noose around her neck and the headline: “Gotcha! Now get the rest” (April 13).

Sorry, comrades, this is utterly crass - and says a lot about the frighteningly bad politics of the SWP. Yes, we all know - yawn - that the Socialist Worker editorial team were aping The Sun’s vile headline about the sinking of the Belgrano in 1982. Jolly good, no doubt, that Ian Burrell of The Independent has described the headline as a “breakthrough” or “triumph” for Judith Orr, current editor of Socialist Worker, writing that the paper’s “name was everywhere” (April 12). Orr herself is obviously proud as punch that the “Gotcha!” headline/image went “across the world as being the most defiant front page celebrating the end of Thatcher”. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, comrade.
Socialist Worker is deluding itself and treating its readers as idiots, not for the first time. Neither the SWP nor anybody else on the left ‘got’ the 87-year-old Thatcher - nature did. What are we supposed to do - wait for all Tory politicians, or perhaps the entire bourgeoisie, to die of natural causes? A brilliant revolutionary strategy. What the headline actually did was reveal the SWP’s impotency, advertising the fact that it has no answers and - like the left in general - is programmatically directionless. Get real, comrades.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

BBC Class Survey: Old Wine in New Bottles

Surplus product: who produces it, how they extract it
EXTRACT: Yes, no doubt, the Great British class survey contains elements of truth - pointing towards various divisions and societal developments that do exist in some shape or form. It would be a very odd sociological survey that completely ignored reality. But for us the real question when examining any society past or present is a relatively straightforward one - who exactly extracts the surplus labour from whom and how?

Looking at contemporary Britain, the crucial and deciding determinate for Marxists is the antagonistic relationship - and social dynamic - between two main classes, the working class and the bourgeoisie (capitalist ruling class). We do not think of this strictly in terms of numbers or sociological categories, but rather in what actually characterises and drives a particular society - in this case, the exploitative capital-labour relation. An antagonism that cuts across all other societal divisions and every field of human production and consumption, from the economy to culture, politics, sexuality, sport, etc.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Obama Raises the Stakes

Kim Jung-un: rising to provocation
EXTRACT: There seems little doubt that the current crisis is predominantly the result of United States provocation. Just because Pyongyang says something it does not automatically mean that it is crazy. The facts surely speak for themselves. Since the beginning of March, the US has been engaged in joint military exercises with South Korea scheduled to last two months. This has involved nuclear-capable B-52 bombers buzzing around the Korean peninsular - not to mention long-range B-2 stealth bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, out to prove (if proof was needed) that US imperialism is capable of conducting “long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will”, dropping dummy munitions on a South Korean-claimed island very close to North Korean territory. If that were not enough, the USS John McCain, an Aegis-class destroyer capable of intercepting missiles, has been positioned off the Korean peninsula and a second destroyer - the USS Decatur - has been sent to the region. It is an open secret that these exercises simulate an invasion and occupation of North Korea.

Talk about being in your face. Just because you’re paranoid, which Pyongyang certainly is, about almost everything, it doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you - or to at least seriously rattle your cage. Nor should it be forgotten that the whole of Korea was flattened by US imperialism during the 1950-53 war, which left millions, the majority of them civilians, dead. That would make anyone twitchy.