"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)

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.

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.