"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)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

West and Putin Up the Ante

Pro-unity crowds

EXTRACT: Well, when it comes to Ukraine, western hypocrisy takes some beating. We do recall a certain ‘legitimate’ state called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Or how about the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? Yet the west actively welcomed the break-up of these states - a fact referenced by Putin in his Kremlin speech, when he said it was ludicrous to claim that the recognition of Kosova by the west as an independent country did not set a precedent or had a claim to uniqueness. But, he stated, “we are being told that we are breaking the norms of international law” - western politicians, he went on, “call something white today and black tomorrow”. Only now, when it comes to Crimea, have they “remembered that international law exists”.

All sorts of states have been broken up in the past or had their borders drastically redrawn, but if it served the imperialist interests of the west it was no crime - or “land grab”. Nevertheless, communists are not worshippers of bourgeois or international law - let alone so-called national sovereignty. We are internationalists first and foremost. Nations, countries and states are not eternal and timeless - to claim otherwise would be reactionary, nationalist crap. Nations come into being under definite historical circumstances, then at some stage disappear or wither away. Communists, being consistent democrats, do not view Ukraine - or indeed any other country - as the incarnation of some sort of unbreakable unity or the ‘national spirit’. Even the sacred United Kingdom, blessed by god, will cease to exist one day.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Rotten Apples, Reviews and Flowers

To the core

EXTRACT: Communists could not agree more with Doreen Lawrence when she says, “You can’t trust the police”. After all, only a few months ago we had the scandal about the Operation Tiberius inquiry - a secret Scotland Yard report from 2003, which concluded that top criminals had “compromised” multiple agencies of the state, including HM revenue and customs, the crown prosecution service, the City of London police, the prison service, the criminal justice system, including juries and the legal profession, and so on. Crime pays.

The news about Operation Tiberius came in the same week that PC Keith Wallis admitted stitching up the Tory chief whip, Andrew Mitchell - making up a cock-and-bull story about how he had witnessed a confrontation on September 19 2012 between Mitchell and police officers outside Downing Street. This fabrication involved at least seven other police officers, who have yet not been charged with anything. Mere “rotten apples”?


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Geek Love #2

Geek Love #1


Crimea: Danger of Wider Conflict

Svoboda supporter carries portrait of Nazi ally Bandera

EXTRACT: So let us deal with the most pressing question - was there a fascist coup or Banderaite takeover? Inevitably, George Galloway has already taken to Twitter to denounce the “fascist and ultra-nationalist coup” in Kiev. It is certainly the case that the groups that ran and policed Euromaidan - such as Spilna Sprava (Common Cause), Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Patriots of Ukraine, Svoboda, etc - clearly fit the ‘fascist’ description. That is, groups of rightwing, anti-Semitic, non-state fighting squads that exist to destroy anything that passes for leftwing politics and resolve the crisis gripping the top of Ukrainian society in a negative fashion. These were the groups or people that in the main took on the riot police, organised the demonstrations and chased off those leftwingers brave (or foolhardy) enough to turn up at Independence Square.

In which case, how do we characterise Euromaidan, etc? Well, the description that seems closest to reality is that of an orange-brown movement - one that covers a wide range of forces from pro- EU liberals and the hard right merging into the far right and fascistic milieu. What is vital to recognise when looking at the ultra-nationalistic groups is that we are not dealing with fringe groups or movements. For instance, Svoboda is the fourth largest party in parliament - it won 10.44% of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections and secured 37 seats (Svoboda subsequently joined a formal coalition with two centre-right parties to form the parliament’s collective opposition). In other words, Svoboda has a mass base.


Friday, March 07, 2014

Ukraine: 'Revolution' in One Square

Svoboda partisans: carrying portraits of Ukraine's Nazi ally, Stepan Bandera

EXTRACT: It is instructive to read the recent remarks of Sergei Glazyev, a senior adviser to Putin.6 He makes the point that Yanukovych, from the point of view of the ruling elite, did not act in a decisive enough manner - instead, we had a pattern of repression followed by compromise and vice versa. Of course, Machiavelli in The prince advised rulers to do one of two things in a crisis: either ruthlessly crush the opposition or come to a compromise - but do not do both, as that always leads to disaster. The obvious example is Tiananmen Square, where the Beijing regime sent the tanks in and made sure such a situation would not recur - it did what, from its perspective, had to be done. Yanukovych, on the other hand, waited three months to show the opposition who was boss - and by then it was too late - deep fissures had opened up in the regime and the army itself was obviously split. This was manifested by troops parading into the square and swearing an oath of allegiance to the speaker of the parliament.

Glazyev also argued that there was a “clear need” for the “federalisation” of Ukraine in order to avoid its bloody break-up. According to him, this would require giving the various regions “sufficient rights”, the ability to “form their budgets” and even the possibility of “partial foreign identity” - he used the example of Greenland, which is an autonomous country within Denmark. In other words, his envisaged Ukrainian ‘federation’ would be totally unlike the one to its north, where the constituent parts have no right to separate. But Glazyev’s proposed new structure would allow parts of Ukraine to be swallowed up by Russia.