"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)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Troika Demands More Bllod

Danger of counterrevolution all too real
EXTRACTSurely it is reckless and irresponsible to spread illusions in Syriza. As it is the party subscribes to a mealy-mouthed left Keynesianism that is utterly doomed to failure - exacerbated tenfold by the near certainty that it will be coalition with another party constantly pulling it to the right (eg, Democratic Left or worse). Quite clearly, a Syriza-led coalition, enjoying minority support across the country, would have problems of legitimacy from the very beginning. It would too come under extraordinary pressure from the markets, and would be relentlessly demonised by the media domestically and internationally. Under such circumstances would its leadership not be tempted to make all sorts of unprincipled compromises?
The chances are then that a Syriza-led coalition would be face a counterrolutionary crisis from day one. Of course, every socialist, every communist would defend such a government against the EU bureaucracy, council of ministers, ECB, etc. There are other dangers too. Just look at relatively recent history in Greece - in April 1967 the colonels took over. Would the generals not intervene to bring a Tsipras government to a swift end? Then there are extra-state formations like Golden Dawn.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chancellor's book of doom

George Osborne: endless age of austerity
EXTRACTLooking at the autumn statement in the light of the OBR report, BBC commentator Norman Smith described it as an “utterly terrifying” book of doom - a “hulking great mountain of pain” that will take Britain “back to the land of Road to Wigan Pier” (a reference, of course, to George Orwell’s 1937 depiction of the extreme economic hardship endured by the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire). Osborne immediately hit back, accusing the BBC and other critics of being “totally hyperbolic”. Unfortunately for the chancellor, however, the Institute for Fiscal Studies added weight to Smith’s fears - pointing out that only £35 billion of cuts had already happened, meaning there was at least £55 billion yet to come. In which case, seeing that education, health and international aid is ring-fenced, many government departments could suffer budget reductions amounting to more than 40% - “colossal” cuts that could force a “fundamental re-imagining” of the state, to use the words of the IFS.
Whether cuts of such a magnitude are sustainable, politically or economically, is a different question. But if you are a teacher, nurse, local government worker or civil servant, the chances are that your living standards will keep going down. Osborne, after all, plans to slice billions off the tax credits bill paid as a top-up to five million families on low incomes - which could reduce the income of a working-poor family with one child by £350 a year, while a lone parent with two children could see a £500 drop (the precise picture is complicated by the phasing out of tax credits and their replacement by universal credit).

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Anti-Migrant Snake Oil

People should be free to come and go
EXTRACTIn fact, nothing the SWP says about Ukip or immigration makes any logical sense. We also read in the aforementioned articles about the urgency of resisting racism “from Ukip and the mainstream parties”. In which case, why set up an organisation (ie, Stand Up To Ukip) that implies we should vote for anybody except Ukip? On the other hand, we find out that the SWP has “always argued that it’s impossible to have immigration controls that aren’t racist - we have to oppose all of them”. Very praiseworthy. Hang on though. The comrades support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which is only opposed to “racist” immigration controls: ie, presumably Tusc (like No2EU) is in favour of non-racist immigration controls, which are “impossible”. We look forward to the next SWP central committee missive on this issue.
However, what is qualitatively different about Ukip concerns what you actually do about migration. If you genuinely think migration is a problem, for whatever reason, then there is only one logical solution - you have to pull out of the EU. No ifs, no buts. As Cameron ruefully noted, the fact of the matter is that there are treaty obligations concerning the free movement of labour that will not magically go away - Berlin, for one, will make sure of that. Therefore Ukip is quite right when it says if Cameron was sincere in his previous pledge to get migration down to the “tens of thousands” by 2015, then obviously you have to do precisely what Ukip calls for - come out of Europe, erect border controls and take the consequences, which will be considerable. But, as we all know, Cameron’s pledge was a foolish and idiotic bit of posturing - he never had a hope in hell of getting migration down to such levels, and everyone knew it (including him).

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Fragmentation Shrinks the Mainstream

Branding Ukip 'racist' is obviously misplaced
EXTRACTWe go on to read that, unless there is a “serious campaign” against Ukip, a “racist populist party” is going to establish itself as a “serious player” in parliament that could even form part of a coalition government - the Tories and Labour “prepared the ground” for Ukip’s rise by targeting immigrants, Labour leaders “seem to believe that the way to defeat Ukip is to match their vileness” and the Tories want to “end the right of free movement of workers” inside the European Union in order to “clear the way for yet harsher anti-immigration laws”. Such moves, thinks the SWP, “only gives credence to Ukip’s racism”. For all these reasons, naturally, the SWP will continue to “back initiatives” by Stand Up To Ukip - like leafleting that “exposes” Ukip’s “anti-working class agenda” and “its racism”.
Same old SWP nonsense. We in the CPGB reject the notion that Ukip’s aim of severely restricting European migration to the UK through some sort of points-based system means that it is racist. Reactionary - yes, but racist? In any case, how is this essentially any different from the schemes cooked up by the Tories or Labour? Rachel Reeves, the shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, wants to limit legal EU migrants access to tax credits and prevent them claiming out-of-work benefits for two years. What about Cameron’s drafted and redrafted speech on immigration, which will obviously be yet another attempt to match Ukip? Yet the implication of the SWP’s Sutu campaign is that we should vote for almost anybody except Ukip - which presumably must include the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour, whose anti-migrant consensus must also be ‘racist’. Where is the joined-up thinking from the comrades?