Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category

Skwawkbox Accuses Starmer of using “Nazi Propaganda Slogan” the “Beauty of Work”.

with 9 comments

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "THE SKWAWKBOX JOURNALISM PRINTING WHAT SOMEONE ELSE WANT PRINTED EVERYTHING ELSE IS PUBLIC RELATIONS. MENU ANPER DER ANALYSIS COMMENT Starmer's 'beauty of work' was a nazi propaganda slogan by SKWAWKBOX (SW) 29/09/2021"

They Say Skwawky has taken “a Turn for the Worse.”

One of the Skwawking one’s followers comments,

He was probably sending out a signal to Nazis and fascists everywhere that you are welcome to come and join the party, just in case they didn’t get the message during the past fifteen months or so!

Another says,

Sir Keir Starmer has shown himself to be a fascistic Tory., as any analysis of his recent speeches will show. 

Small businessman Skwawkbox is said to be a member of the Labour Party.

Leading intelligencer GJ points out that Starmer said, “the beauty of skilled work.”

This is the passage in the Starmer Speech,

There are some lines from Auden that capture the beauty of skilled work: ‘You need not see what someone is doing to know if it is his vocation, you have only to watch his eyes. How beautiful it is, that eye-on-the-object look’… When I was at school, I had music lessons with Fatboy Slim! I can’t promise that for everyone”.

Here, hours of seeking by out tip-top gumshoes can reveal, is what Auden wrote,

You need not see what someone is doing
to know if it is his vocation,

you have only to watch his eyes:
a cook mixing a sauce, a surgeon

making a primary incision,
a clerk completing a bill of lading,

wear the same rapt expression,
forgetting themselves in a function.

How beautiful it is,
that eye-on-the-object look.

Horae Canonicae

Apart from anything else the Nazi slogan, “‘Die Schönheit der Arbeit’ in English form, could have been said by a wide variety of people, beginning with John Ruskin, much admired by early members of the Independent Labour Party. As explored here: THE BEAUTY OF WORK, THE INJUSTICE OF TOIL Why John Ruskin should be a patron saint of the “faith and work” conversation.

Here is what William Morris said in the 1880s about Useful Work, Versus Useless Toil“.

labour, to be attractive, must be directed towards some obviously useful end, unless in cases where it is undertaken voluntarily by each individual as a pastime. This element of obvious usefulness is all the more to be counted on in sweetening tasks otherwise irksome, since social morality, the responsibility of man towards the life of man, will, in the new order of things, take the place of theological morality, or the responsibility of man to some abstract idea. Next, the day’s work will be short. This need not be insisted on. It is clear that with work unwasted it can be short. It is clear also that much work which is now a torment, would be easily endurable if it were much shortened.

The socialist dreamt of time when,

persons, either by themselves or associated for such purposes, would freely, and for the love of the work and for its results – stimulated by the hope of the pleasure of creation – produce those ornaments of life for the service of all, which they are now bribed to produce (or pretend to produce) for the service of a few rich men.

It must be said that this Blog has more fondness for this text, The Right to be Lazy. Paul Lafargue. Sainte-Pélagie Prison, 1883.

“A strange delusion possesses the working classes of the nations where capitalist civilization holds its sway. This delusion drags in its train the individual and social woes which for two centuries have tortured sad humanity. This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny. Instead of opposing this mental aberration, the priests, the economists and the moralists have cast a sacred halo over work. Blind and finite men, they have wished to be wiser than their God; weak and contemptible men, they have presumed to rehabilitate what their God had cursed. I, who do not profess to be a Christian, an economist or a moralist, I appeal from their judgement to that of their God; from the preachings of their religious, economics or free thought ethics, to the frightful consequences of work in capitalist society.”

Jesus, in his sermon on the Mount, preached idleness: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Jehovah the bearded and angry god, gave his worshipers the supreme example of ideal laziness; after six days of work, he rests for all eternity.

Here is more of Skwawkbox’s wit:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Green Party in England and Wales Leadership Election: as Ashly Gunstock Apologises where is the Real Debate on Green Issues?

with 2 comments

Image

Gunstock Apologises, but where is the real debate on Green Issues?

In many countries Green Parties have had serious conflicts over their ideology, programme, and strategy.

One might have expected the election of a new leadership for the Green Party in England and Wales to be the occasion for a wide ranging discussion about their ideas, principles and approaches that would guide a party which has a real presence in local government. Given the Scottish Greens agreement with the Scottish nationalists, who have ambitious plans to leave the UK and establish new borders with England, reflections on the uses of political power would surly arise.

What kind of approach should Greens take to politics? There are many different Green stands. Here are some.

The best known division is between ‘realos’ and ‘fundis’ in the German Green Party, Die Grünen (later Bundnis’90/ Die Grünen) which began in the 1980s. Fundis could be said to be deep greens (belief in the ultimate value of all living beings, a stand often shading into Veganism) and self-styled eco-socialists. The Realos (in Germany, in alliance with other parties, including the right of centre CDU, CDU-Green coalition in Hamburg in 2008-2011, and a CDU-Liberals-Greens coalition in Saarland in 2009-2012. Hesse, 2013, France, alliances with the ‘responsible’ governing left, support for Parti Socialiste Presidential candidate Benoît Hamon in 2017 ) are in favour of moderate policies (however you classify that).

The notion of ‘sustainable growth’, and forms of “ecological transition” –regulated economic growth within the limits of ecological sustainability– given a boost by he climate crisis. The Fundis took a more radical stance in completely dismissing the notion of economic growth, seeing it as necessarily polluting, we can see their continuing influence in the idea of “de-growth”(a term translated from the French “La décroissance” explicitly opposed to the sustainability model. It is said to be based on these goals, “(1) Reduce the environmental impact of human activity; (2) Redistribute income and wealth both within and between countries; (3) Promote the transition from a materialistic to a convivial and participatory society.”

The supporters of de-growth claim an influence from the left wing Austrian-French André Gorz (1923 – 2007) theorist and writer. He is said to have been the first to coin the word. Gorz, who was perhaps best known for his backing for self-mangement (auto-gestion), workers and employees running companies themselves. He was also one of the first people on the left to talk of eco-socialism, in the 1980s and ‘décroissance’ (André Gorz. Une Vie. Willy Gianinazzi. 2016.) It does not look as if this is is compatible with conventionnel politics or exercising power in coalition with the majority of existing political parties of left, right, or centre. Whether by state intervention or generalised self-management it is hard to see such a fundamental change come about in present conditons.

A little Goggling and one finds this collection of themes, Degrowth: the history of an idea. Timothée DUVERGER

Degrowth is a concept-platform with multiple meanings, and is shaped by five sources of thought: ecological, bioeconomical, anthropological, democratic, and spiritual. The word appeared in the 1970s, and imposed itself beginning in 2002 owing to the convergence between the criticism of development and the anti-advertising movement, initially in France but later across the European continent, beginning with Latin regions. In radicalizing ecological criticism, it connected and gave increased focus to numerous emerging alternatives in the margins of civil society.

The XR protests have raised another issue that could define the future of Green Politics. The demand to replace democratic elections with Citizens’ Assemblies, chosen by lot, on the model of the ancient Athens (hopefully without excluding women slaves and non-citizens). This concept had a small vogue in France a few years ago, some claiming inspiration from Cornelius Castoriadis’ later writings on the glory that was ancient Greek democracy. “an experiment that could inspire a truly autonomous community, one that could legitimise its laws without assigning their source to a higher authority”.

The French Citizens’ Convention on Climate change, set up by President Macron in 2019, – the 150 members of the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate were chosen randomly using sortition in order to produce a representative sample of the French population – . has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

Along with the stifling “consensus decision-making” model taken from the US Occupy! Movement – everybody agrees or nothing gets done – this is apparently still around.

New political party Burning Pink – who wish to replace government with citizens’ assemblies – is putting three candidates forward in next month’s Ipswich elections. April 2021.

Sue Hagley and Jennifer McCarthy are set to stand in the Ipswich Borough Council elections in St Margaret’s Ward and Westgate Ward respectively, while Tina Smith will stand in the St Margaret’s and Westgate Division for Suffolk County Council.

The party, formed in 2020, is jointly-led by Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam – with its main aim being to replace governments with “citizens’ assemblies”, which are forums where community members and experts discuss important issues.

Both Sue Hagley and Tina Smith are facing trial in July over a graffiti attack on Ipswich Borough Council’s Grafton House office earlier this year. They both deny the charges.

Sue Hagley, a grandmother from Ipswich, said she believes a citizens’ assembly in Ipswich could help to tackle its air pollution problems and help to create a zero-carbon town.

Ms Hagley said she believes “ordinary people can come up with extraordinary things”, adding: “We don’t want top-down commands any more, we want people power.

Tina Smith, a mechanic from Woodbridge, said she wanted to get involved in politics as the first-past-the-post voting system makes “an absolute mockery of democracy”.

She said: “Democracy should be more than just a tick-box exercise every few years. People should be at the heart of the decision-making process, it shouldn’t be left to one person to speak for their constituents.”

It would be unkind to mention the small vote these candidates got since elections are no doubt “top down” and an absolute mockery of democracy.

This idea of Citizens’ Assemblies is not confined to cutting edge hipster areas like Ipswich.

Rob Marsden

Go beyond politics” For XR politics largely means party-politics. In its place it argues for the creation of Citizen’s Assemblies randomly selected in a similar way to jury service.

The idea is that they will be fully representative, not beholden to political parties, lobbies or interest groups. They will listen to best science and agree on what is to be done.

I am not the first to identify a problem here, in that such an assembly is made up of isolated individuals. It is not self-organised and has no democratic mandate from the grassroots. As such it is prey to the hostile mass media and their framing of the possibilities, choices and alternatives. Having neither legislative nor executive powers the danger is that a Citizen’s Assembly would be merely a consultative body or focus group.

This, then, points to a need for an ongoing XR movement in parallel with any assemblies which are set up in order to prevent them being recuperated to serve the interests of fossil capitalism and provide a bit of greenwash.

So, yes to citizen’s assemblies but we might argue that they be delegate bodies built from the grassroots up. Local assemblies feeding into higher bodies with real powers to formulate and agree policy and oversee its implementation.

The assemblies should also contain representatives of workers in key industries and sectors. This cannot be left to the chance of a random ‘sortition’ method. This is important not just to manage the transition to zero carbon but to harness the skills, creativity and inventiveness of large numbers of people in key industries who have transferable skills for a zero carbon economy.

The whole point of the citizen assembly model is to do away with representative democracy, and direct democracy: it i a scheme for either (there are variants) rule by a statistically selected oligarchy, or the chances of a lottery. What kind of legitimacy does this give for taking decisions, or as Pierre- Mendès France said, “gouverner est choisir” to govern is t choose? The Macron Citizens’ Convention illustrates just what it would a realistic model would be: a consultative group that the President could follow or ignore at will.

Yet far from such issues the GPEW has this controversy dominating their election:

Ashley Gunstock issues apology following Bright Green interview

Green Party of England and Wales leadership candidate Ashley Gunstock has issued an apology today following comments he made in an interview with Bright Green. In the interview, Gunstock implied he was best placed to lead the Green Party as he is a white, cisgender man. He has since faced criticism for comments he made on trans rights in the interview, in which he seemingly misgendered an individual.

Gunstock posted the apology on Twitter. In it, he said he accepted the criticism of his comments and apologised to those who had been offended by them.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 2, 2021 at 4:15 pm

The Morning Star on Afghanistan, Labour, China and a few more things besides.

with 2 comments

Image

Morning Star should read the above (the Hindu, an Indian Journal of Record, 18th of August)

The Afghan debacle and the Labour Party Editorial.

MORE than a dozen labour movement campaign groups and two Labour-affiliated unions have announced a fightback conference against the party’s rightward lurch.

Note the conference is entitled For a Broad Left Network, and states, “we urge all socialists to stay in the party,

“This could hardly be more important after a week in which the fall of Kabul has thrown into relief the disastrous consequences of the “war on terror.”

The failure of “humanitarian intervention” to spread anything but chaos and bloodshed, demonstrated already in the catastrophes of Iraq and Libya, is clearer than ever in the ruins of the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.”

(are they linked? The invasion’s public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda, which had executed the September 11 attacks weeks prior, and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban government from power. That does not look like humanitarian intervention. )

The article continues,

Defence select committee chair Tobias Ellwood, going head to head on Channel 4 News with Jeremy Corbyn (the programme’s presenters evidently realising that Labour’s current front bench have nothing pertinent to say) might argue that Afghan troops had proven able to “contain” the Taliban and a Western military presence had given the now deposed government “space … to move forward,” but the claim is as delusional as it is vague.

Emerging protests against the Taliban undermine its pretensions to represent the will of the people, but the total collapse of the Afghan government within a few weeks of US withdrawal makes it very clear that the ousted regime rested on nothing but Western military might, even if Ellwood was correct (he was not) that it had been containing the Taliban rather than steadily losing territory to it.

Good point. But then…

“Despite the efforts of MPs of all parties – with a handful of honourable exceptions – to avoid the question, the catastrophe in Kabul passes a damning verdict on the foreign policy consensus of the last two decades.”

What consensus?

This is not because any supposed “nation-building” effort failed: as US President Joe Biden at least admits, this was never the reason for the war.

From the bombed weddings to the blood money and the grim evidence of war crimes like the murder of an unarmed Afghan farmer by an Australian SAS trooper, captured on video released last November, the occupying powers had no moral superiority.

Neither the United States nor Britain was at war to build democracy or advance women’s rights and neither government is genuinely concerned about the failure to do so.

So why were there? See above point in 9/11.

But the debacle exposes the emptiness of the war propaganda spouted by MPs, newspaper columnists and TV anchors every time a new conflict is in the offing. It vindicates the peace movement’s contention that armed intervention is not capable of delivering the outcomes claimed for it.

In this case we agree:

The Editorial claims Corbyn himself was targeted because of his ‘anti-imperialism’ , a bold assertion. and downplays socialism.

This could not be more relevant to the Establishment restoration in Labour and the party machine’s anti-socialist purges. It was always Corbyn’s anti-imperialist politics that most rattled the powers that be, more even than public ownership or taxing the rich.

This was the reason for the endless attacks on his supposed lack of patriotism, the BBC mock-up of him against the Moscow skyline after the Salisbury poisonings, the slander that he was an apologist for terror or a Czech spy.

They then return to the anti-imperialist theme.

And yet the independent foreign policy that Corbyn sketched out in 2017, one in which we do not ride to war on the coat-tails of Washington but promote peace and co-operation, looks more pressing than ever — just as Labour is trying to rehabilitate Blair and military interventionism, while vying with the Tories in ratcheting up the new cold war against China.

The left must be clear: nobody who supports sending warships to the Chinese coasts or playing games of chicken with Russia in the Black Sea has learned the lessons of Afghanistan. The imperialist aggression must end.

What aggression in the Black Sea or or against China?

This is the Morning Star line.

For that to happen, the political space opened up by the Corbyn leadership in Labour to make the case for peace and socialism must be held and extended.

That means pushing back against Keir Starmer’s effort to erase its legacy and declare its supporters beyond the pale of British politics.

The left organisations standing together to do just that, regardless of their varying policies and priorities, deserve all our support.

We are sure they ‘welcome’ the Morning Star’s endorsement, whose leading figures in the Communist Party of Britain have promoted candidates standing against Labour, starting with the CPB’s own candidacies.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2021 at 4:09 pm