What a world! Inequality gone mad! Democracy, a hollow sham! Quantitative Easing pours money in the pockets of the rich – and debt, debt, debt for the rest!
Corporations write the laws, finance politicians, call out tunes for the daily trudge! Arms industries feed terror and war – and our so-called ‘politicians’ are their bagmen!
Sixty per cent of citizens need drugs, legal or illegal, to get through the day! And millions in the U.S. are considering voting for a medieval devil straight out of Hieronymus Bosch, named Donald Trump…
Here in Brockley, South-East London, we are holding a Festival of Ideas for Change. No party politics, no celebrity twaddle, just GOOD ideas which could transform our world! If you don’t think we need change, keep taking those pills! Otherwise: Brockley today, tomorrow the world!
It’s a free event, but places are limited. To make sure you have a place, book FREE ticket(s) here:
Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
French Socialist ‘Primary’ for Presidential Candidate: Debates Begin, Basic Income is One of the Stakes.
Gorz’s Ideas in Background to French Socialist Debate.
The debates, which will be held over the course of the next two weeks, are seen as crucial for a successful turnout in the country’s left-wing presidential primaries on January 22 and 29.
As the first round of voting approaches, there is dwindling support among French voters for the Socialist Party, which has been left fractured by ideological differences and the outgoing President François Hollande’s unpopular leadership.FRANCE 24 spoke with Thomas Guénolé, a political scientist and lecturer at the prestigious Sciences Po University in Paris, who emphasized the Socialist Party’s divisions ahead of Thursday’s debate.
FRANCE 24: Why are the left-wing primary debates important for the Socialist Party?
Thomas Guénolé: The Socialist Party is historically the main left-wing party in France. But it is strongly divided between its own right-leaning and left-leaning members. François Hollande, the current president of the French Republic, comes from this party, and has governed with a right-leaning agenda. He has decided not to run for a second term, because he feels he cannot unify the left.
There are two things at stake for the Socialist Party. First, they need a high level of participation. Theconservative primary [in November] drew more than four million voters. If, for example, only one million turn out for the left-wing primaries, it will be considered a failure. The second thing at stake is that the Socialist Party is also split among former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who is pro-free trade and deregulation, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who’s a proponent of alter-globalisation [a movement that opposes the negative effects of neoliberal globalisation].
FRANCE 24: Who are the Socialist Party candidates, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
Guénolé: There are [four Socialist Party] candidates in the upcoming left-wing primaries. There’sManuel Valls, who was prime minister under Hollande until he recently resigned to run for the presidency. Over the last 10 years, Manuel Valls has been the most right-leaning of the Socialist Party. There are even some who have accused him of being right wing, period. He has backed economic austerity, strict immigration policy… But for this campaign, he is trying to run on a different platform. During his tenure as prime minister, he repeatedly used the 49.3 [a clause in the French constitution that allows governments to force through legislation without a vote], now he says that it’s too brutal. He also says that he now wants reconciliation, whereas he was quite confrontational as prime minister. He’s basically trying to remake his image, even though it’s contradictory.
Next there’s Vincent Peillon, who is an esteemed university professor. He’s well known among academic circles, where he’s considered an authority on the issue of secularism. He’s also a former minister of education. He’s unbeatable when it comes to three subjects: secularism, education and defending the rights of France’s Muslim minority. But beyond that, he doesn’t have much to say.
Then there’s Arnaud Montebourg, the former economy minister. He’s got one strong position, which is that he wants to do the exact opposite of Hollande and Valls when it comes to the economy. He basically wants to copy [former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt] and the New Deal. He’s really selling it hard. His main challenge will be to address other issues than the economy.
Last but not least, there’s Benoît Hamon, who is running as the most left-leaning Socialist Party candidate. He has proposed such audacious measures as introducing a universal basic income, and the 32-hour workweek. His main weakness is that he can be easily attacked on how he plans to finance these proposals.
Each candidate has their own weakness to overcome. Valls has a credibility problem, Peillon lacks breadth, Montebourg is strong on economy but doesn’t have a diverse enough platform, and Hamon has a feasibility problem.
It is worth noting how Basic Income has become a major subject for debate in France.
As le Point notes: Le revenu universel (Basic Income) oppose les candidats à la primaire du PS
Basic Income has many supporters, from right-wing odd balls, to left wing Greens. I associate it with André Gorz, for the very simple reason that the first time I heard about it was from people from the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU) influenced by Gorz.
This is brought out in the recent beautiful written biography of Gorz, Willy Gianinazzi, André Gorz. Une vie, (La Découverte, 2016). Amongst many topics Gianinazzi describes how Gorz moved from support for autogestion (workers’ control) to wider ideas about changes in the world of work and the how to end “heteronomy” (the rule by technical and economic reason) over people’s lives.
As Peter Frase has written,
The French writer André Gorz was a longtime proponent of the basic income, and is also responsible for a well-known theorization of its utopian transformative potential. In one of his early works, Strategy for Labor, he attempted to do away with the tired Left debate over “reform or revolution” and replace it with a new distinction:
Is it possible from within—that is to say, without having previously destroyed capitalism—to impose anti-capitalist solutions which will not immediately be incorporated into and subordinated to the system? This is the old question of “reform or revolution.” This was (or is) a paramount question when the movement had (or has) the choice between a struggle for reforms and armed insurrection. Such is no longer the case in Western Europe; here there is no longer an alternative. The question here revolves around the possibility of “revolutionary reforms,” that is to say, of reforms which advance toward a radical transformation of society. Is this possible?
Gorz goes on to distinguish “reformist reforms,” which subordinate themselves to the need to preserve the functioning of the existing system, from the radical alternative:
A non-reformist reform is determined not in terms of what can be, but what should be. And finally, it bases the possibility of attaining its objective on the implementation of fundamental political and economic changes. These changes can be sudden, just as they can be gradual. But in any case they assume a modification of the relations of power; they assume that the workers will take over powers or assert a force (that is to say, a non-institutionalized force) strong enough to establish, maintain, and expand those tendencies within the system which serve to weaken capitalism and to shake its joints. They assume structural reforms.
Gorz is perhaps more famous for his Farewell to the Working Class (1980 – Galilée and Le Seuil, 1983, Adieux au Prolétariat). This argued that the traditional agency of left politics, the working class, was no longer capable of bearing the hopes that Marxists and other socialists had placed in them.
To put it simply, the idea, adopted by Serge Mallet and many in the PSU (see above) that there was a ‘new working class’ which, led by technicians and the skilled, would form the vanguard for workers’ control (autogestion) was out of date. The working class, had not just been dispersed but completely altered in new economic and social relations. Growing numbers of people never became ‘workers’ in stable traditional sense.
This meant a more serious crisis that has seen the decline in the weight of the traditional occupations, erosion of union membership, and capacity for militancy this involved. The Forward March of Labour was not halted by bare statistical change; it was a transformation in the nature of work itself which had sapped the foundation of this form of left politics.
As he wrote, “Just as the rise of capitalist production created the working class, so its crisis and decay are creating the ‘non-class of non-workers‘, encompassing ‘all those who have been expelled from production by the abolition of work. . . It includes all the supernumeraries of present-day social production, who are potentially or actually unemployed, whether permanently or temporarily, partially or completely.”
As Richard Hyman noted at the time (Socialist Register 1983), Gorz refined the goals of the left within this framework.
…he defines his objectives as ‘the liberation of time and the abolition of work’, insisting that within capitalism work is always an externally imposed obligation rather than self-determined activity.
Second, he relates the contrast between work and autonomous activity to that between exchange-value and use-value. Thus the progressive abolition of waged work implies the reciprocal liberation of productive activity from the domination of commodity relations.
Third, he argues that the abolition of work is already in process, as a result of mass unemployment. Current trends offer the alternatives of a society sharply divided between a mass of unemployed or those in casual and marginalised work, and an advantaged minority in relatively secure employment; or one in which socially necessary labour is spread thinly among all who are available to work, freeing the bulk of people’s time for self defined activities.
Fourth, Gorz stresses the inadequacy of the ‘right to work’ as a political slogan. Full-time employment for all is no longer possible, nor necessary or desirable. A guaranteed income for all, as commonly demanded by the Left, would merely represent ‘a wage system without work’: exploitation by capital would give way to dependence on the state, perpetuating the ‘impotence and subordination of individuals to centralised authority’ (p. 4). Instead, the aim should be ‘the right to autonomous production’: access to means of production (in the form defined by Illich as ‘tools for conviviality’)~ so that individuals and grassroots communities can produce directly for their own use. One consequence would be to break down the division between social production and domestic labour.
Hyman’s critical analysis still bears reading.
But in point of fact Gorz did come to advocate a form of basic income as can be seen not just from Gianinazzi’s book but in more detail here: Pour un revenu inconditionnel suffisant (Transversals 2002). He also mooted the idea of “autogestion du temps”, free organisation of free time.
But there remain real problems:
- How, for example, is the “non-class of non-workers” going to be mobilised for these objectives?
- Is there really such a deep seated change that all hope for trade union led movements has evaporated?
- Is, as Hyman indicated, there any sense of talking of a political constituency for change when the focus is on organising ‘
- autonomous production’, and (as eh alter called it) free time, both outside capitalist relations?
Having said this it is startling to observe how this idea has now come to the fore in French Socialist Party debates.
It is a key dividing issue as the very recent Le Point report indicates:
Primaire: le revenu universel oppose les candidats (Selection of Socialist candidates, Basic income divides the contenders):
Benoît Hamon voit dans le revenu universel une réponse à la “raréfaction probable du travail liée à la révolution numérique” mais aussi la possibilité de choisir son temps de travail pour “s’épanouir dans d’autres activités que l’emploi”.
He sees basic incomes as a response to the changes – the decrease – in available work linked to the revolution in information technology which also allows people to chose their working hours and to develop their interests beyond employment.
Apart from Benoît Hamon, the idea is defended by Jean-Luc Bennahmias.
By contrast Arnaud Montebourg, Vincent Peillon and Manuel Valls are opposed, both for budgetary reasons and on the fundamentals of the principle. Arnaud Montebourg has affirmed his faith in the value of labour, and, for his closest supporters, Basic Income is a way of accepting mass unemployment. Manuel Valls has warned of a something for nothing society, and proposes a 800 Euro minimum income for the lowest earners.
It goes without saying that the issue is a subject of debate across a much wider section of the French Left.
Cuneiform needed to Break Free from Colonial Legacy.
SOAS University Defends Students Accused Of Being ‘Snowflakes’ Over White Philosopher Demands
Their demands centre around this.
To make sure that the majority of the philosophers on our courses are from the Global South or it’s diaspora.
“SOAS’s focus is on Asia and Africa and therefore the foundations of its theories should be presented by Asian or African philosophers (or the diaspora).
“If white philosophers are required, then to teach their work from a critical standpoint. For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so called “Enlightenment” philosophers wrote within.”
The proposals were put forward as part of a campaign at SOAS to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism” at the university.
It has long struck the Tendence that such calls do not go far enough.
This statement was written in English, and more importantly, in the Latin alphabet, a legacy of Roman imperialism.
Where, one asks, is their recognition of the import of the Sumerians in addressing the Enlightenment’s problématique?
Were they not present in the Middle East?
Where is the place of cuneiform, a writing system free from Western colonialism?
Where is the recognition given to the important role of Metropolitan thought, notably astrology, in the curriculum?
We propose that SOAS immediately establish a Tablet School in sumerian cuneiform.
Who could be better to introduce the new syllabus than Middle East Expert Tariq Ali?
PM Defends Right to Speak of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
Much has been made, in the French media, about François Fillon’s (successful) efforts to moblise the Catholic, and more broadly, conservative religious vote behind his Presidential bid.
Where Filly flows, May meanders behind.
CHRISTIANS must be free to speak about their faith and Christmas without fear of repercussions, the Prime Minister has said.
Her comments come as a report from a think tank warns religious freedoms are being eroded after teachers, magistrates and other professionals have been disciplined and sacked for living according to their beliefs.
Reports the journal of record, the Sun.
Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, who sits on the Ecclesiastical Committee, warned that Christians have become “fearful” about mentioning their faith in public in case they encounter a backlash.
She told Prime Minister’s Questions: “Comments this week by the Equalities Commissioner not to be worried about talking about Christmas at work were important because many Christians are now worried, even fearful, about mentioning their faith in public.
“So would the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the recent Lawyers Christian Fellowship report Speak Up, which confirms that in our country today the legal rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech to speak about one’s faith responsibly, respectfully and without fear, are as strong today as ever?”
The Prime Minister fearlessly replied,
Theresa May, the daughter of a vicar, said religious tolerance is a fiercely guarded principle in Britain that must be respected.
She said: “You raise an important issue that matters to both you and me, and I think that the phrase that was used by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship was ‘the jealously guarded principle’ of that ability to speak freely, as you say respectfully and responsibly, about one’s religion.
“I’m happy to welcome the publication of this report and its findings.”
She added, we learn,
Of course we’re now into the season of Advent, and we have a very strong tradition in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech, and our Christian heritage is something we can all be proud of.
I’m sure that we would all want to ensure that people at work do feel able to speak about their faith, and also feel quite able to speak freely about Christmas.”
Snipers comment (Left Foot Forward).
The report itself has to be read in this context. It offers Christians guidelines (which it makes clear are not legal advice) on how to talk about their religion so more people follow it or adopt its ideas.
As Speak Up‘s introduction says:
“As Christians, it’s our responsibility to share the good news …
We know what a difference the gospel has made to our lives, and we should be passionate about seeing as many people as possible know this transforming good news, as well. …
We should grab hold of this opportunity and tell our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues about the life-changing good news we have received.”
In the conclusion, Dr David Landrum, advocacy director for the Evangelical Alliance, writes:
“The lost need the gospel, so we need to be intentional about sharing it. We hope that this resource will inform followers of Christ about the freedoms we have to do this, and encourage confident and fruitful evangelism in every area of public life.“
The report has sections on ‘sharing the gospel at work’, ‘sharing the gospel in public’, and ‘sharing the gospel on social media’. It includes advice on where you can talk about people’s ‘sexual orientation’ and how far you can go.
The report doesn’t appear to call for any rule-bending, and does seem like a good faith (excuse the pun) attempt to inform people about their rights and the law. But it does so in order that they know how best to ‘share the gospel’ as part of a clear political agenda.
How political? A Dispatches investigation in 2008, In the Name of God, found Andrea Williams, then LCF public policy director, called the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill the work of the devil, supported banning abortion, considered homosexuality sinful and was a young earth creationist. Williams no-longer works for the LCF.
But both groups are committed to seeing their views shape public policy, with the help of friendly MPs like Fiona Bruce. How nice for the Prime Minister to give them a boost under the banner of the non-existent ‘Christmas wars’!
With less than 59 per cent of Brits identifying as Christian (most of them Anglican), and at least a quarter ticking ‘no religion’ on the census form, this is a strange move for a PM who wants a society that ‘works for everyone’.
My Advent Card:
Jack and Dinos Chapman: Fucking Hell.
It is not often that we publish news on Ipswich Tory Party.
MP Ben Gummer spends his time these days in a happy daze:
It is an exciting time to be in our town, and a privilege for me to serve this glorious constituency as it grasps a better future with both hands.
But all is not well in the Ipswich Conservative Association..
Leading activist, former Tory council candidate, and Brexit supporter, Kevin Algar, the Terror of Saint Jude’s, is now backing Marine Le Pen for French President.
He comments on Facebook today, “She will win, the EU will collapse and the people of Europe shall be free.”
According to well-established rumour Kev, as his friends don’t call him, plans to hold a Suffolk victory party for the Front National.
This was his last celebration, (via East Anglia’s Premier Political Blog) ” Congratulations to US President elect Donald Trump.”
Brockley Festival of Ideas for Change Sunday 20 November 2016, 10am-5pm. The Mural Hall, Prendergast Hilly Fields College, SE4 1LE 10:00 Registration Tea and coffee available 10:30 Festival opens Welcome Morning Chair: Anthony Russell Clare Cowen, Brockley Society Session 1: PARTICIPATION AND DEMOCRACY Sean Coughlan – Broadcaster The future of education Ivo Mosley – Author A constitution for a genuine democracy Swetam Gungah – Mathematical Physicist: Sensible about science Camilla Berens – South East London Community Energy: Creating local energy Michael O’Keefe – Positive Money Change Money, Change the World 11:30 Questions and discussion 12:00 Session 2: A FAIRER WORLD Natasha Wort – Uniting for Peace How to save the world – A Buddhist’s Guide Tassia Kobylinska – Filmmaker, Goldsmiths College Film as social action Lui Smyth – Anthropologist Unconditional basic income for all 12:30 Questions and discussion 13:00 Lunch break View stalls at back of hall 14:00 Afternoon Chair: Clare Cowen Session 3: AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY Gabriel Gbadamosi – Writer The creative community as a condition of multicultural society Andy Worthington – Journalist and activist Demonising ‘the other’: Tackling the rise of racism and xenophobia Rosario Guimba-Stewart Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network Refugees and their challenges Jacqueline Walker – Author From life to Action 15:00 Questions and discussion 15:30 Session 4: BUILDING A NEW ECONOMY Bruce Mauleverer QC – The International Law Association International law, to be read on his behalf by Bob Barrett Aeron Davis – Professor of Political Communication, Goldsmiths What has the financial system ever done for us? Helen Mercer – Lecturer in Economics The Private Finance Initiative: how to end the rip-off Oliver Lewis – Campaigner Bring back British Rail Anthony Russell – Cultural Historian An ethos for a social renaissance.
Ivo Mosley background, “Ivo Mosley is the grandson of fascist leader Oswald Mosley. His book, In the Name of the People, is an analysis of the non-democratic nature of Western democracies and, as it says on his website, “the strange lack of freedom that Western peoples experience in bondage to debt”.
Ivo Mosley on the “Money Power” without the anti-semitism, ” nowadays bankers are Anglo-Saxon, Chinese, African, Indian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic or whatever: assorted individuals who have no more consuming interest than to make lots of money.” (Ivo Mosley Antisemitism and Banking also see this: Guest Author on Positive Money).
Ivo Mosley is associated with this: Positive Money at the Labour and Conservative party conferences (Video)
- Positive Money does not act on the behalf of any particular lobby or interest group.
- Positive Money is not a political organisation. We don’t campaign for either a bigger or a smaller role for government. We campaign for changes to the money system which would benefit the economy as a whole, and which is therefore compatible with the aims of all political parties.
- Positive Money is not against privately owned banks. Privately-owned banks have an important function in providing payment services, a secure place for our money, investment opportunities, and to make loans.
- Positive Money is not against bankers. Most people who work in banks do not understand the money system and its effects, and are simply trying to provide a service for customers and earn a living. Undoubtedly some bankers have abused their power, but this is not the root cause of our financial crisis; the root cause is our current money system.
- Positive Money is not against lending, or charging interest on loans where an investor is lending their money to somebody else.
- Positive Money does not believe that regulation alone can solve the problems with banking or the money system. Regulation has been shown to be ineffective, and easily reversed, but furthermore it does not alter the root causes of the problem. What is needed is legislative change.
- Positive Money is not a campaign for general financial reform, alternative economics or complementary currencies. While there are many other reforms that also need to take place, Positive Money has a specific and narrow purpose – to change the national money system in order to create a fairer and more stable economy.
- Positive Money does not support the use of illegal or violent means to bring about change. We campaign for the money system to be changed with minimal social and economic upheaval.
Anthony Russell is a cultural historian, writer and artist. He has travelled much of the world combining painting with tour lecturing – principally to American university students on bespoke tours and the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts.
He spent six years as a consultant for Luke Hughes advising on the furniture needs of prestigious buildings throughout Britain, including museums, palaces, schools and cathedrals.
Now based in London, he spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research. At the British Museum, where he runs outreach events and hosts visiting lecturers, he has been described as “Hugh Grant meets the Dalai Lama.”
Committed to the ‘search for civilisation’ and as an advocate of nonviolence, he is the founder of the Chandos, on the committee for Uniting for Peace and a contributor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma.
He is author of the book ‘Evolving the Spirit – From Democracy to Peace.’, commended by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate, as meaning a great deal to her. He is also Chairman of the Brockley Festival of Ideas and a Founding Advocate of Civil-isation.
Robb Johnson and the Corbynistas (Picture: YouTube).
One for all the pop-pickers out there!
The Metro reports (note, some of the words may have been slightly edited).
A Landmark Jeremy Corbyn Christmas single.
If, after a new kind of politics meeting, you’re getting super extra excited ‘n’ full of energy and enthusiasm to listen to this breakthrough track, the video is only a – safe – teaser – that’s right, the very best is yet to come.
The debut single is performed by Robb Johnson and the Corbynistas, and features a lot of people in lovely warm Christmas jumpers.
The video opens with Johnson on a street sweetly singing: ‘I’m voting Jeremy Corbyn, I’m voting Jeremy C. I like his ideas, they’re fair and they’re clear, Jezzer and me we agree.’.
And it ends with a group of people melodiously chanting around a table: ‘We’re voting for Jeremy Corbyn, JC 4 PM 4 ME.’
Smashy and Nicey say,” Clashtastic, mate!”ate!