Life goes on
The only embarrassment now about Big brother is for the people who over-reacted to Galloways appearance in it. He raised a bit of money for a worthwhile Palestinian charity, he got bashed by the right wing press - life goes on.
Life goes on
Communists demand unrestricted working class access to alcohol (and all recreational drugs) and fight those restrictive policing intrusions (Weekly Worker December 16 2004).
Really? As a police officer for 30 years, working predominantly in two sink estates in Coventry, I saw only too clearly the effects of alcohol: abused and neglected children, wives and girlfriends with severe injuries at the hands (and worse) of their partners. I saw, too, the appalling effects of drugs of various kinds, and the descent into true horror for not only the users, but the victims of crimes committed against them to provide the wherewithal to purchase more drugs.
Even putting to one side the above, the constant internecine warring between the pushers and the major suppliers, leading to a proliferation of handguns, and an increasing number of shootings, was and is horrifying; whilst all of the time individuals damaged by narcotic consumption wandered about, useless and full of self-hate. I spent many hours with parents devastated by the destruction of their children, and the break-up of their families, as a direct result of their childs use of drugs and the crime that the hitherto promising child was now committing, including burglaries, robberies and under-age girls entering into prostitution.
Having become very sorely vexed at the corruption, in all areas, of the major political parties here I thought I might look to the Communist Party for some solid and intellectual comment on events in this country. If the CPGBs policy on drugs is accurately reflected here, it would appear that any chance for ever having a democratic, responsible alternative in the Communist Party is a pipe-dream. The Communist Party will, if these views are reflected in other policy, forever remain a fringe movement, and be unable to convince the ordinary man in the street that it can possibly be a viable alternative.
What a damned shame.
Terry Liddle says: The bottles and hand pumps do not say, Drink this and youll end up with a sour gut and a blinding headache at the very least.
Gee, how much do you guys drink over there? Back here in New Zealand it is possible for those indulging to get the odd nice wee glow and turn up at work next morning with a fully functioning head and gut.
Yes, capitalist alcohol advertising is cynical shite, but the stuff itself is a good servant and a bad master. If those of us who choose to cant enjoy a few beers after the revolution it will not have been worth killing all those capitalists.
Area and national officials of the National Union of Mineworkers and a solid block of Nottinghamshire NUM miners and their families turned out for Paul Whettons funeral on March 18.
Led by Notts NUM banners, the funeral procession thronged the roads and closed Newark town centre. Well-known characters from the miners movement were everywhere in evidence among the sea of faces.
The packed church had the service relayed to the crowds standing outside for more than an hour in freezing temperatures. The tears froze in our eyes as we listened to Pauls voice, talking about the meaning of pit life and the strength of pit communities.
The music and the speeches were absolutely heart-wrenching. Arthur Scargill made one of the most impassioned and moving eulogies I think I have ever heard, although, the most sorrowful parts were those where he quoted from the words of Pauls children; it was deeply upsetting.
Paul was a hero of the workers movement and a committed communist and trade unionist. His coffin was draped in the Soviet flag and his fur Bolshevik hat, with the badge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which had been presented to him in that country, was laid on top of the flag.
During the miners strike, Paul had thrown himself into the Nottinghamshire offensive - fighting, as all Notts strikers did, on the hardest front of all, in the worse strike-breaking county, which had been made the scene of counter-attack by the Tories and the states special forces. At the end of the strike he was victimised.
It took two years of battles in tribunals before Paul was reinstated, albeit at Manton Colliery in the Yorkshire area of the NUM, but within the actual geological coal county of Nottinghamshire.
In his final working years, Paul sustained a serious accident that forced him to finish in the industry a couple of years early. This allowed him to devote the bulk of his time to the Justice For Miners Campaign and efforts to rebuild the NUM in Nottinghamshire.
Paul was a great mate, a great storyteller, a man of justice and common sense. We have lost too many like him in recent years and sadly they are not being replaced.
The (female) vicar told us amusingly how in their first encounter Paul welcomed her and called her comrade. She had been a bit taken aback, but then recognised it had been a great compliment. She supposed Paul might be engaging with comrade Christ at this very moment.
We are not sure about that, but if it were true, doubtless Christ wouldnt get a word in for the first few days.
In the balance
The result of a recent a by-election for a seat on my local district council is very interesting for what it says about the political situation here. The Tory candidate won the seat with 264 votes. An independent candidate and the Liberal Democrat came equal second with 136 votes each. The Labour Party candidate came fourth with just 12 votes.
The result must surely say something about how the local population rates Tony Blair and his New Labour government. The by-election result shows that the very survival of the Labour Party in my area as a viable political party is in the balance.
In the balance
In the balance
SPGB is right
The CPGB mistakenly looks on Lenins Russia as a society run in the interests of the workers. The Bolsheviks advocated the setting up of a constituent assembly, but when elections placed them in a minority they forcibly dissolved it.
In 1919 the outstanding Marxist, Martov, drew attention to the fact that there was a social hierarchy over the workers in production. The state apparatus was based on compulsion. He writes: In Russia the evolution of the soviet state has already created a new and complicated state machine based on the administration of persons, as against the administration of things, based on the opposition of the functionary official to the citizen. These antagonisms are in no way different from the antagonisms that characterise the capitalist state.
Martov also opposed the use of the death penalty for opponents both left and right. The Socialist Party of Great Britain rightly calls Lenins Russia state capitalist.
SPGB is right
SPGB is right
In your motion to the Campaign for a New Workers Party you cannot help but blurt out the need for such a party to be based on the theory and practice of revolutionary Marxism.
Why not base a new party on the experiences, interests and present realities of working class people? You know very well that a Marxist party will fail to attract widespread support, but be highly successful in bringing about yet another sectarian battle for the orthodox soul of Marxist ideology. Such battles have driven countless numbers, including myself, from the leftwing fold into reluctant, but less infuriating, political passivity.
We dont need another party spewing dreary dogma, but a strong rank-and-file movement exercising real grassroots democracy and setting its own agenda, not following the lead of self-important leaders.
Socialists of the world, unite - you have nothing to lose but your mediocrity!
Wide of the Marx
In Rearming our class, Mark Fischer states: In todays conditions a Marxist party would, of course, fight for reforms. No - it would fight for the abolition of the wages system, a demand Marx formulated more than 140 years ago.
Wide of the Marx
Wide of the Marx
I agree with the majority of Mark Fischers analysis and criticism of feminism as against a socialist analysis (Autonomy, separatism and womens liberation, November 18 2004).
However, there are many ways in which men are disadvantaged as compared to women, and, in particular, working class men. The rise of feminism over the last 30 years has seen middle class women gain immensely, while working class men are thrown out of their traditional jobs and demonised as racist, sexist thugs.
Typically, feminist screeching obliterates this to the point that comrade Fischer does not even acknowledge it in his critique.
Jack does art
I would like to comment on Jack Conrads article, Prometheanism and nature (January 19). In it he says: Hence no inferiority or superiority of species. We speak - it must be emphasised - not of science, tools or human society. And: Each domain has its own laws which must be studied according to their own logic and certainly should not be dumbly confused or casually transposed. A sorry but frequent mistake.
What does he do next? Put on your hard hats - Jack Conrad does art! Here we go: Eg, with due humility, I would venture to suggest that, apart from technique, materials and points of reference, there is no progress in art Are the works of Picasso more advanced than those of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks? Is the music of Harrison Birtwhistle or John Adams better than Mozart? Or do we simply have difference in each case in terms of artistic expression?
Nonsense. Jack wants us to believe there is progress in science (hes a scientist whos changing the world), but not in art (Jacks no artist). But of course, art is a part and product of human society. Other animals dont do art. Like science, like tools, progress is written into art and it is never neutral or value-free.
Whats the reason for this mistake? Jack fears politics collapsing into aesthetics, but hes only able to repress the difference by brutally cleaving them in the cellar, while frantically wiping the surface still. One goes on living in the light (Jekyll); the other (Hyde) festers locked away. Jack needs you to keep art in a box to stare at; he needs you to think technique is just relative, different practical methods applied in different practical times - I hold the pen one way, one day; he holds it another. But technique in art is an art in itself, part of the process; content not just form ossified. It helps you to understand techniques of persuasion.
As for poor old Picasso! Is one Spanish bloke better artistically than not one, but two ancient civilisations? What sort of rubbish is this? Its covert stuff. Picasso is Jacks stand-in for modernity, abstraction, the unconscious, which he has to neuter to avoid revelation and this process neuters the CPGB. Ancients are much easier: they behave themselves.
What does points of reference actually mean? It smothers. As a term its maybe okay for orienteering, but Jacks using it to lose art. The subject (Jack), points at the reference (art), and thats it. Theres no struggle between subject and object - they fit perfectly, blandly together. Jack cant see the problem, so why on earth should you?
But remember - Jack is persuading you, this is ideology: the important stuff must be hidden. Art is always about surplus, the bits that dont fit. Mimesis - art imitates, but never fully becomes. How many great minds, how many billions of words, have puzzled over this most intense, profound and mysterious human activity, but Jack, with due humility finishes it all off in a paragraph. And Jacks not normally known for his brevity. He quickly needs to install art as timeless classics and museum pieces, art as the ultimate bourgeois commodity, and move on.
This zap is designed to stop you thinking, asking questions such as what is and what isnt art, and deeper, making the inside of you complex, more or less real.
Make no mistake - via coded Uriah Heep humbleness, Jacks line is the Leninist line of the Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB. Art is id, and as such is irrational and only to be looked at and not touched. Contagion lurks. So lets not be silly, comrades: eyes straight ahead, practical Bolshevik politics. Everything exoteric, forget your insides, you never know what you might find there.
Jack wont let art matter because art might reveal whats the matter with Jack.
Jack does art
Jack does art