65

Literature and Politics in a Dystopian Age

Frank Lee

Unquestionably, the world seems to be moving away from democratic forms of rule and morphing into authoritarian/totalitarian political and economic systems (liberal totalitarianism if you will).

This process has not gone without commentary and analysis. The 20th century bore witness to a copious amount of dystopian literature, both prior to and coincidental with the rise of totalitarian systems in both Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy. In a time of economic and political break-down, these regimes were the early prototypes of counter-revolutions from below.

The first decades of the 20th century were troubled times for the ruling elites who were increasingly unable to keep order in this deteriorating situation particularly in Italy and Germany. This was made worse by the rise of socialist and communist movements which represented a real and present danger to the PTB and the capitalist social order. Thus a counter-balancing political mass movement – fascism – was recruited and built as an anti-communist, anti-socialist, counter-revolution from below.

In Germany this consisted of the SA (Stormtroopers or Brownshirts) with a political belief-system and ideology containing much which could be interpreted as, in a perverse sense ‘socialistic’, and earlier in Italy with the creation of Mussolini’s fascist squadristi – black-shirt goon squads who were given free rein to attack socialists and communists.

These movements were created, funded and backed by reactionary elites who were able to manipulate significant sectors of the masses and organize them into armed militias with a political brief to smash the organized working classes and impose totalitarian rule.

More recently the same types of nationalistic movements were evident in the Ukrainian Maidan in 2014: the neo-nazi street-fighters of Svoboda, Right Sector, Patriots of the Ukraine, the Azov Brigade, spearheaded the coup, with funding coming from the US-based, National Endowment for Democracy, and various other NGOs sponsored by both the EU and US. Having carried out the grisly tasks these putschist reactionary movements were no longer of any use.

They were either ‘liquidated’, in the case of the SA by Hitler’s, elite SS, disbanded or integrated into the armed forces. The exception has been the continued existence and political role of the neo-nazi militias in the Ukraine.

JACK LONDON – 1876-1916

These above historical tendencies were initially anticipated and captured in Jack London’s novel The Iron Heel first published in 1907. And given the violent presence of class struggle in the US at the time the novel was not too far from the actually existing situation.[1]

In this fictional narrative, London tried to imagine a proletarian revolution that had broken out in the United States. Power had lain in the hands of a small group of tyrants called the Oligarchs (does this sound familiar?) who were served and guarded by the Mercenaries, a group of elite para-militaries like the Praetorian Guard in ancient Rome.

The Oligarchs were to launch the Mercenaries into a counter-revolution, which partly crushed the workers’ insurrection. This open class-struggle was unremittingly vicious – no prisoners taken.

The situation eventually simmered down into a low-intensity conflict and any perceived enemies of the state were ‘disappeared’.

As for the Oligarchs, they thought that they were saving civilization from the semi-human hoi-polloi. Without their leadership anarchy would surely reign, and humanity would drop back into the primaeval slime from which it originally emerged. Thus, the raison d’etre for the entire edifice and the ruling elite was the unshakable belief that they were doing, in the words of Goldman Sachs, one-time CEO Lloyd Blankfein, ‘‘God’s work’’. They imagined themselves as the keepers of a fragile civilization defending all that was sacred.

As Jack London put it:

It was their belief that, if they ever weakened, the great bestial mob would engulf them and everything of beauty, joy and wonder and good, would disappear into the mobs’ slime-dripping jaw. The Oligarchs stood alone, by their unremitting toil and self-sacrifice, between weak humanity and the all-devouring beast; and they believed it. They firmly believed it.”[2]

London understood this well.

Born into poverty he fought his way, quite literally in some senses, knowing more than most book-trained socialists that the class struggle was not subordinated to any Marquess of Queensbury rules, and much of his time was spent working for the socialist movement, as he understood it.

He was to come to the UK as an already successful writer and agitator, whilst passing himself off as an American merchant seaman, all the better to gain an intimate knowledge of the worst depths of poverty in the slums of East London. The material he garnered from this experience was published in the aforementioned The People of the Abyss.

Broadly speaking it could be argued that London was a socialist, but a socialist sui generis. Whilst accepting the orthodoxies of conventional Marxism, particularly the political economy, he nonetheless carved out a specific niche for himself which marked him out as being not altogether politically compatible with mainstream socialist thinking.

His infatuation with violence and physical strength, and his belief in a natural aristocracy of nature, his animal worship – White Fang and Call of the Wild – and exaltation of the primitive, and his comment that ‘First of all I am a white man, and then I am a socialist’ revealed a latent fascistic strain in his thinking. But this probably helped him understand just how the possessing class would behave when once they were seriously menaced.

London’s political eclecticism was democratic in the sense that he hated exploitation and hereditary privilege, the latter being a particular American trait, and that he felt most at home with people who worked with their hands: but his instincts lay toward acceptance of a social aristocracy of strength, beauty and talent.

In terms of orthodox socialism, he knew, as one can see from his remarks in The Iron Heel that socialism ought to mean the meek inheriting the Earth, but this was not something that his temperament demanded.

In short, London was a political maverick balancing between the two tensions of reason and feeling within himself. It is very hard to estimate where his ultimate political allegiance would come to rest.

One can imagine him falling victim to Nazi racial ideology and one can imagine him also as a quixotic champion of some Trotskyist or Anarchist sect. But if he had been a politically reliable person, he would have probably left behind nothing of interest.

YEVGENY ZAMYATIN- 1884-1937

An addition to the genre came with the publication of We by the Russian writer, Yevgeny Zamyatin. The book was first published in 1921.

It is the 26th century and the inhabitants of Utopia, called OneState, have lost all their individuality and are known only by numbers. They have no privacy and live in glass houses; this enables the secret police (known as Guardians – I’m not joking here) to supervise them more closely. Citizens could dim the light at 19.00 for their ‘pleasure hour’.

When morning came with six-wheeled precision at the same hour and the very same minute, we get up, millions of us, as though we were one.”

The citizens lived on synthetic food and can have sex for one hour at stipulated time-slots. The overlord of this state is an entity called the Benefactor. The Benefactor undergoes an annual re-election and wins each term of office by 100% of the votes on a 100% turnout. According to the state ideology, it was postulated that freedom and happiness are incompatible.

Against this backdrop the couple, O-90 (female) and I-330 (male) began to experience doubts about the putative perfection of OneState. But rebellions are ruthlessly repressed and the guilty are punished to execution by guillotine. Not that the citizens were prone to rebellion that much.

In this distant utopia the people had finally become, if not actually machines, then as machine-like as possible, utterly predictable, and completely happy. The human condition, however, raised disturbing paradoxes and choices as articulated in the words of I-330:

Those two in paradise [Adam and Eve] were offered a choice: happiness without freedom or freedom without happiness, nothing else. Those idiots chose Freedom. Thus for centuries they were homesick for the chains. That’s why the world was so miserable, see? They missed the chains. For ages!

And we were the first to get on the way back to happiness…The ancient God and us, side by side, at the same table. Yes! We finally helped God overcome the Devil – because that’s who it was that pushed people to break the commandments, taste freedom and be ruined. It was him the wily serpent. But we gave him a boot to the head! Crack! And it was all over, Paradise was back … none of the complications about good and evil. Everything is simple, childishly simple – Paradise.

But it is in the nature of things that social systems malfunction and often break down completely; indeed it is something of a leitmotif. Bad thoughts were beginning to brew in I-330’s head.

This to the extent that I-330 was to become aware that he was developing a serious malady. He had or was apparently suspected of having an ‘imagination’. But he was assured by the resident surgeon “that an operation existed – that one where they cut out the imagination.”

A little later he was also led to suspect that he might have a “soul”. A soul? That strange, ancient, and long-forgotten word. “That’s very dangerous I-330 commented.” “Incurable2 the surgeon replied.

And so on and so forth. Part of Zamyatin’s point surely, was that his nightmare lacked the long taste and smell of human habitation and lacked any of the recognisable attributes of nationhood.

OneState is not to be blamed on the Americans or the Russians, or the Chinese, or the entrenched bureaucracies of the European Union, but rather towards a faultless humanity which is careering towards, but to a large extent is already in, the Weberian, escape-proof ‘iron cage’ of bureaucratic rule.

Such is humanity’s fate in the early 21st century.

GEORGE ORWELL 1903-1950

In a number of ways George Orwell’s themes complemented those of London and generally speaking belonged in the same political genre. There was in both writers the familiar juxtaposition of literature and journalism. Orwell’s novels had an understated political slant. But his polemical journalism was overtly explicit and stated when it explored many of the same themes and issues as London’s.

Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier, and in a more European geopolitical context, Homage to Catalonia. Like London, Orwell wanted to explore the mass poverty of the working classes both in England and abroad.

He left Burma in 1929 unable any longer to play the role of imperial overlord Rudyard Kipling style[3], setting out for Europe to experience poverty in both England and France. He almost starved to death in Paris, but eventually found work as a porter/dishwasher working in the kitchen basements of smart hotels, noting that the smart hotels had the filthiest basement kitchens.

The proletariat in the basement kitchens were, apparently, avenging themselves on the bourgeoisie in the smart salons above. Upon his return to England, he met conditions in both London and the North of England some of which Jack London had met and described three decades earlier.

Living in doss houses and tramping around London and the English home counties, perpetually hungry and looking for somewhere to sleep; and later travelling around the north of England during the 1930s during the height of the great depression and mass unemployment. [4] In between these episodes Orwell had enlisted in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the Spanish military wing of the two-and-a-half-international and fought in Spain until he was wounded.[5]

His first-hand experience of British imperialism in India led him to write some of his best essays, Shooting an Elephant published in 1936. He wrote:

In Moulmein in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life I had been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer in the town and in an aimless petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter … With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down … upon the will of prostrate people; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist Priest’s guts. Feelings like this are the normal by-products of imperialism.

This, of course, pretty much sums up the whole history of western imperialism – British, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and currently the American version which has been particularly murderous. The relationship between the west and the south is one of exploitation, theft and industrial murder. Always was, always will be.

But returning to Orwell.

One day, what seemed like a rather trivial problem arose in Orwell’s neck of the woods; it involved an elephant. The animal had apparently gone berserk ravaging the local bazaar. The creature was a tame one which had had an attack of ‘must’. It had been chained up as all tame elephants are when their attack of must was due. But on the previous night it had broken its chain and escaped and was now wreaking havoc on the local populace and already killed one man. Nothing for it apparently than to shoot the delinquent animal. Orwell describes the standoff.

I halted on the road. As soon as I saw the Elephant, I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to a huge and costly piece of machinery. And of course one ought not to do it if it was possibly avoidable. And at that distance peacefully eating the elephant look no more dangerous than a cow … I would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home.

But by now an immense crowd of the locals had gathered to watch the fun. Word had got around among the villagers and he was now being watched by a growing crowd of increasing size and expectations. Watching him as a conjurer about to perform a trick. Orwell than realised that he had to shoot the animal after all as the crowd expected it.

I should have to shoot the elephant after all. I could feel their two-thousand wills pressing me forward irresistibly – And it was at this moment as I stood there with my rifle in my hands that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s Dominion in the East.

Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality, I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of the Sahib … it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life trying to impress the ‘natives’, and so in every crisis he has got to do what the natives expect of him.

He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it.

There were legal implications to this sordid little episode, however. As Orwell well-knew the killing of a working elephant might involve considerable costs. Who exactly was going to pay these costs? Well the death of the coolie who was trampled when the elephant went rogue provided Orwell with a get-out clause. He afterwards admitted that he was glad of the coolie’s death since this put him legally on safe legal ground, giving him a pretext for shooting the elephant. He writes:

I often wondered if any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking like a fool. Shooting an Elephant – 1936

Turning to his political essays, Orwell’s concern with language was inseparable from his concern with politics; or rather, both grew from his belief in the existence of objective and discoverable truths.

Dishonesty in politics and dishonesty in language were the concealment of these truths.

When he criticised an inflated, highly abstract style it is the injury to truth and therefore to the cause of humanity. Officialdom’s language, such as that commonly used by bureaucracies in the US Department of Defence the Washington Post, or the International Monetary Fund, are intended to obfuscate rather embarrassing facts in order to make them more palatable.

The usual patter would go something like this:

The US air-force carried out surgical precision drone strikes at enemy positions which had been infiltrated by terrorist insurgents. The villages were evacuated, and the village populations were moved to a safer area controlled by US and government forces. Regrettably there was some collateral damage.

Orwell’s translation:

Defenceless villages are deliberately bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out of the countryside, their cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry this is called transfer of population and rectification of frontiers. Politics and the English Language (1946)

In his later essay, Notes on Nationalism (first published in 1945) Orwell deepened this theme of political dishonesty further. This meant that the peddlers of falsehoods and lies have often come to believe in their own narrative. He writes that:

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but secondly, and this is much more important, I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good or evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

This is, of course, a common enough occurrence. So long as it is merely applied to the more identifiable nationalist movements in Germany, Japan and other countries all this is obvious enough … but nationalism may be extended to include football teams, communism, pacifism, Zionism, Trotskyism and anti-semitism, or we can add a further layer.

Football matches between Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers are stormy and violent affairs and the rivalry stemming from the long history in the North of Ireland and the conflict between loyalists and nationalists. Rebel songs are openly flaunted containing references to the Irish Republican Army on one side and the Ulster Volunteer Force on the other.

In Argentina there exists a similar – but in this instance a class rivalry – between Boca Juniors from the wrong side of town and River Plate (generally referred to as Los Millionaires) and the right side of town. Thus Orwell was using nationalism in a very broad sense.

[The nationalist] sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and fall of great power units. And every event that happens seems a demonstration that his own side is on the up grade and some hated rival on the down grade … Interestingly, the nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up on the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.

One of the chief characteristics of this particular phenomenon is the complete indifference to reality.

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts … Actions are held to be good or bad not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is also no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our side’… The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

In his later years, Orwell was to drift steadily to the right with his anti-communism becoming increasingly pronounced.

In 1949, shortly before he died, he prepared a list of notable writers and other persons he considered to be unsuitable as possible writers for the anti-communist counter-propaganda activities of the Information Research Department, a propaganda organisation of the British state. A copy of the list was published in The Guardian in 2002.

That was a very tense period.

Even the great pacifist Bertrand Russel was gung-ho for dropping the atomic bomb on Russia. This was not unusual. The same situation was to evolve in the US, where the leading members of the intellectual left, Irving Kristol and Sydney Hook, went over lock stock and barrel to the neo-cons and stayed there.

Further additions to this political/literary genre are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, H.G.Wells Time Machine and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, which carried the same dystopian message

The above authors seemed to argue that the economic structure of these civilizations (if I may use this term) was irrelevant, what mattered was the political-ideological structure which was hierarchical and elitist. I don’t altogether agree with this, I would argue that there has occurred and will continue to occur is the fusion between the state sector and corporate sector, as Mussolini predicted.

This was the corporate state. In the present conjuncture, we seem to be at the beginning of the disintegration of the ancien regime. The Powers that be TPTB seem to be losing control and are moving from the methods of control they once use(d) in empire, and applying these repressive practises back to the home base. This is not a new departure, even Thucydides pointed to this practise in ancient Greece.

In general, non-democratic states have traditionally used violence against their own people, whereas imperial democratic states, Britain, France, Germany, the US turn(ed) their violence onto the hapless inhabitants of the global south – and still do. Democracy has apparently been for internal use only, but even here in the west increasingly less so.

One final point needs to be made here: the whole show cannot go on without an ongoing permanent war and war psychosis; war being a great and indispensable social integrator.

Whether or not these dystopias will come into being is a matter for speculation. Although the symptoms of civilizational decline are clearly recognisable and indeed accelerating. The imperial cycle of birth, growth, decline and disintegration have been the track records in the past and it seems probable that this process will continue into the future.

La lotta continua.

NOTES:-

[1] The late 19th and early 20th century in the United States was a period of intense class struggle and the founding of the Socialist Party of the United States led by the firebrand leader Eugene Debbs.

[2] Jack London – The Iron Heel – 1907

[3]) Having been born in India into an Anglo- Indian family – Eric Blair – aka George Orwell decided to follow family tradition and, in 1922, went to Burma as assistant district superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police. Two very important essays were written during this time. A Hanging and Shooting an Elephant.

[4] Down and Out in Paris and London – GO – First published in 1933. The Road to Wigan Pier – GO – 1937

[5] The Two and a Half International as it was called was a group of left-wing parties the ILP Britain, the SAP (Germany) and POUM (Spain) sandwiched between the Social-Democratic, Second International, and the Communist Third International (The Comintern). The POUM – (Partie Obrero Unficacion Marxista – Workers Party of Marxist Unity) had a military wing which fought on the Aragon Front during the Spanish civil war 1936-39. Orwell joined the POUM but was wounded by a bullet which hit him in the neck and nearly killed him. The POUM was outlawed by the Communists as a ‘Troskyist’ party – which of course was a complete lie but served to further certain geopolitical interests. (That’s another essay) and Orwell got out of Spain with his wife just before the secret police were about to arrest him.

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Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Feb 5, 2020 1:49 PM

All the English writers in this piece were state employed spooks and propagandists – why it is not mentioned is silly.

It seems that 1984 was a rip-off of the Russian too!

Jack London as reported here as claiming to be ‘First of all I am a white man, and then I am a socialist’ ought to be cited.
It does smack of ‘know thy self’ warts and all.
In which case he was speaking the literal truth about himself unlike say, the white man Sting, who made zillions by singing in a fake Jamaican accent. It does not strike me as claiming actual race superiority but a historical one. He had a great respect for the natives of the lands he knew afaik.

Slowly, slowly we edge towards admitting the truth… or are we to be chopped up and disposed by the ancient oligarchs and their equally ancient praetorian guards? And their modern cant of perception management and advertising- propaganda?

paul
paul
Feb 4, 2020 9:47 PM

Orwell was a brilliant writer but if he had lived longer I could see him turning into an establishment conformist toady, a sort of very upmarket Luke Harding/ David Aaronovitch / Howard Jacobsen/ Atlantic Council/ Integrity Initiative hack. He was already working for the UK spooks.

Doctortrinate
Doctortrinate
Feb 4, 2020 1:34 AM

when the orchestrated process is revealed….and the self, released from the incongruous noises of interference and distraction, unburdened of the treadmill clutter , with navigable space in all directions – thats where, the books end.

jay
jay
Feb 3, 2020 11:29 PM

There is already a de facto one world government…
Left/Right factions merely tools for division and control via Hegelianism. ‘Consent’ is manufactured and contrived. “You get the government you deserve”, no you don’t, you’ve been played by experts at three card monte.
Ask yourself why doesn’t Putin spill the beans about 9/11 or the various ‘whistleblowers’ only tell you what you already know.
It’s all fake, it is all bollox…it has been since the fall of man.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

Ephesians 6:12

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 1:44 AM
Reply to  jay

When did we ‘fall’?

jay
jay
Feb 4, 2020 11:08 AM

When evil orginated.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 11:15 AM
Reply to  jay

At the ‘Big Bang’, then.

jay
jay
Feb 4, 2020 3:57 PM

You mean when ‘everything sprang out of a tiny dot that didn’t exist in a place that didn’t exist’?
Well, no, not really.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 9:24 PM
Reply to  jay

Yes. Odd isn’t it? Not as odd as Big Daddy ego-projection in the sky, well everywhere, really. He even bothered Peter Cook when he was on the geezer.

jay
jay
Feb 5, 2020 11:27 AM

But, your own Faith is much stronger and blinder than mine.
The Big Bang is demonstrably false, being only superficially plausible. Whereas, it is impossible to prove either way if the ‘Big Daddy ego-projection in the sky’ exists or not.
Call it “ego” if you like, I prefer to believe that I am of the divine and not a descendant of a jobby tossing ape.
You are free to believe in your religion of scientism, I am sure that I find that just as risible as you may find mine!

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 5, 2020 9:46 PM
Reply to  jay

So, if the Big Bang is ‘demonstrably false’, are all those thousands of astrophysicists, astronomers, theoretical physicists etc, and the MILLIONS of other scientists who concur with the theory, either idiots or liars?

jay
jay
Feb 6, 2020 7:13 AM

And, what did this class of priests believe before they were ‘enlightened’?
That instead of a ‘big bang’ from an overstuffed suitcase exploding…that the world was carried on either a giant turtle or the back of a giant man.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 7, 2020 12:18 AM
Reply to  jay

So you reject scientific and intellectual progress then. I sort of suspected that.

jay
jay
Feb 7, 2020 12:48 PM

If by ‘progress’ you mean ridiculous shiboleths, pap for the lay…then you bet I do…
Go on, call me a Heretic Disbeliever in the Mysterious Tiny Suitcase….
Don’t let me shake your faith in the existance of the Turtle…err I mean suitcase.

J.Lowrie
J.Lowrie
Feb 3, 2020 3:11 PM

‘In 1949, shortly before he died, he prepared a list of notable writers and other persons he considered to be unsuitable as possible writers for the anti-communist counter-propaganda activities of the Information Research Department, a propaganda organisation of the British state. A copy of the list was published in The Guardian in 2002.”

Why would his hit list of ‘subversives’ then include the names of Charlie Chaplin ( Jew?) and Paul Robson (very anti-white) sic, both resident in the U.S.? Orwell= hypocrite and police snitch

” whereas imperial democratic states, Britain, France, Germany, the US turn(ed) their violence onto the hapless inhabitants of the global south – and still do.” How about the genocide of the American Indian and the countless deaths in the American slave plantations? Germany? Sorry have you forgotten about the Holocaust?

milosevic
milosevic
Feb 6, 2020 6:46 PM
Reply to  J.Lowrie

have you forgotten about the Holocaust?

perish the thought.

nobody, anywhere, can ever be permitted to forget about The Holocaust(TM), the central episode of the entire history of the world.

Norn
Norn
Feb 3, 2020 7:15 AM

Indigenous populations with their traditional practices can hardly do any ecoloigcal damage –no matter how hard they try.
On the other hand, if you depopulate Washington, and, for example, reduce the US personnel to Zero then we are talking about SAVING THE PLANET in a big big big way!
The new world architects need to stop focusing on reducing the number of ‘poor’ people, and instead, target those who are causing the most damage to the planet (by an extremely high order of magnitude). The debate about saving the planet is often upside down.

Norn
Norn
Feb 3, 2020 7:23 AM
Reply to  Norn

* reduce the US military personnel to Zero

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Feb 3, 2020 11:20 AM
Reply to  Norn

I have always found it very strange and disturbing that those who talk most about over population do not include themselves in the reduction.

merit
merit
Feb 3, 2020 11:41 AM
Reply to  nottheonly1

They are projecting what they know they fully deserve (extreme culling) onto the weak and powerless.

Gall
Gall
Feb 3, 2020 6:03 AM

I think some of the comments are getting deleted. I posted one just a while back and it mysteriously vanished. Anyway it wasn’t anything profoundly profound.

I noted you could probably have added Herman Melville since both Moby Dick and his lesser known work the Confidence Man are excellent allegories of the Sorrows of Empire.

Norn
Norn
Feb 3, 2020 9:27 AM
Reply to  Gall

“mysteriously vanished”
Yes, comments are appearing, disappearing and re-appearing. Refreshing the page works sometimes, but not other times. Clicking on ‘Oldest’ (right on top of the comments) seems to help bringing the comments back. Clearing the cache should also help.

Gall
Gall
Feb 4, 2020 12:16 AM
Reply to  Norn

Could be some vortex or event horizon in cyberspace 🙂

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
Feb 2, 2020 10:26 PM

All the dystopian issues reflected in early 20th Century novels written by Jack London, Yevgeny Zamyatin, and George Orwell still have never been resolved. The robber barons emerging from 19th Century industrialization, the Russian revolution co-opted by Stalin, and the subsequent emergence of Nazism all share one common thread– the longing of the working-class for a society organized democratically with a socialist economy that’s resource based.

It’s the next logical evolutionary way to organize modern high functioning cultures. In fact, it’s the only way to ensure the continuation of the human species. Strident attempts are deployed to thwart this next sociological step because to achieve its development all past archaic and uncivilized power structures would need to be discarded. In other words, the old society would be rendered obsolete. And
as expected, all those currently sitting pretty in opulent Rolls Royces do not want to be kicked out and thrown into collective transportation where they’ll never again see their private jets and yachts.

The wealthy will use every means possible, inasmuch, as they’re a worldwide transnational capitalist cabal of gangsters–the Davos Crowd is on every continent. These ghouls are terrified of socialism, they would much prefer fascism, or any authoritarian state guaranteeing they’d never lose their money, power, and hegemony over billions.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Feb 3, 2020 11:23 AM

…they would much prefer fascism…

It appears fair to say that the ‘would’ is superfluous in this sentence. These people DO PREFER fascism – since it ensures their stranglehold on mankind.

Gal
Gal
Feb 2, 2020 9:39 PM

Personally I think you should have included Alexis de Tocqueville and Herman Melville both able scribes who captured the true excess and essence of America. In Democracy in America and The Confidence Man. The title of one of the chapters used in Richard Drinnon’s excellent book The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating & Empire Building which pretty much explained how a bunch of con artists and land thieves euphemistically known as “real estate speculators” have wreaked havoc on the world embracing the racist concepts promoted by Rudyard Kipling in White Man’s Burden.

Both de Tocqueville and Melville were considered Cassandras in their time who saw “American Greatness” and its “innocence” as a sham and an illusion.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 9:27 PM
Reply to  Gal

All ‘others’ are Indians in the perverted psychopathology of Western racist supremacists. I well remember seeing a nassty ‘settler’ female, with a fetching Brooklyn accent, in the Occupied West Bank, describing the Palestinians that the settler thugs daily terrorise, as ‘Indians’, just like the Old West. The genocidal intent was barely disguised.

Gall
Gall
Feb 5, 2020 8:17 PM

Good article by Jonathan Cook that is totally relevant to your comment:

https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020-01-28/holocaust-bbc-antisemitism/

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
Feb 2, 2020 9:38 PM

Orwell: I think I’ve read most, possibly not all, of his essays and “Homage to Catalonia” (re-read quite recently), and I’m not sure I’d agree he’d moved rightwards.

Given his experiences in Spain it is hardly surprising that he would have no love for Russian Communism under Stalin. And we all know how he satirised it in Animal Farm and 1984. He recognised it for what it was, and it was not the pure form of socialism that he seems to have believed in. His essays are not short of criticisms of capitalism.

What I think I noticed was that he was very critical of the Labour Party in the early writing, pre-war say, but seems reasonably OK with the post-war Labour government of Attlee. But maybe that was in the early days of that government, and perhaps he became disappointed and / or disillusioned later.

BigB
BigB
Feb 2, 2020 7:02 PM

Excellent, Frank. This essay touches on some of the deeper truths – perhaps the deepest – that encompass all political philosophy. And if one thinks: “That’s all Greek to me” …you’d pretty much be correct. Especially in the first two examples.

If the canonical Hellenistic ‘essentialist humanist’ metaphysical political order is not at first apparent: I would like to point out that both literary examples contain differing combinations of the same logical structural form of the synthetic of Platonic/Aristotlean Republica/Politika (broadly: republican v democrat; capitalist v socialist; conservative v progressive) …as the basic binary-political structural form we have from antiquity to today. Though embellished along the way – most notably by the Enlightenment Humanist project of the ‘Classical’ (capitalist) ‘liberal democracy’ – this was nevertheless essentially fully formed by the Greek metaphysical method – of dialectical dialogue – over two millennia ago. As a eugenicist, socially engineered, rigid classist, slave owning, imperialist, cognitive elitist, and authoritarian ruling elitist order from which we have never escaped. As I like to say: “Authoritarianism is the footnotes to Plato”.

Which may lead to the conclusion: “It is almost as if this logico-metaphysical political order is indelibly imprinted on the soul of Man”. Which is also correct. And I make no apology for the blatant sexism: the ‘iron law of andrarchy’ is the pillar of the patriarchy (though not from Plato himself – it was soon added). The metaphysical Western Intellectual Tradition is the ongoing political history of Man qua Man.

Man: whose three main attributable political essences are Logic, Justice, and Reason. When Justice breaks down: the unthinking masses may overturn the logical order (the state Logos). The administrator of the Good and defender of the faith is Reason. The unthinking masses – the ‘hoi polloi’ (literally – the many) – lack Reason. They have only common sense – the *sensus communis*. With which they can access only the ephemeral *substantia* – the visible and Sensible (the ‘substantial’). Only the cognitive elite – the educated inbred ‘Guardians’ – can access the *essentia* – the unchanging eternal and immortal invisible Forms – via *a priori* pure Logic and pure Reason. By them alone the underlying Logical structure becomes the Intelligible. Through their superior perceptual acuity and application of the logico-analytical form – the positivist *sophia* and *scientia* (philosophy and scientific knowledge) of Reason – they are better equipped to manipulate and perception manage the ‘hoi polloi’ unreasoning many. Sound familiar?

You may notice that all logico-positivist categorical structures are devoid of any ‘hoi polloi’ pluralism? That is because the eternal Essence of the Essence can only ever yield quantitative singularities. As reductions to physical material essentialist commensurable categories. If the essence of Man is the ‘I’: the essence of the ‘I’ form – the atom of positivism – is Reason, Logic, and Justice …a singular ‘quintessence’ that is as the causal vehicle of the soul. And the essence of the essence is the Essence of the Good. And the essence of the essence of the Essence of the Good is God. Ergo: the essence of Man is God …by the consubstantiation of the essentialist metaphysical tradition …from quintessential essence of soul (of God) to psyche (of mind).

Astute observation would reveal that the mumbo jumbo is not mine. It is the illogical and contradictory decohesion of the Western metaphysical tradition itself. Which makes its cohesion increasingly coercive and violently imposed. As a regime of absolutist Truth, Knowledge and Power. The revelation of which is the deconstruction project of Derrida in a nutshell. And the genesis of the unquestioning faith in the ‘onto-theological’ Western essentialist metaphysic …as an individuated ontological singularity in one long causal chain of events from the heavenly Form (realm of Forms, Universals, Numbers, and Soul) to the secular Form …of analytical logical positivism (of the pure *a priori* reasoning Mind). This is the essence of the Classic Liberalism of the ‘I’ as a libertarian fascism. Which hyper-individualism stands in contradistinction of the collectivist holism of the ‘we’ totalitarianism. Which in itself cannot escape the essentialist discourse …of the very same dialectical dialogical metaphysics.

In the footnotes of his critique of post-war humanism – “The Ends of Man” – Derrida wrote the poignant phrase – “Every humanism is a failed God”. Why? Because – if not reduced to failure as the atomistic ‘I’ – the conceptual idealistic image of Man becomes a singular collectivist entity – the ‘We’. Which fits the substantialist form of the all-encompassing Being (the substantialist *ousia*). The totality of all men – the ‘We’ – becomes the indistinguishable collective Being (*Dasein* – poorly translated as ‘human reality’). With an attributable causal essence: and acquiring a collectivist *entelechy* (guiding purpose of illimitable progress); toward a *telos* – an ultimate communal goal. Succeeding the state of the failed God of Justice, Logic and Reason as a totalitarianism in waiting.

Which is an *eschatology* (*eshkaton*) – an ultimate utopic end state of infinite freedom, infinite prosperity, and infinite happiness (eudaimonia). Which becomes the common economic rationale and ultimate meaning. Which is a statist *theology*. That which transcends the current less than ideal circumstances …that which lifts us up into supramundane meaning (*relever* (roughly – relevance; the Hegelian *Aufheben* – to “elevate, replace and promote in one movement”)) And offers us unto infinite utopian boredom and totalising sameness …according largely to the critical Classical Liberal view of libertatarian fascism.

For Derrida: the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ form share the common fate – as the Scylla and Charybdis of humanisms – both bound by the Logocentric essentialist metaphysical discourse. The common denominator of which is the (largely) Greek essentialist metaphysical structure of language. Which becomes the essentialist metaphysical structure of a consensual constructivist social reality – in both the independent ‘I’ (capitalism) or the interdependent ‘We’ form (socialism). Both – language and the institutional mirror state forms (capitalism and mirror-capitalism (socialism)) – share the same logical-rational form-meaning structure. Language has to denote reality literally – sharing the same underlying formal logical-rational syntax – for the objectivist discourse to mean anything at all. Sentences pick out states of affairs with a one-to-one isomorphic logical structure. Otherwise rationality ceases to exist. And formal rule-governed order (*Justitia*) – ‘I’ or ‘We’ form; capitalist or socialist state form – breaks down into Chaos.

The fear of which is how the essentialist metaphysical order is imposed on any state – even hybrid states (as we have today). As a strict hierarchical taxonomy of stratified and coercively maintained categorical (class) structures; cognitivist elitist ruling classes (Guardians and Philosopher Kings of Logic, Justice and in particular – Reason); common identity (the independent ‘I’ form or the interdependent ‘We’ form both yield into structural statist singularities with common formal logic structuration); with common cause and shared fate; and a common religion …Man. Which results from the consubstantiation of the wholly human predicates of God (like *sui generis*) being transferred through the medium of language-activity from soul to psyche; from God to the essence of of the political mind – Reason, Logic, and Justice. From God to becoming Man-God. Through the metaphysics of the political (market) economy.

If any humanism is a totaltarianism in waiting: this may lead to the conclusion: “It is almost as if this logico-metaphysical order is indelibly imprinted on the soul of Man”. It is: at least in the Collective Cognitive Unconscioius. Internalised as the essentialist metaphysical categories of cognition. Of which the primary categories are ‘I’ or ‘We’. Which both yield market-statist, metaphysically logical-rational, and violently self-justifiable institutionalised authoritarian structures. And will do until we eventually realise – that by steering clear of the objectivist absolutist elected dictatorship of the ‘I’ form; and the subjectivist relativist totalitarian tyranny of the ‘we’ form – we are both and neither. The middle way definition of a nondual (non-binary categorical), non-essentialist, anti-positivist, humanity …excluded by language itself.

Language itself is the ultimate totalitarian dictatorship. It imposes an essentialist metaphysical form on reality that is not externalised ‘out’ there. It’s internalised in ‘here’. In the continual loop dialectics of the cognitive unconscious. Which we project, rationalise, institutionalise, internalise and forget in the objectification process of socialisation and objectivated socially constructed reality. Language is our ultimate commodity Fetish – hiding the roots of its own structural sociogenesis – and becoming the paragon of propagandic ideology to any state form of the ‘I’ or the ‘We’. Which – as automatic subjects – we become the tools and artefacts of when we forget that the structural logic of thought, consciousness, and statist social reality is something we constructed. On Greek essentialist metaphysical foundations of shifting sand.

We could easily deconstruct all this Greek metaphysical bullshit. And construct a social reality with humanity. But not until we negate all essentialist metaphysical notions of Man and our literalist objectivist obsession with language. It is language-activity alone that creates the independent ‘I’ formal essentialism. Or the interdependent ‘We’ formal essentialism. ‘WE’ in reality: are neither ‘I’ nor ‘We’.

With the death of Man comes the birth of humanity. Which is neither essentialist; positivist; foundationalist or any of those stupid categorical hierarchic structural forms we should have outgrown millennia ago. We cannot change the language: but we can change our relationship with language-activity as a behavioural form-meaning …not a problematic propositional formalised ethics that yields fascisms to the left and right. Until then: the anti-human essentialist metaphysical humanist monologue – with a singular fascistic teleological outcome – goes on.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 3, 2020 6:13 AM
Reply to  BigB

we can change our relationship with language-activity as a behavioural form-meaning…

How dat (quickly enough), though “How dat (at all) will do.

BigB
BigB
Feb 3, 2020 4:34 PM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

We’re talking about the deepest cultural aporia of all. To which there is no simple prescriptive solution. We have spent millennia concretising and institutionalising metaphysical structures. The main consequence of which is that we have built a civilisational culture that has ‘transcended’ nature by ‘improving’ it with naturalised culture(s) (created culture (natura naturata) has superseded creative nature (natura naturans)). Only, its bollocks – we exclude nature – with ‘meta ta physika’ (literally – after the things of nature) – at our peril. Our very identity has become woven into the structural syntax of created culture by language. That is why we won’t change our relationship to language.

But it does not preclude that we can change our relationship – by returning to nature (in a true ecological sense). We could start by accepting what cognitive neuroscience and cognitive linguistics have confirmed – that language is metaphoric, not metaphysical. And reason and meaning do not float around in a pre-existent neo-Platonic imaginarium reified by language. They are embodied. Which is the first principle of an empirical philosophy – or ecosophy – and the naturalising of sense and meaning in physical biological sensation – affect, feeling, and direct knowing – that is grounded in nature.

Which is Zen: but also, ironically, the Western Tradition – if it is to remain empirical and true to its own science. Which is its major claim to validity. For an excellent thesis from the Western perspective: I recommend Lakoff and Johnson’s ‘Philosophy in the Flesh’. For Zen: many of Thich Nhat Hanh’s works feature how to overturn metaphysical binarism. Which are not unlike the strategies of Derrida. 😉

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 5, 2020 8:43 AM
Reply to  BigB
MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE
Feb 2, 2020 4:17 PM

The so-called ‘Imperial cycle’ failed outright March 10th 2008 due to the fact that Imperialists decided to deinstitutionalize Glass-Steagall Act so that they could then bet 44:1 with the fourth largest investment bank in the world, and lose the bet.

Imperial USA & UK gambled their oligopoly away in a drunken stupor thinking erroneously that the Fractional Reserve Banking System would bail them out even if they leveraged beyond capacity of central bank bailout ability.

The USA was run into the ground by the Giant Vampire Squid that only knows what it is like to be in control of the world via Finance. Now that all the Wall Street marquee investment houses are controlled by their debts & USA Government deficits we can be certain that the calculus was never really understood by the Giant Vampire Squid in light of the fact that the USA cannot extricate themselves from the debt or deficit spending.

Bankruptcy starts off slowly and then manifests all of a sudden into full on Chapter 11 when asset inflation no longer contains the debts & deficit spending as somewhat innocuous.

The USA, UK, & EU are all bankrupt & swimming in a sea of irresponsible debt that cannot be pushed off onto successive generations of hapless dupes indefinitely.

MOU

faker
faker
Feb 2, 2020 10:13 PM

It is impossible to go bankrupt when it is cost_less to print and issue script and to make that script legal tender required to be accepted by those captured in, and prisoners of, the armed global structure (called the nation state) . It is that name space divide, which sorts 8 billion humans into one of 206 different environment regulated containers. Container fried humanity I call it.
Worse the human creatures of habit are then divided and redivided within the Zionist controlled container, they find themselves entangled with. Again and again they are divided into smaller and weaker groups <=the weapon why of course, its binaries ( exit/no exit, abortion/no abortion, guns/no guns, rights of women. no rights for women, liberal/conservative. and on and on. and on).
But after the divisions comes the propaganda and it is the propaganda that transports familiarity generated by intra container habit, circumstance and narrow viewed access to the real world, which establishes don't look, don't ask no questions, nationalism; because without access to what else there is, the mind of the weak ask no questions.

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Feb 2, 2020 3:20 PM

(“As for the Oligarchs, they thought that they were saving civilization from the semi-human hoi-polloi. . . . . . Thus, the raison d’etre for the entire edifice and the ruling elite was the unshakable belief that they were doing, in the words of Goldman Sachs, one-time CEO Lloyd Blankfein, ‘‘God’s work’’. They imagined themselves as the keepers of a fragile civilization defending all that was sacred.”) – the author.

Sadly the only known “remedy” for this state of oligarchic delusion involves the oligarch being separated from his noggin, and perhaps having it mounted on a pike, where it might act as a sort of “motivational symbol” – informing other oligarchs of the – “possibilities.”

However, the ongoing uber-brutality exhibited by the French police in response to over one year of civil protests there suggest that Western oligarchy is only too acutely aware of this “remedy” – and will do its savage best to insure that such a contagion, should it arise “anywhere” on the planet, is brutally and completely snuffed out no matter how long that takes and no matter how much brutality is involved.

In the meantime, the purpose of MSM continues to be to insure that we “semi-human hoi-polli” remain collectively more concerned and obsessed with – “the preferred gender pronoun” – of the homeless person lying in the gutter as we pass by – than we are with “feeding, clothing, medically treating, educating, and housing that person” – perhaps aware, at least unconsciously, that “we” are in fact also but a hair’s breath from being -“that person.”

tonyopmoc
tonyopmoc
Feb 2, 2020 2:26 PM

That was better than reading any Sunday Newspaper. Has “our” Frank Lee written any books? It’s a fairly common name.

Incidentally, I just love this book.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scum-Earth-Arthur-Koestler/dp/0907871496

Tony

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 3, 2020 5:20 AM
Reply to  tonyopmoc

Has “our” Frank Lee written any books?

“Our” Frank Lee is traceable, if you have the will to do it.

John Deehan
John Deehan
Feb 2, 2020 10:55 AM

Frank makes some very good points, particularly about the methods of control over the majority and the bread plus circuses system of distraction. Namely the election of one controlling party, the business party, whilst using two main factions to give an illusion of democracy. Professor Antony C Sutton, in his trilogy of books, The Wall Street Trilogy illustrated and illuminated the inner functions of it very precisely. For example, in recent decades the New Labour versus the Tories contested general elections whilst maintaining the Neo Liberal ideology. It’s interesting to note how these vested interests set out to crush the mild form of socialism which organically returned to the democratic socialist Labour Party.

By using :the organs of the state, secret services plus the ruling classes financial power, the State Broadcaster, the M.S.M and the quislings within the party to destroy this threat utilising Bernard Bernays methodology.

However, the one factor which the establishment cannot control is the weather. Approximately 12,000 years ago a cataclysmic event occurred which destroyed most life in the Northern hemisphere a comet smashed into the area around the Great Lakes causing the onset of an ice age lasting over 1,000 years. Recent archaeological discoveries in Gobelki Tepe in Turkey, a temple dating from approximately 9,000 BC, alludes to this catastrophic event. Climate change will change the order of the world. How it will take place nobody can accurately predict!

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 2, 2020 9:27 PM
Reply to  John Deehan

Oh, I think I can have a pretty good guess at how the world order will be changed by climate destabilisation. The level of greenhouse gases in the troposphere and heat stored in the oceans already guarantee centuries of climate destabilisation, and emissions are still rising. The positive feedbacks of warming seas and soils emitting CO2, melting permafrost CO2 and methane via digestion of previously frozen organic matter by micro-organisms, and melting submarine methane clathrates, will accelerate the destabilisation. Megafires will rage, worldwide, and Noachite deluges and floods, plus attendant landslides etc, ravage the planet.
Species will rapidly go extinct, first locally, then across their range, as has been the case in the megafires in Australia. Agriculture will collapse, slowly at first, then rapidly. Fisheries will crash, or already have done so.Starving populations will migrate, and be met by genocidal violence-Australia will see massive climate refugee flows from Indonesia, for sure. Wars will break out, ending in thermo-nukes and genetically engineered bio-warfare etc, and temperatures will run away to God knows how high, with attendant climate chaos unseen for tens of millions of years, and the rest is silence, save for the last deranged babblings of the denialists, who will deny it all, to the bitter end.

Norn
Norn
Feb 3, 2020 3:17 AM

“Australia will see massive climate refugee flows from Indonesia, for sure”
Are you sure, it is not the other way around?

Hugh O'Neill
Hugh O'Neill
Feb 3, 2020 9:31 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF_Krra2J3k
Richard. Your script reminds me of Monty Python’s biblical weather forecast. Life imitates Art. Ars longa, vita brevis.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 1:45 AM
Reply to  Hugh O'Neill

More brevis than you imagine, I fear.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 6, 2020 1:39 AM
Reply to  Hugh O'Neill

“Ars longa, vita brevis”

Took me a while to realize that was Hippocrates reversed. A fuller rendition is as relevant to considering the entire biosphere now as Hippocrates meant it for the individual then.

Ho bíos brakhús,
hē dè tékhnē makrḗ,
ho dè kairòs oxús,
hē dè peîra sphalerḗ,
hē dè krísis khalepḗ.

Life is short, and Art long; the crisis fleeting; experience perilous, and decision difficult.

Trans. & Ed. Adams

John Deehan
John Deehan
Feb 3, 2020 9:36 AM

“The future ain’t like it used to be!” Back to the future.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 1:46 AM
Reply to  John Deehan

Back to the End Permian ‘Great Dying’.

Worried Parent
Worried Parent
Feb 4, 2020 8:38 AM

Richard
Are you available for childrens parties?

Antonym
Antonym
Feb 4, 2020 10:21 AM
Reply to  Worried Parent

Hopefully not!

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 11:19 AM
Reply to  Worried Parent

No-I don’t approve of telling children the truth. They find out themselves quickly enough. Once the facts become firmly set in people’s minds, well then it will be ‘..on for young and old’, as they used to say. Fermi Paradox resolved.

Paul
Paul
Feb 2, 2020 9:14 AM

London wasn’t the only apparent International Socialist to reveal latent racist beliefs. By the time of of his early death he thought the superior White man would need to exterminate the black, brown and yellow men or forever face trouble. He was reacting particularly to the US war against the Philippines. His thoughts were close to those of the World’s most famed International Socialist Benito Mussolini who in reaction to the outbreak of the World War formed the pro war party based on Ancient Rome, calling itself the fascist party. National Socialism had arrived. The best British example of similar twisting and turns is perhaps Victor Grayson, Labour MP for Colne Valley for a brief period before 1910. His hard Left views attracted an enormous amount of attention. He was to disappear in strange circumstances in 1920 when in association with reactionary elements from the Security Forces, possibly the first MP to be murdered? He had become an enthusiastic supporter of the War and suggested the Germans would need to be wholly eliminated to secure peace. Like London if Grayson had lived longer he would be better known for his hard right views. London continued to be a favourite writer for Stalin and remained a Hero of the Soviet Union. But it’s Mussolini who is the most significant in this shift to the Right that came with the War not least because he described the process of his thinking from recognised International Socialist to founder of the Fascists.

bevin
bevin
Feb 2, 2020 3:25 PM
Reply to  Paul

” Victor Grayson…possibly the first MP to be murdered?”

“…the World’s most famed International Socialist Benito Mussolini..”

A worthless survey of the origins of fascism, Paul.

Paul
Paul
Feb 2, 2020 9:14 PM
Reply to  bevin

Not sure what your difficulty is. It’s true Grayson’s body was never found but the circumstances of him disappearing when in association with MI5 operatives including the notorious Sir Joseph Ball and Maundy Gregory has led many to conclude he was bumped off – not least because these men were to make a habit of murders right through to the failure of Appeasement in 1939. Try ‘Victor Grayson: The man and the mystery by David Clark.
Mussolini was known as a Socialist intellectual and activist for 15-20 years before WW1 during which time he was imprisoned for protesting at the ‘Imperialist’ invasion of Libya; was Editor of Europe’s foremost Socialist paper ‘Avanti’. Lenin criticised the Italian Socialist Party, which Mussolini led, for “losing” a man of Mussolini’s talent.
My comment wasn’t meant to be a ‘survey of the origins of fascism’ so undoubtedly it lacks depth! but it’s fascinating to see how opinion shifted in 1915. Possibly you object to the names of Fascists like Mussolini being mentioned in public, a bit like the way Ken Livingstone was pilloried for just mentioning the name ‘Hitler’ when discussing the 1932 talks, even though what he said was historically accurate? If so my sympathy for you is at zero.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 3, 2020 5:53 AM
Reply to  bevin

A worthless survey of the origins of fascism, Paul.

Benito Mussolini’s take on the origins of fascism (after Giovanni Gentile):

https://www.amazon.com/Doctrine-Fascism-Benito-Mussolini/dp/1478370912/ref=sr_1_1?crid=TVJKWI6UWJ4D&keywords=the+doctrine+of+fascism&qid=1580707742&sprefix=the+doctrine%2Caps%2C386&sr=8-1 ($1.15-$6)

https://archive.org/download/THEDOCTRINEOFFASCISM (free download)

“The Doctrine of Fascism” (Italian: “La dottrina del fascismo”) is an essay attributed to Benito Mussolini. In truth, the first part of the essay, entitled “Idee Fondamentali” (Italian for “Fundamental Ideas”) was written by philosopher Giovanni Gentile, while only the second part (“Dottrina politica e sociale”) is the work of Mussolini himself. […] All subsequent translations of “The Doctrine of Fascism” are from this work.

A key concept of the Mussolini essay was that fascism was a rejection of previous models: “Granted that the 19th century was the century of marxism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of marxism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the Right, a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the ‘collective’ century, and therefore the century of the State.” –Wikipedia

lundiel
lundiel
Feb 2, 2020 9:02 AM

“Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed… The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they will do. We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily.”

Philippos Andreou of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glücksburg Prince of Greece and Denmark. December 1981 People Magazine interview.
Not a writer but he does have a way of telling ’em. He’s head of the WWF and big in the environment movement….Greta’s predecessor, totally wanting dystopia, for all the best reasons.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 2, 2020 9:30 PM
Reply to  lundiel

The human population will be reduced, slowly and humanely by female education and emancipation and global wealth restitution to end poverty, or it will be reduced catastrophically and rapidly by ecological collapse and consequent war and genocide. I know which I prefer.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 3, 2020 5:59 AM
Reply to  lundiel

Philippos Andreou of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glücksburg Prince of Greece and Denmark.

My maternal grandmother called him “Phil the Greek”.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 4, 2020 1:46 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

I thought everyone did.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 6, 2020 12:59 AM
Reply to  lundiel

Greta’s predecessor, totally wanting dystopia, for all the best reasons.

I don’t know what Greta wants or how she proposes to get it; I haven’t gone past the headlines or the soundbites, but I do have a fair idea of what Philip wants and it is far more nuanced and directed towards individual understanding, whether through education or insight into the logic of the times and the trend of events, and taking responsibility for that, than you allow him. But I do know what you want, as an existentialist envoy of many in these parts. Again leaving Greta aside to accommodate my aforementioned ignorance as well as to acknowledge that she is far more susceptible to manipulation she cannot perceive than Philip (while also leaving the metasociolinguistics of BigB and the metaphysics of Binra out of consideration), what you want is for Philip’s expressed opinions to be a direct call for coercive top-down control. Pa-fucking-metathetic.

lundiel
lundiel
Feb 6, 2020 8:17 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

What a nasty judgemental, dishonest creep you are. Not the first time you’ve let the mask slip.

lundiel
lundiel
Feb 6, 2020 9:21 AM
Reply to  lundiel

Also, You know far more about Greta, than you do about me.

goat
goat
Feb 2, 2020 8:27 AM

Liberal \Lib”er*al\ (l[i^]b”[~e]r*al), a. [F. lib[‘e]ral, L.
liberalis, from liber free; perh. akin to libet, lubet, it
pleases, E. lief. Cf. {Deliver}.]
1. Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman;
refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean;
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Willem
Willem
Feb 2, 2020 8:12 AM

I do like to add that the main character of the novel We, voluntarily let’s his brain be washed clean from all the things he has seen from the resistance.

It’s nice from Zamyatan that he did this to his character, just to show to the readers that it was a bad decision, although tempting because the ‘real’ world appears to be so bloody insecure and unsafe. So why not aim for secure sterility?

But his child and wife live on outside society and as a reader you really wonder how they will fare outside the system. Probably good, I think (it’s an open end).

Anyway, great review, thanks for bringing up these great writers

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Feb 2, 2020 7:37 AM

Another ringer from Frank Lee! Good work.

Democracy has apparently been for internal use only, but even here in the west increasingly less so.

Democracy is always for internal use only. That’s why you can’t ‘democratize’ a foreign people, à la neoconservatism.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Feb 2, 2020 7:21 AM

Great writers, one and all.
They stood on the shoulders of giants like Swift, Dickens, Shelley and even the Bard himself.
How brave they must have been to parody and point out the ugly side of the ruling class.
Then again: Do they have any sides that are not ugly?

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Feb 3, 2020 6:08 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

They stood on the shoulders of giants like Swift, Dickens, Shelley and even the Bard himself.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art at least as lovely and at least as temperate…