All posts tagged: socialism

Anti-Capitalism is NOT Anti-Semitism

Austerity is a brutal crime against humanity. The rich get richer whilst the poor are starving. The 1% deserve to be held up to scrutiny, criticism and even prosecution. Attempts to distract from political rhetoric based around class, wealth or inequality with unfounded accusations or a focus on identity politics are nothing but a well-oiled machine protecting itself.

The Magic Socialist

So here it is, the announcement we’ve been waiting for … all aboard for another cruise on the new and improved U.S.S. Magic Socialist with your captain Bernie Sanders at the helm! If you’re not familiar with this extraordinary vessel, it’s like the luxury liner in The Magic Christian, except catering to credulous American socialists instead of the British filthy rich. Tickets start at just $27 dollars … so hurry, because they’re going fast!

A Taxing Question: Re-reading Piketty

Frank Lee reviews Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty This book by Thomas Piketty was first published in 2014 and became an instant best seller. It had taken the author some 15 years to research and complete, and deserves a detailed attention and analysis rather than the usual one-off, production-line tracts which are read and instantly forgotten. Piketty describes the end of an old epoch, the rise of the new – the golden age of welfare-capitalism, Le Trente Glorieuses, the Keynes/Beveridge consensus, call it what you will, circa 1945-1975 – and the re-emergence of a second rentier capitalism regime which began the early 1980s. Using apposite literary references to writers of the first gilded age he quotes: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice An immortal sentence which says a thousand words. Such was the moral zeitgeist in Europe during the 19th century; Piketty then drives home the point by adding …

The Real Left, Phony Left and What’s Left

Philip Farruggio Cutting to the chase, if you consider yourself to be ‘On the Left’ then you have to be a Socialist. Period! Now, there are many different levels under the banner of Socialism. Some may be Marxist, Trotskyite, Syndicalism etc. Yet, the unifying denominator is that all believe in the common ownership of the means of production and services. Many socialists do honor the existence of Mom and Pop private ownership of small business. Under a truly socialist system banking, energy, health & dental care, housing and all necessary services would be owned and operated by the community, whether it be local, state or federal. Imagine if you would if we had real community owned and run mortgage banks, where the only interest charges would be for overhead. Translated: Even in these so-called ‘low rates’ times, where a mortgage rate is around 4 or 5%, with non-profit community banks the rate would be perhaps 1%. Plus, the mortgage paper would remain with that bank. Today’s renters would be tomorrow’s owners of their own abode. …

Red And Green Should Never Be Seen

David Lindsay “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!” So tweets Donald Trump. This is why we must promote the exploitation of the vast reserves of coal in this country. That, and the extension of civil nuclear power, are the means of delivering highly paid, highly skilled, high status, unionised jobs while securing independence from Arab oil, from Russian gas, and from coal that has been mined using child and slave labour. From North Korea, Trump intends his dynasty to supply a dependent world with the coal of the Kim dynasty deep into the twenty-second century. Yet we have our own, right here under our feet. Horror stories about how coal was burned or mined in the Britain of the twentieth century have no relevance to the Britain of the twenty-first. This is part of a wider battle. We must reject out of hand the notion that the problem with the world is that it has people in it. Instead, we must …

Paradigm shifts: The Great crash of 2008 revisited

Frank Lee Some years ago, I reviewed a book – State Building – by Francis Fukuyama. This was one of his lesser known works, he is more famous for being the theorist of the ‘end of history’ – a view fashionable during the days of neo-liberal triumphalism circa the 1980s. But the views espoused are much the same in both works. After the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and social-democracy effectively throwing in the towel in Western Europe, Mr Fukuyama postulated that liberal, deregulated, market capitalism was now the historical norm, and if countries had not arrived at this terminal point in their history then in the fullness of time they surely would. This teleology became the received wisdom in official circles, and I would argue still is, at least among the political, financial and media elites. Paradoxically, this consensus – let’s call it the Thatcher/Reagan settlement – represented almost a theoretical mirror image of the cruder types of Marxist historical materialism. The term ‘cruder’ is used sparingly, since it is questionable whether Marx …

In Praise of “Brocialism”

David Lindsay Recent events have redefined the political debate, and ongoing events are continuing to redefine it, in terms of economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends. In the struggle for economic equality, the leading role belongs to the working class, and the leading role within the working class belongs to the trade union and co-operative movements. In the struggle for international peace, the leading role belongs to the working class and to the youth. It is possible to see that latter dimension in the movements around Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, and Ron Paul. When seen in that context, then it is only to be expected and applauded that those youth movements are largely male. The eventual failure of the Ron Paul campaign was in no small measure due to its failure to locate the struggle for international peace within the struggle for economic equality, and vice versa. The Bernie Sanders phenomenon remains constrained by its failure to learn the lesson of Donald Trump’s victory, and …

Desperate West Bashing Russia & China “Left and Right”….literally

Andre Vltchek The insanity and vileness of Western anti-Chinese propaganda used to make some of my Chinese friends cry late at night. But things are changing. The lunacy of what is said and written about China (and Russia, of course), in the US and Europe, is now clearly reflecting frustration and the bad manners of sore losers. One could almost be inclined to pity the Western empire, if only it wasn’t so violently murderous. The Empire’s propagandists are pitying nobody – they are now shooting like maniacs, but without any coherent plan. Various Western ‘experts’ and journalists cannot really agree on the basics: ‘what is really wrong with China’. But they are paid extremely well to find new and newer skeletons in the huge Chinese closets, and so they are constantly competing with each other, looking for the juiciest and the most scandalous stories. Often it appears that it pays to assume that absolutely everything is flawed with the most populous, and on top of it, Communist (with the ‘Chinese characteristics, of course) country on …

Economics: Class War by Another Name

Frank Lee The terrible case which … socialists are able to make out against the present economic order of society demands a full consideration of all means by which the ownership of property may be … made to work in a manner beneficial to that large portion of society which at present enjoys the least share of its direct benefits.(John Stuart Mill – Essays on Economics – 1824 I recall an old anarchist cartoon which was in the form of a pyramid. The top stratum consisted of Kings and Queens, millionaires, billionaires, high-ranking politicians, the military, ministers and statesmen and various other high-falutin’ members of the ruling elite: the adjacent caption read – “We rule you.” The next tier down, consisted of the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, priests and other members of the clergy: the caption read – “We fool you.” Beneath that there were soldiers and militia and police: the caption read – “We shoot you.” And the lowest, broader and most populous layer was – us, the ordinary folk, the caption read: – “we …

Few Admiring Words for “Crypto-Socialist” Singapore

Text and photos by Andre Vltchek Imagine a country with 5.6 million inhabitants (of which around 4 million are citizens), surrounded by a collapsing giant – Indonesia – in the south and south-west, by the historically hostile Malaysia in the north, and that proverbial deep blue sea (Strait of Malacca, full of nasty pirates) over the horizon. Officially Indonesia has 250 million mainly desperately poor inhabitants, but my friends, top UN statisticians working in Montreal, Canada (at the UNESCO Institute for the Statistics), believe that it has, already since one decade ago, well over 300 million ‘souls’ (remember the “Dead Souls” of Gogol, a pre-revolutionary Russian writer and his iconic novel about corruption?), some of them actually ‘so dead’ to the Indonesian government that it doesn’t even want to acknowledge their miserable existence, let alone to feed them. Malaysia has 32 million people, and an incredibly complex and turbulent past. It is not a friendly country towards Singapore, which actually used to be a part of Malaya Federation for 2 years but got unceremoniously kicked …

Why I join the ILP

by George Orwell We’re republishing Orwell’s 1938 piece here for its continuing relevance in our times.  First published by New Leader on June 24, 1938, the text is also available at the Marxists’ Internet Archive. Perhaps it will be frankest to approach it first of all from the personal angle. I am a writer. The impulse of every writer is to ‘keep out of politics’. What he wants is to be left alone so that he can go on writing books in peace. But unfortunately it is becoming obvious that this ideal is no more practicable than that of the petty shop-keeper who hopes to preserve his independence in the teeth of the chain-stores. To begin with, the era of free speech is closing down. The freedom of the Press in Britain was always something of a fake, because in the last resort, money controls opinion; still, so long as the legal right to say what you like exists, there are always loopholes for an unorthodox writer. For some years past I have managed to …

The West has Performed a “Philosophical Coup” Against the Left

It has been happening for quite some time, but no one has been paying much attention: Western academia, mainstream media, and the most visible propagandists, were trying to convince the world that 1) ideology has died, or at least became irrelevant 2) in case it did not die, the Left is actually… hold your breath…right-wing!

Especially the Left that is holding power, particularly in Asia and in Latin America, is being ‘re-defined’ in London, Paris and Washington. The Western propaganda gurus are apparently rejuvenated, lately, as there are great budgets available to them, in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere. They are openly told to go after certain countries, particularly Russia, China and Iran.

“Trumpet to War”: Spectators and Pragmatists…at Their Own Execution

Phillip Farruggio The Military Industrial Empire has succeeded, ever since WW2. Our education system has incrementally been ‘dumbed down’ over these past decades. Our mainstream media is now a colorful prism of those terrible times during the Nazi and Stalinist eras. The use of ‘fake news’ then and now is the vogue. Truth has become hostage along with our cherished flag. Too many lies and disinformation have built this ‘House of Cards’ that the empire’s masters operate within. Yet, the mere handful of we truth seekers and truth tellers keep on ‘ keeping on’ despite the major obstacles in our way. This writer’s baby boomer generation remembers well the ‘so called’ Vietnam War. It was never really a war between us and the Commies. No, it was a civil war that our empire decided to enter into, at such a great cost of both lives and national treasure. Too many of my fellow citizens either responded to the spin and hype, or simply couldn’t give a shit. The latter group were spectators to the demise …

Why Venezuela and Syria Cannot Fall

True. Both nations, Venezuela and Syria, are separated by a tremendous geographical distance, but they are united by the same fate, same determination and courage. During the Spanish Civil War, Czech anti-fascist fighters, volunteers in the International Brigades, used to say: “In Madrid we are fighting for Prague”. Madrid fell to Franco’s fascists in October 1939. Prague had been occupied by German troops several months earlier, in March 1939. It was the blindness and cowardice of the European leaders, as well as the support which the murderous fascist hordes received from populations of all corners of the continent, which led to one of the greatest tragedies in modern history – a tragedy which only ended on May 9, 1945, when the Soviet troops liberated Prague, defeating Nazi Germany and de facto saving the world.

Capitalism Reduced Indonesian Cities to Infested Carcases

From Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Samarinda and Pontianak, text and photos: Andre Vltchek Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta’s posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he ‘had something urgent to tell me’, after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital. What he had to say was actually straight to the point and definitely worth sitting two hours in an epic traffic jam: “No one will be allowed to build comprehensive public transportation in Jakarta or in any other Indonesian city. If a mayor or a governor tries and defies the wishes of the ruthless business community which is in fact controlling most of the Indonesian government, he or she will be dethroned, or even totally destroyed.” These ‘prophetic’ words are still ringing in my ears, several months after the complete destruction of the progressive Jakarta governor, known as Ahok (real name: Basuki Tjahaja Purnama), who tried …

Long Live the Great October Revolution – 100 years of screwing Imperialism!

The world is in ruins. It is literally burning, covered by slums, by refugee camps, and its great majority is ‘controlled by markets’, as was the dream and design of individuals such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Führers like Kissinger and Brzezinski, sacrificed tens of millions of human lives all over our planet, just to prevent nations from trying to fulfill their spontaneous socialist, and even, God forbid, Communist dreams and aspirations. Some of the tyrants were actually very ‘honest’: Henry Kissinger once observed, publicly, that he saw no reason why a certain country should be allowed to “go Marxist” merely because “its people are irresponsible”. He was thinking about Chile. He “saw no reason” and as a result, several thousands of people were murdered…

We Lived Better Then

by Stephen Gowans Over two decades ago Vaclav Havel, the pampered scion of a wealthy Prague family, helped usher in a period of reaction, in which the holdings and estates of former landowners and captains of industry were restored to their previous owners, while unemployment, homelessness, and insecurity—abolished by the Reds– were put back on the agenda. Havel is eulogized by the usual suspects, but not by his numberless victims, who were pushed back into an abyss of exploitation by the Velvet revolution and other retrograde eruptions. With the fall of Communism allowing Havel and his brother to recover their family’s vast holdings, Havel’s life—he worked in a brewery under Communism—became much richer. The same can’t be said for countless others, whose better lives under Communism were swept away by a swindle that will, in the coming days, be lionized in the mass media on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s demolition. The anniversary is no time for celebration, except for the minority that has profited from it. For the bulk …

Top Secret: These Are Actually Socialist Countries

by Andre Vltchek, via NEO People all over the world are fed up with capitalism. They don’t always know how to formulate their aversions anymore (the result of a confusing ‘education’ and disinformation campaign pouring out of the West). But intuitively they are increasingly longing for socialism or even communism; definitely for some humane, compassionate system based on social justice, kindness and anti-imperialist principles. Such sentiments are everywhere, in countries as diverse as the Philippines and Bolivia, South Africa and Kirgizstan. The rulers and propagandists in the West are well aware of this ‘dangerous trend’. And they are trying to reverse it, with increasing determination, even with brutal force. In the past, they used to simply try to fully ideologically discredit all socialist and communist thoughts. Billions of dollars were spent on propaganda and disinformation, on ‘re-education’ of the masses in all corners of the globe, on targeted scholarships and tactics aimed at dividing the Left. This approach was successful, but only to a certain degree. All over the world, the leftist revolutionary ideas would …

Failures of the Western Left

by Andre Vltchek It is tough to fight any real war. And it takes true guts, discipline and determination to win it. For years and decades, the so-called ‘left’ in the West has been moderately critical of North American (and sometimes even of European) imperialism and neo-colonialism. But whenever some individual or country rose up and began openly challenging the Empire, most of the Western left-wing intellectuals simply closed their eyes, and refused to offer their full, unconditional support to those who were putting their lives (and often even the existence of their countries) on the line. I will never forget all those derogatory punches directed at Hugo Chavez, punches coming from members of the ‘anti-Communist left’, after he dared to insult George W. Bush at the United Nations in 2006, calling him a “devil” and choking, theatrically, from the sulfur that was still ‘hanging in the air’ after the US President’s appearance at the General Assembly. I will not be dropping names here, but readers would be surprised if they knew how many of …

HOT to TROT

by W Stephen Gilbert Hands up if you know what a Trot is. Could you recognise one at thirty paces? Could you confidently engage her on the matter of dialectical materialism? Would you, having lost the argument, leave the room if she instructed you to? Yes, the bogeymen are back. Tom Watson, who was (as I understood it) elected deputy leader of the Labour Party because he was smart enough to take it to the Tories, has heard the stirrings of reds under the bed and cannot sleep for worry. It’s very hard to keep a straight face in the face of this farce. John Harris wrote a hilarious account of his time as a weepy 16 year-old Labour youth being upbraided by Trots because he hadn’t done his homework, something any teenager can identify with. In the time-honoured manner, he goes for the ad hominem attack rather than a policy or strategy argument. So the Trots are guilty of “trademark displays of righteous belligerence”[1]. I once heard Harris on Any Questions? and the words …