Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Despite the official declaration of materialist science as the only true Soviet religion, the so-called Stalinist ‘cult of personality’ that was launched in 1935-6 effectively imbued Stalin with singular ‘theurgical’ powers of omnipotence and omniscience. “Official rhetoric praised the magic and miracles wrought by the cadres (as opposed to the impersonal magic wrought by science and technology) and made it clear they owed their effectiveness to Stalin. Other people shared in his mana, a supernatural force that is concentrated in particular persons of object”, his portrait was a religious icon and the very utterance of his name regarded as a mantra for heroes of labour - even though such terms as mana and mantra were known only by ethnographers and occultists. Specially composed folklore specifically invested Stalin with magical powers…” and among esotericists “a legend circulated among them that Stalin knew something which no one else could ever discover and that he was an incarnation of Manu.” In contrast, failures in the 5-years plans were filmically portrayed as the work of saboteurs and wreckers - who in turn were presented as evil sorcerers or black magicians. As for censorship in the Soviet era, this was nothing uniquely ‘Stalinist’, nor merely an Orwellian activity of deletion or erasure, but an active and above all conscious use of specific sets of authorised and official phrases or ‘memes’. This is an activity comparable in principle to the occult elevation of the magical power of The Word - and the elevation of Semiotic theories of language and of Symbolist theories of art to a position almost above Marxism-Leninism. For now, the verbal signifier’ or artistic symbol achieved dominance over and displaced sensuously experienced reality. Such theoretical and theurgical understandings of Stalinism were not only recognised but given theological and philosophical praise and affirmation by thinkers such as Maxim Gorky - the founder of ‘Socialist Realism’ - and in his own way by Stalin himself. Hence his recognition of the significance of Semantics and Semiotics and his declaration that “ the sphere of action of language, which embraces all fields of man's activity, is far broader and more comprehensive than the sphere of action of the superstructure. More, it is practically unlimited…”
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The End of Thinking?
This first set of reflections is designed to point to a larger and more complex phenomenon - one which can be characterised in its essence by an almost universal sense of threat and insecurity based on a fear of and failure to recognise and handle complexity and contradictions. The result is an almost universal attempt - not least, but not only on the part of the English ruling caste - to use failed or failing attempts at simplification or ‘magical thinking’ to retreat from or avoid facing them (for example the complexities and contradictions involved in leaving the E.U). But I see this is part of a much broader phenomenon - albeit one particularly manifest in the U.K. and U.S. The phenomenon is one of governments, movements and parties of all colours and many nations showing, almost on a day-by-day basis, how they can no longer even get a proper grasp on what they themselves are doing - except through these failed attempts at simplifying their own thinking - and that of others. This fear-induced drive to simplify not just political thinking but thinking as such poses, in my view, an even greater threat than all the apparent ‘issues’ that human beings and society face on both an individual, national and global level - issues that are themselves perceived in an already preconceived, decontextualised, dehistoricised and therefore also over-simplified way. This was why, when asked about how his own thinking might benefit or change the world, Martin Heidegger responded by questioning whether thinking itself and as such still had any chance of surviving - except through the birth of wholly new type of thinking - not a simplified or magical thinking but one based on a new awareness of and relation to language - not least fetished religious, scientific and political terminologies and jargons. As for now, as Heidegger saw it: “Man is in flight from thinking.”
Awareness-based economics - rethinking ‘the labour theory of value’
Thinking is itself a conscious activity. More precisely it is an activity of, and arising from awareness. The question is, how much awareness or attention? One defect of Marx’s labour theory of value is that it made no distinction between quantity and quality of labour time: that is to say, between the quantity of time expended in labour, i.e. in productive and creative activity or ‘labour’ of any sort, ‘manual’ or ‘mental’, and the quality of awareness that goes into that labour. It is the failure to make this distinction that allows economies to arise in which a low-paid nurse, for example, may be wholly unpaid for the qualities of awareness she or he gives to her patients, whereas a high-paid boss may be paid millions for bad management i.e. for not giving proper awareness and attention to their job, whilst a multi-billionaire can make tens of millions each week, simply through investments handled by others, without needing to do a thing, i.e. without needing to contribute either any quantity or awareness quality of labour. The distinction between labour time and its awareness quality is reflected in the crass division of labour and gross inequality of earnings in both industrial and service sectors of capitalist economies. The performance of repetitive labour tasks that require little or no awareness can only accrue value and generate surplus value for employers through long hours of work - through mere quantity of labour time. Here too, however, a contradiction lurks. For it has now been shown in many countries that in any forms of labour in which a certain quality of awareness is both a necessary and significant source of value, the awareness quality given to labour - and hence also its value - can actually be significantly increased by reducing the number of working hours. In other words, productivity can be increased by reducing working hours - but only if these more productive hours are properly remunerated. The problem with the whole concept of ‘productivity’ however, is that it too remains a purely quantitative measure, designed to exploit labour even further by extracting more surplus value from their labour with the same number of working hours. The distinction between labour time and labour quality - the quality of awareness and attention given to any productive activity, including thought itself, is essential to considering how different types of labour should be remunerated in a socialist economy. In my view there should only be one basis for any pay differentials for a given quantity of labour time - a differential totally independent of the type of labour and based solely on the quality of awareness and attention invested in it, what I call its ‘awareness value’. For ultimately it is both the time quantity and the quality of awareness given to human activity or labour of any sort that is the foundation and source of its value - and not simply the abstraction of labour time. Were this not the case, it would be impossible to conceive how high civilisations, cultures and craftsmen of the past achieved all that they did without need even for any precise measure of time of the sort introduced by the relatively recent invention of clock time - a measure of time which itself ignores variations in time quality. The very fact that the term ‘quality time’ hasbecome part of our ‘modern’ vocabulary is, paradoxically, an indicator of the extent to which the human being’s natural relation to time itself and natural sense for different subjective qualities of time - something that needed no name in the past - has been distorted by the domination of a uniform measure of objectified time - clock time. There was a time when people knew that ‘slower is faster’, that ‘taking one’s time’ adds quality and value to both thought and labour, whereas speediness and manic busy-ness deprives them of quality and value - and deprives individuals of the sense of value fulfilment that should be both the motive force and prime source of satisfaction in all human activity - the sense of fulfilling, for both their own good and that of others, their individual values and creative potentials.
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
SWPE is an organisation which seeks to end the Capitalist State in the UK, and to build a Socialist Society of mutual cooperation. SWPE stands under the banner of victory over the exploiters, of victory for Class and Nation.
To achieve a Socialist Society, means to take a stand against Global Capitalism, and by doing so to invite the attention of the terrorists of NATO, who are used by the Ruling Caste to murder all who stand in the way of the march of the financial imperialists and corporate oppressors. It would be naive to the point of stupidity to imagine that we could achieve Socialism In One Country, without Socialists in other countries also achieving victory over the tyranny of capitalism.
SWPE is very pleased to be linking up with Socialists in other countries. We believe in borders, and in the right of every people to control and own everything within their own lands. We have been asked to recommend kindred spirits in the USA, for our Brothers and Sisters in that country to join. We have forged links to this end with the People Social Freedom Movement: America (PSFMA), which we urge all Socialists in the USA to support. Their struggle is our struggle.
1) We call for community empowerment and grassroots democracy in order to allow for the people to express their freedom and destinies free from the control of the oligarchs that has divided the people and ripped freedom from our hands.
2) We call for full employment in quality jobs that are owned and managed by the workers themselves free from the exploitation of one class over another. As true freedom can not be expressed through poverty.
3)We call for universal healthcare and housing for all American citizens as you can not express your freedom while sick or homeless.
4) We call for a modern education system that focuses on history, literacy, mathematics, and cooperation to end the capitalist system that has produced children that know only enough to be cogs in a machine.
5) We call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve and break up the IMF and the creation of a democratic banking system modeled after the credit unions and an end to debt slavery (usury).
6) We call for the abolition of the CIA and the NSA as they have been doing nothing but infringing on the rights of the American people as well as all of their pet bills.
7) We call for the Federal legalization of Marijuana on both medical and recreational as there has been no evidence that has been provided that it has any negative impact on the human body and instead all of the evidence provided has proven it to provide many benefits.
8) We call for the separation of Church and State as promoted by our founding fathers and the reversal of the Republican attempts to force their religious beliefs down the throats of the American public.
9) We must respect autonomy within Native American land and communities, respect their Tribal Police and Tribal Courts and the reinforcement of the treaties signed throughout the ages.
10) We must promote the growth of renewable energies as seen in Southern Arizona and promote natural gas as well as the discontinuing of practices such as fracking in order to tackle Climate Change aka Sabotage.
11) We want an immediate end of all wars for oil and the end of the funding of terrorists around the world.
In addition to the 11 Points, the PSFMA has a policy of reaching out to others, in order to build Socialist Unity in practise. This is a strategy we share, and it is refreshing to work with others who realise the futility of trying to make the various factions of the Left fall in line behind a single leadership structure - something which those who have any knowledge of the reality of politics will know is an unachievable dream, as long as the leaders of the many competing groups are unwilling to abandon their positions of authority in minuscule ghettoised organisations.
Again from the PSFMA:
We want to unite all people who are serious about creating socialism through our philosophy of community first
- You have been told that socialism can only be created in some distant future and only after the capitalist system has reached this or that stage or when the proletariat has been organized for this or that union or party we say that socialism can only come if we build it from the ground up through the radicalization and organization of our communities through service to the people, education, and art and the creation of a federation of these communities.
- There are those of you who say that revolution must come first however if I toss a penny amongst you each “vanguard” party among you will argue wither or not the coin landed heads or tails and such is your definition of revolution and socialism. We say that yes an insurrection maybe important in the future but as of right now we need to focus on the building of communities against the state and teaching the people about socialism through example and through practice. We say this that we believe in the realization of socialism in order to bring about the revolution!
- We uphold Revolutionary Intercommunalism and as such we hold that unity must be achieved amongst all strata of the Working Class however we hold to the ideas of Bookchin that the consciousness of the Proletariat has became a clone to that of the Capitalist class and that the new consciousness must be communal in nature.
- This general strike not only focuses on labor but also a strike against the cultural and political life of the Capitalist Class and restores the autonomy of the Proletariat
The website of the PSFMA can be found at: https://psfma.wordpress.com/