Archive for August, 2016

Milieu control

From Wikipedia:

Milieu control is a term popularized by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton to describe tactics that control environment and human communication through the use of social pressure and group language; such tactics may include;
dogma,
protocols,
innuendo,
slang,
and pronunciation,

which enables group members to identify other members, or to promote cognitive changes in individuals.

Lifton originally used “milieu control” to describe brainwashing and mind control, but the term has since been applied to other contexts.[1]

Background

Milieu control involves the control of communication within a group environment, that also may (or may not) result in a significant degree of isolation from surrounding society. When non-group members, or outsiders, are considered or potentially labeled as less valuable without basis for stated group-supported and group-reinforced prejudice, group members may have a tendency to then consider themselves as intellectually superior, which can limit alternate points of view, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in which group members automatically begin to devalue others and the intellect of others that are separate from their group, without logical rationale for doing so. Additionally, Milieu control “includes other techniques to restrict members’ contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information.”[2]

Theory

Methods

Subfields

Contents

See also

References

  1. A Bandura. 1982. The psychology of chance encounters and life paths. American Psychologist, Vol. 37 No. 7, July 1982
  2. Dr. Lifton, Robert J.Thought Reform: Milieu Control. Retrieved on August 24, 2008. http://www.ferozegolwalla.com.

External links

 

http://www.ferozegolwalla.com/id18.html – Dr. Lifton, Robert J.Thought Reform: Milieu Control.

 

 

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His Observations on the Famous Novel (1937)


Written: 1937
First Published: Joan London, Jack London and His Times,
Source: The New International, Vol. XI No. 3, April 1945, p. 95.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/xx/ironheel.htm


Trotsky’s commentary on Jack London’s great classic, The Iron Heel, was written in Mexico some time in 1937. Originally, it was published as part of the biography, Jack London and His Times, written by his daughter, Joan London, to whose courtesy we are obliged for its reproduction in these pages. Joan London writes us that an earlier letter from Trotsky explained why The Iron Heel struck him so forcibly, due to the fact that he had been unaware of its existence until she sent him a copy. It is not necessary to add anything else to what we print here by Trotsky, except to note that the abruptness of its opening sentence is due to the omission from the original published text of the first paragraph. – Editor

… The book produced upon me – I speak without exaggeration – a deep impression. Not because of its artistic qualities: the form of the novel here represents only an armor for social analysis and prognosis. The author is intentionally sparing in his use of artistic means. He is himself interested not so much in the individual fate of his heroes as in the fate of mankind. By this, however, I don’t want at all to belittle the artistic value of the work, especially in its last chapters beginning with the Chicago commune. The pictures of civil war develop in powerful frescoes. Nevertheless, this is not the main feature. The book surprised me with the audacity and independence of its historical foresight.

The world workers’ movement at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century stood under the sign of reformism. The perspective of peaceful and uninterrupted world progress, of the prosperity of democracy and social reforms, seemed to be assured once and for all. The first Russian revolution, it is true, revived the radical flank of the German social-democracy and gave for a certain time dynamic force to anarcho-syndicalism in France. The Iron Heel bears the undoubted imprint of the year 1905. But at the time when this remarkable book appeared, the domination of counterrevolution was already consolidating itself in Russia. In the world arena the defeat of the Russian proletariat gave to reformism the possibility not only of regaining its temporarily lost positions but also of subjecting to itself completely the organized workers’ movement. It is sufficient to recall that precisely in the following seven years (1907–14) the international social-democracy ripened definitely for its base and shameful role during the World War.

Jack London not only absorbed creatively the impetus given by the first Russian revolution but also courageously thought over again in its light the fate of capitalist society as a whole. Precisely those problems which the official socialism of this time considered to be definitely buried: the growth of wealth and power at one pole, of misery and destitution at the other pole; the accumulation of social bitterness and hatred; the unalterable preparation of bloody cataclysms – all those questions Jack London felt with an intrepidity which forces one to ask himself again and again with astonishment: when was this written? Really before the war?

One must accentuate especially the role which Jack London attributes to the labor bureaucracy and to the labor aristocracy in the further fate of mankind. Thanks to their support, the American plutocracy not only succeeds in defeating the workers’ insurrection but also in keeping its iron dictatorship during the following three centuries. We will not dispute with the poet the delay which can but seem to us too long. However, it is not a question of Jack London’s pessimism, but of his passionate effort to shake those who are lulled by routine, to force them to open their eyes and to see what is and what approaches. The artist is audaciously utilizing the methods of hyperbole. He is bringing the tendencies rooted in capitalism: of oppression, cruelty, bestiality, betrayal, to their extreme expression. He is operating with centuries in order to measure the tyrannical will of the exploiters and the treacherous rôle of the labor bureaucracy. But his most “romantic” hyperboles are finally much more realistic than the bookkeeper-like calculations of the so-called “sober politicians.”

It is easy to imagine with what a condescending perplexity the official socialist thinking of that time met Jack London’s menacing prophecies. If one took the trouble to look over the reviews of The Iron Heel at that time in the German Neue Zeit and Vorwärts, in the Austrian Kampf and Arbeiterzeitung, as well as in the other socialist publications of Europe and America, he could easily convince himself that the thirty-year-old “romanticist” saw incomparably more clearly and farther than all the social-democratic leaders of that time taken together. But Jack London bears comparison in this domain not only with the reformists. One can say with assurance that in 1907 not one of the revolutionary Marxists, not excluding Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, imagined so fully the ominous perspective of the alliance between finance capital and labor aristocracy. This suffices in itself to determine the specific weight of the novel.

The chapter, The Roaring Abysmal Beast, undoubtedly constitutes the focus of the book. At the time when the novel appeared this apocalyptical chapter must have seemed to be the boundary of hyperbolism. However, the consequent happenings have almost surpassed it. And the last word of class struggle has not yet been said by far! The “Abysmal Beast” is to the extreme degree oppressed, humiliated, and degenerated people. Who would now dare to speak for this reason about the artist’s pessimism? No, London is an optimist, only a penetrating and farsighted one. “Look into what kind of abyss the bourgeoisie will hurl you down, if you don’t finish with them!” This is his thought.

Today it sounds incomparably more real and sharp than thirty years ago. But still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind. London manifests remarkable freedom from reformistic pacifist illusions. In this picture of the future there remains not a trace of democracy and peaceful progress. Over the mass of the deprived rise the castes of labor aristocracy, of praetorian army, of an all-penetrating police, with the financial oligarchy at the top. In reading it one does not believe his own eyes: it is precisely the picture of fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology! The fact is incontestable: in 1907 Jack London already foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution. Whatever may be the single “errors” of the novel – and they exist – we cannot help inclining before the powerful intuition of the revolutionary artist.

my love is a fire eternal…

The Yawn Of Nonsense – A translation of Jaques Lacan poetry.

Saprographs: parasitical writings


Below is a translation of a poem by Jacques Lacan, ‘Hiatus irrationalis,’ by me.
            Lacan’s poem first appeared in the surrealist magazine Le phare de Neuilly (issue 3), a monthly revue edited by Lise Deharme lasting four issues, in 1933; it was again published in 1977 in Magazine littéraire II (1977): 121. I have included a transcription of the version that appears in the latter below, following my translation.[1]
            It is very much a creative and poetic translation rather than a literal one and is a rendering of the work in a new, or at least different, manner (even going as far as not retaining the Latin title); with this, it is obviously formally different and veers from what might be considered a ‘direct’ translation. I have attempted to retain the ‘spirit’ of the text but in as much as it is mediated by my poetic sensibilities, it…

View original post 346 more words

DWP forced to reveal firms using benefit claimants for unpaid work after 4-year legal fight

Here’s the (very long) list of companies that took advantage of taxpayer-funded workers courtesy of the DWP.

Feel free to use the information in whatever way you see fit.

1. African Childrens Fund

2. Abacus Children’s Wear

3. ABCAL

4. Ability

5. Ace of Clubs Charity Shop

6. Acorns

7. Action for Disability

8. Action Housing

9. Active Community Team

10. Advocacy Support

11. Afro Caribbean Centre

12. Age Concern

13. Age UK

14. Agnew Community Centre

15. Air Ambulance

16. Aire Valley Recycling Ltd

17. Airedale Computers,

18. Al-Khair Foundation

19. All Aboard

20. Allied Healthcare

21. Almadene Care Home

22. AMF Torquay Bowling Alley

23. Amicus Horizon Housing Association

24. Animal Krackers

25. ARAS German Shepherd Inn

26. ARC

27. Archer Project

28. Arthritis Research UK

29. Arthur Rank

30. Arts Factory

31. ASAN

32. Asda

33. Asha Charity Shop

34. Ashgate Hospice

35. Aspire Community Enterprise Ltd

36. Auchinleck Talbot F.C.

37. Autism Plus

38. Aylestone Park Boys Football Club

39. Babygear

40. Back2Earth

41. Bangladesh People

42. Bangladeshi ass sangag centre

43. Barnardos

44. Basic Life Charity

45. B’Dwe

46. Beaumaris Hostel

47. Bedfordshire Education Academy

48. Belgrave Hall Museum

49. Bernicia Group (Social housing provider)

50. BHF

51. Blaby & Whetstone Boys Club

52. Blue Cross

53. Bluebell Wood

54. Bookers

55. Boots

56. Botanical Gardens

57. Bottle Rescue Aireworth Mill

58. BR Environmental

59. Bradford Autism Centre

60. Bradford Community repaint

61. Breaking Free

62. Brian Jackson House

63. Briardale Community Centre

64. Bright House

65. Brighton and hove wood recycling

66. Britannia College

67. British Heart Foundation

68. British Red Cross

69. British Waterways

70. Brockhurst Community Centre

71. Bryncynon Strategy

72. Bryncynon Strategy

73. Butterwick Hospice

74. Cancer Research

75. Cancer Uk

76. Capability Scotland

77. Care & Repair

78. Carers Centre

79. Caribbean Centre

80. Caribbean Restaurant (Streatham)

81. Carlisle Park

82. Carr Vale Allotments

83. Cash Convertors

84. Castle Gresley Community Centre

85. Cat Haven

86. Cats Protection League

87. Cauwood day services

88. CCA Furniture Outlet

89. Cerebal Palsey Care

90. Changing Lives in Clevedon

91. chapletown youth community centre

92. Chesterfield FC Community Trust

93. Chestnut Tree House Shop

94. Children in Distress

95. Children Scrapstore Reuse Centre

96. Children Trust

97. Childrens Society

98. Chopsticks North Yorkshire

99. Circulate

100. Citizen Advice Bureau

101. Claire House

102. Clic Sargent

103. Comfort Kids

104. Community Association – Trefechan

105. Community Re-Paint

106. Community Resource Centre

107. Community Voice

108. Complete Professional Care

109. Compton Hospice

110. Congburn Nurseries

111. Cooke Computers

112. Cooke E – Learning Foundation

113. Co-op

114. Corby Boating Lake

115. Cornerstone

116. Cornwall Hospice Care

117. County Durham Furniture Help Scheme

118. Croydon animal samaritans

119. CSV Media

120. Cusworth Hall

121. CVS Furniture

122. Dan’s Den Colwyn Bay

123. Dapp UK

124. DC Cleaning

125. Deans

126. Debra

127. Demzela

128. Derbyshire Timber Scheme

129. DHL

130. Dial Intake

131. Didcot Railyway Museum

132. Disabled Childrens Services

133. Discovery Community Cafe

134. Dogs Trust Glasgow

135. Dogsthorpe Recycling Centre

136. Doncaster College

137. Doncaster Community Centre

138. Dorothy House Hospice

139. Dorset Reclaim

140. Dovehouse Hospice Shop

141. Dragon Bands

142. Durham Wildlife Trust

143. E Waste Solutions

144. Earl Mountbatten Hospice

145. East Anglia Childrens Hospice Shop

146. East Cleveland Wildlife Trust

147. East Durham Partnership

148. East Midlands Islamic Relief Project

149. East West Community Project

150. Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

151. eco Innovation Centre

152. Elleanor Lion Hospice

153. ELVON

154. Encephalitis society

155. English Landscapes

156. Enhanced Care Training

157. Enterprise UK

158. Environmental Resource Centre

159. Essex County Council

160. Extra care Charitable Trust

161. Fable

162. Family Support

163. Fara

164. Fare share Malmo Food Park

165. Featherstone Rovers

166. Fenland District Council

167. First Fruits

168. FN! Eastbourne

169. Foal Farm

170. Food Cycle

171. Fops Shop

172. forget me not childrens hospice

173. Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy

174. Fountain Abbey

175. Fox Rush Farm

176. FRADE

177. Frame

178. FRESCH

179. Fresh water christian charity

180. Friends of St Nicholas Fields

181. Furnish

182. Furniture for You

183. Furniture Project

184. FurnitureLink

185. Gateway funiture

186. Genesis Trust

187. George Thomas Hospice – Barry

188. Geranium Shop For The Blind

189. Glasgow Furniture Initative

190. Glen Street Play Provision

191. Goodwin Development Trust

192. Govanhill Baths Community Trust

193. Greenacres Animal Rescue Shop

194. Greenfingers

195. Greenscape

196. Greenstreams Huddersfield/ environmental alliance

197. Grimsby District Health care charity

198. Ground Work

199. Hadston House

200. Happy Staffie

201. Harlington Hospice

202. Hart Wildlife Rescue

203. Hartlepool Council

204. Hartlepool Hospice

205. Hartlepool Prop (Mental Health)

206. Hartlepool Trust Opening Doors

207. Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling Project

208. Havens Childrens Hospice Shop

209. Havering Country Park

210. headway

211. Healthy Living Centre

212. Hebburn Community Centre

213. Help the Aged

214. Helping Hands

215. High Beech Care Home

216. High Wycombe Central Aid

217. Hillam Nurseries

218. Hinsley Hall Headingley

219. Hobbit Hotel

220. Holmescarr Community Centre

221. Home Start

222. Homemakers

223. Hope central

224. Hospice of hope

225. Hounslow Community Transport Furniture Project

226. Hull Animal Welfare Trust Hull

227. Humanity at Heart

228. I Trust

229. Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organisation (IRMO)

230. Intraining Employers

231. Ipswich Furniture Project

232. Iranian Association

233. Islamic Relief

234. Jacabs Well Care Center

235. Jesus Army Centre

236. JHP

237. Julian House Charity Shop

238. K.T. Performing Arts

239. Kagyu Samye Dzong London

240. Keech Hospice Care Shop

241. Keighley & District Disabled

242. Kier Services – Corby

243. Kilbryde Hospice

244. Killie Can Cycle

245. Kingston Community Furniture Project

246. Kiveton Park & Wales Community Development Trust

247. LAMH

248. Leeds & Moortown Furniture Store

249. Leicester City Council

250. Leicester Riders

251. Leicester Shopmobility

252. Leicestershire Aids Support Services

253. Leicestershire Cares

254. Lifework

255. Lighthouse

256. Linacre Reservoir

257. London Borough of Havering

258. London College of Engineering & Management Woolwich

259. Longley Organised Community Association

260. Lyme Trust

261. Lynemouth Resource Centre

262. Mackworth Comm. Charity Shop

263. Making a Difference

264. Marie Curie

265. Mark2 (marc)

266. Martin House Hospice

267. Mary Stevens Hospice

268. Matalan

269. Matchbox

270. Matthew25 Mission

271. Mayflower Sanctuary

272. MDJ Lightbrothers

273. Meadow Well Connected

274. MEC

275. Mental Health Support

276. Midland Railway Trust

277. MIND

278. Miners Welfare community centre

279. Mistley Place Park

280. Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Regeneration Partnership Scheme

281. Moore Cleaning

282. Morrisons

283. Muslim Aid

284. Myton Hospice

285. Nandos

286. Naomi Hospice

287. National Railway Museum

288. National Trust

289. NDDT

290. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

291. Necessary Furniture

292. Neighbourhood funiture

293. Neterlands Dog Rescue

294. New Life Church

295. Newham Volenteers Group

296. Newport City Council

297. Nightingale House

298. NOAH enterprise

299. North East Lincs Motor Project

300. North London Hospice Shop

301. North Ormesby Community Shop

302. Northumberland County Council

303. Norwood

304. Old Nick Theatre

305. One 0 One

306. Open Secret

307. Overgate Hospice

308. Oxfam

309. Papworth Trust

310. Partner Shop

311. Paul Sartori Warehouse

312. Paws Animal Welfare Shop

313. PDSA

314. Pegswood Community Centre

315. Pennywell Community Association

316. Peterborough Streets

317. Pheonix Community Furniture

318. Pilgrim Hospice

319. Placement Furniture Project

320. Platform 51 Doncaster Womens Centre

321. Playworks

322. Plymouth Food Bank

323. Plymouth Play Association

324. Plymouth Volunteer Centre

325. Pound stretcher

326. POW Shop

327. Powys Animal Welfare Shop

328. PPE Paving

329. Preen Community Interest Company

330. Primrose

331. PRINCE & PRINCESS OF WALES

332. Prince of Wales Sherburn in elmet

333. Princess Trust

334. Queen Elizabeth Foundation

335. Queens Walk Community

336. Queensland Multi-Media Arts Centre

337. Rainbow Centre

338. Rainbows End Burngreave

339. Real Time Music

340. Recycling unlimited

341. Red Cross

342. Refurnish

343. Regenerate Community Enterprise

344. Remploy

345. Restore

346. Rhyl Adventure Playground Association

347. Right Time Foundation

348. RNID

349. Rochford Council

350. Rosalie Ryrie Foundation

351. Rosliston Foresty

352. Royal Society for Blind.

353. Royal Wotton Bassett Town Council

354. RSPB

355. RSPCA

356. Rudenotto

357. Rudyard Lake

358. S & S Services

359. Saffcare

360. Sainsburys

361. Salvation Army

362. Santosh Community Centre

363. Sara

364. Save the children

365. Savera Resource Centre

366. Scallywags

367. Scarborough Council

368. SCD Fabrications

369. School of English Studies

370. Scope

371. Scottish Cancer Support

372. Scottish International Relief

373. Scunthorpe Central Community Centre

374. Seagull Recycling

375. Seahouses Development Trust

376. Second Chance

377. Second Opportunities

378. Sedgemoor Furniture Store

379. Sense

380. Sesku Acadamy Centre

381. Shaw Trust

382. Sheffield Reclamation Ltd – Reclaim

383. Shelter

384. Shooting Stars

385. Shopmobility & Community Transport – Access

386. Slough Furniture Project

387. Smythe

388. Sneyd Green

389. Somali Community Parents Association

390. Somerfields

391. Somerset Wood Re-Cycling

392. South Ayrshire Council

393. South Bucks Hospice Warehouse

394. South Wales Boarders Museum

395. Southend United Football Club

396. Spaghetti House

397. Spitafields Crypt Trust

398. Splash fit

399. St Barnabas

400. St Catherines Hospice Trading

401. St Chads Community Centre

402. St Clare’s Hospice

403. St Davids Foundation

404. St Elizabeth Hospice Charity Shop

405. St Francis Hospice Shops Ltd

406. St Gemma’s Hospice

407. St Georges Crypt

408. St Giles

409. St Helens House

410. St Hughs Community Centre

411. St Lukes Hospice

412. St Margarets Hospice Scotland

413. St Oswald’s Hospice

414. St Peters Church

415. St Peters Hospice

416. St Raphaels hospice

417. St Vincents

418. St. Catherines Hospice

419. St.Theresa’s Charity Shop

420. Stages Café

421. Stannah Stair Lifts

422. Stef’s Farm (Education Farm)

423. Step Forward

424. Stocking Farm Healthy Living Centre ( Sure Start)

425. Stockton Council

426. Stone Pillow

427. STROKECARE

428. Strood Community Project

429. Strut Lincoln

430. Sudbury Town Council

431. Sue Ryder

432. Sunderland Community Furniture

433. Sunderland North Community Business Centre

434. Superdrug

435. Swindon 105.5

436. Sycamore Lodge

437. sydney bridge furniture shop

438. Sypha

439. T&M Kiddy’s Kingdom

440. Tara Handicrafts

441. Teamwork

442. Teesside Hospice

443. Tendring Furniture Scheme

444. Tendring Reuse & Employment Enterprise

445. Tenovus

446. Tesco

447. Thames Hospicecare

448. Thames Valley Hospice

449. Thanet District Council

450. The Ark Shop

451. The Art Organisation

452. The Charity Shop

453. The Childrens Society

454. The Childrens trust

455. The Crossing

456. The Good Neighbour Project

457. The Greenhouse

458. The Harrow Club

459. The Hinge Centre Ltd

460. The Isabella Community Centre

461. The Island Partnership

462. The Kiln Cafe

463. The learning community

464. The Linskill Centre

465. The Listening Company

466. The Octagon Centre Hull

467. The Old Manor House Riding Stables

468. The Princess Alice Hospice

469. The Range

470. The Reuse Centre

471. The Rising Sun Art Centre

472. The Rock Foundation Ice House

473. The Shores Centre

474. The Spurriergate Centre

475. The Undercliffe cemetary charity

476. The Vine Project

477. The Welcoming Project

478. The Woodworks (Genesis Trust)

479. Think 3E,

480. Thirsk Clock

481. Thurrock Council

482. Thurrock Reuse Partnership (TRUP)

483. TLC

484. TooGoodtoWaste

485. Top Draw

486. Traid

487. Trinity Furniture Store

488. Troed Y Rhiw Day Project

489. True Volunteer Foundation

490. Tukes

491. Twice as Nice Furniture Project

492. Twirls and Curls

493. Ty Hafan

494. Tylorstown Communities First

495. United Churches Healing Ministry

496. United Play Day Centre

497. Unity in the Community

498. UNMAH

499. Untapped Resource

500. Urban Recycling

501. Vale of Aylesbury Vineyard Church Project

502. Vista Blind

503. Walpole Water Gardens

504. Walsall Hospice

505. Wandsworth Oasis trading Company Limited

506. Wat Tyler Centre

507. WEC

508. Weldmar

509. Well Cafe

510. Wellgate Community Farm

511. Wellingborough District Hindu Centre

512. Western Mill Cemetary

513. WH Smith

514. Wheelbase

515. Whitby Council

516. Wildlife Trust

517. Wilkinsons

518. Willen Care Furniture Shop

519. Willington Community Resource Centre

520. Windhill Furniture Store Shipley

521. Woking Community Furniture Project

522. Womens Aid

523. Womens Centre

524. Woodlands Camp

525. Worsbrough Mill & County Park

526. Xgames

527. YMCA

528. York Archaeological Trust

529. York Bike Rescue

530. York Carers centre

531. Yorkshire Trust

532. Yozz Yard

533. Zest

534. Zues Gym

 

The Tory government has been forced to reveal a vast list of firms that hoovered up free labour from benefit claimants after spending four years trying to keep it a secret.

Poundstretcher, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are among more than 500 companies, charities and councils named as having used Mandatory Work Activity.

Others on the list from 2011 included payday loans firm Cash Converters, chicken diner Nando’s, WH Smith, Superdrug and DHL.

More than 100,000 jobseekers were put on the hated ‘workfare’ scheme, which forced them to work 30-hour weeks unpaid for a month each or have their benefits docked.

Yet the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) mounted an astonishing and costly legal battle to keep the firms’ names a secret.

Officials claimed revealing those involved would hurt their “commercial interests” because protesters would boycott them.

The DWP stood its ground for nearly four years despite being overruled by the Information Commissioner (ICO) watchdog in August 2012.

The saga finally ended at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday – where a trio of top judges threw out the DWP’s argument by a 2-1 vote.

Campaigners and Labour condemned the vast cost of the cover-up – in which taxpayers had to fund lawyers for both the DWP and ICO.

 

 

 

‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘Capitalism’ – what’s the difference?
– “Philosophy and cultural theory”

jeremygilbertwriting

I wrote this in response to a discussion  of this theme on the NEON list. Thinking it was both too long for an email list and might be a useful resource for some people, I posted it here…
What’s the difference between ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ 
I think that neoliberalism and capitalism are simply different types of thing.

View original post 1,369 more words

The following comments assume that the reader has read Mason’s piece, which is to be found here
https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/labour-the-way-ahead-78d49d513a9f#.fth6i5s7a

jeremygilbertwriting

So Paul Mason has just published a piece proposing a general strategy for Labour in which he cites me. I think it’s me. He refers to Jeremy Gilbert twice, and then to ‘Galbraith’. By which he seems to still mean me.

The following comments assume that the reader has read Mason’s piece, which is to be found here https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/labour-the-way-ahead-78d49d513a9f#.fth6i5s7a

If you haven’t read it then you really should because it basically sets out the strategy for Labour which I think is the only one worth pursuing right now, touching on a number of key issues which hardly anyone else has properly addressed. I’m writing this almost entirely to add more weight to support Mason’s general case. Initially there are a couple of points of his that I am going to respond to defensively. But the rest is just an extension of his arguments.

This also won’t make much sense unless…

View original post 3,695 more words

An Eight Point Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting)

By John Halle and Noam Chomsky
JohnHalle.com, June 15, 2016

*****

1) Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression or moral judgement directed in retaliation towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values, or of a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites.

2) The exclusive consequence of the act of voting in 2016 will be (if in a contested “swing state”) to marginally increase or decrease the chance of one of the major party candidates winning.

3) One of these candidates, Trump; denies the existence of global warming, calls for increasing use of fossil fuels, dismantling of environmental regulations and refuses assistance to India and other developing nations as called for in the Paris agreement, the combination of which could, in four years, take us to a catastrophic tipping point.

Trump has also pledged to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, offered to provide for the defense of supporters who have assaulted African American protestors at his rallies, stated his “openness to using nuclear weapons”, supports a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and regards “the police in this country as absolutely mistreated and misunderstood” while having “done an unbelievable job of keeping law and order.”

Trump has also pledged to increase military spending while cutting taxes on the rich, hence shredding what remains of the social welfare “safety net” despite pretenses.

4) The suffering which these and other similarly extremist policies and attitudes will impose on marginalized and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton presidency.

5) 4 above, should constitute sufficient basis to voting for Clinton where a vote is potentially consequential-namely, in a contested, “swing” state.

6) However, the left should also recognize that, should Trump win based on its failure to support Clinton, it will repeatedly face the accusation (based in fact), that it lacks concern for those sure to be most victimized by a Trump administration.

7) Often this charge will emanate from establishment operatives who will use it as a bad faith justification for defeating challenges to corporate hegemony either in the Democratic Party or outside of it.
They will ensure that it will be widely circulated in mainstream media channels with the result that many of those who would otherwise be sympathetic to a left challenge will find it a convincing reason to maintain their ties with the political establishment rather than breaking with it, as they must.

8) Conclusion: by dismissing a “lesser evil” electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve.

 

Preamble to the above:

Among the elements of the weak form of democracy enshrined in the U.S constitution, presidential elections continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians.

The position outlined in this list is that which many regard as the most effective response to this quadrennial Hobson’s choice, namely the so-called “lesser evil” voting strategy or LEV.

Simply put, LEV involves, where you can, i.e. in safe states, voting for the losing third party candidate you prefer, or not voting at all. In competitive “swing” states, where you must, one votes for the “lesser evil” Democrat.

Before fielding objections, it will be useful to make certain background stipulations with respect to the points in the list.

The first is to note that since changes in the relevant facts require changes in tactics, proposals having to do with our relationship to the “electoral extravaganza” should be regarded as provisional. This is most relevant with respect to point 3) which some will challenge by citing the claim that Clinton’s foreign policy could pose a more serious menace than that of Trump.

In any case, while conceding as an outside possibility that Trump’s foreign policy is preferable, most of us not already convinced that that is so will need more evidence than can be aired in a discussion involving this statement. Furthermore, insofar as this is the fact of the matter, following the logic through seems to require a vote for Trump, though it’s a bit hard to know whether those making this suggestion are intending it seriously.

Another point of disagreement is not factual but involves the ethical/moral principle addressed in 1), sometimes referred to as the “politics of moral witness.” Generally associated with the religious left, secular leftists implicitly invoke it when they reject LEV on the grounds that “a lesser of two evils is still evil.” Leaving aside the obvious rejoinder that this is exactly the point of lesser evil voting-i.e. to do less evil, what needs to be challenged is the assumption that voting should be seen a form of individual self-expression rather than as an act to be judged on its likely consequences, specifically those outlined in 4).

The basic moral principle at stake is simple:

not only must we take responsibility for our actions, but the consequences of our actions for others are a far more important consideration than feeling good about ourselves.

While some would suggest extending the critique by noting that the politics of moral witness can become indistinguishable from narcissistic self-agrandizement, this is substantially more harsh than what was intended and harsher than what is merited. That said, those reflexively denouncing advocates of LEV on a supposed “moral” basis should consider that their footing on the high ground may not be as secure as they often take for granted to be the case.

A third criticism of LEV equates it with a passive acquiescence to the bipartisan status quo under the guise of pragmatism, usually deriving from those who have lost the appetite for radical change. It is surely the case that some of those endorsing LEV are doing so in bad faith-cynical functionaries whose objective is to promote capitulation to a system which they are invested in protecting. Others supporting LEV, however, can hardly be reasonably accused of having made their peace with the establishment.

Their concern, as alluded to in 6) and 7) inheres in the awareness that frivolous and poorly considered electoral decisions impose a cost, their memories extending to the ultra-left faction of the peace movement having minimized the comparative dangers of the Nixon presidency during the 1968 elections. The result was six years of senseless death and destruction in Southeast Asia and also a predictable fracture of the left setting it up for its ultimate collapse during the backlash decades to follow.

The broader lesson to be drawn is not to shy away from confronting the dominance of the political system under the management of the two major parties. Rather, challenges to it need to be issued with a full awareness of their possible consequences. This includes the recognition that far right victories not only impose terrible suffering on the most vulnerable segments of society but also function as a powerful weapon in the hands of the establishment center, which, now in opposition can posture as the “reasonable” alternative.

A Trump presidency, should it materialize, will undermine the burgeoning movement centered around the Sanders campaign, particularly if it is perceived as having minimized the dangers posed by the far right.

A more general conclusion to be derived from this recognition is that this sort of cost/benefit strategic accounting is fundamental to any politics which is serious about radical change. Those on the left who ignore it, or dismiss it as irrelevant are engaging in political fantasy and are an obstacle to, rather than ally of, the movement which now seems to be materializing.

Finally, it should be understood that the reigning doctrinal system recognizes the role presidential elections perform in diverting the left from actions which have the potential to be effective in advancing its agenda. These include developing organizations committed to extra-political means, most notably street protest, but also competing for office in potentially winnable races.

The left should devote the minimum of time necessary to exercise the LEV choice then immediately return to pursuing goals which are not timed to the national electoral cycle.

By John Halle.