Archive for September, 2016

Article by Kevin Ovenden on how racist anti-immigration arguments should be opposed with arguments based on economic realities.
Excellent analysis.

Kevin Ovenden's Blog

imgres Memorial to Arkadiusz Joswik, a Polish facotry worker murdered in Harlow in England

Unite leader Len McCluskey said in his speech to the Labour Party conference: “I believe that the question of free movement of labour is a question not only in the UK but in Europe. No one talks of countries where migrant labour come from being denuded of skills.”

 
He did so in the context of explicitly supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to concede to calls from the right wing and soft left of the Parliamentary Labour Party for further immigration restriction into Britain, something which is now set to be a central dividing line in British politics. 
 
McCluskey said that Corbyn’s call for collective bargaining rights, a minimum wage of £10 and hour and stronger union organisation addressed the issue of bosses super-exploiting many migrant workers.
 
At the same time, the British labour movement…

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Absolutely love this artwork “Symposium on Neoliberalism” by Tiago Hoisel.
And the accompanying dialogue in the blog is very tongue-in-cheek.

Jonathan Cook reminds us of the Shimon Peres that you are unlikely to hear about in Western obituaries: a colonialist and champion of the Jewish settlers, an “Inveterate schemer”, a war criminal an…

Source: Israel’s Shimon Peres: Peacemaker or war criminal? – Redress Information & Analysis ( http://www.redressonline.com/2016/09/israels-shimon-peres-peacemaker-or-war-criminal/ )

 

The death of Shimon Peres at the age of 93 marks the departure of the last major figure in Israel’s founding generation.

He died in a hospital on 28 September after his condition worsened following a major stroke two weeks previously.

Peres – one of the disciples of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister – spent his long political career in the public spotlight. But his greatest successes were engineered in the shadows, noted Yaron Ezrahi, a politics professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Peres’s most important task, to which he was entrusted by Ben Gurion, was developing in secret – and over US opposition – Israel’s nuclear weapons programme through the 1950s and 1960s. To that end, he recruited the assistance of France, Britain and Norway.

Peres, like his mentor, believed an Israeli bomb was the key to guaranteeing Israel’s status – both in Washington and among the Arab states – as an unassailable Middle East power.

The testing of the first warhead in the late 1960s was probably at least as responsible for ensuring rock-solid US patronage in subsequent decades as Israel’s rapid victory against neighbouring Arab states in the Six-Day War.

Peres’s later diplomatic skills in negotiating peace agreements with Jordan and the Palestinians were exercised largely out of view, too, though he was keen to take the credit afterwards.

His pivotal role in realising the Oslo accords through a back channel in the early 1990s earned him – after frantic lobbying on his own behalf – the Nobel peace prize in 1994, alongside Israel’s prime minister of the time, Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

These agreements, as well as his vision of economic and technological cooperation between Israel and Arab states in a “New Middle East”, made him a beloved figure in Western capitals, where he was feted as Israel’s peacemaker-in-chief.

At home, among both Israelis and Palestinians, he was viewed far less favourably.

Colonial alliances

Born Syzmon Perski, Peres immigrated to Palestine from Poland with his family in 1934, aged 11. Raised on a kibbutz and inculcated in the values of Labour Zionism espoused by Israel’s East European elite, he was quickly identified as a rising star by Ben Gurion, a fellow Pole.

During the 1948 war, Ben Gurion kept Peres in a backroom job, far from the fighting, where he was responsible for acquiring weapons, often illicitly, for the new Israeli army.

His diplomatic skills were relied on throughout the state’s tricky early years in the Defence Ministry. Despite his lack of an army background, he was instrumental in developing Israel’s large state-run military industries.

In the same role, he also developed alliances with key Western states, especially France and Britain, that would eventually help Israel establish the Dimona nuclear reactor and build a bomb.

In return, Peres plotted with these two fading colonial powers an attack on Egypt in 1956 that triggered the Suez crisis. Israel invaded Sinai to create the pretext for an Anglo-French “intervention” and seizure of the Suez Canal. All three soon had to withdraw under pressure from the US and the Soviet Union.

Peres was elected to the Israeli parliament in 1959, the start of a 48-year career as an MP, the longest in Israel’s history. There were few senior ministerial posts he did not hold at some point.

But popularity eluded him. He led Ben Gurion’s Labour party to its first-ever defeat in the 1977 election against Menachem Begin. It would be the first of many electoral disappointments.

Electoral failures

Peres’s lack of appeal to the Israeli public reflected the gradual decline in support for the Ashkenazi (European Jewish) elite that had founded Israel and structured the new Jewish state to preserve its privileges.

As waves of new immigrants arrived, many of them Jews from Arab countries who were treated with disdain, men such as Peres came to look like an anachronism. Peres could not even boast, as Rabin could, a glorious record in the battles that established Israel.

Famously in the late 1990s, Peres made the mistake of asking a Labour party convention whether he was a “loser”. The delegates roared back: “Yes”.

Over two decades, Peres lost five elections in which he stood for prime minister.

Although he served in the top job on two occasions, he never won a popular mandate.

He briefly took over from Rabin after the latter was felled in 1995 by an assassin’s bullet. He was also prime minister in an unusual rotation agreement with his Likud rival, Yitzhak Shamir, after neither secured a parliamentary majority in the 1984 election.

Unlike Rabin and Ariel Sharon, two figures of his generation who enjoyed greater political acclaim, Peres suffered in part because had not first made a name for himself in the Israeli army, Ezrahi observed.

He was seen as more uninspiring technocrat than earthy warrior.

“Inveterate schemer”

Even on Israel’s left, said Roni Ben Efrat, an Israeli political analyst and editor of the website Challenge, he was viewed as an opportunist.

“His real obsession was with his own celebrity and prestige,” she said. “What he lacked was political principle. There was an air about him of plotting behind everyone’s backs. He was certainly no Nelson Mandela.”

Rabin, who tussled regularly with Peres for leadership of the Labour Party, called him an “inveterate schemer”.

With Rabin’s victory in 1992, Peres was appointed number two and returned to what he did best: backroom deals, in this case a peace track in Norway that led to the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.

When Rabin was assassinated two years later, it was assumed that Peres would romp home in the general election a short time later, riding a wave of sympathy over Rabin’s death.

With the election looming, Peres approved a 16-day campaign of attacks on Lebanon viewed by many as an effort to bolster his chances of winning. The operation further blackened Peres’s reputation in the Arab world for the Qana massacre, when Israeli shelling killed more than 100 civilians sheltering in a UN base in south Lebanon.

In the end, Peres lost to Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu, who profited from the right’s campaign to discredit the peace process and its architects as “Oslo criminals”.

Peres would see out much of his remaining time in front-line politics providing a veneer of international respectability to right-wing Sharon governments through the second intifada as they crushed the Palestinian leadership and built a steel and concrete barrier through the West Bank.

In 2005 Peres deserted the Labour Party and joined Sharon’s new centre-right Kadima Party – an act of betrayal many allies on the left found hard to forgive.

Late in life, with his appointment as president in 2007, Peres finally found the chance to reinvent himself with the wider Israeli public.

In a largely ceremonial role, he had almost no influence on government policy. But his strenuous efforts repairing Israel’s damaged image abroad and nursing its strained strategic alliances, as Israel shifted ever further rightwards, were widely appreciated.

Over the next seven years, Peres gradually came to be viewed as a national treasure.

Champion of the settlers

Among Palestinians, it was harder to rehabilitate his image. He is best remembered as part of a Labour Zionist elite responsible for the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland.

Despite his later reputation, Peres held hawkish positions for much of his political career, noted Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University.

Following the 1967 war, he championed the cause of the settlers, and used his role as defence minister in the 1970s to establish the first settlements in the northern West Bank. His slogan was: “Settlements everywhere”.

With the Oslo process, Peres helped engineer Israel’s recognition of Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation as the representative of the Palestinian people.

But in every other way, said Ghanem, the accords soon proved disastrous for the Palestinians, helping the settlements expand as the newly created Palestinian Authority looked on, confined to small enclaves of the occupied territories.

Colonial “New Middle East”

Peres’s larger vision – embodied in the work of his Peres Centre for Peace – was the creation of a “New Middle East”.

He hoped to transform the region through technological and economic cooperation between Israel and neighbouring Arab states. A Middle East modelled on the European Union, with Israel playing the role of Germany.

“It was a colonial view of the region,” said Ben Efrat, “driven by the goal of creating economic gains for Israel”.

In Ghanem’s view, Peres’s path to realising his New Middle East was paved by Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt in 1979.

“The Arab states were removed from the conflict with Israel before a just peace was secured for the Palestinians,” he said. “Peres’s hope was to continue normalising relations with the Arab world while denying Palestinians their rights.”

Oslo fitted neatly with this vision, observed Ben Efrat. The Palestinians were to be caged into ghettoes, while Israel established industrial zones close by in which they could be exploited as a low-paid, low-tech workforce.

Or as Peres once explained his idea, “a young Palestinian student who finds a job won’t go and make bombs”.

Much of Peres’s political legacy – as heir to Ben Gurion – is currently being discarded by Netanyahu and the Israeli right. They prefer the politics of confrontation – at home and abroad – over the back-slapping niceties of the diplomacy Peres excelled in.

But Peres’s industrial zones are slowly being realised in an initiative called the “Valley of Peace”. The largest is due to open shortly next to the Palestinian city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, supported by Turkey and Germany.

For Netanyahu, these zones accord with his policy of “economic peace”: pacifying the Palestinians through economic incentives while depriving them of political rights.

Peres gave every indication he approved.


A version of this article first appeared in Aljazeera website. The version here is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.


Politicians across the UK are paying tribute to Shimon Peres, a man who actually massacred humans in cold blood!
In 2013 Peres’ £3m+ 90th birthday bash was a who’s who of arms dealers & warmongers & their lobbyists http://www.redressonline.com/2013/06/shimon-peress-birthday-freak-show/

included the following:

1. Aaron Frankel – Honorary chair of the conference.

2. Marcos Katz – Arms dealer residing in Mexico. Brokered sales to dictatorships, among other things.

3. Michael Federmann – Major shareholder in Elbit (weapons manufacturer, Haggai Matar).

4. Alfred Akirov – Shareholder in Leumi Bank, one of the most prominent men in Israeli real estate.

5. Ronald Cohen – Founder of Apax Partners. If you don’t know them, they’re behind Tnuva’s cottage cheese prices (one of the symbols of the #J14 social justice protests, H.M.)

6. Marc Rich – In the years 1983-2001, he was wanted in the US after fleeing the country following an indictment for dealing with Iran during a time of sanctions and a 48-million-dollar tax evasion scheme. At the Presidential Conference, he’ll meet Bill Clinton, who on his last day of office pardoned Rich at the request of Ehud Barak.

7. David Weisman – Owner of the Alon Group, which includes the Ribua Kakhol and AM:PM supermarket chains.

8. Raya Strauss – One of the owners of the Strauss-Elite group (one of the biggest food producers in Israel, Hagai Matar).

9. Hapoalim Bank (the largest bank in Israel).

1o. Tony Blair.

“Common sense is a chaotic aggregate of disparate conceptions, and one can find there anything that one like.”

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”

“All men are intellectuals, but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals”

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

“Ideas and opinions are not spontaneously “born” in each individual brain: they have had a centre of formation, or irradiation, of dissemination, of persuasion-a group of men, or a single individual even, which has developed them and presented them in the political form of current reality.”

“The crisis creates situations which are dangerous in the short run, since the various strata of the population are not all capable of orienting themselves equally swiftly, or of reorganising with the same rhythm. The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be be very numerous or highly trained.”

― Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks.

 

“I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent.

The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened?

I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them.

I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.”
― Antonio Gramsci

 

 

 

Prison Notebooks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antonio Gramsci, depicted in 1922

The Prison Notebooks (Italian: Quaderni del carcere [kwaˈdɛrni del ˈkartʃere]) were a series of essays written by the Italian MarxistAntonio Gramsci. Gramsci was imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926. The notebooks were written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was released from prison on grounds of ill-health. He died in April 1937.

He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. Although written unsystematically, the Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources – not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. His notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, Fascism, Fordism, civil society,folklore, religion and high and popular culture,

The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s. They were not published until the 1950s and were first translated into English in the 1970s.

Some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory that are associated with Gramsci’s name:

  • Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state.
  • The need for popular workers’ education to encourage development of intellectuals from the working class.
  • The distinction between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent.
  • “Absolute historicism“.
  • A critique of economic determinism that opposes fatalistic interpretations of Marxism.
  • A critique of philosophical materialism.

Hegemony

For more details on this topic, see Cultural hegemony.

Hegemony was a concept previously used by Marxists such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to indicate the political leadership of the working-class in a democratic revolution, but developed by Gramsci into an acute analysis to explain why the ‘inevitable’ socialist revolution predicted by orthodox Marxism had not occurred by the early 20th century. Capitalism, it seemed, was even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.

The working class needed to develop a culture of its own, which would overthrow the notion that bourgeois values represented ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ values for society, and would attract the oppressed and intellectual classes to the cause of the proletariat. Lenin held that culture was ‘ancillary’ to political objectives but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci’s view, any class that wishes to dominate in modern conditions has to move beyond its own narrow ‘economic-corporate’ interests, to exert intellectual and moral leadership, and to make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a ‘historic bloc’, taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations and ideas. In this manner, Gramsci developed a theory that emphasised the importance of the superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the base.

Gramsci stated that, in the West, bourgeois cultural values were tied to religion, and therefore much of his polemic against hegemonic culture is aimed at religious norms and values. He was impressed by the power Roman Catholicism had over men’s minds and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci believed that it was Marxism’s task to marry the purely intellectual critique of religion found inRenaissance humanism to the elements of the Reformation that had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people’s spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to recognise it as an expression of their own experience.

For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on coercion, and in a “crisis of authority” the “masks of consent” slip away, revealing the fist of force.

Intellectuals and education

Gramsci gave much thought to the question of the role of intellectuals in society. Famously, he stated that all men are intellectuals, in that all have intellectual and rational faculties, but not all men have the social function of intellectuals. He claimed that modern intellectuals were not simply talkers, but directors and organisers who helped build society and produce hegemony by means of ideological apparatuses such as education and the media. Furthermore, he distinguished between a ‘traditional’ intelligentsia which sees itself (wrongly) as a class apart from society, and the thinking groups which every class produces from its own ranks ‘organically’. Such ‘organic’ intellectuals do not simply describe social life in accordance with scientific rules, but rather articulate, through the language of culture, the feelings and experiences which the masses could not express for themselves. The need to create a working-class culture relates to Gramsci’s call for a kind of education that could develop working-class intellectuals, who would not simply introduce Marxist ideology from outside the proletariat, but rather renovate and make critical of the status quo the already existing intellectual activity of the masses. His ideas about an education system for this purpose correspond with the notion of critical pedagogy and popular education as theorised and practised in later decades by Paulo Freire in Brazil, and have much in common with the thought of Frantz Fanon. For this reason, partisans of adult and popular education consider Gramsci an important voice to this day. (For the results of this kind of thought in education, see the latests reports of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) on the education in Brazil).

State and civil society

Gramsci’s theory of hegemony is tied to his conception of the capitalist state, which he claims rules through force plus consent. The state is not to be understood in the narrow sense of the government; instead, Gramsci divides it between ‘political society’, which is the arena of political institutions and legal constitutional control, and ‘civil society‘, which is commonly seen as the ‘private’ or ‘non-state’ sphere, differentiated from both the state and the economy. The former is the realm of force and the latter of consent. He stresses, however, that the division is purely conceptual and that the two, in reality, often overlap.

Gramsci claims that hegemony lies under modern capitalism and that the bourgeoisie can maintain its economic control by allowing certain demands made by trade unions and mass political parties within civil society to be met by the political sphere.

Thus, the bourgeoisie engages in Passive Revolution by going beyond its immediate economic interests and allowing the forms of its hegemony to change. Gramsci posits that movements such as reformism and fascism, as well as the ‘scientific management‘ and assembly line methods of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford respectively, are examples of this.

Drawing from Machiavelli, he argues that ‘The Modern Prince’ – the revolutionary party – is the force that will allow the working-class to develop organic intellectuals and an alternative hegemony within civil society. For Gramsci, the complex nature of modern civil society means that the only tactic capable of undermining bourgeois hegemony and leading to socialism is a ‘war of position’ (analogous to trench warfare); this war of position would then give way to a ‘war of movement’ (or frontal attack). Gramsci saw ‘war of movement’ as being exemplified by the storming of the Winter Palace during the Russian Revolution.

Despite his claim that the lines between the two may be blurred, Gramsci rejects the state-worship that results from identifying political society with civil society, as was done by the Jacobins and Fascists. He believes the proletariat’s historical task is to create a ‘regulated society’ and defines the ‘withering away of the state‘ as the full development of civil society’s ability to regulate itself.

Historicism

Gramsci, like the early Marx, was an emphatic proponent of historicism. In Gramsci’s view, all meaning derives from the relation between human practical activity (or “praxis“) and the “objective” historical and social processes of which it is a part. Ideas cannot be understood outside their social and historical context, apart from their function and origin. The concepts by which we organise our knowledge of the world do not derive primarily from our relation to things, but rather from the social relations between the users of those concepts. As a result, there is no such thing as an unchanging “human nature“, but only an idea of such which varies historically. Furthermore, philosophy and science do not “reflect” a reality independent of man, but rather are only “true” in that they express the real developmental trend of a given historical situation.

For the majority of Marxists, truth was truth no matter when and where it is known, and scientific knowledge (which included Marxism) accumulated historically as the advance of truth in this everyday sense. On this view, Marxism could not be said to not belong to the illusory realm of the superstructure because it is a science. In contrast, Gramsci believed Marxism was “true” in the socially pragmatic sense, in that by articulating the class consciousness of the proletariat, it expressed the “truth” of its times better than any other theory. This anti-scientistic and anti-positivist stance was indebted to the influence of Benedetto Croce. However, it should be underlined that Gramsci’s was an “absolute historicism” that broke with the Hegelian and idealist tenor of Croce’s thinking and its tendency to secure a metaphysical synthesis in historical “destiny”.

Though Gramsci repudiates the charge, his historical account of truth has been criticised as a form of relativism.

Critique of “economism”

In a famous pre-prison article entitled “The Revolution against Das Kapital“, Gramsci claimed that the October Revolution in Russia had invalidated the idea that socialist revolution had to await the full development of capitalist forces of production. This reflected his view that Marxism was not a determinist philosophy. The principle of the causal “primacy” of the forces of production, he held, was a misconception of Marxism. Both economic changes and cultural changes are expressions of a “basic historical process”, and it is difficult to say which sphere has primacy over the other. The fatalistic belief, widespread within the workers’ movement in its earliest years, that it would inevitably triumph due to “historical laws”, was, in Gramsci’s view, a product of the historical circumstances of an oppressed class restricted mainly to defensive action, and was to be abandoned as a hindrance once the working-class became able to take the initiative. Because Marxism is a “philosophy of praxis”, it cannot rely on unseen “historical laws” as the agents of social change. History is defined by human praxis and therefore includes human will. Nonetheless, will-power cannot achieve anything it likes in any given situation: when the consciousness of the working-class reaches the stage of development necessary for action, historical circumstances will be encountered which cannot be arbitrarily altered. It is not, however, predetermined by historical inevitability as to which of several possible developments will take place as a result.

His critique of economism also extended to that practised by the syndicalists of the Italian trade unions. He believed that many trade unionists had settled for a reformist, gradualist approach in that they had refused to struggle on the political front in addition to the economic front. While Gramsci envisioned the trade unions as one organ of a counter-hegemonic force in capitalist society, the trade union leaders simply saw these organizations as a means to improve conditions within the existing structure. Gramsci referred to the views of these trade unionists as “vulgar economism”, which he equated to covert reformism and even liberalism.

Critique of Materialism

By virtue of his belief that human history and collective praxis determine whether any philosophical question is meaningful or not, Gramsci’s views run contrary to the metaphysical materialism and ‘copy’ theory of perception advanced by Engels and Lenin, though he does not explicitly state this. For Gramsci, Marxism does not deal with a reality that exists in and for itself, independent of humanity. The concept of an objective universe outside of human history and human praxis was, in his view, analogous to belief in God; there could be no objectivity, but only a universal intersubjectivity to be established in a future communist society. Natural history was thus only meaningful in relation to human history. On his view philosophical materialism, like primitive common sense, resulted from a lack of critical thought, and could not, as Lenin[1] claimed, be said to oppose religious superstition. Despite this, Gramsci resigned himself to the existence of this arguably cruder form of Marxism: the proletariat’s status as a dependent class meant that Marxism, as its philosophy, could often only be expressed in the form of popular superstition and common sense. Nonetheless, it was necessary to effectively challenge the ideologies of the educated classes, and to do so Marxists must present their philosophy in a more sophisticated guise, and attempt to genuinely understand their opponents’ views.

Sources

External links

Further reading

BLAIRISM – A POLITICAL ABERRATION

Posted: September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

petewishart

I’ll start by getting this out of the way first. I have absolutely no time for Blairism or what it represents in UK politics. I have always seen it as a curious political aberration that has probably done more than any other political ‘ism’ to destroy trust in UK politics. It’s not just the Iraq war or the attempt to build that appalling anti-civil libertarian state, with all its ID cards and 92 days detention. It isn’t even the quasi Thatcherite innovations such as Foundation Hospitals and Tuition Fees. It’s not even Tony Blair himself with all his post Chilcot defiance and lack of contrition. It is just the sheer dishonesty of the project and what it has done to all who inhabit the space on the left of UK politics.

pg-4-new-labour-rosev3

Blairism, or ‘New Labour’ as it liked to style itself emerged out of the crisis in the Labour Party…

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SKWAWKBOX

This morning I had the privilege to be at the special conference for the announcement of the result of the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.

As you will know by now, the result was emphatic, with Corbyn gaining a decisive 61.8% share (313,209/506,438/654,006) of the votes in spite of the efforts to weed out around 250,000 mostly Corbyn supporters by suspensions, expulsions and simply not sending them a ballot.

But there was a significant little passage of events that you will have missed. I was seated directly behind deputy leader Tom Watson and party General Secretary Iain McNicol, within easy touching distance (if I had wished:

wp_20160924_001Iain McNicol looking positively underwhelmed at Labour’s overwhelming democratic choice

As he prepared to read the results, NEC Chair Paddy Lillis said he would read out the overall result but would also show the results by voting constituency (full members, supporters…

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CORBYN is CORRECT> CLASS WAR does exist in the UK

UKI Left

Thankfully most pensioners today can claim to own their own home or are secure in private rented accommodation or in some cases are in properties such as sheltered housing.

One pensioner we spoke to though had a story to tell. We will refer to her here as Ms I.

Ms.I is thankfully living in rented accommodation and has been in the same property for almost 20 years. By her own admission she is fortunate to have a brilliant landlord.

Recently however Ms.I who lives in the West Country has begun to look for rented accommodation in the South East for personal reasons and it’s proving a near impossibility. There have been numerous stumbling blocks, many of which will have been experienced by others, pensioner or not.

Cost

Like most people looking for rented accommodation Ms.I is unable to afford most of the properties in the area she is looking at…

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Yanis Varoufakis

YV signs the London Declaration.jpgIn a letter addressed to supporters of Another Europe Is Possible, Yanis Varoufakis makes the case for the organisation to unite with the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

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Re-posted from http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/08/zionist-wahabbi-axis-israels-natural.html ALL opinions are the author’s. All Rights are the author’s.

August 30, 2016 –
Alexander Azadgan, Katehon – 
Late last month, Jabhat al-Nusra (aka, the Al-Nusra Front), Al-Qaida’s Syrian arm, announced that it was severing ties with Al-Qaida and renaming itself Jabhat Al-Fatah Al-Sham (the Front for the Conquest of Syria).
In a video, the group’s leader, Abu Mohamed Al-Jolani, explained that the group’s association with al-Qaida permitted the outside powers intervening in the Syrian conflict to label it as an Islamic terrorist group.
The Guardian quoted Al-Jolani as saying that the name change is intended “to remove the excuse used by the international community – spearheaded by Russia – to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant: that they are targeting Al-Nusra Front, which is associated with Al-Qaida.”
He further explained that the new policy was an attempt to have the group removed from international terror lists and to allow it to be perceived as a more acceptable, “moderate”, alternative to its main competitor, ISIS.
Al-Nusra shares certain common goals with ISIS in seeking to overthrow the legitimate and secular government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and replace it with a radical Salafist/ Wahabist one. It has also expressed hatred for the United States and other Western governments although it is being supported by the US and NATO. Writing for the National Interest in November 2015, Geopolitical Analyst Daniel DePetris explained:
“Like its Jihadist competitors in ISIS, Al-Nusra is composed of highly motivated individuals and commanders who would like nothing more than to strike at the United States or at targets in Europe. Jabhat Al-Nusra shares the same, minority-within-a-minority Salafi-Jihadist interpretation of Islam as ISIS, despises any and all sectarian groups outside of Syria’s majority Sunni community and has engaged in the same kind of atrocities that have made ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi the most wanted international terrorist alive.”
Though it has focused its attacks more directly on Syrian government forces and their symbolic and physical centers of power, it maintains a similar ruthlessness to that of ISIS. In its World Report 2016, Human Rights Watch noted that both groups were “were responsible for systematic and widespread violations, including targeting civilians, kidnappings, and executions” in Syria. ISIS and Al-Nusra both impose strict and discriminatory rules on women and girls, and have actively recruited child soldiers, according to the report.
Smokescreen or Strategy?
In its recent re-branding, Al-Nusra also seems to be evaluating the political calculus of the war imposed on Syria  and acknowledging the recent gains by Syrian government forces and their allies — Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. With President Assad strengthening his position and the rebel forces in disarray, Al-Jolani may be making a bid to unify the opposition by projecting a less militant image to the outside world.
Al-Nusra Front leader Mohammed Al-Jolani undated photo released online on Thursday, July 28, 2016 to announce a video message that the militant group is changing name, and claims it will have no more ties with Al-Qaida.
Still, it’s unclear what this apparent break with Al-Qaida actually means. At the announcement of the group’s new name, Al-Jolani was joined by a high level associate of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al-Qaida, creating the impression that the changes are more tactical than strategic. Ayman Al-Zawahri, head of Al-Qaida, delivers a statement in a video which was seen online.
Smadar Perry, an Israeli journalist known to have close ties to Israeli intelligence sources, even hinted that Israel’s Mossad urged this new path on Al-Nusra. In an opinion piece posted by YNet on Monday, Perry wrote:
“It may be that this separation is just a smokescreen, and that Al-Julani will keep in touch with Al-Qaeda in secret. It may also be that Jabhat-Al-Nusra have received an intelligence analysis from a very certain organization that told it to prepare for the day after Assad leaves power.”
The White House has a hard time buying this turnover. They’re in a test period with us, said an official spokesperson, not dismissing outright the possibility of local fighters joining the American-led coalition against ISIS.
If they make a show of force in the field, and Jabhat-Al-Nusra’s dissociation leads to Al-Qaeda’s further weakening in Afghanistan, and if Israel provides its supposed intelligence about Al-Julani – Hezbollah and Assad swear he’s a Mossad agent – Al-Nusra may become another piece of the puzzle that is the new Syria.
In the original Hebrew version of the same analysis, Perry noted the likelihood that Syria will be divided in “three or four cantons.”
This has always been the goal for Tel Aviv, which sees Syria as one of the few remaining Arab states that can threaten its interests and security.
Israeli soldiers secure an area where a mortar which was fired during clashes between Syrian rebels and President Bashar Al-Assad’s government forces in the Quneitra province hit in a community in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. For the first time in the Syrian civil war, militants linked to Al-Qaida are positioned on Israel’s doorstep.
In Israel’s utterly warped view, peace on its northern border would be guaranteed if Syria can be splintered into warring factions.
It’s an approach championed at the onset of the civil war in 2011 by Daniel Pipes, an ultra-right-wing, pro-Israel, Neo-Con who serves as president of Middle East Forum, a Zionist think tank. Arguing that “the continuing Syrian conflict offers benefits to the West,” he explained:
“As Sunni Islamists fight Shiites, both sides are weakened and their lethal rivalry lessens their capabilities to trouble the outside world.
By inspiring restive minorities (Sunnis in Iran, Kurds and Shiites in Turkey), continued fighting in Syria could also weaken Islamic governments.”
He further noted:
“Nothing in the constitutions of Western states requires them to get involved in every foreign conflict; sitting this one out will prove to be a smart move.
In addition to the moral benefit of not being accountable for horrors yet to come, staying away permits the West eventually to help its only true friends in Syria, the country’s liberals.”
In a 2012 email released by WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton offered an Iran-focused variant of this approach:
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
The Al-Nusra-Israel Alliance
Ultimately, Israel doesn’t care much about what happens in Syria as long as it can maintain a puppet protectorate along its Golan Heights border. Israel began occupying and administering the region in the Six-Day War of 1967, and it officially annexing the Golan Heights in 1981. Israel continues to refuse to return the territory to Syria despite near universal consensus that the occupation is illegal under international law. Further, the discovery of potential gas deposits there has coincided with a rise in Israeli settlement expansion in recent years.
Examining the Al-Nusra-Israeli alliance in the region, it’s clear that the bonds between the two parties have been exceedingly close. Israel maintains a border camp for the families of Syrian fighters. Reporters have documented Israeli Defense Forces commandos entering Syrian territory to rendez-vous with Syrian rebels.
Others have photographed meetings between Israeli military personnel and Al-Nusra commanders at the Quneitra Crossing, the ceasefire line that separates the Syrian-controlled territory and the Israeli-occupied territory in the Golan Heights.
U.N. personnel also documented Syrian rebel vehicles picking up supplies from the Israeli side:
“Quarterly UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] reports since the pull-back reveal an ongoing pattern of Israeli coordination with those [Al-Nusra] armed groups.”
According to the December 2014 report, UNDOF observed two Israeli soldiers ‘opening the technical fence gate and letting two individuals pass from the [Syrian] to the [Israeli] side’ on October 27th . Unlike most fighters seen entering the Israeli side, these individuals were not wounded and the purpose of their visit remains a mystery.
UNDOF ‘sporadically observed armed members of the opposition interacting’ with the Israeli military across the ceasefire line, the report states.
The next UNDOF report, released in March, notes that UN forces witnessed Israeli soldiers delivering material aid to armed Syrian opposition groups.
These were presumably supplies and equipment designed either to help the rebels in their fight against the Syrian government forces or to improve communications between Israeli and rebel forces.
Israel’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy
Israel’s support for radical terror groups is a long-term strategy it’s exploited in multiple theaters. Its ultimate purpose is to weaken a strong foe.
In terms of Hezbollah, Israel hadn’t anticipated that the Lebanese militant group would grow to become a much more powerful and dangerous foe than the PLO had ever been in Lebanon.
Israeli soldiers walks near the border with Syria near the site of the April 2015 Israeli air strikes, in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights.
The strategy worked better regarding Hamas because it has never been able to dominate Fatah. The two have maintained a wary and draining battle of wills over the decades, with neither being able to oust the other.
This has created a rift that has substantially weakened the Palestinians and their cause. Still, Hamas has trained its sights on Israel as well and become an even more militant foe than Fatah ever was.
Thus, Israel’s strategy of forging an alliance with Al-Nusra and strengthening it so that it can wage a formidable fight against Assad, is part and parcel of a longstanding goal of dividing Syria.
Israel erroneously hopes that these savage, militant, extremist group will dominate the Golan region and maintain stability and security there.
However, Israel neglects what almost always happens to these golems: Once they are created they take on a life of their own.
The creator loses control of his creation, which wreaks havoc and even turns against him. 
Just as it happened to Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, and Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, so it happened with the U.S. alliance with the Afghan Mujahadeen, and the Israeli alliances with their own Arab proxies.
Israel’s alliance with Al-Nusra also points to the utter cynicism of its approach. While the rest of the world labels the group terrorists, and fights to prevent their terror attacks on Western soil, Israel looks only for its own advantage.
There’s the old saying that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” but in Israel’s playbook, the saying goes: “The enemy of my friend may certainly be my friend.”
This rings especially true when Israeli leaders warn the world about the threat of global jihad, while also cozying up to these savage Jihadis in their own corner of the world. The hypocrisy couldn’t be any more profound, making Israel one of the greatest state-sponsors of terror.
The U.S. and European countries seem to deliberately ignore Israel’s tactical embrace of the Jihadi movement. The Obama administration is even preparing to ink a new record-breaking military spending agreement with Israel that will up U.S. aid from the current $3 billion a year.
The Israeli lunatic Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, demanded $5 billion per year over the life of the 10-year deal, and the final amount will likely settle somewhere in the middle.
Only Israel gets away with such a level of cognitive dissonance in its alliance with the U.S. Any other ally that depended so profoundly on Washington for its security and existence wouldn’t dare risk endangering that relationship to forge an alliance with an enemy of the U.S. But not Israel. It forges its own path without regard for the interests of others, even its best friends. Such is the very true nature of the Zionist entity!