Posts Tagged ‘the State’

If one were to seek a single leading idea within the anarchist tradition, it should be that expressed by Bakunin when, in writing on the Paris Commune, he identified himself as follows:

“I am a fanatic lover of liberty, considering it as the unique condition under which intelligence, dignity, and human happiness can develop and grow; not the purely formal liberty conceded, measured out and regulated by the State, an eternal lie which in reality represents nothing more than the privilege of some founded on the slavery of the rest; not the individualistic, egoistic, shabby and fictitious liberty extolled by the School of J.-J. Rousseau and the other schools of bourgeois liberalism, which considers the would-be rights of all men, represented by the State which limits the rights of each man – an idea that leads inevitably to the reduction of the rights of each to zero.

No, I mean the only kind of liberty that is worthy of the name, liberty that consists in the full development of all of the material, intellectual and moral powers that are latent in each person; liberty that recognises no restrictions other than those determined by the laws of our individual nature, which cannot properly be regarded as restrictions since these laws are not imposed by any outside legislator beside or above us, but are immanent and inherent, forming the very basis of our material, intellectual and moral being – they do not limit us but are the real and immediate conditions of our freedom.” – Noam Chomsky.

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In the public interest? The stories they didn’t want us to know

  • *In 2004 the Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster. Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to “adverse publicity” for the Queen and the government.
  • *A “financial memorandum” formalising the relationship between the sovereign and ministers set out tough terms on how the Queen can spend the £38.2m handed over by Parliament each year to pay for her staff and occupied palaces.
  • *The Queen requested more public money to pay for the upkeep of her crumbling palaces while allowing minor royals and courtiers to live in rent-free accommodation.
  • *As early as 2004 Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, had unsuccessfully put the case to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for a substantial increase in the £15m-a-year grant to maintain royal buildings.
  • *The Palace planned to go ahead with refurbishing and renting the apartment of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace after it had lain empty since her death in 1997.
  • *A letter exchange revealed a tussle over who has control of £2.5m gained from the sale of Kensington Palace land. Ministers said it belonged to the state, while Buckingham Palace said it belonged to the Queen.

The Ministry of Justice intends to increase the number of organisations to which FOI requests can be made, bringing in bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Services Ombudsman, and the higher education admissions body UCAS, and also all companies wholly owned by any number of public authorities.

The Government claimed that the thrust of the changes it announced yesterday to FOIs would make it “easier for people to use FOI to find and use information about the public bodies they rely on and their taxes pay for”.

The Royal Family is to be granted absolute protection from public scrutiny in a controversial legal reform designed to draw a veil of secrecy over the affairs of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. Letters, emails and documents relating to the monarch, her heir and the second in line to the throne will no longer be disclosed even if they are in the public interest. Sweeping changes to the Freedom of Information Act will reverse advances which had briefly shone a light on the royal finances – including an attempt by the Queen to use a state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace – and which had threatened to force the disclosure of the Prince of Wales’s prolific correspondence with ministers.

 

Structural Classism, the State and War
Imperial War: Illusions

– The Zeitgeist Movement, 8th Oct 2014.

“Imperialism” is defined as: “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas.”
While traditional culture might generally think of imperial war as a variation of war in general, assuming other forms of armed, national conflict, it is argued here that the root basis of all national wars are actually imperial in nature. The literally thousands of wars in recorded human history have had to do mostly with the acquisition of resources or territory, where one group is either working to expand its power and material wealth, or working to protect itself from others trying to conquer and absorb their power and wealth. Even many historical conflicts, which on the surface appear to be for the purposes of pure ideology, are often actually hidden imperial economic moves. The Christian Crusades of the 11th century, for example, are often defined as strictly religious conflicts or expressions of ideological fervor. Yet, a deeper investigation reveals a powerful undertone of trade expansion and resource acquisition, under the guise of the “religious” war. This is not to say that religions have not been a source of tremendous conflict historically, but to show that there is often an oversimplification found in many historical texts, with the economic relevance often missed or ignored. Regardless, the notion of the “moral” crusade as a form of cover for national, economic imperialism continues to this day.
In the broad view, this theatre of multidimensional warfare — truly a world at war with itself — is wholly unsustainable. It is becoming more and more clear, given the accelerating social problems at hand, that the ethos of all-out competition and narrow self-preservation at the expense of others – whether on the personal, corporate, class, ideological or national level – will not be the source of any resolution or long-term human prosperity. It is going to take a new type of thinking to overcome these sociological trends and at the heart of such dramatic cultural change rests the change of the socioeconomic premise itself.
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