I have just read this Polly Toynbee article which is a basic cow-tow to tactical voting.
Let me accept what she says, that she supports Corbyn’s policies. Then what she is saying is “I give up on my policies” for strategy. For years those with genuine left-wing beliefs have been forced to vote tactically, but is that the aim of socialists everywhere? To use their vote as a tactic. Definitely not.
I talked about where tactics within the NCP led me, I worked as a traitor to socialism supporting union leadership that exploited membership; nearly 30 years later it still rankles. The question is this, when do we work for the possible opportunity for a socialist government? And the answer is this, will there be a better opportunity than now with all the momentum that is with Corbyn?
There are two sets of people who do not want to get on the Corbyn bandwagon:-
1) Those who have been cowtowed
I place Polly Toynbee in the category of those who have been cowtowed – assuming the description of her politics is true; although the phrase is a bit rude it is not really my intention to be so. She has spent her life in a political setup that has given socialists little choice but to vote tactically for whatever leadership came along. In the end the last vote (for Blair) enabled exploitative wars in the Middle East, how can this be socialist in any way? Blair took us into Iraq, Tories took us into Libya and Syria; what is the difference? When is the time we stand up for principle and goodness? When I was politically compromised by the NCP could I have done anything better with my time? NO. But now there is a movement. The mainstream media including Polly Toynbee (and Mock the Week) unfortunately are militating against Corbyn even if it is with Polly’s temerity. But look at the streets, that is where the mass movement is; and the streets are growing with their support for Corbyn. Isn’t it time to make a stand on principle and goodness?
My erstwhile NCP comrades would have hated these words at the end of 80s, but that was a completely different time. That was a time in which supporting Corbyn or Socialist Conference would have been to create a split in the Labour or mass movement. Ever since then supporting such would have been support for a split. But is now the time ripe for principle and goodness?
And the big question is this. If now is not the time for principled voting when will there ever be such a chance? Now there is momentum and Momentum, these are both mass movement in nature. If we don’t use these momentums now will there be another chance? I remember the miners. The miners’ strike was the time when trade unions lost much of their power. Whether Scargill was tactically in error or not (I think he was), the fact that the mass movement failed to back the miners 100% enabled Maggie to have a victory, a victory that has led to lessening of union power and eventually Labour taking us into imperialist wars. The movement did not seize the chance to defend because of doubts about the “Trot” tactics. Are we going to make the same mistake now? Are we going to fail to back Corbyn over minor doubts? Over wish-fulfilling failure?
It is time for people like Polly Toynbee to stand up and say now is the time for principled behaviour – socialism and goodness.
Polly is also arguing against Corbyn’s tactical stances with the opportunists in Labour. Let us start with how this struggle is being phrased by herself and others in the mainstream (albeit left-wing MSM). She talks about leaders. Since when is mass movement politics about leaders? It is about the mobilisation of the mass movement. So why isn’t she asking whether representation within the Labour party is mass movement? Corbyn has proven mass movement credentials. He wants a greater accountability to these mass movement voters, is this not what the Labour party ought to be about?
Where is her historical perspective? Historically Blair opportunism manipulated that lack of mass movement support for Labour to install his flavour of opportunism not only amongst the parliamentary Labour party but also on the NEC. Now that his Machiavellianism does not have control, shouldn’t all socialists be calling for appropriate representation – democratic representation of the mass movement? I don’t know whether Corbyn has talked of deselecting or whether it is just many of his attackers; but people who have got into position whether in parliament or the NEC through manipulation do not deserve to be there. I do not support a purge but these people need to support the mass movement who have without doubt given socialism as represented by Corbyn’s policies their assent. These incumbents need to get behind the policies that mass movement membership has voted for. Even if they are unhappy with Corbyn as leader there is a clear mandate for policies.
Instead these “Progress”ive MP’s are still fighting Corbyn, and then Polly says Corbyn is not bending enough to them – is not being magnanimous in victory. What is wrong with saying to these “Progress”ives, get behind the policies and I will forget any personal animosity. “His calls for unity are only a call for capitulation and obedience” is a very negative way of putting forward the position that MP’s should unite behind policy that the membership wants. Labour has gradually moved so far to the right that taking the middle ground or even socialism and goodness is seen as a lurch leftwards. It will be interesting to see whether conference provides mass movement policies yet – or whether conference is still dominated by opportunism.
Is saying the “vast majority won’t be deselected” a threat? Or is it just a recognition of history and a recognition of mass movement forces? Do incumbents have the right to stay there if they cannot be selected by their constituents? Is a vote for 5 years sufficient democracy or if there is a democratic change should the incumbent not reflect that change in their approaches – genuine democracy? Democracy has been relegated by neo-liberalism to a 5-year mandate. If Polly is a genuine socialist why isn’t she demanding that democracy reflect the membership’s views? Surely leadership of a democratic party would want its representatives to represent the views of membership. I am not sure what the “deselection” means. Does it mean that Corbyn has the right to ask for a sitting MP to be revoted? I doubt it. What is this so-called deselection? If there is an election then candidates will be chosen again, is this deselection or democracy? When you place these fears for deselection into the context of the Machiavellianism of Blair in putting these people in as MP’s in the first place, this deselection fear-mongering just sounds like support for “jobs for the boys” – or more correctly “jobs for the incumbents”.
As for MP’s voting for the shadow cabinet posts Corbyn must resist this in a constructive way. MP’s have gained office through manipulations of apathy. For those MP’s to then vote for Shadow posts would mean that manipulation would be creating Shadow policy when the mass movement has clearly supported different policies. If the Shadow cabinet can be “whipped” into support for the policies of the movement, then that should be the way of “voting”. Was there calls for shadow cabinet voting when Blair was creating his clone-olony? It will be interesting to see whether these opportunists can be whipped into line? “All this Machiavellian back-room manoeuvring is out of keeping with his benign …. image”. Where has the Machiavellianism come from? Being in politics forces him to work behind-the-scenes, ask Harry Perkins.
I find this very biassed:-
“The key rule change he wants from the NEC is to reduce the votes of MPs and MEPs needed to put a candidate on the ballot in future leadership elections from 15% to 5%: that ensures one of his own on the list, and the present party membership would then be able to select a successor in Corbyn’s image.” This might be something Corbyn wants but to describe it as key is very emotive. For me the democratisation and accountability of representation is the key issue of Corbyn’s policy within the Labour party, I don’t know whether he actually calls this “key” – I expect he would but I have no desire to put words in his mouth. Does 5% or 15% matter? It matters now because of the reason he was first nominated. In that first election it is my understanding that he was nominated by the MP’s to offer a different position – maybe some would not now want to have given him that opportunity? But if there were not 15% of Labour MP’s who represented the broad platform that Corbyn now stands for then it shows a weakness in the voting process that created that situation. 5% would mitigate against such happening again, but hopefully under the 2 momentums Labour will never be hijacked again by the likes of Blair.
“In one fraught conversation after another, I try all this on Corbyn believers but to no avail. No compromise, blocked ears, total denial of electoral facts, a post-truth conviction.” Throughout the article Polly describes Corbyn supporters as good people, yet she then criticises in this way. These are words I would use to describe Trots. Her conversations are fraught because she is being intractable. Let’s be clear the 2 momentums are people standing on principle – not being closed-minded but standing on principle. As described above, unlike the Trot situations of the past this is a movement that is based on principle and not on electability. But that does not mean that such a movement cannot enable Corbyn and Labour to be elected. Look at the Brexit vote – crazy. People were prepared to vote to leave because they were disillusioned. What if that disillusioned vote could be turned into a vote for principle and goodness – as opposed to anger and racism.
Across the pond there is support for ignorance and racism, because the opportunists in congress have exploited the allegiances of the people. Hopey-changey’s support for Wall Street severely disillusioned the black vote, and Sanders had great difficulty mobilising them. But Sanders offered an alternative that almost upset the Wall Street establishment of Clinton. Sanders “Our Revolution” continues unabated, but sadly it does not continue in the neo-liberal electoral forum of the Veil. Momentum would continue in the same way – working on community issues, if Corbyn were not elected. But let’s go 100% behind Corbyn and see if left-wing votes can mean more than strategy but actually be a vote for what we believe in.
It is time for the armchair socialist to get off the strategic-voting fence and begin to support the momentums for genuine change – principled, good and democratic. I suspect another chance like this will not come along in my lifetime. Corbyn’s speech at conference backed up by the membership vote gives a sufficient platform for the party to unite behind to present a credible government. Polly get behind this ….
unless you are 2) above “Those who support the veil”.
Have enjoyed listening to Corbyn’s conference speech, I thought it was an excellent leadership speech and rallying call – function of conference (but I am biassed). It is refreshing to hear a socialist party leader actually discussing socialism.
Here are his “not-the-ten commandments” – well worth considering [25.56]:-
Who would not want this? 1%.
Feasible – the figures work.
Will they allow it to happen? Of course not. But it is well worth a battle to see how far we can win back rights for humanity in general, and not just the privileged few.
This ought to be just a comment but it so much easier to write a new blogpost – so much more control of the presentation.
The issue of racism came up in a recent Brad post – discussed here. Following from this I looked into transcendence as being both a spiritual and political process. And then I spent a long time considering privilege which led to this blogpost. All of these came together when reading this later Bradpost.
In this paragraph Brad thinks things are not so bad:-
“A lot of Americans have the impression that we have a broken system that needs fixing. But I wonder if that’s really true. Now before you get your pantaloons in a bunch, please understand that I’m am not saying that things are perfectly fine as they are. They aren’t.”
To me this is myopic white America. Ask the people of Syria, Libya and Iraq whether this is true, and ask them whether the system needs fixing.
“Yet to me it seems less like we have a broken system that needs fixing and more like we are trying to build a system that is absolutely without historical precedent, a system that would be amazing if we could ever get it set up.” Are we actually trying to build a fair and just democratic system, or is that just a delusion of neoliberal exploitation by the few?
But this is the nail in the coffin:-
“When I’m in the USA I am part of the privileged class, a white male heterosexual. But I’ve lived much of my life in places where being white meant not being in the privileged class — 4 years in Kenya and 11 years in Japan. So while I can’t claim to know what it’s like to be Black or Latino or any other brand of non-white in the USA, I do know what it’s like to be an immigrant and a racial minority in other societies. As such, my sympathies generally lie with those who don’t get the privileges I am accorded when I’m on American soil.”
I cannot talk about Japan although privileges not afforded white people here in Thailand are not that much of an imposition – despite any racism. In Africa I was amazed that after centuries of colonial imposition how well I was treated as a white man. There were disadvantages, sure, animosities from those whose families had suffered greatly under colonialism, but little more than minor suffering. I lived and worked in Southern Africa for 6 years, social factors are similar to Kenya.
For Brad to equate the loss of his privileges in Japan and Kenya with the systemic disentitlement for Blacks and Latinos in the US (explained here) or UK shows a deep misunderstanding and a lack of transcendence. I could tirade but there is no point – it would only be my emotion as this is not being read by the person concerned.
This last Bradblog has put the nail in the interaction. It is interesting that he is so close to my family home and yet the result of this blog process is that I have unfollowed him. At least he brought me to Zen.
I saw these recent articles on “white privilege” – here and here, and it has been nagging me especially in view of my recent concerns about Brad. I have been trying to put this privilege in context to see how I respond to the articles.
What is privilege in general? It is a form of entitlement that the system offers:-
“a special right or advantage that a particular person or group of people has” [Oxford dictionary].
Somehow different people have privileges – special rights or advantages, but what is somehow? It is custom and practice, in other words it just happens.
But the dictionary gave another usage:-
“the rights and advantages that rich and powerful people in a society have
If we begin the analysis of custom and practise here we begin to see the importance of the word “privilege”. The entitlement for the rich and powerful (1%) – privilege – includes a legal system that works better for the rich, protection for business against the interests of the people/ Amongst many failings – why are taxpayers paying all the money for protection against copyright theft? How much money do individuals have to pay for security systems to protect their own small businesses – to protect their homes? And what is the police hierarchical priority – protect big business or burglary from our homes? This is all part of the custom and practice that comes under the umbrella “privilege”. Basically the custom and practise of privilege is “defined” by our political system – the 1%-system.
This places consideration of privilege in a proper context, when we consider privilege we are seeing entitlement based on what the 1% wants.
Historically the 1% were known as the bourgeoisie, and it was generally accepted that we lived in a class system. A fundamental Marxist analysis discussed an intentionally divided proletariat, this division is more commonly recognised in the context of “divide-and-rule” colonialism – not dissociated with the Marxist analysis! It is also known within such analyses that racial divisions are fostered by such a system. White privilege does not just “happen” it is a consequence of the political system we live in.
For many such an analytical approach (Marxist) is an emotive stumbling block, it was certainly not the direction of the article. Basically the article asked us as “white people” to accept that we are privileged, and then we could understand the anger of campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter”. If we are aware of the overarching 1%-system then as privileged groups we should start to consider our own behaviour. As a white male I have been privileged in two ways – being white, being male. Luckily enough my youthful immaturity allowed me to gain the qualifications of a miseducation, and I also became privileged because of this. Where was my country of origin? England, part of NATO. NATO is the world’s dominant military organisation, effectively the military of the West. So I have a privilege by being British.
Because life can contain suffering individually we have bad experiences, we become biased seeing the suffering and not the privilege. If you don’t question privileges it is hard to see the benefits of these systemic entitlements because we also suffer because that is part of life. Seeing the distinction is important.
The real sense of this blogpost is unwrapping privilege because privilege is entitlement that comes from the conditioning of the 1%-system. To be free is to be aware, and if we do not know whether what happens to us is systemic privilege or merited rewards then we cannot understand our conditioning. Removing conditioning has been discussed here and here.
I first questioned privilege when I hit bottom. I had been given privilege by being relatively successful academically. This miseducation had given me qualifications that have been beneficial, but it never taught me about genuine intelligence. I was arrogant with the entitlement, and hitting bottom helped remove some of that arrogance. Following hitting bottom there was emergence of genuine intelligence (limited), and when I participated in the Arts Centre I met people with the intelligence of creativity, people in many cases who put creativity first. This taught me about the privilege of academia, and the need to focus on creativity and intelligence.
My understanding of the entitlement that came from privilege was still very limited despite this. Soon after I began to question over race – white privilege, as I began teaching in a mixed race school. I was taught a great deal by that situation especially with the help of black friends who taught me to overcome my conditioning.
Much later on at 42 I began to travel for work, and living in different countries showed me some disadvantages as being an expat – I term this the suffering of life. Whilst there are also privileges for being an expat, experiencing disadvantages helps with an understanding of privilege. In Thailand, where I now live, there are many expats and there is a great deal of racism amongst the white people towards the Thais. In my view this is based on privilege. As English white people these expats have always been privileged in their own system, coming to Thailand some of those privileges have been removed and I feel this is the source of their reaction; it does not help that racism amongst many Thais also exists.
Male privilege is something I have recognised but has been the hardest for me to deal with. The big dilemma of course is in personal relationships because turning principle into practise every minute of the day is difficult; it is hard to remain detached. At the same time male privilege has another issue attached to it on a personal level, the male sexual drive is extremely dominating especially when younger. However much one wants to see a woman as an individual, those sexual needs can change your perception of a woman into a sexual object at times especially during the sexual act. With a man’s personal needs being so different to those of a woman this personal interaction creates much conflict which is hard to rationalise. I was never able to work these out to mutual satisfaction and I live alone. Such conflict can lead to violence, and whilst I can understand where the violence can come from it is never acceptable to use violence. This is also an issue of privilege. Men are conditioned to expect control, and in the home situation they can lose that control – “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. Because their privilege has been removed they respond with violence – not an acceptable response. These issues of privilege are nurtured by upbringing in which young men are taught to behave in a certain way as are young women, but when that cultural upbringing breaks down conflict within marriage becomes more prevalent.
I see this as a particular problem in the West where the culture (upbringing and miseducation) has broken down many of the traditions that produce stability in marriage. However in the West many of those traditions were also oppressive to women, and were quite rightly broken down. Unfortunately in this time of cultural change what has replaced these traditions is not working, thus explaining why so many marriages are breaking down in the West. There is further damage caused by increasing pressure on the home by the requirement for both to work, and consequently children are suffering – becoming more ill-disciplined.
I don’t have any disagreement with social issues of feminism although I do understand why many men do. There is an unwritten trade-off. Many men go out to work to provide for their families. In many of the home situations much of the responsibility is in the control of the women, and whilst for much of the time men are satisfied with this there is resentment towards the loss of control. Men cannot control their bosses in the hierarchy of work but this loss of control at home often leads to resentment in work towards women bosses producing stereotype comments such as “she slept her way to the top” (same applies to stereotyped views of black people higher on the ladder – affirmative action). Again this is an issue of privilege as previously men have had privilege in work, and since the rise of feminism in the 60s this has slowly begun to change – and will rightly change more because as yet there is not equality in the workplace. And why is there not this equality – the patriarchy aspect of the 1%-system, how many of the 1% are women? And will the Bilderbergers ever allow such equality?
Privilege and entitlement become egotistical issues for those on the Path. On a personal level many people on the Path are respected for their wisdom and Nature provides many merited rewards, but the system offers no such respect or reward. Do people on the Path seek social position or financial reward? Beyond sufficiency to survive this is rarely a motivation, and such motivations are frequently disrespected seen as “straying from the Path” by those who recognise the Path. There is a great deal of difficulty surrounding privilege and the Path. Those accepting the Path see the Path as part of Nature, and the greater the adherence to the Path is seen as concomitant with what Nature wants. In other words, such people are leaders in Nature or Natural leaders. But the customs and practices of society often marginalise such people who survive based on the respect of those who seek understanding of the Path from these people. Far from the majority respecting them oft-times these people are derided – by those who do not recognise the Path – for their lack of acceptance of materialist customs and practices; people on the Path usually lose this acceptance because they have moved beyond the conditioning that lauds these practices. Occasionally the Path crosses privilege, for example Eckhart Tolle gains that privilege through the efforts of the system represented by Oprah – without having to compromise his spiritual duty. But such examples are few and far between.
When a white person questions themselves concerning privilege this is a step in the right direction, but such questioning is not systemically encouraged. Privilege is an integral part of the rewards of the 1%-system and as such questioning privilege would lead to questioning of the system itself. And for those who do question a search for social justice is a usual response. And where does that conflict lead?
Unwrapping entitlement from privilege is part of the process of removal of conditioning. Unless the rewards we receive in life are merited we cannot know that we are doing what Nature intended, we cannot know that we are following the Path. Buddhist understanding that life can contain suffering – the 4 Noble Truths – is important to give context to our understanding of entitlement. We all suffer to some extent, and how we handle that suffering is the Path to Understanding that is the wisdom of the 4NT. Not to recognise the entitlement that comes from privilege also leads to suffering because there are rewards for not following the Path – the carrot leading us in the wrong direction. This is all part of conditioning, and awareness comes from removing conditioning and in doing so we are free to be who we are – to live compassionately.
I have been looking into Nagarjuna to connect Theravada to Zen. On p7 of the-wisdom-of-nagarjuna there is this quote about Transcendence:-
I wanted to include this as a comment to the post on Transcendence but web tecnologies thwarted me. Basically if this quote caanot connect the spiritual and political transcendence I don’t know what can.
Forces within the Labour party are gathering in the next step of maintaining the Veil – the delusion of bipartisan politics exemplified by Tory and Labour in the UK. These forces have already damaged the Labour party because they manipulated the Labour party into a leadership struggle rather than take advantage of Tory weakness post-Brexit vote.
This leadership vote has been divisive even though most recognise that Corbyn was going to win from the word go. They introduced very divisive tactics such as the NEC refusal to accept voters many consider legitimate. It is now seen as a foregone conclusion that Corbyn will win the vote but the Veil-maintaining manipulation continues. Rather than seeking unity behind the democratically-elected leader, Corbyn, these forces are now militating behind a claim of “unelectability” – Saving Labour and Labour Tomorrow. Labour used to be a broad church as opposed to the balanced polarities (of left and right) conveyed by mainstream media of the Veil, and this breadth democratically needs to allow diverse groups – so long as they are “united” behind Labour interests. Because of the breadth of Labour this unity is difficult to maintain – consider the split of the right wing of the party when the Gang of Four created the SDP, a party that has effectively disappeared from the political stage even when merged with the Liberals. Having another right wing faction such as Labour Tomorrow or Saving Labour is a legitimate part of democratic inclusivity but it does make life difficult.
When considering the nature of such groups it is always useful to analyse the funding. In this Guardian article, New anti-Corbyn group is funded by former Tony Blair spin doctor,
Momentum is a key link to what I assess as the mass movement – I cannot be sure of that democratic assessment without being on the ground. To read about Momentum is very encouraging but unfortunately all the Trot organisations I came into contact with in the 80s had good rhetoric. The problem was that their tactics were divisive. The Labour party has now become so controlled by the establishment that it is necessary to take a more radical stance and hope that the movement comes with you. This is why I support Momentum. The communist strategy (discussed within here ) of placing party unity first and policy second is not appropriate when the opportunists are so dominant; supporting unity per se was effectively using comrades’ energy to support right-wing opportunism – Bilderberg. Momentum leadership is aware of the forces militating against Corbyn (see article).
Contained within this same article is the real battle. The in-situ opportunists are trying to retain control, and are unwilling to subject themselves to democratic mass movement selection. Despite the mandate that Labour party members want Corbyn, these Wainwrights are still fighting Corbyn. Corbyn is angling for shadow cabinet positions to be voted for (by the mass movement) but the NEC is blocking this. My assessment based on their recent practice is that the NEC is definitely controlled by the Wainwrights, and the voting for new NEC members was decided by the NEC and not the mass movement (as discussed in the article). The struggle will have to go back to the wards and the slow change that mass movement representation will have to effect; it will be a while before these parliamentary opportunists will be supplanted – if ever given the prevailing mainstream environment.
Whilst these forces do their neo-liberal work the Labour party will suffer in the eyes of the general population especially when fed by the mainstream media. These Wainwrights want their Labour party, their opportunist way, or they are prepared to see it die – an irony when considering “Saving Labour” is the exact opposite of what they are doing.
On 14th September there was an interesting move; the Guardian reported this move as “Jeremy Corbyn’s team issues list of MPs who it claims undermined leader”. I have previously described the Guardian’s position with regards to Corbyn, in the way that it supports the opportunists over mass movement representation. I am biased but it seems to me that the Guardian’s position is untenable. Examine the recent history of Corbyn:-
1) Corbyn was elected with a good majority.
But the real issue of division that needs to be understood is the division that Blair created. This is the division that separated the Blair opportunists from the mass movement. Corbyn represents the interest to unite the mass movement with ts parliamentary representatives again.
It is interesting that one of the claims amongst those critical of the “Corbyn list” is the fear of deselection. Why are they afraid of deselection? Is Corbyn afraid of the leadership vote? No, because the vote is mass movement. Why are these opportunists afraid? Perhaps because they manoeuvred themselves into power in the Blair era. I use the word “might” because my knowledge is limited but be clear a democratically-elected representative need not fear a democratic vote.
Here is an interesting Guardian article on Corbyn as leader, it cites his voting patterns as having been ratified by history. Does his voting make him a leader? In my view, no, it describes his position. In a democracy what makes a leader – the votes that make him an elected representative. In the situation of Corbyn his votes came from the mass movement, the parliamentary Labour party never voted for him. When there was a vote of “No Confidence”, it demonstrated the distance between the parliamentary MP’s and those that voted for Corbyn. When the vote is finally counted on the 24th the leadership victory will be clear. Amongst the opportunists there needs to be a climb-down acceptance of Corbyn as leader, Corbyn has opened the door for such already. If they do not choose to work with Corbyn it shows the true nature of their opportunism.
And that opportunism comes from a wider source. In this blogpost I have been discussing the voting within Labour as if it was part of an open electoral process. The reality in this Labour party election is the battle to maintain the Veil – “Lifting the Veil” movie, the delusion that the election process matters in terms of real power. Corbyn is threatening this Veil by changing the delusion to something meaningful if he were to get into power, this is the same fear that Wall Street has of Sanders, and it is also the theme of the book “A Very British Coup” in which Harry Perkins threatened the establishment. Within the power machinations around this Veil will exist genuine Labour MP’s who disagree with Corbyn – if their views are genuine democracy then entitles them their opinion. Those genuines then have a decision to make:-
If they choose to remain in the parliamentary Labour party and fight Corbyn it shows their true colours. Those opportunists would not then be genuine Labour activists but pawns for the superrich who want to maintain the Veil, what might be termed the Bilderberg sanction. With the Corbyn vote almost a foregone conclusion now, it will be interesting to see who has the Bilderburg credentials.
In Evaluating Communards I was a bit dismissive about the P2P process, but on reflection it has great potential for the mindful consumer. I am going to describe how it might work in Thailand, particularly as there are a group of digital nomads in Chiang Mai.
One focus of mindful consuming is organic food. There is good potential for an organic food network in Thailand because there is a plant-based diet called cheewajit, and people following this diet would love access to an organised network of organic food.
At the same time in my town there has recently appeared a farmers’ market, and I have a feeling it is being promoted by the military government.
Thailand is a large country and has distinctive growing regions, rice in Issan, root veg in the North and fruit and leafy veg in the South. As far as I can gather there are two main distribution centres, Chiang Mai in the North and Bangkok in the South. This is probably a gross simplification but it will suffice for an initial proposal. Root veg from the North appear in markets down South, and fruit from the South appears in the North; existing distribution deals with this – somehow. I live in Eastern Thailand (in one sense the South), and local farmers take their produce to distributors who weigh and then pay them; somehow it is then distributed elsewhere.
In Bangkok they have an organic distribution network of sorts. People pay and a box of organic veg is delivered to them. Because the people have paid already, farmers are prepared to grow proper vegetables for that distribution. Together with farmers’ markets in the more affluent areas like mine there is tremendous potential for the mindful consuming of organic veg to be organised.
It is my understanding that many Thai farmers have a patch of organic veg for family, the farmers understand how much pesticide they are forced to use for distribution so they have an organic patch for family use. At the same time the Bangkok network managed to tap into farmers willing to grow more organic if there was a demand. P2P could tap into that demand.
Suppose there was some kind of noticeboard which advertised organic veg. People could order from this noticeboard, and goods could be despatched from distribution centres in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Through Line people could advise the notice board of what they have available to sell and could deliver to the central distribution centres. It is done now so it could be investigated as to what changes were needed for the organic produce to fit into the noticeboard. If the noticeboard could liaise with existing limited infrastructure there is potential for an organic food mindful consuming network in Thailand.
In addition I’m a big fan of community currencies. It seems to me that such a P2P community could use a community currency. Depending on trust such a scheme could just be held online, and money would return to being the facilitator of trade or barter. I am not a user of Bitcoin, not do I understadn whether those that have a go at Bitcoing have a vested interest. But a P2P currency monitored successfuly would be a great benefit from P2P
I have been a member of the Labour party – not now as I don’t live in the UK, but I suspect I would now be excluded.
Firstly I support Unveiling the Veil (see movie “”Lifting the Veil”), recognising the fact that electoral democracy is a con and the delusion of that game damages the working-class. But if I was voting or were to join a political party it would be Labour. I would have joined under Blair even though I think he was a warmonger, damaging to the working-class, and a Bilderberg lackey. Blair was a traitor to the mass movement.
How did Blair get into power? He stopped Labour shooting itself in the foot by preventing people from making statements that the mainstream media could use to damage Labour. In some ways I understand that, I will never forget how angry I felt about Dianne Abbott making a statement that the Labour party was racist. Whilst I agree with what she said, I thought it was tactically so destructive in a run-up to a tight election. But Blair went way too far. Not only did he stop the extreme from making comments he enforced cloning within the party. This is now clearly demonstrated by the vote of no confidence in the parliament, the support of the Guardian for these parliamentary representatives against the Corbyn mass movement upswell. It demonstrates to me that the NEC is in the pockets of Blairite opportunism. For saying this I suspect I would be prevented from voting yet I support the leader of the Labour party.
What are the NEC doing? Do they not have the interests of the Labour party at heart? Is it a mass movement party or is it a Blair clone party? With all the damage they are doing are they destroying any chance of electoral victory? Where will that victory come from? Labour party uniting all the disaffected voters. These voters are angry people, these are people who have been dumped on by Blair suits and jumped at voting for Corbyn in the leadership election because he was the only one standing against clones.
There needs to be control of the Trots but that control mostly comes from democracy, the more voters there are the less chance a few extremists have. There needs to be policies that help ordinary people to prevent the lurch to the right represented by UKIP and in part the Brexit vote.
Look at the following, how can this help the Labour party?
I have to take this blogpost at face value, in other words that there have been no other actions to be taken into account prior to the NEC decision. In truth it could be a genuine plea or it could be a trick from someone with a long history of inappropriate action. Also the article does not contain the contents of the retweet. But let’s be clear, many of the policies of the Labour party and the Green party overlap. Corbyn has promised to make the UK the leader in climate change, would that not be a Green party hope if in government?
It is 25 years since I was active in British politics and in the Labour party. I had the feeling at that time that the NEC had the trust of the rank-and-file, the mass movement of the Labour party. Maybe that recollection is wrong. I was not a member over the Blair years so I do not know how much his Machiavellian control extended to. But I have no doubts that if the NEC was powerful enough to affect his interests he would have changed it.
My real question is why aren’t these opportunists seeing the writing on the wall? Don’t they want to distance themselves from Blair? Don’t they want to distance themselves from warmongering? Whilst Owen Smith is making Hillary-Clintonesque moves to mass movement policies, his own personal political history is littered with Blairite opportunist decision-making including I believe support for the Iraq war. His job in BigPharma was shady to say the least. Do these opportunists not see that there is a large proportion of the electorate who are completely alienated from their version of politics – the Blairsuit version. The move to UKIP is not just a barometer of working-class reaction to an increase in racism but also represents a complete alienation from the party whose history belongs to them – or is at least associated with them and their Labour.
Here is an Op-Ed piece which describes an alienation that exists within the Left across Europe and the US. Radical people like myself accepted that voting for Social Democrat parties (the opportunists of Labour and so-called socialist parties) was tactical, working as a Labour party activist was tactical – better the policies of a Right-wing Labour party than a Conservative party. But under Blair and his clones this rationale was put under the microscope, because the policies were no different.
Obama demonstrates the alienation towards the Left – as well as Blair. Hopey-changey brought great clamour from the mass movement especially black people. What is a significant state of affairs at the end of his 8 years – “Black Lives Matter”. How can any black person feel at all comfortable when on his watch black people are suffering such racist attacks? For those 8 years there has been an increase in war atrocities due to US foreign policy, drone use has sky-rocketed, an increasing rich-poor divide and Wall Street control has tightened – and a lurch to the ignorant right of Trump. Is there any wonder that leftward-leaning people are alienated? Across the board.
What these opportunists also need to know is that the grass roots activists are the engine of the party. The Labour party as a whole needs to harness the energy of Momentum, and not try to alienate them marginalising them through labelling as Trots. Without this energy the opportunists will not get into power. One of the opportunist tactics is to present Corbyn as unelectable and to present Smith as an electable alternative. Disillusionment during Blair and post-Blair makes Labour unelectable because they offer nothing other than right-wing policies, who can distinguish between what Blair stood for and what Cameron or May stand for?
In the end the opportunists are destroying Labour’s electability by clinging to power. Rather than trying to secede the movement that supports Corbyn, these opportunists need to rejoin this more genuine grass roots movement and then ply their opportunist trade under the guise of a New Labour that is radical and democratic. Whilst the socialist in me does not like this recommendation tactically it is sound. Whilst I do not see the Veil being removed using elections I hope it might; in the end evolution is better than alternatives that would probably contain violence.
In the transcendence blog I discussed the process of transcending being similar for the spiritual and political – ultimately because it is from the separate to Unity. Within the blog I described how the Trots were divisive, together with a description of some of my own personal involvement with the Communists. There is a huge irony in the division between the Communists and the Trots because bottom-line they both put their sets of ideas first and because of that they are both divisive – despite the claims to the contrary by Communists.
This identity is easy to see when you take a cursory look at the Soviet revolution. For many this revolution is a significant focal point of communism, was often analysed by them, and led to many dubious decisions with regards to their support for dictatorship in USSR. What happened in this revolution? Firstly it was a revolution of class change, a keypoint in discussion of revolution. Was it a mass movement revolution? And that firmly is no. How was it started? A small group, known as the Bolsheviks– the minority – forced a class war. This war was not a groundswell feeling of the mass movement, it was led by this small group. If the resulting government was not communist, I feel communists would not support this process. At the beginning Lenin and Trotsky were together, neither had an issue with the Bolsheviks.
I have a serious issue with the Bolsheviks. For much of the twentieth century the Soviet Union was under a dictatorship. Marx’s theory is that there needs to be a proletarian dictatorship to fight off the backlash of the deposed capitalist. Whilst there needs to be a strategy to deal with the financed backlash, a dictatorship ought not to be necessary. It will be required if the revolution is started by a minority but if the revolution is mass movement such a dictatorship to fight the backlash would not be necessary.
In the USSR dictatorship became a way of life, an unacceptable way of life that was ended when Gorbachev said it was time for Perestroika and Glasnost; put simplistically these processes started enabling the people to begin to take charge of themselves. The process led to the end of communism, and now in Russia we have an oligarchy, something so far from communism. So with 70 years of Marxist education when the people chose they enabled oligarchy.
The source of this problem was Bolshevism, minority leadership, a group of academic intellectuals demanding of the people a particular mindset.
To me communism says the people will rise up when they are ready, when the conditions are right. A minority of intellectuals leading a mass movement is not a revolution, a change of class does not occur through intellectualism. Trots don’t have an issue with Bolsheviks, neither do communists because they are fundamentally of the same mindset. The intellectuals have to wait, educate and wait; if they don’t wait and impose the mindset through Trot intellectualism or a vanguard such a revolution cannot work. There will be disastrous consequences such as the USSR where dictatorship became the response to western imperialism. Every Trot sees their organisation as a vanguard – including the communists. At the point when Communists create a vanguard they become Trots.
So it is quite amazing that there is such deep-seated conflict between communists and Trots when they are both Marxists pushing their own agendas. You either work within the mass movement accepting that the mass movement will eventually be able to rise up – or you don’t. Typical of intellectuals that they fight each other so deeply when they are almost identical.
If you were to say to me that the mass movement will never rise up, I would have to agree. The capitalist accumulation is so much that people to function as the bourgeois military can easily be bought off – especially with the increased technology requiring fewer operational staff to defend the 1%. With increasing globalisation and capital flight it becomes even less likely that a mass movement could rise up.
It is important to understand this position is flawed – “that the mass movement will rise up against their oppression” is flawed. This does not mean that all of Marxism is flawed – far from it. Whilst there is money and accumulation, whilst there is an economy based on trade and mass production, the economics of marxism has relevance. But there are factors in our economy, levels of greed that the bourgeoisie have reached that Marx did not imagine. Who could have predicted the heinous nature of the wars for profit, the degree of debt indenture and an economy created on fiat money? Clinging to Marxism is a mistake, dismissing it completely is likewise an error.
What has to be understood is that the system is 1% – Occupy. What do people work for as a solution? Alternatives. Occupy raised peoples’ awareness as to what was happening to them. This is a good start. What do Occupiers then do? Find alternatives. One such alternative is communes, if this is what the Communard Manifesto is saying then great. Are there other alternatives? I suspect many would say working within their communities to alleviate suffering. This is to be commended but not recommended. In the end it will yield minimal alleviation, and more lead to frustration stress and ill-health; these are the prices to be paid for trying to hold back the tide. Or it will lead to being bought off!!!
Communes, mindful consumer networks within communes. Is there frustration stress and ill health in a commune? Not inherently. Will you be bought off? No, because the 1% would not be interested in the limited money of your alternative lifestyle. Keep it small and beautiful.