I saw yet another misguided posting concerning the death of socialism, and rather than get into another unresolving ding-dong with the person concerned I thought I would comment here. The comment referred to a PBS series I have not watched yet. Death of socialism?
Significant in the discussion of this death(?) is the history of Russia in the 20th century, and to understand this one needs to consider Russia in light of the dominant ethos that fashioned the USSR – the Bolshevik revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the continuous imperialist infractions, and its ultimate demise to the criminal plutocracy. To analyse these factors can show that socialism is far from dead but that this methodology of state control is deeply flawed – the methodology of state socialism or communism.
How can a mass movement revolution begin with a minority of people? The very word Bolshevik means minority, and the concept, vanguard, is disrespectful to the mass movement. These people in the vanguard wanted a revolutionary change, knew that the Russian people were not ready, were impatient, so decided that a small minority were to lead “the masses” to revolution for their own good – whether it was wanted or not. A completely false premise.
Once in power this revolution needed to maintain dictatorial control. In theory this sounds correct. Post-revolution the West sponsored a huge amount of insurrection within Russia, waging a war that lasted internally until Stalin – not unlike US intervention in Iraq, Syria and Libya and wherever else the US and its western allies have been and will go. To fight this war against the whites, dictatorial control was the chosen method – because the people were not behind the revolution in the first place. The theory is that such a dictatorship would gradually disappear as the state would have such a strong basis in the mass movement there would be no need for any form of dictatorship. Whether this was a matter of the personalities at the time or whether the concept is flawed I am not prepared to be categorical about, but the reality was that the dictatorship of the proletariat lasted until Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s approach killed a dying system. Through Perestroika and Glasnost he was encouraging the mass movement to own the system. Apathy had become endemic because of the dictatorship of the communist party, the people did not own what was happening in the USSR and were as helpless as the people are in the bipartisan “democratic” dictatorships of the West – see the movie Lifting the Veil if you don’t agree with that assessment of the West. Gorbachev tried to return that ownership to the people, but the apathy was too deeply entrenched and the people were too alienatied from the system. Opportunist criminals took over – encouraged by the West, and we now have in Russia a typical dictatorship by the Veil. What we had in 20th century “Russia” is not a history of socialism, but a history of communism – state socialism – that was based on a vanguard revolution and entrenched by dictatorship, and neither concept has any connection with the genuine grass roots mass movement – socialism.
What we do have at the present moment in time is socialism growing in a new form – Occupy or Horizontalidad (check the tag cloud). In the Middle East we have the Arab Spring, in Latin America we have Horizontalidad, in the West there are the grass roots movements that have lately unified into Occupy. Throughout my discussions on Occupy there was the theme of democratic socialism, a peoples’ movement whose organisation was not flawed and who were not bought off by the establishment, specifically the manner in which the system uses representation as a means of control – see tag cloud NUT. Far from being dead socialism has developed from being the models of imposed socialism by the state socialists and communists (dictatorship) to a genuine grass roots democracy as shown in Occupy.
Sadly in recognising the importance of the mass movement as the socialist organ we have to understand that in the current level of corporatocratic control such a movement has been controlled – repressed. Typical of that control is the repeated media analysis that socialism is dead, quite simply the corporatocracy knows that the only means that their 1% can be defeated is when the 99% act in unison as a socialist body – internally directing itself. Also important is the accompanying rejection of Marx’s economic analysis. I am no Marxist expert but the notion of marginal costs is so important, who gets the profits? Who makes the profits? The workers in the factory. Who takes the profits? The owners of the factories. In the UK when these profits were beginning to be redistributed in the 70s, the Veil engineered confrontation with the unions, and ensured that ordinary people suffered the consequences. Rather than negotiate for a fair share of the profits the corporatocracy stonewalled forcing strike action. Once that action had taken place, the unions were blamed, and there was a backlash and the introduction of the scourge of Thatcher. She killed off the unions with the attack on the miners, and now the UK has austerity programmes because there is no organised mass movement to fight back. The need for a strong mass movement, for a socialist movement, is stronger than ever. There is the birth of such a movement through Occupy but there are so many divisive intellectuals around unable to see the woods for the trees because their own individual egos, and the ideas they think they own, are more important to them than the mass movement itself. This was a problem in the movement when I was active – see tag cloud Trots, and it is the problem now where individuals present individual views through the internet rather than making the effort to work together in mass movement organisations – continuing socialism.
A significant part of this intellectual approach is ideas and ownership of ideas. Intellectuals believe that the ideas they have “created” are what causes changes. This is not the case. There are no new ideas, just rehashing of old ones. The issue is awareness, confrontation and power, awareness of the expoitation that is around, an awareness that usually comes when good people are confronted by the system and prevented from being good, and a recognition that the power of the mass movement is what will bring meaningful change. Post second world war in the UK the Veil was forced to introduce the Welfare State and NHS. Now the Veil through Cameron is forcing people who cannot get jobs (because there aren’t any) to pick up litter to get a subsistence allowance; this loss of quality has occurred from 1945 – 2013. Where is the mass movement that has allowed this loss? Unaware of the importance of mass-movement based unions, under Thatcher people allowed the unions to be decimated, a process that has continued to this day. Intellectuals are divisive in the union movement because they cannot accept rule by majority. Their ideas are too important to them, like the ideas of the vanguard that brought in the state socialism in Russia last century, and they fail to see the necessity of working in and with the mass movement. Until such ego is let go division will continue to occur, and the corporatocracy will continue to retain control.
The posting quoted the PBS series so I decided to watch it. here was my reaction:-
“Heaven on Earth
All 3 parts are linked here.
I had to stop watching, Robert Owen the second Christ? Education from birth to indoctrinate a socialist, isn’t that what we have now – a neocolonial education that accepts corporatocracy? Intellectuals. If I ever watch another PBS? Just because the media is not Tea Party does not mean the media is not biased. I am biased, I am a socialist. In establishment UK learning Robert Owen was always presented as a man with new ideas – although that is not true he just had money, but in the US he is presented as believing he was the second Christ. In the Lanark mills where the workers were treated responsibly the intellectual simply remarks on state control. This sounds as if it’s the right wing (libertarianism?) on socialism, socialism is just state socialism rather than having anything to do with the mass movement.
The series is based on a work by Joshua Muravchik “Heaven on Earth: The Rise and fall of Socialism”, and was described here as “JOSHUA MURAVCHIK has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as “maybe the most cogent and careful of the neoconservative writers on foreign policy.” He is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.” A neocon writing about socialism, is this going to be biased? A man recognised as cogent by the Wall Street Journal? Whoever sites such as a legit discussion of socialism is wasting peoples’ time.
Is this worth pursuing?
Gave up, this is rubbish – neocon rubbish.
Understanding where socialism is today is important, this just right-wing misdirection.”
I have no idea why any progressive would put this up, I only offer the URL out of discipline.
Posts Tagged ‘NUT’
Tags: alienation, division, Horizontalidad, NUT, Occupy, Trots
The 1% are breaking the rule of law in the West and in the Middle East – previously in Argentina. A rule of law is important for any civilised society so breaking the rule of law is an important consideration.
There is a catchphrase often used “There is one rule for the rich and one for the poor”. Many people use this phrase in anger and frustration but few actually see the legal system designed this way. The actual design of our legal system is that there is one rule for the 1% and one rule for the 99% – just a contemporary phraseology of the same thing. I have previously discussed the TV programme Blue Bloods. The programme acts out a situation of a New York cop family with a lawyer and the police chief, and I like it because there are political and personal dynamics discussed. In this pro-NYPD programme there is a general direction that the police care for society, and that there are many dynamics pesonal and otherwise together with plenty of moral searching. I like this because it gives me a good feeling about the direction of the human spirit.
But the reality is completely different. In White Plains a policeman, facing pending charges of racism, has killed Kenneth Washington, a black 68-year-old war veteran with a heart condition, in response to a concern about a medical transmitter. In Florida a white vigilante with a history of racist incidents has murdered a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, and the police haven’t arrested him – just arrested 45 days later. Racism in the police force, is that the 1%? Yes, because in an oppressive society we always victimise the weakest. Allowing the police to get away with this weakens the rule of law because of the lack of trust for the police. But the black community have lived with this a long time, and society in general accepts this.
Since 9/11 all kinds of infringements of liberty have occurred, in the name of anti-terrorism. In the UK this has been discussed in the documentary “Taking Liberties”. In NYPD there has been many developments of what has been classified as Islamophobic – part of a wider created social malaise. The Islamic communities in the West now have to come to terms with the same racism as black people always have had to endure.
But now there is blatant political oppression at an unprecented level happening. Before I explain that let us consider Thatcher and the miners’ strike. The miners’ strike became the event that broke the back of British trade unionism. Sadly it started badly because even in the the failed representational democratic model the strike did not follow its own rules. The miners’ strike was not started by a majority of the elected miners’ representatives on its executive, and because of the prevalence of Trotskyist groups on the left demanding the working-class rise up many people did not back the strike initially. Over time the movement realised it had become an event in its history, but by then it was too late. I have crossed Trotskyist picket lines – when less political, they are intimidating. In the miners’ strike the police escorted non-miners’ union workers across the line. This was a clear political act in which the police supported the 1%, at that time we called them capitalists, against the 99% – the bourgeoisie.
This triggered my understanding of the real rule of law, the real role of the police, they are there to protect the lives and lifestyle of the 1%. The rule of law that we all adhere to gives society a code of behaviour or morality that good people want to adhere to, so the homes of good people are protected along with the homes and lifestyle of the 1%. But that is an acceptable consequence for the 1%, the law is there to protect their homes first and the homes of the 99% second; in many ways the two work hand-in-hand but that is not the reason.
Following the way the law worked during the miners’ strike I began to watch the stock exchange with its SEC – the stock exchange is a self-regulated body like the police ie not subject to the rule of law. There were token prosecutions but I saw these as token and saw that the SEC were there primarily to ensure the continuation of the criminal activities that are its daily business – by punishing those who become an embarrassment through excessive greed rather than punishing crime in general. There is no rule of law there – it is a rich rule “Don’t become an embarrassment or we might be forced to make a token sacrifice”. In this way the stock exchange functioned in the interest of all those who speculated, and people were envious of the rich – but at least this is rule of law.
But the 1% got greedy. They speculated on hedge funds that had no substance – see John Bird and John Fortune explain this clearly. Not only this but in the US people were given fraudulent mortgages such as mortgages whose repayments increased unreasonably after a period of time thus ensuring default – without informing the mortgagees – clear fraud by misrepresentation to make a profit. Many such frauds were carried out and good people have lost their homes, not just those who could not afford them in the first place.
At the same time what is happening in the tax system? The burden is falling increasingly on the individual as the 1% use this defunct model of “trickle-down” to avoid paying tax as corporations. Is it right that in the US 26 of the major corporations paid no tax?
And what have western governments done? They have continued with policies that support the 1% – not surprising really as the 1% are the puppet masters – discussed in “Lifting the Veil”. These policies are presented to the people as “trickle-down”, but whilst huge bailout money has been given out of government coffers there has been no “trickle-down”, 1% institutions are now showing profits, and bankers have awarded themselves huge bonuses from the bailout. And most of the fraudulent schemes by the banksters have not resulted in criminal prosecution. This 1% greed has exposed the law for what it is, a measure to protect the 1%, as opposed to a measure to protect people.
As a consequence of this financial exploitation people have started to show their anger at the system publicly, they are demonstrating on the streets. This demonstration has come to be known as Occupy. This movement is a direct response to 1% exploitation, its target is the 1%, and its modus operandi is genuine democracy as opposed to electoral and representational democracy that the 1% has well under control. Before Occupy Wall Street started Morgan Chase gave a donation of $4million to NYPD, and OWS was moved away from Chase Plaza to Zuccotti park – that became known as Liberty Plaza (discussed here). Acts of unreasonable violence on the part of the police have been perpetrated on the non-violent protesters, and even thoug mainstream media has not been reporting the truth, most people know this happening and have to intentionall avoid the truth to accept the police actions. What is important for the system to continue to work in favour of the 1% is that the majority of people have to believe that the system is working but for a few exceptions. Occupy exposes this myth, and the law is being used to oppress them. This is a clear example of the rule of law being broken down by the greed of the 1%.
One of the things I have always believed in is brinkmanship, this worked in the Cold War era where given the nuclear potential for global destruction crisis never turned into global catastrophe. Now however the 1% greed has become so gross that decent human institutions such as the rule of law are being sacrificied on the altar of 1% greed. since Reagan deregulation has enabled this excessive greed and these addicted hedonists have taken their profits whilst disdaining humanity and the moral values of its community. With the rule of law going people are saying if there is no law only self-protection then we needn’t adhere to a moral code ourselves.
Typical of this for me is the Pirate party, here is a TED talk from one of its Swedish founders. Its principles are not moral, they simply say why should the 1% exploit us unreasonably we are going to act in our self-interest. The internet has become the vehicle for such interest, and people are able to download all kinds of media for free. Hollywood are trying to use political pressure to prevent this, but they have found that it is too expensive for them to do so by reasonable law ie prosecuting on an individual criminal basis. Megaupload is an obvious example. I do not know the full legal arguments on either side, but here is a view of megaupload. You could download Hollywood movies from megaupload. as someone uploads those movies. There are other megaupload users who have uploaded genuine materials for storage and distribution. Legally the law is not certain as to whether the organisers of megaupload are responsible. However the FBI closed down Megaupload globally. On what basis? They have the power to do it. Genuine users of megaupload want their stuff back and can’t get it. Is this justice? No. One could clearly argue that someone who has uploaded a Hollywood movie onto megaupload is breaking copyright and could merit prosecution, but Hollywood cannot afford to prosecute on an individual basis. So they use power and influence to create injustice. And the response – the Pirate party. We will become a political party with no morals code exerting our influence to continue to do so in terms of privacy etc. And in this article you can see that throughout Europe it has popular appeal in elections.
How far will this go? More and more the 1% repress genuine dissent, more and more people will use the internet for immoral purpose. How far will this spill into daily life? Last year there were riots in the UK in which young people stole from wherever they wanted. Whilst I can see an underlying political expression in this, in practice it was little more than young people taking the opportunity to steal. And to a certain extent the police let it happen and the government response has been a recent law for a huge increase in state monitoring of people. What will the impacts of this state repression be?
This is just lawlessness brought about by a 1% system who have become so addicted they care not nwhat people think of them. This is so dangerous. Nero is fiddling.
Update on Trayvon Martin 28/7/13 – see this blog.
21/9/13 – This page shows the increasing protest across the globe – note they started after Vietnam!!
21/9/13 – Edward Snowden revelations this year shows how far this state repression is going.
Tags: Buddhism, Compromise, Corporatocracy, mindfulness, NUT, Occupy
In my first school I made good career progress. At that time in education I was focussing only on the inequalities in education towards the black students, and as the school was majority black I was actually beneficial to the school despite focussing on education. In that case because I was just starting out, I had not reached the level of power where careerism comes more into effect. At the same time the school was hard so few wanted to be there. So at that time my dedication to education (of black students) was positive and fitted in with the prevailing paradigm of the school.
I should have made Deputy HOD there but I got knocked down by politics, a politics of a strange variety. My HOD was on the NUT Exec, and because of his union activities – he was officially released one day a week but often took more – the education in the department suffered. He also played control games so that people “needed” him. The game that always annoyed me was that during department tests he would insist on writing the markschemes, and because he was so busy with the union the markschemes were often not ready. Being young and vehement I would argue about this, I can’t remember other arguments but arguments were regular. His office was large so the department often worked there – and then it was too small. Conversation, laughter, whatever would occur, and if he was busy he would demand quiet. It was tort with tension, and after one argument I removed myself from his office and moved my workbase to the staffroom – a good distance away.
I was at the school nearly 8 years. The school had big staff turnover, people using it as career stepping stones. My HOD and I were fixtures, he had got himself a situation where he could be HOD and do all his union work and I was immersed in “being black” at the time (not that bad but too much) working in the community as well. Working with the head of the remedial department (or whatever it was called) we had established a well-run team teaching lower school programme. So the next step up the ladder was deputy HOD, and when the position became available it was expected for me to apply. Now the Principal and my HOD were at loggerheads – she was a careerist, so in normal circumstances of my promoting “education” we would have been in conflict. But because of my known conflict with the HOD we were unnaturally aligned. She told me she wanted me to do the job – not appropriate for her to do that, but she told me in private so not that bad.
In most normal schools that nod from the Principal would have been enough but there was also conflict between the Principal and the head of governors, Janet Boateng wife of the black MP Paul Boateng. Now my community work should have been enough for her as well, but then manipulative politics and duplicity came into play. There was a Zimbabwean guy I drank with, I considered him a friend but on reflection that was stupid as mutual actions indicated there was no friendship. But I was a drunk and people who drink think that their drinking buddies are friends – one of the many delusions the drink gives us. He came round to my house one Saturday night – that was unusual in itself. I later realised, after working in Africa, that he was motivated by career in coming round, and that he was pumping me. He was a drinking friend and it was in my house so I felt sacrosanct and told him what the Principal had said. I was in my early 30s and naive. This opened the door for my HOD. Another drinking buddy who was NUT was also teacher governor told the governors about this conversation, so the governors were aware that the Principal had told me she favoured me, I knew this because the Principal was quite rightly angry with me for breaking a confidence. I didn’t get the job and when the position became available again I didn’t apply sticking to working with the kids. On the third occasion of the position becoming available the Zimbabwean got the job, and the HOD paid for this. This incident caused a lot of ructions in my life. It should have stopped me from drinking but it didn’t, I just kept away from those drinking “buddies”. I continued to manage the lower school team teaching, and focussed on the kids. The union conflict reared its head again, and I joined the NAS because of this HOD’s political manipulations that at that school disadvantaged the students.
So I have vented about this annoying incident in my life but it does show that this was a time when my education aligned me with career progress, but that was the only time – and when I was young. I was an angry young man but even with this lack of control I was more aligned with career than at any other time in my life – even though I was HOD three times.
At my next school the opposite happened. I became an NUT activist (union rep and association secretary), and because of the Principal being a bully and incompetent I was in direct conflict with him. This school was in suburbia, was a less difficult school, and the teachers did not stand up for themselves against this bully. I however did as union rep, and remained on main grade for all the time I was there – 6 years. Was this a personal conflict or a paradigmatic conflict? First impressions it is personal but in reality I was against the paradigm, and the paradigm was “suburban jobsworth”. This man was not a competent bully, he was incompetent, but the teachers fundamentally kept their heads down keeping their jobs and accepting the financial inducements of career. Many of the teachers worked well but very rarely did they conflict with the head, and the head used this. There was one time when they stood up. There was a science trip and the teachers were forced to send some of the best students home because they behaved so badly. The parents complained, and the Principal rebuked the teachers formally. Now these teachers were typical “suburban jobsworths” and did not usually conflict with the Principal so everyone rallied round, and the formal rebuke was withdrawn. By this time the Principal had forced me out of the union rep job, and in retrospect is a clear example of how consensus democracy rather than representative democracy works. So here I was against the paradigm and career-wise got nowhere.
In my next job I worked in Botswana where there was a localisation policy for appointments so I never considered career, but applied myself educationally with the many integral extra-curricular positions that were unpaid. Then I joined international schools as a HOD. As a HOD I had much more influence on the schools, and as a result that was where I really learned that schools were not about education. I found myself becoming a buffer between the careerism of Principals (and profiteering of owners in private schools) and education practice in my department. The paradigm in these schools was profit, and because they were not good schools penny-pinching affected educational standards – there were 2 such schools where the penny-pinching profit paradigm was dominant. In the third school as HOD I was sacked because I was in conflict with the paradigm that the rich kids were right – profit and influence being paramount. I was brought in to change the educational approach, did so, impressed the Principal with my approach, but because rich kids complained the administration supported them and I was sacked. This was a “rich kid” paradigm that I was in part aware of, but in interview I had asked if I would get administration support if there was a conflict and they said yes!!
Apart from my first school where my youth and educational approach aligned me with the overall paradigm in schools exemplified by career, educational imperative has brought me in conflict with the places I have worked in. By this I recognise the importance of that conflict, if you are in conflict with the paradigm then competence is not going to get just rewards. But if you are not in conflict those rewards will come. Understanding how conflict works is important in understanding how the 1% control. They don’t care what you believe in so long as you don’t act in conflict. They do not care about intellectual assessments, in fact they can profit from the same by turning them into products – music books and movies. But if you start a movement such as Occupy in which you are actively in conflict then they coral the waggons. This is what has happened to Occupy in the US where the police have become a military defending the 1%. It demonstrates the true nature of the system as a whole and the police force in particular, the system is the 1% – it defends the 1%.
I speak to many people about this, and I am particularly thinking of a Buddhist group I used to belong to. When I describe the system (in summary the 1% and the 99%) they don’t see the problem, they have had careers, done well from it, and mostly lived their lives with integrity. But what they have done is avoided the conflict with their particular paradigm, and avoided the conflict with the 1% paradigm. I now contend that in my life I should not have compromised as much as I did – even though I had conflict. I should have embraced the conflict because the 1% are destroying ONE planet. Instead of avoiding the conflict – intentionally or otherwise – these people who were successful and Buddhist should also have embraced the conflict. Individually they would have suffered in terms of career and therefore financially, the results of their conflict will have had minimal effect but they would in some way have restrained the 1%.
Conflict avoidance within their institutions is a major strategy of the 1%. War is now expanding because ordinary people in the metropolitan countries are not being hurt. Drones are a wonderful example of this. No-one flying the drones gets hurt, the MIC makes huge profits, and they have the illusory enemy of the terrorist as a target. Troops on the ground now in Iraq are not soldiers but mercenaries, and these mercenaries provide profits for their transnationals so the 1% are happy. Whilst people are still being murdered for profit, no-one is risking death and there is no conflict for the 1% and their wage-slaves. Drones and mercenaries are completely evil but they are optimal tools of conflict avoidance. Unless you are a target of the profits from war.
It is now essential that conflict avoidance or compromise becomes a thing of the past. The power and addiction of the 1% is increasing, and the damage they are doing is worsening. At COP17 a global conference to discuss how to deal with climate change was circumvented by a 1% strategy of denial of truth. Whilst every citizen in the world becomes more aware by observation that climate change is affecting their daily lives these addicted fight over profits. And we don’t confront them – well most of us don’t. Global recession is dodged almost daily by huge amounts of money being “invented” to create an illusion of stability, and then they pretend that austerity is the solution. We go to work for small amounts of money, huge amounts are given away ending up in the Cayman Islands as figures, and gradually what we earn buys less and less; there is a global strategy of devalueing the money we earn because they cannot reduce our wages. Eventually such a system must collapse. A conflict strategy that seeks to withdraw ourselves from the prevailing system of the 1% needs to come in. We can begin to work in barter networks, community currency systems, buying growing and selling organic produce through local forums, skill trades, any form of trade and income that reduces our contact with the 1% monetary system. Such ways will bring us into conflict with the 1% system but we will maybe help to prevent the catastrophes the addicted are taking us to.
Ironically acting in this way of conflict will bring us greater harmony and happiness.
As an erstwhile communist a major strategy was to counter splitting. In theory what they did was to work hard at trying to keep the movement as integrated as possible. In fact tyhis theory was far from their own practice as at the time I was active a small communist party was split into CPGB – a party that worked to get votes for the CP, CPB(Morning Star)? – forgotten the name of this one but it was a party revolved around the paper, and the NCP. Now the CPB and the NCP were revolutionary in the sense that they saw the only solution was a revolution as opposed to the CPGB being electoral. I am guessing the numbers at the time were 5000, 600, 600, and I was one of the NCP’s 600. So they were anti-aplitting yet there were only approx 6200 UK communists. That says enough.
Here is what the NCP told me to do. I was NUT and the NUT leadership were reactionary. Within the NUT the leadership had formed a group called the “Broad Left” that was primarily there to counter the “Socialist Teachers’ Alliance”. Because teachers are primarily intellectuals this socialist teachers group were relatively strong. Now in truth they didn’t function well. Conference was the main forum for both these groups and you could tell an STA motion by the inclusion of the words “up to and including strike action”. Conference was a battle about whether motions would get passed that included these words. The leadership didn’t want strike action because strikes usually lost members, the STA pushed strikes. Neither addressed the problems in education, and these groups were locked in a conference battle Broad Left vs STA. Now my sympathies were more strident than many in the STA, but I was told to join the Broad Left to prevent splitting. This strategy was completely wrong, I should have been in the STA trying to get an approach that wasn’t splitting. I was always in favour of an Education Charter that dealt with Conditions of Service, and that the union shoulod mobilise behind this charter. But that was unlikely to happen because teachers are mostly concerned about paying their mortgages. If your battle is with Trottish egos, that’s where you have to work – stopping splitting whilst showing genuine commitment to the struggle.
My point here is simple, you fight the splitters but do not support the 1%. NUT leadership supported the 1% by its actions. I suspect there were similar approaches in all unions at the time. Crazy. These compromises have led to a worsening iof the situation in the last 50 years. Its is time to throw out compromise whether that is splitting or not.
I am going to examine how the teacher unions have worked for the 1%. Whilst I am describing events that occurred 20 years ago I have no reason to believe that these structural problems do not continue to exist. At the time I always complained about the inactivity of members, and I still see that as the fundamental reason for the continuing power of the 1% in education, but the lack of consensus politics disempowered the membership. Hopefully with the emergence of consensus democracy activism will increase making the membership feel the need to do something.
It is necessary to understand how the divisions in teaching occurred. For many families with teachers the teaching income was a second income – although often both partners were teachers. Of this group mothers saw teaching as an opportunity to be with their children more as the hours were the same – this never worked out in practice as there became increasing impositions after school – mostly meetings and mostly concerned with the careers of the teachers running the meetings rather than the education of children. For these teachers and many others the strike was divisive and one union, AMMA, formed just to collectivise and provide legal protection, but never to strike. The two main unions, NUT and NAS, had similar policies – in my view identical, but the difference here was that the left-wing gravitated to the NUT, and for a long period in the 70s and 80s the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) had a confused policy that by disrupting schools they could start a revolution. Whilst teachers were not in general aware of this policy, as I wasn’t when I was in conflict with the SWP in my first school, many sought the NAS especially where the SWP were active – see my story later. Yet in principle there was no difference between the two unions, what was missing was the need for consensus. Whilst what I am describing occurred in the 80s I don’t actually believe the division has changed although circumstances most definitely have.
In my first school in Inner London I joined the NUT, I had been NUT as a student and instinctively recognised the need for collective strength although my politics was naive at the time, I was even taken to the local association for meetings by the same people I later had conflict with. After a while there developed a pattern of industrial action every April as a consequence of the SWP. ILEA would make cuts annually, the NUT would not respond, and the local area union for Inner London, ILTA, would vote for a strike. Who were members of the ILTA? Inner London activists primarily SWP. I cannot speak for other schools but in my school the ILTA motion would be discussed, and then a vote would be called. The motion would be passed because of the SWP activists and a few scivers who voted for a day off teaching, however the number of votes was never the majority of all the members of the union in the school – usually a vote of 11 or less would carry the action out of a membership of 25-30 people. This vote would close the school, many NUT members would go into work, and a day’s education would be lost. It is acceptable to lose a day’s education if it was meaningful but these actions were token, disruptive and based on an erroneous SWP policy. The school branch formed an executive whch I joined, and I was told by one member that if I said anything she would vote for the opposite. When I asked her one time to explain a policy she asked me to speak to someone else. She was an emotional sheep following a charismatic person, and this man did have charisma – I heard him speak at conference. But I also worked with him. He was a member of the NUT Executive, given one day a week official absence – often absent more than that. He was my HOD, and he maintained control of the department by having everything run through him even though he was absent so often. I was very committed to teaching, and at the time allowed that commitment to become anger leading to many conflicts with this man. I was also naive. At one time natural career progression brought me up for Deputy HOD, through unacceptable comments on my part he manipulated the political situation to ensure I was not Deputy HOD. From the SWP point of view he was absolutely correct but from an education point of view there was little educationally he did for the students and I could have helped them. Whilst I now agree that if you treat the teachers fairly you have better education, what he did was damaging for the students he taught and damaging for people like me who were in his department and wanted to teach the students. I joined the NAS at this school but by the time I left the school the NUT had created a policy of majority membership for strike action, and there were no more strikes. They also did not try to recruit me again! Although I lost a promotion I was right to stand up against this intellectual dogmatism even though my ideals were in line with the people I fought against. But they were using education as a political battleground, yet education is as important in changing society as any political position. What I did had little impact – as usual?
At my next school the situation was completely different. The school would only consider strike action if it was official union policy, and then it would only be minimal as they would be more concerned with the money and their mortgages. The local association was run by a dedicated lady who had kept the association running for a number of years. But it was not a union, it was her niche, her bag, her club; it was not a functioning collective organisation. When I arrived on the association scene she was threatened by my wish for involvement – it was her territory. When I became secreatry of the association she completely withdrew from the union, not only withdrawing from the executive of the association but also did not attend association meetings. I did bring a certain life to the association so perhaps it was guilt – only she knows. Such an association would never propose strike action even though the local education authority treated the staff worse than ILEA.
As for the school the headteacher was an incompetent bully, and the staff all recognised this. When I arrived the union guy was fed up with the situation because of this headteacher, and when he moved on I gladly took on the union position as previously stated. This was a mistake. I wanted to be union rep, a rep in a representative democracy, because I wanted to do something about this head. And the membership wanted me to do something about this head, but they didn’t want to do something themselves. And I forgot that in many ways he was my employer. Through my personal strength the membership were able to delude themselves that they were doing something about this man, but in truth I was just a sap. Whilst the situation is very clear to me now, I didn’t let it become clear at the time because I wanted to be the rep. The teachers there were in general good people concerned with looking after their families and doing their job, whilst as a group they functioned in abdicating responsibility they were not aware that they were damaging my career by this abdication. It is kind of accepted in schools that the union rep loses their career if they rock the boat. My head was however so much worse than many other heads, and by warnings he attempted to start me on a path to dismissal. Fortunately I had met the staff at the education authority so they gave me some support, but I was still forced to resign from the union; a term later he gave me a bonus.
As I mentioned above there were two strike unions, and I attempted at the school to get us working together. This failed miserably. I don’t know whether this was because the NAS rep was scared for his job, or whether he saw himself only in terms of the union hierarchy, but it meant that unity was stonewalled. I cannot remember how much I raised the issue with my own membership but they did not push for action amongst their NAS colleagues, so the issue was dropped. To be fair to the NAS rep there was an evident conflict between the head and I, and common sense might have told him to keep away. Quite evidently from this description the unions did not help solve the problem with this incompetent bully. The unions got in the way of consensus activity. I remember one time after I had resigned from the union there was a particularly bad action on the part of the head. Teachers had sent students home from a science trip for extremely poor behaviour, and these students were of influential parents so the head chastised the teachers concerned. Through the staff association, the NAS rep was chair at the time, all the teachers, a consensus, stood up against the head and he withdrew the chastisement. They were never able to accept that that was what was needed on a regular basis, their mortgages preventing that acceptance. For a year or so after I resigned there was no NUT rep, and then a rep emerged. She was rightly concerned about how bad the head was, but she was not a political activist like I was at the time. I warned her that she would have problems because she needed more support from members, and I remember one member saying she signed letters. I said that was not enough, and she said what was enough – I can’t remember what I answered I suspect I mumbled strike action. I hope the new rep didn’t suffer but I doubt it.
On a national level the union division helped the 1% just as much. Nationally there were two fully staffed organisations of the NUT and the NAS, and the majority of these staff were not elected officials. These backroom staff were lawyers and admin staff. Now for most members it is these people they joined the union for – protection in the classroom. There was an ongoing call for amalgamation of the two unions, and whilst there would still be the non-strike union, AMMA, this would have given one union close to 80% of all teachers and the chance to do something positive. It is the leaders of both unions who were responsible for negotiating the amalgamation, and there would then have been fewer leader posts in one union. One union would have been better for members. It would have been worse for the leaders, the backroom staff, and of course the 1%. The 1% wins if there is not consensus activist democracy, so although it was not the intention the way the unions functioned protected the 1%.
I have no reason to believe that it is not fundamentally the same now.
Tags: Corporatocracy, Horizontalidad, NUT, Occupy
I woke up this morning and realised that OCCUPY is life, this is ONE planet fighting back against the corporatocracy. Life knows that the old structures are outmoded and is showing us through these young people that life is fighting back. It is as if these young people instinctively know what is the right way to do it. Throughout the corporatocracy’s speech organ, the media are decrying these people. What do you want? What are your demands? Where are your leaders? And here is OCCUPY’s response:-
Where are the demands? Nowhere, because the corporatocracy cannot respond. They are the problem. The corporations, the banks, the puppet governments, they are the problems. And the solution is no corporations, no banks, no puppet governments, they can’t agree to that. So there is a stand-off, and OCCUPY grows.
And what about the workers? Their structures are finished. Forget representation, representation is finished. If workers have a grievance – OCCUPY, no negotiation, no demands – OCCUPY. There are no cosy discussions about the division of the marginal profits. Previously workers may have had power, at least they had enough that negotiations gave them some improvement. But now in the West there is no cosy division, management says accept our terms or we move the plant to the Third World. The Labour movement can’t negotiate with them now, the Labour movement has no power. But the mass movement has power – OCCUPY.
And what happened whilst the Labour movement was negotiating. The workers maybe got an increase but the corporatocracy increased its control. After the Second World War whilst the Labour movement negotiated its wage increases the corporatocracy went to war. Workers in the factories that benefitted from war profits got their job security and their homes as did their middle management – and the corporatocracy got their cake, their zeros. There is no choice – OCCUPY.
My teachers (where I was rep), you were weak people. You let one beta-blocked fool ruin your life because you wouldn’t stand up. You were nice people but you never stood up and OCCUPYed. Look at what they are doing to education whilst you stand by and cling to your mortgages, and I still hear the same bleeting. What are the unions doing? And yet you claim you care for children. Look at your children. What were they becoming? Educated? All the while I was rep we were educating Thatchers’ children, we created them. We never had any control of the education system. What limited control teachers had was taken away in the 80s as we sat back and let representatives sacrifice themselves. Throughout that time activists with good hearts or political agendas took on union rep positions. Maybe they did some good in schools with decent heads but when you had a fool like at my school, he just called the bluff and did what he wanted. What did the teachers do? They left it to the rep, and made their careers. I remember in the 80s the Baker act changed the pay structure. As a result it was up to the heads how they awarded point allocations. Previous departmental structures with points awarded for responsibilities, deputy head and so on, got thrown in the mix. At my school this bully said “write your own job description” and this is what union members did. They capitulated and wrote job descriptions. Greed – their mortgages. Meanwhile they signed letters saying the beta-blocked was a fool. And the other fool took the letter to him.
Nationally the government was destroying the education service. Through monetarism Thatcher told us she was going to destroy state education and she continued to do that. Time after time letters came down from the ministry, and time after time careerist after careerist took advantage of the positions associated with the destruction of education, instead of ostracising these people members just looked for ways they could join the gravy train and get out of the classroom. For a time teachers benefitted through the 90s as they were given danger money to keep the kids off the streets but now more and more schools are being privatised and teachers will have to stand up. It is no good sending in the reps, and reps it is no good taking the positions you will only get used. Teachers will have to OCCUPY.
Teachers, don’t buy those big houses. Don’t get the largest mortgage your combined salary can get because soon you will have to stand up and you will not be able to rely on those salaries. As all these foundations in the guise of religion or whatever move in and privatise your schools, you will have less and less say. You will have to do more work, there will be job losses. And if you stand up maybe they will sack the lot. But they can’t do that if teachers stand up and OCCUPY together. You cannot be weak now. This is what the corporatocracy does. It uses good people. The sweet young girls who come out of the education colleges and devote their lives to their primary classrooms focussing on the kids whilst careerists climb on their backs and push them around. Your time has ended – maybe it has already. You need to fight for your vocation now.
Look at what the strikes were about. Education standards had been falling since I started work 1976. But they took a major downturn in 1979. But how did the union respond? There were attempts to negotiate better conditions of service but industrial action only happened over money. What does that say about teachers? Why wasn’t the action about improving education by gaining proper conditions of service? A teachers’ charter for better education.
Well now that schools are being privatised you will have to stand up. Find your way of OCCUPYing and say enough is enough – we want education and let them sort it out. In the US the Principals are trained by big business – BROAD foundation and the rest. You know what that is about. Stand up to them, refuse to work for those guys. A Principal should be a teacher first, not a tool of the corporatocracy. Stand up and OCCUPY.
OCCUPY is not about old forms of negotiation, that doesn’t work. OCCUPY is saying in all walks of life we have had enough. We behave subordinately, we do your dirty work so that we can have our homes, and now you take away our homes. That is enough. We stand up and OCCUPY, you prove we should do your jobs again.
In Argentina following the financial crash workers’ cooperatives developed and functioned fine. There were no bosses, they were not needed. Bosses are not needed. Sadly many of those cooperatives are now having difficulty as the plant-owners who fled the crash are now returning for their spoils, but they were not needed. OCCUPY.
The Labour movement is dead, long live the mass movement.
Democracy is now a dirty word. In a conversation with a sympathetic friend I talked about the need for democracy. He is steeped in the conspiracy counter-culture and immediately rejected the notion. Then after a while I spoke of grass roots democracy and he began to accept what I was getting at. Democracy is not a dirty word but what it has become is.
It is significant in the American conspiracy counter-culture that many people are pro-Republican. This is a position that has resulted from the backers of Alex Jones, Aaron Russo, Ron Paul and the like; they are Republican – Republican backers. What does this mean? It means they do not believe in the people even though they say they do. For me it is unclear what their strategy actually is, and when I tried to join their forums to find out my membership was not accepted – I don’t know why, but democratic forums do not have barriers – whatever kooks turn up. But having labelled these people as Republicans as far as I am aware does not exclude them from Occupy. Occupy welcome all who are against what Wall Street has done – Alex Jones claims he is against Wall Street why isn’t he there? He has come up with some obscure reason that this is a globalist movement and is connected with a One World government somehow. Well it is global movement of people because people make up the world. If you are putting your conspiracy theories before the actions of the people in the world you have been tricked by the same forces whose only threat is genuine democracy, Wall Street would not want him there.
In general the movement has been responsible for its previous lack of democratic response through its process of representation. Representation in government has been manipulated and taken over by the corporations. In the UK business supported Tony Blair but they do not support the Labour party. What did Tony Blair do? He took the UK to war, and now he is getting his rewards by milking his influence in the Quartet. What did the Labour movement gain during his office? When the British democratic system can so easily be appropriated by the corporatocracy it shows a fundamental flaw, and we all know where that flaw begins – in the electoral process itself. Every 5 years we vote for candidates, and after that vote they can do what they like for 5 years. These candidates are proposed by the parties who have their own internal mechanisms of control. Within the Labour party there used to be some form of grass roots action, but when it comes to nomination for posts even as lowly as town council the Labour Party ensured they got their own puppets on the podium (this was the case in the late 80s I have no reason to believe it has improved – I suspect it is worse). Within the hierachy of such parties there is no democracy, this is why I was under no illusion that when Obama came to power he was anything other than a puppet. But whilst Obama has only feathered his own nest his rhetoric has raised democratic expectations. I have no doubts at all that some of the fuel of the Occupy fire has been created by the frustration from the hope Obama inspired. Personally I think he learned from Tony Blair that it doesn’t matter how much you lie you can still stay in power. But even if his intentions were good US government through Obama has been shown to be non-responsive to the needs of the people. There is no point to recourse to the ballot box.
Let us examine the trade union movement itself. How does that work? People pay their dues and vote for representatives who act on their behalf. These representatives attend various hierarchical meetings and report back to the membership. Usually these representatives have their own activism agenda – whatever their persuasion, but in general they fulfil their role in reporting back to the membership. Representatives like me would complain that the membership are inactive and do not give support; the membership turn around and say “what are the union doing?” The only people who win in this “democratic” process are the management. I would always say that a union is only as strong as the activity of their membership but the reality is that this “democratic” process discouraged that activism because the activism was always focussed through the representative and did not usually swell up from the members. Despite the genuine desire of the members of the trade union including the representatives for democracy, the practice was not democratic because the members were not empowered. It is pointless for representatives to complain of apathy, as Chomsky would say in people not profits neoliberalism requires apathy and the trade union movement provides it. The trade union movement provides a controlled escape-valve for anti-corporatocratic sentiment, and this is why the corporatocracy encourages trade unions to come to the table – except of course my beta-blocked headteacher.
One of the rationales for trade unions is that one skilled trade union negotiator would be helpful in presenting necessarily hard policies to membership. This of course is true but predicated in this negotiated role is an assumption of parity. I can remember a number of times in which I presented unpalatable policies to members or lessened the worst aspects of ill treatment to a member, even though I knew the problem really lay with the beta-blocked headteacher or some other exploiting management. This trade union rationale assumes negotiation of equals and often appeals to the egos of the representatives. The truth is there has never been equality in this negotiated process. The power the trade unions had was in the ability to mobilise members into industrial action. Very rarely were representatives able to effect that mobilisation and management knew it. In my case despite my vehement efforts to do something about my headteacher I was only helping him. I needed to step back and tell him to meet the members, and the members needed to stand up and make their voices heard in person. In the end the headteacher forced me out of being the representative, and near the time I moved on they members had persuaded someone else to take the representative position. I don’t know what happened to her, I hope they helped her more than they helped me. As I have said those teachers needed to OCCUPY, not get a rep to sacrifice their career. The union itself didn’t care about me either they got their subs because members paid for legal protection, because I was active it probably helped the union get subs. In truth I was a threat to the union structure as well because I wanted the members to act, the union wanted subs and members regularly paying up, but not active. Democracy?
The Soviet Union is another example where representation frustrated democracy. Through the Bolshevik vanguard the proletarian movement attained some form of power despite the capitalist-funded whites. Once in power they formed a dictatorship required to fight off the imperialist forces – not unreasonable. I would previously then have said that this movement towards communism broke down because this dictatorship refused to let go of the power and as a result there developed an apathy amongst the proletariat because of the dictatorship. Apathy did not just rise because of the dictatorship, apathy arose because of the representational process. But left-wing observers do not usually make this observation because they themselves are elected representatives in the movement somewhere.
When you vote for a representative you can be giving away your power, and releasing that power is the end of democracy – it is as simple as that. Whatever activity is going on all people need to participate otherwise it is not democracy, as it stands all representation is doing is “killing dissent within movements, channeling movements and their bureaucratisaton” of those movements. When the representatives blame the members and the members blame the representatives there is no democracy. Despite its unwieldliness if the workers have a problem with the management they must all face the management, and the management must face the workers – not these negotiation meetings. When one man is exploiting a workforce of 20 they should face the anger of the 20, not the controlled anger of one member. Once management accepts the need for change, a representative might help but not until then. Without a demonstartion of power the representative is playing the game of the corporatocracy despite their intentions.
To return to democracy we need to change our structures. OCCUPY!!
Tags: Corporatocracy, Horizontalidad, NUT, Occupy
.. Penny Red describes her experience of these organisational structures in movements globally, and Mirina Sirtin describes them from her book called Horizontalism about how these structures were effective in Argentina in 2001 and the following years with the IMF instigation of the collapse of their currency.
Now when I say these structures are not new, Argentina is not the only example. In this blog the writer quotes this concerning the struggle in Egypt:-
“I finally heard on the Al Jazeera stream an answer from a real protester, instead of a talking head, to the question they keep flound[er]ing over, “Don’t the protesters need a leader?” — the answer finally came from a blogger who has been in the square, “the people are self organized, there’s no need for a leader to tell them what to do…people are feeding each other, cleaning the square, we all have the same demands, there’s no need for any leaders to tell us what to do”. …”
The organisational structure of #OWS appears the same, there are no leaders. This is significant because it means the leaders can’t be bought off – the usual corporatocratic ploy. I have much respect for the civil rights movement in the US but what do we have now? A small black middle class and many black people suffering in ghettoes amidst gangs and drugs. The common enemy of both is the corporatocracy, and the ill-educated the corporatocracy have turned into racists, but this middle-class were the leaders. On Democracy Now (5/10/11) a black leader, Kai Wright, quite rightly said that people of colour needed support because they were bearing the brunt of the fight on the poor. But he then called for the movement to bring this platform to the forefront of the struggle of #Occupy. Whilst I agree with his description of the attack on his people, his demands of solidarity with black people was almost a call for division – even though he never meant it as such.
Then on Democracy Now (6 October) I saw the old guard (I am old guard as well) coming out supporting #Occupy. Listen ..
.., apart form the mention of #Occupy have you heard this tone and approach before? With all due respect to these comrades it is time for a change. Union leadership and representation is not working, why do you think the corporatocracy are clamouring for leaders? They can control leaders, they can deal with demands; but what can’t they deal with? #Occupy.
Let me explain my own example as to how they use leaders to control. I was the union rep in a school that was run by an incompetent bully. This man was a fool who at times would recommend to stressed teachers beta blockers – he took them himself. He had somehow managed to wheedle his way into the position at interview, and then cultivated the governing body to stay there. This man had little interest in supporting the teachers in educating the students. The teachers wanted someone to step in and represent them against this bully, and because I wanted activism I jumped in. I organised meetings, passed motions democratically, and took letters and motions to the headteacher. They were ignored, and he reported to the local authority that I was a Trotskyist provocateur. Standard tactics. Over a period of 5 years as an experienced teacher I was refused promotion, repeatedly criticised by this management and the governing body, and whilst the membership would sign letters they stood by and watched as this man bullied me out of a career. This was management wanting leadership to focus their attention in.
Suppose these had been #Occupy teachers. #Occupy teachers would have refused to cooperate with this man and refused to follow his instructions. #Occupy teachers would have simply said we want education in the school, and refused to cooperate. When the head and the governors would ask where are your leaders? They would simply say “we want education” and refuse to cooperate. What are your demands? They would simply say “we want education” and refuse to cooperate. Once you get a leader, once you have demands, corporatocracy have targets – leaders and demands – that they can manipulate. Without the targets what can they do to contain the problem? They don’t know. They know what to do to solve the problem but they don’t want to do that – against their own vested interest. Give them a leader and demands, and they can contain the situation.
Listen to this statement from OccupyWallSt – no leaders no demands ..
.. what it is. Corporatocracy make you changes, don’t buy off our leaders, no demands to negotiate -just a description of the reality of corporatocratic occupation of the world.
With #OccupyWallSt what can the corporatocracy do? They have no targets. They get the police to mace women, they get the police to lead them onto Brooklyn Bridge and arrest 700, telling the world that the demonstrators broke the law. But as #Occupy keep coming back and increasing in numbers what can they do? Nothing. In Egypt what happened? They replacd Mubarek with a different face but this was no different for the Egyptians – they are still OCCUPYing. If the Egyptians had given demands they would have been reduced by negiotiation, and then some implemented. Then the media would have been used to say how unreasonable the people have been, we have met them half-way and they still want more. This is a ploy, an attempt at manipulation – not an attempt at helping the people or genuine democracy.
Significant in #Occupy is the use of technology. Previously I have been critical of online communities because communication is not complete and erratic; personal contact is the only complete communication not email, chat and even video-chat does not convey subtler levels of communication. But online can disseminate simmultaneous communication without the need for hierarchy. Look at this quote from the above-mentioned blog “Then I saw the term used again by a blogger at BBC News, who commented, “Horizontalism has become endemic because technology makes it easy: it kills vertical hierarchies spontaneously, whereas before – and the quintessential experience of the 20th century – was the killing of dissent within movements, the channeling of movements and their bureaucratisaton.””
22/10/11 Here is Micah White from adbusters promoting involvement with Occupy.
This change in communication structures is so accurate. One of the tedious duties as union rep was the handling of communication. Now in general people abdicated their responsibility for assimilating the communication – usually letters from head office – to the union rep. Often these letters were stylised and difficult to assimilate but usually it was because of apathy and lack of interest. Letters were recorded in minutes and filed, read only by the rep – me (if I read them there were so many). These hierarchical structures of communication were not democratic. But with the internet and without leadership people need to inform themselves. Action is called through tweets or facebook, not from head office passing down to representatives. Whilst this form of communication is open to misuse that is open to the people to resolve. But what you don’t have is people standing up and saying I am the target, single me out and manipulate me.
Tags: NUT, Trots
I found this 80’s book by Robert Eringer on the net about the Bilderbergers, and there was a section on the minutes. Now for conspiracy nuts minutes of such a high-powered meeting might give indications as to the way these powerful manipulators were moving, I got nothing. It started me thinking about conference.
Now I have not attended anything powerful in conferences, only trade unions, and I am going to talk about the executive and the conference. Let me begin with the local Trades Council Executive. As secretary I received all the mail, so in preparation for the Executive I prepared an agenda which included the minutes and matters arising, ongoing campaigns, speakers, important items in the mail, and a list of all the mailing. This was a lot of work. At the end of this work the Executive made decisions on the agenda, and I prepared the agenda for the actual trades council meeting. At the meeting people would stand up and make speeches about the items, decisions would be made, and the process would happen the next month. At the meeting the decisions were made so it was democratic but the groundwork was done in the Executive, and the Executive was guided by the Secretary. The position of Secretary held the power for manipulation, but in an organisation like Trades Council no-one was bothered – it had no power.
Now conference had excitement about it, I enjoyed conference – especially the first time. I am going to talk about the NUT this time. Now I ran the local association – a bit of a give away – I was secretary of a small local association. It had no executive, no-one was interested so I prepared everything for the meeting. But other associations prepared for conference. Motions were sent nationally from the associations, and if your motion was accepted then your association spoke to, and seconded the motion. Now the work on these motions was done elsewhere. Teachers were intellectuals so there were many Trot groups amongst teachers telling the mass movement how they should behave. In teaching the strongest was the Socialist Workers’ Party, and for conference the SWP had a field day. The SWP teachers would prepare the motions, and plan which associations they would get to pass the motions to be sent to conference. The work was for conference but it was done beforehand.
As I have said conference was exciting especially the first time. I remember listening to the National Executive speaking at conference. Their keynote addresses were interesting, and then I discovered they were smoke without fire. Their visions for the union and education had no teeth because there was no action behind what they said. These were postholders, some full-time, they were concerned with job protection. At the same time they had full-time officials backing them up. Now these full-time officials were important to the union because they dealt with legal cases and represented members against the heuristic actions of incompetent careerist headteachers. I suspect full-time officials guided the National Executive side of conference. So the stage is set. National Executive vs SWP. And conference was about whether the SWP could win any motions to maybe get the National Executive to do something. This is not democracy. It is better democracy than the electoral democracies these conferences took place in, but because the members were inactive and allowed so much power to go to representatives it was a sham.
But around conference there was excitement as well. You met friends, new and old, and you cemented alliances. Within conference you had meetings about issues, and you met like-minded people who discussed those issues. You developed alliances about how to make those issues work. You planned campaigns that would lead to working with the associations next year leading up to conference next year – and so on. So whilst conference itself had its agenda, the more powerful aspects of conference were issue-based meetings and campaigning.
This is a description of mechanisms of union conference so what has this got to do with Bilderberg. Here is how I envisage Bilderberg. There will be a keynote address, maybe by Rockefeller. This keynote address might set the tone or direction of the conference but is not that significant. The speech will have been prepared by the steering committee, and the steering committee will have decided on conference members. To be a member you will need the following requirements. Bilderberg is money and power, so if you are from the transnationals then you have to be willing to pay the politicians to use their power, and the politicians who attend have to be willing to wear a “For Sale” sign. There will be issue groups and interested parties will discuss the direction of these issue groups, and contacts will have been made. When Tony Blair was encouraged to take the UK to war in Iraq, the defence industries would have provided the direction and discussed the technologies – and then given the party contributions later. Bilderberg is unlikely to discuss policy details, that is for government and military but they will have made sure that the politicians knew how serious they were about Iraq.
So when Alex Jones stands up and says that Bilderberg is discussing a particular policy – I suspect not, issues will be discussed and alliances will be forged. And this will then set government policy.
Does this mean Bilderberg is powerful? Absolutely. Does it direct world policy? In some ways. But it is actually the bringing together of the money and power, the work done by the Steering Committee. They know who is hiring and who is for sale. They know who is like-minded, they match interests and bring them together. Discussion leads to alliances amongst like-minded, new and old, delegates return to their respected offices and policy is made – supported by ongoing communication with a dig here, a push there to ensure policy is put into practice.
Billderberg is the ultimate “Behind Closed Doors” engine, and all policy is made “Behind Closed Doors”.
So what does this mean for the people of the world? Bilderberg is two things – money and power. And that is us, it is our money and our power taken away from us. Corporate power, business and finance, comes from accumulating all our wages and creating money from that accumulation. Change the way you spend, don’t allow them to accumulate your money. Live sufficiently and make what you buy local and personal transactions – not going down the supermarket and buying what they sell us. Live sufficiently. And power. That comes from a democratic vote, use that vote. Vote for honest people, people of integrity who when they stand up to speak you know they are telling the truth. Look for the truth. Don’t look at the pizazz and hype that comes from party campaigning, that is paid for by money – Bilderberg money? Look for truth. Look at Obama and Blair. What have they done? Their actions show who their allegiance belongs to. Ignore their words, they are bought. Look at their actions. Their actions tell the truth. When you see that truth, look for people who tell the truth. And when the people start looking for the truth, then truth will become a commodity that politicians will require. Look for integrity and use your insight to find that integrity, and then politics will end being “Behind Closed Doors”.
Participate in your democracy with insight.