When I was thinking of Brad, his racist comment and his socio-political failure to understand the Occupy view (discussed in this blog), I used the term “political transcendence” – I have no idea whether there is usage anywhere although a search gave some uses. [I don’t know whether I will investigate other usage].
In this blog I want to try and relate this political transcendence with spiritual transcendence, and try to bring the two together. It is often the case that people end up choosing the spiritual path or the political path yet both paths are essentially the same if taken to conclusion.
Political transcendence has a clear meaning to me, and I would recognise people who made such transcendence. My intention in using such a term is not to create something mystical, would probably be refuted by those communists and working-class activists who have “transcended”, and would possibly not want to be associated with by those same people. But in the political arena such transcendence is important.
Let me begin with Trots. On occasions I have had cause to refer to the deep divisions between communists and Trots. It is something I experienced in the 80s, and I shall detail what happened. In London I was not political but became active in anti-racism as a consequence of seeing how the system under-achieved black students. Once I started work in Hove (1987) I did not have a focus group interest (black students), and began to apply my understanding to the wider population. This took me into international politics beginning with NGO groups, and I transitioned into trade union work, my main interest being the local TUC – I became secretary of the local Trades Council. Whilst in that position I saw that the contribution of the Trots was not constructive – instead of trying to reach an agreed view their tactics were to exclusively push their own agenda – all or nothing. However I attempted to work with them, and they attempted to use my position for their own agenda; at that stage it was workable. However I became attracted to Marxism, and eventually joined with some communists – NCP, the New Communist Party. Politically it was a mistake to have joined the NCP, but retrospectively I learned a great deal.
The Secretary, of Trades Council and of NUT, is a political figure attempting to bring people together – working together for the Trades Council or NUT. As soon as I joined the NCP I was rejected by the Trots who were then unwilling to work with me. But being in NCP I learned why Trots were dangerous so I could understand why such animosity exists. Basically it works like this. The fundamental purpose of socialist politics is to work together for the good of the mass movement. Marxism goes into detail to explain how the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat, and mass movement politics is an attempt to overcome this injustice. The only way the bourgeoisie can survive is by buying off members of the proletariat to work against the interests of the rest of the proletariat. Working in mass movement politics is an attempt to unite all peoples to the commonality of their interests, and to work against exploitation by bourgeoisie – now known as 1%. It is within the context of this purpose that the division between communist and Trots developed.
With this agenda it is necessary to decide on an appropriate strategy. For the Trots they have many different groups and each group has its own agenda. Such agendas can be very specific, and on occasions it is minutiae (in my opinion) that divides them. However Trots demand their own agenda be taken up by the mass movement, and this is where I, personally – and communists in general – have disagreement with them. Determining a commonality within the mass movement requires a disciplined acceptance of what that mass movement wants and enabling it. I learnt this at Trades Council where as secretary I was responsible for implementing policy, and there were many times I had to implement policy I did not agree with. Discipline. Would Trots accept such discipline? In my view it was generally felt they didn’t.
Because I wanted to work within the mass movement becoming a communist was a mistake because it divided me from many people. Despite this, I do not at all regret joining the NCP because I met some good comrades, and they taught me a great deal about Marxism, for that reason I would recommend activists join them. However, at the time communism had many problems. In truth communism as a movement lived off the heyday of the Spanish War, it was like mixing with George Orwell heroes. Those guys have now died, but maybe their tradition lives on amongst those they taught – I hope it has. As my activism ended when I moved abroad, it mattered not that I had been separated.
However as a movement English communism is very hypocritical. It is highly critical of the Trots for their specific agendas, and yet less than 5000 English communists had split into three parties and the one I joined, the NCP, had something like 600 members nationally. Now I understand the reasons for the split, and would argue that the NCP were the genuine communists (hence why I joined them!!). But in truth as a party what was the point? Education, definitely; party, crazy.
Apart from this “Trottish” division there was at the time another major flaw, the party was sexist. It had as a policy that women should not be miners – something like that. The reason for the policy was that miners were exploited so why should women in their party be exploited by becoming miners. How paternalistic can you get; at worst it should have been a clearly-worded recommendation. Now I cannot remember which trades were included in this “miners” category, but it was shameful.
My worst experience as a member of the NCP was during the NUT conference. I was the secretary of my teachers’ association and therefore went to conference. NCP instructions were that I should join the Broad Left within the union, as that organisation was recognised as uniting the union by the NCP. At the end of conference, they had a disco which I duly (dutifully as I didn’t drink) attended. When I turned up I saw a sycophantic display of currying favour with the right-wing leadership of the union who were exploiting members; I felt like a traitor. Because teachers all had degrees they were intellectual and perhaps the most miseducated of the working-class; the NUT also contained a truck load of Trots called the Socialist Teachers’ Alliance. I remember conference as being a battle between the leadership and the Trots – interesting the first time. Every motion included the phrase “up to and including strike action”, and this phrase was argued for by the Trots and argued against by the leadership. The Trots were interested in socialism (their brand), and the leaders were only interested in membership with their subscriptions and ensuing leadership gravy train. My socialist heart was with the motions the STA proposed but I knew they were suicidal – any strike action just reduced membership and was therefore self-defeating. Interestingly I met my previous Head of Department who was a charismatic figure in the STA (maybe I will write in this blog one day about the battles I had with him as HoD but I don’t like being personal on my blog).
After receiving my education, I left the NCP and became non-aligned trade unionist, and remained active for a further two years before I left for Africa. My time as an activist was intense, and I have powerful memories. I had been spiritual first (not as a Buddhist), and underlying my activity was a feeling that people had the right to have time to be spiritual; whereas in practice all they had time for was being wage-slaves. Unfortunately for most the struggle was for more money, and this was especially irking in teaching. Teaching conditions and improved education were closely linked and a charter for improved teaching conditions would have been something well worth the struggle. Once in Africa activism was not appropriate – it was not my country, and I continued with my spiritual development – as well as taking an M Ed.
Retrospectively neither the Trots nor the communists come out rosily based on my experience. Mass movement education was essential, and the communists contributed greatly to that – unfortunately I believe the Trots would say the same thing. Their infighting detracted from the movement, and led to many unconstructive hours. Both suffered from a degree of intellectualism in which their mindsets divided them. In Buddhist terms such a mindset would be called sankara, and Trots and communists clung to their divisive mindsets. This attachment was a strong divisive force in the Labour movement, and was readily manipulated by the bourgeoisie or 1%.
For most the lack of transcendence from liberalism to an Occupy view was based in fear. Liberals often considered the centre of a balance between the left and right, would often claim balance and detachment, neither socialist nor neo-liberal. But for most Liberals there is not the basic understanding that our socio-political system is based on the exploitation of the masses. A liberal might stand for human rights but would not follow that stance through to an understanding that the infringement of those rights was as a consequence of the profit motive and the desire for accumulation. What I describe as the Guardian view sees that the view is more than just rights but fails to see the intention of the exploitation. In truth some of the Guardian view is also based in fear, afraid of the truth, and the implications of that truth.
And what is that fear? A fear of non-conformity, non-acceptance by the group. And such a fear exists within the spiritual world where many people fail to commit themselves because they are attached to desires. This fear and attachment are forces which keep people in line spiritually and politically. But once that fear and attachment is transcended, the conditioning is broken and people see life for what it is, exploitation by the 1% and a need to follow the Path. The similarity between political and spiritual transcendence is the requirement to see through the conditioning, and to accept a lifestyle that is separated from most people.
But also an important aspect of this transcendence is that it brings with it an openness of mind. I have touched on this openness of mind a little above but let me be specific it means not clinging to a mindset – a set of ideas. This is clearly what Trots do, what implicitly the communists do as well, it is also what people of faith do, and it is also what happens to those who are discovering spirituality. This last needs a little explanation. For some their journey means they start to reject the collection of ideas which have the common attribute of “conformity”. As they unravel the mess of miseducation, that academics especially are filled with, they replace it by a different mindset. Typical of this is David Icke who went through his own transformation from sports commentator to new age thinker. Many follow him as he speaks a great deal of truth but mixed up in there are a whole set of ideas that are not constructive yet many people believe they must accept those ideas because they accept David Icke. I doubt that Icke says that.
It is understandable. When we are fortunate enough to reject conformist conditioning there is a vacuum, what enigmatically some Buddhists would say needs filling with “emptiness”. But because of our miseducated minds there is still a need to fill. In my own case for 10 years I sought to fill it with Castaneda, theosophy, occult and many such, until I turned to politics, then travel, back to Buddhism, and eventually rejecting Buddhist dogma some form of emptiness – some form of open mind.
With that open empty mind without conditioning we can go beyond the dogma of our religions or other mindsets, but equally we can go beyond the dogmas of our social conformity, our political idealisms whether Liberal, Guardian or Occupy to a genuine openness that enables a proper circumspection of spiritual reality and socio-political reality. Transcendence.
Posts Tagged ‘Trots’
Tags: alienation, division, Horizontalidad, NUT, Occupy, Trots
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.
Tags: alienation, division, intellect, Trots
This is a fascinating but exhausting characteristic.
To try to get to understand this character I am going to examine other “characters”. The first such character I met was the “Trot”. Now these intellectuals helped destroy the UK political movement, not that Thatcher really needed their help – mind you the security state still felt the need to infiltrate. Typically these Trots would arrive at university, and get a deep conviction, insight, that the political system was unfair, go to lots of meetings and learn a whole bunch of political ideas about revolution etc. – and get laid. What had been a deep insight about the inadequacy of the system had become replaced by a bunch of ideas, hence the term Trotsky intellectual – Trot.
Being politics it didn’t remain in the corridors of academia. These Trots, spouters of ideas, went out into the mass movement. But they were not constructive. In meetings that were already significantly dwindling because of Thatcher’s strategies, they would unintentionally be disruptive to the collective democratic process. Democratically they have the right to their ideas but what was the purpose of the meeting? To come together to get a joint strategy that all were agreed upon – or at least could act on. Typically a topic would be discussed and the Trots would have an extreme position, a position that I would tend to agree with personally but one which the majority of the movement found extreme. These Trots would often present a motion to the affect of their position, and argue vociferously for their motion. If you listened to the volume then you would consider the meeting favoured the motion. Such motions were regularly defeated because the majority of people were not in favour and were silent – intimidated by the noise. This intimidated silence was an aspect of alienation, and such alienation was a significant result of Trot activity within the movement.
So you might argue that these people have a right to their ideas. But you have to look at the purpose – uniting the mass movement. If left-wing politics were ever to be successful they had to as a mass democratic movement united – bringing people together. I remember organising around the Poll Tax which was a movement that had been hijacked by the Trots. I got a phone call to discuss the Poll Tax demo, the voice was interested but slightly withdrawn. We discussed a while, he said I was Militant and put the phone down; obviously I hadn’t done enough to dispel the alienation Militant had caused. Typically Trot the demo was a disaster, the more violent elements encouraged by agent provocateurs held sway, there was conflict with the police, and the majority of people never supported the movement again. Because of the power of feeling the government changed the Poll Tax to Council Tax but it still ended up being a tax on people just not quite so much. But for me this was failure, and Trots symbolised alienation.
I said I tended to support their ideas, this is still true. But it is the process that was more important, working together to build a movement not the proliferation of ideas. Turning the insight of the Veil (or some other socialist insight) into a practical democratic process was the basis for a concerted approach, something the movement was never able to do then but something Occupy has been much more successful with.
What has to be understood is that adherence to ideas is what divided the movement, helped continue the destruction of a working-class alternative, and this division was why the establishment infiltrated such groups. On a personal note these people were exhausting to deal with, just as you present approaches that they accept then they remember their ideas and cling to them – end of discussion and real process.
Intellectuals in general are divisive. Once you create an idea and you ask for people to accept that idea you create a division, those who agree and those who don’t. Unity occurs through a process, a process of working together where unity is the main objective and not the promulgation of ideas. This is why insight and intellect are in a sense opposites. People with insight and intellectuals can talk about the same things but those with insight do not cling to those ideas, they “cling” to the process of insight. If you practice insight meditation then there is no clinging, ideas might grow from the process of unity and clarity but it is those processes that are important – not the ideas themselves.
Trots and intellectuals generally I have discussed but what about a particular group of intellectuals – libertarians? These people believe in freedom. Sounds fine until you get into issues like no regulation of finance. Such financial bully-boy charters (regulations) led to the crash of 2008, and the crash and all the repossessions were considered by libertarians simply collateral damage for a correct set of ideas. How can a democratic movement put ideas before people?
Associated with the libertarian movement are people like Alec Jones and David Icke – discussed on this blog (see tag). These two and those that agree with their ideas or extend their idea base I am calling the alternative intellectuals, intellectuals who promote a set of ideas that are alternative. What happens to these people? At some stage in their life they have had a deep insight that what the system is promoting is a financial system that accrues money to the wealthy to the deformation of ordinary people, people are just wage-slaves or worse. Division is again caused because it is generally required that you believe in the ideas presented or you don’t. So you start with the correct insight that the purpose of our financial system benefits the super-rich but then you get divisions because people demand that you accept their ideas.
Then you have belief systems often religious of nature. These belief systems say believe or not so we have a division. There are people calling for religious unity, and this unity is essential. But this unity cannot come from comparing the ideas and saying that mostly our idea bases are the same. Why? They are similar. Because there will always be intellectuals who focus on the differences – creating division.
Associated with belief systems are these alternative intellectuals, they have additional belief systems about chemtrails, GMO, energy, angels, and many many more. I am not in any way trying to say that any of these ideas are true or false, I am not asking you to believe in them or not, but the alternative intellectuals are. This demand for belief creates division as well. What is important is a process of unity, we are ONE, let’s work together, work in harmony etc. There cannot be oneness on the superficial level of ideas. Ideas separate because you must accept or not – duality. But if you work on the unity that comes from insight through meditation or otherwise there is no division, only ONE planet.
Trots are exhausting, they keep barking their ideas at you because they believe in the ideas so fervently they feel you must believe them as well. But when you listen they don’t feel right because they are barking ideas and not living in insight – there is no empathy. The same applies to other intellectuals who bark their ideas at you expecting agreement – no empathy, and it becomes draining because the only objective of discussion is agreeing with their ideas or not. And it is draining because insight seeks unity and with intellectuals there is no unity. You tell the intellectual seek the answer inside but they don’t wish to go there so as soon as you start with the inside the intellectual blames others – often leading to insult. Sadly this intellectual framework does not sit well with loved ones as love seeks insight.
What is so hard is that all these people are crying out for is agreement, crying out for unity, crying out for harmony – their original insight. They seek out people with insight but as soon as they find these people with insight they test them with their ideas, do they agree? Then when they don’t pass these tests, the benchmarks bench those they have sought, when all they need to do is deeply listen. This is no different for those divided by war (as opposed to the corporatocracy who create the wars). They want peace but they can’t deeply listen to find that peace.
Yet the Trots and alternative intellectuals are fortunate because they have had a strong insight, it is that insight that made them aware of the lies in the system. But their conditioning changed that insight into a bunch of ideas, and they have forgotten that they had insight. They have lost focus, and need to return to insight. Then these ideas will know their place. Their anger and frustration insists they must bark these ideas at every opportunity – even when people don’t want to hear; their actions effectively try to drag other people into the same arena of anger and frustration. But with insight you can know about the ideas without being possessed by these emotions, without insight you cannot. These intellectuals need to remember the source of their understanding and return to insight.
These types of intellectualism, so lauded in the West, are perhaps the greatest success of the miseducation system because they have effectively eschewed insight, and at the same time causing anger and frustration and bringing about such division because of the ideas – and sometimes providing excuses for war. Peace and understanding through insight, please.
This is a blogged response to this question, I am concerned about what was originally bonhomie:-
“All birds, fish, and wild animals are free to do as they please, go where they please, associate with whom they please, and work or play when they please, regardless of boundaries. They are bound only by their instinct and physical limitations. Freedom is natural, and it’s origin is as old as the infinite universe itself.” This appears to be taken as a starting point as to what freedom is, and I don’t see how it can be.
Birds look as if they are free. I go to the beach, and there are a couple of eagles high in the jungle. Then they soar out magnificently, maybe even swooping; it is majestic. Would that I could have that freedom? Of course I cannot, is the bird free?
So what is the bird doing as it flies majestically? It is hunting food – instinct, it has no choice it must hunt food for itself or family. If it must hunt, is it free? Does it do anything else other than hunt for food? Watch TV, write a blog, meditate? What about migrating birds, are they free? In the UK birds fly South for the Winter, they have no choice. Nature’s response to the cold is they fly South. I saw a TED talk where dragonflies cross oceans, such phenomenal freedom. But the old dragonflies die, the old birds they die. There is no choice, they die. If it is their Nature is it a choice, is it free?
There are two ways to consider this “freedom”:-
1) Accept that the bird is free because it is living according to its Nature
Either way the actions of the bird do not change so freedom cannot be judged by action but by state of mind.
With man we have similar options:-
1) Accept man is free because s/he is living according to her/his Nature
The first option requires an analysis of the nature of man, and in understanding this nature and living to that understanding s/he can be free.
The second option is what I suspect is normally considered to be freedom, the ability to choose. Like in many esoteric traditions I believe that man uniquely has the ability to choose. But does having that choice mean that man is free? Suppose s/he chooses to commit a crime and is put in prison, the consequence is not freedom. Suppose the choice leads to a restriction of another, is that an appropriate choice? I could continue with innumerable choices, and if I were an academic I would have to, that would lead to a conclusion:-
The only viable choices are those in which man is living in harmony with Nature where Nature is ONE planet, Unity of all men and species.
And this brings us back to 1), man is free only if s/he is living according to her/his nature; one consequence of this recognition is that freedom is a state of mind and not a question of incarceration or boundaries. It is only if our minds are free that we can be free, and our minds can only be free if we are living according to our nature.
That brings us to a question of understanding the nature of man. Starting with Unity as ONE planet, then the issue is what is causing separation. So to understand the nature of man we have to primarily understand that the part of mind of man seeking individuality – egotism – is that which restricts freedom. If egotism were under control and separation was not being sought, then man would be living according to nature – ONE planet – free.
Unfortunately it appears to me that much that is libertarian is not seeking this living according to nature. Freedom is this ability to soar like the birds, and this human personification means do what you want. Such is not acceptable.
Update – This series of discussions with the libertarian has left me with a good understanding of people like Greg, Alex Jones, and so on. They are completely divisive. The more discussion with Greg, the more the focus on idealism less on people, mortgages – collateral damage, judges and politicians are corrupt, but a 12-person jury of poor people with families who have no protection are not. Farcical. Ideas first is pure Trot. Free regulations – people be damned, law is integral as justice in a system without a state, no consistency, not thought out in terms of the people, just freedom at whatever the cost. Ideals – a belief system.
I am beginning to get hopeful for this movement, where are the old guard?
I remember watching Billy Bragg on Democracy Now saying there is a need for a new style of movement. However much he impressed me I saw this as a bit of wish-fulfilment and a bit of the Trot in him. Now I am far less sure, in fact I am sure it is about time the old guard recognised there is a need for a change.
In earlier blogs I discussed the issue of the division of the movement and the damage the Trots can do, citing the divisions that led to the demise of the poll tax movement and Thatcher’s victory with the Council tax. What is happening in the old-guard movement now? Nothing. The trade unions are barely holding onto membership and mostly spend their time protecting their jobs. Socialist groups fan the embers maybe pretending they are cadres-in-waiting, and meanwhile the grip the corporatocracy has tightens and tightens. Despite the deep respect I have for the old guys most of whom have passed on, their style of organisation is not suited now.
Look at Libya. Despite Nato interference they basically started as rag, tag and bobtail, and Libya’s democratic movement grew out of that. In the end Nato defended democracy although I am sure that they will do all they can to crush this fledgeling democracy when there is less public scrutiny.
So how does this connect with Occupy? Occupy is not based around traditional party structures as Michael Moore said on Democracy Now (28/9/11) noting that these people have not paid their dues nor are they carrying cards – members. #OccupyWallSt is out there because a bunch of young politicos were angry and said let’s go to Wall Street. Apparently there was some kind of umbrella organisation in Toronto that called for it, but this is not an organised mass movement of representatives etc. Now it is not big as yet, but it is spreading across America and to London – let’s hope elsewhere. Apparently one trade union has supported them but the truth is that trade unions are too invested in the existing corporatocratic structures to give support. What are trade unions about? Discussing profit margins and demanding that the workforce has a higher proportion than previously. But the corporatocracy has moved on. They are now saying we don’t need you as workers, we can slash the workforce and manufacture elsewhere – typically short-sighted as who will have money to buy their products? The only business that is expanding is the war machine – drones!!
Update, according to RT, unions are giving #OccupyWallSt support but that does not alter my comment that they are financially tied into the system – and an unlikely source of deep support.
Most of the left-wing parties, both CP and socialist, organise around the trade unions, and they seek political power through the trade union influence on the Labour Party. But that influence is dead. Look at Tony. He went cap-in-hand to industry and said I can give you more profit than the Tories. I will control the workforce by pretending to work with the unions, and will so increase your profits. In return you give me a job with the Quartet afterwards, I will make sure that there is no peace so long as I get a whack from J P Morgan and a few lucrative contracts with the oil sheikhs. Where is the Labour movement in all of that? Used and stepped on. It is not just postholders that cling to the old left-wing model it is the stalwarts, the comrades who have attended trades council week-in week-out, committed themselves to the democracy of their union branch and acted in solidarity with them throughout their lives. These people have always been dumped on by their leaders, and that suits the corporatocracy. Nice middle-class liberals who maybe get a bit political where their Oxfam interests touch on trade unionism, church groups giving out of conscience to recognised charities – a bit less now because of the recession, these people have all helped in the struggle in the past. This has all gone as an effective approach – even if it ever was.
And what is the instrument of organised resistence in the class struggle now? The keyboard and mobile phone. Kids gave grown up with internet access, and whether parents have liked it or not (I use it but don’t like it) this is a way of communicating for them. Whilst I still maintain this communication is (140 character-)shallow, #OccupyWallSt can still offer a rallying call, http://occupywallst.org can show us the clips of the policy of police violence last weekend, and hopefully enough of these twitters will have the balls to get out on the streets. But it is a young fight. Let the young loudmouth women shout if they choose – most people I have seen interviewed are saying this is a peaceful protest. But it is young people, let them do it their way. Michael Moore can stand up and support, but he is not saying do it our way – the way of the old organisers. To paraphrase he is saying, let’s gather round rag, tag and bobtail and start a movement, and move and move.
Where will it go? It can spread #OccupySingapore, #OccupySilom, #OccupyMoscow #Occupy#, anywhere. The point is for young people to occupy, and continue occupying. How long was Greenham occupied? Occupy. What good will it do? Who knows? As Michael Moore says, in this campaign ordinary working people support the issue these young people are campaigning about. At the start of Vietnam people supported the war, in the end people backed the young. But now the people see that Wall Street and their corporate clones globally are just sucking the money out of society and putting nothing back. In the US there are foreclosures – people have no homes when they have worked all their lives, they have no medical protection when they want to pay for it, they are just being screwed – as always but this time the greedy have hopefully (in one sense) gone too far.
Previously the trade unions were fighting for the company profits. Now it has changed. People are saying to the rich no matter how much you manipulate you cannot take the world’s money and store it behind barbed-wire walls and security. There is no violence and if the rich respond less greedily there will never be such, but they are saying “Pay your tax, you are people as well stop screwing us and give your share”. The demands cannot be more than this, detailed demands play into their pockets. That is the old way, use action to reinforce particular demands. But the corporatocracy has that game licked. Rag tag and bobtail are saying “you are people too, pay your way”. I hope all the old guard will use their influence to get out and join rag, tag and bobtail.
Of course the old guard might not know it’s happening as the media has a lid on it – the kids’ media doesn’t. Tweet, download, skype, text, foursquare, play the game with the kids and get out on the streets. Comrades join the kids, and get out of the old traps.
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.
Tags: 5 precepts, Buddhism, Corporatocracy, intellect, sila, Trots
(added to religion page)
Sila, moral integrity, is the foundation on which the Buddhist Path and Practice is based, without sila a person cannot genuinely call themselves Buddhist. Unlike Christianity and Islam the requirements of sila are not defined so a person must work out for themselves what their moral position is. However there are lay guidelines listed here (with the Pali original):-
The Five Precepts:
Determining where you stand with regards to these principles and making a commitment to apply them to your daily life begins to open the Path that is Buddhist understanding, and at the same time it develops in the person an integrity which others can rely on – trust. Trust and sila have a symbiotic relationship, without sila a person cannot be trusted and we cannot trust people without integrity.
For government trust is an essential commodity, we need to trust that our government works in our interest – essentially the meaning of democracy. This is why it is necessary to understand the relationship between the corporatocracy and government, and I suggest that it is best understood as employer and employee. Rather than considering the notion that we trust our government because it is a democracy, to understand the way of the world it is best understood that the government works for the banks and corporations, and that is why we have the policies we do. What can we trust the government to do, work for the corporatocracy. Until this relationship is recognised democratically, then there is little chance of change. For me this is where political awareness is now at – the need to educate people that the relationship between the corporatocracy and government is that of employer and employee.
The most obvious tool for recognising this relationship is that of consistency. Let us consider war in the light of this tool of consistency, how consistent is our government’s stance on war? The first Gulf War was fought for democracy – trying to help the democratic rulers of Kuwait to overthrow the enemy, Saddam Hussein. What democratic rulers of Kuwait? The Kuwaiti rulers are dictators – inconsistency. NATO supported the rebels to overthrow the dictatorship of Qaddafi – possible. Who are they supporting? The Libyan people – we are not sure yet, but the National Transitional Council certainly has no right to call itself a democracy – inconsistency.
In both of the above cases the arms manufacturers gained greatly. Western allies used taxpayers’ money and money borrowed from the bankers – their respected Feds (Federal Reserve and the Bank of England) to pay the arms companies for their weapons to fight the respected wars. At the same time as a result of both wars NATO countries have gained control of the oil supply. Consistency.
Let’s then look at the recession that we are supposedly in. Who benefits from the recession? Prior to the crash sparked by the manipulations of the sub-prime loans, more than just the bankers were gaining through financial exploitation. After the crash the banks claimed they needed money, and because of their control of governments they were able to get money form the government to stabilise the banking system without which the economies would go under. I dispute that the peoples’s economies would go under as if your economy was forced back to a sustainable one, the people would not suffer. The vast amounts of credit that underpins our economic system only shows itself in zeros of the accounts of the super rich. Ordinary people don’t necessarily benefit from the vast amount of credit directly, over a period of time removal of a credit economy would stabilise into a working barter system (or return to the gold standard). People would never accept the obscene amounts of money the super rich claim they have if the people were starving, this superclass would come under threat quite rightly. That threat doesn’t happen now because whilst the super-rich still have an obscene amount of money idling away in offshore accounts the majority of people have sufficient to get by either through personal credit or through credit on a wider scale.
So during the recession the banks, who started the problem have been given bailout money, are they expected to return it? Where does this money come from? Normally we say taxes but if there is not sufficient money from the taxes the money is borrowed or created by the various Feds. Once borrowed from the Feds, it must be paid back, so the bankers gain from the interest and the payback. Do the banks have to pay the government? Unsure. Does the government have to pay the banks? Definitely. Who is the employer? When you understand this, there are no inconsistencies.
People want to trust their government, they want to give their governments responsibility for their actions. A country needs a government to ensure fairness and justice, and in the US this is the basis of their constitution. But in the UK there has never been a constitution, the government has always been in league with the landowners and then finance and the corporations. However in the case of the UK the politicians claim democracy, and claim that they have the interest of the people. In the US the paper, constitution, claims the interests of the people. But in neither case is this the truth, the function of the government is primarily to work for the banks and corporations. To understand taxation you need to understand this. Taxes are paid so that the government can accumulate money. Some of this accumulated money is paid out for public services, why not all? Money is paid for “defence”, is all the money spent necessary for defence? No. Why is it spent? For the profits of the MIC. When you look at the way government spends its money, it only makes sense if you see it as the banks and corporations taking money from working people and needing to convince working people that it is necessary to do this. Taxation is for the banks and corporations – consistency.
Once people are aware of this fundamental relationship, then the struggle can begin in earnest. Does this struggle have to be violent? I hope not. Many left-wing theorists say it is necessary, I genuinely hope it is not. Suppose we have that awareness and are not seeking a violent solution, what can we do? If the awareness is solid, then we can apply pressure to democratic representatives to break the relationship with their employers – get the politicians to fight the banks and corporations. This can only happen with a tremendous amount of popular support – such as in Nicaragua in 1979 or in Cuba. But in both those cases it was violent. Are there examples where the people have ascended power and it has not been violent? No. BUt if the democratic power is strong enough then the superclass will be willing to relinquish some power, maybe there is a way for compromise. But that power needs to be strong, and the people need to trust their representatives. In the UK and the US we have had leaders who have misused that trust, both Tony Blair and Barack Obama presented themselves as leaders for the people but in practice they were the same employees as previous politicians but with sugar moths that spouted lies. We need to break the existing party machines that ensure that liars become leaders, and people with integrity work their way through the ranks. Politics needs to be seen as a place for sila and politicians as bastions of such integrity; then we can have trust.
Let’s examine the lay principles. I have and there is little point, they have nothing to do with politics. If they did it would be great, but certainly no leading British politician can follow then whilst functioning in a corporatocracy. Just because it is a Pali word sila is not the prerogative of Buddhists, underpinning all religions is a moral integrity that is worth fighting for. Consider the 10 Commandments, if a politician followed them the world would be a better place, and the same would be true of codes within other religions. The Four Agreements would benefit humanity if politicians were to follow them.
The issue is not the code, it is power. Working in Grass Roots politics there were many genuine people – even somewhere underneath the intellectual egos of the Trots must be a heart of compassion – otherwise why did they take the path of conflict with the establishment; they could have been intellectual and earn money (how many Trots give up and do that?). And the stage at which Grass Roots politics loses sila is when the politician compromises themselves to gain power. Look at Obama. Wonderful rhetoric – phenomenal. He pushed all the correct buttons of compassionate people. But you have to know that the corporatocracy would not give him campaign contributions if they couldn’t be sure he was pliable. And lo and behold, at every opportunity he has failed to deliver. I am sorry for all the disappointed people, but even though he has misused everyone people must still struggle to empower the democracy.
Power corrupts, somehow we need to consider how the genuine compassion of the grass roots activist can work its way up into power. It only takes one person in power to enable us all. Obama has shown us one thing that is very positive, a platform of genuine compassion is electable. In the US it is not the electability of the platform but the financial requirement to be a candidate – corporate sponsorship.
Let’s make sila the price politicians pay for our trust and our vote.