Marxism and Communism

I describe myself nowadays as a Socialist or even as a Marxist, but note not a Communist or a Marxist-Leninist. It seems this requires further clarification, but I know of others who similarly describe themselves as Marxists but not Communists.

I departed the British Communist Party in 1976 after two visits to the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). During the last visit to the GDR in 1976 my life-partner, George Miller, accompanied me and pointed out the defects in the system I preferred to ignore or excuse as a temporary aberration.

It took me many years to consolidate my political views and recover from the shattering of my dreams for the world eventually evolving into a self-governing Communist society in which all States had withered away, in which wars would be no more, and in which a classless society would govern themselves without police, judges, courts, prisons or even money. Marx and Engels had given us this vision of a society in which there was an abundance of goods and services, and in which everybody lived by the maxim: ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’.

I eventually realized that this utopian dream was totally unrealistic and that, in this world at least, there would always be those who would seek to corrupt any system and gain privileges for themselves and their families. It also became obvious that attempts to clamp down on those seeking to distort Socialism in this way failed, and much worse, it seemed the main victims of Stalinist repression were those who remained true to the ideals of the Bolshevik revolution or who were for genuine freedom of speech and real democracy, albeit under a Socialist Constitution.

Those who sought to usurp the organs or power and use them to award privileges for themselves and their families had no such ideals, so were willing to sway with the political wind, always following the Party line and whoever was the leading comrade. They thus, for the most part, survived the Stalinist purges and all attempts to clamp down on dissent; they paid lip-service to the ideals of the revolution and to the creation of a Communist society.

I still maintain, however, that the Soviet Union and the other Socialist countries achieved a great deal, including full employment, education for everyone, homes for everyone at low rents, good publc transport and public services, good health services, and for some at least, a feeling of comradeship between peoples and hope for the future. I also believe that in the years 1989-1991 which saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and Socialism in Eastern and Central Europe, opportunities were lost for making the system more democratic. I believe not that they threw out the baby with the bathwater, but in many cases they threw out the Socialist baby and kept the corrupt bathwater. No place was this more obvious than in former Yugoslavia, the most liberal and successful Socialist state in Europe, where the old Communist Party leaders became nationalists overnight and where terrible wars and genocides took place as the country fragmented.

In countries like the GDR and CSSR (Czechoslovakia) there was a ruling coalition headed by the Marxist-Leninist Party but also including many other political parties. It would have been relatively simple to break up these coalitions and allow the individual political parties to put up rival candidates and contest free General Elections held under the Socialist Constitution of these countries. This would have allowed corrupt governments and officials to be voted out, and a new government elected to run their own brand of Socialism. The Socialist Constitution could have been replaced only by a referendum in which a substantial majority would need to vote for a new Constitution. In the one-party states like the USSR, amendments to the Socialist Constitution would have been needed to allow new political organizations and parties to form and contest elections.

Now we come to the question of Marxism, Marxism-Leninism and Communism. I have already said that I now believe Communism, i.e. the utopian Stateless society, is unlikely to evolve anywhere in the near future, if at all. In my view there will always be the need for a State and all its apparatus such as police, judges, courts, prisons, etc. and indeed money or its equivalent and the ability, as Tony Benn said, to elect representatives to governing bodies and to remove them.

However Marxism is not just about creating the utopian society of Communism. Marx’s greatest achievement was probably to describe the surplus value of labor; that workers by hand and brain create surplus value to what they need to subsist and this is what is exploited by capitalism in the form of profits and dividends. It can be demonstrated by the value of, for example, gold. If it remains in the ground it is worthless until miners expend their labor to dig it out of the ground. It is the danger and hard labor involved in digging out this rare commodity which give it its high value. If gold rained down from the skies or grew on trees it would still be pretty and used for jewelry, etc. but would not have much true value at all. Similarly with great works of art and antiques; the labor, often very skilled labor, involved in producing them, much of it unique, give these works and antiques their scarcity value. If machines and computers help produce goods, then it is the labor power involved in their design and manufacture which give the end products their value.

The other important philosophy Marx formulated were the doctrines of Dialectical and Historical Materialism. He showed how society inevitably evolves through stages from primitive tribal society, through feudalism to capitalism and Socialism. He then added the final stage of Communism, which no society has yet achieved, except possibly in small communes and these tended to be temporary before they collapsed or transmuted into something else.

I still believe that the eventual collapse of capitalism is inevitable and that it must be replaced by some sort of Socialism. Wars and dictatorial systems like fascism can delay this evolution, but however long it takes Socialism must come eventually come about.

We now come to the question of Marxism-Leninism. I now believe Lenin, and indeed his close compatriot Leon Trotsky, both betrayed the original ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution and paved the way for the Stalinist terror and all that followed including the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. Early in the days of Soviet power the Kronstadt rebellion took place, led by sailors and others seeking to preserve the original ideas of the Revolution. Their demands were quite modest and included the right to organize in trade unions and leftwing political parties, to allow limited private enterprise which did not include hired labor, to a degree of workers’ control (which would eliminate the growing bureaucracy), etc. This rebellion was crushed on the orders of Lenin by Trotsky’s Red Army. For obvious reasons the crushing of this Kronstadt rebellion is not criticized by either Trotskyist organizations nor by the successors to the Stalinist branches of Marxism-Leninism.

As I believe it was Lenin, along with Trotsky, who laid the foundations for a bureaucratic dictatorship in the Soviet Unon and all the horrors which followed, I no longer can describe myself as a Marxist-Leninist. However it can be argued that in adopting the notion of the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ Marx and Engels also laid the foundations for the repression which symbolized Soviet-style Socialism, and its most extreme form during the Stalinist eras in several Socialist countries. However the term can be interpreted in several ways. Marx and Engels used it to describe the Socialist era after the collapse of capitalism and that it was necessary to create the classless, self-governing society of Communism proper. By creating a one-Party State the toiling masses would be able to join and by sheer numbers eliminate any attempts to restore capitalism or to corrupt the Socialist system, and eventually create the self-governing, classless society of Communism. This of course never happened as the bureaucratic repression had already been instigated by Lenin and Trotsky, carried to extremes by Stalin, and the corrupted and distorted version of Socialism led to its eventual demise.

There are, however, as I said other interpretations which can be applied to the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’, though I dislike the term and would no longer use it as it implies repression of all minorities. Nevertheless democracy itself can be described as ‘the dictatorship of the majority’ and if the majority labor for a living, as the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Again the rights of minorities are overlooked in this description. I would therefore now use the term Socialist Democracy to describe the kind of society I would like to see. This would involve, as described above, all political parties and organizations existing side-by-side, able to contest free elections, the ability of the electorate to vote out one government and elect another, freedom of speech and of the Press, but within the confines of a Socialist Constitution which could only be replaced by a substantial majority vote in a Constitutional referendum. In this way Socialism could be enshrined as the basis of society, but corrupt governments could be voted out and another political party voted in to administer Socialism, or indeed their own brand of Socialism. The Soviet model was by no means universal, and Tito in Yugoslavia had a unique system of worker cooperatives which was much more successful. Rather than huge State monopolies operating under cumbersome and inefficient five-year plans, individual companies could also be taken into public ownership with workers’ control and they could compete along with cooperatives in a Socialist market place. State monopolies or nationalization is probably more suitable for the public utilites and transport systems which use national networks or grids which need to be maintained centrally.

So I consider myself a Socialist and a Marxist, but no longer a Marxist-Leninist. I would be quite satisfied if society reached and maintained the Socialist society Marx and others envisaged without the repression of Soviet-style Socialism and with no promise of an eventual Communist society. If that does eventually materialize in this world it would not be for many generations in hundreds or even thousands of years time when humanity has evolved sufficiently to make it practicable.

Our Segregated Schools

In the United States during the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-1960s, schools were one of the places they were determined to de-segregate. Children were bussed miles to schools in order to achieve an ethnic mix. Before that, especially in the Deep South, schools were segregated. When Elvis Presley was first heard on radio people thought he was black because of his unusual first name and the material he was singing. How did they indicate he was in fact white? By slipping into the introductions to his records the school he went to in Memphis, which of course was an all-white one.

It seems to me that we now have segregated schools in the UK. I am a gay man and do not have children myself, nor do I have any close relatives with children, but I am fully aware that State schools in many Inner London areas are about 95% ethnic, and that private schools are about 95% white – this being a conservative estimate. How do I know this? Because I pass State school playgrounds or see the children on outings, and I have also visited private schools and their students come to our pensioners’ Lunch Club and Drama Group, I also see private schools on outings. There can be no doubt about it, our schools in many Inner London areas are segregated.

In the outer suburbs and rural areas I would imagine most schools, both State and private, are predominately white. This is because most ethnic communities tend to be in the Inner cities and poorer areas, often on council estates.

How has this segregation come about? It is certainly not government policy to segregate our education system, as was the case in South Africa during the apartheid regime. It has come about by parents deciding they would not send their children to State schools which were increasingly becoming predominantly ethnic. If they could afford it they sent their children to private schools, but if they could not afford the fees they moved out to more rural areas where the State schools were still predominantly white.

The reason this is not debated as an issue on the liberal Left is because many otherwise liberal middle-class people do not wish to discuss it. They prefer to turn a blind eye because they are as guilty as the rest for bringing about this situation. Nor is it just the white middle-class population who have brought about this situation; some middle-class blacks, including a well-known Leftwing Labour MP, have sent their children to private schools.

We have always had the British public school system, which is where the upper classes send their children. Not ‘public’ schools in the American sense, they are in fact private schools for the elite. They obviously are predominantly white upper class. Their pupils go on to Oxbridge and many end up in Conservative governments, including many former Tory Prime Ministers.

So the UK now has an educational system which, certainly up to university level, is almost completely segregated. Surely this is a bad thing if what we need more than anything is integration? If children are brought up in an all-white or all-ethnic environment, how will they learn to integrate later in life? How will they learn to accept different cultures and different ways of life?

I am not sure what the answer is, if we should start doing what they did in the Deep South in the 1960s and bussing children, often against their parents’ wishes, to different State schools to insure an ethnic mix. Should the State pay for more ethnic pupils in private schools? Whatever the solution, the problem needs to be addressed or society will become ever more polarized and segregated in future. Far from the problem being addressed, it is never spoken about on the Left but quietly brushed under the carpet. Middle-class parents, otherwise quite liberal or Left in their politics, often send their kids to private schools, or move to predominantly white areas if they do not already live in them, and pretend there is no problem. Those like me living on a council estate in Inner London with no ax to grind as we do not have children of our own, can see the glaringly obvious segregation which exists in our schools, which everyone else on the liberal Left prefers to ignore.

American Presidential Election 2016

I can’t say I was that surprised at Donald Trump winning, though I was rooting for Hillary as I sat up watching the results come in. However if I’d had a vote in this election I really don’t think I could have voted for either candidate. I still think Bernie Sanders would have had a better chance of beating Trump, and I’d have certainly voted for him. Hillary was too associated with previous administrations, the war in Iraq and the Establishment. I felt she was positively dangerous with the real prospect of her authorizing the shooting down of Russian planes in Syria. She would also have continued the demonization and isolation of Russia, which I consider disastrous. I would have had to vote for the Green candidate.

The only positive thing I can say about Trump is that he seeks a dialog with Russia and is cool on NATO. CND has been against NATO from the start, including me of course, and at the very least we think it should have been wound up at the same time as the Warsaw Pact at the end of the Cold War. Russia should have been brought in from the cold once the Soviet Union collapsed. The worst thing is that Gorbachev was promised NATO would not expand eastwards, and it has crept right up to the Russian border and now includes former Socialist states and Soviet republics. The arms build up on both sides of the Russian border is alarming, as is the presence of nuclear weapons. Remember the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962 which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust was caused by Soviet nuclear weapons being shipped to Cuba a few miles off the Florida coast, and American nukes being just over the Soviet border in Turkey. Thank goodness there was then dialog between President Kennedy and Krushchev which resulted in an agreement not to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, and for the ones in Turkey to be removed. There is no such dialog in the present Cold War situation between Russia and the West.

Therefore I consider the most important international issue at the moment is dialog with Russia and a joint effort to defeat ISIS/ISIL, Al-Quaida, etc. which have risen up due to Western interventions in places like Iraq and Libya.

Trump is a bigot and a billionaire, and his racism and misogyny during the election campaign were deplorable. In the aftermath of his election there have been riots on the streets and at the same time, as in the post-Brexit vote, racism and homophobia are rampant.

This election is a disaster for America, which is divided more than ever before. Clinton got more of the popular vote, but under the first-past-the-post Electoral College system Trump was pronounced the winner.

I am extremely uneasy about Trump having access to the nuclear codes. He is so unpredictable he could decide to launch nukes against, if not Russia, possibly ISIS in the Middle East. Hopefully he will be contained and controlled, as no President has absolute power. Even with a Republican House and Senate, many fellow Republicans oppose Trump’s more extreme policies. I do hope, however, he is allowed to meet Putin and re-establish a relationship with Russia.

His policy of tariffs on goods imported from places like China, his threat to deport immigrants, to ban Muslims from entering the US, to abolish Obamacare, etc. are silly and abhorrent and will hopefully be dropped.

However Trump’s election victory is a symptom of the worldwide rejection of neo-liberalism and against the Establishment which has impoverished the lower classes. While Trump’s policies are not the solution, at this time any anti-Establishment candidate is liable to gain great popularity. We see this in the crowds who attended Trump rallies and similar scenes at rallies of leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn. Bernie Sanders also attracted big enthusiastic crowds. At times like these it is scary because the electorate can go for either extreme rightwing policies or leftwing ones. If it was not to be Sanders, it would probably be Trump. If it is not to be Corbyn as the Brexit result showed it could be an extreme rightwinger. UKIP claimed credit for the Brexit vote.

It is all very depressing, but my hope is that Labour will unite and manage to win the next General Election, and that the USA will now resume dialog and relations with Russia. Also that Trump’s racist and misogynist traits will be contained and he will not be able to implement policies based on these. Whether he replaces the fence with a wall on the USA’s southern border with Mexico is really immaterial, but deportation of immigrants would be a grave mistake, especially considering most of the USA population are the descendants of immigrants. The Native Americans being the first settlers of that country.

Internet Voices

When we were planning a trip abroad my life-partner, George, used to obtain books from the library about the places we were going to visit. So as all of us are some day going to leave this life on Earth is it not a good idea to do some research to discover where, if anywhere, we go, and what it would be like?

The closed-minded will say either ‘no point, there is nothing and nowhere to go, when you’re dead you’re dead’. Or if they are a member of certain religious groups they will claim they know already, that they are going to either go directly to some exclusive heaven for other members of their particular belief, or they will fall asleep till Judgment Day.

I prefer to actually do the research and find out for myself. Fortunately, with the Internet, we have at our fingertips all the evidence we need to show we all do survive what we call death, and that it is in fact just a transition from one dimension to another.

I have just this morning listened to an ordinary working-class woman from the East End of London, Alice Green, talking about her life here on Earth and in the afterlife. She says they moved from London to Margate, and when she passed over she attended her own funeral. Nobody took any notice of her, so she saw no point in hanging around, then her husband came to meet her and take her to the Other Side, where she met many friends and relations, all looking much younger than when she last saw them on Earth before they passed over. Alice herself was so pleased to have her long black hair back, it had long ago turned gray and been cut shorter.

There are loads of recorded voices like this in the Lesley Flint Archives on the Net. The late Lesley Flint was a Direct Voice Medium, a rare talent which involves an ectoplasmic voice-box which the spirits can learn to speak thru. Flint was one of the most rigorously tested mediums and the voices even occurred when his mouth was taped up, and when he visited apartments he had not been in before.

You can also hear Alf Pritchett, who passed in the First World War, describe his experience, not realizing he was passed over and wondering why German soldiers were ignoring him on the battlefield, or Alfred Higgins who fell off a ladder and is frustrated when a medium receives the image of a ladder and tells his wife ‘I see the ladder of success my dear’. These are ordinary people, but you can also hear posthumous recordings of Queen Alexandra of Denmark, Amy Johnson, Charlotte Bronte, Confucius, Dr Cosmo Lang (Archbishop of Canterbury), Dame Alice Terry, Dean Inge of St Paul’s Cathedral who my mother worked for in her first job in service. She said his voice sounded like him when I played the recording. Dr Stephen Ward (implicated in the Profumo scandal), Elizabeth Fry, George Bernard Shaw, Lionel Barrymore, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Curie, Maurice Chevalier, Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria and her personal medium John Brown, Rudolph Valentino, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir William Crookes, Sir Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson and many others, as well as ordinary people.

Lesley Flint was not unique, the late Colin Fry also used to do physical mediumship and Direct Voice séances, and I have heard some very amusing recordings by the spirits of Kenneth Williams, Peter Cook, Bette Davis, etc.

I myself attended physical mediumship séances by David Thompson and heard Louis Armstrong, Quentin Crisp and my life-partner George also spoke to me and touched my face.

Another medium, Andrew Russell-Davis, channels the Earthbound spirit of Diana Spencer, former Princess of Wales, and they stayed in my council flat for two months so I had direct conversations with her. She uses Andrew’s own vocal chords, so this is not Direct Voice or physical mediumship which uses ectoplasm or some other energy.

Also on the Internet you can find many YouTube and audio recordings describing Near Death Experiences where people have visited the Other Side then been revived. Some of these are extremely evidential as they give veridical descriptions of events and things in and around them while in a flatline state. One woman correctly gave the 12-digit reference number on a piece of tall equipment in the operating theater which could only be seen from a point near the ceiling, and another saw a coin on a similar piece of tall equipment. Yet another saw a blue tennis shoe, later recovered, on an outside ledge of the hospital the other side of the building from the ward where she was linked-up to survival equipment unable to move from her bed. Yet another patient ‘saw’, when out of his body which was unconscious on the operating table, a surgeon flapping his hands, later also verified.

Those NDErs who have briefly crossed over to the Other Side also describe similar environments to those spirits coming thru mediums. No matter what their religious or atheist background, what culture they come from all describe an environment much like the Earth, but with differences.

However this research has also shown that there are other dimensions. The Lower Astral, for instance, which is a gloomy place. We go to be with spirits much like ourselves, so those who have been very cruel or selfish end up temporarily in an environment with like-minded spirits. They can eventually evolve or be rescued, as can some Earthbound spirits who refuse to even believe they are ‘dead’. There are also closed environments inhabited by spirits who belong to certain religious sects. They believe they are the only ones who survived death, but eventually they realize the truth, that everyone survives. There are, of course, higher levels as well, and eventually we all have the opportunity, if we desire, to develop and progress to these higher planes. In the highest of these we are pure energy or spirit and need no body or physical environments, but many are content in what is often termed the Earthlike Third Level or Summerland where Alice, Alf and Alfred communicated from.

The Internet has opened up all these possibilities to hear ‘dead’ people talking from the Other Side, for those who are interested and would like to know what to expect. Of course it can all be dismissed as fraud, but this carries weight only if the phenomena in question have been investigated. There are fraudulent mediums, but to just say all mediumship must be fraud because you do not believe an afterlife is possible is just a subjective opinion. Not all the voices sound exactly as the people did when on Earth – some do, some do not. The more experienced communicators tend to get the voice right, it is not an easy process to remember their voice on Earth as telepathy is the main means of communication on the Other Side.

I speak to ‘dead’ people all the time, and I listen to them occasionally on the Internet. I speak to my mother and life-partner in Spirit, and my best friend at school. I get telepathic messages from them, and many by other methods.

A friend who told a terminally ill person he was caring for that he had never received a phone call from someone who had died to say they had arrived safely, received three missed call messages on his mobile phone when Reg, the person he was caring for, passed away in hospital. The missed calls came from the cut-off landline in Reg’s flat and were timed just after he’d passed over. They read: ‘Reg calling, Reg calling, Reg calling….’. Spooky or what?

Here is the link to the Leslie Flint archive if you’re interested in researching this yourself:
http://adcguides.com/librarynames.htm

Post-materialist science does not require belief in ‘God’

This is the term used to describe science which rejects the materialist paradigm. Many scientists now subscribe to various post-materialist theories, and indeed Quantum Physics could be regarded as post-materialist science. (Please note that Wikipedia’s entry on post-materialism is nothing to do with post-materialist science, that subject is omitted intentionally due to the materialist paradigm which governs Wikipedia’s editors.)

This does not mean that post-materialism necessarily involves a belief in ‘God’. I don’t even know what that term means with a capital letter. I know there are many ‘gods’ with a small ‘g’ and this word is used to described anything or person which is worshiped, including a deity. But what is a ‘deity’ or the ‘Deity’ come to that? Does it exist at all?

I used to describe myself as an atheist, but that sounds far too negative for someone like me who accepts the evidence that consciousness is the fundamental reality, and therefore we all survive death. Post-materialism suggests Mind and Brain are separate, and that the brain is a receiver/transmitter rather than the actual seat of consciousness.

Rationalist is a word I prefer to atheist, because I subscribe to no faith or religion. I also call myself an agnostic Spiritualist meaning I don’t know about ‘God’ because I don’t understand what the term means, but I do receive communications from spirits who are no longer on our Earthly dimension.

Fewer people today believe in a father figure in the sky who judges us. Those who have had Near Death Experiences sometimes talk of encountering a ‘Being of Light’ which some interpret as God, that doesn’t really explain the nature of what they actually encountered. A higher Spiritual Being presumably, but is that necessarily ‘God’?

As an agnostic I admit I don’t know whether God exists or not, but if it does it’s had a very bad publicist and I would want nothing to do with the ‘God’ of the Old Testament, for example. If we are referring to the sum total of Consciousness in the multiverse, I would not use the term ‘God’. Nor would I use that term to describe the most highly evolved part of that Consciousness. ‘God’, in the traditional sense of the word, does not evolve but is unchanging. ‘God’ is also described as the Creator, but this is problematic too as it implies a beginning and Time is only the 4th dimension of our physical world, it does not exist in other realms. Everything is eternal, everything is ‘now’ if you like, there is no beginning and no end.

Many refer to Source, and that sits better with me as it suggests a pool of Consciousness which we all emanate from and return to, and which is constantly evolving. Scientist-engineer the late Ronald Pearson suggested an all-pervading Matrix he called the ‘intelligent ether’ or ‘i-ther’.

Whatever term is used, a Consciousness which is constantly evolving, even though it exists outside the physical brains of living things, is not accurately described as ‘God’ in my view, and it encompasses all of us.

A scientist once said that it appears everything is basically a Thought, and Quantum Physics would also suggest this since sub-atomic particles collapse to wave function (‘waves of probability’ or thought?) when not being measured or observed. This strongly suggests that all matter, none of which is really solid, is a product of Mind or Consciousness.

Yes, post-materialism and Quantum Physics seem weird. For those who want a simple model of the Universe it is uncomfortable. Einstein never liked Quantum Physics, and after he turned 70 is said to have doubted his theories would stand the test of time since some of them were incompatible with Quantum Physics. Such as sub-atomic particles which can be in two places at once, and which can react with each other instantaneously when thousands of miles apart, thus far exceeding the speed of Light, for instance.

The 21st Century will prove to be when post-materialism becomes the accepted paradigm. We will need to accept we are living in one virtual reality among many created by Consciousness, and that we are all connected. The idea of a personal ‘God’ creating itself and then the Universe is as outdated and unsatisfactory as an explanation as that a Big Bang created the Universe out of nothing. Consciousness is energy which cannot be destroyed, it can only change form. That is the underlying basis of all post-materialist theories.

The problem with Brexit vote

Brexit map

This map, showing how the regions of the UK voted in the Referendum on whether to Remain in the EU or Leave illustrates clearly the huge problem with not setting any kind of threshold for invoking Article 50 in the event of a Leave vote. The yellow countries/regions voted Remain, the blue countries/regions voted to Leave. 48% to 52% is not a huge majority, but more to the point, two of the four countries which make up the UK and the capital city, London, voted to Remain. How is it democratic to take these regions out of the EU against their will?

I can’t see what the solution is except another Referendum which stipulates all four UK countries have to vote Leave for it to be operative. The current situation means Scotland is likely to leave the UK, and it will cause big problems for Ireland and the peace agreement which requires an open border and cross-border institutions. Already there is a move to re-unite Northern Ireland with the Republic.

On top of all this, if the end result of Article 50 negotiations means a Norway-type access to the single market for what remains of the UK there will still be free movement to/from EU countries, the very thing most Leave voters do not want. Nor, I suspect, do many of them want the UK to break up and the Union Flag to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Nobody is keen to sort out this mess, hence Cameron, Johnson and Farage all washing their hands of the mess they’ve created. May just keeps kicking the whole issue into the long grass. This is what happens when you ask the electorate a very complex question without explaining the full possible implications of a Leave vote, especially when lies were told about £350 million extra being available for the NHS if we leave the EU, and being able to control immigration from the EU, which now looks extremely unlikely.

Justification for genocide?

At a recent get-together it was suggested that in war it might sometimes be justified to kill, say, 150,000 people to save more. I vehemently rejected this suggestion, in fact it made me extremely angry.

The most obvious reference to a real-life situation is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, which immediately killed well over hundred thousand innocent men, women and children, and over the past 71 years has killed many more with cancers, and caused children to be born deformed. This was a heinous crime by the Americans which can never, ever be justified.

The next part of the claim can never be proven, i.e. that it ‘saved’ even more lives. The fact is the Americans committed this genocidal crime, not the Japanese. Whatever the Japanese did previously to POWs, etc. it cannot be said the atomic bombs prevented them killing even more people than these bombs did. On the contrary, if it was these two atomic bombs which caused the Japanese to surrender, why on Earth did the Americans have to agree to the humiliating terms of this surrender? They had to let Emperor Hirohito remain on the Chrysanthemum Throne and guarantee he would never be brought before a War Crimes Tribunal. So 140,000+ innocent people were killed, born deformed, had cancers induced in their bodies but Hirohito escapes Scot free. Not only that, but the Japanese had suffered similar civilian casualties in the conventional bombing of Tokyo, yet did not surrender. Kamikaze pilots were sacrificing their own lives for the Emperor. Such was the adoration of the Japanese for their Emperor they would die for him. The two bombs were more likely dropped before the end of the War in the Far East to demonstrate the awful power of the new weapon America had developed to the world, but in particular to the Soviet Union, which then quickly acquired atomic and then hydrogen bombs of its own. The other reason for the atomic bombing of the two Japanese cities was probably revenge for Pearl Harbor.

On a more general note, can it ever be justified to kill innocent people to save more lives? I say it never can because, for a start, you can never prove it would save more lives. It is an extremely dangerous policy to follow, which could be used by any despot or dictator – they could kill millions and say they did it to save even more lives.

It is said that in war such difficult decisions have to be taken, but I am a pacifist and reject all war under any circumstances. We then have to define ‘war’ itself. I can see there are situations where force has to be used, even lethal force. I would define these as special operations by the secret services, SAS, etc., or simply international policing operations, targeting the guilty rather than innocent civilians. Not using indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons, conventional bombs, landmines, etc.. There are occasions, of course, when innocent people get killed, such as when police are dealing with a siege with hostages and the kidnapers, who are killing the hostages, die along with some of the hostages, some shot by the police accidentally or caught in the cross-fire. This is completely different to deliberately targeting thousands or hundreds of thousands of totally innocent civilians in order to induce fear, or out of revenge.

I am a pacifist (being against war, but reluctantly supporting carefully targeted operations against those committing atrocities), but I’m also a Spiritualist. I happen to know, from researching Near Death Experiences and After Death Communications, that we all face a Life Review when we die. This Life Review is not a particularly scary experience, but rather a learning and enlightening experience. We do not simply see our whole lives flash past, but outside of Earth Time we experience every action, every thought, everything that happened in our lives not only from our own perspective, but from the perspective of all those we inter-acted with. So if we helped someone in some way, we experience what they felt, but also the effects of our negative actions. For most of us this is no big deal, but if we dropped atomic bombs which killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused cancers and deformities in others it could be quite a heavy Life Review, even though as a First World War soldier said in an After Death interview via the Direct Voice Medium Leslie Flint it would be those who ordered the killing who would feel most responsibility. However carrying out orders which result in genocide is not acceptable, as was stated at the Nuremburg Trials of Nazi War Criminals.

There are many ways to deal with dictators and those committing atrocities. I am not going to detail them all here as we all know them perfectly well. All I’ll say is individuals have been targeted by special forces many times. Also take the role of the civilian police in a siege situation. Do they bomb an entire street or area in order to kill the gang or the terrorists who caused the siege? No, they surround the premises and then make an attack, and although some hostages may get killed or injured in the raid, there is no deliberate killing by the police of totally innocent people.

War is the breakdown of normally civilized behavior. Atrocities and genocide, committed for whatever reason, cause hatred and reprisals. It is a never-ending cycle of violence. We must find more civilized ways of dealing with situations.

Finally, it is a sobering thought whether or not you are a Christian (I’m not), that Jesus Christ lived in an occupied country and told his disciples not to resist the occupiers but rather to render unto Cesar that which be Cesar’s (taxes in this instance), and also he told Peter to put away his sword when he used it against a Roman Centurion, as those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword. Jesus was a pacifist, and that’s good enough for me, he was a great Spiritual leader who taught by example. In the ultimate self-sacrifice he apparently died in a crucifixion, though this cannot be confirmed. I don’t believe, if indeed he did die in this way, it was anything to do with absolving us of responsibility for our actions. Spiritualists believe in personal responsibility and progress open to all souls.

I have come to believe that this life here on Earth is largely a virtual reality, as nothing is what it seems. For instance, everything solid around us, including our own bodies, are largely empty space, they just appear and feel solid to us. Therefore everything that happens here could well be a sort of drama acted out to learn lessons and develop spiritually. By reducing ourselves to the lowest level and copying the genocidal practices of others, we are not learning lessons, we are not developing spiritually, and we are inviting reprisals and therefore continuing an ever more violent, never-ending series of atrocities and genocidal actions by both ourselves and others.

Explanation of my current Facebook header

karl Marx tomb

The header demonstrates my Socialist principles. Although I would admit to being a Marxist, I am no longer a Communist. Karl Marx, together with Friedrich Engels, laid the basis of Socialism by showing how the surplus value of labor was exploited by the capitalist ruling class. They also theorized on how historical materialism meant society progressed thru stages, and that capitalism would inevitably collapse, due to its own contradictions, and be replaced by Socialism. This would be a society based on the common ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The formula Marx described for the Socialist era was ‘To each according to their work’.

Marx and Engels also forecast that Socialism would eventually be replaced by Communism, a society where the State and all its institutions had withered away. There would be no police, no courts, no jails, no money, no State itself – just a completely self-governing society with an abundance of goods and services. I now feel this is far too utopian an ideal and there will always need to be a truly democratic State to avoid a corrupt ruling class rising again.

Marxism provided the basis for many Socialist parties, including the British Labour Party. Until it was re-written prior to the New Labour era, Clause IV of the Labour Party clearly stated Marxist principles, and this Clause was printed on all Labour Party membership cards. It sought the common ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The 1945 Labour government not only greatly increased public ownership, but went further and adopted Marx’s formula for the Communist era for the National Health Service and Welfare State: ‘From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’.

In the 20th Century we saw many Socialist states arise including the Soviet Union. While the basic necessities were catered for, and full employment achieved, an increasingly corrupt ruling class of bureaucrats arose with perks and privileges denied to the rest of the population. This, in turn, encouraged more careerists and opportunists to join the ruling Marxist-Leninist parties in order to get these privileges for themselves and their families. Since there were no opposition parties, it was very difficult to remove this ruling clique.

The Soviet dictatorship reached its peak under Stalin, but it was started by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. They crushed all opposition, even from other Socialist parties. The Kronstadt rebellion in the early days of the Soviet state was ruthlessly crushed by Lenin using Trotsky’s Red Army. Yet the demands of the Kronstadt rebels were to reinstate the original aims of the ‘Great October Socialist Revolution’ (October 25th by the old Orthodox calendar, November 7th by the current Western one); to allow non-capitalist parties and to end the perks for bureaucrats. The ruthless Bolshevik dictatorship of Lenin, Trotsky and others meant Stalin was later able to impose his reign of terror. Although his methods industrialized a backward country and made it into a superpower, millions died in the process, including those who perished in the labor camps (gulags) and due to his infamous show trials which managed to eliminate many of the original Bolsheviks, but which did nothing to deal with the corrupt bureaucratic ruling class distorting the system.

So I am firmly against the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ as described by Lenin and others. I also reject violent revolution which usually continues afterwards and devours its own. Evolution not revolution is my motto, though revolutionary change may need the might of the organized working class using industrial action and mass demonstrations to inforce their Will if parliamentary methods fail or are blocked by the Establishment. (Corbynistas take note!)

I do not describe myself as a Marxist-Leninist for these reasons. The term ‘Dictatorship of the Proleteriat’, even if it was truly the working-class which was ruling and not a class of bureaucrats, takes no account of the rights of minorities. The idea was the masses would join the Marxist-Leninist Party and exercise Socialist Democracy thru it, leading eventually to the self-governing society of Communism. In actual fact, as the 20th Century experiments showed, it just led to a new ruling class of politicians and other bureaucrats since it was mainly careerists and opportunists who flocked to join the ruling parties.

What is true, however, is that a constant flux between capitalism and Socialism; between common ownership and privatization, is destabilizing. Therefore once Socialism is established and working it would be advisable, via a Referendum, to draw up and implement a Socialist Constitution which would enshrine the principle of public ownership and control of the bulk of the means of production, distribution and exchange (private shops and small family businesses would still be allowed, subject to laws to prevent exploiting any hired labor.) All political parties should be allowed to contest free elections, but to overturn the Socialist Constitution and re-introduce large-scale private enterprise they would need to call another Referendum to replace the Socialist Constitution with a different one. All Referendums on Constitutional matters should be compulsory (could be done with the Census) with at least 60% voting to change the status quo in order to overturn an existing Constitution.

Finally, State ownership or nationalization has proved cumbersome and inefficient in many cases in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. While it is suitable for certain industries and services, such as those which have national grids or networks (the railways, the phone service, the postal service, the public utilities), for most industries and services there are other forms of public ownership such as cooperatives, mutuals and individual publicly owned companies all competing in a Socialist market place. This was basically the system operating in former Yugoslavia successfully before that federation broke up due to rampant nationalism.

So although the Red Flag and Karl Marx appear on my Facebook header, I am not a Communist nowadays. The Red Flag has long been a Socialist symbol, and the anthem ‘The Red Flag’ was sung at all Labour Party Conferences. I hope it continues to be and that the old Clause IV is reinstated along with the old logo to replace the New Labour red rose logo. As to the sculpture of Karl Marx, this stands atop his grave in Highgate Cemetery, London. Although it may not at the moment be one of the main tourist sights of the capital, maybe it should be. Marx’s ideas have been distorted and misused, but so have the teachings of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless Marx correctly described the nature of capitalist exploitation of labor, and showed how it must eventually collapse and lead to Socialism.

I will quote Lenin briefly, when he said progress consists of ‘two steps forward, one step back’. The collapse of the imperfect Socialist states of the 20th Century were one step back, but if we learn from their mistakes and do not repeat them we can move forward towards a better form of Socialism, and many different political parties can offer their own formulas. ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom’ said Mao, even if it wasn’t practised in China. But the best quote of all, and here I paraphrase, came from the great British Socialist Tony Benn who advised people to ask who gave politicians their power, who are they responsible to, and how we can get rid of them if necessary. This is essential to avoid a corrupt ruling class rising again.

Can Labour win a General Election under Jeremy Corbyn?

I think it can, and probably with a landslide which will be as big a shock as the 1945 General Election which brought the leftwing Clem Attlee Labour government to power, when everyone thought the Conservatives would win because its leader, Winston Churchill, had brought us thru the Second World War.

However as long as the majority of Labour MPs are voting they have ‘no confidence’ in their leader and demanding he resign, and threatening yearly challenges to his leadership, the Party is going to have difficulty not only winning elections, but successfully providing a united Opposition to the Tories in Parliament.

Nobody expected Corbyn to win the leadership. I was amazed myself, and so was Jeremy. There is a groundswell of popular opinion which is largely unrecognized by the media, by MPs, by the Establishment generally. Not only unrecognized, they hate it, they fear it. Jeremy Corbyn has long been associated with protest against the Establishment. The last time a similar man led the Labour Party was in the early 1980s when fellow CND-er Michael Foot was leader. Similarly to now he was criticized and ridiculed constantly by the media, and Labour MPs, led by the Gang of Four, attacked him and broke away to form the SDP. We know where that eventually led, to joining with the Liberal Party to become the Liberal Democrats and then going into coalition with the most rightwing Tory government since Margaret Thatcher’s!

Why did Maggie win the 1983 General Election? Was it because Michael Foot was Labour leader at the time? Only indirectly if you take into account the Labour Party had split, as it is in danger of doing now, with the formation of the SDP (Social Democratic Party). But the biggest factor was the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982 which boosted jingoism and Maggie Thatcher’s popularity amongst much of the population, but also of course the anti-Tory vote was split.

We are in a different position today. First of all we have the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) which took nearly all the seats in Scotland. This really is not a problem for Labour, since either Scotland will hold another referendum on independence after Brexit and leave the UK, or if it stays in the UK the SNP will back up a leftwing Labour government in many of its policies, along with Plaid Cymru and the Greens and some of the Northern Ireland parties (if they stay in the UK).

The real question is whether Labour needs to win back people who voted Tory, and I think that would be an unmitigated disaster. We saw what happened under Tony Blair and New Labour, which Maggie Thatcher described as her greatest achievement. A Tory Party MK II, which imposed Thatcherite policies, privatized as much as it could, and took us into an illegal war in Iraq which in turn led to the rise of ISIS. Never again!

Labour must seek to win votes from those who never voted before because they were too young or too apathetic, or because there seemed little difference between the two major parties. Millions voted for the Greens and Ukip in the 2015 General Election, but this only resulted in one MP each under our first-past-the-post electoral system. Labour must try to win over these voters too. Ukip plays on fears of immigration, so Labour must tackle this issue, but in any case even if Brexit goes ahead it seems likely there will be a Norway-type arrangement whereby the UK gets access to the single market but in return has to accept freedom of movement to/from EU countries. So what does Ukip do then?

Labour can deal with the problem by enforcing the minimum wage for a start, and by ending austerity and the housing crisis. A leftwing Labour government would defuse the explosive issue whereby immigrants are seen to have caused loss of jobs and the housing crisis. It is the Tory government and New Labour before that which have caused these things, and the international banks.

Jeremy Corbyn was thrown in at the deep end. He had no experience of Cabinet government, he has had to learn on the job. He has brought a fresh approach to the job of leader of the Opposition, such as his novel way of asking questions on a Wednesday in the House, putting ordinary working-class people in the forefront. Given half a chance by his MPs I believe Jeremy Corbyn could capture the enthusiasm of millions of the electorate.

MPs who refuse to support him may be de-selected, but anyway many new MPs need to be selected before 2020 because of constituency boundary changes. So by the time of the next General Election there could be a very different Parliamentary Labour Party, the present one being representative of New Labour. Hopefully many of the present MPs will come to reaize that Labour can win elections under Corbyn if the Party is united.

Also Party policy is under constant review, such as the ongoing defense review. It could well be that Annual Conference, castrated by Tony Blair, will once again be the body which makes policy democratically, and this could easily mean many of Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas will be adopted, such as abandoning Trident for instance, also nationalizing the railways and public utilities. The idea of cooperatives is becoming to the forefront as a much more efficient and successful alternative to wholesale nationalization. These are exciting new times, and it is sad if fuddy old stick-in-the-muds who want to preserve the neo-liberal traditions of Thatcher and Blair try to smother the mood in much of the country for a new kind of politics. Just take housing for a start – more council homes need to be built for those who cannot afford to buy, and if the right to buy council homes continues than all homes sold must be replaced. Private rents need to be controlled, and the right to buy extended to private landords’ tenants.

Jeremy Corbyn is not unelectable. He is looking more like a great Labour Party leader and future Prime Minister every day, but make no mistake, the Establishment hate him and fear him. Every dirty trick in the book will be used to stop him getting anywhere near Number 10. But the sweeping changes in Labour and politics is not confined to one man, if Jeremy is out of the picture, others will rise to replace him.

Finally, is the main objective to get elected to government or to stick to certain principles? Hopefully we can do both, but for me principles ALWAYS take priority. If you make being elected to government your only priority, then that’s when you are likely to take your cue from the Murdoch media and end up with a New Labour type Thatcherite government. I have voted in the past Green, Communist and Liberal Democrat. I was once a member of the Communist Party, and of the even smaller Left Unity Party started by Ken Loach. These smaller parties never stood a chance of being elected to government on their own, but I voted for them or joined them out of principle. Sadly the LIb-Dems let me down when they betrayed the trust of many who voted for them by going into coalition with the Tories and backing many of their policies.

I want a party which sticks to its principles, and it is then up to the Labour Party to convince the electorate, and its MPs, that this is the correct course. We have to lead, not follow the herd who in turn are led by the media barons representing the Establishment.

The Royal Puppets

Most republican articles and blogs are about the expense of the Monarchy, or its undemocratic nature. I endorse all of these, but I thought it would be good to write a blog from the other side. What right have we to demand that someone be saddled with a job for life which they may not want and be totally unsuited for? Moreover, to demand that they just act as mere puppets for the Establishment and the government of the day, putting words into their mouths to read at the State Opening of Parliament – things they may totally disagree with. To deny them the right to vote or voice their opinion.

These things only apply to the sovereign, and you may argue they are trained from birth to expect this, and, apart from the fact this is denying them free choice unless they choose to abdicate, it is not always the case. Queen Elizabeth II only took on the role because her father suddenly became King when King Edward VIII abdicated. Any one of the royals in line to the Throne could suddenly find themselves lumbered with the top job for life if there was an abdication, a sudden death, or a calamitous accident (the balcony of Buck House collapses when too many royals get on it to wave at their loyal subjects, for instance.)

Then there are all the other restrictions on the Monarch and the immediate heirs to the Throne. Charles was told to find himself a suitable wife to bear him heirs to the Throne, and Camilla wasn’t thought suitable, certainly not once she married someone else. So Diana was the chosen mother. Charles slept with Camilla before and after the marriage to Diana, and as he himself said it had become royal tradition for the Prince of Wales to have a mistress. No wonder if they didn’t have a free choice on who they could marry. Diana’s life was ruined by this doomed marriage, as were many before her. Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, was forced to dump the man she loved, Captain Peter Townsend, and went from one unhappy liaison to another. Of course King Edward VIII was told to dump Wallis Simpson, and at least he had the guts to refuse so became the exiled Duke of Windsor for the rest of his life living in Paris.

Suppose an heir to the Throne wanted to marry someone of the same sex? In this day and age it is perfectly possible. There are rumors about several of the Queen’s children having gay affairs, and one who is married to a woman has frequented a gay club I know on Transvestite night. I have this from the club owner himself and one of his in-laws. Is this royal in a forced sham marriage? And what if an heir to the Throne insisted that he or she would marry a person of the same sex, would this be allowed and if so how would they continue the bloodline? They too would no doubt be forced to marry someone of the opposite sex in a sham marriage, or abdicate.

What about royals with mental illnesses? They have been disgracefully shoved out of sight, never to be mentioned again, in some institution and forgotten. The whole institution is inhuman.

Those who accept the role of Monarch for life and all the restrictions on personal freedom it involves then have to be willing puppets of the Establishment – acting like characters in Disneyworld/Disneyland by parading around for the benefit of the public and tourists in golden carriages, bestowing honors on certain citizens, and of course repeating parrot-like the speeches written for them, not least the program of the elected government at the State Opening of Parliament.

Of course the royals also enjoy enormous privileges. Palaces and castles with servants, a luxurious lifestyle and great wealth, many tours abroad, at least for the major royals. However with all this comes the onerous and often boring State duties and having to be polite to people all around the world which one may or may not normally wish to meet.

Much of the duties of the Monarch would also be borne by an elected President, but at least they would stand for the office by choice, and it would not be for life, just for a period of say five years, which may, if the public decide, be extended for another five or so years, but the terms of office would be limited to two or possibly three.

Then there are the people brought into the royal circle, like Diana and now Catherine. They have to learn the protocol and cope with all the restrictions, and they have not been trained from birth. It is all very well swanning around in designer clothes, but it can be very difficult if your husband is out shagging someone else and you are left alone with the kids and their nannies, like Diana was.

My point being that this whole institution, apart from being undemocratic, is an anachronism in this day and age. No institution in the 21st Century should demand anyone take on such a job for life, and dictate who they can and cannot marry. And just suppose the day came when a lesbian or gay male couple was allowed to become Queen or King and Consort, how would their heirs be conceived? Presumably some other royal would be lumbered with the job when the Monarch died without issue.

It is often said the Queen has done her duties well for over 60 years, the longest reigning British Monarch in history. What if she had decided, for instance, that she could not in all conscience launch a submarine armed with nuclear missiles which were to be aimed at totally innocent men, women and children (not to mention animals) and which if ever used would kill millions by blast, fire and radiation for years to come? Sometimes ‘doing one’s duty’ is perhaps not something to be admired, and it would maybe have been better had she protested, refused and, if necessary, abdicated. An elected President should have the same right of conscientious objection. Oh yes, that’s another thing, all male children of the Monarch are required to join the armed services, suppose they have a conscious objection to this? Again the whole institution comes across as an inhuman as well as undemocratic anachronism.

Remember the words of little Harry just after his mother died in that crash in Paris. The royals went to church in Scotland near Balmoral, but Diana was in disgrace because she had refused to act like the obedient mute breeding mare and had rocked the Monarchy. So her name wasn’t even mentioned in the service, and instead there were jokes about the comedian Billy Connolly said in church that morning. Harry turned to his father and said: ‘Is mummy really dead?’

That’s how cold and inhuman that institution can be. The nation was horrified that they stayed in Scotland, and that the flag wasn’t flown at half mast on Buckingham Palace. The Monarchy was saved when the Prime Minister and his aides persuaded, or rather ordered, the Queen to come back to London, fly a flag at half-mast and make a speech about Diana, a name she never wanted spoken in her presence again.

This is an institution which demands total obedience and loyalty, and those who do flout these rules become non-persons like Diana and the Duke of Windsor. Totally inhuman. Usually it is dictatorships who airbrush dissidents from history, but it is also the Monarchy which does this by stripping them of their titles and worse. Those who disobey the rules beware, look what happened to Diana!