Persecution of Gays in Chechnya and elsewhere

There are consistent reports coming out of Russia about gay men being arrested, kept in prisons or concentration camps, tortured, made to reveal names of other gay men, and sometimes killed by the Chechen authorities. Chechnya is an extremist Islamic autonomous republic within the Russian Federation, and honor killings of gay man by their families is also a common practice, so many gay men there are forced to marry a woman and keep their sexuality secret. The current purge of gay men is truly horrific, and there have been demonstrations outside Russian embassies and petitions to the Russian government.

The difficulty is short of sending in the tanks again, or threatening to do so, the Russian federal government is powerless to do much apart from tell the Chechen authorities to stop this persecution of gay men. The Russian Federation itself is riddled with homophobia due largely to the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, though in Chechnya and some other Russian republics it is extremist Islam which is homophobic. Russia has a law, similar to Thatcher’s Section 28, which prohibits the promotion of ‘unnatural’ sexual relations to minors. This has encouraged violent homophobia, and causes Gay Pride marches to be banned and broken up. Any kind of promotion of the gay lifestyle is illegal.

This is in stark contrast to Lenin’s decriminalization of homosexuality soon after the Bolshevik Revolution, though there was a clamp down later under Stalin and later leaders. It is also in marked contrast to the legalization of homosexuality in Soviet-bloc countries like Czechoslovakia and East Germany in the 1960s. However the homophobia in Russia seems to have got much worse since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, an officially atheist state, and the rising influence of organized religion in the form of the Christian Orthodox church and extreme Islam.

Homophobia is also rampant in Saudi Arabia, Qata, the ISIS held areas and other extremist Islamic areas, also in other Christian Orthodox countries like Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. Also in areas where fundamentalist Christianity is prevalent, such as the Southern states of America, especially in rural areas. However it is in the extreme Islamic republics that killing and torture of gay men, and lesbians, is official government policy.

While Russia must do its utmost to halt the pogrom of gay men in Chechnya, the West has a duty to put pressure on countries like Saudi Arabia which it supplies with arms and torture equipment. These supplies should be stopped immediately, as they also find their way from these extremist Islamic states to ISIS where gays are also being murdered.

As to the Chechen situation in Russia, there have already been two wars between Russia and the largely uncontrollable Chechen republic since the fall of the Soviet Union, as Chechnya declared independence in 1991. Chechen terrorists have set off bombs in the Moscow Metro system. The current Chechen leader, approved by Moscow, is guilty of causing this progrom and by publicizing what is going on and showing the world is watching, the Amnesty International tactic for decades, we can only hope the authorities will take notice and stop the persecution. As there are no Chechen embassies to protest outside people have no option other than to demand the Russian Federation itself puts pressure on this semi-independent republic. The fact that Russia is heavily involved in Syria, has a divided Ukraine on its doorstep with a large Russian-speaking population and a hostile rightwing government in Kiev due to a coup, and has also had to build up troops on its Western borders because of a NATO build-up does not exactly help, nor does the fact that Russia itself is increasingly homophobic.

A thoroughly depressing situation to which I can see no easy short-term solution. The MSM giving maximum publicity to the Chechen pogrom and similar persecution in other areas of the world is probably the only thing we can do.

Brexit begins

On Wednesday March 29th the Government will invoke Article 50 to begin the process of withdrawal from the European Union. We can argue about how democratic or otherwise the referendum was. It certainly did not come up to normal standards for referendums on Constitutional issues, which can change the nature of a state for a generation or more. Usually a majority of two thirds is required to alter the status quo, since this is not like a General Election where the result can be reversed in five years time. In the Scottish independence referendum 16/17 year olds were allowed to vote, since Constitutional matters like this will affect the younger generation more than the older generation. It would also have been sensible to say that all four of the UK nations had to vote Leave for it to be effective provided the total Leave vote for the UK was 66% of the voters, not the 52% it actually was, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to Remain.

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will vote against any final deal which does not maintain access to the single market, protection of workers’ rights, etc. Although the Government has promised MPs a vote on the final deal, May has threatened to leave the EU with no deal if Parliament rejects this final deal. MPs must amend this motion to stop the Government doing such a foolhardy thing.

There has been no attempt at compromise by the Government to heal the bitter divisions in the country caused by this Referendum result. The consequences of a Hard Brexit, which nobody voted for whatever they may think since this option was not on the Referendum paper, will be disastrous. The European Health Insurance Card for holidaymakers will probably no longer be valid, the plummeting pound will make all holidays abroad very expensive. As firms re-locate to EU countries the jobless totals will spiral. Maybe there will be low-paid jobs once filled by EU workers in the UK.

Lies were told during the Leave campaign, not least that we could control immigration. We always had control over immigration from non-EU states, but this could stop if we pursue Hard Brexit. There will be a land border between the UK and an EU country in Ireland, and possibly another one between Scotland and England if the former decides to leave the UK and re-join the EU. People from all countries of the world would be able to stream across these open land borders unchecked, and any attempt to control the border in Ireland would lead to the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement and quite possibly a repeat of the IRA terror campaign.

Then there is the question of the status of EU nationals living in the UK and British citizens living in EU countries. Their futures are in jeopardy, and the rights of British EU citizens are also being threatened. Is it right for the 27% of the British population who voted Leave to take away the citizenship and rights of the remaining 73%, especially when the younger generations who will be most affected were not even able to vote?

Did Leave voters take all these complex issue into consideration when they put their cross against ‘Leave’ in the Referendum? This is the reason such complex Constitutional issues should NEVER EVER have been left to a simple ‘Yes’/’No’ or in this case ‘Leave’/’Remain’ option on a Referendum paper without even a threshold being set for altering the status quo. It is now up to Parliament to ensure that Brexit protects the rights of all citizens and that a disastrous Hard Brexit is not approved.

It would indeed be ironic if the Leave campaign promoted so strongly and misleadingly by the United Kingdom Independence Party led to the end of the UK and the consigning of the Union Flag into the trashcan of history.

Brexit, Scottish, Northern Irish referenda

Brexit, especially the Hard Brexit being pursued by the government, has shaken the United Kingdom to its very foundations and it may not even survive.

It is somewhat ironic that many Leave voters are very patriotic, but all they may achieve is consigning the Union Flag to the dustbin of history and a new flag may have to be designed for what remains of the UK, possibly just England and Wales.

The SNP in Scotland and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland have called for referenda on the status of their regions. The Scottish one would be on independence so Scotland can remain in or re-join the EU, and the Northern Ireland one would be to unite with the Republic of Ireland, which is already an EU member.

Had Theresa May gone for soft Brexit and continued membership of the single market it would have been a compromise which would have avoided these upheavals, but would also probably be far from ideal in that we would still be bound by EU rules and regulations but have no vote or say in forming them.

However life outside the EU and single market altogether, which nobody voted for because it was not on the Referendum paper, is an as yet unknown territory depending on what deal, and it is unlikely to be a good one, May can get from the 27 remaining EU members. If they gave UK a good deal, then other EU countries might be encouraged to leave and negotiate similar terms.

Whatever happens in the referenda in Scotland and Northern Ireland, if they happen, UK leaving the EU will cause immense problems which I am sure people voting Leave in the EU Referendum never even considered: the status of the border in Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement, the status of British nationals in other EU countries are just two of these uncertainties. If there is ANY sort of control of the border in Ireland the Good Friday Agreement will collapse, risking the Troubles with the IRA starting again. If the border is left uncontrolled, then there will be an open border with an EU country where EU nationals many Leave voters are so anxious to keep out can stream in. If Scotland leaves the UK there will be another border with an EU country which either has to be controlled or again, an entry point for immigrants to stream in uncontrolled. We will have completely lost control of one or two borders whichever way the referenda go, except in the unlikely event Northern Ireland unites with the Republic but Scotland remains in the UK. The open border(s) would be easy entry points not just for EU immigrants. Anyone who gains entry to the Republic of Ireland could cross the border into the UK and similarly with an independent Scotland. Net result of Brexit: no control whatsoever over immigration from any country because of the open land border(s).

All this is just the beginning of the Pandora’s Box which Leave voters have opened, but for which David Cameron and Parliament are entirely to blame. Thresholds are usually required for Constitutional referenda like this. A two-thirds majority to change the status quo is not an uncommon requirement. It would have also have been sensible, in order to keep the UK intact, to require all four countries of the UK to have a majority vote to change the status quo for it to be effective. Plus the fact that those who will be most affected by leaving the EU were barred from voting yet 16/17 year olds were allowed to vote in other referenda. The end result is just 27% of the British population are dragging the remaining 73%, many of whom although they will be most affected were not allowed a vote, out of the EU. This is hardly democracy, it is a travesty of democracy. Even of the eligible electorate only 37% voted to Leave the UK. I can think of no other Constitutional change anywhere where such a low margin of voters have altered the status quo with unforeseeable consequences.

Finally, at a General Election the electorate get a chance to vote again in 5 years. With the EU referendum anyone demanding a second one to confirm the biggest Constitutional change in recent years once it is known what it will actually mean is greeted with accusations of being undemocratic because Brexit is the ‘will of the people’. Correction: it was the expressed will, apparently, of 27% of the people on one day in June 2016. Some were just registering protest votes against the government, some may have changed their minds since, and the other 73% either were not given a vote or might like to vote when the actual terms and consequences of Brexit are known. How can that be undemocratic? You might as well say once we’ve had a General Election the party who got the most seats in Parliament rules forever!

Copeland by-election result

The loss of this former Labour seat has been blamed on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and in this case this is probably correct because of his previous record as being against nuclear power stations and also he is against Trident replacement, quite rightly in my opinion on both counts. However two big local employers are Sellafield nuclear power plant and the shipyards at neighboring Barrow-in-Furness where Trident submarines are built. Therefore, despite official Labour Party policy still being in favor of both nuclear power stations and Trident replacement, the electorate were reluctant to vote Labour while led by Jeremy.

However it is not all down to Corbyn as the Labour vote in Copeland had been going down and down long before he was elected leader. Labour ended up only 2,000 or so votes behind the Tory who became the new MP.

This is a unique constituency because of the two local big employers, so cannot be regarded as a barometer as to what might happen in a General Election. Though it also has to be said there were other factors as to why Labour is so far behind in the opinion polls, and why they lost Copeland. A divided political party is bound to find it difficult to convince the electorate to vote for it, especially when 172 Labour MPs voted ‘no confidence’ in the democratically elected leader and many constantly join the media in rubbishing his leadership. This is not down to Corbyn, but to the Labour MPs who refused to give the new, inexperienced leader a chance and showed no loyalty to him or the membership who elected him. This was an MP from the backbenches who never expected to become leader, and a bit of advice and help would have been welcome instead of the constant back-stabbing.

Another reason for the loss of Copeland, and also a factor in Stoke-on-Trent which Labour held on to, was that both Labour MPs resigned to take alternative employment, and they had only been elected in the 2015 General Election. An MP who resigns after such a short time will tend to damage his Party in that constituency – MPs are expected to serve their full term unless there are exceptional circumstances.

So what is likely to happen in the next General Election, whenever it is held? The Party MUST unite behind the democratically elected leader whoever he or she is, and this includes the Parliamentary Labour Party. To go into a General Election with most of the Labour MPs against the Leader of the Opposition would be political suicide.

New DianaSpeaks messages – January 2017

“Hello Everyone

As people are now aware my personal FB Group no longer exists and Andrew has cancelled his own. We still not aware of why mine was dismantled suddenly without warning and what violation is supposed to have been committed but it is of no relevance and latterly certainly Andrew was working all hours on articles but they were not gaining anything like the amount of attention to them that might have been expected.

I only have this to remind people of what I said about America’s choice of President and that being “America will get the President it deserves” and meaning the one to teach it the lessons most necessary and often the greatest lessons made by making mistakes. Politicians are corrupt and divisive, discriminatory and discerning and this is not news but with the U.S President something being made globally so transparent!

What do I see happening, well treading in too many minefields too heavily is bound to detonate one sooner or later and make of that what you will but certainly powerful grenades are being thrown at various targets indiscriminately which is extremely disturbing and bound to invite as they have done retaliation and rebellion and I wonder how long it will be before the danger of a revolution is not something needing very serious consideration as after all it would not be the first time happening in the nation!

So anyway concluding I am still very aware of things happening and much like Paris suddenly disappearing but still around in keeping with proving my promise; she won’t go quietly!”

With love from, Diana xx

Summerland

This is what many Spiritualists call the Third Level of Spirit, where most of us go on transiting from the Earth plane. Some might call it ‘heaven’, but it is not so different from the Earth plane without the disadvantages. All this is knowledge gathered from spirits on the Other Side, and from NDErs who have visited it briefly then returned.

There comes a stage in this life when most of one’s friends, relatives and associates have passed on before you. This is the case with me. Of close family only my brother remains on the Earth plane, and he is in North Yorkshire and I very rarely see him.

So many friends and relatives are on the Other Side, along with many former work colleagues, so I look forward to a reunion with them, but especially with my life-partner George, my mother Dorothy and my best friend at school Michael who passed over following a road accident on my 15th birthday. These three are my guides, I believe, along with a Native American woman, Little Star, who is my door-keeper. (Their pictures are above this article.) Her face and name came to me one night as I was lying in bed awake. I later found a painting of her, and it is the same face I saw, except her black hair was pulled back in the vision I saw. A lady at a Spiritualist center once told me she saw a woman with long black hair standing next to me, undoubtedly Little Star, my main guide and doorkeeper (doorkeepers protect us from Lower Astral spirits, and try to nudge us to complete our life’s mission, and protect us while doing this.)

Noel and Brian who I spent many times with at their chaotic flat in Hastings, filled with valuable paintings and antiques, I will be glad to see again, along with other friends and acquaintances like Lenny, Roy, Charlie, Sheila, Rita, Marion, Peggy, Jimpy, Tony W., Charles, Levy, David W., Mrs M., John C., Steve H., etc. Also all my aunts and uncles from both sides of the family, and my dad who was always very distant while on Earth (my parents separated when I was six). With my father and his siblings, parents, etc. there will no longer be the language barrier as telepathy is the means of communication over there. Also, of course, my maternal grandparents who transited back in 1971, and two cousins, Miriam and Jenny. As well as these there are my in-laws/outlaws (gays were not allowed to marry or have civil partnerships when George was on the Earth plane) Betty, Chick, John, Stephen, George Mullaney and Charles Dickson.

There must be more I haven’t even mentioned here. Bogus ‘aunts’ from my early childhood like Dora and Gretel, actually just friends with my mother and father. So when my time comes I will not be sad to go. I will be looking forward to the big runion.

Asking the wrong questions?

When it comes to the fundamental questions are most people asking or deciding on the wrong ones? Questions such as ‘does God exist?’ or ‘is there an afterlife?’ Or indeed, ‘is any religion right or is it all hogwash?’

Forget God, forget the afterlife, forget religion. Instead turn to science and what we know and do not yet know about the universe and life itself. The most fundamental question, still unanswered by materialist science, is about the nature and origin of consciousness. It is the mystery on which everything else hangs.

There are two main trains of scientific thought in the 21st Century, which can be summarized as the presently accepted scientific paradigm of materialist science, and the upcoming theories which can be summarized as post-materialist science. Materialist science suggests consciousness is the product of the brain, but it cannot begin to explain how it can arise from brain cells. It also has the major disadvantage that this theory does not fit in with the observable facts. It cannot explain why the double-slit experiment of Quantum Physics, for instance, indicates that sub-atomic particles revert to wave function when not being observed or measured. Nor can it explain remote viewing, out-of-the-body experiences where people accurately report on events at a distance, or when they are in a coma or clinically ‘dead’ during an NDE. Nor can it explain various other paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, telekinesis (affecting objects by mere thought), ESP, etc..

Post-materialist scientific theories, however, explain all these things by making Consciousness the fundamental reality. If everything is a gigantic Thought, as some scientists have suggested, then it means Consciousness is non-local and does not originate in the brains of living organisms. Mind and brain are separate, and the brain acts more like a transmitter/receiver than the origin of consciousness.

These post-materialist theories which suggest, based on the overwhelming evidence, that Consciousness is non-local and creates matter, not the other way around, does not equate to proving the existence of God. At least not if you define ‘God’ as an all-knowing, never-changing, entity which plans and controls everything. It suggests rather that Conscious energy is constantly evolving and learning from its mistakes and that we are all part of this process.

Scientist/engineer the late Ronald Pearson, who had his theories published in scientific journals in Russia and elsewhere, calls this Conscious energy the ‘intelligent ether’ or ‘i-ther’, a Conscious matrix which permeates everything and creates material environments to experience and thereby evolve. He discards the ridiculous Big Bang theory, which explains diddly squat and does not even explain why the Universe is constantly expanding at an accelerating rate, and instead suggests constant net creation also known as the Big Breed Theory. According to the Big Bang Theory the Universe should not be expanding at an ever increasing rate, but should slow down and ultimately contract into the Big Crunch. This is not happening. So instead the ever expanding Universe is put down to the existence of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, which in fact makes up 96% of the multi-verse.

In other words, only 4% of the Universe or multi-verse (various dimensions or universes) is observable, the rest is Dark Matter or Dark Energy. This is where String Theory, Biocentralism, Quantum Physics and many other scientific theories and disciplines suggest there may be many alternative universes or dimensions which we cannot observe.

The Big Bang does not explain anything since it assumes everything suddenly appeared out of nothing. If you ask a scientist what happened before the Big Bang they cannot answer this question. You might as well ask a priest, a rabbi or an Imam what happened before God existed. They will probably say it/she/he always existed, and that at least makes sense according to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which says Time is just the fourth dimension of our Universe. This suggests outside our own Universe Time does not exist, at least not as we know it. However much of the Theory of Relativity and many other of Einstein’s theories are incompatible with Quantum Physics. This led Einstein, when he reached 70, to suggest to a friend that he doubted if his theories would stand the test of time. Two particles, millions of miles apart, for instance, can communicate to each other far faster than the speed of light.

Surely we must think outside the box of our four-dimensional Universe and admit that Time is as illusory as matter. We are existing in a virtual reality. Nothing is really solid, and even the sub-atomic particles which appear to make up solid matter are separated by space, so a solid block of concrete is, in fact, largely empty space. It feels solid to us because we are tuned in to the vibrations. An entity on a different wavelength could pass through apparently solid matter, but in their dimension everything would appear solid. Indeed it is suggested by scientists that many dimensions or universes interpenetrate our own, invisible and undetectable to us normally. However mediums can sometimes tune in to those dimensions closest to our own. Some animals and tiny children also seem to have this ability.

If Time does not really exist, then everything is eternal, or outside of our understanding of Time. Therefore there was no beginning and there will be no end either. It can surely not be more mind-boggling than the idea that everything suddenly appeared out of nothing.

We are in a century of great changes. Just as it took hundreds of years for scientists to accept that the world was a globe and revolved around the sun, so it will take time, hopefully not hundreds more years, for the prevailing materialist paradigm to change and for a new one to replace it putting Consciousness as the fundamental reality from which everything else originates. This has many implications, of course, and means we are all essentially beings of conscious energy temporarily operating through physical bodies but perfectly able to exist independently of them and to survive death of the physical body. Also, that we are all inter-connected and essentially we are all One. All part of the Universal Consciousness, albeit at different stages of evolution. Some aspects of this Universal Consciousness are much more highly evolved than others, but it is an eternal ongoing process.

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.