At last, a political party feel I can support!

 

After many years of not being a member of any political party, and long after resigning from the old Communist Party of Great Britain (in 1976) and the Labour Party when it re-wrote Clause IV (calling for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange), I’ve applied to join the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), to give it its full title.

Why should I decide to join a tiny group like this? Well mainly because I can’t yet bring myself to rejoin the Labour Party, which at least till recently termed itself  New Labour, and now the Liberal Democrats have gone into coalition with the Tories, I won’t be voting for them again in a hurry. Being a member of the CPGB will mean I vote Labour in future elections, since no CPGB candidate is likely to be standing in my constituency.

I found the policies of the CPGB as being like a breath of fresh air on the Left. Uniquely on the far Left they are not anti-EU, my main reason for joining, but also they are for forging links across the far Left and with the Left in the Labour Party, they are for a united Left party, and as the EU becomes a federal state, they are for a Communist Party of the EU. This strikes me as a political party looking forwards not backwards, and not clinging to old nationalistic and dogmatic ideas.

If I find them becoming like the small ‘confessional sects’ they speak against, then I may well reconsider, but Ed Miliband and his comrades will have to rewrite much of New Labour’s present constitution before I can consider it worth rejoining. When Annual Conference is reduced to a Stalinist rubber stamp of leadership policies, what is the point?

Ken Livingstone, who I greatly admire, once described the CPGB (PCC) as ‘MI5 agents’, but Ken, what’s new? MI5 agents will be in all Left political parties, in the trade unions, in all political organizations, even in the Labour Party. So what? I am not an MI5 agent, so why should I worry?

Many of the CPGB’s other policies seem to tally with my own, including the fact that the Soviet Union and the other Socialist countries developed into  bureaucratic states with a new ruling clique (despite Socialist advances, it was a seriously distorted form of Socialism) and that cooperatives and smaller publicly owned enterprises are usually preferable to huge, bureaucratic State monopolies (with some exceptions, such as the railways, Post Office, and public utility companies perhaps).

Old labels such as ‘Trotskyist’, ‘Stalinist’, etc. need to be discarded as we all work together to form a united Left and accommodate various models of Socialism and debate all sorts of ideas in a non-dogmatic way. Marxism is a science and philosophy which has to constantly adapt and develop if it is to stay alive, learning from experience and the mistakes of the past. The CPGB seems to be willing to do this.

Here is the text of my letter of application:

Dear Comrades,

I enclose a membership application for the CPGB and a Bankers’ Order form for the Workers’ Weekly. I presume this needs to be downloaded weekly, or is it available in printed format?

I see some of my letter has been published in this week’s edition. It had to be shortened for lack of space, so it came across as not fully representing my views. I believe the strike weapon is one way of enforcing the Socialist revolution if parliamentary methods are blocked, and this must be accompanied by setting up workers’ cooperatives to supply essentials to those on strike. We must by-pass the capitalist agencies which exploit us and workers across the world. The People’s Supermarket in Holborn and, of course, the Cooperative movement itself are good examples.

As to the United Nations, this cannot be democratic or effective until the Security Council is abolished with its undemocratic vetoes by the five permanent members. Only then can a permanent international security force be formed operating under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.

As an internationalist I am glad to at last find a far-left organization which recognizes that the European Union is here to stay, and is a fledgling United States of Europe. As such we must organize across the EU as well as on a global scale, and strive to build an EU Communist Party. I am already an individual member of the European Left, though this means very little as I never receive anything from them (apart from my meager initial joining pack) and never pay a subscription. I do feel the CPGB should affiliate itself to the European Left along with other Communist and progressive parties. The EU itself, at present capitalist by nature, could be changed, and a break-away Socialist European Union could be formed once there are several states with progressive governments in the EU.

I agree that we must end confessional sects and form a united Left party, and also strive to win over the Labour Party. As the largest working-class party by far with many trade unionists affliliated to it, we cannot ignore it, and I will vote Labour at the next election if no candidate from the CPGB is standing in my constituency.

I find your policies like a breath of fresh air as they are not dogmatic and recognize the need for debate and discussion, even of factions, within the united Left.

I have long remained outside all political parties, and debated whether to rejoin the Labour Party, but have no appetite for this at the moment. The CPGB seems to have the line closest to my own and also to accept the views of other leftist parties and the need to forge unity, which I have long advocated.

Yours fraternally,

(Click on Show Comments below for ‘Why Now?’ explaining why I feel it is necessary to join a small political party at this time)

Physical Mediumship

Once very popular, this is now largely confined to closed circles of afterlife investigators/Spiritualists. There are also very few physical mediums around nowadays. This is partly because it takes years of patience, often sitting in darkened rooms in a closed circle, before any physical manifestations start to appear. Few people nowadays have the time and patience, especially with so many other distractions in the modern world.

However physical mediumship still exists and it has been proved over and over again to be genuine. Of course there have been cases of fraud and trickery, as with many things, but physical mediumship has been thoroughly investigated by some of the best scientists and inventors in the past and at present, and even if they were skeptical at first, they have discovered that it is real and that it is the most dramatic form of communication and inter-action with the afterlife dimensions.

Why it has fallen out of favor, at least as far as public demonstrations are concerned, is for several reasons. First, it is extremely dangerous for the medium especially when members of the public are admitted. This is because if lights are suddenly turned on during the seance (such as flashlights) the ectoplasm shoots back into the medium’s body and can cause serious burns and injuries, which can even be fatal. Helen Duncan, the famous Scottish medium, died in December 1956 after one of her physical seances had been interrupted in this way and flashlights shone in the seance room. Grabbing the ectoplasm or the materializations without permission can also have similar disastrous effects. The fact that Helen Duncan died as a result of the ectoplasmic burns in itself proves physical mediumship is real and that she was no fraud.

Another reason why public demonstrations of physical mediumship are not so common as they once were is because of the need for complete darkness in most seance rooms, for the reasons described above, and which can give rise to suspicions of trickery or fraud, even if this is totally unjustified.

Some mediums can work in red light, at least for a short period with permission from the spirits. In the past some have even been able to produce materializations in full light. However this takes even more years of development.

It may well be that general demonstrations to the public of physical mediumship will not be possible again until there are physical mediums who can perform seances in at least red light. This would eliminate suspicions of tricks or fraud since the spirit forms could be seen materializing and dematerializing. This has indeed been seen in red light at seances, but at present only on rare occasions and for short periods. Before the public can be admitted it would be desirable for all such seances to at least include a portion where red light is able to reveal ectoplasmic forms appearing and disappearing, as this cannot possibly be faked.

Direct Voice is a form of physical mediumship, but again must usually be performed in complete darkness as the voices of the spirits come thru an artificial voicebox (not from the medium’s voicebox) located some distance from the medium, and again formed of ectoplasm.

Evidence of survival is much more easily obtained thru other methods, such as mental mediumship. Quite a few of the best mental mediums who use methods such as clairvoyance and clairaudience, such as Colin Fry, are also physical mediums. However clairvoyance/clairaudience can be performed in fully lighted conditions, and pose no danger to the medium. Personal messages to sitters can be very evidential without the need for ectoplasm or the medium going into a trance.

Physical mediumship is, however, very dramatic in that it reproduces the voices and physical bodies of deceased persons, using ectoplasm. The voices can be heard, and the spirit bodies felt when permission is given, and on occasions, as described,  the materializations can also be seen when red light is permitted.

I have now had the privilege of attending a physical seance by one of the best physical mediums around today. This was by invitation. I also have the privilege of being invited to attend another one in August.

I have to say I feel the seance was entirely genuine, and the medium also came across this way in his pre-seance talk. Although I didn’t receive a personal message, and on this occasion the red light didn’t come on, I heard the voices of many spirit people, the most evidential for me being Louis Armstrong singing ‘Wonderful World’ to a backing tape. He also spoke to us. Louis’ speaking and singing voice both sounded very authentic, and very evidential was the fact that the backing tape music was being played from one side of the room (switched on by a living person of course), while Louis’ voice was clearly coming from the middle of the room, inside the circle. So it was most definitely not a recording – remember he also spoke to us, so there was interaction with the sitters.

I look forward to my next seance, and also to the day when the general public can once again attend these things because they can be performed in full or at least partially lighted conditions.

As with all technologies we have to be patient, and the mediums who conduct this exhausting, painstaking and dangerous work have to be protected. The medium who conducted the physical seance I attended revealed that when he first started going into deep trance to create this link with the spirit world, he was physically sick afterwards.

Quite apart from what it takes out of the medium and the very real dangers, he or she is in deep trance so entirely unaware of what is taking place. Another reason, perhaps, why most mediums prefer to work with clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsensitivity where they are not in a trance state and can therefore participate consciously in the proceedings and get instant feedback from the sitters.

It is really quite mind-boggling to think I heard spirit people, and even conversed with the medium’s guide, asking him a question, and that I clearly felt his very solid hands upon my head when he asked if he could touch me. Ectoplasm, when it is fully formed into a materialization is very solid.

Ectoplasmic rods are able to move objects around, even heavy objects like tables or, in this seance, a heavy armchair to which the medium was strapped in and gagged.

Ectoplasm has been analyzed and found to be formed largely from various bodily fluids, taken from the medium and, to some extent, possibly from the sitters as well.

Physical mediumship is a science, and as with all science is conducted by reseachers who are constantly experimenting and refining their experiments.

One day, when it has been perfected, it will be available to all the public and, along with other ways of communicating with the afterlife, form absolute proof that we all survive that barrier we call ‘death’. Till then it is confined mainly to closed circles where the medium and sitters all have a system of complete trust. Therefore if you are invited to attend a physical seance it is indeed a privilege you should accept and be prepared to undergo rigorous identity and security checks to protect the medium.

Mediums expose the Lies, Deceit and Utter Futility of War

This has just come to light due to my afterlife research.

The late Leslie Flint was a medium who communicated by Direct Voice (spirits speaking via an ectoplasmic voicebox some distance from the medium, who is in trance the whole time). In 1966, 25 years after his ship was sunk in 1941, Flint brought thru a sailor from HMS Hood named Terry Smith. Incidentally, HMS Hood was one of the ships that physical medium Helen Duncan revealed had been sunk in the Second World War before the Admiralty had told the public.  The other ship she revealed had been sunk before the Admiralty had announced it was HMS Barham.

Duncan brought sailors from the Hood and the Barham thru in seances in Portsmouth, and this ultimately led to her being framed for false mediumship under the ancient Witchcraft Act and jailed. The Admiralty didn’t like her revealing that their ships had been sunk, feeling it was bad for morale. However, if it was false mediumship (and many witnesses testified that she was genuine) then how did Duncan know the ships had been sunk? If she was just spreading enemy propaganda to injure morale then why wasn’t she charged under the appropriate  laws?

They were really extremely foolish to use the Witchcraft Act, which even Churchill admitted, complaining to Home Secretary Herbert Morrison about misuse of court resources and the ‘obsolete tomfoolery’ of the charge, and the Act was later repealed.

Terry Smith was not listed among those who went down with the HMS Hood, nor was he among the three survivors picked up by HMS Electra. However a regular sitter at the Leslie Flint seances, Betty Greene, got confirmation from the Admiralty that Terry Smith was on the Bismarck when it was sunk.

Now this obscure fact hides a whole can of worms. The Hood was sunk by the German battleship the Bismarck, and Churchill then ordered that the Bismarck be sunk. He didn’t want to reveal (and how often have similar things happened in wartime one wonders) that British sailors from the Hood had been rescued by the Bismarck, so having survived the sinking of the first ship, Terry Smith (and who knows how many other British as well as German sailors) perished when the Bismarck was sunk. That it was common practice for survivors from sunken enemy ships to be rescued by the very fleet which sank them is confirmed by a photograph in the Wikepedia article on the sinking of the Bismarck showing German sailors being rescued by HMS Dorsetshire.

There were exceptions of course. A friend of mine, now deceased, was in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War and his ship was sunk by the Japanese, but survivors were machine-gunned by them. My friend, however, survived till the 21st Century, dying 60 years after the Second World War ended. 

War does funny and unpredictable things to people. It can bring out brutal sadism or humanitarian compassion. If dying is considered an honor (as it was to the Japanese, hence their kamikaze pilots) then being captured alive is considered dishonorable, as is capitulating or showing disrespect for the Emperor. This explains a lot of the cruelty and sadism of the Japanese towards War survivors and POWs, it just wasn’t in their culture to survive and become POWs. It also explains why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki failed to end the War with Japan (this  heinous US war crime is ‘ justified’ by the lie that it did end the War in the Far East and saved Allied lives). In actual fact despite the atomic bombings the USA had to agree the humiliation of allowing Emperor Hirohito to remain on the Japanese Throne and escape a Nuremburg-style War Crimes Tribunal before the Japanese would end hostilities.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki had more to do with demonstrating the effects of America’s atomic bombs to its supposed ally, Stalin’s Soviet Union, than ending the War with Japan. They were, in fact, the first shots in the Cold War, and led directly to the nuclear arms race between the USA and USSR.

Back to HMS Hood and the German battleship the Bismarck. No explanation is given as to why a British sailor was on board a German ship in the War, and one wonders how many other British sailors may have been on board, rescued from the Hood, or indeed aboard other German ships sunk by the British.

You could cynically call it ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’, like those poor souls unfortunate enough to be living in German occupied cities then bombed by the British. A very strange way of ‘liberating’ them – sending their souls over to the Spirit world in a very violent way, being blasted to pieces, suffocated by smoke/debris or burnt alive.

All these unsavory facts are glossed over in war propaganda, and crew lists for those lost when the ships are sunk do not, probably by mutual agreement, list survivors of enemy ships picked up and rescued but then lost when the rescue ship is sunk.

Mediums have a habit of embarrassing governments in Wartime, and Helen Duncan paid with her life eventually when police broke into a physical seance she held long after her release from prison. In 1956 torches were turned on by police infiltrators during a seance, and the ectoplasm rushing back into Duncan’s body caused  injuries from which she later died. 1956 was, of course, the year of the Suez fiasco, so perhaps they feared she’d be revealing secrets about that – British holidaymakers killed during the bombing of Cairo perhaps? The dates tally. The bombing began at the end of October 1956, and Duncan died from her ectoplasm burn injuries on December 6th.

Flint, a pacifist himself, brought other military survivors into the seance room. A vivid description of his death is given by British First World War soldier Alfred Pritchett who perished in that conflict when ordered to go ‘over the top’ of the trenches. He talks of the futility of war and about the Church holding the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other.

On the Other Side they have to deal with the trauma of young men on all sides thrust suddenly and violently into the afterlife, and many spirits once they have recovered go on to do rescue and rehabilitation work on the Other Side, helping souls who die in war, accidents and natural disasters. These spirits often need help because many are confused or don’t even realize they are dead, the transition is so sudden.

So Terry Smith’s ship HMS Hood is sunk by the Bismarck, he survives, he is rescued by the Bismarck, but then the Bismarck is sunk by the British. The sailors who perished on the HMS Hood and on the Bismarck are honored, but no mention is made of rescued sailors from the opposing side.

Once in the Spirit world many military personnel who perish in war find themselves feeling obliged to help  the victims of wars on all sides to adjust to their new situation. Mediumship really does highlight the utter futility of war when rescued sailors are then sunk by their own side, and when British First World War soldiers who died in that conflict end up helping across those on both sides who died in the Second World War.

Meanwhile the generals and politicians sit back in their safe hideouts and bunkers ordering young men to kill each other (and to bomb innocent civilians), and of course go to War after Czechoslovakia and then Poland are invaded by Hitler, are happy for Polish airmen to fight alongside the RAF, only to hand these countries over to Britain’s wartime ally Stalin at the end of the conflict. Exchanging Stalin for Hitler was not exactly what the Poles had in mind as the end result when Britain declared War on Germany. Moral: never trust a country which has built an Empire to guarantee your freedom.

Admittedly Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. ended up in Stalin’s Soviet sphere of influence because the Red Army liberated these countries from fascism and therefore was occupying these countries, but it does rather smack of betrayal by the British not to have at least demanded neutrality for these countries. Who got that in 1955 when Soviet troops marched out of Vienna? Austria, which was largely a willing part of the Third Reich, Hitler himself being Austrian!  Finnish armies also besieged Leningrad alongside the German armies, and Finland too achieved neutral status. Perhaps Poland should have sided with Hitler, then they too might have got an agreement on neutrality.

Moi cynical? Ha!

As for Terry Smith. Sorry, old chap, you were rescued by the ship that sunk yours, so we sunk it before you safely reached port! Bad show, old thing! Toodle Pip! What a jolly old game war is, eh old chap?

Revolutionary technical developments

Although I can be something of a Luddite when it comes to modern gadgets, some of these technical advances have really revolutionized the way we live and work. Not always for the better, I have to say.

I resisted CDs for years as I have a large vinyl record collection. I now have an MP3 player but have not used it as I have no idea how to work it or download/upload tracks, so I stick to my old portable cassette player, or a portable CD player. I still have all my old vinyl records as well as CDs.

Rather than go over to digital cameras I bought second-hand film ones because I’m familiar with the technology. Now, however, someone has given me one of these modern mobile phones (cellphones) which take pictures and videos, and have mastered the technique of downloading/uploading (I get confused with the jargon) on to my computer. It is very convenient indeed to be able to take pictures/videos whenever I want from a tiny device I always carry, and no expensive films or developing. The quality of the pictures is quite acceptable on screen, though printouts on my computer printer are adequate rather than brilliant (colors and shades not as uniform and brilliant as on screen).

However the personal computer is what has really revolutionized my life. I spend much of my free time at home on it because there is so much you can do on a PC with a Broadband connexion to the Internet. I couldn’t possibly list everything, but being a writer I can now post things here on this blog and elsewhere which are actually read by people around the world. Before computers you had to find someone willing to publish what you wrote.

I find I rarely play my records, CDs, audio cassettes, video tapes or DVDs when at home because it is so much easier to click on music video clips I’ve downloaded, or on to YouTube. Also you can play tracks in the order you feel like, whereas a DVD is pretty much the same songs in the same order, unless you fast forward all the time.

The Internet has been invaluable in my research into the paranormal and the afterlife, and I get a weekly report via email which has up-to-the-minute news and links to video clips about the latest scientific and other developments in this area. With the Internet censorship is by-passed and you can easily access stuff here you won’t usually find in newspapers and magazines.

There are just so many things you can do on a computer connected to the Internet, including, of course, playing games on screen either solo or with electronic players. I haven’t yet linked with other live players on-line.

None of the modern gadgets I can think of are entirely new since little has actually been invented since about the 1950s. This may surprise some people until you realize nearly all the modern gadgets had their origins in the early part of the 20th Century or even earlier. Microwave ovens, computers, photography,  mobile phones, color and 3D television, washing machines, cars, planes, space travel – all these and more were in existence in some form or other by the end of the 1950s.

For instance, before email and texting there was fax and telex. Even before fax machines the technology was there – I well remember the ‘photo telegram’ which was fax by another name back when I worked at the International Telegraph Office in the 1960s/1970s. Telex and teleprinters in the mid-20th Century did almost everything email does now in much the same way. Instantaneous communications around the world, even down to the abbreviations like: C U L8TER (telex/teleprinter language was all capitalized) for ‘See you later’ which were used by us telex operators long before texting became possible. The country codes now  used in Internet domains, like UK for Britain and D for Germany (East Germany was DD) originated in Telex technology.

The VDU in the office I worked in was first introduced in the Telex Room, since telex machines incorporated primitive VDUs into their design before desktop and laptop computers became standard equipment in offices. So the Telex Room where I worked was the first to have VDUs in our office, and the trade union demanded our job be split into two shifts as for years nobody was allowed to work on a VDU screen for more than 3 hours a day due to the radiation the screens were thought to emit! Pregnant women had to wear special aprons to work on them even that long.

Email first came via the Telex Room in our office thru two Interfaces – GreenNet and GeoNet. It took us telex operators hours to download just a few email messages and forward them to people in the office, until email could be delivered directly to their desktop computers.

So far from being Luddites, we telex operators were in our office the first to have VDU screens, the first to access email, the first to use modern texting abbreviations, the first to communicate instantaneously in written format with people around the world.

These many inventions, pioneered by people in the 20th and 19th centuries, have truly revolutionized our lives. Though I still flinch when I see and hear people walking down the street or in buses/trains talking incessantly on mobile/cell phones, completely oblivious to their surroundings or who else may be listening. What on Earth do they find to talk about all day long?

Possible ways forward

I’ve written many articles and blogs analyzing where Socialist experiments went wrong and giving my views on how it could best work in the future. However this is all academic if, as at present, it seems extremely unlikely that Britain or many other countries will move forward in this direction at any time in the near future.

The encouraging thing is that the latest experiments in Socialism have moved from Asia and Central/Eastern Europe to Latin America. In addition to Cuba, countries like Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador now have progressive governments trying to implement Socialism.

Unfortunately the remaining Asian Socialist states seem to have lost their way. Not learning from the mistakes of the Soviet Union and Central/Eastern European Socialist states, they have remained dictatorial and bureaucratic.

The DPRK (North Korea) remains fixed in a Stalinist/Maoist type personality cult carried one stage further with the ruling Kim family now more like a royal family with hereditary rights to leadership.

The PRC (China) has just followed the capitalist road but maintained the one-party dictatorship, so the worst of both worlds. They have made little attempt to create a true Socialist Market economy with competing cooperatives and publicly owned enterprises, instead they have allowed the big capitalist multi-nationals to move in.

Vietnam, Laos and Burma I haven’t studied in detail, but suspect they too leave much to be desired as far as establishing genuine Socialism without an entrenched bureaucratic ruling class and with true democracy.

As far as our neighbors in the European Union are concerned, each one is different. The former Socialist states have a legacy of the former ruling Marxist-Leninist parties and their allies, and in some of these countries at least (such as the former GDR or East Germany) a certain amount of nostalgia for these imperfect Socialist states which is reflected in the popular vote the successor parties achieve in these areas.

In countries like Italy, France, Greece and Cyprus there have always been large Communist or Marxist-Leninist parties, but in Britain it has always been the Labour Party which has been the main party of the Left, at least until the advent of New Labour.

For this reason Lenin advised revolutionaries in Britain to work closely with, or inside, the Labour Party, which had affiliations with the trade unions. The Communist Party of Great Britain tried to affiliate to the Labour Party, but was refused permission despite its British Road to Socialism policy pamphlet, which advocated the ballot box rather than revolution, and never advocated a one-party state or one-party coalition with the abolition of free elections.

The question is, of course, where can we go from here? As far as Britain is concerned we must first assume we remain united (it is entirely possible Scotland and Wales will gain independence in due course as members of the EU in their own right, and that Northern Ireland will reunite with the Republic). The potential for full-blooded Socialism may well be greater in places like Scotland than it is in England.

Having said that, there seem to me two main avenues towards achieving Socialism in Britain.

One is in alliance with the Labour Party and trade union movement. For this to work in the long term it will first be necessary to achieve Proportional Representation in General Elections. No mean achievement considering a referendum has just rejected the very poor compromise of the Alternative Vote in favor of first-past-the-post. Both these last two systems would deny much chance of getting MPs elected representing any of the minor political parties.

With PR, however, it would be entirely possible for a United Left or United Progressive Front to gain quite a few MPs in the House of Commons. I envisage this united front as encompassing the many Socialist, Communist, Trotskyist and environmental parties, with quite possibly recruits from the Leftwing of the Labour Party.

In a hung election this united front might well be able to cobble up a coalition with Labour and push thru some more progressive measures. However the main thrust for Socialism must be thru the trade union movement, which must be rebuilt to its former strength working inside and in close collaboration with the Labour Party. If at all possible the Labour Party must be won back to full-blooded Socialism, last enacted in government by the post-War Attlee-led one. This will be no easy task since the New Labour leadership made drastic constitutional changes which, in effect, castrated the membership by making the Annual Conference just a sham democratic procedure entirely controlled by the leadership. They must have looked to Joseph Stalin himself for ideas on how Party resolutions could be censored so only those approved by the leadership were discussed and voted on.

The other road to Socialism is not thru the ballot box, nor thru revolution, but rather thru evolution. This involves the working class organizing itself in trade unions and putting pressure on the Labour Party and employers to protect the wages, job security and rights of the proletariat, the sole creators of true wealth. Also it involves workers coming together to set up cooperatives and mutual societies to compete with the capitalist enterprises in the market place.

In this way Socialism could come about gradually thru the back door from the grassroots upwards, and it would be a much healthier and more efficient form of Socialism than that imposed from government level downwards in the form of vast State monopolies. Whilst these are suitable for things like the railways and public transport networks, for the utility companies, Post Office, etc. as far as many other enterprises are concerned healthy Socialist competition, as it existed in former Yugoslavia, is likely to be much more efficient, and give a much wider choice to the consumer.

A combination of both these methods, thru the ballot box and by grassroots action thru cooperatives and the trade unions, we can in time achieve a more progressive society and eventually, we hope, full-blooded Socialism once capitalism has finally collapsed.

There surely can only be a limited amount of time before the masses get tired of the endless financial crises, wars, slumps, unemployment and insecurity which are inherent in the capitalist system.

Living on credit has not proved to be the answer as more and more increasingly worthless printed money chases after fewer and fewer goods and services, raising inflation thru the roof and causing many bankruptcies with both individuals and private companies, not least the banks responsible for irresponsibly encouraging all this credit.

All credit to private individuals should be stopped, credit cards abolished, and also mortgages banned. The exception could be hire purchase or easy payment and mail order catalog schemes if there is just a small administration charge for collecting the purchase price in instalments.

By making charging of interest above the level of inflation illegal and then only allowing for administration costs, all large scale credit to individuals would be stopped anyway, since there would be no incentive to lend money.

All financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, pension funds, etc.) except for cooperatives and mutuals should be taken over by the State with minimum compensation (haven’t directors and shareholders creamed off enough already?) Investments, premiums, savings, pension funds, etc. held by the new State-run organizations should seen as a public pool to be used to fund public services and provide capital for public enterprises, setting up new cooperatives, etc., while guaranteeing money held for individuals. At the moment many private/company pensions are basically just gambling their funds on the stock exchange, some win, some lose.  

Cooperative and mutual societies have responsibilities to their owner/investors not to pay fat cat director salaries or use money invested unwisely.

A State insurance scheme would mean money lent to cooperatives or public enterprises which failed would be compensated by those which succeeded, so the financial institutions and individual investors would not lose out. Under Socialism failing enterprises don’t get taken over or result in redundancies; new ones are established learning lessons from the mistakes made by the old ones. Instead of a dog-eat-dog market place it would be a much more cooperative one, where successful enterprises would help establish new ones, by setting examples and passing on their expertise. A healthy Socialist Market Place is one in which all enterprises are successful at fulfilling a need.

Social housing should be revived, and all young couples and individuals who leave the family home offered a council or housing association property. Rents should be kept relatively low, and once the value of the property had been paid in rent over the years (allowing for a service cost for repairs, etc.)  the tenants should then be given the option of either owning the property outright or continuing paying a lower service charge to cover repairs, maintenance and upkeep. Mortgages would then no longer be necessary.

It must be realized that only labor can produce real wealth, and so lending money in any form, including mortgages, just artificially increases the money in circulation, but not the labor power and therefore the goods and services it is meant to represent. This is why house prices go thru the roof,  why inflation rockets, and why capitalist economies are so unstable. 

Coupled with the fact that shareholders and directors are stealing directly from the workers’ wage packets here and especially in the sweatshops in the underdeveloped countries, and laying off millions of workers in the developed countries in order to exploit cheap labor in countries abroad, the whole rotten capitalist system is on very shaky grounds and is only propped up by government interventions and continual wars to boost the State-sponsored arms industries, financed, of course, by the taxpayer.

And to scotch that old fallacy that taxes would be sky-high under Socialism, this is not necessarily so. By taking the banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions into public ownership, the State would have vast sums of investments to use to keep taxes low. Any profits from other State run enterprises could also boost these funds. Despite all its many flaws, apparently the DPRK (North Korea) has abolished taxation.

This is really not the main concern, however. If we want good public services, good pensions and job security thruout our working lives, these must be paid for like all other services and commodities. So how it is paid for, by taxation or other methods, is really immaterial. It is when it is NOT adequately paid for and we start to lose all these things, including the once free National Health Service, as is happening under the present capitalist system, that we have to start worrying.

Spelling

This is the first blog I’ve done on this subject, but regular readers in the UK will probably have noticed I use what is often considered as ‘American’ spelling. It is true that many of the spellings I use are more common in the USA, but I actually pick and choose how I spell words from the many variations permitted in the English language as spoken in the USA, UK, etc..

There are some instances where I use the spellings either more commonly used in the UK, or which were once commonly used in the UK. Examples of the former are: skilful, enrolment, instalment, fullfil as opposed to the US versions: skillful, enrollment, installment, fulfill. Examples of the latter (no longer commonly used in UK and virtually unknown in USA): connexion, reflexion.

There are some spellings commonly used in the USA which have gone out of fashion in the UK, and I always use these. Examples: -ize and -ized  instead of -ise/-ised as in organize/organized. These -ize/-ized suffixes are preferred by the Oxford English Dictionary, and commonly used in certain British broadsheet newspapers.

However there are many spellings thought of in UK as being entirely American which were not only commonly used in the UK in former times and now rarely are, but are actually preferred by the Oxford English Dictionary and Fowler’s Modern English Usage (also published by the Oxford University Press).

Fowler’s Modern English Usage  points out, for instance, that there are far more words even in the UK ending in -or than in the British -our suffix, and that the latter doesn’t serve any useful purpose, other than distinguishing the spellings from those used in America.

In past times spellings like labor were commonly used in Britain and this form also shows the Latin root of such words. Fowler’s also points out that -our suffixes are even in UK gradually being replaced by -or as witnessed by the now defunct spellings like governour.

Fowler’s also points out that the Oxford English Dictionary denies any value to the quaint British -our suffix in words like honour, odour, favour, glamour, etc. The fact that even in Britain many of these words drop the superfluous ‘u’ in their longer forms just proves how inconsistent our spelling is. Examples: deodorant, coloration, colorific, honorary, honorific, glamorous, glamorize/glamorise.

Two more categories where spellings are commonly different in USA and UK are the -er/-re endings of words like center/centre, theatre/theater and the double or single l  in words like traveling/travelling, traveler/travelling. With the former, I prefer the more phonetic spelling common in the USA, and as regards adding an l to words like travel, this serves no useful purpose and, in fact, suggests the accented syllable is the second one rather than the first, which of course is incorrect.

Another category of words spelt differently on either side of the Atlantic are the -og/ogue suffixes of words like analog/analogue, catalog/catalogue, monolog/monologue. Needless to say I always use the shorter and more phonetic spelling.

Another word on its own spelt differently in USA and UK is analyze/analyse. Again I use the more phonetic spelling more common in USA.

There are many words which are usually spelt differently in USA and UK which don’t fall into these main categories, some examples being: check/cheque, aluminum/aluminium, furor/furore, sulfur/sulphur, gray/grey. Some of these have different pronunciations in the two countries. Where the pronunciation is the same, I use the version more common in the USA if it is more phonetic. The argument that it is useful to see the distinction between check as in the pattern and cheque as in an order for payment falls down when you realize such a distinction cannot be made in speech, but we fully understand which word is being used by the context.

There are also a host of other words where shorter or more phonetic spellings are commonly used in the USA but are almost unknown in UK and which have come about in America since Noah Webster’s time by usage in stores, newspapers, etc. These include spellings such as sox and cigaret instead of socks and cigarette. I have also adopted these shorter spellings.

In short I believe in this age of the Internet when international variations in the spelling of English have become more widespread, we should have the widest choice in how we spell words. My guide would be the Official Scrabble Dictionary which includes all accepted spellings for proper words, though discounting abbreviations like za for pizza. Similarly short forms adopted in first Telex and now Texting language should not be used in more formal English: therefore forms such as c u soon or gr8 for see you soon/great are not acceptable in books, letters and official/semi-official documents.

As to spelling reform in the future, to go too far would make existing books unreadable. George Bernard Shaw, a strong advocate of spelling reform, proposed an entirely new alphabet to make English phonetic, which seems rather extreme. However modest reforms can be made gradually, and to avoid the controversy sparked by some suggestions I made in a previous article on spelling reform  I won’t propose any new spellings here.

If it’s a proper word, the pronunciation is the same and it is in the Official Scrabble Dictionary and commonly used on computers and on the Internet, I would say any such spelling is acceptable for most written use of English. The only exception would be in very formal documents where unofficial spellings commonly used in USA such as sox/cigaret are not acceptable even in America.

World Court Project

The World Court Project is a campaign to pressurize governments to promise not to use or be party to the use of nuclear weapons, but to abide by international law. The International Court of Justice has ruled that ‘methods and means of warfare, which would preclude any distinction between civilian and military targets … are prohibited’. This clearly includes nuclear warfare and use of nuclear weapons.

Indeed even the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons is illegal, since they are totally indiscriminate and would kill and injure hundreds of thousands, even millions of completely innocent civilians (including children), and cause cancers and deformities in existing and future generations yet unborn.

The fact that now nine countries have these illegal weapons of mass destruction, while nearly 200 others get on perfectly well without them, makes it imperative that the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Ploriferation Treaty are implemented. This Treaty not only aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries, but commits existing nuclear weapons powers to abolish these weapons as soon as possible.

Countries which say they need these weapons as a ‘deterrent’ are giving a very bad example to terrorist groups like Al Quaida who copy these tactics and say if countries can threaten innocent civilians with nuclear weapons for a political purpose, why shouldn’t they threaten innocent civilians with bombs for their own political purpose?

Many military men in high positions admit nuclear weapons are militarily useless. Not surprising since they didn’t help the West win the Korean War, USA win the Vietnam war, prevent the Soviets from having to pull out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, didn’t deter General Galtieri of Argentina from reclaiming the Malvinas/Falklands, didn’t help Britain to win the Malvinas/Falklands conflict, didn’t help France to hold on to Algeria and other colonies, didn’t deter the 9/11 terrorist attacks on USA nor the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London – in fact, as stated above, probably gave Al Quaida the idea and that it was OK to blow-up innocent civilians.

The lie that the two A-Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war in the Far East in August 1945 is still repeated but has no foundation. Firstly, the Japanese were prepared to die for their Emperor, hence the kamikaze pilots. Secondly, if the A-Bombs caused Japan to surrender then why did the United States have to bow to the extremely humiliating concession that Emperor Hirohito could remain on the Japanese throne and be exempt from a War Crimes Tribunal? The truth is they could not obtain a surrender from the Japanese, even after the A-Bombs, till they agreed to let Hirohito escape justice and remain Emperor.

In any case war crimes were committed by both Allies and Axis powers in World War II, not least the indiscriminate bombing of innocent civilians by conventional and nuclear weapons targeting cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Wurzburg, London, Coventry, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and many other cities under Axis occupation, causing hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and in the case of Japan, cancers and deformities decades after the A-Bombs were dropped.

The real reason they were dropped was to demonstrate to Stalin’s Soviet Union that USA had this weapon and its effect on cities and human beings, and all that did was insure Stalin sent his spies to get the secrets and develop Soviet nuclear weapons. This started the dangerous nuclear arms race which nearly destroyed the world in 1962 during the Cuba Missile crisis.

This crisis was CAUSED by nuclear weapons and brought the world to the brink of catastrophe. It was only saved when Kennedy and Krushchov both backed down. Kennedy agreed to remove nuclear weapons from Turkey bordering the USSR if Krushchov agreed not to supply nuclear missiles to Cuba a few miles off the U.S. Florida coastline.

Now is the time for all this dangerous and expensive nonsense to stop. The Cold War is over, and all nuclear weapons have ever done is buy the original 5 nuclear powers a permanent seat and veto on the UN Security Council. This has thwarted the work of the the UN as a peace-keeping organization on many occasions, and the Security Council with its undemocratic vetoes should be abolished. It thwarts the democratic decisions and resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

President Obama has said he wants to see the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, and indeed the stockpiles have been dramatically reduced on all sides since the demise of the Soviet bloc. However there are still more than enough left to destroy the planet and all life on it.

In these times of economic hardship and cut-backs in public services it is even more crazy for countries like Britain to consider spending 100 billion pounds on replacing the Trident submarine-based nuclear weapons system which cannot defend us and which targets completely innocent civilians. The Liberal Democrats, part of the ruling British coalition government, pledged before the last General Election NOT to seek like-for-like replacement of Trident but to seek an alternative which many would argue must be non-nuclear.

Sign the Affirmation at http://www.nuclearweapons-warcrimes.org

The text is as follows:

MY AFFIRMATION that any use of nuclear weapons would be a crime under international law.

I consider that any use of nuclear weapons for any purpose whatsoever by my government or anyone else would be a War Crime.

I refuse to accept any use of nuclear weapons in my name or on my behalf and call upon the government to renounce and prevent all uses of nuclear weapons.

This wording, in my view, includes their use as a so-called ‘deterrent’.

Comments can be made at the following Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nuclear-Weapons-War-Crimes/124383754288301

As we sang 50 or more years ago on the Aldermaston Marches: ‘Make your minds up now or never, Ban The Bomb for evermore!’