Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Bhutto succession dips Democracy in the Gutter.



As I new it would, my piece on Benazir Bhutto has created a choppy sea with friends and comrades reminding me that Miss Bhutto was not all bad and perhaps I should forgive her corruption as they are all at it in Pakistan. One comrade sharply reminded me that I should stick to writing about Ireland and Turkey as I obviously know nothing about Pakistan. He then enforced this fact by reminding me that the political party that Benazir’s father helped create and which she led, the Pakistan Peoples Party was an affiliated to the Second Socialist International. As if that fact alone gives it a clean bill of health and makes it beyond criticism. Thus now that Miss Bhutto has been laid to rest in the ground and we have had sight of her last will and testament, I thought I might in a comradely way confront my critics.

Whilst it is perfectly true that I am no expert on Pakistan nor its politics, I do know a class enemy when I see one; and any criticism I made of Benazir Bhutto was based on that fact alone. Nothing my critics and others have written about her of late has made me change my mind or reassess my opinion. I have never doubted she was a class enemy ever since I first read the statement she made to Tariq Ali, in which she said that she could not afford to be on ‘the wrong side of history’. With this comment alone Benazir not only repulsed me, but she had also forewarned me that she was both ignorant and arrogant; which is a dangerous combination within a politician as it is likely to be a recipe for disaster and so it proved.

If anything events that have taken place since she was murdered have reinforced my belief that politically she was rotten to the core. For what loving mother would have willed the leadership of a major political party to her 19 year old son, and if she was not corrupt why insist that her husband Mr Ten Percent Zardari becomes prince consort to that poor boy whilst also acting as keeper of the party books. For Miss Bhutto could not have been blind to the fact that Mr Zardari was hated and despised both within the PPP and in the nation as a whole. If any one wishes to understand more fully the depth of Miss Bhuttos corruption and links with the US administration, Tariq Ali’s article in the November issue of the London Review of Books might be a good place to start.*

Finally one of the most depressing things about this whole Benazir Bhutto story, apart from the people who have had their lives stolen needlessly in its wake. Is the way the British media have handled this story, for me this was best summed up in the London Guardians headline of today, [31.12.07] ‘My mother said democracy is best revenge–Bhutto son.’ A kid and a crook get anointed, not elected to lead one of Pakistan’s main political party’s and the Guardian with that headline alone dips the word democracy in the gutter.**

*Daughter of the West–Tariq Ali, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n24/ali_01_.html

** http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian/todays_stories/0,,,00.html

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Filed under benazir-bhutto dynasty, CIA, coruption, Pakistan, SIS failed-state, USA

London Assembly May 1st elections: An opportunity to run a Broad left List?



In his Morning Star column of Saturday the 22nd December, George Galloway wrote of the possibility of the Broad Left standing a progressive list of candidates to contest the London Assembly Elections, which are due to take place on the 1st of May 2008 . Such a Left list in London is long over due and if it can draw in support from across the London Left then it should be welcomed and supported. For far to long Capital has held sway in London, despite the fact that in many ways it is one of the most radical cities on Earth. Sadly to date this radicalism is not represented within the London Assembly, bar the odd Green and the Mayor when he is having a good day.

If one is to be critical of London’s current Mayor Ken Livingstone, it is because beyond his own election he has never made any real attempt to build a progressive coalition, let alone a new Left Party. Indeed his decision to return to the Labour Party must rank as one of the most opportunistic decision any Left-wing politician has made in decades. Still we are were we are; and there is little doubt for all Ken’s faults he is head and shoulders above the Conservative candidate Boris Johnson, who represents the ruling class elements who under David Cameron are making a real attempt to grab back the levers of power from the middle classes as represented by the New Labour elite.

In today’s New Labour Party, Ken Livingstone being on the political left is something of an aberration to say the least, although central government and its new Labour cohorts in the London Assembly quietly monitor and restrict his every move. However, as those of us who are on the left have no viable alternative to offer up as a candidate for Mayor of London, I see no reason why the London Left should not give its support to both Ken Livingstone and a Broad Left list. The more so if some sort of deal, official or otherwise can be reached with the Livingstone camp. If this were to happen there is every likelihood that for the first time the Left may have Comrades sitting in the London Assembly; and during the process of the May 1st electoral campaign trust could be slowly re-built amongst the various Left organizations and individuals who were part of any broad Left List.

If this were to occur it might just be possible to put the implosion of the Respect Party on to the back burner and the Left may be able to move forward collectively. Not easy I know, but the current situation demands it and there are undoubtedly left forces who would be willing to work for a broad left list and beyond, especially now the control freaks have temporally decided to withdraw from the field of play.

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Filed under broad-Left, elections, EU, Ken-Livingstone, Left Party, Left-wing, London, London-Assembly, mayor, politics, socialism, UK

Benazir Bhutto: Not the death of a Tyrant, but nothing much to cry about.


I did not intend posting on Miss Bhutto’s demise and some may feel my comments are a bit harsh considering the woman has only just been laid to rest, but I have not read the type of sycophantic drivel that has been published in the media about Miss Bhutto death since Diana Windsor fell off the twig, so I thought I would make an attempt to balance things out with this piece.

For me Benazir Bhutto represented every thing that is wrong and rotten with Pakistani politics; and not only Pakistani I might add. Opportunist to the core she drifted towards power elite’s, whatever their political values and justified her craven behavior by claiming she could not be on the wrong side of history.

When socialism was on the rise in the West she toyed with it, but once the USSR imploded she worked hard to become the USA’s favorite daughter in the East, unfortunately for her the US administration already had a favorite son in Pakistan. Although when President Bush due to domestic disquiet needed Pervez Musharraf shady election victory painted with a shiney coat of democratic paint, Benazir became useful once again to the US administration and willingly accepted the job of being the Bush administrations paint brush, for which she has now paid with her life.

Dynastic to such a degree that personal ability was not a factor in her rise, an accumulator of great personal wealth gained in the long run at the expense of the peasants and the urban economically poor, who were the very people her party the Pakistan Peoples Party claimed to represent and wished to empower. In her personal behavior and life style she was a third world bourgeois to the core, greedy, arrogant, haute, and contemptuous towards those who did not belong to her class.
Her husband Asif Zardari was known throughout Pakistan as Mr 10% and not without good cause, however she was always the chair/CEO of the family business whilst he was merely chief accountant.

To those on the left who have shown sympathy towards Miss Bhutto I would remind them that she and her ilk since the State of Pakistan was first formed have worked hard keeping power in the hands of small cliques, whether military or civilian. In the process they have built a nightmare State in which human life is cheap and what revenue the state possesses is used for private gain and what is left is syphoned off to the military or on vainglorious project like the Islamic Nuclear Bomb. The economically poor in Pakistan live a short life in poverty and ignorance, education is little more than a dream for their children who are set to work at a very young age. Perhaps the writers of those rosy obituaries of Miss Bhutto should consider that such poverty does not come about due to an accident, but because people like Miss Bhutto will it. One should also consider it is almost impossible to attain and retain great wealth in Pakistan without acting corruptly.

So I say to hell with the theoretical maybes and the this and that’s, for in their hearts all of these leftist know full well that Miss Bhutto had no intention when she returned to Pakistan of fighting against the vested interests who create such appalling poverty. To praise a women, as one known leftist has done, who ended her life as the willing tool of the most reactionary US President in decades was a disgraceful act. Have the left slipped to such a low level of consciousness that we no longer rejoice in an exploiters demise, whilst I did not wish her dead, I see no reason to be a hypocrite now she is. She was not courageous, simple vain and over confident, one only had to see this silly woman waving from the sun roof of her car to understand that she believed the great satan would protect her. She never gave a thought to those of her supporters who would be killed if she were attacked, she simply epitomized the me, me, me, age we live in.

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Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Islam, Musharaf, Organized Rage, Pakistan, Terrorism, UK, USA

The Banality of Evil



Below is a link to a photo album once owned by the Deputy Commandant of Auschwitz death camp. In it are photos of the camps officer corp at their leisure, we see them on away days, when they visit the countryside that surrounded the hell hole they helped administer. When they are enjoying a drink or in the festive season.

When you look at these photos Hannah Arendt book ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil’ comes to mind. Arendt’s thesis was that people who carry out unspeakable crimes against humanity may not be crazy fanatics at all, but rather ordinary individuals who simply accept the premises of their state and participate in any ongoing enterprise with the energy of good bureaucrats.

The men and women in these photographs, bar the uniforms, could be any governments or local authority bureaucrats on a works outing. Which for me makes them all the more terrifying, as when these people returned to work next day after having had an enjoyable day out, they continued with their ghastly work slaughtering countless men women and children.*

The link to the Photo album.

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/arts/20070919_ALBUM_FEATURE/index.html

* I would like to thank Tony Greenstein for giving me the heads up on these Photos and congratulate both the New York Times and the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum for publishing them.


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Filed under EU, extreme-right-politics- unaceptable-face-of-capitalism, fascism, golden-generation anti-Fascist, Holocaust, nazi-germany, WW2

Forget Global Warming: Inequality is the number one priority facing the human race.


The British Labour Party, the SPD in Germany, the Communist Party of India who govern West Bengal,[M[ and the ANC in South Africa have all bought into the false neo-liberal consensus that the most important political issue of the day is how one creates a dynamic economy which produces both economic growth and wealth. By doing so, all of these once progressive political organizations, along with countless smaller ones such as SF in Ireland, have become nothing more that the purveyor’s of gross inequality. For by choosing to trust big business implicitly and act as if it is a sublime influence within society, in reality amounts to inviting the fox into the hen-coop and by so doing we have ended up with a society which is the opposite of what the majority of the memberships of these organizations originally intended.

It is no accident that reformist politicians like Gordon Brown, Gerhard Schröder, Budhadeb Bhattacharya and Thabo Mbeki have been to the fore in advocating neo liberal economics, for they are people who in middle age have found it impossible to push against a closed door. Thus they were easily enticed by the power elite’s of big business that circulate like vultures around leading politicians, whilst making promises that would make a snake oil salesman blush with embarrassment.

The main task of Capital in the 21st Century is no different from that which it has always been, to enrich a small group of individuals at the expense of the mass of humanity. As with their counterparts in the past , todays political gofers of Capital have attempted to justify their reactionary policies with talk of the trickle down effect. Given that Capitalists and their political ilk have been using this preposterously pathetic excuse since the industrial revolution first began in the 19th century; and with the gap between the rich and the economically poor widening at an alarming rate in almost every nation on earth, the aforementioned theory has been proved to be wearing a little thin, not least as it is based on bunkum and absolute bullshit.

Thus for progressive politicians it is all very well talking about creating wealth, but in todays world that is far from the main issue, for the single most important factor today is how the wealth humanity produces collectively is distributed equitably. As it is, the vast majority of the wealth created sticks to the greedy fingers of those who provide the finance capital, those who actually produce the goods or provide the services receive very little of the profit from their labour; and what good is that for the majority of humanity. Indeed those who produce the goods and provide the services receive a smaller percentage of the profits that their toil provides today than at any time in the last 50 years, which in itself demonstrates the high level of greed and avarice Capital has descended to.

A mad rush for growth and wealth is pointless unless the mass of humanity benefits from it. Forget Global Warming as the number one priority facing the human race, it is a red herring which is designed to take humanities eye off of problems that could be solved in the here and now. Bar the odd G8 announcement on Global Warming, which are never followed through on, Capital has no intention of getting to grips with over production etc as under the current economic set up it provides Capital with such a delightful honey trough to get their greedy snouts in. Whilst Global Warming is an issue which humanity will have to deal or come to terms with, how we distribute the wealth we earn as a society is by far the most important and pressing question facing human kind in the 21st Century, For it is happening in the here and now and if we do not get this right we are on the road to barbarism.

Gross inequality is something we over look at our peril, for the ruling elite from China to the USA, the EU to the middle east, Russia to the continent of Africa are well aware of this fact and by passing prohibitive and draconian legislation it looks like they intend to deal with this problem not by redistributing wealth and creating a better life for all, but by oppressive administrative means which will reinforce the status quo.

One of the main hurdles to be overcome is that due to the detrimental legacies of Thatcherism and Reganomics, people are finding it difficult to face up to the question of a major redistribution of wealth. As they cannot get beyond the issue that private property is sacrosanct, even to the extent they now believe ‘God’s’ bounty water belongs to multi national corporations. Capital and its media gofers reinforce this viewpoint by making a big thing about Capital risking all when they are engaged in a business venture, as if they are like a guy climbing Mount Everest.

Those days are long gone if the ever actually existed, as today business people take risks with their own money in much the same way a man who has just robbed a bank does when he places all his ill gotten gains on the spin of a roulette wheel. Today even when a CEO losses the company they oversee and its share holders money, they walk away with a massive redundancy package. We have had plenty of examples of late when the CEO or members of the board’s of large multi nationals have awarded themselves massive wage hikes, bonuses or similar extravagances whilst the companies books show a massive deficit, but I cannot remember the last time I read that a CEO had risked their own money on a business venture. It is worth noting when the Northern Rock bank Chairman Matt Ridley gambled his customers savings in the Prime Mortgage Market, not a penny came out of his own pocket book.

Whilst I am not for a minute advocating a Stalinist state run economy, what I am saying is the increasing gap between the rich and economically poor poses a greater threat to human kind than global warming ever will, not least because it enforces billions of people to live short, ignorant and miserable lives. Not in 50 years time as is claimed to be the case with the approach of global warming, but in the hear and now!

If we refuse to get to grips with such blatant and unfair inequality, future generations can expect to live in a nightmare world in which the super rich live there lives terrified of the majority on whose backs they leach, whilst living a life of luxury and to protect their decadent pleasures they will demand of the governments they finance that they implement oppressive legislation against the ‘have nots’. A world in which an arrogant and ignorant middle class act as the political and economic gofers for this extremely wealthy elite, but who will possess none of the virtues of the post WW2 middle classes which made them such a powerful force for social change for the good.

Whilst the masses will either accept a slave like existence or be forced into permanent rebellion. Is that really the type of world we wish to will to future generations. If not we must get to grips immediately with the problem of inequality and find a reasonable and viable way to redistribute fairly the wealth that the mass of humanity creates collectively.

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Filed under Brown, Budhadeb-Bhattacharya, Bush, EU, inequality, Mbeki, multi-national-capital, neo-liberialism, Organized Rage, UK, unacceptable face of capitalism, world

Organized Rage is taking a short break for the Christmas holiday.


Organized Rage is taking a short break for the Christmas holiday. I would just like to thank all those who have visited the site since its inception and especially those who have left comments, even those who remind me about my dreadful spelling 😉
I wish you all a happy Christmas and a contented New Year.

Take care

Mick

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Obituary of Dave Hallsworth, Trade Unionist and revolutionary socialist activist.


Dave Hallsworth, who has died aged 78 of bone cancer, was a working-class activist who joined the Communist Party while on active service in Korea, but resigned in 1956 after the suppression of the Hungarian uprising. He finally found a political home within the small Revolutionary Communist party.

Born in Manchester, he left school at 14 and joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor. He was discharged after being jailed for a month for trying to organise sailors on a warship. Years of trade union work followed and in 1981 Dave led a long and bitter strike against redundancy at the engineering company of Laurence, Scott and Electromotors, in Openshaw, Manchester, where he worked. The strike featured in Ken Loach’s banned Channel 4 documentary, Questions of Leadership (1983).

Dave was secretary of the Tameside TUC Trades Council at a time when the Trades Council Movement was near its peak, TTC supported many of the most pressing issues of the day and unlike many labour movement organizations, it supported those who were at the time fighting for the reunification of Ireland, calling a conference to discuss the Northern Ireland troubles. As a result, the TUC sent its future general secretary John Monks to disband the council. Tameside was not the only Trades Council to receive a visit from the then TUC’s Witch Finder General Monks, as my own Trades Council also received a visit, although unlike Tameside we did not end up being disbanded. In 1983, Hallsworth stood as an Independent candidate for Ashton-under-Lyne in the general election, he received appro 400 votes.

Dave Hallsworth was active politically right up to his death, and contributed often to the online journal Spiked, which the remnants of the Revolutionary Communist Party set up after the demise of their party. This element seem to have moved more to the right with every donation they receive from corporate elements, indeed one of their number Mick Hume now has a column in the London Times, which in itself is no problem, but the fact that at times he writes right wing drivel is a sad indictment of many of those who move through the sects.

However not being an anorak of the UK left perhaps I am being unfair, as Dave Hallsworth in the days when I new him was solid. On the morning after PIRA volunteer Bobby Sands died, I was working for the south east region of the TUC out of the TUC headquarters Congress House; and it lifted my spirits no end when comrades from Dave’s RCP came rushing through the door demanding the TUC act in support of Bobby’s young comrades who were continuing their hunger strikes for political status. In doing this they were showing solidarity when it was desperately needed and I will always be grateful to the RCP for that.

He is survived by Elsie, his fellow activist and wife of more than 50 years, and their sons, Andrew and Duncan.

A longer assessment Of Dave Hallsworth can be found here.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3797/

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Filed under activist, dave-hallsworth, Obituary, Organized Rage, politics, RCP. UK, trade-unions