Tuesday, 26 February 2013

TabTV Inside: A Day with the EDL - The Pride of England

Monday, 25 February 2013

The SWP's rape scandal and the Unbroken Thread of Trotskyism's degenerated "workers" sects

Nobody does "Stalinist behaviour" better than Trotskyists. Irony or hypocrisy? Whatever, the Left is a disgusting mess by any standards and deserves to be as ignored, irrelevant and ridiculed as it is. Unfortunately that means that while the Left plays its dirty, pathetic little games and its wannabe Chekists and make-pretend Central Committees get their jollies in their grubby little empires, those who deserve the best, deserve to be fought for and defended, deserve a voice, they get left abandoned and unrepresented. 

From the WRP, through the SSP and the SWP, and a myriad of seedy little sects in between, the stories of power tripping little Napoleans and the women they abused run like an unbroken thread through the lineage of Trotskyism. Could almost make one wonder if the rumours about the Old Man himself were maybe not just (here is that word again) "Stalinist" propaganda, that maybe that icepick was a reminder that just because a naive young woman respects your ideas doesnt mean she consents to be a dirty old man's sex toy. 

" ...instead of finding myself face to face with a political chief who was directing the struggle for the liberation of the working class, I found myself before a man who desired nothing more than to satisfy his needs and desires of vengeance and of hate and who did not utilize the workers' struggle for anything more than a means of hiding his own paltriness and despicable calculations". Ramon Mercader, Trotsky's assassin explaining his motives.

Really, just how many "leading" names on the Left could we put those words to?

So the real point of the Mercader quote is that, whilst it may or may not have been true of Trotsky himself (and there were indeed rumours about his behaviour at his Mexican compound towards some of the young women who came to work there), Ramon's words just fit so well when we look at the conduct of so many of our own Little Trotskys.

Of course it isnt just a problem within trotskyism, this mysogyny exists within all strands of the communist movement (as indeed the current wave of sex-scandals within the Chinese CP rather shamefully attest to). Indeed by all accounts Marx himself was no paragon of feminist virtue when it came to how he treated the women in his life. But my issue really is that when these cases do come up within the left on this island, as they invariably do, those on both sides tend to just put it down to that lazy all-weather swear word "Stalinism" and then pretty much leave it at that, as though this explains all. It certainly doesn't. The "crimes of Stalinism", of the "degenerated workers states" are all repeated on a micro-level within the micro-groups of trotskyism. And anarchism too for that matter. Abuse of power and organisational authoritarianism and conservatism, corruption and nepotism are all endemic within the Left, at all levels, and within all of its brands.

Now that is fine when it is just a few oddballs falling out over some doctrinaire squabble. No one else is listening and no one else cares. But this time, and yet again, this something serious, something that is not isolated and which is deeply damaging on every level.

There is something deeply flawed, rotten even, about how the Left conducts itself, and that is not about 'Stalinism' (a word that is used to cover so much that really it has no meaning other than as a political curse word), and indeed not even Leninism (although there is a strong argument that the democratic centralist model is too readily open to abuse).

If there is anywhere where women should feel safe, it should be within the Left. If there is any place where women should be able to work and organise without having to deal with harassment and lechery it should be the Left. But we all know that just isnt the case. And never has been. Racism, whilst it exists within the Left, is not openly tolerated and covered up for. But sexism, up to and including rape and sexual abuse, is. 

People are what they are, complex, simple, confusing and predictable. And no more so than when it comes to sexuality and sexual behaviour. I don't think anyone thinks a new wave of leftist puritanism is an answer to these problems, but there are behaviours and attitudes that must be challenged. And the structures of organisation that protect those behaviours and stifle the challenges have to be addressed. There is institutionalised patriarchy within the left. But how that is addressed and resolved is going to take a much deeper level of analysis and self-reflection (organisational and personal) than just blaming "Stalinist practices" and men behaving badly.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

UK POLICE SPIES SCANDAL – undercover officers used dead children’s IDs

The News Line: http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/8345POLICE SPIES SCANDAL – undercover officers used dead children’s IDsA secret police squad stole the identities of dead babies and children, using them to attempt to infiltrate political groups and parties, it was revealed yesterday.

A public inquiry should be held into police undercover activities, the former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald demanded in response to the revelations, which were published in the Guardian newspaper.

The ‘Special Demonstration Squad’ (SDS) had been established by the Special Branch in the wake of massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in 1968 in London.

It was set up to infiltrate suspected ‘subversive organisations’ and stole the identities of about 80 children who had died at an early age.

Dead children’s identities were used because they would stand up to scrutiny if birth records were checked.

The allegations come two years after an undercover officer was revealed to have infiltrated environmental protest groups where he had relationships with two women.

Lord Macdonald said that it was ‘completely inappropriate’ for officers to use a dead child’s identity or form sexual relationships with people they were gathering information on.

‘How are you supposed to maintain a level of fair and objective evidence-gathering if you are having sex with the person you are targeting, fathering a baby and then abandoning it, using a dead child’s identity?’ he asked.

‘These are all examples of areas in which the police have completely lost their moral compass and have completely failed to understand the boundaries.’

He added: ‘What we really need is a public inquiry into undercover policing which takes evidence, takes advice, sets out some guidelines, sets out some mechanisms so we can be confident these sorts of procedures are not being followed today.’

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP, described the revelation as ‘disgusting, distressing’, and ‘most distasteful’.

Vaz said: ‘It is absolutely shocking that the identity of dead children has been used by undercover agents.’

He continued: ‘It is absolutely vital the parents of those involved should be informed immediately. It can’t be right that this information is being kept from them.’

Vaz pointed out that the Home Affairs Select Committee has a session today, saying: ‘We will be hearing from some of those women who were duped by undercover officers.’

He added: ‘We will also hear from the Metropolitan Police.

‘I am glad that they are investigating these issues, though a little surprised that it’s being treated as a professional standards issue.

‘This is actually much, much more important than that in my view, since it concerns a lot of individuals who will have known nothing about the use of their family’s identities.

Friday, 1 February 2013


The News Line: Editorial - http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/8336VICTORY TO SYRIA –
THE unprovoked air strike by Israeli forces on a scientific research centre on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus is the opening shot in the major war imperialism has prepared against Syria and Hezbollah and their leading ally in the region, Iran.

This illegal act of international terrorism by the Zionist state was condemned by the Russian Foreign Ministry which issued a statement saying: ‘If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked strikes against targets located on the territory of a sovereign state, which brazenly infringes on the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motive used for its justification.’

The chief of the Arab League was also clear in his condemnation of the Israeli attack noting that ‘this brutal aggression is a clear violation of the sovereignty of an Arab state’, adding ‘such acts violate the UN Charter, the international law and conventions, and the Security Council resolutions’.

These outright condemnations stand in distinct contrast to the absolute silence on this flagrant breach of international law and UN resolutions that has come from Washington, London and Paris.

No outcry about rogue states has been forthcoming from the centres of world imperialism which in the past have been so quick to impose sanctions or go to war to uphold the ‘sanctity of international law’.

That there has been not a peep from them is scarcely surprising.

On the very day that Israel launched its cowardly attack, the head of their military intelligence, Aviv Kochavi, was in the US, no doubt briefing his imperialist masters on the attack and receiving further instructions from the Obama regime.

Meanwhile, Cameron was in Tripoli in an armoured car, under heavy guard, trying to rescue imperialism from the disaster that has swept North Africa since NATO murdered Gadaffi and brought reactionary Islamists to power. The major achievement of this campaign has been to see North Africa and the Middle East declared to be a no-go area for UK citizens by the Foreign Office.

Undeterred by the disasters that they have created, the imperialists are now stoking up even bigger wars against the Syrian and Iranian governments, and the Hezbollah movement in the Lebanon, as the only bloody way out of their crisis.

There is no doubt that the air raid on Syria was carried out with the full knowledge and support of the imperialist powers.

As for the ‘justification’ referred to in the Russian statement, this amounts to the claim being made by the Israeli state that it is worried about Syrian ‘weapons of mass destruction’ falling into the hands of Islamist extremists and being used against them – a concern that has been faithfully reiterated by Washington and London.

This begs the question – if they are so worried about WMDs falling into such undesirable hands, why are they bombing Syrian targets on behalf of these self-same Islamist extremists and Jihadists?

Why is imperialism doing everything it can to supply weapons and military logistics to the very people they claim to be so worried about?

The answer to these questions is quite simple: imperialism is not in the slightest worried about the right-wing Islamists who, in practice, have proved to be loyal allies.

They are quite prepared to use them against the Arab revolution and even to overlook any small upsets in the cosy relationship, such as the odd killing of a US ambassador by jihadists as occurred in Libya last year, and the murder of UK citizens in Algeria.

In its death agony, imperialism is preparing for a major war in the Middle East, a war that will necessarily involve Iran which will not be able to sit back and watch Syria being dismembered in the full knowledge that they will be next in line.

The only way to defeat these war-like actions by the imperialist powers is for the working class to intervene against the common enemy, on the basis that the enemy is at home, and overthrow it with socialist revolutions. This is the only way to a much better world for the working people and the poor of the planet. 

A Tale of Two Social-Systems: Comparing education in China and the USA

A Tale Of Two Social Systems. Interesting to compare and contrast two reports on the BBC today, both looking at education, one in China, one in the USA, both basing their findings on the OECD report into global education standards.

First up...
China: The world's cleverest country?

Pupils in Yuexi county, Anhui province

"The findings indicate that China has an education system that is overtaking many Western countries."...

""Even in rural areas and in disadvantaged environments, you see a remarkable performance.""...

"The results for disadvantaged pupils would be the envy of any Western country, he says."...

"Mr Schleicher says the results reveal a picture of a society investing individually and collectively in education.

On a recent trip to a poor province in China, he says he saw that schools were often the most impressive buildings.

He says in the West, it is more likely to be a shopping centre."...

Mr Schleicher says it's a philosophical difference - expecting all pupils to make the grade, rather than a "sorting mechanism" to find a chosen few.

He says anyone can create an education system where a few at the top succeed, the real challenge is to push through the entire cohort.

In China, he says this means using the best teachers in the toughest schools."

And now, the good ol' US of A...

Downward mobility haunts US education

"An integral part of the American Dream is under threat - as "downward mobility" haunts the education system in the United States."...

""What you're seeing is the inequality of the labour market being echoed in education."

Prof Corak describes a polarising jobs market, with the very rich and very poor diverging - and a collapse in jobs in the middle ground, such as clerical or manufacturing jobs."...

"It found the US had the strongest link between family wealth and educational success - and the lowest mobility. Advantage and disadvantage were being further amplified in education.

Research manager Diana Elliott says in the US "income has a pervasive hold on mobility"."...

"The annual OECD education statistics show that only about one in five young adults in the US reaches a higher level of education than their parents - among the lowest rates of upward mobility in the developed world."...

"For a country whose self-image is based on optimism and opportunity, the US is now a country where someone with poorly-educated parents is less likely to reach university than in almost any other industrial country."...

"Today's young Americans have a below-average chance of becoming a graduate, compared with other industrialised economies."...

"But Andreas Schleicher argues that a deeper problem is rooted in the inequalities of the school system.

He says that the level of social segregation and the excessive link between home background and success in school is "cutting off the supply" between secondary school and university."...

"But it seems that the education system is no longer holding the door open to the brightest and the best, regardless of background.

The Philadelphia-based Pew research group compared the outcomes of young people in 10 western countries, in a project called Does America Promote Mobility as Well as Other Countries?

It found the US had the strongest link between family wealth and educational success - and the lowest mobility. Advantage and disadvantage were being further amplified in education.

Research manager Diana Elliott says in the US "income has a pervasive hold on mobility"."

Quite a contrast, no? And yet there are many, who really should know better, who believe these two examples are based upon the same socio-economic system, driven by almost identical political ideologies, representing the same class interests.

The facts, however, would rather tend to suggest the contrary. But then objective facts never really seem to be of interest when it comes to challenging the subjective idealism (fantasies/prejudice) of the western liblefts.