Which way is up? by William Bowles

3 December 2007

A major blight of the ‘Left’, at least in my experience, is that it spends more time in-fighting than out. Why this should be so I’ll leave up to the psychoanalysts (or perhaps anthropologists?) to explain but it is surely a legacy we could well do without. My feeling is that is has a lot to with the ‘messianic’ nature of the Left, which has more in common with religion than with political economy.

And of course it’s a trait that’s well exploited by capital and its mouthpieces, witness for example the furoré the MSM has had with el presidente Chavez and his attempts (and no doubt others around him) to alter the Venezuelan constitution, giving the president some pretty awesome powers (for a democratic socialist) including sweeping emergency powers and extending his term of office (indefinitely?).

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The Red and the Green: Part One – Economic Democracy By William Bowles

29 September 2007

If you’ve been reading the excellent cross-section of articles on Climate and Capitalism (‘Ecosocialism or Barbarism: There is no third way’) you will hopefully have come across the exchanges on the ‘Green versus Red’ issue. If you haven’t then it’s time you did. [1]

In a nutshell, the argument goes like this:’Real socialists’ are intrinisically green, thus the Green bit is surplus to requirement. All socialists are for a’sustainable’ economy, so are the Greens except they don’t adopt the view that you’ve gotta get rid of capitalism if you want to really deal with the issue. So basically it comes down to a difference over economics (never mind the politics of it).

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Book Review: ‘Haciendo posible lo imposible’ By William Bowles

8 September 2006

Review: ‘Democracy and Revolution – Latin America and Socialism Today’, D.L. Raby

‘[O]nly a fool could think that the solution to the world’s problems lies in capitalism.’ – Hugo Chavez Ruz

I really like this book; firstly its straightforward language makes it accessible unlike the verbal diarrhoea that usually afflicts academic writing, especially on the ‘left’ with all its talk of paradigmatic this and the dialectics of that.

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Law ‘n’ disorder By William Bowles

26 June 2006

“There are also potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy … A government which lacks authority … will have little ability, short of cataclysmic crisis, to impose on its people the sacrifices which may be necessary.” – 1975 Trilateral Commission Report on the Governability of Democracies

I’m not sure who said it but any central State is a form of oppression. One of the few observations Marx made about the nature of a socialist society worth its name is that eventually it would have a government of things rather than of people. Sounds good to me.

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The Lesser of Two Evils By William Bowles

21 April  2005

It’s a long time since I voted in a British general election, over thirty years in fact. I think the last time I voted, I voted Labour, (against my better judgement) in what amounted to a ‘lesser of two evils’ approach to using our hard-won universal franchise. I won’t make that mistake ever again.

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Duck and Drakes By William Bowles

16 August 2003

“The American empire passes the duck test: it not only looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it also quacks like a duck.” — The Economist (14/08/03)

If you want to know what the ruling class (at least in the UK) really thinks, you have to go to the horse’s mouth or, in this case, the duck’s beak, the Economist, to get the inside dope.

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Bush in the Bush William Bowles

8 July 2003

Today, Bush arrives in Senegal where he’ll visit Goree Island, one of the locations from which an estimated 20 million slaves started their long journey to the Americas. Half of the 20 million never made it. And no doubt, Bush will make a speech about America’s commitment to ‘freedom’ and to Africa, blah-blah-blah…. He’ll talk about America’s desire to fight AIDs, poverty and the lack of economic progress. Of course he won’t mention the 200 billion dollars in subsidies pledged to America’s agri-business over the next few years, nor the effects of ‘structural adjustment’ in destroying the economies of many of Africa’s struggling neo-colonies. And will he mention the long list of African dictators installed or supported by the US over the past fifty years in its alleged fight against communism? Don’t bet on it because you’ll lose.

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Manufacturing Terror By William Bowles

5 July 2003

The vast and overwhelming propaganda onslaught that we’ve been subjected to since 911, is indicative of the lengths to which the ruling elites are prepared to go to in order to gain our consent for their actions. Indeed, the nature and scope of the propaganda war indicates just how insecure they feel. Appeals to patriotism and scaremongering tactics (eg the Anthrax attacks) have only short-term effects on the population. Sooner or later, the population is going to demand results, if indeed ‘results’ are possible to produce. And then one has to consider the idea that ‘results’ might have to be manufactured.

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