Things fall apart By William Bowles

10 August 2011

It’s fashionable to call them the ‘underclass’ that the state has buried away, out of sight–out of mind on ‘sink estates’ or trapped and invisible in the poorest neighborhoods of our cities. Demonized and/or sentimentalized by the state/corporate media (‘Shameless’ and ‘East Enders’ come to mind), exactly as in Victorian times, an entire section of the working class have been reduced to some inferior, sub-human species by the political class and its media partners-in-crime. Continue reading

Are we getting good Marx? I think not By William Bowles

1 September 2009

Karl_Marx_posing1I often wonder how Karl Marx would react were he to find himself here, right now? After all, he too lived through momentous and world-changing times, perhaps even more so than the changes we are experiencing, given that his was the world that gave birth to the rise of the Machine and capitalism as we know it. Born on the cusp so-to-speak and I too, was born on the cusp, 23 July, 1945, a couple of weeks before the empire showed the world that it was truly barbarian when it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I also caught the tail-end of 20th century socialist culture, warts an’ all. But I did more than just catch the tail-end, I inherited the culture of the two generations of lefties that preceded mine, one that stretched from here in the UK to the edge of the Black Sea. Worker intellectuals are a unique product of the Industrial Revolution, my father was one of them. Self-taught, multi-skilled (and talented), his father started out working for some lordship or other as a plantsman, growing orchids I think; moved to the city were he managed a Cross & Blackwell warehouse. He was a socialist by nature, a believer in ‘natural justice’ and he communicated it to all of his eight kids.

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Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution… By William Bowles

26 August 2008

Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution?

“The Middle Class Proletariat — The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.” — ‘UK Ministry of Defence report, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036’ (Third Edition) p.96, March 2007

Prescient words indeed, so given the dire straights of capitalism as the effects of rampant speculation and an economy based upon the illusary creation of wealth bite, does this analysis by the MoD have any substance?

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Crisis Capitalism By William Bowles

25 September 2006

My buddy S. Artesian who writes such inciteful deconstructions of capitalism[1] especially its depradations of South America, is, it has to be admitted, pretty much a lone voice these days, at least in the so-called developed world.

An avowedly unreconstructed Marxist, that is, he continues to utilise Marx’s razor sharp analysis of capitalism in all its gory details which as events unfold in this post-Soviet world of capital in (yet) another crisis, becomes all the more relevant to our current predicament.

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Book Review: Can’t see the wood for the trees? by William Bowles

18 March 2005

A Review of Caliban and the Witch – Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici

The subject of this book goes to the very heart of what it is to be a man or a woman in our world and as someone who feels very much to contain equal portions of both, it means delving into those areas of one’s ‘self’ that are the most vulnerable, what we choose to call our identities and attempting to reassess how we came to be what we are.

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The new imperialism or picking up where they left off? By William Bowles

9 June 2004

My previous essay (‘Queen Victoria in Drag‘) prompted some further thoughts on our present predicament and foremost was the reality that the 20th century consisted almost entirely of a war between two ideologies – capitalism and socialism. And although the examples, the Soviet Union, China and so forth were not exactly what many socialists of the 19th and the 20th centuries had in mind, there is no escaping the fact that the ideas inherent in all the attempts at building an alternative to capitalism captured the imaginations of much of the world and laid the basis for all the liberation movements that were to follow and, had a profound effect on capitalism.

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