Following on from Jim’s post about the comically dire amicus.ttt website, I took a look for myself. What instantly struck me as ironic, was that the tank(s) who presumably run the thing had set it up at least in part to provide a counterweight to amicus.cc. And in doing so had succeeded in creating something even worse. Which is going some.
Anyhow, I initially decided that the site was evidently an online home for lonely people with Stalin fixations. However, whilst boredly flicking through the various pages of twaddle with which it presents us, I happened across their “discussion forum”. It quickly became clear that when I’d thought it was a home for lonely “people”, I might have been overestimating slightly on the numbers involved. If you look at the forum, you’ll see that it appears to have slightly less members than Michael Meacher’s leadership campaign. Still, of course, if any Shiraz readers would like to tell the owners of amicus.ttt exactly what they think of the whole pile of red-baiting shite, than at least they’ve been kind enough to provide you with a platform… all in the same spirit of comradeship that amicus.ttt was set up to foment, you understand.
This blog has, in the past (scroll down to “fuckwit c.c.“), been very critical of the ‘amicus c.c’ website, and its apolitical, Private Eye-style gossip (usually inaccurate) about internal Amicus affairs and – even worse- about the T&G, where Beaumont gets everything wrong. However, it has been drawn to our attention that there is a much worse Amicus website: this lumpen, Stalinist affair is the brain-child of Amicus Assistant General Secretary Les Bayliss – evidently a nasty piece of work. Within the new union, the T&G Broad Left (where left-reformists, serious Trotskyists and thinking ex-Stalinists co-exist) is clearly going to have to take on Mr Bayliss and his lumpen friends, and teach them a few lessons in proletarian democracy.
Hat-tip: Ian of the T&G
This Friday is the 70th anniversary of the destruction of the Basque town of Guernica by German bombers acting on behalf of the Francoist forces in the Spanish Civil War. Although it was not the first aerial attack on an undefended civilian town (the Italians had done it in Abyssinia; and in Spain German bombers had previously destroyed Durango), and although the scale of the casualties was subsequently eclipsed by what happened
in WW2, Guernica came to symbolise the brutality of modern aerial warfare. This is largely because of Picasso’s painting:
All proportions guarded: no way am I suggesting that a pair of vainglorious, posturing, sexist perjurers are in the same league as the 20th Century’s joint-leading mass-murderer. But it is something of a co-incidence that today’s Grauniad gives away a rather dinky pamphlet-version of a (highly edited) transcript of Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, denouncing Stalin and “the cult of the individual”…while inside the main paper is this nausea-inducing report.
Sometimes when looking at the reasons why people read this blog, I find things that both amuse and disturb me. Let me explain.
With a WordPress blog, as with most others, you can find out what search terms people used when looking for your blog, if they came via a search engine. In many cases you’ll get sticky-fingered weirdos flicking through in the course of massive searches for “hot goat sex” or whatever, on the basis that these random words exist simultaneously in one of your blog posts. But do we get such normal things at Shiraz Socialist? Do we bollocks, oh no.
For example, let us look at yesterday’s searches. The single most used set of search terms was “Amicus.cc”. Fucking Amicus.cc?!?! I know the left has some sad bastards on it but the idea that my post about that risible website had any one person (let alone more than one!) searching for it in the course of a day, really does drive me to despair. Second favourite was “I am at a loose end”. I mean, dear God.
Today, we have something about the 2007 Mr Hungary competition - if anyone can track down a post where Jim, TWP or I even mentioned this in the course of a post then please send answers on a post card to me at the usual email address. Or indeed add it in the comment box if you know anything about the Mr Hungary competition. Is there a Mr Hungary competition anyway? Some things are just too sad even for me to research.
There are however some redeeming features. We also have people who searched on “Falklands War Argentina”, which suggests that they were interested in reading Jim’s wise thoughts on the subject. And last but not least we have a lone warrior who reached us yesterday by searching on the terms “John Sentamu Cunt”. Sir, this blog salutes you.
I suppose it’s a sign of growing up, that you lose reverence for your childhood heroes. As a bloke in his mid-fifties, I sometimes wonder if I have ever really grown up: I was genuinely shocked, recently, to hear Tony Benn spouting simplistic, incoherent anti-American, utter bollocks. I had previously heard him compare Islamicists in Iraq to the ANC, and wondered if he had lost his marbles. I now conclude that he has. I am informed that he never got over the loss of his beloved wife.
Another once respectworthy leftist who seems to have lost it, is John Pilger. This former hero of mine (he once even wrote a book called “Heroes”) now simply blames ‘The West’ for everything that’s wrong in the world and -unforgiveably – acts as an apologist for the clerical-fascists who rule Iran. Mark Osborn ‘fisks’ his most recent piece very effectively in the latest ‘Solidarity’. Nevertheless, I feel sad and sorry for Pilger, a once serious leftist commentator, who is now a preposterous and reactionary joke: a living embodiment of the utter stupidity of the old saying, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”. But a very good advertisement for the advisability of reading ‘The Communist Manifesto’, especially Section 3.
This report in today’s Independent stunned me: the bourgeois democracies of the West are, apparently “in danger of losing the propaganda war against al-Qa’ida”, according to a British cabinet review of foreign policy.
The report is, amazingly, “one of six policy statements designed to secure Mr Blair’s legacy”! Some fucking legacy, that: losing the propaganda war to people who differ from classic European fascism only because (1) they’re not European, and (2) they’re more reactionary.
Given that outright Lord Haw-Haw types are few and far between, and that support in the media for appeasement is limited to a few self-haters, how the bloody hell have the latter-day fascists and their supporters/appeasers got the upper hand in this way? Supporters of the misguided adventure in Iraq may like to ponder that question. And all thinking people would do well to tune in to BBC Radio Four this Monday (at 8.00 pm), to hear the second part of Justin Webb’s excellent examination of anti-Americanism, “Death to America“.
But perhaps the real lesson is that democracy is too important to be left in the hands of bourgeois democrats.
Every time a tragedy befalls the United States in the form of the most recent school shooting, the liberal and conservative pundits (in the UK at least) come out in full force to call for the end of the second amendment to the US constitution, the right to bear arms. The origin of this amendment was in order to ensure that despots could never take power and ensured the right of armed resistance to such despots in a country where the bourgeoisie overthrew the tyranny of a feudal monarch. The bourgeoisie didn’t set up this law out of the kindness of their hearts once taking power, but in order to restrain the revolutionary fervor of the masses. It was a concession won by the masses in the fledgling colonies from the bourgeoisie in order to stave off the type of situation that occurred in France more than a decade later which attempted to carry the initial revolution beyond a bourgeois democratic one.
In my discussions on this subject previously with members of the UK left, I have often been at a loss as they describe their opposition to the ability of the working class to purchase and own weapons and quite frankly, their inability to understand that the second amendment was won by the masses from the bourgeoisie. In fact many people say it is irrelevant for the US working class (or even the UK working class), which has been so defeated and smashed under foot, to have the right to weapons because they would simply be crushed by the superior might of the US military in any case.
Now certainly, one would have to be some kind of fantasist to claim that the working class in the US is anywhere near a situation that would require them to organise trained citizen armies to overthrow the US government, but a vital question remains. Why do liberals and even some socialists call for the eradication of the second amendment in the US?
The argument is usually along the lines that in order to stop such tragedies as occurred earlier this week from occurring, guns should be made illegal for the majority of US citizens and only be allowed in the hands of the state via the army and police or various private security firms.
There are two fundamental problems with this view. First, the state is the ultimate perpetrator of violence, however horrible these individual events of kids shooting up kids in schools may be. It is completely backward and irrational to call for the disarming of the US population while leaving the state, army and police armed. This is clearly evidence by the death tolls coming out of Iraq daily.
Secondly, this view is understandable if one is a liberal and supports the capitalist system but is inexcusable for a revolutionary, who believes in the overthrow of capitalism. The demand for the eradication of the right to bear arms in the US gives support to the lie that revolutions happen peacefully through democratic means.
One might ask why, then, do the conservatives in the US hold on so dearly to this amendment while the more progressive elements tend to call for its eradication? To me the answer is clear. They know that they may not always be in power nor have the majority of the population or even the military on their side. However, the leadership of the conservatives in the US know that it’s better to have armed supporters when the going gets tough. This is by no means to say that people generally outside of a small group at the top think in this strategic manner. For most people, having the right to a weapon has to do with hunting, self-defence or defence of property.
However, if one is looking at the issue from the point of view of a revolutionary socialist, it is clear that calling for only the state to have weapons is entrusting the state and not the working class to make a better society. Notice how the Guardian and the Daily Mail ask the same questions about why US citizens are still allowed to own weapons.
Why, then, do kids walk into schools with guns and shoot up their classmates? Why do kids in London stab one another? These are social problems created by the capitalist system itself, not because these kids have access to guns or knives. Capitalism perpetuates violence by its very nature. It encourages alienation, isolation and individualism. It is this system that must be eradicated and not the right of US citizens to bear arms against tyranny.