Right, the login is finally sorted and I have officially joined the boys at Shiraz. If you don’t know me, my name is Max Dunbar and I’m a Manchester-based writer of fiction and criticism.
My politics are basic democratic socialist. I think it’s possible to criticise and scrutinise democratic governments while defending democracy against its enemies. Like many in the blogosphere, I’m angry and disappointed that many on the established left aren’t able to do this, and that some will even give active support to totalitarian governments and movements as long as they are against the West/neocons/Israel. We know all this, we have banged on about it for ages and we will keep banging on about it. In particular, I am annoyed with the status-quo left’s uncritical support for religion, and for faith-based elites and societies. Without secularism there is no future.
It’s an honour and a pleasure to write for Shiraz as it’s a blog I have admired and enjoyed for some time. I’m going to kick things off with something I picked up from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford. It’s a poster (25p – kerching) listing the ten Socialist Commandments.
Now, like I said, I believe the British left has suffered – and is suffering – from its association with religion. But these ten principles seem like good general guidelines for life and I thought they were worth sharing here.
1: Love your school-fellows, who will be your fellow-workmen in life.
2: Love learning, which is the food of the mind; be as grateful to your teacher as to your parents.
3: Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions.
4: Honour good men, be courteous to all men, bow down to none.
5: Do not hate or speak evil of anyone; do not be revengeful, but stand up for your rights, and resist oppression.
6: Do not be cowardly, be a friend to the weak, and love justice.
7: Remember that all the good things of the earth are produced by labour, whoever enjoys them without working for them is stealing the bread of the workers.
8: Observe and think in order to discover the truth; do not believe what is contrary to reason, and never deceive yourselves or others.
9: Do not think that he who loves his country must hate other nations, or wish for war, which is a remnant of barbarism.
10: Look forward to the day when all men will be free citizens, and live together as brothers in peace and righteousness.