Russia is taking back energy resources into state control. The latest move is to take back control of the Sakhalin 2 project from Shell. It has used similar methods to that used against Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch, to take back control of Yukos. The state now owns the majority of energy resources in Russia through the medium of the state owned Gazprom. It has also used the huige financial resources of Gazprom to extend state control of other industries totally unrelated. For example, the majority of the media is now back in state hands with Gazprom recently acquiring further media interests.
In the summer of 1913 the government introduced a military bill… It was supposed to cost a thousand million Reichmarks for both new and current expenditures. However, the SPD confined itself to mere parliamentary protests; its members in the Reichstag even voted for the financial measures necessary to meet the military demands, because this time these were to be covered by property taxes. Even members of the party’s left wing (Radek and Pannekoek) advocated the passing of these measures. But knowing that nationalist and imperialist sentiments had moved many of the Reichstag members to vote in favour of the tax measures, Rosa Luxemburg underlined the principle that, in view of the rapidly approaching danger or war, the party should do nothing which might create even the appearance of expressing confidence in the government and consenting to its armaments policy.
An interview with Ignazio Silone (1939)
In the event of a war between Italy and France, which country would you favour?
What do you mean?
I do not adhere to any system of philosophy, to any ideology, or to any orthodoxy. I think that all the ideological systems inherited from the last centuries, like the society that produced them, are in crisis at present — which does not mean that they do not contain some partial truth. I think that this has been the lot also of Marxism, in all of its variants. All metaphysics has lost its self-evidency.
The central concern of “Third Camp” socialists is to promote independent working-class politics. Working-class independence from the given working class’s “own” ruling class and, not least, independence from its own ruling class’s enemies. My ruling class’ enemy ruling class is most decidedly not my friend. “The main enemy is at home”, as the heroic Karl Liebnicht put it during World War One. Everything depends on that.
This explanation by HW Benson of the relationship of the working class to democracy and the fight to widen, expand and defend democracy, appeared 50 years ago in the American socialist weekly Labour Action. It was a time in the USA when socialists and even liberals were under tremendous pressure from the anti-communist “McCarthyite” witch hunts. We too live in a time when democratic liberties are under attack. We must resist this attack, as Labour Action and The Militant, the two US Trotskyist papers of the time, did, alongside others.
I found reading the latest edition of Solidarity a bit confusing, like one of those Dot to Dot puzzles, where the picture only emerges if you connect the dots in the right order.
On Page 2 there is an article about the strike at NHS, Logistics, on Page 3/4 a lengthy article on “Can the Labour Party be Reclaimed?”, on Page 5 an article on the Left at Labour’s Conference, and another on Unions (and actually CLP’s) voting down Blair at Conference, on Page 8 an article attacking Brown’s hypocrisy, on Page 12 an article on the Cuban Revolution, on Page 14 a strange article entitled “Democracy and the Workers Movement”, on Page 18 an article attacking Socialist Action for their failure to attack Livingstone’s privatisation proposals, and finally on the back page a call for support for John McDonnell. All of these constituted the dots, but instead of looking at them and seeing a clear picture what came across to me was confusion and in some cases contradiction.
Whether it is Avantix, smart-card ticketing systems such as Oyster, or Manual Electronic Logging in signal boxes, technology continues to develop and to affect our life at work.
Management often target new technology into ticketing, even while they leave safety and operational systems in the 19th century. So passengers have contactless, stored-value, plastic tickets, while we still secure points with blocks of wood and metal clips!
This blog is to set out and clarify some of the arguments I have put forward in other debates linked to in this latest post:
Bourgeois democracy and where I also take up the argument again.
Bourgeois Democracy Form and Content
A Reply To Clive and Janine
This is my reply to the brief discussion with Clive and Janine here: