Wednesday, 24 August 2011

“If our expressions are to be heard then they must be silent”

This title comes in the form of abstract nonsense but nonsense that takes heed of ‘the dilemma’. The dilemma is how to break out of the all encompassing capitalist edifice. Such a task is the mission of the left. After being engaged on the peripheries and sometimes deeper levels of left wing Anarchist and Trotskyite sects of the London UK left I find myself at a double edged sword.

My radical left ambitions seem to be very different from the rest of the left or rather the organised left here in the UK, and doubtless to say most of the UK left.  The title of this article is my attempt at deciphering the disparity between myself and the UK left, the contours of this disagreement encapsulated by this ambiguous title will be depicted and revealed in this article. No doubt it will be of no interest to anyone but myself, although I write this in the hope of someone to completely rip apart my sentiment or ideally help me towards the realisation of what it is I have to say about what it really means to be a member of the Radical Left.  

I have been struggling to see how the UK left hope to achieve a revolution. Their focus, rhetoric and doctrine are embedded in 19th and 20th century text, philosophy, and crucially, tactics. It is the tactics which really concern me - as the sentiment of holding onto a Marxist, Trotskyite, Leninist, Luxembourg’s teaching is part and parcel of the constitutional edifice of the Left but - these teaching, especially today, are not sacred and should not be treated as such. What resides in the form of sacredness is the underlying message of these philosophers and revolutionaries, which is - Capitalism is a system that should be opposed and defeated and those opposing capitalism the Proletariat and slum dwellers, who constitute one of the largest proportion of densely populated civilisations around the world) the majority of the population, a section of the population who are suppressed or excluded by the ruling classes and the section of global society, need to rise up and take control of the reigns of history before the capitalist train, we are all riding, collides into oncoming traffic.

A collision is a very likely scenario in light of the current global constellations developing in the sphere of the International Relations of the 21st century, but it is the 21st century that is the crucial point here! WE live in the 21st century and to stick to Socialist tactics of the 19th and 20th century, which do not account for slums or ecological propensities, is in my view, the reason for the total failure of the left to engage and ignite with the revolutionary potential of a proletariat, that does not even realise its potentials or even that the proletariat is the proletariat!

Show me a contemporary Marxist arguing for a 21st century vision of what a left wing revolution would look like? For me, as it is clear if you were to read my blog roll would quickly discover that, although I have my disagreements and criticisms with Zizek, he is the only Marxist philosopher trying to challenge this dilemma that the left face. It is abundantly clear that he is the Anti-Christ of the left, an analogy I am sure he would relish, and this is a just analysis, but at least he is attempting to reconstruct the radical left in order to bring the left face to face with the realities that our old ways and theories, although relevant in many aspects, just do not cut it when it comes to our current epoch!

If the left is to engage with a Politically ignorant and quite frankly capitalist proletariat, a proletariat that is unaware of its existence, as seen in all those who see themselves as ‘Middle Class’ who are in fact the true definition of a working class Proletariat - “those out of joint in the social space, the part of no part lacking their proper place within it...What qualifies the proletariat... is ultimately a negative feature: all other classes are (potentially) capable of reaching the status of the ruling class, while the proletariat cannot achieve this without abolishing itself as a class (Zizek, 2008, pp 414) Owen Jones has recently written on how Middle Class sects of society, will, if the definition of what it means to be working class is defined to them, conceive themselves to be working class.

As for the lefts engagement and relations with, slum dwellers, the unemployed and the underclass is concerned this is a true lack of the left. The riots highlighted the lefts complete inability to engage with a disenfranchised, under-educated and lost sects of society, who hate the system which impoverishes them, most crucially, in the realms of education and health care, but yet still in some perverse way - perverse as their dream has been dictated to them by the system which rules over them and they follow like braying sheep to aspire toward imposed dreams that suppress them. This is well and truly a failure of the left. Not just to engage them but rather for there to not be radical left wing organisations which work outside the parameters of the state, within their own social space which challenges the sate through its very abstraction? Not in children charities funded by the state or shelters or even the farcical liberal construction of Corporate Social Responsibility, but actual bodies who work outside the parameters of the state organisations which can create its own new society behind the back of the overarching failed western neo-liberal edifice.  

Yes trade Unions are important, but it is blatantly clear that this form of social organisation is dwindling and that corporations will not adopt trade unions any time soon. Yes we can infiltrate the state as John Mcdonald and Jeremy Corbyn have done and try to work from within the structures laid out by the state which allow the left to oppose the state but such action is rare if existent at all, and when such opposition does arise the contours of such opposition are hijacked by the state or powerful individuals. Take the recent comments made by Warren Buffet one of the world’s richest men, he proposes that the rich should be taxed more, this is an idea long proposed by socialists and is a prime example of the revolutionary capacity of capitalism to monopolise policies and rhetoric or the left to serve its ever expanding control of all opposition to it, which is why the radical left need to work outside the parameters of a capitalist system that, at the moment, has the capacity and power to control and devour the left.  

Whilst there is no denying the fact that the left do more for the working class and those underrepresented and repressed sects of society, and humbly, do more than I am willing or able to do, due to my disagreement with the way the left functions in the UK, with its bitter, sectarian, clique infighting, and with its obsession over left wing sect disagreements over foreign policy which although valiant in sentiment, such action does more to disenfranchised the Left away from relation to those that it should be concerned with most, those whose thought and action they should be working in UNITY to convert, that being the Workers and unemployed here in the UK and across Europe. Take the Spanish uprising and subsequent direction of an attempted opposition to their government. They claim that a new movement should not be concerned with left or right wing politics but should be in some way apolitical. Such sentiment not only calls on the state to act in such a way ‘without’ ideology, a dangerous ambition, but also proposes that the only way to achieve this is to make demands to the government to reform. And this is the crucial point of their failure. The Spanish revolt should grab the reigns themselves take a radical left wing stance and create their own state from which to construct new socio-economic realities, outside the constructs of their state. This is what the left in the UK should attempt to do.       

This is why I make the statement that if our expressions are to be heard then they must be silent. We must cut off the balls of Capitalism so that they will not realise that capitalism has been overthrown they will just all of a sudden realise that their voices have gotten a bit higher. The only way to do this is to not work within or against the state but rather to operate outside the state. It is not for me on my own to lay out the contours of how such a task should be enacted upon, as this would not be left wing sentiment, but this is the task I believe that the left should be tarrying with, and this is the only way I believe that the left can hope to achieve emancipation and universalism? 

Whilst it is easy to critique capitalism it is much harder to look inside the left and reform it, in order to overthrow capitalism.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Articulation of the Riots

This article highlights the flash points and current affairs which have taken place in recent times here in the UK. It represents a perspective not likely to be articulated by popular media outlets. It is important to understand where we are today, in British society, as the combination of social action and rhetoric being enacted all over the UK will have severe ramifications on future events. To ignore the scenarios presented in this article will result in placid acceptance of the domination of a form of capitalism that will drive Europe further towards the right, and authoritarian domination, and leave the coming capitalist catastrophe on the tracks of a collision course with the future. A scenario which can be salvaged but as your cynicism suggests, may not be realised.

Under the guise of the UK riots, the scenario of a catastrophic failure of all the vestiges of western society is imminent. Seen in, the reduction of welfare, health care, any sort of equal schooling and in recent times, calls for oppressive measures to deal with a very troubled part of the population, the unemployed and the working class, these sectors of society particularly in London live side by side with a class which earns 300% more than their neighbours. Such a circumstance will and has caused great resentment and class antagonism of irreprehensible proportions.

The measures being taken to punish those involved in the riots have been disproportionate and quite frankly, a shambles, and has made clear who the law is here to serve. To make single mothers homeless as a result of their son being caught up in the fear, anxiety, and in-articulation of the riots is madness, do you expect them to re-enter society better people once they have been left to rot on the streets of London? They will in all likely hood resort to drugs and further crime as a result of this type of fascist policy. A mother who does not live in a council house will not be evicted and thus the law is not one for all and all for one, but a favouring of one class in society against another.      

It must be highlighted here that it is capitalism and class which is at the heart of the riots we have seen across the UK, not this moral degeneration that the government media and ill informed sects of society seem to espouse. For all those whose life is anything close to a class struggle recognises that the riots although spontaneous and home wrecking, miss directed, but they were very very political! Only a fool would fail to see that.

British society has tried to fob the causation of the riots on to some sort of moral degeneracy. In the most minimalistic sense this reigns true, but more poignantly it MUST be recognised that the causation of the riots has been caused by a socio-economic system which caters for the suppression of all those who rioted, and in doing so, further suppressed themselves, by way of ratcheting up the devices the government uses to suppress this section of society.    

If ever there was a better example of capitalist ideology it’s the way the government and the public have reacted to the riots... “it’s a sickness and a behavioural problem from the ‘lowest of the low’ in British society”. This is a stark example of the neo-liberal capitalist agenda – devolve all responsibility and push the blame onto everyone but those who have been endemically responsible for the riots, the ruling class, those who have exacerbated the class divide and are now suppressing all those who acted out in bouts of rage. The rioters acted out in large part due to their in-articulation to oppose the squalor the state has catered for them to live under and an inability to challenge the ever increasing authoritarian state that we are currently living under the transition of.

It is a daily occurrence of mine and those like me to feel alienated and suppressed by the current ruling system and to be unable to speak out and be listened to, our worst nightmare is coming true. That is to sit in a room full of people and when it is your turn to talk nothing comes out, you are unable to say anything, and your words fall on deaf ears. The frustration and sometime anger that this causes is difficult to put into words but it would be something similar to suffocating, or being claustrophobic and put into a clay mine. A surge of chemicals rush through your body leaving a weakness followed by emptiness, a space where life becomes truly pointless. The thoughts which embody your being are ignored and you become an empty vessel amongst a crowd of people baying for the blood of anyone who does not conform to a general consensus, devised to cause the very feeling that an eloquent speaker would deject until they can speak no longer.

To take the opportunity away from those who need to be heard the most is to trap a human animal in a cave and to let them starve. If that human animal has any passion and gustier then they will become distraught, scared, and angry, if the opportunity was to arise, a window to react to the suffocation expressed by those around them then it becomes your duty to respond. As was the case when the upholders of the law expressed in no uncertain terms that they were above the law when the police and the investigators of the police, the IPCC decided to lie to the community who had suffered the loss of a fellow, whom, it would seem, played too closely to the precipice of citizen and criminal. When that community responded in protest their actions fell on deaf ears. The dance on the periphery of such boundaries would seem to be an intrinsic part of the capitalist culture we live under.

We see this dance across all sects of society but the ones who’s dancing is cringe-worthy and pitiful are, yes it will be re-iterated here, the bankers who duped the world into believing they were full of cum and tenacity, whereas in reality they were limp and infertile. And the politicians who were seen to be the representatives of society as their position suggests, were diabolical examples of those who represent our society, dipping into the tax payers pockets in order to maintain, which has now become apparent, unsustainable lifestyles, greedy, corrupt, and, although the word is debatable ‘immoral lives’. Its rich coming from Cameron and Clegg that the destruction of property is a sick and ‘immoral’ act and something which should be punished with the full force of the law, in a manner which would seem fetishistic when Cameron speaks of such ‘righteous’ punishment. They both have track records of destroying property. Cameron as a member of a class elitist, bourgeois, club which spits in the face of every decent working human being, the bullingdon club and its ideology is a culture which needs to be abolished above all else, and Clegg who has a criminal record of setting fire to green houses when he was 16. Most people know what it’s like to dance along the precipice of legality and illegality with little exceptions, as law is a murky realm of rule, divide, and conquer.

When politicians speak to the communities affected by the riots, the residents of those communities have been alienated and disconnected with the rhetoric and actions taken and spoken by such politicians. And now when politicians show an interest it is too late, the vestiges of salvaging those who see the riots as a political act are too far removed from the double speak and ineffectuality of a political system which claims no ideology, a system which claims to deal mainly with economic fulfilment. Yet this very system seeps with a goal to keep all those who have not been fortunate to reap the dirty money flowing through the hands of all the ruling elite, the bourgeois. The workers and the unemployed are alienated from any meaningful political process.

The working class may only be subjects of the state and not citizens. The rights afforded to the wealthy, from quality health care to quality education, to privileged internships are worlds away from the lives of the people. This is for one reason only, due to the fact that the politicians are not in power to represent them; they are there to represent their own class and economic strata. The riots do nothing to legitimise the way the government structures society but the exact opposite. The riots were a capitalist failure and quite frankly a shambles. There is no alternative and it’s the fault of all those on the left for this! 

To have looted Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, and mass refusal to pay extortionate gas bills, boycotted elections and to storm parliament, laid siege to public schools and private health care, occupied banks and to reign the powers of a society which does not represent the mood and thoughts of the workers and unemployed sectors of society, the majority, although it wouldn’t seem that way, would have been more legitimate than burning down neighbours family homes.

But here the true catastrophe lies. Those who are being suppressed by the abhorrent system which rules over the UK are not just unaware that the rioters expressed a human-animalistic instinct that represents us, the workers and the unemployed, but that the inability of society to organise against the oppressive dynamic we feel is the failure of the left. Our failure is seen in the public’s response being directly in line with the government, the media and the ruling class. As the people do not see the alternative in a fragmented and disorganised left section of British society, it is our task to reclaim the void and to think again about how we need to organise the workers and unemployed, so if this anger and anxiety resurfaces again the goals of the left will be the dominant features of debate. For now sections of the Guardian and Owen Jones will remain our only voice in popular UK affairs. This must be changed so that next time the left is ready and capable of changing our propagandised, suppressed and alienated Britain. I remain pessimistic.      

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rats, Criminals, Ferrell... Yeah! Well Fuck You, Let’s Riot!

So the kids of London from some of the most impoverished areas have been rioting the past three nights, they may continue to do so tonight or we might have seen the end of the rioting but it's doubtful.

Personally I wouldn’t go out smashing shops and looting goods from inside, and I am sure those reading this will be of the same thought but that probably where our agreements end.

When events such as rioting and looting occur we get pretentious characters jumping in the realms of the hegemonic hand of the Media who publish the sentiment that some people cannot get enough of. To paraphrase slightly...”look at those people how uncivilised, how can they do such a thing?” “Ferrell rats” “scum” and “blah blah bullshit”. Instead people should be looking to youtube, the Guardian, and blogs to find the pragmatic responses.

People espousing this patronising ill informed, un informed, contrived perception of the rioting would do well to sit down and have a good think about what circumstances that these kids have been living in to have brought them to act in a manner which is wrong, and harmful, not just for themselves but against all those whom their actions have affected. But this is the point! They don’t give a FUCK! Why?

Today the odds of one of the kids ever owning a house or having access to basic health care are slim to none. Those odds are reciprocated in my future prospects and I’ve had an over-exuberant education. So I don’t know what they must be thinking! Combine this with inadequate social housing; cramped living conditions in densely populated area common in London, surrounded by and involved in gang culture induce through fear. Some live in fear because they live in and around domestic abuse, drug abuse, and many will know of or know people who have been murdered. We all know the police murdered Mark Duggan and no one will be convicted but this is possibly the most horrific crime to have occurred in the past few days. Those who are supposed to uphold the law have violated the worst sanction of the Law and we all know that no one will be convicted! Fuck that! This scenario is more fucked up than kids on estates rioting. Fuck the IPCC!

Listen if you think that because you have never acted in the way these kids are doing and what they are doing is contemptuous and inexcusable, as Nick Clegg stated, then I would jester to you come live on an estate in and around deprivation, mass poverty and dire inequality. The other day I saw two women, Crack/Smack addicts, walking past my window, both completely out of it. One woman was heavily pregnant swaying all over with a can of strongbrew in one have and sucking furiously on a cigarette. What chance does her unborn baby have? To grow up as a young, very impressionable and in all likely hood scared child you may not grow up thinking that the violence we have seen this week is that strange.

Hale is a long way from this environment. If you have addictions you get rehab paid for, you ‘deserve’ a car at the age of 17, you get a student loan and invest it, holidays galore, and you struggle in school you get a tutor. You learn in school that plain and simple there is no excuse for looting and violence. Oh, your opinion is so culturally superior that one may call the rioters “Ferrel Rat” and ask “Where are the parents?”  Their parents have probably given up.

If the government has removed funding for youth centres, charities who deal with troubled children, removed what little support school children got by way of EMA, reduced housing benefits, as a parent I would be distraught that my child is out looting whilst also of the opinion there is nothing for them to do. No money to go on holiday, kids camp, cinema, their too young to go to clubs, no support from the government demonised by society... FUCK IT let riot! I wouldn’t join in but I don’t blame them one bit!

The people who have been living in and around the rioting are scared but then again the rioters themselves are petrified also, with little to no future prospects the rioting is - a Crying out for help and role models.

Arresting and criminalising them all is the most stupid policy you can adopt think outside the box for one fucking minute... don’t you think that arresting kids they will grow up even further entrenched by crime, increasing the odds of their kids doing the same. DO give them community work and ask them why they really feel the need to do what they did, and invest in solutions. 

People don’t commit crimes because they are criminals, no matter how paradoxical such sentiment is, they commit crime because they are forced into it through systemic social circumstances, eradicate these and then we will be some way towards solving the problem. Sweeping it under the carpet will give you a tumor.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Communism for the 21st century

To understand what it means to be a communist is of great importance today. We do not have a proper understanding; the view widely accepted is highly controversial. It is seen as a destructive force which, once challenged this global capitalist world and shook it to its core. Stalin was and will remain a catastrophe of the past. He lived as a corrupt gangster and brute during his youth and was a brutally ruthless mercenary dictator till his death and beyond 

The contours of the question what does it mean to be a communist today is interesting... three hypothesis lie within: 
  1. That Communism was an intrinsic result of the type of Marxian political economy that emerged under Stalin and any movement trying to implement such theories into reality will result in a Stalin figure, or rather even if Lenin had survived or Trotsky had managed to come to power, similar results would have occurred. 
  2. That Stalin distorted the political economic maxims of Marxism and thus what occurred under the rule of Stalin was a horrific distortion and resulted in the worst human catastrophe of the 20th century. 
  3. Or  That the type of socialism created was doomed from the start. The wrong questions were being asked which resulted in total catastrophe.
The message that the third hypothesis teaches us is that, the left that existed at that time were fighting for the same things we fight for today, to end the class struggle, a struggle which necessitates a redefinition of the spheres of politics and economics, which ultimately means a new socio-structural engagement which deals with the current global structuring of the world. From the UN, IMF, EU, ASEAN, to state to state relations, and fundamentally, the way person to person social environments are constructed.

Today across much of the world gated communities exist, separating bourgeois affluence from proletarian slums. The construct of Western states is such that its citizens are not capable of engaging with the ways their state functions, as seen from the limited capabilities of the state to enact upon bankers or the Murdock Mafia .The true sentiment of the people, is not transferred from common sentiment into reality for one fundamental reason. The British establishment is structured in such a way as to literally cater for bourgeois capitalists in a brutally efficient manner, from upper-class schooling segregation to internships and beyond, it’s a section of society where social relations can only function through an incestuous nature and in particular the ways in which our conceptions of what is best in the world have been distorted to such an extent that there is a hegemonic hold over what our world is, and should be.

Our contours have been manipulated to sustain the global social domination of those who do not represent the majority. Is not this the task and the purpose of living to live in a world which, exists for and of itself, to not subscribe to any big other? Should not this be what we as a species strive for? There is only one majority and that is - all those who subscribe to class struggle.

Capitalist neo-liberalism is a perverse distortion of human relations and should be opposed if humans really wish to achieve a society which exists for the whole and to strive for a society in which society intuitively enacts a higher civilisation than the West inhabits today. Surely this is not radically different vision from the mission capitalism embodies. The false purpose of capitalism is to have a higher society for the rich; as such to completely dismember and rebuild human social productive capacities, to completely re-imagine the ways in which a political economy can be re-structured in such a way as to truly cater for the mass of society thus reaching a high civilisation, this is the pure and ultimate transition for capitalism, it is the next step.

Problems within capitalism are endemic and although capitalism is resilient and able to transform itself, to engulf what it needs and when, suggesting its power to be a true force - this is where the danger lies. What we have learnt over the past decade is that capitalism becomes ever more restricted in times of ‘terror’ and ever more limited in times of financial crisis. The end result is an ever-increasing authoritarian character which would seem to be, at this epoch in history, the only way to sustain growth, and maintain the current status quo for the megalomaniac bourgeois. It must not be under stated that the West has learnt this lesson from East and South East Asia; China, Singapore, Indonesia and so on. China is a supposedly crude Communist state but they have shown the world how to be ruthlessly efficient Capitalists. The cut back of the welfare state and social institutions here in Britain are the emerging signals of this new type of economy. The futures not bright and it is China. China are currently colonising Africa. I would rather the West take the recourses of Africa than the Chinese government, or rather Africa would actually what to sell its resources to the West rather than to China.

But here ends the of story capitalism. It is all too predictable, how capitalism has engulfed its worshipers to believe that to hold an indifference stance to political economy then they are somehow devoid of responsibility, in other words it is a fallacy to think that being non-ideological implies no ideological stance! On the contrary it is exactly the opposite. To dismiss ideology is acceptance of the dominating ideology, neo liberal capitalism. Now comes a huge dose of the fetishist disavowal, I know very well BUT.

This is the embodiment of the limits of the true lack in western civilisation; it’s complete inability to recognise its revolutionary potential. The system is running on default, the current structures of western economies have failed and are beginning to de-scale all the real vestiges of western civilisation, the arts. The transformation of universities should be the clearest sign that what policies are being enacted upon the population are destructive and violent, all in the name of making money, what will a philosopher earn? a novelist? a Sociologist? If one cannot see beyond this form of perverse wealth then one is truly lacking. Subjects are now all about specialising for specific ways to fix a specific problem. You do this one intricate niesh degree so that you can stop a gap leaking in the matrix. This is not what we should be doing when our civilisation is continuously driving strait past turn offs to a world where communism is the establishment of a new idea, to strive for a radical new re-evaluation of humanity, whilst always bearing the scar of Stalin and that this mission has the potential to go disastrously wrong, it is for this reason that the name communism should be attached to the radical left. 

The acceptance of our current circumstances and inability to imagine a world far better than the reality humanity inhibits is to be no member of the class struggle, and as such a regressive actor in the progression of civilisation.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In Response to Alan Johnson

This Article has been written in response to an Article By Alan Johnson In the Jacobin Magazine found here To understand the context of this post please read this link, if not the post still should make sense.

I have come across Alan Johnsons writings before and his critique of Zizek is typical of this article. What frustrates me immediately is the absence of referencing to all the quotes he uses, as I’d like to see the full context. It is easy to pick something Zizek says and attack his work without fully understanding what he means. 

Alan Johnson is picking and choosing what theories of Lenins he approves of whilst not offering Zizek the same grounds completely dismissing Zizeks works out right; I don’t think that this is acceptable.

If he wishes to be consistent all theoreticians have aspects of work which have many empirical truths in them whether we like it or not. Off the top of my head, take Fukuyama as an example. I completely disagree with his analysis but what he is saying should be understood as a legitimate argument. I do agree that it is important to understand the pit falls particularly in Zizek who does construe jargon throughout his works, but the beauty of jargon is that in many cases is it a puzzle waiting to be unravelled and the nature of jargon is that it often holds different messages for different people. This aspect of theory particularly interests me as opposed to being something that is snobbery, and is thus nothing to be afraid of, and I feel the interjection of it is some of the best writings of Zizek. Take his approach to religion as an example. Although what he does with religion is controversial if an atheist sees no absolute value in religious text, but if it is to be understood as offering ‘value’ then inferences to religion can be suggested, such as; when Jesus died on the cross (Jesus in this instance is the embodiment of god and not Jesus the prophet), that it was no longer the case that people need to pray to god because he is dead. And so it is no longer that we should trust god (as he is dead) but that the death of god meant that god trust us, and so WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS. There is no redemption or forgiveness! As Zizek says “There is no big Other telling you what your duty is... it is up to you to come up with what your duty is.

On democracy thinking that zizek is anti-democracy is wrong in an abstract sense. When he is critiquing democracy as the greatest of all evils he is trying to encourage a debate over the real possibility of society ordering itself in a much more radical manner not yet conceived. Society is often and in this instance all too willing to maintain the way things function, as this is form of democratic organisation is what we know as opposed to approaching the much more difficult task of trying to conceive ‘radical new modes of social production’. In my understanding, if what would form as a result of taking a Zizekian approach would turn out to be a dictatorship suppressing and maiming the world population, then Zizek would see this as “an absolute failure” and far from the message he, somewhat awkwardly, tries to convey.

I would also mention here that I recently read a collaborative book called Democracy in What state?​cracy-State-Directions-Cri​tical-Theory/dp/0231152981 and I would like to write the closing paragraph:

When Rosa Louxembourg wrote that “dictatorship consists in the way in which democracy is used and not in its absolution,” her point was not that democracy is an empty frame that can be used by different political agents (Hitler also came to power through – more or less –free democratic elections), but that there is a “class bias” inscribed into this very empty (procedural) frame. That is why when radical leftists came to power through elections, their signe de reconnaissance is that they move to “change the rules”, to transform not only electoral and other state mechanisms but also the entire logic of the political space (relying directly on the power of the mobilised movements; imposing different forms of local self-organisation; etc.) to guarantee the hegemony of their base, they are guided by the right intuition about the “class bias” of the democratic form.

This is far from the simple assumption that Zizek dismisses democracy.

On Violence I do feel that the Liberal message of peaceful revolution and radical social change whether in the form of a workers democracy or a communist realisation would most necessarily end result in some form of violence. It is ignorant to believe that no violence would occur in the event of such an act. And so it is right of Zizek to contextualise that very possibility and to theoritise over the meaning and outcome of such inevitabilities. If such scenarios where to take place we must not cower over the reality that it was a good message turned bad and so therefore failed from the start but to move on with the understanding that violence is, whether humans like it or not, part and parcel of what it means to be a human. This is not to suggest that systematic violence, such as the atrocities caused by Stalin and Hitler is the same as the violence that occurred during the 1917 Russian revolution, and to jump slightly, it is not the same violence as domestic abuse, violence indeed needs to be contextualised and understood, it is not a topic that we can dismiss or claim not to be an inherent occurrence in the human social edifice!

An article by Zizek article in the same issue of the Jacobin Magazine​er-2011/the-jacobin-spirit​/ is a good accompaniment to this article. 

Whilst I recognise the need for these types of Zizeks works, as Zizek is indeed as this article suggests lurking in the realms of the unknown, a theoretical arena of how to come to terms with the mission to overhaul the current organisms of neo-liberal capitalism, and how to re-appropriate them if the revolution was to occur. I am very aware of the dangers that lurk in zizeks writing, as the task he sees is an empty space where conceptions for a new society, as he puts it, a blank paper have yet to be created and this is a dangerous almost taboo area to be dealing with. So it is only natural for people like Alan Johnson to view Zizek in this misconstrued way, a result of which leads me to conclude that he fails in his, necessary critique.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The contours of History Re-appropriated

The world is in chaos. What was once a guaranteed global social order, global capitalism, is now laying bare, shattered and facing turmoil. As Mao once said “there is great chaos under heaven – never has the time been more prefect”.  

Form the early 90s to 2001 we lived in an era of truly ‘Fukuyamaist’ western parameters, where there was no longer a need for political opposition to the ‘democratic’ capitalist system. Communism had fallen and capitalism had won. Enter the, devastating, conquest of Thatcher to Blair to Cameron. The ‘middle class’ was expanding, by middle class what is meant is those who have an expendable income, free to purchase beyond our means through the invention of credit, a further expanse toward a disassociation between cause and effect. The cause being purchasing beyond your means the effect of which resulted in boom and bust, a dynamic that Engels was writing about in his Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy of 1844!  

“No worker can hold his own against his competitors if he does not devote all his powers to labour. No one at all who becomes involved in the struggle of competition can stand the strain without the utmost exertion of his powers, without renouncing every truly human purpose. The consequences of this over-exertion on the side is, inevitably, collapse on the other. When the fluctuation of competition is small, when demand and supply, consumption and production, are almost equal, a stage must be reached in the development of production where there is so much superfluous productive power that the great mass of the nation has nothing to live on, that the people starve from sheer abundance. For some considerable time England has found herself in this crazy position, in this living absurdity. When as a necessary consequence of such a situation, production is subject to greater fluctuations, then the alteration of boom and slump (bust), overproduction and slump, (bust) sets in”

Currently there is numerous accounts of the contradictions and fallings of the capitalist system, such critiques will continue to be presented for as long as capitalism, in its current form, continues to function, but what would be a true act would be for the left to move away from such a dynamic, and purely formulate a way to live outside the contours of a critique of capitalism. The most prominent critique of this era would seem to be Naomi Klein Shock’s Doctrine, where she systematically attributes all the horrendous contradictions, decisions and consequences of the catastrophe of Capitalism. What would be ideal in situations of global fragility would be to re-appropriate the way we engage with capitalist proponents and the system itself, this is the area where we need to be preparing the battle ground. A revolution may be caused through great unrest, caused from an expansive disenchantment with the ruling order, but what truly matters is the events after the revolution. To make an event after the revolution, ‘the true event’, the left needs more than just a critique of where capitalism went wrong but a new agenda of how we can move forward in such a way that would engineer a functioning emacipatory global civility. It must be recognised here that revolution cannot happen in isolation, for the Arab springs to be successful they all need to combine their new orders in co-operative with other Arab uprising and combine their efforts to construct new societies. And if those in Greece end up causing the biggest upset in European history and stage a full scale revolution then this will only work if Spain and other European states follow.        

Owen Jones and his contemporary analysis critiquing the way the phrase ‘Chavs’ has been appropriated by ruling elitist discourse, has laid bare the way class functions in British society. What is more pertinent than the fact that ‘Chavs’ is derogatory terminology which, in the words of Owen’s book Subtitle, “demonises the working class”, this functioning goes further than its immediate cognitive function, it suggests a deeper psychoanalytic consequence: on the surface those who are working class are made to believe that they are of lesser worth than a bourgeoisie, and so do not want to be deemed ‘Chavs’, or more precisely worker! What, in effect, this means is that there is disillusionment amongst the workers of Britain of the potential they hold to escape this demonization and embrace their true reality, which would surely lead to a new class consciousness and class appropriation, or rather class re-appropriating its position.

That fact that they are not an equal in the domineering cultural agenda, where it is believed that those with wealth and possessions are worthy of their circumstance and that those without are ‘lesser’ people of not having. Incidentally and crucially the wealthy have attained such wealth in the past couple of decades through the invention of credit given to the workers, which turned out to be a false economy as we saw in the credit collapse in 2008. This has caused a double blow to the workers. Not only have they been coerced into accumulating large debts as a result of bankers deceiving its customers into believing that the credit was entirely legitimate and stable, but also their mantra that wealth trickles down was for a time deceiving many workers to believe, that capitalism is a system that works, creating a scenario where no longer would a working class exist, we can all be wealthy now, a dream the working classes clearly bought. But which has only truly been a mechanism for the rich to smother their wealth and power in their envious capacities of nothingness.

Never before has there been a more justified time for the rise of an authentic left. A left which would recognise now is the time to re-appropriate the contours of history! Owen Jones and his latest book goes some way towards a step in the direction of a left wing re-appropriation not only of history but of the reins of the future. We need to direct our lives against the contours of capitalist appropriation of the way things seem and the way they are and fight the system not within the liberal framework laid down by capitalism, but by undermining its functioning, whilst continuing to mobilise for strike action an integral part of the left, a dynamic which needs no re-appropriation!