Monday, 28 February 2011

The Perfidious Capitalist Animal: For they know not what they do

The use of the term ‘the capitalist animal’ here is to suggest that the homo-sapient is an animal. This is not to suggest that we are not human, rather, we are, in the basic sense, decedents from animals and subsequently the earth, therefore human life is no more important than the natural world, even though we are the ones making the ‘decisions’.
The fact that we believe we are, the order, which makes the decisions about how to use our environment, as a tool to cater for the capitalist system, is the crucial point. The notion that “Ultimately, all things being equal, an animal has as much interest in living as a human” is closer to the truth, of human’s interaction between each other and towards the ‘natural world’, than the notion that, we are ‘above’ nature.
Nature having its own order such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and so on, assumes nature has a dense impenetrability. Whichever way we alter natures order will shift the course of nature. The natural world is the best example to demonstrate that humans are not alone, we are responsible for, and at the mercy of, the natural world.  
It is all too familiar today to cross someone who speaks demeaningly about an Other. Here the Other is those who define you, those who you place your reality in opposition to, as a defining characteristic. To speak demeaningly about someone is merely an act of reinforcing ones identity, relative to whom they are demeaning. Of course we all do this to some degree or another; here I am no ‘multi-culturalist’ or ‘cultural relativist such terms suggests we should tolerate each other. Imagine if Martin Luther King would have said, he wanted people to tolerate the black population of America, or if Emily Pankhurst was calling for the toleration of women’s rights!
On the other hand, I will not tolerate capitalist endorsement, the intricate involvement in capitalism, or the current dominating constructs of capitalist system. There is a Roman law which epitomises the interaction between the capitalist system and its treatment of those whom it demeans, that is, the Homo Sacer, a life that is worth living but not sacrificing.
All things we deem to be outside of our ‘reality proper’- the survival of an individual, their concerns for desire, does not account for how we are to cope with the disastrous failings constituted in the socio-political, economic- ecological myriads we face. Our capacity to think is, believed to be, within capitalist culture, of a higher purpose by those whom have hereditarily received wealth, or due to a high level of intelligence are somehow ‘naturally gifted’ as if it’s a genetic gift.
We are using the natural world as an object to provide for our object petite a’ or objects of desire. Our desires for material to fulfil our being, induced, and enhanced, through the political economy of our cultural capitalist mediums are created to be representations and reflections of the ‘human glory’. Here one should assume that such a notion suggests that, the world constructed under capitalism, the world we live in, is a reflection of the way capitalist culture desires.
A capitalist is of the belief, that ‘it’ (‘It’, is a ‘Capitalist Human’) is somehow above our commons, or more worthy of living than those whom they exploit or that it pertains the knowledge to do as it pleases to peruse an environment which caters for the wish to accumulate capital on a scale which would jeopardise the already oppressed true victims of the manoeuvrings of capitalism. Take the people of the Congo as an epitome of what is to be understood as the worst victims of the capitalist systems political-economy.
The Congolese commons have been subjected to the worst traumas of the 21st century “In many corners of the country, law, order, electricity and medicine are virtually nonexistent” (NYT, 2010). The violence which takes place in the Congo is devastating. Torture, rape, and murder are daily occurrences. To put into context the unimaginable suffering of the people in the DRC I would like to use the symptom, we in the West call, ‘post’-traumatic stress syndrome. The women, children and men of the Congo, do not have ‘post’-traumatic stress; they live in a constant trauma. This current human catastrophe in the Congo is a result of the fallout from the Rwanda genocide but let’s not forget we have been exploiting the Congo, one of the most natural resource rich territories in the world, for centuries, exploiting its; diamonds, gold, copper and cobalt.
The fact that very little attention is brought to the tragic consequences of capitalist exploitation of the Congo alongside the fact that the West has done little to appease the worst contemporary human catastrophe, is testament to the way neo-liberal capitalism interacts with the natural world and the people who inhabit areas of vast natural resources. The people of the Congo, unfortunately, epitomes today’s Homo Sacer.
We can do better than this... claim we have reached the peak of our civility embodied by the ‘democratic’ western capitalism, is an abhorrent misnomer. Democracy has only been around for 150 odd years. Just look at the Middle East and North Africa, we are being shown how what was once an impossibility is no longer true. If the West truly believes the current ‘democratic’ capitalist construct is the best and only way to engage with its inhabitancies and those outside the Western model state, and the best way to deal with our natural environment, the way we currently approach the exploitation of the earth, then they are truly mistaken.  
Yet I would like to think that people do not really believe that.
Here there are two options left ; is it that capitalists know that what we are doing has catastrophic consequences but will continue to in such a manner regardless – in other words through, fetish disavowal, or, is it that they care but see no way of radically altering the current models in favour of truly emancipatory; economic, ecological, socio-political mechanisms? For the later all we need to do is look towards Egypt, if the former is true we should be wary of the perfidious capitalist.  

There is no big Other telling you what your duty is... it is up to you to come up with what your duty is.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Bohemian Revolution: A view from afar

The ‘British Perspective’

The British government has viewed the Egyptian uprising in typical fashion. In an Interview William Hague gave today in Tunisia, he, as all politicians do, took the position that officials and established Egyptians should be consolidating their powers to ensure; firstly, economic prosperity (his priority), and secondly political stability, not too distant from current and past governments collaboration with regimes like Egypt in the past -nothing awry there then. (see for Video of Hague)

My problem, which I may have for some time, is that officials of the state have an inability to advocate and consolidate the actions of protesters in Tahrir Square and across Egypt to debate on their terms a revolutionary government. Now I know this is, diplomatically impossible for a neo-liberal government to do, but wouldn’t an absolute avocation from the British government be a better slogan than, short this mess out, get your economy back in shape, and don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood get in power. A British government which would profess a Universalist message in solidarity with the Egyptians is one I would rather see. But who’s asking.           

The rise of the Far Right

Aside from the fact that dictators exists throughout the region as a result of colonialism and Imperial devastation, resulting in the Saudi and Iranian regimes  – alongside the catastrophic failures in the Israel/Palestine conflict in the region, when the West criticises the Egyptian uprising they have little ground to stand on!

The rise of the far right across Europe, such as Denmark, Sweden, the most advanced Liberal democracies in Europe, should be the major concern for Europe. We, here in the UK, are seeing an increase in the far right seen by the EDL. 

The UK government does little to oppose this political constellation so much for ‘liberal’ democracy. There was a recent review on BBC Radio 4, (for Radio program, go to When we are seeing a shift to the right within the democratic process alongside the biggest capitalist economic failures since the 1930s, we are witnessing a Europe not too dissimilar to the politico-economic constellations of the 1930s, with Rhetoric of isolationist policies circulating the global community, parallels between now and the 1930s are becoming ever more constellated within the International community (see Paul Mason So the West should be seeking to tackle this shift rather than thinking that anything is wrong with liberation revolutions in the Middle East North Africa.
The Spark that lit the Flame

The people of Egypt saw the events in Tunisia and realised that retrenchment from political protests would stagnate or destroy the political ambitions of the revolution. It is for this reason that I believe Egypt to be a symbolic beacon which will hopefully light the way for the rest of the Middle East and North Africa to follow suit.  

The ‘chaos’ we are witnessing in Egypt is anything but such hyperbole.  I’m trying to give a perspective which reads through the lines...what I am seeing and reading is... the revolution of an Arab state which has lived under oppression for three decades... inspired by the literal spark of a student who set himself alight which began the Tunisian revolution... when dominoes are stacked tightly together they topple fast .

There is no specific way to enact revolution or written agenda of how to overthrow a regime.. All scenarios are case specific one method in the Middle East will be different from the way future European revolutions occur or even individual States revolutions (although I believe no revolution can be successful in isolation)... comrades are rejoicing with caution and jubilation, no-longer are they forbidden to protest no longer are they forbidden from criticising their corrupt regime. Tahrir square is what liberation in Egypt looks like after, the so far, marginally, dismantling of a tyrannical dictatorship.

The Bohemian Revolution
(By bohemian revolution I am trying to suggest the freedom of expression being felt and acted upon by Egyptians who have been suppressed for three decades)

Egyptians don’t seem to care of the immediate economic consequences of their actions, supported through their valiant reluctance to return to work, a dynamic which the Western media and Western governments are finding hard to comprehend or cope with. As long as Egyptians have; liberty, freedom, and all the Universalist tendencies – the left are the only ones who advocate and profess the Universalist position - not multi-culturalism, not cultural relativism but; universality, the emancipation of our global struggles - then the Egyptian revolution will not have been in vain.  The Bohemian character we see in Tahrir square was completely suppressed   under tyrannical dictatorship! Why should the economy matter in the immediate term when the need for revolution should be and is the main purpose of the Egyptians?

Tahrir square is populated by music, poetry, dancing, and most importantly above all else political discussion.

The protesters  were also willing to put away the “festival atmosphere” and defend themselves with force when the pro-Mubarak thugs came marching – proving their strength and belief a their principles. These cultural dynamics was suppressed under Mubarak, and in Tahir square we are witnessing an example of the explosions of long awaited and Universalist freedoms.

Long Live Revolution!

Tahrir square is more than just a mixed rabble accumulated out of a spontaneous bubble they are using this opportunity to come together organise and debate the path and the outcome of the revolution as each minute goes by! The populous, today, came up with the initiative to convict Mubarak for crimes against the state – this charge is Mubarak’s vast wealth, which completely misrepresents the economic position of population of the Egyptians.

According to Al Jazeera, Live news, today workers are meeting in their work place after two weeks of confusion, realising the bohemian and revolutionary activities in  the square and Alexandra Park and for the first time, are starting to join the protests. Revolutionaries in the square are calling for the civil service to join the protesters.

The revolutionary spirit will surely charm them to the square to further expose the illegitimacy of, and weaken the Mubarak regime, which has been recollecting its power after he felt the protest was calming. 

The only supporters of Mubarak are the wealthy and the corrupt. The wealthy are calling for ‘stability’, which means in plain English; the oppression of the workers and the general population - so that the circumstances are ripe once again for oppression and exploitation. If you call this stability then fuck stability.

Freedom is effective only through surmounting bourgeois formal freedom, which is mealy a form of slavery; the ‘state’ is the means by which the ruling class guarantees the conditions of its rule; market exchange cannot be ‘just and equitable’ because the very form of equivalent exchange between labour and capital implies exploitation; ‘war is inherent to class society as such; only socialist revolution can bring about lasting peace (Zizek, The Sublime object of Ideology, 1989 (2008.ed.), pp113).  Hopefully the Egyptians will succeed.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Theoretical Meanderings

Critique of Capital
The petty bourgeoisie want to maintain huge capital gains through exploitation of capital and fundamentally the workers, including the whole ecological edifice. Within capitalism the consequences of such action is of course, by the powers that be, negated.

An implementation of Minskian economics – that being the regulatory reformation of market capitalism in order for capitals profit mongering to continue in a regulated system - may preserve the life of capital exploitation as we know it and be able to curb capitalist’s inevitable devaluation, however the systemic failures of capitalism still remain.

The emphasis on profit as opposed to people’s welfare will remain dominant. More poignantly the culture which has come out of capitalism symbolised through; a symptom which is more prominent than greed. Greed is championed as the main tendency of capitalism, I tend to disagree. I believe it to be ENVY. Envy is far worse than greed and does much more to fuel capitalism than greed could ever do. Envy creates and maintains the culture of competition, and the culture of accumulating material possession, which is achieved through two means;

Firstly the exploitation of some means of production i.e. workers, ecology, poor/corrupt states and such like, secondly living beyond our means.

Both instances are unsustainable and therefore degenerate. What is needed is to radically reform capitalist dynamics in favour of emancipatory mechanisms which should exist, but currently do not exists, on the levels needed to provide for global welfare. Such a dynamic is far from actuality. Radical alternatives can only be created through an understanding of the critiques of capitalism whilst at the same time understanding the contemporary road which lies ahead.

Failings of the UK factionary Left
The UK Left wing fractions, in particular, the SWP and Workers Power, claim to already hold the alternative to capitalism or rather they don’t care for how to construct alternatives to capitalism (never mind the anarchist left, anarchism seems flawed from the start – we have no need for organisation or leaders! Then how is it you get together to effect change?!). Rather, those groups merely surmise that they want a word, that being ‘Socialism’ to replace Capitalism. This is not a serious or viable alternative to capitalism and is part of the Lefts failing in efforts to attract serious demographic infiltration of the liberal capitalist’s edifice. The UK left claim to want ‘revolution’ without an understanding of what constructs would be put in place after revolutionary change.

As much as I too champion the Revolutions we are witnessing in the Middle East and North Africa, in; Tunisia and Egypt, with the possibility of similar revolutionary situations occurring in; Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and hopefully one day soon in Iran and Saudi Arabia. What we the UK Left can learn from these revolutionary moments is that an organised solid socio-political organisation with clear thought out goals would have served to fill the power vacuum we are witnessing in Egypt. Egypt was unable to construct such forces under Mubarak, due to his dictatorship oppression. We in the UK are under no such forces and have the ability to achieve what the Egyptians were unable to enact.

On a positive note Tunisia seems to have an established Trade Union movement which is gaining power and with whom my solidarity resides (see -

Although it may be said that spontaneous and impromptu uprisings in the Middle East have been crucial to their successes, it does no harm in trying to form true alternatives proposed by the, alienated, minority Left in the UK.

To succeed in opposing the British government the UK left needs real alternatives as opposed to scape-goating this company, this bank, this resource and so on. That is to say, our global problem is truly global, the crisis, the imbalances, and the corruption in our global civility are SYSTEMIC, the whole system is flawed and whilst it is easy to stigmatises individual flaws within the system, our efforts would be much better served if we tackled the whole system, and not just fragmentary instances of injustice, which we know go on and which we should, indeed, have the facts in front of us as Wikileaks has enabled. 

We need to do better than just shouting abuse at individual companies exposed by insiders. Just think of all those corrupt companies we do not know about! They will be sniggering and rejoicing at how their competitors are getting abused whilst they get away with, possibly, worse injustices.

We need viable alternatives!
Rather than arguing over foreign policy, the UK radical Left should be setting up think tanks, committees socio-political events, conferences and such like - on a united front! together in attempts to “think the world” before we change the world.

The alternatives we have at the moment are not good enough and obviously do not create the substantial numbers the Left requires - arguably for good reason.   

We need to come up with solutions so that we can formulate new social realities. Both internal and external and in conjunction with our fellow Europeans with the potentials to go beyond, possibly one day to South America, or perhaps the Middle East, providing the Left gains power there.

I am an advocate for globalisation, but a globalisation much more radical than the one we see today. A globalised world which is truly global, would only be possible if those excluded from the flows and junctures of globalisation had an empowered and involved role in the dynamics which have alienated those excluded from globalisation for too long; the globalisation of sociological, political, economic alternatives to globalisations’ current construct need to be formed.

This should be the only foreign policy the radical Left in the UK are concerned with. This would be a truly emancipatory mission, opposed to the current outdated opposition to imperialism and such like.   

My beliefs are that we should ban privatisation or anything which claims to have ownership over 'our' commons (see Hart and Negri), such a suggestion is farfetched but only through united substantial organisation could such radical reforms be implemented as opposed to fragmentary opposition over the fundamental message the radical Left shares... the emancipatory potentials of our global civility.