Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Some thoughts on the PKK, Rojava and the Kurds.



  • I'm very willing to change my opinion on Rojava/PKK and would love to be convinced otherwise.



  • There's too much bluff and bluster from libertarian left movements who've gotten carried away.
  •  I accept the imperfection and difficulty of the situation and know it could not be an anarcho-communist "utopia",
  • It's more like Soviet Russia that Barcelona in 1936.

    • I Support  the fight against ISIS.  However I am unsure about the PKK's other aims.  They absolutely cannot be called anarchist or even libertarian socialist.I despair at thoughtless western leftists and anarchists being sucked in by comparisons to Spain and by exoticism in the same way people glorify Maoism or Cuba or the Vietcong etc.
    • I have read articles and seen videos of the PKK where they treat Ocalan with a cult of personality type reverence. Pictures of him hang everywhere.
    • PKK members do not seem to know much about Bookchin despite the fact they are require to read Ecology of Freedom.
    • The Language of the PKK I have witnessed in videos is about patriots, kurdish nation, kurds etc. It's not one speaking against hierarchy, oppression or in favour of revolution,class struggle etc. Not even close.
    • PKK seems nationalist but not in the sense of a nation but more in the sense of a region.
    • I am very skeptical the PKK are no longer stalinist.
    • They have a centralised organisation.
    • They collect a tax 
    • they use child soldiers and conscripts at times.
    • They work at least tactically with Islamists ,the assad regime and pro-western forces.
    • They are not so radically feminist as it would seem.
      Variations obviously exist within their groups and it can change over time. Written statements may quickly become outdated.
    " Indeed, while some compare the “Rojava Revolution” to Spain 1936 perhaps a better analogy would be the Bolsheviks in 1917 which many anarchists, both internationally and inside Russia, mistakenly supported initially as a truly revolutionary force."

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/06/19/under-kurdish-rule/abuses-pyd-run-enclaves-syria




    Revolution in Rojava? - La Oveja Negra





    "It’s amazing to see once again that many of those who claim to be partisans of the destruction of the State and who focus their critique and analysis on that, fall again into the trap. Many of the critiques against the State that they consider to be the central problem of capitalist society don’t grasp its nature and end up defending it under a new shape.
    We must insist on the need to grasp and criticize the society in the most complete way possible. When we talk about social revolution we talk of abolishing the whole of the capitalist social relation: State, private property, wage labor, commodity production, value…
    We became too much accustomed to the fact that when one talks about revolution he talks about the form rather than the content. In this sense, it is easy to compare pictures of Kurdish militias’ armed women with those of militiawomen of Spain 36 as well as talking about fascism of the Islamic State and advocating once again conciliation with the bourgeoisie against the greater evil, as it happened with the republicans against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
    Once again we find ourselves back in front of historical parallels based on misunderstandings of both periods and not on a critical and anti-capitalist balance sheet of the struggles of our class."
    “The subversive nature of a movement or organization cannot be measured by the number of armed women — nor its feminist character either. Since the 1960s, across all continents, most guerrillas have included or include numerous female combatants — for example in Colombia. This is even truer amongst Maoist-inspired guerrillas (Nepal, Peru, Philippines, etc.) using the strategy of “People’s War”: male/female equality should contribute to the tearing down of traditional structures, feudal or tribal (always patriarchal). It is in the Maoist origins of the PKK-PYD that one finds the source of what specialists call “martial feminism”.”


    "We have to get rid of the leftist logic, the logic that is always based on the analysis of the inter-bourgeois conflicts in a region, and then takes its favorite power side. We always have to start from the genuine expressions of the struggle of our class to find a way to show solidarity and contribute to its propagation and spreading.

    We don’t side with anybody in this conflict if we rely on the story that one wants to sell us. Our only possible side is to always claim the invariant mottos, to not give up, and to not to be blind: Social revolution; worldwide and total!"

    The bloodbath in Syria: class war or ethnic war?


    "To return though, to the question of revolution; for us as communists, a revolution is a creation of the working class in struggle for its own interests. Within the course of this struggle the working class not only transforms society, but also transforms itself. In Syrian Kurdistan, there was no movement of the working class. Control of the towns in Syrian Kurdistan was taken by an armed group filling the power vacuum left after the withdrawal of the Syrian Arab Army. That's not to say that there was no support for the PYD, as everywhere today nationalism in the Kurdish regions is strong. Local committees were thrown up which took control of the necessary tasks usually undertaking by the municipal level of the state. The Da'esh too, has in many cases left local people in charge of local issues, and like the Da'esh, the armed men have maintained power at the top. The supreme ruling body of Rojava, the Kurdish Supreme Committee is a body, not composed of delegates from lower level committees, but an alliance between two political groups, the PYD, and the Barzani backed KDP. Despite all of the democratic pretence, ultimate control is wielded by nationalist gangs with guns."

    Kurdistan? - Gilles Dauvé


    "The current Kurdish leaders read Rousseau, not Bakunin.
    The Social Contract [of Rojava] proclaims the “mutual and peaceful coexistence and understanding between all strands of society” and recognizes “Syria’s territorial integrity“. It is what all democratic constitutions say, and there is no reason to expect praise for the class struggle, nor the demand for the abolition of borders, thus of states. [4]"

    "
    To call or identify the "experiment" or "revolution" developing in Rojava as some class based anarchist or communist revolution to the likes of any case based anarchist or communist revolution is just as flawed as refusing to look favorably at Rojava precisely because it is not a class based anarchist or communist revolution. One should not look to others to define one's own "revolution" yet one cannot ignore "international solidarity".
    I don't get this insistence that we should give praise to 'revolutions' which aren't classed-based, when that's how we understand the basis of what a revolution actually is.
    It'd be one thing if the Rojava optimists cooled off a bit and said in earnest 'OK, there are all these glaring problems but perhaps libertarian class struggle work and idea can influence things more favourably' but instead what we actually see is a celebration of how it currently is, and all its glorious achievements which herald the new age of..political professionals controlling everything, a bit like before."


    .


    Monday, 5 October 2015

    Great Anarchist analysis on Scottish Independence.

    THE SNP, SCOTTISH NATIONALISM, AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE: YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW

    "The struggle between competing nationalisms, British and Scottish, has created one of the most worrying changes in ideological outlook in Scotland"


    talks about the co-opting, the slyness of the SNP, 


    " Political relevance was linked to a narrative of physical closeness. No room was given to the thought that the halls of Westminster had no relevance to the working class of London, let alone any other part of the UK."
    "However, taking a look at ‘civic nationalist’ North European countries who are already independent (such as Norway or Sweden), we can see there is no easy division between cultural/ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism. Citizenship is not determined by ideals, but by meeting the cultural expectations and economic needs of the nation-state."

    " Even now, if independence were to occur then the working class in Scotland would probably see some temporary concessions that would later be stripped away or made redundant while the government followed something akin to the pattern of the Isle of Man in terms of becoming a banking haven while pandering to the oil industry. This would be in much the same way Tony Blair gave some concessions when New Labour swept to power in order to clear the way for a highly accelerated privatisation programme."
    "The option opened for radicals to call for changes to be made in areas the Scottish Parliament had some oversight, and keep pushing the envelope on these areas. A radical left campaign making noise on specific issues and demanding change before the referendum could have been a big enough thorn in the ‘Yes’ campaign that its leaders would have to cater to in some way.
    Unfortunately the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) was set up by the ISG, a mainly-local split from the SWP, with the goal of them forging a new party of the left to replace the stump of the SSP in the political class of Scotland. By providing a degree of autonomy to local campaigning groups while keeping the focus solely on electoral politics, RIC it was able to forge a space for talk of a ‘new party of the left’ while also making the completely erroneous claim that what they were doing was somehow radical. RIC (along with most of the left in Scotland), started the independence campaign with a whimper and did little more than play the role of the left wing voice of the ‘Yes’ campaign."
    "Increasingly electoralism in general, and an independent Scottish nation-state in particular, were pushed as only true way to enact radical change. Even large swaths of the anarchist movement in Scotland started to see the referendum as a means to radical change, abandoning the anarchist analysis of referenda as a means to offer legitimacy to the social relations of the state.
    The SNP, already a party who had already made large moves to entertain capitalist interests, found that they were given a free hand by the Scottish left and so were to go largely unchallenged even when making overtures to their suitability to lead a nation-state. This was most visible when they dropped their commitment to leave NATO should they end up in charge of a newly-formed state, an action that had more vocal opposition from inside the party than from without.
    As the campaign gathered a pace the SNP carried on presenting themselves as the opposition, now as the counter-point to the ConDem coalition. Without anyone pressing them hard on putting in place concessions, the SNP were able to target emergent areas of militant class struggle and disarm then co-opt working class movements that could harm their nationalist programme. Struggles around the bedroom tax, fracking, and the independent living fund, all of which led to militant direct action south of the border, were given concessions by an SNP eager to have smooth publicity around the referendum.
    While it is good that these concessions have been made, we need to be clear that they were granted without the formation of a militant and self-organised working class and so without that build-up will be easier to dismantle once their usefulness had passed. These concessions also act as an indication of how fragile the nationalist campaign was in the run-up to the referendum, showing an opportunity missed, and a disappointing lack of initiative and a complete lack of class analysis from self-declared radicals. Many who would normally have engaged in agitation for working class struggle had been swayed enough by the ideas of nationalism that they didn’t build for confrontation out of a sense of shared interest in the founding of a nation-state (no matter how critical they claimed their position to be)."
    SNP failures:-
    "The reality of civic nationalism also came to light as the SNP backed an Australian-style points-based immigration system which would act as an incredibly racist, exclusive form of immigration selection. This isn’t to deny that an SNP government is more likely to accept an increased number of immigrants, but rather than being out of some civic sense of fairness it would be selecting those seen as needed to a Scottish economy in order to offset an ageing population and ensure a competitive labour force.
    In terms of foreign policy, the SNP’s civic nationalism is concerned with uniting the country in order to out-compete on the global market, and to be a strong ally for the US, NATO and the EU. Presumably it seeks to support a ‘civic’, ‘inclusive’ rather than ‘jingoistic’ imperialism."
    "Worse than this, in Inverness an elected Labour Party MP, Dame Anne Begg, took her party to the streets to campaign alongside Dave McDonald, the Scottish leader of the far-right National Front! Any suggestion that they did not know one another is unlivable given that McDonald had been active in electoral politics for the area since 2003 and they had been active in campeigning against one another. The Labour Party were happy to be ‘Better Together’ with Nazis."

    The reactionary role of the referendum:-
    "The mass engagement that took place around this campaign, lauded by so many, was totally encompassed within these nationalist paradigms. Grassroots groups and coal-face campaigns were diverted to discussion of nationalist ends. People were putting their energy into supporting one form of state or another, and leaving the real problems facing them here and now unchallenged. Nationalism and electoralism had combined to keep mounting class tensions focussed on helping mediate a dispute within the ruling classes."

    The future?
    "In any case Scottish independence now seems inevitable, it is just a question of when. The longer the SNP can hold off the more young voters (who are generally Yes-leaning) come of age while the older generation (which voted in a conservative No) dies off. However, the longer they wait, the more times they will have had to choose between implementing austerity measures and losing popularity or giving concessions. This means that until independence takes place there is still the opportunity to really push for large gains for the working class. Unfortunately, the way in which nationalism has divided us as a class and the huge re-establishment of electoral politics are preventing effective movements from forming."
    Authoritarian left.
    "Authoritarian Trotskyist and Leninist groups will be leeching onto any eruptions of spontaneous class activity they can in order to take control and bleed them dry for members. While they make lots of talk about building grassroots movements, they have no interest in helping develop working class self-organisation. Instead they simply want to insert their party at the head of any emerging struggles. We have already seen the disgraced Socialist Workers Party buying their way back into campaigns and trying to use front-group tactics to give an air of legitimacy to their actions, while the Revolutionary Communist Group continue to parachute into areas while claiming their move to take charge is an act of solidarity."
    "Where does that leave anarchists and other libertarians?
    I reckon we will, as ever, be involved in the struggles that affect our lives. In doing so we need to be aware that reformist electoralism and nationalism will need to be faced. Diversions towards campaigns to simply replace one local mob of crooked politicians with another will be strong, while electoral options and nationalist futures will try to turn our heads.
    To win the leadership of ideas I feel anarchists need to ensure that we are always putting our principled end goals into effect through our current calls for action, and making sure that we challenge others to do the same. If someone says they are voting for the SNP or are wanting to see an independent Scotland then find out why. Often it will be for an end result we hold in common, such as ending poverty or dismantling the detention system. We can argue the case for their involvement in groups founded on the principle of collective self-organisation, that take direct action over elections, and that reveal the perils of a nationalist ideology though securing their active participation in class struggle."


    Tuesday, 4 August 2015

    Reply to Thomas Leonard's Future of the World 2.

    *Work in progress*


    The Revolution would be both destructive and creative. Abolition of systems of oppression and creation of alternative institutions controlled democratically.
    Abolition of nations,borders and states.


    Some general thoughts on post-revolutionary society:-


    Decision making.

    Decision making would probably be directly democratic with delegates to larger regions.
    There would be decision making from the most local area possible to the largest area possible.

    Safer spaces policies in the decision making bodies.

    Social System.

    Possibly there could be a variety of models tried-Mutualism,collectivism, communism,Par-econ- or even mixes of them.

    One possible model is  say areas of a city for example Edinburgh are communes(so Leith, North Edinburgh etc) which then collectively form a council of communes of Edinburgh which get together with communes from cities,towns and villages and collectively form the federation of communes of scotland or maybe a federation of for example central belt communes which then form a federation of communes of Britain which could then  form a federation of communes of Europe Which would form a section of the international federation of communes.

    Within each commune there could be collectives which deal with housing, roads, communication, transport etc. This happened in revolutionary spain.

    Collectives would coordinate between communes on issues that would require it e.g. transport, communication.

    In An anarcho-Communist society production and consumption would be on need. Things which were not needed would not be produced. There would be no production for its own sake.


    Work.

    Work places would be managed and decided upon by those who worked in them but going beyond syndicalism could possibly be held accountable to the community

    Only activities necessary to the maintenance of society would be done.

    these tasks would be rotated but also would not be assigned to those who were not trustworthy or unable to do them.




    Schools.

    Schools could be run and lessons planned by teachers,pupils, parents and the local communities. 
    Compassion and critical thinking would be encouraged.



    Culture.

    Parochialness would be discouraged. Selfishness, competition and greed would be discouraged. Creativity would be encouraged and unhindered by financial restrains.

    Ambition in terms of fame or fortune would be pointless. Ambition would be turned towards individual and collective betterment and flourishing.


    Environment.


    It couldn't use fossil fuels. Would have to move towards renewable energy. Wind farms or geo-thermal is a couple of good possibilities.

    Possibly less use of the internet.

    Attempts to build eco-friendly housing especially in previously unused land.


    Newly discovered or invented technology could be debated and possible negative consequences of them considered. If found on balance to have negative implications might not be introduced.

     Little to no use of cars. Or possibly car use discouraged and public transport like buses or high speed rail enouraged.

    There might be a move towards a vegan diet.

    Growing and harvesting of locally grown organic crops could be possible.

    Local Self sufficiency could be encouraged

    Healthy lifestyles, exercise, good food would be encouraged.

    Planned obsolescence would be opposed. Re-using and repairing would be strongly encouraged.





    A Reply to Thomas Leonard's Future of the World 1.


    The section I wish to respond to is ,

                   "Some attempts will doubtlessly be made within the next few years to patch up our heavily flawed Capitalism system. However, an increasing number of people talk about revolution, either social or violent, maybe with some sort of grass roots or direct democracy in mind, Some of these people think that the precise structure and format or our new social, financial, and political system will evolve from group discussions during and after the forthcoming revolution. However, unless we have a good a priori idea of what our new society is going to be like, I foresee a post-revolutionary world where we decline into infighting, violence, scant social structure, and a return to a Mad Max-style prehistoric age with pockets of civilisation surviving in relatively few places.

    I have been trying to think about future world orders in extremely simple ways, Suppose that it was possible to compartmentize our population of seven billion people into 1400 peacefully interacting confederations each with a population of 5 million people. Each confederation could then be divided into 10 peacefully interacting administrative regions, each with half-a million people, and each administrative region into 50 interacting and self-nurturing communes, each with 1000 people, Can we then fill in all the details, and construct a social, economic, and political system, with no monetary system and some sort of grass roots or direct democracy which maintains the food supply, medical care and quality housing, and quality education for everybody, and the freedom to express novel and creative ideas?

    I believe that we need to perform a feasibility study to see if there is some sort of potential world system which would be likely to accommodate all these requirements. If a social revolution were then  to occur, there would doubtlessly be lots of discussion as to what we should do next, However, at least we would know that these discussions would not be likely to be fruitless,"
    Maybe the replacement of our world-wide culture of group and institutional bullying and aggression by a non-corrupt culture, which is adamant about nurturing others, developing their talents, and accommodating their weaknesses, would itself lead to a natural evolution to a new world order without the need for possibly violent revolution, If necessary, the confirmed psychopaths and paedophiles could be confined to their own rocky islands, and left to screw each other, Such a change in mind-set would however require a re-education of all members of our Society from pre-school to the grave. All of our institutions would need to reformulated, and our oligarths would need to be persuaded to agree. In such a Society, nationalistic, ethnic, and religious rivalries would be replaced by a fusion of all that is best in our historical cultures. "








    My Reply:


    General principles of Anarchism:  Revolution,  Freedom  Equality & Solidarity, Direct Democracy, Individual and collective flourishing.

    Anarchism stands for total uncompromising opposition to all forms of hierarchy, domination, oppression and exploitation which includes capitalism,   the state,   Patriarchy and white supremacy among others.






    Mr Leonard's remarks in blue.


    " However, an increasing number of people talk about revolution, either social or violent,"
    I reject the idea of an opposition between social and violent. I believe a revolution is unlikely to be non-violent but I favour a social revolution i.e. a revolution which changes the very institutions, the very structures of society instead of a political revolution which replaces one set of rulers with another e.g. The Russian Revolution.

    I believe a good starting point is the example of the Spanish Revolution of 1936 though I do not believe we could or indeed should have a revolution like that again. We must go beyond it and be even bolder and much more inclusive and more widespread. We must tackle white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity etc as well

    My favoured post-revolutionary society is anarcho-communism also known as Libertarian Communism.


    " Some of these people think that the precise structure and format or our new social, financial, and political system will evolve from group discussions during and after the forthcoming revolution."

    That suggests something purely idealist. That there will be conversations and then a new society will emerge.But  A new society will emerge from the ways we act in the present and the struggles we fight in the present- the way these struggles are fought and what we are able to accomplish.

    Anarchists are against sketching precisely how a future society would look because we are opposed to utopian blueprints which have often been imposed by authoritarian regimes. We do not believe it is our right to decide for future people and it would be wildly utopian to talk in specific terms in an abstract way which is removed from the concrete material circumstances struggles would be facing. We also do not believe we can predict the future so we don't think we can know ahead of time how far the struggle will be able to go or alternatively, what limits it may face.

    A future society can only emerge from struggle, from action as well as discussion but the specifics of that future society will be determined by the nature of those struggles on the way to that future society. Means determine ends.

    "I am an Anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal"- Rudolf Rocker.

    "To neglect all the problems of reconstruction or to pre-arrange complete and uniform plans are both errors, excesses which, by different routes, would led to our defeat as anarchists and to the victory of new or old authoritarian regime. The truth lies in the middle." - Errico Malatesta.


    " However, unless we have a good a priori idea of what our new society is going to be like, I foresee a post-revolutionary world where we decline into infighting, violence, scant social structure, and a return to a Mad Max-style prehistoric age with pockets of civilisation surviving in relatively few places."

    This is a distinctly Hobbesian view of the world. History shows in periods of social upheaval especially recent blackouts ,famines or economic collapse(e.g. Greece) rather than a war of all against all , the majority of people work together and cooperate.

    No one is suggesting leaving everything until after the revolution but we all state loudly and unequivocally that we are not in the business of sketching out specific blueprints of how future societies will look. We cannot know and we have no right to make an attempt to dictate. At very most we could lay out possibilities.

    "This is because what we think now will influence the future just as real experience will influence and change how we think. Moreover, given the ways in which our own unfree society has shaped our ways of thinking, it is probably impossible for us to imagine what new forms will arise once humanity's ingenuity and creativity is unleashed by the removal of its present authoritarian fetters. Thus any attempts to paint a detailed picture of the future will be doomed to failure -Anarchist FAQ

    " Can we then fill in all the details, and construct a social, economic, and political system, with no monetary system and some sort of grass roots or direct democracy which maintains the food supply, medical care and quality housing, and quality education for everybody, and the freedom to express novel and creative ideas?"

    While I believe the answer to be yes, my friend appears to believe the answer is no.

    "Fill in" suggests a lackadaisical approach that straw mans my argument.

    Furthermore the Spanish revolution of 1936 and the on-going  Zapatista experiment in Chiapas suggests this is possible though not without difficulties (of course- we are not utopians!)

    "Nevertheless, anarchists have been willing to specify some broad principles indicating the general framework within which they expect the institutions of the new society to grow. It is important to emphasise that these principles are not the arbitrary creations of intellectuals in ivory towers. Rather, they are based on the actual political, social and economic structures that have arisen spontaneously whenever working class people have attempted to throw off its chains during eras of heightened revolutionary activity, such as the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Revolution, and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, to name just a few. Thus, for example, it is clear that self-managed, democratic workers' councils are basic libertarian-socialist forms, since they have appeared during all revolutionary periods -- a fact that is not surprising considering that they are rooted in traditions of communal labour, shared resources, and participatory decision making that stretch back tens of thousands of years, from the clans and tribes of prehistoric times through the "barbarian" agrarian village of the post-Roman world to the free medieval city, as Kropotkin documents in his classic study Mutual Aid. Ultimately, such organisations are the only alternatives to government. Unless we make our own decisions ourselves, someone else will. - Anarchist FAQ.

    "I believe that we need to perform a feasibility study to see if there is some sort of potential world system which would be likely to accommodate all these requirements."

    And if the feasibility study suggested against revolution? Would we condemn the world's oppressed to remain so?

    Revolutions cannot be calculated in such ways.  We can of course judge possible models and weight up pros and cons.

    The Spanish Revolution of 1936 is instructive in showing to a good extent that  the syndicalistaspect of an anarchist revolution is possible. Other experiments in direct democracy past and present( Chiapas, Occupy, Argentinian Worker occupied factories, Hungary 1956)  show that form of decision making works.

    It is communism which is the great unknown but we have some scattered ideas to build on.

    Anarchists and revolutionaries have been discussing post-revolutionary societies and what they might look like for 200 years or more. We have a number of different ideas e.g. Par-econ, mutualism, collectivism, communism etc.

    "Maybe the replacement of our world-wide culture of group and institutional bullying and aggression by a non-corrupt culture, which is adamant about nurturing others, developing their talents, and accommodating their weaknesses, would itself lead to a natural evolution to a new world order without the need for possibly violent revolution, If necessary, the confirmed psychopaths and paedophiles could be confined to their own rocky islands, and left to screw each other, Such a change in mind-set would however require a re-education of all members of our Society from pre-school to the grave. All of our institutions would need to reformulated, and our oligarths would need to be persuaded to agree. In such a Society, nationalistic, ethnic, and religious rivalries would be replaced by a fusion of all that is best in our historical cultures. "

    This statement is so vague as to sound quite nice and comforting though I worry about the authoritarianism hidden in it.

    This means of getting to a better society suggests an individualistic liberal gradualist viewpoint. As if individually teaching people to be moral would actually on its own affect a major change in social structures. The problem is that mindsets can only change so far within the limits and restrictions of material circumstances.

    It is practically irrelevant what you think if a small majority hold the majority of the worlds wealth and make decisions for large numbers of people on the planet.  Without freedom and equality, its irrelevant what your mindset is because you will be prevent from carrying it out by the police and military and by government propaganda and the ruling ideologies.








    Possibilities for a post revolutionary society:







    Part 2.

    Carry on to here to  see my thoughts on possibilities for an anarchist society.


    Club card Communism?

    In a conversation someone made a joke but its an interesting idea.  What if tesco purchase data was stolen and appropriated for use in the computer systems of a communist society for allocating goods and understanding consumption. Club card communism maybe?

    Saturday, 1 August 2015

    the referendum is a ghost haunting scottish politics and Scottish Independence is a parasite!

    The Referendum is a ghost that haunts scottish politics and independence has been and is still being parasitic on broader politics reducing all struggles down to its own narrow terms of debate. Viewing politics through the lens of nations is not a good idea no matter how 'benevolent' you might claim your view of nations is.That whole way of thought is only of benefit to those who would seek to continue exploiting and oppressing us and the rest of the people of the world.

    Concepts of nation and nationality only exist to conceal past and present divisions between oppressed and oppressors e.g. between the capitalist class and the working class. Instead of understanding society as a conflict between the rich and the poor the difference in concealed and smudged by appeals to the illusionary identity 'Scottishness'.

    The source of social problem is not the tories westminster or even the rarely named, Neo-Liberalism. The problem is capitalism and we are in a very specific phase of capitalism whereby we cannot go back to the Keynesianism of 1945.


    As the latest example(Syriza- though there are others e.g. Irish Green Party, German Green Party, Italian Communist Party etc etc ) shows no political party however pure their intentions may can once elected avoid corruption. That is not an individual or party failing but because once elected they become the protector and facilitator of capitalism because that is the very reason why government, all governments (past,present and future) exist.


    Against Scottish Exceptionalism.

    There's no shred of evidence that proves scotland is inherently left wing or socialist and plenty counter evidence against that idea. Furthermore the scottish left tends to dreamily rely on the fictitious idea that an independent scotland would be more democratic or environmental or could be socialist disregarding the international nature of capitalism and the international influence of organisations like the WTO, IMF, World Bank, EU etc which would prevent that- as seen in Greece with Syriza and as would happen in Scotland with SNP, the Greens, the Scottish Left Project or whoever it happens to be.

    Is independence a solution?

    Independence would do little more than change the location of the oppressors.
    There's no salvation or 'cure' to be found in the SNP, the Greens, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn. Only a mass movement of people taking acting themselves and deciding collectively themselves can change things.



    Monday, 27 July 2015

    Thoughts on a future society.

    Edinburgh split up into smaller assemblies e.g. leith, north edinburgh, south,west, east, central. they would gather in a collective Edinburgh assembly. Smaller areas would probably only need one assemblies. Cities might need many assemblies. Cities, towns and villages would collectively gather in either a regional assembly e.g. Central belt   or in a larger 'scotland' wide assembly. Parts of the UK would then constitute a UK gathering of assemblies. Probably with delegates. This assembly would either go to a european assembly or form part of the global assembly.

    Example:-  Leith > Edinburgh > Central belt or Scotland > UK> Europe or World.




    Sunday, 26 July 2015

    Coming soon... My thoughts on topics within revolutionary politics

    Coming soon...


    Thoughts on


    The failures of Occupy

    Intersectionality/Privilege/ Class-reductionism

    Revolution

    Anarcho-Syndicalism

    Anarchism without Adjectives.

    Organisation/Popular fronts

    Democracy/Direct Democracy/Consensus decision making






    Radical Independence Campaign.



    Thursday, 28 May 2015

    Salud proletarios -Better English Translation.

    Salud proletarios

    Salud proletarios, llego el gran dia
    Dejemos los antros de la explotacion
    No ser mas esclavos de la burgesia
    Dejemos suspensa la produccion
    Iguales derechos e iguales deberes
    Tenga por norma la sociedad
    Y sobre la tierra los humanos seres
    viven felices en fraternidad


    Trabajador No mas sufrir
    El opresor Ha de sucumbir
    Al derrocar El capital
    Al grito de Revolucion Social

    Acracia al fin Triunfara
    Bello jardin la tierra sera
    Todo lo vil a eliminar
    Pueblo viril Luchar, luchar

    No mas supremacia de dioses y leyes
    No mas de tiranos la vil opresion
    Y vallas, fronteras, gobiernos y leyes
    Derrumbense al paso de la rebelion
    Formemos un mundo de paz y armonia
    Do libres imperen Artes y Amor
    Viviendo la libre Anarquia
    Natura brinda en su rica labor



    In English:-

    Health proletarians, came the big day
    Let the dens of exploitation
    Not be more slaves of the Bourgeoisie,
    Let leave suspended the production
    Equal rights and Equal duties
      Have  for the norm   The society
    And on earth ,the human beings
    They live happily in brotherhood.


    No more workers suffer
    The oppressor has succumbed
    To overthrow Capital
    to the cry of  Social Revolution

    Acracia/Anarchy finally triumph
    Beautiful garden the earth will be
    Everything vile removed
    Virile people Fight, fight

    No more supremacy of gods and  law
    No more vile oppression of tyrants
    And fences, borders, governments and laws
      collapse to the passage  of the rebellion
    We form a world of peace and harmony
    Free do prevail Arts and  Love
    Living the Free Anarchy
    Natura offers  its rich work

    Monday, 11 May 2015

    Seeing why Occupy didnt work now.

    That awkward moment when you have solid proof that one of the reasons the Occupy you were failed was because other folk had shit politics.

    My occupy seems to have had a hippy lets love everyone liberal, a pacifist scottish nationalist liberal reformist and a 'Left- Keynesian' reformist  not even socialist but claims to be liberal.

    No wonder the anarchists dropped out pretty quick!

    Sunday, 10 May 2015

    Some thoughts on Tories victory in the General Election.

    #ToriesOut Now



    • Shock that so many people voted Tory. The propaganda machine must have worked.
    • Regardless of electoral strategy used, even tactical voting, there was no means of preventing the result of Tory victory by the ballot box.
    • Voting for Labour wouldn't have made a difference. If the whole of Scotland voted Labour it wouldn't have stopped the tories winning.
    • An alternative voting system wouldn't have made a different.
    • UKIP coming 3rd apart from the SNP means that the tories will likely be inclined towards appealing further right and being even more right wing.
    • the UK already feels right wing and is likely to swing even further to the right.
    • Grassroots direct action is the only solution. Cliche formulas of marches,rallies,protests or supporting political parties which are offered up to us by the establishment left will not work. Now is the time for the anti-authoritarian left to shine and to organize.
    • A protest or riot is not the same as a movement and some people mistakenly think it is. We need a movement.
    • I support the protests in London fully.
    • The SNP aren't liberators. They act as a break on  revolutionary tendencies and so are counter-revolutionary.



    "To those of you arguing that direct action and protesting “makes no difference”: This is just painfully incorrect. Pretty much no social movement in history has been successful without some form of direct action. To just focus on one relevant example, it was the hugely confrontational poll tax riots of 1990 which played a fundamental role in the demise of Thatcher and her brutal attacks on the working class. These tactics are effective, whether you like it or not."

    "This insidious idea that the only way people can legitimately strive for change is by spending the next 5 years quietly persuading others to vote differently in the next general election is the worst kind of liberal bullshit."
    "It’s also a really fucking privileged thing to say when there are so many people whose lives will genuinely be in danger over the next 5 years. If you think that our current system of “democracy” will ever adhere to the voices of the people without being forced to by mass collective action, it’s time to wake up."







    Best articles I've seen relevant to this issue:-

    http://libcom.org/blog/alternative-voting-systems-are-no-alternative-21022015

    http://libcom.org/blog/so-government-got-in%E2%80%A6-08052015

    https://warwick4freeducation.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/reflections-on-fuckthetories/

    http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/election-reactions-now-we-need-to-encourage-political-engagement-outside-the-ballot-box/

    http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/election-reactions-our-commons-are-being-privatised-its-time-for-more-time/

    https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/the-london-mob-is-rising-rage-against-the-tories-hits-the-streets-within-a-day-of-election-result/




    Sunday, 26 April 2015

    The Anarchist Internationale.

    music: Pierre De Geyter (L'Internationale)

    LA INTERNACIONAL

    Arriba los pobres del mundo
    En pie los esclavos sin pan
    Alcémonos todos que llega
    La revolución social.

    La anarquía ha de emanciparnos
    de toda la explotación
    El comunismo libertario
    será nuestra redención.

    Agrupémonos todos
    a la lucha social
    con la FAI lograremos
    el éxito final

    Agrupémonos todos...

    Color de sangre tiene el fuego
    color negro tiene el volcán
    colores rojo y negro tiene
    nuestra bandera triunfal

    Los hombres han de ser hermanos
    cese la desigualdad
    la Tierra será el paraíso
    libre de la humanidad.

    English:-



    Above the world's poor
    Standing slaves without bread
    Let us rise up all that comes
    The social revolution.

    Anarchy must emancipate ourselves from all exploitation
     libertarian communism will be our redemption.

    Rally to
    the social struggle
    FAI to achieve
    the ultimate success

    Rally to ...

    Color of blood has the fire
    Color is black volcano
    Red and black colors
    our flag triumphant

    Men should be brothers
    end inequality
    Earth is Paradise
    free humanity.


    Himno de las juventudes libertarias- Better English Translation.

    Spanish:-

    Juventud de lucha proletaria
    ilusión del porvenir
    bella esperanza libertaria
    que alumbra nuestro vivir.
    Es nuestro lema la anarquía
    Es nuestro escudo la verdad
    damos el pecho si es preciso hasta morir
    morir por la libertad

    Anarquista fiel y generoso
    esforzado luchador
    a quien el tiempo ni el fascismo
    el entusiasmo apagó
    las juventudes te recuerdan
    y de tu vida aprenderán
    vivamos siempre la anarquía con tesón 
    por la justicia social. 

    English:-

    Youth of proletarian struggle, hope of the future, 
    beautiful libertarian hope that illuminates our living; 
    it is our motto the anarchy , 
    our shield is the truth, 
    we give the breast if it is necessary to die,
     die for the freedom.

    Faithful and generous anarchist
    vigorous fighter
     to whom neither  the time nor the fascism, 
    the enthusiasm extinguished,
     the Youth remembers you
     and of your life they will learn.
    always live forever the anarchy, 
    with tenacity for the social justice!

    Wednesday, 15 April 2015

    Since the Scottish Referendum.

    Some notes towards writing a fuller essay.

    Since the scottish referendum most of the scottish left has been focused on Scottish Independence  or viewed issues through that lens or even more narrowly through the SNP.

    I've even seen some of the left argue that the SNP IS the socialist vote or the SNP are the only way of improving Scotland.

    So it seems much of the scottish left has been co-opted into the reformist narrative of Scottish independence and expresses a Scottish Exceptionalism- the idea that an independent Scotland will somehow be radically different, radically more green or democratic or socialist than any other past or present country (which is completely false)



    Thursday, 2 April 2015

    SNP, Scottish Nationalism and Exceptionalism.

    *Needs editing and expanded upon*

    Scottish Nationalism and Scottish Exceptionalism.

    The point I'm making is that this whole focus on Scottish Independence shifts the terms of the debate from things like class,race,gender etc to an issue of nations. It has a tendency to reduce the problems down to westminister or some vague neo-liberalism disconnected from capitalism or the Tories without a complex global historical understanding. There is better and worse in that analysis. Someone from the 45% movement's analysis is likely to be absolutely worse in terms of those things. It's true Tom that your analysis of the situation is better. But even in the more complex analysis' and the most good intentioned folk there is the lingering exceptionalism which implies that Scotland will somehow make a better shot at it than any other existing government. That's what I object to

    While the independence campaign may not have been nationalist in the BNP sense by narrowing the focus onto a nation state and putting energy into the idea that westminister/the tories/ or neo-liberalism are the sources of the problems and scottish independence the solution the politics becomes very restricted. Positive social change becomes seen through the lens of escaping one nation to form another and the exceptionalism comes in where there seems to be this suggestion that Scotland will be better at it than anywhere else or will be inherently more left wing or something like that. Essentially I have repeatedly seen people imply that an independent scotland would magically be more democratic or environmentalist or feminist despite the fact that across the world parties of all kinds are failing in this way and we're seeing the complete and utter failure of representative democracy and even so called 'direct democracies' in Scandinavian countries.


    I am hostile to the way the problems are being framed and the way the solutions are being suggested. It's too simplistic. Westminster-bad. Holyrood-good.

    The problem is that any talk of Scottish Independence must talk about capitalism in a detail way otherwise it’s a poor analysis.
    And in my view, a correct understanding of capitalism suggests that Scottish independence will make almost no difference and will not ALLOW for progressive social change in Scotland since the problems are capitalism not whether Scotland is ruled by Holyrood or Westminster as I keep repeating and repeating and it keeps being treated as otherwise.



     I think of the SNP more as Tartan Tories who are able to position themselves as left because they hate what the tories are doing and it's popular to do so. I'm skeptical that there's a huge difference between the two. The SNP are just better at PR and use the right buzz words.

    The SNP are imposing their own forms of austerity in scotland itself.
    It bothers me that people leap to the defense of the SNP but are rightfully willing to accept the Con-dems are doing terrible things. It seems hypocritical and myopic.


    “ I do happen to think there is more chance of getting actual left wing parties in power in the Scottish Parliament than in Westminster “

    Why?! This is the exact exceptionalism I’m trying to point out. There is no rational reason to believe Scotland is inherently(or more likely to be) more left wing than anywhere else.

    “Personally, I'd like to see more people putting pressure on the European Parliament with citizen's initiatives for universal basic income and such like.”

    I think the Universal basic income is an awesome idea. But it’s almost guaranteed to never ever go happen in a capitalist society.

    What would likely happen with Scottish independence?

    * An Independent Scottish state cannot escape the influence of such powerful exploitative global organisations at the WTO, World Bank and IMF.

    * By sheer necessity it would have to implement economic measures to encourage big business which would be starting off on a very bad food but is entirely necessary from the standpoint of a new nation state in global capitalism.

    * Since Scotland's economy relies on North Sea Oil and big corporations are invested in it the Scottish government is almost guaranteed to want to use it and so it would not be more green but heavily fossil fuel intensive.

    * The effect of Scottish independence could be quite negative on political consciousness. The easily misled  would back a scottish government and damn near worship it's state in a my country right or wrong type fashion which would likely put out a call for national unity and say "let's give a big push for scotland" . Strikes could be demonised as harming the national interest(this is said already!)

    * The Left would likely say well this is what we've got so we have to support it and there would likely be very little criticism. It may increase political encouragement but in a tartan/flag waving nationalist way not in a way any leftist would admire.


    * We know that the referendum debate and the post-referendum slump has sucked people into independence politics and away from direct action politics. I experienced this myself. More people went to an independence rally than a pro-choice demo which was obviously the more pressing issue.


    One example of what I mean by Scottish Exceptionalism.

    Tariq Ali stated: ‘If Scotland gains independence, and if its leadership has the guts, it could break with neoliberalism’.


    This is what I'm trying to get at with saying nationalism is framing questions through the lens of nation states and national independence.

    "A danger with national independence as an issue is that it threatens to engulf all else. All other issues which have emancipatory meaning – peace, equality, social justice, participatory democracy – tend to be seen through the independence issue as a lens. If national independence is viewed as an ‘opportunity’ (Tariq Ali) which makes other goals achievable, the élan and excitement and moral seriousness of issues such as peace and justice come to be transferred to the independence issue. If national independence is viewed as a straight gate through which radical struggle must pass, as it is when the costs of non-independence are stressed, the same shift of focus takes place. So to say, the issue around which single-issue campaigns make common cause becomes an end in itself. Is such a shift inevitable? It seems likely, to say the least. A campaign for national independence may see itself as a political catalyst. That is, it may see itself as breathing life into quiescent or inadequately-supported issues. If it does, the meaning of the hitherto “quiescent” issue is altered: the issue becomes a national issue, rather than one to be pursued in its own terms. Perhaps a campaign for independence may avoid seeing itself in this quasi-magical fashion. If such temptations are avoided, however, the danger remains."

    I believe this has, is and will occur for a while until the focus changes.


     "Does it greatly matter if the left succumbs to this danger? My response is that it matters profoundly. To the extent that campaigns come to focus on national independence, they allow themselves to become incorprated in an institutionalist world. Earlier, I suggested that a choice between “Yes” and “No” on September 18th is a choice between two neoliberal positions. To make the choice between “Yes” and “No” the pivotal issue in present-day Scottish politics is to step away from interaction and on to territory where neoliberal criteria apply. If such a step were merely a loss on the left’s part, it would already be disasterous. It is more: it is to invite every single-issue campaign, however everyday, to see itself in relation to institutions and to adopt a state-centred gaze. If this is so, the independence referendum has already performed chilling and debilitating work. It has domesticated a left that dreamt of less institutional and more interactive things."


    Reasons to oppose the SNP:
    1.The SNP are the ones cutting the devolved NHS in scotland
    2. the SNP are the ones closing community centres
    3. the SNP are the ones overseeing the Edinburgh City Council budget cuts
    4. There was an SNP minister who publically said he doesn't believe there needs to be more council housing
    5. the SNP backed out of the Nato policy despite it being a long standing one,
    6. the SNP want the lowest corporation tax in western europe(lower than the Tories!)
    7. they're not republican
    8. they're not using the devolved powers they have
    9. They're not pro-trade union. They recently asked unions to sign a no-strike deal and have worked against workers e.g. Grangemouth.