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 Why the Left is more relevant than ever

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PostSubject: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:59 am

UK Labour MP John McDonell below on how the right is shamelessly stealing the policies of the left. There are some interesting debates and articles on this issue doing the rounds at the moment - will try to bring as much info as possible about it to this forum but meanwhile McDonell's article is impressively succinct and pertinent:

Quote :
Sunday, October 05, 2008

Government of the City, By the City, For the City

When I first got a phone call telling me about the appointment of Mandelson to cabinet I thought it was one of those reshuffle day wind ups. Usually it is someone ringing a backbencher and pretending to be the Prime Minister offering a job. I though that this was a subtler version of the joke. When I found it was for real I expressed incredulity and the after a short while declined all media interviews because I thought it was coming across as personal and not political.

The significance of the reshuffle is not just the circling of the old New Labour wagons and the Faustian pact Brown has made with the Blairites to stave off another coup attempt for a period but more importantly the statement that is made by the appointment of Mandelson and people from the City like Paul Myners into government and the establishment of the National Economic Council makes about future economic policy.

This is in effect establishing openly the government of the city, by the city, for the city.

Look at the team of business advisers which Brown has appointed alongside the NEC. This includes :

Marcus Agius - Chairman, Barclays
Sir Victor Blank - Chairman, Lloyds TSB
Sir John Bond - Chairman, Vodafone
Lord John Browne - President, Royal Academy of Engineering and MD of Riverstone Holdings
Sir Terence Conran - Chairman, Conran Holdings
Mervyn Davies CBE - Chairman, Standard Chartered
Dr. Chris Gibson-Smith - Chairman, London Stock Exchange and British Land
Professor Malcolm Grant CBE - Provost and President, UCL
Sir Philip Hampton - Chairman, J Sainsbury
Dr John Hood -Vice Chancellor, Oxford University
Lord Digby Jones
Anna Mann - MWM Consulting
Dick Olver- Chairman, BAe Systems
Professor Alison Richard -Vice Chancellor, Cambridge University
Lord Richard Rogers - Richard Rogers Partnership
Paul Skinner - Chairman, Rio Tinto
Sir Kevin Smith, CBE - CEO, GKN

There doesn't appear to be a thought given to appointing a representative from the trade union movement to advise on economic, employment or industrial issues. Even the tamest general secretary in the history of the TUC, Brendan Barber, is not acceptable enough to sit at the high economic table. Surely all those trade union general secretaries who were convinced by Brown at the Labour party conference that a new dawn of policy change, partnership and co-operation had broken and the age of Blairism was over must now feel conned.

PS Here's a funny thing. When we were the first to call for Northern Rock to be nationalised, we were ignored then pilloried as dinosaurs. Eventially when Vincent Cable came out in favour of nationalisation he was depicted as prescient.

When we were the first to expose the role of Granite as a result of Richard Murphy's research, we were ignored and then looked upon bemusedly. When the government went into disarray on it, Cable then took it up and was praised for his sagacity.

For the last three months we have been calling for a significant cut in rates and the overriding of the Bank of England Advisory Committee. See the article reproduced from the Guardian's Comment is Free below and the LEAP website. (By the way we refused to support the independence of the Bank in the first place.) We were ignored again. Today Cable has come out with exactly the same demand and it is the number one story on the World at One and Cable is again feted as the profound greybeard of economic policy.

Next week we will be calling for at least a 3% cut in rates. I bet we will at best be derided but more than likely ignored. I also bet that within weeks people will be calling for a much more significant cut in rates than the Bank of England Advisory Committee will allow this week, amongst them will be one Vincent Cable.

Funny old world.

(Source: Government of the City, By the City, For the City (c) 2008, John McDonnell. http://www.johnmcdonnell.org.uk/)
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:14 am

The really odd turn of events is that many on the economic 'right' and the left would probably agree that failed institutions should be allowed to take a hit. Indeed many on the right see a role for government in aiding the restructuring of crucial failed businesses, holding equity and selling that at a profit when an opportune time arises.

For myself I really don't care much who owns what as long as it is run efficiently, we all know where we stand, and we avoid private sector monopolies.

Yes rate cuts are on the way, use it to pay off loans for further down the line there will probably be increases in the rate of inflation.

Is one of the problems with the left presentational; a lack of perceived credibility. Ideas or suggestions from that sector are viewed with suspicion, yet somehow those same ideas from the business sector are considered as authoritative. The left is doing something very wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:08 am

Squire wrote:
The really odd turn of events is that many on the economic 'right' and the left would probably agree that failed institutions should be allowed to take a hit. Indeed many on the right see a role for government in aiding the restructuring of crucial failed businesses, holding equity and selling that at a profit when an opportune time arises.

For myself I really don't care much who owns what as long as it is run efficiently, we all know where we stand, and we avoid private sector monopolies.

Yes rate cuts are on the way, use it to pay off loans for further down the line there will probably be increases in the rate of inflation.

Is one of the problems with the left presentational; a lack of perceived credibility. Ideas or suggestions from that sector are viewed with suspicion, yet somehow those same ideas from the business sector are considered as authoritative. The left is doing something very wrong.

Indeed Squire, they are not controlling the press for a start.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:28 am

The entire political spectrum is changed and defined not by right nor left but by how far to the right a given party stands. There is not much difference between Thatcher's conservatism and Blair's labour. It's no coincedence that virtual one party rule in Ireland and the UK has occured during this shift in the political landscape. The alternative policies of opposition parties is barely discernable from the ruling party. It seems that opposition parties might tweak a policy making the policy seem a little more liberally defined but thats about it.

Like the US, Ireland and the UK don't question the business lead agenda of politics. Until recently the main ruling party in Ireland liked to tout themselves almost exclusively in terms of being economic managers. As long as economic policy was thought to be sound, social politicies would take care of themselves or react to the new business clientele lead policies of government. Like the US, the trickle down theory of wealth reigns supreme.

At this point, imo, the use of left or right terminology is highly irrelevant. The old socialist model has been deemed to fail. The language of government policy is couched solely in business lingo. The general attitude, indeed the pysche of the individual, is dominated by self-interest and short term projects of gain and consumption.

This is not to say that all that has occured is bad or that jettisoning some of the more damaging policies of socialism hasn't been good. At this point, although, we'd do well to re-assess the situation and change course a bit. I don't see this happening because:

Too big to fail - finance and credit, for whatever reasons, has reached into every home and business activity in the West. Bankers do not merely have a finger in every pie these day, they own or control large chuncks of the pie.

Short-termism - far too many individuals in society are hooked on instant gratification in many, many forms. Many would eschew paying higher taxes today for health care tomorrow. We all need cash today and will put of the hypothetical cost of health care until tomorrow. In the aggregate, very few need health care today, hence the almost silent voice and complete impotence of the health care activists.

Multi-nationalism - the ability of large corporations to move their physical business assets very quickly by historical standards to cheaper locations has government's hands tied on many issues such as tax, benefits and indeed on employee contractual stipulations. Imagine a country investing billions in infrastructure only to find multi-nationals pick up sticks and move to another less well developed country because labour is cheap and local labour laws non-existant. Not nice.

There a huge amount of factors, not least the media as mentioned above. Between govt PR spin doctors, massaging of eco stats and the ownership of traditional media outlets by fewer and fewer industrialists, the ability to argue and present an alternative viewpoint or agenda is non-existent.

There are many benefits that accrue from the modern economy. The vast populations that are supported by modern capitalist societies is testament to its prowess. The advances in technology have been truely astounding. Although, I would argue the technological costs were far less during the post world war II period in juxtaposition to the bubble lead advances we've currently experienced.

If the "left" wish to redefine themselves, and they must in order to survive or become relevant again, they will have to jettison the old notions and structure. They have to realise that their new terminology will have to use existing capitalistic terms and structures. Too many people believe they rely on the existing structures and will not easily abandon them. The battleground, if you like, has been determined by your opponents and by circumstance. The alternative to the existing power base, imo, has to find a new name and a new strategy. The old ones weren't good enough.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:28 pm

interestingly, a decrease in interest rates would prevent further deterioration of the loan books of banks and could bring a few back from almost defaulting.
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PostSubject: We will pay because God favours the rich   Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:33 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
Squire wrote:
The really odd turn of events is that many on the economic 'right' and the left would probably agree that failed institutions should be allowed to take a hit. Indeed many on the right see a role for government in aiding the restructuring of crucial failed businesses, holding equity and selling that at a profit when an opportune time arises.

For myself I really don't care much who owns what as long as it is run efficiently, we all know where we stand, and we avoid private sector monopolies.

Yes rate cuts are on the way, use it to pay off loans for further down the line there will probably be increases in the rate of inflation.

Is one of the problems with the left presentational; a lack of perceived credibility. Ideas or suggestions from that sector are viewed with suspicion, yet somehow those same ideas from the business sector are considered as authoritative. The left is doing something very wrong.

Indeed Squire, they are not controlling the press for a start.

So far as you describe the outcome of recent devotion to free market style capitalism I wholeheartedly agree with what you say above but Im not sure you attribute responsibility for some things where it truly belongs. Eg, the left has absolutely no influence whatsoever in mainstream media - from which its voices ('extreme' to 'moderate') have been systematically banished - and endlessly ridiculed. I read a great article yesterday by an American commentator on the economic crisis (full text below) who says that, because of media obedience and complicity in the right wing agenda the majority of people have now so much internalised the maxims of unbridled capitalism that the majority are now incapable of realising that much of what they 'know' is true is actually atrocious propaganda - most especially so when it comes to considering, say, socialism - which is actually a much broader church of thinking than they are practically prevented from knowing. People simply do not realise the extent to which they are being deliberately lied to but because they think it a form of lunacy to suggest this, they dont even bother to inform themselves. Most university professors fall into this category.

I agree that the left/right dichotomy is hugely unhelpful in many ways and possibly entirely irrelevant to what's now required - exposed for the divisve nonsense it has always been in some respects at least. I'm firmly convinced that anarchism is the most compelling if most misunderstood solution to the problem. We've had another thread on the subject on MN but just to give a flavour of it: it is, contrary to the laughably ignorant and bogey-man reputation that it has suffered from courtesy of those who most fear it, an intensely democratic and liberal political philosophy which has very little to do with Marxism or communism - probably only as much as mainstream 'democracy' does, in fact. Chomsky has set out great arguments for what he calls libertarian socialism as you probably are well aware. But there are libertarians of the right and left and in fact many on both sides of that divide agree about many things though there are of course significant differences. However, it's not nearly as either/or as the traditional left/right divide is imo. Libertarianism seems to provide distinct possibilities for pulling people together. There is a shared concern with bottom up democracy and the freedom of individuals to be rid of the yoke of excessive statism/fascism/capitalism etc - which are all top down forms of control and which embody government of the many by the very few for the very few - and which are intrinsically more corruptible and unfair. That's certainly a very simplistic overview, for sure. It may seem idealistic but I beleve anarchism is a political philosophy which both encourages and facilitiates the best of what human beings are capable of - unlike capitalism which does the complete opposite. Anarchism should not be confused with communism or communist style authoritarian socialism. Witness the serious animosity between the SWP and anarchists here in Ireland, for instance. Historically it seems that even the most dedicated Marxists are likely to side with their sworn enemies on the right when it comes to true anarchist libertarianism. That's more or less what happened in Spain when the anarchists succeeded in establishing an amazingly cooperative and successful society in Aragon [ Wink ] which was eventually sabotaged by their Marxist allies and who were more concerned with coming out on top themselves than with defeating fascism. Anarchists are no more enamoured of Russian or Chinese style communism than they are of US neo-con capitalism - they are both voraciously imperialistic what is more.

Around the world at the moment there is much talk of the need for left unity. I wonder if libertarian unity isn't more what is needed and altogether a more a realistic objective to boot. I think a lot of the despair is that people can see that the system has utterly failed them but haven't clocked that there are other viable ways of looking at society and how it can function

Anyway, here is the text of the article I mentioned above. It's by Joe Bageant and pretty darned good imo:

Quote :
The Bailout in Plain English
Speaking in the Tongues of Brokers

Any number of cultural historians have noted the American belief that success is a sign of God's favor. And over the past couple of decades he has had a downright love fest with the already-rich. So much so that the richest 400 Americans now have more money stashed away that the combined bottom 150 million Americans. Some $1.6 trillion bucks.

This was accomplished by selling off or shipping out every available asset, from jobs to seaports, smashing usury and anti-monopoly laws, raiding the public coffers and manipulating the medium of exchange and blackmailing the peasantry regarding common needs such as heath care and energy to keep their asses warm -- to name a few. The ultimate coup was to convince the entire nation that the well being of the rich, meaning the well being of Wall Street, was indeed the common man's well being.

All went well for a while. People went into credit card hock up to their noses in order to provide 26% credit card interest to Wall Street, etc. And when that became untenable, flimsy mortgages were cranked out by the millions ensuring that every American who could hold a crayon could sign to purchase a home. To facilitate this all sorts of shaky 'mortgage instruments' were created -- balloon, (sign here Jeeter, you're gonna flip it in a year and make a hundred K on this house trailer) interest only, and finally negative balance mortgages where you only paid part of the interest and the rest was rolled back into the principal balance. And joy of joys you could refinance a couple of times while the inflated value of these houses was on the way up. Life was good for everybody.

The bill was never gonna come due because, god in his wisdom, had deemed that capitalism would defy the second law of thermodynamics and expand forever. So every time a bank made a mortgage loan of say, $400,000, even though the debtor had never even made a payment yet, the loan was declared a bank asset and another $400,000 was loaned against it. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank yelled whoopee and printed another $800,000 in currency. Of course at some point the country had to run out of customers, so the loans got easier and easier. No matter that debt is not wealth. Wink and call it that and most folks won't even look up from their new big screen high resolution digital TVs.

Problem was that all the jobs to pay for this stuff were stampeding off toward places in China with names containing a lot Xs, Zs and praying for a vowel. It was becoming clear that the entire economy was running on fumes. In fact less than fumes. It was running on the odor of paper. Mountains of the stuff. Bundles of mortgages and very strange securities and derivatives of unknown origin and value. Paper that stated its own worth and signed by some mystic hand no one could quite identify though the blurry signatures looked to read Greenspan, Paulson and Bernanke.

But there was a rub. Things reached the point where there simply was not anything left to defraud the public out of, nothing left to steal from the nation's productive capability, no matter how much paper Jeeter and Maggie signed for that trailer house, no matter how secure Brian and Jennifer out there in Arlington, Virginia and Davis, California thought they were. So the only thing left to do was steal from future generations of Americans and accept an I.O.U. which the government would happily sign on behalf of the people and enforce. By the wildest coincidence, under the Bush administration this I.O.U. happened to tally up to about $700 billion.

Seeing the oncoming train of financial disaster, the financiers just about wet their pants, and screamed "We want it all now! And if we don't get it the 'economy' will lock its brakes and crash. Remember, we control the medium of exchange. Nobody gets a paycheck if we don't. Remember that it's lines of credit from us that backs every working man's and woman's paycheck in the country. So pay the hell up."

Folks, they've got us all by the nuts and nipples. McCain knows that. Obama knows that. In the end, regardless of the so-called dissenters in the House and the Senate, we will pay up. It's election season and the dissent is for show. So it looks like we will get some "concession." For example, we will get shares in these "toxic assets" that are stinking up the joint. The rich need to dump them and dump them fast. In another magnanimous concession, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will raise the insurance on "our savings" to $250,000 (how many readers have 250 K in the bank?). But it will be redeemable in even more inflated currency amid an inflationary environment. And, in case you didn't know, the FDIC has up to ten years to pay up on that insurance. So don't get any ideas about running off to Mexico, to which by the way, we are a net debtor nation.

We will pay. We will pay because the European banks holding all that bad paper we wrote demand that we make good on it so even more of their banks will not fail. We will pay because the Chinese, the Japs and everyone else will cut off the loan tap with which we pay the interest (not the principal) on our exploding super nova of national debt. We will pay because God loves the rich. We will pay because we will not be offered any other choice. We will pay because George Bush worked hard for all those Ds in school and became the first MBA president. We will pay because our media has internalized the capitalist system so thoroughly they can only talk in Wall Speak. We will pay because the only language we have to describe our world is that of our oppressors because we have been taught to think in Wall Speak. We will pay because we hitched our wagon to last stage capitalism and even though the wagon has now two wheels over the cliff and roars forward, we don't know where the brake handle is located. And because we don't know any better or understand any possible resistance to the system because we have been kept like worms in a jar and fed horse shit.

And as we all know, worms do not rise up in revolt.

That takes a backbone.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:06 pm

Interesting post Aragon.

I wonder if this moment is a window of opportunity, but I fear the crash will be used as an excuse by Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Moscow to clamp down on individual liberty and draw more power to unaccountable executives and bureaucrats. People are still fed the old left-right politics, when in reality we should be changing the paradigm to look at politics from a different angle.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:03 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Interesting post Aragon.

I wonder if this moment is a window of opportunity, but I fear the crash will be used as an excuse by Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Moscow to clamp down on individual liberty and draw more power to unaccountable executives and bureaucrats. People are still fed the old left-right politics, when in reality we should be changing the paradigm to look at politics from a different angle.

The OP shows a section of the "Left" that is trying to portray itself as better able to manage capitalism that the business elite. The Democrats in the US would be at the same line.
Quote :

The entire political spectrum is changed and defined not by right nor left but by how far to the right a given party stands

They are all trying to prop up a failed and disfunctional system. The "Left" would be better spending their time trying to show how the bailouts and rescues are Titanic lifeboats for the rich and powerful. People without bank deposits are going to be hit for six, and there are no guarantees for them. The British left is historically a bunch of fat cats who were able to negotiate a slice of the vast wealth that Britain got out of its Empire. That's well gone and the Blairite Good Managers route (not that far from FF politically) is not looking too rosy these days.

I agree with Aragon that we need to be looking at fundamentally different economics. In any event growth itself has become a massive environmental problem that needs a different kind of management. From the other thread, I was concluding that anarchist co-operative approaches might have real potential, but I am less convinved that anarchism has the political and economic ideas and means of achieving a real transformation of society. I am going back to re-read Marx.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:31 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Interesting post Aragon.

I wonder if this moment is a window of opportunity, but I fear the crash will be used as an excuse by Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Moscow to clamp down on individual liberty and draw more power to unaccountable executives and bureaucrats. People are still fed the old left-right politics, when in reality we should be changing the paradigm to look at politics from a different angle.

Naomi Wolf has been on US radio raising the alarm and saying 'Hey, this is a coup, guys! They've been and gone and done it! Rise up! Etc Etc.! Some of what she says is really very scary - like the US government has now put I think it is six thousand soldiers directly at Bush's command, they're arresting journalists and sweeping away groups of people into detention centres without explanation for why or where - not on a huge scale but what is really striking is that these actions would have caused massive international protest even as little as a decade ago. It's all scarcely being reported now.

Listen up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XgkeTanCGI

Her message chimes with Klein's in The Shock Doctrine which if you aint read it yet basically says that we should be very scared when they start talking about crises because all the measures they take to address those crises are driving the world ever further to the right and into martial law and fascism. With 9/11 it was the Patriot Act which ceded extraordinary and terrifying power to the executive arm of government. The bailout bill apparently gives equally sweeping powers to the President to manage the economy outside of normal processes. And this is barely being discussed amid all the claims that they are 'nationalising' the banks. They are like hell. Alistair Darling was unable to quote a single guarantee secured from the banks on the back of the UK bank bailout and was on Radio 4 this am saying, when asked what undertakings he had got from them, "There is no point in making people do things they may not think are a good idea" affraid Geoffrey Robinson the former Treasury Secretary agreed on Channel 4 last night that, yes, there had indeed been some pressure on the government to pay up as demanded or else... Talk of nationalisation and public ownership is a complete lie. The rich guys have secured their exposure and we get to pay the toxic 'assets' (the new word for debts in our surreal little world) over the next 40 years, and then some.

There are representatives in Congress who gave evidence on camera that in order to secure the second vote on the bailout bill there, martial law was threatened if people did not cooperate. Crises are all part of the plan. 'Pay the hell up or else' was the crystal clear message from Paulson's friends in the markets, as Bageant says above. The whole stinking mess of hedge funds, derivatives, futures etc should be shut down completely and the economy should be a real economy based tangible goods and services. A fair product or service for a fair price. The rest of it is bullshit. Aybody anywhere who wants to live a lifestyle above and beyond his or her fair share of the world's resources should be put in stocks and have tomatoes pelted at them. I can never for the life of me understand why equitable distribution of resources should be a hindrance to invention, ingenuity, creativity, personal freedom or whatever. You don't sit down to a table and help yourself to half the food when there are five other people at the table. How and when did the idea take root that being good at something could only be reward by indulging your greed? If I invent a cure for cancer, goes the thinking, the whole world will indulge me in becoming fat, greedy and owning 20 cars. Why? Isn't it enough to have done good and to enjoy the appreciation of people around me? Why turn myself into a resource pig???

I agree cactus that anarchism does not have an upfront plan that can be rolled out. But that is almost the central point of it - if I understand it properly, which I may not I admit Smile. It's a very alien idea and I found it unpresuasive when I first read about it, but anarchism is already evolving organically from the other end of the spectrum. It can't be achieved any other way than by a gradual and peaceful transition to a belief in the need for bottom up libertarian democracy - which is not to say that ordinary people may well have to fight to defend themselves from their own governments if they are attacked for protesting unfair treatment, eg - which is already happening in the US. We will be described as terrorists. It would also take time, possibly two generations at least for it to become familiar and fundamental to the way people organise. And of course it needs to be an international movement. There are close precedents among many of the American Indian tribes (though they wouldn't have described their way of life as anarchism,) who had, according to evidence from Howard Zinn, really enjoyed a staggeringly fulfilling and happy lifestyle in comparison to most Europeans - food, shelter, community, sustainable living and humane social conventions in many cases. Not all tribes were like this, but a lot were.

I have to pop off now but more anon.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:15 am

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-will-economic-distress-effect.html

There is an anonymous rant here with which I agree. Concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny few is one of the main factors that is leading to economic collapse and depression.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:32 pm

I think 'the left' needs to develop new non-hierarchical economic structures which bring in consumers as much as workers, --and new technology if needs be,-- with the intention of de-centrally planning an economy without markets, and without profits or centrally planned control. After all the majority of consumers are workers and if we are to move from the current homogeneous three class capitalist system (worker, coordinator and capitalist) then you first need to get people behind a viable, efficient and non-wasteful economic platform, and yet one which has institutions which work with our values.
That's not to overly blueprint the future but you've to first build it before anyone'll ever come...
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:05 am

Summary analysis below from RGE Monitor of the action taken by Ireland - it gives the pros and cons of what the government has done. (Did you post this already CF?) A couple of points that stand out on the con side - the worst and likely fatal flaw in the bailout is that the government has not tied down the terms on which the banks will repay the loans and neither does it have any management input . I don't know why commentators appear to be tip-toeing so coyly around teh fact no appropriate terms and conditions have been applied. So, having identified the most egregious causes of the problem , in a single stroke, the folly is refinanced and facilitated on an unprecedented scale. Is that really a solution?

Politically speaking, the government has thrown democracy on the scrap heap. Their primary role is to manage resources on behalf of the people who elected them. Not only did they abdicate their responsibility for that throught the last two decades, they've now remortgaged the nation to the worst offenders in this situation - a group of people with a serious and proven gambling addiction.

Where the hell is the left? Barely a squeak out of them:

Quote :
Ireland engaged in the most dramatic and comprehensive bank bail-out in Europe on Sept 30 since the Scandinavian rescues of the early 1990s, which may serve as a model for the UK and other countries
Irish government, in conjunction with the Central Bank and Irish Financial Regulator, announced on Sept 30 that it will guarantee all deposits, covered bonds, senior debt, and lower tier II debt of six Irish financial institutions
To allay European Commission concerns, Ireland later extended its bank deposit guarantee to cover those foreign-owned banks based in Ireland that have a 'significant' operation in the Republic

The state guarantee exceeds 200% of Irish GDP and will last for two years

Move is meant to allay fears of an imminent collapse of Ireland's banking system after shares in the sector lost more than a quarter of their value Sept 29
Irish banks have been bleeding money as a property bust set off a chain of defaults; house prices have fallen for eighteen months, and are now down 13% from their peak
Six banks covered are: Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and Educational Building Society
Potential drawbacks:
There is concern in Brussels that the Irish move shatters any hope of pan-European regulatory response to the turmoil

Glaring flaw in the package is the failure to tie down the price the banks will pay for the state's support, says the Irish Times

The guarantee is being provided at a charge to the institutions concerned, but neither the price charged to the institutions involved or the terms and conditions applied have been determined; cost is expected to be a function of the scale of the institution's outstanding liabilities
Another issue is how the plan will sit with EU state aid rules
Precedent could be 'atrocious', says O'Neill of Fistful of Euros; cost to the taxpayer of any payout would depend on loan quality, which ultimately means a responsible government would have to engage in tight oversight of lending decisions, sort of like running a bank

Despite effectively underwriting its banks, it is encouraging that Ireland has retained its AAA credit rating - the highest possible (Irish Times)
Oct 9, 2008


Last edited by Aragon on Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos etc)
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:26 pm

Leftie alert: Another South American country has succumbed to the red disease. Peru has a left-wing PM now; the previous cabinet resigned due to some dodgy business with an oil company.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:19 pm

905 wrote:
Leftie alert: Another South American country has succumbed to the red disease. Peru has a left-wing PM now; the previous cabinet resigned due to some dodgy business with an oil company.

Thanks for that 905. Is that why Google has got Paddington Bear on the search page today?
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:22 pm

It is his 50th birthday!

My Paddington Bear is in great form over the whole thing. He has a nice case full of marmalade sandwiches which he will share with me later on!
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:00 pm

Tony Benn, erudite as ever:

Quote :
What went wrong in the capitalist casino?

Tribune magazine October 9, 2008

Tony Benn argues the credit crunch is the result of too much economic power ending up in too few hands

“THE great inter-war slumps were not acts of God or of blind forces. They were the sure and certain result of the concentration of too much economic power in the hands of too few men. These men had only learned how to act in the interest of their own bureaucratically-run private monopolies which may be likened to totalitarian oligarchies within our democratic state, They had and they felt no responsibility to the nation.”

These words are from the 1945 Labour manifesto Let Us Face The Future which brilliantly identified the very same crisis which is now described as a “credit crunch” as if it were a mere hiccup in an otherwise wonderful neo-liberal globalised world which could be corrected with a vast subsidy from the taxpayers to put the Wall Street casino and its partners worldwide back into profit. It reminded me of the fact that when slavery was abolished it was the slave owners, and not the slaves, who received compensation from the government of the day.

Perhaps more important – and never mentioned in the media – is that all the news we get every day and every hour is all about the bankers while presidents, prime ministers and other elected leaders of the world have been reduced to the role of mere commentators who are expected to supply taxpayers’ money whenever it is needed to bail out the wealthy.

Indeed, what we are watching is nothing less than the steady transfer of real political power from the polling station to the market and from the ballot to the wallet – reversing the democratic gains we have made over the last century when we were able, increasingly, to use our votes to shape our economic future.

Our 1945 manifesto made that clear in the very next passage following the quote above. This is what it said: “The nation wants food, work and homes. It wants more than that. It wants good food in plenty, useful work for all and comfortable labour-saving homes that take full advantage of the resources of modern science and productive industry.”

That was the policy that swept Labour MPs into power in 1945 and gave this country the National Health Service, the welfare state and a massive house building programme, made possible by elected local authorities who had the resources made available to them by the Treasury.

Now, 63 years later, we are back facing a similar situation and we need to understand why it has happened if we are to see our way forward.

We have been told every day by the media that we should put our faith in the market and that elected governments are the problem and not the answer and, for that reason, should not interfere.

These ideas began to emerge in the political mainstream when Margaret Thatcher came to power and in 1994 “new” Labour adopted them as the basis of its own approach which explains why she once described “new” Labour as her “greatest achievement”.

Trade union rights are now more restricted than they were in 1906, wages have been held down and people have been advised to borrow and spend as an alternative – which explains why the stock market has fallen and locked more and more people into debt, which is a subtle form of slavery itself.

This is why so many people are frightened and frightened people can sometimes be persuaded to seek an answer by identifying an enemy who can be made a scapegoat for failure – as Hitler did when he blamed the Jews, the Communists and the trade unions for the mass unemployment in Germany and set up a fascist dictatorship which led to the Holocaust and war.

Hitler dealt with the unemployed by giving them jobs in the arms factories and the armed forces which led to the Second World War and the massive human cost it caused.

Whatever the left does it must never respond by splintering into a mass of tiny ideological sects forever fighting each other – for that way leads to failure, frustration and defeat.

This is the time for co-operation across the left to tackle the problems that face us on a non-sectarian basis as we have seen in the Stop the War Coalition, the campaigns for trade union rights, civil liberties, pensions, nuclear disarmament, council house building and a fair tax system – all of which require full trade union backing if they are to succeed.

If the economic situation gets worse, as it very well may, we have also to be on the look out for the “coalition” solution which could well be presented to us as the only way that these problems can be tackled, an argument that is being put forward now in America when George Bush, John McCain and Barack Obama rallied round to back the $700 billion bail-out that Wall Street demanded.

That same argument was used by Ramsay MacDonald in 1931 when he formed a National Government which nearly destroyed the Labour Party in the general election when only 51 Labour MPs survived and, without the courage of Ernie Bevin and the TUC, it might never have recovered, as it did in 1945.

I hope that the re-appointment of Peter Mandelson to the Cabinet in the latest reshuffle does not lead to that idea being re-floated as the best way to see us through the crisis for that could be the end of democracy – allowing the European Commission to prevent the re-emergence of public ownership and control of the banks which many will now see as the best way forward.

For the first time in my life, the public are to the left of a Labour government and common sense points us in a direction quite different from the one we have been following since 1979 when Thatcher set out to destroy the trade unions, cripple local authorities and privatise our public assets which we need now more than ever.

In 1945, the nation realised that the problems of peace required the same intensity of commitment as the problems of war.

And with the disastrous experience of Iraq and Afghanistan that argument, too, is beginning to register again and people are asking why we waste so much money on those illegal, brutal and unwinnable wars and on new nuclear weapons when people are losing their jobs and facing repossession of their homes.

The case for peace and socialism is intensely practical and, put like that, will command wide public and electoral support as it did then, in 1945, and could again do now.

Tribune
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:18 am

'Goldman Sachs socialism'

Pepe Escobar for the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2566
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:11 pm

Aragon wrote:
'Goldman Sachs socialism'

Pepe Escobar for the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2566

His last question which is a plea to Obama and McCain to debate the military budget is something which strikes a chord and shows them to be little more than puppets. The real pity is that Ron Paul is not running for president, but of course he would be way too controversial to the powers in charge - those powers that have effectively wrapped up what was once thought for hundreds of years to be a watertight constitutional framework.

For many of you on the left, Congressman Ron Paul might not be appear ideal as he is a libertarian constitutionalist, but he is an honourable man - a republican - who has condemned the war in Iraq, held out against the bail-out plan to the last and indeed predicted the merited end to american imperialism. He's also attacked the very existance of the fed as an afront to democratic transparnecy and accoutability - dead right!
What is most galling for him I think is the flagrant violations of the american constitution that are occurring and the way that is the fact that the few now control the many.

To many traditional leftists, Bush-Cheney are on the extreme right, but constitutionally they are just like any other big statist regime which is the anthisis of real classical republicanism as professed by Adams, Washington and Jefferson. The neo-con philosophy in that regard seems to be more paleo-con and in its incarnation under bush seems more closely related to a French Bourbon ancien regime blythly spending the nations money and resources on foreign wars to achieve far-fetched ideological objectices.

As opposed to a traditional scalar polar-left to polar right model I think the variation of political ideology to be circular and it might be that the extreme left-wing anarchists and libertarian constitutionalist find common cause in condemning the centre with its system of patronage and control by the elites and contempt for popular sovereignty. Ther eare other issues but the lack of popular control through a proper constitutional framework is something that must be rectified first.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:12 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Aragon wrote:
'Goldman Sachs socialism'

Pepe Escobar for the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2566

His last question which is a plea to Obama and McCain to debate the military budget is something which strikes a chord and shows them to be little more than puppets. The real pity is that Ron Paul is not running for president, but of course he would be way too controversial to the powers in charge - those powers that have effectively wrapped up what was once thought for hundreds of years to be a watertight constitutional framework.

For many of you on the left, Congressman Ron Paul might not be appear ideal as he is a libertarian constitutionalist, but he is an honourable man - a republican - who has condemned the war in Iraq, held out against the bail-out plan to the last and indeed predicted the merited end to american imperialism. He's also attacked the very existance of the fed as an afront to democratic transparnecy and accoutability - dead right!
What is most galling for him I think is the flagrant violations of the american constitution that are occurring and the way that is the fact that the few now control the many.

To many traditional leftists, Bush-Cheney are on the extreme right, but constitutionally they are just like any other big statist regime which is the anthisis of real classical republicanism as professed by Adams, Washington and Jefferson. The neo-con philosophy in that regard seems to be more paleo-con and in its incarnation under bush seems more closely related to a French Bourbon ancien regime blythly spending the nations money and resources on foreign wars to achieve far-fetched ideological objectices.

As opposed to a traditional scalar polar-left to polar right model I think the variation of political ideology to be circular and it might be that the extreme left-wing anarchists and libertarian constitutionalist find common cause in condemning the centre with its system of patronage and control by the elites and contempt for popular sovereignty. Ther eare other issues but the lack of popular control through a proper constitutional framework is something that must be rectified first.

I can see the appeal of the likes of Ron Paul or Declan Ganley who make a critique of blatantly obnoxious aspects of government. My view is that these gentlemen are extremely dangerous, as their politics are to the very extreme right, but they both take great care to keep this in the background. Ganley and Paul are both arch-deregulators by persuasion and would put Bush in the shade.

The argument that if you go far enough to the right, you get to the left, lacks conviction. The far left and right never get into bed together: one is more likely to find them fighting each other, or in the case of the right, putting the left in jail.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:18 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Aragon wrote:
'Goldman Sachs socialism'

Pepe Escobar for the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2566

His last question which is a plea to Obama and McCain to debate the military budget is something which strikes a chord and shows them to be little more than puppets. The real pity is that Ron Paul is not running for president, but of course he would be way too controversial to the powers in charge - those powers that have effectively wrapped up what was once thought for hundreds of years to be a watertight constitutional framework.

For many of you on the left, Congressman Ron Paul might not be appear ideal as he is a libertarian constitutionalist, but he is an honourable man - a republican - who has condemned the war in Iraq, held out against the bail-out plan to the last and indeed predicted the merited end to american imperialism. He's also attacked the very existance of the fed as an afront to democratic transparnecy and accoutability - dead right!
What is most galling for him I think is the flagrant violations of the american constitution that are occurring and the way that is the fact that the few now control the many.

To many traditional leftists, Bush-Cheney are on the extreme right, but constitutionally they are just like any other big statist regime which is the anthisis of real classical republicanism as professed by Adams, Washington and Jefferson. The neo-con philosophy in that regard seems to be more paleo-con and in its incarnation under bush seems more closely related to a French Bourbon ancien regime blythly spending the nations money and resources on foreign wars to achieve far-fetched ideological objectices.

As opposed to a traditional scalar polar-left to polar right model I think the variation of political ideology to be circular and it might be that the extreme left-wing anarchists and libertarian constitutionalist find common cause in condemning the centre with its system of patronage and control by the elites and contempt for popular sovereignty. Ther eare other issues but the lack of popular control through a proper constitutional framework is something that must be rectified first.

I can see the appeal of the likes of Ron Paul or Declan Ganley who make a critique of blatantly obnoxious aspects of government. My view is that these gentlemen are extremely dangerous, as their politics are to the very extreme right, but they both take great care to keep this in the background. Ganley and Paul are both arch-deregulators by persuasion and would put Bush in the shade.

The argument that if you go far enough to the right, you get to the left, lacks conviction
. The far left and right never get into bed together: one is more likely to find them fighting each other, or in the case of the right, putting the left in jail.

I meant this for specific areas rather then in general , meaning that you can seem to be left wing in some areas and right wing in others. You would arrive at these positions according to your guiding spirit/ideology. For example belief in the free market is essentially a belief in the many over the few. Its not hard to see that in this and other areas strains of right and left can converge. Another strain of left-right covergence might be fascism-stalinism.

I think you are being a bit harsh on Paul and Ganley. Although its all the rage currently to knock deregulation, having an opinion or a policy that red-tape should be cut is not problematic, so long as the people are giving the power to decide, and that is the main issue here. The important difference between Paul and Bush is not their attitudes to capitalism or the iraq war, but their attitudes to democracy and the constitution. The voting record of Paul speaks plainly - he has to most pro-constitutionalist record in congress. What is happening in America and Ireland(to an extent) is a concentration of power in the executive and other elites.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:38 pm

Respvblica wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Aragon wrote:
'Goldman Sachs socialism'

Pepe Escobar for the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2566

His last question which is a plea to Obama and McCain to debate the military budget is something which strikes a chord and shows them to be little more than puppets. The real pity is that Ron Paul is not running for president, but of course he would be way too controversial to the powers in charge - those powers that have effectively wrapped up what was once thought for hundreds of years to be a watertight constitutional framework.

For many of you on the left, Congressman Ron Paul might not be appear ideal as he is a libertarian constitutionalist, but he is an honourable man - a republican - who has condemned the war in Iraq, held out against the bail-out plan to the last and indeed predicted the merited end to american imperialism. He's also attacked the very existance of the fed as an afront to democratic transparnecy and accoutability - dead right!
What is most galling for him I think is the flagrant violations of the american constitution that are occurring and the way that is the fact that the few now control the many.

To many traditional leftists, Bush-Cheney are on the extreme right, but constitutionally they are just like any other big statist regime which is the anthisis of real classical republicanism as professed by Adams, Washington and Jefferson. The neo-con philosophy in that regard seems to be more paleo-con and in its incarnation under bush seems more closely related to a French Bourbon ancien regime blythly spending the nations money and resources on foreign wars to achieve far-fetched ideological objectices.

As opposed to a traditional scalar polar-left to polar right model I think the variation of political ideology to be circular and it might be that the extreme left-wing anarchists and libertarian constitutionalist find common cause in condemning the centre with its system of patronage and control by the elites and contempt for popular sovereignty. Ther eare other issues but the lack of popular control through a proper constitutional framework is something that must be rectified first.

I can see the appeal of the likes of Ron Paul or Declan Ganley who make a critique of blatantly obnoxious aspects of government. My view is that these gentlemen are extremely dangerous, as their politics are to the very extreme right, but they both take great care to keep this in the background. Ganley and Paul are both arch-deregulators by persuasion and would put Bush in the shade.

The argument that if you go far enough to the right, you get to the left, lacks conviction
. The far left and right never get into bed together: one is more likely to find them fighting each other, or in the case of the right, putting the left in jail.

I meant this for specific areas rather then in general , meaning that you can seem to be left wing in some areas and right wing in others. You would arrive at these positions according to your guiding spirit/ideology. For example belief in the free market is essentially a belief in the many over the few. Its not hard to see that in this and other areas strains of right and left can converge. Another strain of left-right covergence might be fascism-stalinism.

I think you are being a bit harsh on Paul and Ganley. Although its all the rage currently to knock deregulation, having an opinion or a policy that red-tape should be cut is not problematic, so long as the people are giving the power to decide, and that is the main issue here. The important difference between Paul and Bush is not their attitudes to capitalism or the iraq war, but their attitudes to democracy and the constitution. The voting record of Paul speaks plainly - he has to most pro-constitutionalist record in congress. What is happening in America and Ireland(to an extent) is a concentration of power in the executive and other elites.

Free market ideology is imo about the right of the few to exploit the many. We are seeing at the moment that it brings about the most grotesque and unweildy concentrations of capital in the hands of very few people. Socialism is about the rights of the many, and safeguarding them from exploitation. This is borne out in no matter how dilute a form in the US, if you look at living standards and the gap between rich and poor under Democrats vs Republicans.

Paul's politics are fairly opaque, because he astutely focuses on populist criticism rather than showing his own hand. Paul is entirely pro capitalism, deregulated to an extreme - drugs should be legalised, for example. His born again approach to the Constitution attempts to use it to roll back to a level of governance that was appropriate in the 18th century but which would lead to the destruction of all public services and social safeguards. Going back to the gold standard would benefit the people who had hoarded gold, would result in a deflation shock and poverty for the many. I would be interested to hear of any measure proposed by Paul that could be confused with socialism. I consider him to be a proto-fascist.

What is happening in the US has been revealed with the starkest clarity in the last three weeks is that there is a government that is completely in the hands of a small ultra wealthy elite, and that its priority over everything else is that the free market system of an elite exploiting the rest should continue no matter what is the cost.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:33 pm

cactus flower wrote:


Free market ideology is imo about the right of the few to exploit the many. We are seeing at the moment that it brings about the most grotesque and unweildy concentrations of capital in the hands of very few people. Socialism is about the rights of the many, and safeguarding them from exploitation. This is borne out in no matter how dilute a form in the US, if you look at living standards and the gap between rich and poor under Democrats vs Republicans.

Paul's politics are fairly opaque, because he astutely focuses on populist criticism rather than showing his own hand. Paul is entirely pro capitalism, deregulated to an extreme - drugs should be legalised, for example. His born again approach to the Constitution attempts to use it to roll back to a level of governance that was appropriate in the 18th century but which would lead to the destruction of all public services and social safeguards. Going back to the gold standard would benefit the people who had hoarded gold, would result in a deflation shock and poverty for the many. I would be interested to hear of any measure proposed by Paul that could be confused with socialism. I consider him to be a proto-fascist.




I dont think fasicst or proto-fascist is appropriate even if he was a rascist(which I am pretty sure he is not). By fascism I mean anyone who adheres to the principals of corporatism, the cult of leadership, totalitarianism and subserviance of the individual for the good of the nation or more specifically the "Volk". In that regard Paul would bethe antithisis of the definition of fascist

Regaring Paul's socialist credientials, must everything that is considered left-wing be considered socialistic
as well? I think it is more encompassing to say that leftwing politics
is about establishing a more equitable social order at least more
rapidly than what occurs in the political norm, and that does not necessarily always immediately imply wealth-redistribution as socialism authomatically does. The experience of many left-wing establishments this century is however that the implementation of socialism/communism results in the exchange of one set of masters for another - and often at an extremely bloody cost.
Even the benign social democracy of postwar europe has seen the emergence of a special fonctionaire class with its own special perks and privileges above those of the normal citizenry who are burdened with high taxes, unresponsive and unaccountable state services and big brother style government. Of course what was happening until de-regulation and the single market revived it in the 1980s was the actual collapse of European economies and a probable decent into a more hardline undemocratic version of socialism such as that in the USSR or China.


cactus flower wrote:
What is happening in the US has been revealed with the starkest clarity in the last three weeks is that there is a government that is completely in the hands of a small ultra wealthy elite, and that its priority over everything else is that the free market system of an elite exploiting the rest should continue no matter what is the cost.

Lets not try to be to partisan. That the government is in the hands of a small elite is to say enough. It really doesnt matter how evil or greedy we subjectively try to portray them. I think that once in that position the Elite no longer has an ideology - left or right. Its only goal is to maintain its power and thats where we need to stand together in order to take them on. Unfortunately the truth is is that many(the majority) have used the ideological highway to jump on the bandwagon and get to the top. In the 1980s they would be Reaganites or Thatcherites. Now they are probably screaming about the greedy bankers. But when they get there you can be sure that they will protect their own interests first.

What we need is a general system that guards against Elites or Oligarchies. The best way to start is through more transparency and more democracy.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:39 pm

Respvblica wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


Free market ideology is imo about the right of the few to exploit the many. We are seeing at the moment that it brings about the most grotesque and unweildy concentrations of capital in the hands of very few people. Socialism is about the rights of the many, and safeguarding them from exploitation. This is borne out in no matter how dilute a form in the US, if you look at living standards and the gap between rich and poor under Democrats vs Republicans.

Paul's politics are fairly opaque, because he astutely focuses on populist criticism rather than showing his own hand. Paul is entirely pro capitalism, deregulated to an extreme - drugs should be legalised, for example. His born again approach to the Constitution attempts to use it to roll back to a level of governance that was appropriate in the 18th century but which would lead to the destruction of all public services and social safeguards. Going back to the gold standard would benefit the people who had hoarded gold, would result in a deflation shock and poverty for the many. I would be interested to hear of any measure proposed by Paul that could be confused with socialism. I consider him to be a proto-fascist.




I dont think fasicst or proto-fascist is appropriate even if he was a rascist(which I am pretty sure he is not). By fascism I mean anyone who adheres to the principals of corporatism, the cult of leadership, totalitarianism and subserviance of the individual for the good of the nation or more specifically the "Volk". In that regard Paul would bethe antithisis of the definition of fascist

Regaring Paul's socialist credientials, must everything that is considered left-wing be considered socialistic
as well? I think it is more encompassing to say that leftwing politics
is about establishing a more equitable social order at least more
rapidly than what occurs in the political norm, and that does not necessarily always immediately imply wealth-redistribution as socialism authomatically does. The experience of many left-wing establishments this century is however that the implementation of socialism/communism results in the exchange of one set of masters for another - and often at an extremely bloody cost.
Even the benign social democracy of postwar europe has seen the emergence of a special fonctionaire class with its own special perks and privileges above those of the normal citizenry who are burdened with high taxes, unresponsive and unaccountable state services and big brother style government. Of course what was happening until de-regulation and the single market revived it in the 1980s was the actual collapse of European economies and a probable decent into a more hardline undemocratic version of socialism such as that in the USSR or China.


cactus flower wrote:
What is happening in the US has been revealed with the starkest clarity in the last three weeks is that there is a government that is completely in the hands of a small ultra wealthy elite, and that its priority over everything else is that the free market system of an elite exploiting the rest should continue no matter what is the cost.

Lets not try to be to partisan. That the government is in the hands of a small elite is to say enough. It really doesnt matter how evil or greedy we subjectively try to portray them. I think that once in that position the Elite no longer has an ideology - left or right. Its only goal is to maintain its power and thats where we need to stand together in order to take them on. Unfortunately the truth is is that many(the majority) have used the ideological highway to jump on the bandwagon and get to the top. In the 1980s they would be Reaganites or Thatcherites. Now they are probably screaming about the greedy bankers. But when they get there you can be sure that they will protect their own interests first.

.
What we need is a general system that guards against Elites or Oligarchies. The best way to start is through more transparency and more democracy

I'd be very happy to start from there. I think I'll start a separate thread on Mr. Paul, but that won't be on budget day. Only so many hours in the day Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:45 pm

cactus flower wrote:


Free market ideology is imo about the right of the few to exploit the many. We are seeing at the moment that it brings about the most grotesque and unweildy concentrations of capital in the hands of very few people.

But you could argue that this is because the market is not fully free. The injustice derives from it being distrorted by corruption - the influence of people in high places(the politcians) and insider information(again political power not enforcing the law). That would also be Paul's view.

The Free Market is actually more democratic than many so called democratic institutions which are essentially rigged between two pointless political parties. Its true that "votes" are graded by the amount of capital one has, but if properly regulated (that is regulated to ensure that there is no interferance) then the big players can be the big losers as well.
Make no mistake about it, practices like naked shorting were simply wrong. Huge speculation of peoples livelyhoods is also wrong and should be looked at in the future. What we need are strong laws to protect against abuse but not arbitary government interferance.
I'm also not averse to increasing taxes on capital gains, property and speculation. Taxing those is certainly much fairer than taxing labour.
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PostSubject: Re: Why the Left is more relevant than ever   Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:47 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


Free market ideology is imo about the right of the few to exploit the many. We are seeing at the moment that it brings about the most grotesque and unweildy concentrations of capital in the hands of very few people. Socialism is about the rights of the many, and safeguarding them from exploitation. This is borne out in no matter how dilute a form in the US, if you look at living standards and the gap between rich and poor under Democrats vs Republicans.

Paul's politics are fairly opaque, because he astutely focuses on populist criticism rather than showing his own hand. Paul is entirely pro capitalism, deregulated to an extreme - drugs should be legalised, for example. His born again approach to the Constitution attempts to use it to roll back to a level of governance that was appropriate in the 18th century but which would lead to the destruction of all public services and social safeguards. Going back to the gold standard would benefit the people who had hoarded gold, would result in a deflation shock and poverty for the many. I would be interested to hear of any measure proposed by Paul that could be confused with socialism. I consider him to be a proto-fascist.




I dont think fasicst or proto-fascist is appropriate even if he was a rascist(which I am pretty sure he is not). By fascism I mean anyone who adheres to the principals of corporatism, the cult of leadership, totalitarianism and subserviance of the individual for the good of the nation or more specifically the "Volk". In that regard Paul would bethe antithisis of the definition of fascist

Regaring Paul's socialist credientials, must everything that is considered left-wing be considered socialistic
as well? I think it is more encompassing to say that leftwing politics
is about establishing a more equitable social order at least more
rapidly than what occurs in the political norm, and that does not necessarily always immediately imply wealth-redistribution as socialism authomatically does. The experience of many left-wing establishments this century is however that the implementation of socialism/communism results in the exchange of one set of masters for another - and often at an extremely bloody cost.
Even the benign social democracy of postwar europe has seen the emergence of a special fonctionaire class with its own special perks and privileges above those of the normal citizenry who are burdened with high taxes, unresponsive and unaccountable state services and big brother style government. Of course what was happening until de-regulation and the single market revived it in the 1980s was the actual collapse of European economies and a probable decent into a more hardline undemocratic version of socialism such as that in the USSR or China.


cactus flower wrote:
What is happening in the US has been revealed with the starkest clarity in the last three weeks is that there is a government that is completely in the hands of a small ultra wealthy elite, and that its priority over everything else is that the free market system of an elite exploiting the rest should continue no matter what is the cost.

Lets not try to be to partisan. That the government is in the hands of a small elite is to say enough. It really doesnt matter how evil or greedy we subjectively try to portray them. I think that once in that position the Elite no longer has an ideology - left or right. Its only goal is to maintain its power and thats where we need to stand together in order to take them on. Unfortunately the truth is is that many(the majority) have used the ideological highway to jump on the bandwagon and get to the top. In the 1980s they would be Reaganites or Thatcherites. Now they are probably screaming about the greedy bankers. But when they get there you can be sure that they will protect their own interests first.

.
What we need is a general system that guards against Elites or Oligarchies. The best way to start is through more transparency and more democracy

I'd be very happy to start from there. I think I'll start a separate thread on Mr. Paul, but that won't be on budget day. Only so many hours in the day Smile

Too true Smile
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