Capitalism

Guest Blog: Prof. Harry Glasbeek on Coronavirus and capitalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/04/2020 - 4:41am in

The legendary Prof. Harry Glasbeek of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University has penned the following commentary on how the COVID-19 pandemic is revealing and reinforcing the deep flaws in our economic and social order. It ends on a hopeful note: the people will demand better, when the immediate health crisis has passed. Prof. Glasbeek is the author of Capitalism: A Crime Story.

An edited version of this commentary was originally published by Canadian Dimension.

Statements of the Obvious as Fuel for Anti-Capitalist Fire

We know that we have a pandemic. Times are grim.

Given the rapacious nature of capitalism, a rapaciousness never discouraged by our political leaders and opinion moulders, there were always going to be capitalists who would try to profit from the health crisis.   There is a report that financial investors and bankers are urging pharmaceutical companies to push up their prices (Lee Fang, The Intercept , 20 March, 2020)); Harvey Norman, a celebrated Australian billionaire, got everyone’s attention when he declared that sales were up at his electronic supplies’ stores and that he had invested in tanking shares to enable him to profit handsomely when things returned to ‘normal’; there is a cruise ship owner who, being stuck with a ship that carried infected passengers, some of whom died, offered needy cleaners very high wages to clean the ship to ready it for more profit-seeking operations; US senators, having been given advance notice of the coming pandemic and inevitable economic share market plunges that would accompany it, sold large parcels of their shares to less well-informed investors—they all claimed these timely and profitable sales were just a coincidence.  While it is easy to demonize these Senators they merely reflected a much more deliberate campaign by the truly wealthy to profit from the world’s anticipated ills.  

In early February, well before the general public had become aware of the looming problems, bankers and large financial houses, anticipating a downturn (growth was stagnating or dipping in many parts of the globe) had begun taking profits. They had sold large volumes of their equity and bond holdings while the going was good. This led to a panic on stock markets which then coincided with the fears stoked by the alarms raised over coronavirus. (Toussaint). All of a sudden two wars, two fronts had been opened. Capitalists are fighting on one front, the rest of  us on both.  

Lobbyists for large business are in full swing, begging law-makers to bail their masters out as their prospects are deteriorating. A Guardian headline said it all:” Washington lobbyists in frenzied battle to secure billion-dollar coronavirus bailouts” (20 March, 2020). As one interviewed Senator noted, it is hard to keep red-blooded entrepreneurs away when 2 trillion dollars have been put up for grab by a venal government. Airlines, cruise ship owners, hotels are putting their snouts into the trough, that is, the very people whose businesses did much to help spread the virus and whose profiteering is disastrous from an environmental point of view; fossil fuel corporations, miners, automobile manufacturers, are all gunning for some of these taxpayers funded spoils; all these outfits reach out for their tried and lethal weapon: the threat of a capitalist strike. They show governments how crucial they are to the people’s, and therefore to the governments’, well-being by laying-off workers by the hundreds of thousands. Their major contribution thus far to the solving of the pandemic is the further immiseration of the already suffering working class. They insist that they are not to be asked to do anything but look after themselves. Vanity Fair (23 March, 2020) reports that the Trump Administration has been beset by CEO’s telling it to resist political pressures to use emergency powers to force them to help get much-needed medical supplies; rather, they argue, the government should rely on voluntary co-operation which, thus far, has been found wanting. Of course, if we, the non-wealth owners, were wiling to pay them for their assistance, they will be right there for us. Governments are listening. The US has announced that it will make money available to private laboratories to do testing, to Google to ‘market’ the testing, to Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Target to administer the testing; the Trudeau government has made $192 million available to help drug makers do vaccine research that they had   not done previously because to invest in that kind of public health-promoting research was just not profitable.  

The accumulating record is as clear as it can be. Capitalists, while somewhat panicked, also see an opportunity. They are fighting to be saved, once again, from a crisis of their own making. To this end, they demand that they be supported. They do this under the guise that they, too, are victims of the virus and that, somehow, throwing money at them should be the primary way by means of which governments are to fight the virus.  Not one of the truly rich Canadians or their corporations with tax avoiding cash in safe havens have offered to bring some of their money back to help out their fellow Canadians. They are willing to continue to exploit and profiteer and are giving no indication what they are willing to sacrifice to advance the common good, to save lives and to ameliorate immiseration. Those costs are to be borne by others. The rest of us.  

And health care workers.            

The good  

Health care workers in Ontario are to be stripped of their collective agreement rights for a while. This reflects the never-very-hidden distaste for unionization. For-profit employers and right-wing governments militantly hang on to the notion that freedom and liberty is eroded by the unnatural capacity of collectivized workers to limit the exploitation of individual workers. The suspension of the collective agreements means that the Ontario government is now in a legal position to contract out some of the health care work to non-unionized workers and volunteers. Not only would such folk not be as well-qualified as the current health care providers are (if they turn out to be qualified at all) but—even more attractive to Ford-ites and their fellow travellers–they would not unionized and more easily exploited. A dream coming true!  

Of course, this is not how the government of Ontario justified its suspension of health care workers’ collective agreements. The government claim is that it needs maximum flexibility. The government sees the health workers’ existing terms and conditions of work as potential impediments to the maintenance of public health. Armed with the rights won at the bargaining table, workers might insist on their rights during a time when our interest is in having them work as they never have before. They might refuse to work in unsafe conditions; they might refuse to do jobs their agreement does not require them to do; they might insist on limits on shifts, hours of work, etc., .that is, they might insist on rights won at the bargaining table and hinder the fight against the virus.  

All these not so well-hidden innuendoes are there, even as there is not a scintilla of evidence of any of this happening.  

The assumption is that health care workers, indeed, all workers, are just like capitalists. They are selfish, venal, greedy, indifferent to the plight of others. Thus it is right to strip them of such powers as they have. Two points jump out.  

First, note no analogous attempt is being made to strip capitalists of the source of their power, their ultimate right to use their wealth and assets to advance their own causes regardless of the harms they cause. While some are being asked to suspend their right to evict impecunious tenants, their right to preserve their right to enforce the debts remains intact. Or, inasmuch as commercial banks are willing to suspend the enforcement of mortgage debts for a while, they have made it clear that the debts will have to be paid and that interest will be added. The restraints are voluntary, temporary and not fundamental. The right to profit from ownership is not challenged. There is no positive effort exerted by governments to force the owning class to act on behalf of the public’s welfare.  

The crisis provides us with evidence that, in a capitalist society, capitalists are not to be held responsible for the common good. All others are.  

Second, all the evidence we have is that workers are nowhere near as selfish, greedy, indifferent to the plight of others as red-blooded capitalists are. The predominant impulse of non-capitalists is to look after each other. There are countless stories of people, very ordinary people, dropping off groceries for those who are house-bound, of flowers being sent to isolated people, of cakes being baked and shared with neighbours, of students, no longer able to attend their schools and universities, walking dogs for those unable to do so, Facebook groups being set up to link isolated people with those willing/able to do errands and to  help make deliveries; of restaurants, using their remaining supplies by offering free meals to food banks and to anyone else who needs them, of restaurants run by celebrity chefs setting up special deliveries of foods prepared by them while closed, only charging fees that cover the cost of deliveries, of people handmaking masks to deliver to hospitals, of registered nurses sending out daily reports from hospitals and giving public health advice/information,  of ‘choir/choir/choir’ doing community sing alongs, of kids setting up homework groups, of desperate people in Italy singing with and to each other, trying to lift each others’ spirits, of Spanish and English folk opening their windows in the evening to get together to applaud the health care workers who are looking after them. All this is self-organized. All of this is individually or communally organized. All of this is non-hierarchical. All of this is spontaneous. People care, they care about each other.  

There always has been a deep contradiction in capitalism and the pandemic is bringing it into the open. The assumption which is supposed to make capitalism acceptable is that it is just an economic scheme, one which brings us all material welfare. The way it does this is by a holding out that the drive for individual acquisition inheres in all of us and is ineradicable. If we are free to act on this, wealth will be created for all. It assumes that it is possible to separate the economic sphere of life from the rest of social life (Polanyi). But, to the vast majority of the world, this makes no sense. This is not how they want to, or indeed do, live. Serving one’s interest single-mindedly is, from most human beings’ vantage point, morally problematic. To most people, serving our loved ones, our communities, being altruistic, compassionate, willing to share, are all much more morally/socially acceptable ends than the satisfaction of greed.  

Capitalist relations of production have always been—and always will be—out of step with human and humane traits. This truth is, all too often, buried as the dominant class uses its hegemonic powers effectively to constrain our thinking. The current crude self-serving, anti-social, postures taken by capitalists reveal that they are content to let people suffer and die if this allows them to maintain and/or to augment their wealth. The crassness of capitalists has the potential to make this horrific pandemic a crucial moment, a profound basis for a transformation in social relations

Lydia O’Connor, in Huffpost (25 March, 2020, “Billionaires want People Back At Work, Even If It Kills Them”, cites Paychex founder, Tom Galisano [net worth $3Billion] that hurting the economy ‘could be worse than losing a few more people” and Dick Kovachevik [former CEO of Wells Fargo, a corporation that stole and defrauded its clients during the subprime scandal] who said that ‘we’ll gradually bring these people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die…do you want to take an economic risk or health risk?”

The most significant legacy of this crisis may be that it will be easier for people to see that capitalists judge things only in dollar terms and value dollars more, way more, than they do human beings.

The many hypocrisies

Public health officials and politicians of all stripes use every opportunity to praise and thank the brave frontline health care workers because they are working extraordinary shifts, exposing themselves knowingly to grave risks. As seen, this has not prevented the Ontario government to treat health care workers and their unions as potential enemies and betrayers of public health. How sincere are they? Whose side are they on? Whose side are any of capital’s gatekeepers on?

The Toronto Star,  with its editorial “A new breed of heroes steps up in the crisis”, has just discovered that, while they have always celebrated firefighters, police officers, soldiers, doctors as truly worthwhile workers, it turns out that there are some other workers who merit our admiration. They identify workers in ‘supply chains’, that is, workers who, only yesterday, were lowly regarded workers, as wrongly neglected contributors to society. The importance of what were virtually invisible workers, from the farmer to the truck driver to the people stocking the shelves to the cashiers taking the money, has suddenly become obvious to The Star and the people it serves. The pivotal role of those who clean hospitals and long term care homes, who take care of children, operate subway trains and busses, of warehouse workers, of rubbish collectors, of letter sorters and carriers, and many more such much-ignored workers is being acknowledged. It also has become clear to the elites that, often, these ‘heroes’ are paid little more than the minimum wage and that they do not have much security in their jobs. The Toronto Star does not ask how, what it now calls, essential workers came to be so poorly treated. They now express their gratitude and—somewhat mealy-mouthedly—express the hope that things will get better for these workers in the future.

Whatever the true feelings of the individual writer of this discovery of a to-be-heralded workforce may have been, the true motivation for writing it is plain. Underlying this expression of sensibility is a plea. The Star and its allies in the world of wealth and politics are frightened stiff that their previous contemptuous treatment of these workers might cause them to be angry and resistant, lead them to not to provide the services that those of us, cowering in isolation (including some of their rich and influential friends), need so badly. They are frightened. They are like the feudal landlords during the Black Plague of 1349. They were worried that, as workers were confronted by death and disease, they would no longer mind the herds, tend to the crops. They might give in to what the lords of the day called a “merriment of despair”. The Star and the people whose views they represent, our contemporary lords and masters, cannot afford this kind of spirit to prevail.

Here another aspect of the class-based different impact of the health and economic crisis comes to the fore. One of the ways in which the virus is being contained is by asking those of us who can to work from home. How many of the working class can actually do this? And however many it is, it does not include the supposedly less skilled, the supposedly less educated, the definitely worst paid, the distinctly more precariously employed. But it is they who do what needs to be done, it is they who make things, transport things, maintain things, operate things. We need them to survive. As David Graeber writes: ”Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dockworkers would soon be in trouble…It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEO’s, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish”. Graeber notes wryly that the latter group, the ‘work at home crowd’, are more highly valued and paid in our capitalist world. The Star, and the rich and ritzy it worries about, know it is necessary to keep the downtrodden workers at work. Some cajoling, some bribery is in order.

Some employers who do not want to stop profiteering need these workers to pitch up every day and take those risks. They praise them and bribe them. Retailers are proudly claiming that, in their concern for these now acknowledged essential workers, they will give them a pitiful raise. The hope is that this will keep them feel appreciated as they continue to work, serve and expose themselves, that they will not use their basic right to refuse palpably unsafe working conditions. The workers are being soft-soaped and paid a little danger money by the class that is taking as little risk as it can. Hypocrisy everywhere.

While the newly discovered workers are being recognized by those who ignored them yesterday, little attention is being paid to the sacrifices demanded of their families. The at-risk workers go home. Their infections will infect the very people they love the most. Scant attention is paid to them. It fits a pattern: capitalists have always relied on the unpaid reproduction of the labour force, on the unpaid-for nurturing of this work force and on the collectively paid-for training and health maintenance of this work force. There is thus a continuum here: as they express appreciation of workers taking risks, capitalism persists in imposing costs and hardships on these very same workers and on society writ large. More: governments and opinion leaders are telling these real risk-takers that they are responsible to deal with the risks as individuals: hygiene, self-isolation, social distancing—it is up to them to avert risks capitalists want them to take.

There will be a need, therefore, to scrutinize the interventions by governments as  they pump money into the economy, in part enlarging welfare payments to the more immediately vulnerable. The need to make these grants to workers arises because the private sector actors are cutting costs and, as usual, are happy to have their tabs picked up by governments, by the rest of us. They will grandiosely keep some workers on their payrolls provided that the payrolls become the responsibility of governments and taxpayers. It aids them indirectly, as well, as the otherwise destitute workers can continue to consume and to pay bills, at least for a little while longer. As self-declared risk-takers and wealth creators, the crisis demonstrates that ‘entrepreneurs’ are a big bust. ‘Hypocrisy and irresponsibility’ should become a label that activists will be able to stick on capitalism better than they ever could.

This bailing out of workers left adrift by their employers may leave another  legacy—it will be easier to make the case that the welfare regimes we had were never satisfactory, that the inequalities with which we have been asked to live, were, and remain, economically and morally unjustified. We were always told, as Jonathan Cook reminds us, that there was no magic money tree from which we could pick dollar bills to give to the less well-off. It turns out, as Cook goes on to say, that when capital wants hand-outs, that there are magic money trees everywhere.

This finding of these money-laden trees is accompanied by an implicit admission that it was always understood that many Canadians (and US) citizens were not covered by the safety net because they were considered rightly excluded from it. Yet, it turns out that they should not have been; they were doing far from well. Self-employed people, small business owners, franchise operators, gig workers, as well as many part-time, casual, temporary employees, have had to be included in the rescue packages because they were never very far away from poverty. The crisis is pointing out the many lies by which our so-called advanced capitalist polities have been living.

The fuel for the anti-capitalism fire

The argument here is not that everyone is about to see the light and that when (if ever) this is all over, we will plump for socialism. As repeatedly noted, capital is fighting to maintain itself and is being aided by governments. Whatever the new ‘normal’ will be, capitalists will fight to remain the dominant class. We cannot assume that we will win that fight. But we should be in a better position to fight it.  The huge cracks in the system are getting wider and wider each day the virus controls our lives. This creates a number of platforms from which working class activists can launch anti-capitalism attacks that may lay the groundwork for more radical change. Some of these platforms include:  

The use made of ‘othering’ to keep us apart will be harder to deploy. The global reach of the virus will make it more obvious to more people how interrelated human beings are, how little our apparent differences mean when shove comes to push.

The evidence of how much we all  rely on all sorts of people, no matter how apparently distant and different from us, may well lead to a better understanding of how interdependent we are, how foolish the mantra of big capital to the effect that there is no such thing as society, really is. It should be harder to keep people convinced that we are merely a bunch of individuals and families, that there is no solidarity to be had;

The evidence that capitalism has never been and never will be a system of social relations based on merit has been revealed as, all of a sudden, their mouth pieces have had to acknowledge the worth of poorly regarded and paid people. It should educate the rest of us to accord respect to all who provide things we need as opposed to things the rich teach us to desire;

It will be even more obvious than it was after the 2008 meltdown that flesh and blood capitalists do not actually believe governments should not borrow in order to look after the needy. They are urging the governments to do more borrowing, to incur more debt, as they portray themselves as the needy ones. Their stock markets roar whenever a new announcement is made that a new money tree has been found, most of whose fruit is to go them. As this is being written, a huge cheer can be heard, emanating from Bay Street, as the government announced that it is about to buy devaluing assets from private profiteers. If all of this is remembered or kept in people’s minds, it may make a claim that capitalists are risk-takers and wealth creators who are entitled to privileges easier to resist when next made (as we should expect it will be).

The responses to the crisis have included laying-off masses of workers, leaving their plight to be alleviated by others. Capitalism’s primary value system, one that argues that unfettered selfishness is an acceptable moral stance, is on show like it rarely has been. It is a value system that has little appeal and the virus crisis could well lead to regard those who hold on to this immoral sensibility to be social lepers;

A repugnant indifference for others has been on display. The crass, monstrous brand of utilitarianism by some outspoken capitalists and their media and political supporters who have vividly expressed a willingness to further their narrow economic project at the expense of human lives, should leave a lasting imprint on us all.

The list could be longer. But the
picture of what many more people than ever before will know is clear.

Capitalism and a decent, a human, society do not mix. What must be striven for is a system that envisages the social ownership of the means of production, production run by workers and their communities to supply the needs we have as individuals and communities.  The responses to the current crisis by capital and our governments do not fit the bill. The responses by non-owners, by workers, by our communities, exhibit the necessary ingredients. When it is all over, the hope must be that we can build on that .

Guest Blog: Prof. Harry Glasbeek on Coronavirus and capitalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/04/2020 - 4:41am in

The legendary Prof. Harry Glasbeek of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University has penned the following commentary on how the COVID-19 pandemic is revealing and reinforcing the deep flaws in our economic and social order. It ends on a hopeful note: the people will demand better, when the immediate health crisis has passed. Prof. Glasbeek is the author of Capitalism: A Crime Story.

An edited version of this commentary was originally published by Canadian Dimension.

Statements of the Obvious as Fuel for Anti-Capitalist Fire

We know that we have a pandemic. Times are grim.

Given the rapacious nature of capitalism, a rapaciousness never discouraged by our political leaders and opinion moulders, there were always going to be capitalists who would try to profit from the health crisis.   There is a report that financial investors and bankers are urging pharmaceutical companies to push up their prices (Lee Fang, The Intercept , 20 March, 2020)); Harvey Norman, a celebrated Australian billionaire, got everyone’s attention when he declared that sales were up at his electronic supplies’ stores and that he had invested in tanking shares to enable him to profit handsomely when things returned to ‘normal’; there is a cruise ship owner who, being stuck with a ship that carried infected passengers, some of whom died, offered needy cleaners very high wages to clean the ship to ready it for more profit-seeking operations; US senators, having been given advance notice of the coming pandemic and inevitable economic share market plunges that would accompany it, sold large parcels of their shares to less well-informed investors—they all claimed these timely and profitable sales were just a coincidence.  While it is easy to demonize these Senators they merely reflected a much more deliberate campaign by the truly wealthy to profit from the world’s anticipated ills.  

In early February, well before the general public had become aware of the looming problems, bankers and large financial houses, anticipating a downturn (growth was stagnating or dipping in many parts of the globe) had begun taking profits. They had sold large volumes of their equity and bond holdings while the going was good. This led to a panic on stock markets which then coincided with the fears stoked by the alarms raised over coronavirus. (Toussaint). All of a sudden two wars, two fronts had been opened. Capitalists are fighting on one front, the rest of  us on both.  

Lobbyists for large business are in full swing, begging law-makers to bail their masters out as their prospects are deteriorating. A Guardian headline said it all:” Washington lobbyists in frenzied battle to secure billion-dollar coronavirus bailouts” (20 March, 2020). As one interviewed Senator noted, it is hard to keep red-blooded entrepreneurs away when 2 trillion dollars have been put up for grab by a venal government. Airlines, cruise ship owners, hotels are putting their snouts into the trough, that is, the very people whose businesses did much to help spread the virus and whose profiteering is disastrous from an environmental point of view; fossil fuel corporations, miners, automobile manufacturers, are all gunning for some of these taxpayers funded spoils; all these outfits reach out for their tried and lethal weapon: the threat of a capitalist strike. They show governments how crucial they are to the people’s, and therefore to the governments’, well-being by laying-off workers by the hundreds of thousands. Their major contribution thus far to the solving of the pandemic is the further immiseration of the already suffering working class. They insist that they are not to be asked to do anything but look after themselves. Vanity Fair (23 March, 2020) reports that the Trump Administration has been beset by CEO’s telling it to resist political pressures to use emergency powers to force them to help get much-needed medical supplies; rather, they argue, the government should rely on voluntary co-operation which, thus far, has been found wanting. Of course, if we, the non-wealth owners, were wiling to pay them for their assistance, they will be right there for us. Governments are listening. The US has announced that it will make money available to private laboratories to do testing, to Google to ‘market’ the testing, to Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Target to administer the testing; the Trudeau government has made $192 million available to help drug makers do vaccine research that they had   not done previously because to invest in that kind of public health-promoting research was just not profitable.  

The accumulating record is as clear as it can be. Capitalists, while somewhat panicked, also see an opportunity. They are fighting to be saved, once again, from a crisis of their own making. To this end, they demand that they be supported. They do this under the guise that they, too, are victims of the virus and that, somehow, throwing money at them should be the primary way by means of which governments are to fight the virus.  Not one of the truly rich Canadians or their corporations with tax avoiding cash in safe havens have offered to bring some of their money back to help out their fellow Canadians. They are willing to continue to exploit and profiteer and are giving no indication what they are willing to sacrifice to advance the common good, to save lives and to ameliorate immiseration. Those costs are to be borne by others. The rest of us.  

And health care workers.            

The good  

Health care workers in Ontario are to be stripped of their collective agreement rights for a while. This reflects the never-very-hidden distaste for unionization. For-profit employers and right-wing governments militantly hang on to the notion that freedom and liberty is eroded by the unnatural capacity of collectivized workers to limit the exploitation of individual workers. The suspension of the collective agreements means that the Ontario government is now in a legal position to contract out some of the health care work to non-unionized workers and volunteers. Not only would such folk not be as well-qualified as the current health care providers are (if they turn out to be qualified at all) but—even more attractive to Ford-ites and their fellow travellers–they would not unionized and more easily exploited. A dream coming true!  

Of course, this is not how the government of Ontario justified its suspension of health care workers’ collective agreements. The government claim is that it needs maximum flexibility. The government sees the health workers’ existing terms and conditions of work as potential impediments to the maintenance of public health. Armed with the rights won at the bargaining table, workers might insist on their rights during a time when our interest is in having them work as they never have before. They might refuse to work in unsafe conditions; they might refuse to do jobs their agreement does not require them to do; they might insist on limits on shifts, hours of work, etc., .that is, they might insist on rights won at the bargaining table and hinder the fight against the virus.  

All these not so well-hidden innuendoes are there, even as there is not a scintilla of evidence of any of this happening.  

The assumption is that health care workers, indeed, all workers, are just like capitalists. They are selfish, venal, greedy, indifferent to the plight of others. Thus it is right to strip them of such powers as they have. Two points jump out.  

First, note no analogous attempt is being made to strip capitalists of the source of their power, their ultimate right to use their wealth and assets to advance their own causes regardless of the harms they cause. While some are being asked to suspend their right to evict impecunious tenants, their right to preserve their right to enforce the debts remains intact. Or, inasmuch as commercial banks are willing to suspend the enforcement of mortgage debts for a while, they have made it clear that the debts will have to be paid and that interest will be added. The restraints are voluntary, temporary and not fundamental. The right to profit from ownership is not challenged. There is no positive effort exerted by governments to force the owning class to act on behalf of the public’s welfare.  

The crisis provides us with evidence that, in a capitalist society, capitalists are not to be held responsible for the common good. All others are.  

Second, all the evidence we have is that workers are nowhere near as selfish, greedy, indifferent to the plight of others as red-blooded capitalists are. The predominant impulse of non-capitalists is to look after each other. There are countless stories of people, very ordinary people, dropping off groceries for those who are house-bound, of flowers being sent to isolated people, of cakes being baked and shared with neighbours, of students, no longer able to attend their schools and universities, walking dogs for those unable to do so, Facebook groups being set up to link isolated people with those willing/able to do errands and to  help make deliveries; of restaurants, using their remaining supplies by offering free meals to food banks and to anyone else who needs them, of restaurants run by celebrity chefs setting up special deliveries of foods prepared by them while closed, only charging fees that cover the cost of deliveries, of people handmaking masks to deliver to hospitals, of registered nurses sending out daily reports from hospitals and giving public health advice/information,  of ‘choir/choir/choir’ doing community sing alongs, of kids setting up homework groups, of desperate people in Italy singing with and to each other, trying to lift each others’ spirits, of Spanish and English folk opening their windows in the evening to get together to applaud the health care workers who are looking after them. All this is self-organized. All of this is individually or communally organized. All of this is non-hierarchical. All of this is spontaneous. People care, they care about each other.  

There always has been a deep contradiction in capitalism and the pandemic is bringing it into the open. The assumption which is supposed to make capitalism acceptable is that it is just an economic scheme, one which brings us all material welfare. The way it does this is by a holding out that the drive for individual acquisition inheres in all of us and is ineradicable. If we are free to act on this, wealth will be created for all. It assumes that it is possible to separate the economic sphere of life from the rest of social life (Polanyi). But, to the vast majority of the world, this makes no sense. This is not how they want to, or indeed do, live. Serving one’s interest single-mindedly is, from most human beings’ vantage point, morally problematic. To most people, serving our loved ones, our communities, being altruistic, compassionate, willing to share, are all much more morally/socially acceptable ends than the satisfaction of greed.  

Capitalist relations of production have always been—and always will be—out of step with human and humane traits. This truth is, all too often, buried as the dominant class uses its hegemonic powers effectively to constrain our thinking. The current crude self-serving, anti-social, postures taken by capitalists reveal that they are content to let people suffer and die if this allows them to maintain and/or to augment their wealth. The crassness of capitalists has the potential to make this horrific pandemic a crucial moment, a profound basis for a transformation in social relations

Lydia O’Connor, in Huffpost (25 March, 2020, “Billionaires want People Back At Work, Even If It Kills Them”, cites Paychex founder, Tom Galisano [net worth $3Billion] that hurting the economy ‘could be worse than losing a few more people” and Dick Kovachevik [former CEO of Wells Fargo, a corporation that stole and defrauded its clients during the subprime scandal] who said that ‘we’ll gradually bring these people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die…do you want to take an economic risk or health risk?”

The most significant legacy of this crisis may be that it will be easier for people to see that capitalists judge things only in dollar terms and value dollars more, way more, than they do human beings.

The many hypocrisies

Public health officials and politicians of all stripes use every opportunity to praise and thank the brave frontline health care workers because they are working extraordinary shifts, exposing themselves knowingly to grave risks. As seen, this has not prevented the Ontario government to treat health care workers and their unions as potential enemies and betrayers of public health. How sincere are they? Whose side are they on? Whose side are any of capital’s gatekeepers on?

The Toronto Star,  with its editorial “A new breed of heroes steps up in the crisis”, has just discovered that, while they have always celebrated firefighters, police officers, soldiers, doctors as truly worthwhile workers, it turns out that there are some other workers who merit our admiration. They identify workers in ‘supply chains’, that is, workers who, only yesterday, were lowly regarded workers, as wrongly neglected contributors to society. The importance of what were virtually invisible workers, from the farmer to the truck driver to the people stocking the shelves to the cashiers taking the money, has suddenly become obvious to The Star and the people it serves. The pivotal role of those who clean hospitals and long term care homes, who take care of children, operate subway trains and busses, of warehouse workers, of rubbish collectors, of letter sorters and carriers, and many more such much-ignored workers is being acknowledged. It also has become clear to the elites that, often, these ‘heroes’ are paid little more than the minimum wage and that they do not have much security in their jobs. The Toronto Star does not ask how, what it now calls, essential workers came to be so poorly treated. They now express their gratitude and—somewhat mealy-mouthedly—express the hope that things will get better for these workers in the future.

Whatever the true feelings of the individual writer of this discovery of a to-be-heralded workforce may have been, the true motivation for writing it is plain. Underlying this expression of sensibility is a plea. The Star and its allies in the world of wealth and politics are frightened stiff that their previous contemptuous treatment of these workers might cause them to be angry and resistant, lead them to not to provide the services that those of us, cowering in isolation (including some of their rich and influential friends), need so badly. They are frightened. They are like the feudal landlords during the Black Plague of 1349. They were worried that, as workers were confronted by death and disease, they would no longer mind the herds, tend to the crops. They might give in to what the lords of the day called a “merriment of despair”. The Star and the people whose views they represent, our contemporary lords and masters, cannot afford this kind of spirit to prevail.

Here another aspect of the class-based different impact of the health and economic crisis comes to the fore. One of the ways in which the virus is being contained is by asking those of us who can to work from home. How many of the working class can actually do this? And however many it is, it does not include the supposedly less skilled, the supposedly less educated, the definitely worst paid, the distinctly more precariously employed. But it is they who do what needs to be done, it is they who make things, transport things, maintain things, operate things. We need them to survive. As David Graeber writes: ”Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dockworkers would soon be in trouble…It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEO’s, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish”. Graeber notes wryly that the latter group, the ‘work at home crowd’, are more highly valued and paid in our capitalist world. The Star, and the rich and ritzy it worries about, know it is necessary to keep the downtrodden workers at work. Some cajoling, some bribery is in order.

Some employers who do not want to stop profiteering need these workers to pitch up every day and take those risks. They praise them and bribe them. Retailers are proudly claiming that, in their concern for these now acknowledged essential workers, they will give them a pitiful raise. The hope is that this will keep them feel appreciated as they continue to work, serve and expose themselves, that they will not use their basic right to refuse palpably unsafe working conditions. The workers are being soft-soaped and paid a little danger money by the class that is taking as little risk as it can. Hypocrisy everywhere.

While the newly discovered workers are being recognized by those who ignored them yesterday, little attention is being paid to the sacrifices demanded of their families. The at-risk workers go home. Their infections will infect the very people they love the most. Scant attention is paid to them. It fits a pattern: capitalists have always relied on the unpaid reproduction of the labour force, on the unpaid-for nurturing of this work force and on the collectively paid-for training and health maintenance of this work force. There is thus a continuum here: as they express appreciation of workers taking risks, capitalism persists in imposing costs and hardships on these very same workers and on society writ large. More: governments and opinion leaders are telling these real risk-takers that they are responsible to deal with the risks as individuals: hygiene, self-isolation, social distancing—it is up to them to avert risks capitalists want them to take.

There will be a need, therefore, to scrutinize the interventions by governments as  they pump money into the economy, in part enlarging welfare payments to the more immediately vulnerable. The need to make these grants to workers arises because the private sector actors are cutting costs and, as usual, are happy to have their tabs picked up by governments, by the rest of us. They will grandiosely keep some workers on their payrolls provided that the payrolls become the responsibility of governments and taxpayers. It aids them indirectly, as well, as the otherwise destitute workers can continue to consume and to pay bills, at least for a little while longer. As self-declared risk-takers and wealth creators, the crisis demonstrates that ‘entrepreneurs’ are a big bust. ‘Hypocrisy and irresponsibility’ should become a label that activists will be able to stick on capitalism better than they ever could.

This bailing out of workers left adrift by their employers may leave another  legacy—it will be easier to make the case that the welfare regimes we had were never satisfactory, that the inequalities with which we have been asked to live, were, and remain, economically and morally unjustified. We were always told, as Jonathan Cook reminds us, that there was no magic money tree from which we could pick dollar bills to give to the less well-off. It turns out, as Cook goes on to say, that when capital wants hand-outs, that there are magic money trees everywhere.

This finding of these money-laden trees is accompanied by an implicit admission that it was always understood that many Canadians (and US) citizens were not covered by the safety net because they were considered rightly excluded from it. Yet, it turns out that they should not have been; they were doing far from well. Self-employed people, small business owners, franchise operators, gig workers, as well as many part-time, casual, temporary employees, have had to be included in the rescue packages because they were never very far away from poverty. The crisis is pointing out the many lies by which our so-called advanced capitalist polities have been living.

The fuel for the anti-capitalism fire

The argument here is not that everyone is about to see the light and that when (if ever) this is all over, we will plump for socialism. As repeatedly noted, capital is fighting to maintain itself and is being aided by governments. Whatever the new ‘normal’ will be, capitalists will fight to remain the dominant class. We cannot assume that we will win that fight. But we should be in a better position to fight it.  The huge cracks in the system are getting wider and wider each day the virus controls our lives. This creates a number of platforms from which working class activists can launch anti-capitalism attacks that may lay the groundwork for more radical change. Some of these platforms include:  

The use made of ‘othering’ to keep us apart will be harder to deploy. The global reach of the virus will make it more obvious to more people how interrelated human beings are, how little our apparent differences mean when shove comes to push.

The evidence of how much we all  rely on all sorts of people, no matter how apparently distant and different from us, may well lead to a better understanding of how interdependent we are, how foolish the mantra of big capital to the effect that there is no such thing as society, really is. It should be harder to keep people convinced that we are merely a bunch of individuals and families, that there is no solidarity to be had;

The evidence that capitalism has never been and never will be a system of social relations based on merit has been revealed as, all of a sudden, their mouth pieces have had to acknowledge the worth of poorly regarded and paid people. It should educate the rest of us to accord respect to all who provide things we need as opposed to things the rich teach us to desire;

It will be even more obvious than it was after the 2008 meltdown that flesh and blood capitalists do not actually believe governments should not borrow in order to look after the needy. They are urging the governments to do more borrowing, to incur more debt, as they portray themselves as the needy ones. Their stock markets roar whenever a new announcement is made that a new money tree has been found, most of whose fruit is to go them. As this is being written, a huge cheer can be heard, emanating from Bay Street, as the government announced that it is about to buy devaluing assets from private profiteers. If all of this is remembered or kept in people’s minds, it may make a claim that capitalists are risk-takers and wealth creators who are entitled to privileges easier to resist when next made (as we should expect it will be).

The responses to the crisis have included laying-off masses of workers, leaving their plight to be alleviated by others. Capitalism’s primary value system, one that argues that unfettered selfishness is an acceptable moral stance, is on show like it rarely has been. It is a value system that has little appeal and the virus crisis could well lead to regard those who hold on to this immoral sensibility to be social lepers;

A repugnant indifference for others has been on display. The crass, monstrous brand of utilitarianism by some outspoken capitalists and their media and political supporters who have vividly expressed a willingness to further their narrow economic project at the expense of human lives, should leave a lasting imprint on us all.

The list could be longer. But the
picture of what many more people than ever before will know is clear.

Capitalism and a decent, a human, society do not mix. What must be striven for is a system that envisages the social ownership of the means of production, production run by workers and their communities to supply the needs we have as individuals and communities.  The responses to the current crisis by capital and our governments do not fit the bill. The responses by non-owners, by workers, by our communities, exhibit the necessary ingredients. When it is all over, the hope must be that we can build on that .

What's the System? Review of an Angry Workers Pamphlet

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/03/2020 - 1:06am in

image/jpeg iconaww_system.jpg

The Angry Workers of the World (AWW), a group based in West London which publishes the irregular workplace bulletin WorkersWildWest, has released a pamphlet collecting their articles on history, crisis, and revolution. We want a new society – and don’t we need it! seeks to explain in a straightforward manner how the current system emerged and how a new society can replace it.

read more

Humanity's Health or Capitalism's Profit?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 5:18am in

image/jpeg iconcorona_churchill.jpg

Socialism, or communism, or whatever you want to call a society of the future, will not save us from occasional epidemics. It would however deal with them in an entirely different way.

This global crisis is not just a health crisis but an exposure of the real priorities of capitalism. Preservation of the profits system comes before meeting the real needs of the world’s population.

CWO-ICT

read more

Beyond the Economic Chaos of Coronavirus Is a Global War Economy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 6:16am in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the Wayuu ethnic group watch as a U.S. army helicopter arrives for a joint exercise in the “Tres Bocas” area in northern Colombia on March 13, 2020. JUAN BARRETO / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

By William I. Robinson
Truthout

March 23, 2020 – What does a virus have to do with war and repression? The coronavirus has disrupted global supply networks and spread panic throughout the world’s stock markets. The pandemic will pass, not without a heavy toll. But in the larger picture, the fallout from the virus exposes the fragility of a global economy that never fully recovered from the 2008 financial collapse and has been teetering on the brink of renewed crisis for years.

The crisis of global capitalism is as much structural as it is political. Politically, the system faces a crisis of capitalist hegemony and state legitimacy. As is now well-known, the level of global social polarization and inequality is unprecedented. In 2018, the richest 1 percent of humanity controlled more than half of the world’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent had to make do with just 4.5 percent of this wealth. Such stark global inequalities are politically explosive, and to the extent that the system is simply unable to reverse them, it turns to ever more violent forms of containment to manage immiserated populations.

Structurally, the system faces a crisis of what is known as overaccumulation. As inequalities escalate, the system churns out more and more wealth that the mass of working people cannot actually consume. As a result, the global market cannot absorb the output of the global economy. Overaccumulation refers to a situation in which enormous amounts of capital (profits) are accumulated, yet this capital cannot be reinvested profitably and becomes stagnant.

Indeed, corporations enjoyed record profits during the 2010s at the same time that corporate investment declined. Worldwide corporate cash reserves topped $12 trillion in 2017, more than the foreign exchange reserves of the world’s central governments, yet transnational corporations cannot find enough opportunities to profitably reinvest their profits. As this uninvested capital accumulates, enormous pressures build up to find outlets for unloading the surplus. By the 21st century, the transnational capitalist class turned to several mechanisms in order to sustain global accumulation in the face of overaccumulation, above all, financial speculation in the global casino, along with the plunder of public finances, debt-driven growth and state-organized militarized accumulation.

Militarized Accumulation

It is the last of these mechanisms, what I have termed militarized accumulation, that I want to focus on here. The crisis is pushing us toward a veritable global police state. The global economy is becoming ever more dependent on the development and deployment of systems of warfare, social control and repression, apart from political considerations, simply as a means of making profit and continuing to accumulate capital in the face of stagnation. The so-called wars on drugs and terrorism; the undeclared wars on immigrants, refugees, gangs, and poor, dark-skinned and working-class youth more generally; the construction of border walls, immigrant jails, prison-industrial complexes, systems of mass surveillance, and the spread of private security guard and mercenary companies, have all become major sources of profit-making.

The events of September 11, 2001, marked the start of an era of a permanent global war in which logistics, warfare, intelligence, repression, surveillance, and even military personnel are more and more the privatized domain of transnational capital. Criminalization of surplus humanity activates state-sanctioned repression that opens up new profit-making opportunities for the transnational capitalist class. Permanent war involves endless cycles of destruction and reconstruction, each phase in the cycle fueling new rounds and accumulation, and also results in the ongoing enclosure of resources that become available to the capitalist class.

Criminalization of surplus humanity activates state-sanctioned repression that opens up new profit-making opportunities for the transnational capitalist class.

 
The Pentagon budget increased 91 percent in real terms between 1998 and 2011, while worldwide, total defense outlays grew by 50 percent from 2006 to 2015, from $1.4 trillion to $2.03 trillion, although this figure does not take into account secret budgets, contingency operations and “homeland security” spending. The global market in homeland security reached $431 billion in 2018 and was expected to climb to $606 billion by 2024. In the decade from 2001 to 2011, military industry profits nearly quadrupled. In total, the United States spent a mind-boggling nearly $6 trillion from 2001 to 2018 on its Middle East wars alone.

Led by the United States as the predominant world power, military expansion in different countries has taken place through parallel (and often conflictive) processes, yet all show the same relationship between state militarization and global capital accumulation. In 2015, for instance, the Chinese government announced that it was setting out to develop its own military-industrial complex modeled after the United States, in which private capital would assume the leading role. Worldwide, official state military outlays in 2015 represented about 3 percent of the gross world product of $75 trillion (this does not include state military spending not made public).

But militarized accumulation involves vastly more than activities generated by state military budgets. There are immense sums involved in state spending and private corporate accumulation through militarization and other forms of generating profit through repressive social control that do not involve militarization per se, such as structural controls over the poor through debt collection enforcement mechanisms or accumulation opportunities opened up by criminalization.

The Privatization of War and Repression
The various wars, conflicts, and campaigns of social control and repression around the world involve the fusion of private accumulation with state militarization. In this relationship, the state facilitates the expansion of opportunities for private capital to accumulate through militarization. The most obvious way that the state opens up these opportunities is to facilitate global weapons sales by military-industrial-security firms, the amounts of which have reached unprecedented levels. Between 2003 and 2010 alone, the Global South bought nearly half a trillion dollars in weapons from global arms dealers. Global weapons sales by the top 100 weapons manufacturers and military service companies increased by 38 percent between 2002 and 2016.

Global weapons sales by the top 100 weapons manufacturers and military service companies increased by 38 percent between 2002 and 2016.

 
The U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan precipitated the explosion in private military and security contractors around the world deployed to protect the transnational capitalist class. Private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of those wars exceeded the number of U.S. combat troops in both countries, and outnumbered U.S. troops in Afghanistan by a three-to-one margin. Beyond the United States, private military and security firms have proliferated worldwide and their deployment is not limited to the major conflict zones in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. In his study, Corporate Warriors, P.W. Singer documents how privatized military forces (PMFs) have come to play an ever more central role in military conflicts and wars. “A new global industry has emerged,” he noted. “It is outsourcing and privatization of a twenty-first century variety, and it changes many of the old rules of international politics and warfare. It has become global in both its scope and activity.” Beyond the many based in the United States, PMFs come from numerous countries around the world, including Russia, South Africa, Colombia, Mexico, India, the EU countries and Israel, among others.

Beyond wars, PMFs open up access to economic resources and corporate investment opportunities — deployed, for instance, to mining areas and oil fields — leading Singer to term PMFs “investment enablers.” PMF clients include states, corporations, landowners, nongovernmental organizations, even the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. From 2005 to 2010, the Pentagon contracted some 150 firms from around the world for support and security operations in Iraq alone. By 2018, private military companies employed some 15 million people around the world, deploying forces to guard corporate property; provide personal security for corporate executives and their families; collect data; conduct police, paramilitary, counterinsurgency and surveillance operations; carry out mass crowd control and repression of protesters; manage prisons; run private detention and interrogation facilities; and participate in outright warfare.

Meanwhile, the private security (policing) business is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in many countries and has come to overshadow public security around the world. According to Singer, the amount spent on private security in 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, was 73 percent higher than that spent in the public sphere, and three times as many persons were employed in private forces as in official law enforcement agencies. In parts of Asia, the private security industry grew at 20 percent to 30 percent per year. Perhaps the biggest explosion of private security was the near complete breakdown of public agencies in post-Soviet Russia, with over 10,000 new security firms opening since 1989. There were an outstanding 20 million private security workers worldwide in 2017, and the industry was expected to be worth over $240 billion by 2020. In half of the world’s countries, private security agents outnumber police officers.

As all of global society becomes a highly surveilled and controlled and wildly profitable battlespace, we must not forget that the technologies of the global police state are driven as much, or more, by the campaign to open up new outlets for accumulation as they are by strategic or political considerations. The rise of the digital economy and the blurring of the boundaries between military and civilian sectors fuse several fractions of capital — especially finance, military-industrial and tech companies — around a combined process of financial speculation and militarized accumulation. The market for new social control systems made possible by digital technology runs into the hundreds of billions. The global biometrics market, for instance, was expected to jump from its $15 billion value in 2015 to $35 billion by 2020.

Criminalization of the poor, racially oppressed, immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable communities is the most clear-cut method of accumulation by repression.

 
As the tech industry emerged in the 1990s, it was from its inception tied to the military-industrial-security complex and the global police state. Over the years, for instance, Google has supplied mapping technology used by the U.S. Army in Iraq, hosted data for the Central Intelligence Agency, indexed the National Security Agency’s vast intelligence databases, built military robots, co-launched a spy satellite with the Pentagon, and leased its cloud computing platform to help police departments predict crime. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and the other tech giants are thoroughly intertwined with the military-industrial and security complex.

Criminalization and the War on Immigrants and Refugees

Criminalization of the poor, racially oppressed, immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable communities is the most clear-cut method of accumulation by repression. This type of criminalization activates “legitimate” state repression to enforce the accumulation of capital, whereby the state turns to private capital to carry out repression against those criminalized.

There has been a rapid increase in imprisonment in countries around the world, led by the United States, which has been exporting its own system of mass incarceration. In 2019, it was involved in the prison systems of at least 33 different countries, while the global prison population grew by 24 percent from 2000 to 2018. This carceral state opens up enormous opportunities at multiple levels for militarized accumulation. Worldwide, there were in the early 21st century some 200 privately operated prisons on all continents and many more “public-private partnerships” that involved privatized prison services and other forms of for-profit custodial services such as privatized electronic monitoring programs. The countries that were developing private prisons ranged from most member states of the European Union, to Israel, Russia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, Ecuador, Australia, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Canada.

Those criminalized include millions of migrants and refugees around the world. Repressive state controls over the migrant and refugee population and criminalization of non-citizen workers makes this sector of the global working class vulnerable to super-exploitation and hyper-surveillance. In turn, this self-same repression in and of itself becomes an ever more important source of accumulation for transnational capital. Every phase in the war on migrants and refugees has become a wellspring of profit making, from private, for-profit migrant jails and the provision of services inside them such as health care, food, phone systems, to other ancillary activities of the deportation regime, such as government contracting of private charter flights to ferry deportees back home, and the equipping of armies of border agents.

Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. prison population and are detained in private migrant jails and deported by private companies contracted out by the U.S. state. As of 2010, there were 270 immigration jails in the U.S. that caged on any given day over 30,000 immigrants and annually locked up some 400,000 individuals, compared to just a few dozen people in immigrant detention each day prior to the 1980s. From 2010 to 2018, federal spending on these detentions jumped from $1.8 billion to $3.1 billion. Given that such for-profit prison companies as CoreCivic and GEO Group are traded on the Wall Street stock exchange, investors from anywhere around the world may buy and sell their stock, and in this way, develop a stake in immigrant repression quite removed from, if not entirely independent, of the more pointed political and ideological objectives of this repression.

Every phase in the war on migrants and refugees has become a wellspring of profit making.

 
In the United States, the border security industry was set to double in value from $305 billion in 2011 to some $740 billion in 2023. Mexican researcher Juan Manuel Sandoval traces how the U.S.-Mexico border region has been reconfigured into a “global space for the expansion of transnational capital.” This “global space” is centered on the U.S. side around high-tech military and aerospace related industries, military bases, and the deploying of other civilian and military forces for combating “immigration, drug trafficking, and terrorism through a strategy of low-intensity warfare.” On the Mexican side, it involves the expansion of maquiladoras (sweatshops), mining and industry in the framework of capitalist globalization and North American integration.

The tech sector in the United States has become heavily involved in the war on immigrants as Silicon Valley plays an increasingly central role in the expansion and acceleration of arrests, detentions and deportations. As their profits rise from participation in this war, leading tech companies have in turn pushed for an expansion of incarceration and deportation of immigrants, and lobbied the state to use their innovative social control and surveillance technologies in anti-immigrant campaigns.

In Europe, the refugee crisis and EU’s program to “secure borders” has provided a bonanza to military and security companies providing equipment to border military forces, surveillance systems and information technology infrastructure. The budget for the EU public-private border security agency, Frontex, increased a whopping 3,688 percent between 2005 and 2016, while the European border security market was expected to nearly double, from some $18 billion in 2015 to approximately $34 billion in 2022.

The Coronavirus Is Not to Blame

When the pandemic comes to an end, we will be left with a global economy even more dependent on militarized accumulation than before the virus hit.
As stock markets around the world began to plummet starting in late February, mainstream commentators blamed the coronavirus for the mounting crisis. But the virus was only the spark that ignited the financial implosion. The plunge in stock markets suggests that for some time to come, financial speculation will be less able to serve as an outlet for over-accumulated capital. When the pandemic comes to an end, we will be left with a global economy even more dependent on militarized accumulation than before the virus hit.

We must remember that accumulation by war, social control and repression is driven by a dual logic of providing outlets for over-accumulated capital in the face of stagnation, and of social control and repression as capitalist hegemony breaks down. The more the global economy comes to depend on militarization and conflict, the greater the drive to war and the higher the stakes for humanity. There is a built-in war drive to the current course of capitalist globalization. Historically, wars have pulled the capitalist system out of crisis while they have also served to deflect attention from political tensions and problems of legitimacy. Whether or not a global police state driven by the twin imperatives of social control and militarized accumulation becomes entrenched is contingent on the outcome of the struggles raging around the world among social and class forces and their competing political projects.

William I. Robinson is professor of sociology, global studies and Latin American studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His most recent book is Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity. This article draws on the author’s forthcoming book, The Global Police State, which will be released by Pluto Press in July 2020.

Reply to Troy Vettese’s “Against Steady-State Economics” 1

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/03/2020 - 3:00am in

By Herman Daly

Steady staters are used to being attacked by right-wing neoliberals. Attacks from left-wing neo-Marxists are new and require a reply. To put the matter simply, Marxists hate capitalism, and they mistakenly assume that steady-state economics is inherently capitalist. Vettese is a Marxist; ergo, Vettese hates steady-state economics.

To spell this out, let’s begin by giving Marx due credit for emphasizing the reality of class exploitation under all heretofore existing economic systems, including especially capitalism, although excluding future idealized communism. Communism arrives after the Revolution in which the dictatorship of the proletariat seizes control of the enormous powers of capitalist production. With overwhelming abundance, bourgeois man is freed from scarcity-induced greed and acquisitiveness, giving birth to the “new socialist man” and the Marxist eschatology of heaven on earth.

Karl Marx

Marx noted injustices of capitalism and predicted political crises, yet failed to foresee limits to growth. (Image Source, Credit: John Jabez Edwin Mayal)

History has not been kind to this Marxist fairy tale, except for the part about inequality under capitalist growthism (the part which doesn’t take a Marxist to recognize). Socialist growthism also had serious problems but let’s leave that aside. There is, however, a new problem with growthist economies that Marxists did not foresee in their eagerness to appropriate the abundance that capitalism historically created. Growth in a finite and entropic world now produces “illth” (depletion and pollution) faster than wealth, thus becoming uneconomic growth and threatening the overwhelming abundance required for the advent of the new socialist man.

This unexpected emergence of uneconomic growth, plus the economic failures and enormous political repressions of 20th-century communist states (not to mention the intellectual discrediting of dialectical materialism and historical determinism) has left the poor orphaned Marxists without an ideological home. As their red house collapsed, the green house down the street began to look attractive. After all, the greens do recognize major problems with capitalism, the big enemy, even if they are problems that Marxists have failed to recognize. So, these Marxists paint themselves green and hyphenate their name, calling themselves not eco-Marxists but, less specifically, “eco-socialists,” hoping to appeal to reasonable leftists in addition to fellow neo-Marxists. They aim to revive moribund Marxism by usurping the place of ecological economics.

Many greens, eager for allies, welcome the eco-Marxists and accept the red cuckoo eggs deposited in the green nest in the hope that the hatchlings will be more green than red. Steady-state economists certainly need friends and allies, but reading Vettese has reminded me of an aphorism my mother taught me: “Better alone than in bad company.”

Specifically, Vettese has deposited three Marxist cuckoo eggs in the steady-state nest: (1) Markets are bad; (2) Central planning is good;2 and (3) “Malthusianism” is wrong as demonstrated by Julian Simon. This is an odd collection of eggs that demonstrate the confusion of Vettese. If one accepts Simon’s view that there is no need to stop the drive for endless economic growth, then whence the necessity to abolish markets and establish central planning? The confusion hardly stops there. Let’s consider each egg in turn.

(1) Markets are All Bad

The Market with a capital “M” is indeed a poor master and should be demoted to “markets” with a small “m” which can be good servants. Marxists tried to completely abolish all markets, along with money, in the early days following the Russian Revolution, and they attempted instead the direct physical requisitioning of resources and goods by central planners. This was the period of War Communism. It was a failure and was soon replaced by Lenin’s New Economic Policy, which restored significant reliance on markets, although not The Market. Today all countries, including the remaining communist ones, rely on markets to a significant degree, usually constrained by elements of collective action. Indeed, socialist-economic theorists, such as Oskar Lange in his On the Economic Theory of Socialism, have long shown how markets can serve collective goals as well as individualistic ones.

So much for the 20th-century economic history ignored by Vettese. What about 21st-century economic policy? Ecological economists recognize that we live in a capitalist market economy, like it or not. It is our historically given starting point. Trying to wipe the slate clean with the bloody shirt of Revolution is a very bad idea. Instead, it’s better to restrict the individualistic-capitalist market by two collective limits. First, given that the market does not count the cost of economic growth displacing the very ecosphere on which the economy (and life itself) depends, we must impose macro constraints on the size of the economy. Second, because a capitalist market economy generates extreme inequality in the distribution of income and wealth, a direct solution is to constrain the inequalities between minimum and maximum incomes, supplemented by wealth and inheritance taxes. Do eco-Marxists advocate limiting the range of income inequality by a maximum as well as a minimum income?

Graph of distribution of wealth within the market

How do we change these statistics? Through a bloody revolution? Or with policies conducive to a steady state economy? (Image: CC BY-SA 3.0, Credit: Guest2625)

A specific policy for achieving both limits (before they are self-limited, that is) is the cap-auction-trade approach to conserving and allocating basic resources. Vettese totally opposes cap-and-trade auctions because they make use of markets. He can almost be heard complaining, “How unfair of the auctioneer to sell to the highest bidder instead of my more deserving nephew! Putting a price on the free gifts of nature is crude and immoral too!”

While Vettese appears to be advocating for a more ethical use of basic resources, he fails to recognize that free gifts can also be scarce and require rationing. These preciously purist sensitivities lead Vettese to oppose any use of markets. No markets mean no exchange, no prices, no need for money, no specialization, and no division of labor. Well, who is going to abolish markets and centrally plan the production, allocation, and distribution of everything? Not Troy Vettese and his fellow pretenders who don’t have a clue, but “the new socialist man” who is still being materialized in the Marxist dialectical womb of history!

Markets are necessary for allocating goods but not sufficient. In addition to offering macro policies to correct the market’s scale and distribution failures, steady-state economics also emphasizes that many goods can be physically non-rival and legally non-excludable. Yet market allocation works only for rival and excludable goods. In other words, non-rival and non-excludable goods cannot be efficiently or fairly allocated by markets and require planning and collective action at a more micro than macro level.

(2) Central Planning is Good

Macro limits on scale and distribution require considerable planning. Micro intervention in the allocation of non-market goods takes even more planning. Given all the economic planning needs, why bother to defend any role at all for markets? Why not centrally plan production and distribution of everything “for the good of society” as advocated by Vettese? First, remember the failed Soviet experiment with War Communism and collectivization of agriculture. Second, consider the following thought experiment.

Imagine the consequences of rival market goods (food, clothing, and shelter, plus a whole lot more) being freely distributed, according to the will of the citizens, as eco-Marxists envision. The democratic will of the citizens is to be expressed by voting. One decision concerns the amount of steel to produce. Citizens place their votes, but their collective decision leads to another question: How much of that steel will go to the production of, say, wood screws as opposed to a million other uses? The citizens vote again, and more subsequent questions arise: Of the wood screws, how many will be round-head, flat-head, slot-head, or Phillips-head? How many cadmium-plated; how many chrome-plated? Also, some screws are made of brass or aluminum, not steel. And for each type of screw, how many of each length and diameter? And who shall receive how many of each type? The citizens robustly and democratically vote again and again as conditions change, although most are unaware of the myriad special uses of different types of screws and may not even know which end of a screwdriver to hold.

Meanwhile those people who actually use screws and know their uses are unable to “vote” with their money in markets, and are thereby prohibited from conveying reliable information to producers about the mix of the infinitely many types of screw that would be most needed and most profitable to produce. Instead we have citizens spending absurd amounts of time “democratically” voting, mostly about things they don’t understand, while those with the most information about actual use-values of screws are “disenfranchised” by the absence of markets.

Ironically, eco-Marxists claim that in a planned economy, use-value, not exchange value, would be the only criterion for the production of goods and services. Use-value as judged mostly by non-users—what could possibly go wrong?

With so much effort wasted on attempting to plan the allocation of market goods, there will be little capacity left to plan the use of true public goods or to avoid the tragedy of the commons resulting from open-access exploitation of rival but non-excludable goods (such as oceanic fisheries). The larcenous market enclosure of non-rival goods, such as knowledge and information, will be difficult to avoid as well. Eco-Marxists expect that as the transition moves forward, more goods and services critical for meeting fundamental human needs would be freely distributed according to the democratic will of the citizens effected by the central planners.

Carbon emissions

Vettese may oppose cap-and-trade auctions, but what is his solution for addressing resource scarcity? (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, Credit: Bernard Bradley)

Without markets (that is to say without supply and demand, prices, and yes, profit), there could be no self-employment. No one could identify a needed good or service and make a living by taking the initiative to provide it. Everyone would be a salaried employee of the state, giving the state monopsony power in the labor market and stifling initiative.

Most objections to market allocation would disappear if the underlying inequality of wealth and income distribution were limited by cap-and-trade auctions or ecological tax reform. Opposition would also dwindle if the throughput of energy and materials was restricted to an ecologically sustainable level. Instead of correcting excessive throughput and distributional inequality—which of course get reflected in distorted market prices and allocation—eco-Marxists attack market allocation itself, as if underlying sustainability and equality problems could be solved by breaking the mirror that reflects them.

What are the eco-Marxist policies for directly limiting throughput and distributional inequality? If they don’t like cap-and-trade auctions, distribution limits, or ecological tax reform, then let them suggest something better. However, preferably not the Revolution, the Singularity, the Rapture, or the advent of the New Socialist Man.

(3) Malthusianism is an Evil Fiction

Thomas Robert Malthus and markets

Thomas Robert Malthus: His thesis was “false” according to Vettese. (Image Source, Credit: Popular Science Monthly Volume 74)

Marx’s hatred for Malthus is well known and prevalent among Marx’s disciples as well. For all his faults, it is hard to find a historically more influential figure than Thomas Robert Malthus. In addition to his enormous impact on Marx, Malthus was a key influence on Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin as they independently developed their theories of natural selection. Malthus’ theory of under-consumption also greatly influenced John Maynard Keynes’ theory of unemployment. Not to mention the whole neo-Malthusian birth control and planned parenthood movement. For Vettese, however, Malthusianism is merely the “false” idea that resource scarcity and overpopulation are real. For Marx poverty was caused only by class exploitation, and he rejected any cause stemming from nature as undermining the call for Revolution. Marx’s anti-Malthusian denial of natural resource limits and demographic pressure continue in Vettese and the faithful band of eco-neo-Marxists.

Curiously Vettese’s modern anti-Malthusian champion is the late Julian Simon, a staunch neoclassical economist of the most cornucopian variety, who vigorously opposed environmentalism. This third cuckoo egg (which is contradictory to the first two, as noted earlier) seems to have hatched prematurely and will likely get kicked out of the green nest, exposing Vettese as more red than green. Vettese accuses steady-state economists, specifically me, of having ignored Julian Simon’s critique: “Moreover, the neo-liberal Julian Simon developed a powerful critique of environmentalism in the 1980s, which Daly has not responded to” (p. 35). Actually, I published critical reviews of two of Simon’s books, and I do not have space here to repeat my response, so refer Vettese back to what he overlooked.3

An Issue of Representation

I’ll conclude with one last point, quite distinctive from the preceding. Vettese has taken me as representative of the entire field of steady-state economics. That is not fair to the many scholars whose steady-state findings have been quite independent of mine. Indeed, some of these scholars may sometimes call themselves “eco-socialists.”

Furthermore, given the central role of the steady state economy in ecological economics, Vettese’s attack on steady-state economics (were it successful) would also stain the broader field of ecological economics.

However, I am afraid that I have also treated Vettese as representative of eco-Marxists in general. That is not really fair to other Marxists or eco-socialists of various stripes, some of whom (John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett, for example) I have benefitted from reading, regardless of differences.

1 Vettese, T. 2020. Against steady-state economics. The Ecological Citizen 3:35–46.

2 On these two points Vettese is clear and emphatic: “…the only way to stop the drive for endless economic growth is to undo the necessity to participate in markets. That is, the conscious political control over production and distribution through central planning is the only way to stop and reverse capitalism’s ceaseless incorporation of the natural world” (pp. 37-8).

3 Daly, H. 1982. Review of The Ultimate Resource. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 38(1):39-42.
Daly, H. 1984. The resourceful earth. Environment 26:25, 27-28.

Herman DalyHerman Daly is an author, professor emeritus, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He currently serves as the chief economic advisor for CASSE publications and projects and is on the CASSE Board of Directors.

The post Reply to Troy Vettese’s “Against Steady-State Economics” <sup>1</sup> appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.


Capitalism Closed For Business

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/03/2020 - 5:00pm in

Our version of capitalism is something that the narcissistic writer, Ayn Rand, would adore. But in a headlong rush to hyper individualism, have we chosen freedom of the individual over survival of our species?

The post Capitalism Closed For Business appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Capitalism Closed For Business

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/03/2020 - 5:00pm in

Our version of capitalism is something that the narcissistic writer, Ayn Rand, would adore. But in a headlong rush to hyper individualism, have we chosen freedom of the individual over survival of our species?

The post Capitalism Closed For Business appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Telegraph Journo Embarrassed by Sargon and Robinson’s Free Speech Organisation

As we know, embarrassing the Tories is good and righteous work. So Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, the man who broke UKIP, deserves especial congratulations for making the Tories uncomfortable over the whole question of free speech. He didn’t do it intentionally. It’s just that they found the similarities between Toby Young’s Free Speech Union and a rival right-wing organisation founded by Sargon and the islamophobic thug Tommy Robinson far too close for comfort.

Last month the Spectator’s vile Toby Young announced that he was founding the Free Speech Union along with a load of other rightists. This was going to defend those expressing controversial opinions from being silenced and kicked out of their jobs. The Heil on Sunday quoted Tobes as saying

“People who become the target of ‘Twitter storms’ after making controversial remarks will be defended by a new body called the Free Speech Union. The organisation will ‘stand up for the rights of its members to tell the truth in all circumstances’. The union has been set up by the journalist Toby Young in response to police investigations into a string of ‘non-crime hate incidents’ triggered by outspoken comments”.

“If someone at work writes to your boss to complain about something you’ve said, we’ll write to them, too, and explain the importance of intellectual tolerance and viewpoint diversity. If self-righteous social-media bullies pick on you, we’ll return the fire. If someone launches an online petition calling for you to be sacked, we’ll launch a counter-petition. The enemies of free speech hunt in packs; its defenders must band together too.”

The organisation has a Latin motto, which runs something like ‘Audi altri partem’, which I think means ‘Hear the other side.’

However, it’s not a union, but an incorporated, whose five directors are all spokesmen for the right. They include Young himself, Prof Nigel Biggar, who defends colonialism, Douglas Murray, who has islamophobic opinions, and Radomir Tylecote, who was suspended from the Treasury for writing a book against the EU. And their record of defending their opponents’ right to express their opinions is actually very poor. Zelo Street in their article about the wretched union quoted Paul Bernal, who tweeted

“As Toby Young should know, your commitment to free speech isn’t shown by how well you defend those whose speech you agree with, but how you defend those whose speech you don’t. When his ‘free speech union’ talks about the excesses of the Prevent programme, then see”.

The Street himself commented that it was just free speech for the right, and a way for Tobes and co. to complain about how unfair the world is.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/02/toby-youngs-free-speech-sham.html

Unfortunately for Tobes’ outfit, Sargon and Tommy Robinson, the founder and former leader of the EDL, have launched their own right-wing free speech organisation, the Hearts of Oak Alliance. And the similarities between the two concerned Tory feminist academic Zoe Strimpel to write a piece for the Torygraph on the first of this month, March 2020, complaining about this fact. Strimpel’s a Cambridge graduate with an M. Phil in gender studies. She’s the author of a series of book on men’s psychology, feminism, dating and romance. She began her article with the statement that her circle of friends has taken on a left-wing hue. It includes many Labour supporters, against whom she has to defend capitalism and Zionism. Well, at least she said ‘Zionism’, rather than accuse them once again of anti-Semitism. She’s upset by them chuckling off her fears about the erosion of free speech and thought, which, she claims, is under attack by a visible machinery of censorship in offices, the cops, universities, arts and online. She cites approvingly a report by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, which advised universities to guard against being the voice of critics of those, who despise the supporter of the traditional values of patriotism, family, faith and local traditions. They have to be willing to represent and not sneer at those, who feel justifiable pride in British history, culture and traditions.

However, she was worried whether it was possible to defend free speech, without sullying the cause with too many real thugs, who wanted to get as close as possible to inciting actual violence under the guise of expressing their democratic rights. Was it possible to challenge the climate of intimidation, snide snitching, and mendacious and manipulative accusations of hate-mongering, racism and making people feel ‘unsafe’, without being a magnet for the alt-right? She agreed to become a member of the advisory board, but has her reservations. She’s uncomfortable about Sargon’s and Robinson’s organisations, because of Sargon’s own anti-feminist, misogynistic views. Sargon was, she declared, far right, a thug, who called feminism ‘a first world female supremacy movement’, and ‘all kinds of blokeish’. He’s also the man responsible for sending that Tweet to Labour MP Jess Philips, telling her that he ‘wouldn’t even rape her’.

She concluded her article by stating that the aims of Tobes’ outfit were perfectly legitimate and free speech is under threat. But it was ‘just a shame that in defending those who ought to speak freely, one has to defend those, who – in an ideal world – wouldn’t have anything to say.’

Sargon was naturally upset at this assault on his character. He therefore posted a piece up on his YouTube channel, Akkad Daily, on the 2nd of March defending himself from her attack. He didn’t deny he was anti-feminist, and defended his own comments on this. But he roundly denied being a thug and far right. He was, he repeated, a Lockean classical liberal, and believed in precisely the same values as those Policy Exchange’s report claimed were under attack.

Sargon is indeed far right. He’s a libertarian, who would like everything privatised and the end of the welfare state. He’s against the European Union and immigration, and is bitterly critical of feminism and affirmative action for women and ethnic minorities. And yes, he is an islamophobe like Robinson. But in very many ways he and Robinson are absolutely no different from Young and his crew. Young is also far right. He’s a right-wing Tory, who attended eugenics conferences whose members and speakers were real Nazis and anti-Semites. And Young also is all kinds of blokeish as well. He’s posted a number of tweets expressing his obsession with women’s breasts. Way back in the ’90s, he also wrote a piece for the men’s magazine, GQ, about how he once dressed up in drag in order to pose as a woman, because he wanted to snog lesbians in gay clubs.

And it’s not just the people in the Free Speech Union, who have no real interest in free speech. Neither does Conservatism or Zionism. Thatcher tried to pass legislation making it illegal for universities to employ Marxists. A week or so ago, Turning Point UK announced that it was launching a British version of its parent organisation’s Professor Watch, a blacklist of university lecturers, who dared to express or teach left-wing views. And anti-Zionist and Israel-critical bloggers, like Tony Greenstein and Martin Odoni have described how Israel’s super-patriotic supporters, like Jonathan Hoffman, don’t want to permit free debate about Israel and its barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. Rather, they turn up at pro-Palestinian meetings with the intention of heckling, shouting down and otherwise disrupting the proceedings. They also seek to use the law to suppress criticism and factual reporting of Israeli atrocities as anti-Semitism.

Now there are opponents of free speech on the left. But Stimpel, as a good Tory, doesn’t want to recognise that it exists on the right. She’s embarrassed that supporting right-wing speech also means supporting extreme right-wing figures like Sargon and Robinson. But she doesn’t recognise, because she can’t afford to, that Sargon and Robinson aren’t actually much different from Toby Young, Douglas Murray, Radomir Tylecote, Nigel Biggar and the rest. In fact, there’s little difference between the two groups in fundamental attitudes.

It’s just that Sargon’s a little more extreme and doesn’t have a column in a major right-wing newspaper or magazine.

Score! Anti-Racism Charity Gives Riley the Red Card over Competition Judges

Despite Melanie Phillips and Ephraim Mirvis trying to keep the anti-Semitism smears going, there has been some good news. The anti-racism charity, Show Racism the Red Card, politely told smear merchant Rachel Riley where she could stick her complaints about the judges they had selected for a youth competition. The organisation had launched a competition for school children, and chose as judges the left-wing film director, Ken Loach, and Children’s Poet Laureate Michael Rosen. Both are eminently suitable. One of Loach’s most recent film, Dirty Pretty Things, is about the immigrants, who do the dirty, menial work we don’t want to, like cleaning. Michael Rosen is Jewish and an educator on the Holocaust. He has presented evidence about the latter to parliament. But Riley and her matey Tracey-Ann Oberman, and a journalist, Ebner, objected to the decision to appoint the two because they had a ‘problematic’ relationship with British Jews. This was, in my opinion, the insinuation that they were anti-Semitic. Loach has been accused of it before, because he directed a film or a play years ago about the gross maltreatment and dispossession of the Palestinians by the Israelis. Of course, like so many others so smeared, he is nothing of the sort. He was given a very warm welcome a few years ago when he was invited to attend a meeting of Jewish Voice for Labour. They’re a group formed to campaign against the anti-Semitism smears against the party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Unlike the Jewish Labour Movement, they really were all Jewish, although gentiles could become associate members, and they were members of the party. Neither of these stipulations apply to the JLM, whose members don’t have to be Jews or party members, but who somehow claim the right to represent Labour’s Jews. Loach and Rosen were smeared by Riley and her buddies because they had the audacity to support Jeremy Corbyn.

Now Show Racism the Red Card has issued a statement confirming that they are very pleased to have Loach and Rosen as judges. They lament the way the competition has been overshadowed by these accusations. However, they were contacted by prominent figures in education, the arts, sport, law, media, science and politics, who endorsed their decision and refuted the allegations against Loach and Rosen. They also thank the public for the kind messages of support they received from them. Loach has been a member of the charity’s Hall of Fame because of his work with them. The charity says of Loach and Rosen that

As award-winning icons in their respective fields, it is very exciting for us that Ken and Michael have agreed to be judges. But equally important is the compassion we have seen them show to people – of all races and religions – who our charity is here to help.

Mike rightly describes Riley and her fellows as bigots. They are, in the sense that they are utterly intolerant of the opinions of others. They have consistently tried to silence and deplatform supporters of Jeremy Corbyn by smearing them as anti-Semites, even self-respecting Jews like Michael Rosen. However, Riley isn’t concerned about real anti-Semitism from outside the Labour party. She is silent when people send her examples of such to her Twitter feed. Mike gives two such cases. One is a Tweet from the Prole Star asking her what she has to say about a video contained in the Tweet. This shows the islamophobe Tommy Robinson greeting his followers with ‘Shalom’ – the traditional Jewish greeting – and asking them to send money so he can continue his work of destroying the White race. Robinson is a gentile, and this is a reference to the notorious anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jews. Robinson’s probably joking, but this isn’t funny, just grossly offensive.

Derek Lucas sent Riley and the noxious editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, a Tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial. The Museum was appealing to Amazon to take down from the book store real anti-Semitic books. These included one by Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Czechoslovakia and one of the chief organisers of the Holocaust, and three by the Nazi ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg. One of these was an explicitly anti-Semitic piece with the title, The Jew and His Trace through History. And another was The Sins of High Finance, which you can guess is about the Jewish control  of capitalism. There’s no question that these books should not be for sale. But Riley has said that she’s not interested in anti-Semitism outside the Labour Party. And so she’s silent about these real works of anti-Jewish hatred, by men who were active in the Jews’ mass murder.

Mike is currently fighting a libel action against him brought by Riley, who wishes to silence him and a number of others for the horrendous crime of blogging about her alleged bullying and smearing of a vulnerable schoolgirl as an anti-Semite. Because, surprise! Surprise! – the girl also dared to support Corbyn on line. Mike states that it is important that he win, so he can very publicly defeat her and her wretched bigotry. He therefore ends his article by appealing for donations and giving details how people may give them, if they choose to do so.

It’s excellent that Show Racism the Red Card has stood up to the real bullies in this, and backed Loach and Rosen. I have no doubt that they’ll be excellent judges.

And Riley’s silence on real Nazism and anti-Semitism would seem to indicate that she’s the real bigot in all this.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/03/06/anti-racism-charity-defies-bigots-like-riley-retains-loach-and-rosen-as-competition-judges/

Pages