Violence

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

They Are Not Going to Take Me

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 4:46pm in

According to media reports, a hodgepodge of federal agencies are contributing to an identified goon squad roaming the streets of cities like Portland and Seattle. They are kidnapping, not arresting, protesters. Unidentified men are not policemen. No one has to go with them. No one should go with them.

Defunding the Police Leaves Communities Vulnerable to Real Vicious Criminals

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 7:58pm in

Mike put up a video yesterday of Keir Starmer speaking. This illustrated the present Labour leader’s dismissive attitude to the Black Lives Matter movement. He said that it should be regarded as a moment, and rather than causing people to ask questions about the police and racism, it should make us reflect on the death of George Floyd. It’s clear Starmer regards it as transient phenomenon which will eventually pass. And he doesn’t want to confront the issues it has raised.

The Labour Party is losing Black and ethnic minority support thanks to Starmer’s indifference to calls to improve conditions and opportunities for them. And Mike put up a series of tweets from people saying they were leaving the party because of his attitude, including Whites, who were fed up of people, who didn’t come from marginalized communities, raving about what a wonderful job he was doing.

But I did find myself agreeing with something he said in the video. It started with Starmer arguing very strongly that we shouldn’t disarm the police. He’s right. Unfortunately many Black communities in Britain and America are plagued by extremely violent, dangerous criminals. And sometimes armed police have to be deployed to protect the residents.

I am not arguing that drugs and violent crime are unique to Black communities. I am very much aware that long before there was mass Black and Asian immigration to this country, we had violent White crims terrorizing their neighbourhoods. And these gangs are still about. But it also affects Black communities, who may be particularly vulnerable because of their greater poverty and unemployment.

Bristol’s St. Paul’s is a case in point. It was one of the areas which rioted against the police in ’81/82, along with Toxteth in Liverpool and Brixton in London. It had a reputation for drugs, prostitution and violent crime. One of my uncles was a cop, and there was a Black gang there out to kill him. Don’t read too much into this – my uncle wasn’t racist. He had Black friends, and I never heard him utter a racial slur. I’ve also heard similar stories of other cops being threatened and seriously wounded whilst they were serving in the area. And on the other side, as it were, I had Black college friends, one of whom was a Sunday school teacher at the time the riots broke out. He was training to be a teacher, and told me how extremely upset he was that the young children in his class told him they were going to the riots. ‘I felt like crying,’ he said. he was adamant that the riots weren’t racially motivated, and there were Whites trying to stir up trouble. I’ve mentioned before that I was at school during the riots. At the end of one day during the rioting, as we were leaving there was a White guy with a long grey beard and a megaphone perched by one of the trees just outside the school steps. He was haranguing us, shouting ‘Do you hate the teachers? Do they make you wear school uniform? Well if you do, come down to the riot in St. Paul’s tomorrow!’ I didn’t know it at the time, but he was probably one a member of one of the Marxist sects, like the Socialist Workers’ Party. They were notorious for joining protest movements and trying to take them over and make the worse. I heard from my Black friend that they were Whites from outside the area also joining the riots, which showed to him that there were people in it just for some kind of malicious kicks.

And in the ’90s and first decade of this century, Stapleton Road was on the front line in a turf war between two drug gangs. There was an incident reported on the local news, in which two young women had been left seriously wounded when the car they were in was shot up. One of them was hit in the skull.

I can remember going up Stapleton Road on the bus c. 2003/4, and looking out the window and seeing armed police in high-viz jackets with submachine guns. This was at the time when there was gang violence in the area, and particularly on that street. One of the organisations that was particularly under threat was a women’s charity, which I think helped mostly immigrants and asylum. One of its staff appeared on the local news and stated that nearly every day they had an incident where a man with a gun walked into their premises and they had to warn their co-workers. One Christmas during these years, seven people were murdered in a fight that broke out in a pub, including a man who tried to stop it and calm the situation down.

As I said, rioting and violent crime aren’t unique to Black areas. Hartcliffe in south Bristol is mostly White, but it too had a problem with crime and unemployment. It was also hit by rioting in the early ’90s, which caused some people to move away from it if they could. Knowle West was also a rough area. It’s now quite racially mixed, and there were some Black people living there when I was at school. But again, it has a problem with unemployment and drugs and in the ’80s at least there was a skinhead gang there causing trouble.

I realize that many Black people distrust the police, and have good reason to do so. Black people are afraid that they are excessively punished for crimes, which are taken more leniently in the case of Whites. But not everyone in these communities is an innocent victim of police racism. I am very much aware that the police have shot and killed people unnecessarily and it looks less like law enforcement and more like a murder or execution. But I’m also very much aware that the cops are also trained to deescalate dangerous situations before the violence breaks out. I was talking to a chap a little while ago, whose wife was a senior cop in one of the forces around the country. She’d been called out to deal with several situations where people were threatening to kill someone with a weapon. She’d been successful, and managed to calm the situation down and disarm and nab the offender before he attacked and killed anybody. I heard that her attitude was that an important part of her job was to make sure nobody died. If what I heard was true, then obviously she was a brilliant cop and we need more like her.

At the moment our cops are under threat. BoJob has cut their numbers to disastrous levels. There’s been a drop in certain types of crime due to the lockdown, but I believe this will start rising again as it’s lifted. I don’t know what you can do about police racism, except increase anti-racism and racial sensitivity training as well as initiatives to strengthen community relations with the cops. All of which are being done already. It obviously would help to recruit more Black and Asian rozzers and give them the same career prospects as their White colleagues.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t defund the police. If that happens, it will leave the way clear for the real violent gangs to terrorize poor communities regardless of their colour. And that also means Blacks.

Brutal Force

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 2:40am in

American police violence is widespread and out of control.

Yay! Farage Sacked from LBC for Racism Comments

It isn’t just statues to Europe’s and America’s racist and imperialist past that are being toppled by the BLM movement. Nigel Farage, former Fuhrer of UKIP and now Fuhrer and owner of the Brexit Party Ltd, has also been removed from a public platform. A few days ago LBC radio announced that they were not renewing his contract.

The station’s announcement of his departure was anodyne, and gave no hint of the supposed reasons for it. LBC simply tweeted “Nigel Farage’s contract with LBC is up very shortly and, following discussions with him, Nigel is stepping down from LBC with immediate effect. We thank Nigel for the enormous contribution he has made to LBC and wish him well”. As the mighty Zelo Street, it means he’s been sacked.

Part of the reason for it was that many people, including Black and Asian employees within LBC itself, were unhappy that the station was employing him because of the inflammatory comments the Fuhrage had made about the BLM movement itself. These were in clear conflict with the station, which had endorsed the movements and its battle against racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Farage had released a series of tweets condemning the attack on Churchill’s statue – which is fair enough – but had denounced the protests as a form of anarchy. He declared he was going to tell some home truths about BLM on his LBC show, before going way over the top and comparing the movement to the Taliban. “A new form of the Taliban was born in the UK today. Unless we get moral leadership quickly our cities won’t be worth living in … If Boris Johnson won’t lead and stand up for the country, as its symbols are trashed, then people will start taking it into their own hands. Full on race riots are now possible. Show leadership and fast”.

At one level, it’s a fair comment. Others, like the anti-trans feminist activist Posie Parker, have made the same prediction. She too condemned the undemocratic way the statues were removed, and feared that the same disenfranchised Whites that voted for Brexit would rise up in their turn in a tide of Fascism. And yesterday the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance did stage a violent protest against BLM and attacked the police. But coming from Farage, the prediction also looks very much like dog whistle racism. Many people thought Farage was actually calling for such White racist violence while appearing to fear and condemn it.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/lawless-reckless-nige-is-your-man.html

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/nigel-farage-sacked-by-lbc.html

Friday’s edition of the I, for 12th June 2020, also carried an article about the affair. Titled ‘Farage ‘dropped’ from radio show after BLM row’, the article by Benjamin Butterworth, ran

Nigel Farage has been dropped from his nightly radio show at LBC amid anger among some staff over his opposition to Black Lives Matter.

Sections of production and presenting staff were “furious” that the station was publicly claiming to honour the questions raised by the movement while still employing Mr Farage as a host.

One insider said disquiet intensified after Mr Farage compared the anti-racism campaign to the Taliban during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday.

LBC has denied any complaints among staff and says the decision not renew his contract had long been in discussion.

Yesterday black members of the staff at Global Media, which owns LBC, spoke to the website Huffpost to air concerns about Mr Farage’s ongoing employment. Shortly after the concerns were put to Global, the company announced that Mr Farage had been axed “with immediate effect”.

LBC said this claim is “wholly untrue” and told I: “Mr Farage had been in discussion with LBC about the natural end to his contract.” Last week, two of the company’s high-profile presenters, Capital Xtra breakfast hosts Yinka Bokkini and Shayna Maria Birch-Campbell, accused Global Media of failing when it comes to responding to the anti-racism movement.

Editors spoke with staff during recent days about the complaints about Mr Farage. One employee said management was told “they either stand with him [Farage] or against him.”

A source told I: “everyone across the board was furious. The mood was not great. Both production and presenters made our feelings know to the bosses.

“Lot of chats have been going on this week. It’s not like we haven’t said this before but this time it was finally taken seriously as people were not happy the minute silence was being honoured while he was on air spouting hate.”

The Brexit Party leader has hosted a phone-in programme five days a week since 2017, with his show being heavily promoted on billboards and adverts. In an official statement the station said: “Following discussions with him, Nigel is stepping down from LBC.”

All things considered, it looks very much like staff dissatisfaction with Farage and his racism was responsible for him getting the heave-ho. Good! It’s about time. Farage isn’t a friend of this country’s working people, whether they’re Black, White, Brown or whatever. He’s a far-right Conservative who wants more privatisation, more welfare cuts and the NHS to be sold off. He’s extremely pro-American, which means that any deal with America he supports will be to their advantage, not ours. He won’t be missed.

It’s just too bad that other extreme right-wing hacks and Tory shills like Nick Ferrari and Julia Harley-Brewer still have jobs. 

 

 

 

 

History Unheeded

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 3:27am in

Thanks to U.S. intransigence, a Salvadoran crisis repeats itself.

Do the Media and Politicians Really Hate Violent Protests?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/06/2020 - 4:43pm in

When protests are non-violent, the media doesn’t cover them. When protests are non-violent, politicians ignore them.

An Antidote to Violence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 11:55pm in

Three great stories we found on the internet this week.

The other epidemic

“Violence functions like the flu,” trauma psychologist Terri deRoon-Cassini told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last September. Her choice of words now seems prescient. The story is about 414LIFE, a group headquartered in the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention that applies public health principles to violence reduction.

It’s the kind of effort that’s earned attention over the past several days. As protests over the death of George Floyd have spread across the U.S., a growing chorus of voices is calling for law enforcement funding to be redirected into initiatives that uplift communities hit hard by the cycle of crime, police violence and mass incarceration. 

milwaukeeProtesters in Milwaukee on May 30, 2020. Credit: Joe Brusky / Flickr

414LIFE is one of those initiatives. It aims to “cure violence” as soon as it begins to infect a community — advocates compare it to how white blood cells contain a disease before it spreads throughout the body. Its methods rely on interpersonal intervention: Most gun-related violence in Milwaukee begins with a fight between individuals, so it is individuals — friends, neighbors, loved ones — who intervene as soon as an act of violence occurs. 

The group’s methods are a blend of investigative and therapeutic. Interveners ask questions to determine whether the incident was part of an ongoing feud that might flare up again, and provide support to survivors so they don’t get sucked into the dispute themselves. At the time the report was published, 414LIFE had intervened in 65 disputes and worked with 83 shooting victims. Evidence suggests that it’s working. In one high school where 414LIFE has been reducing conflict between students, attendance has risen by 14 percent and graduation rates have been twice as high as projected.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Unarmed response

Another dynamic that’s come under scrutiny since the death of George Floyd is the over-reliance on police to respond to calls that actually require social services. This has led to numerous tragedies — one study found that 25 to 50 percent of fatal officer-involved shootings happened during an encounter with someone with a mental illness.

Don’t Despair!

Solutions are everywhere.
Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

[contact-form-7]

To minimize these incidents, a mobile mental health crisis team in Eugene, Oregon, is deployed to 911 calls that, in other cities, might result in a police encounter. Called CAHOOTS — Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets — the mobile teams respond, unarmed, to suicide attempts, overdoses and other non-criminal activities. Encounters with agitated or delusional patients are more easily de-escalated by the mental health professionals than they might be by an officer trained to enforce the law. The program has been successful, with CAHOOTS teams now deployed to over 20 percent of public safety calls — a total of 23,000 deployments since the program launched in 1989.

Read more at CBS News

Substantive changes

The Appalachia region of America has the country’s highest concentration of people dependent on opioids. For those in recovery, the coronavirus lockdown can make things complicated. 100 Days in Appalachia — a great local news source — delves into the changes helping those individuals keep their recoveries on track. These include relaxed restrictions on how many methadone doses clinics can dispense to patients at one time, and what treatments can be offered via telehealth — for instance, providers can now initiate medication-assisted treatment via video chat.

appalachia opioidsThe Appalachian region of West Virginia. Credit: Elias Schewel / Flickr

Narcotics Anonymous meetings now taking place on Zoom have likewise opened up new worlds. “I’m going to more meetings now than I did before because it only takes me 30 seconds to join in,” said one attendee. “I’ve been to meetings in Ireland, California, New York, North Carolina, Virginia. It’s cool to feel a sense of unity worldwide, that the recovery community is still there for one another.”

Read more at 100 Days in Appalachia

The post An Antidote to Violence appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Protesting the Murder of George Floyd

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 12:24am in

Protests against the institutionalized racist violence against blacks in the United States, most recently exemplified by the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, took place in cities around the country this weekend.

Here are some photos of the events here in Columbia, South Carolina.


Protestors gather on the State House steps in Columbia, SC. Photo by Lacey Musgrave.

 


Protestor in Columbia, SC. Photo by Crush Rush.

 


Police officer points gun at the neck of an unarmed protestor at close range. Photo by Crush Rush.

 


Police cars on fire. Photo by Crush Rush.

 


Protestors in Columbia, SC. Photo by Catherine Hunsinger.

 


Law enforcement sniper atop building near protests in Columbia, SC. Photo by Crush Rush.

 

(See more photos here.)

There were many reports of police responding to the protests across the country with violence (“Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide“, “Facing Protests Over Use of Force, Police Respond With More Force“). There were also reports of some protestors engaging in property damage and theft. Many cities, including Columbia, imposed curfews and enlisted the help of the National Guard.

Here are some observations:

  1. Protestors showed a great deal of courage this weekend, risking not just the ordinary hazards of confronting law enforcement, but also the additional risks posed by COVID-19.
  2. If the goal of law enforcement during protests is to allow the exercise of freedom of expression while minimizing property damage and violence, many strategies they employ are seemingly irrational. I don’t like that this appears to lead to a type of “they’re either evil or stupid” conclusion, but I think the burden of argument is on them.
  3. I think it would be interesting to compare the efforts and expenses cities take to protect property from damage during protests of institutionalized racist violence to the efforts and expenses cities take to prevent institutionalized racist violence in law enforcement. I suspect the former is much greater than the latter.
  4. When protests are known to likely involve property damage and business closures, city officials end up with strong prudential reasons to take steps to make them unnecessary, by, for example, taking steps to reduce unjustified killings by its police officers—in addition to the moral reasons they have to do this.
  5. There are people who have heard of the murder of George Floyd only because they heard about the protests of his murder, and, to a point, more people hear about the murder the more newsworthy the protests are. One thing that makes protests more newsworthy is “bad behavior” on either side.
  6. Points 4 and 5 make it more difficult to believe, as some critics of the protestors do, that the protests would have been more effective if they had not involved property damage.
  7. While the overall picture regarding institutionalized racist violence in the United States is, in its main respects, morally clear, the morality “on the ground” during protests is, in some ways, more complicated. A business owner supportive of the protests may be rightly aggreived by the damage intentionally inflicted on his store. In Columbia, a restaurant owner was beaten by protestors for calling the police to report cars that had been set on fire; he didn’t deserve that.

There’s a lot more one could say here. I’m sure some readers will object to some things I’ve said or how I’ve put things. Discussion welcome.

COMMENTS POLICY

 

The post Protesting the Murder of George Floyd appeared first on Daily Nous.

New Statism: The Banalisation of Violence and the Construction of Fear

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 6:00am in

The global scenario of democracy looks extremely bleak. All democracies have witnessed a radical turn not just towards right-wing policies but towards authoritarian statism. Donald Trump in the United States, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom are some of the prominent leaders who have extended the power of the state to destroy democracy. A common characteristic of these leaders’ strategies is their objective of instilling fear in the citizenry and converting democracy into a non-participatory form.

This fear campaign consists of constantly re-affirming the state’s monopoly on violence and then using this claim to consecrate the state as an almost holy entity—as sacrosanct, unable to be criticised by any person. In this process of sanctification the sovereignty of the state is extended. Sovereign power has been defined by Prathama Banerjee as ‘the power to both institute law and suspend law by the declaration of exception’. For example, the president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has achieved this double action of the institution and the suspension of law through a discourse of nationalist securitisation and populist mobilisation against perceived enemies identified as ‘drug personalities’. In the present context, state sovereignty all over the world is being used to banalise violence against the critics of government and as an instrument of subjectivation—the fabrication of particular subjectivities.

The twin functions of subjectivation and banalisation of violence undergird the fear campaign being widely employed on the politico-cultural territory of governance. To fully carry out these two operations, the state needs to decisively intervene in society to in effect demolish the assumed barrier between state and society. This annuls the established proposition that sees the state as supra-social, a transcendent entity that is an externalisation of society.

Today the intervention of the state in society is configured uniquely so that it can exercise both individualising and totalising domination. To achieve this dual domination, statal force has to be strongly supplemented with cultural force. Statist force tends towards a totalisation of power by subjecting citizens to legal relations of power (juridification). It chaperones the ‘human herd’ as a complete collectivity by punitively policing any emergence of what Jacques Rancière calls ‘democratic life’, or extra-parliamentary activity, by confining the soul of democracy to within the concrete walls of parliament. The primary function of statist force is to produce technocratic governmentality. Poland’s repression of the judiciary through the creation of new repressive laws is a manifestation of this technocratic governmentality. These laws disallow judges from engaging in political activities or following ECJ (Court of Justice of the European Union) rulings. This implicitly allows the ruling of the tellingly named Law and Justice Party to muzzle the voices of critical judges, who can now be summarily dismissed by the disciplinary bodies of government.

Cultural force carries out its domination on an ‘individual level’ by familiarising the individual with the cultural configuration of the community and by interpellating them as differentially positioned agents. For example, in the United States, white supremacism as a tactic of the state individualistically hegemonises community members by re-articulating their identity in a distinct manner that reduces them to enthusiastic ethno-nationalists who are passively devoted to the policies of the state. Instead of a complete cultural consensus or homogeneity, the product of this reductive re-articulation is an uneven mechanism of cultural concurrence that constrains heterogeneity. 

With the combinatorial power of totalising statism and individualising cultural conformism, ‘cultural statism’ anchors its source of domination in a widespread feeling of fear. Cultural statism does not aim to consensually dominate the individual through a hegemony based upon a balance of consensual and coercive power. Rather, it builds a power solution where coercive power is predominant, effectuated through fear.

This form of ‘domination based upon fear’ indicates an atavistic return to a colonial form of power that Ranajit Guha calls ‘dominance without hegemony’. Cultural statism can be called dominance without hegemony because it coerces people rather than consensually subjugates/rules them, and fails to construct a power structure that uses normalising power. This internal weakness is an inherent part of present-day governmental architecture where right-wing populism is prevalent. Right-wing populism is innately contradictory since it, according to Guha, ‘symbolically wages an anti-elitist struggle but materially supports the market mechanisms’. It is in part due to this fundamental contradiction that it has to deploy violent measures to perpetuate its existence and silence critics.

However, the fear mechanism of cultural statism could be exploited by progressive forces to democratically strengthen the governmental fabric. Power machinery based upon fear rather than hegemony is more fragile because it indicates the absence of any collective will governing the people and betokens that they have still not been ideologically intertwined with the ruling dispensation. By breaking the stronghold of fear, a legitimacy crisis may be accelerated wherein the state’s tyrannical if tenuous hold may be fractured. Since present-day states are similar to colonial states that practised coercion, the experiences of anti-colonial struggle might be used to inspire struggle against today’s emerging state form. Among the various ideas of anti-colonialism, the active role of intellectuals and the courage of the people are the democratic features needed in today’s world.

Shaw’s Classic Defence of Socialism for Women Part Two

George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism, foreword by Polly Toynbee (London: Alma Classics 2012).

Trade Unions

He discusses the unions, which he describes as ‘proletarian capitalists’. They are there to protect the workers, who have to sell their labour just as the businessman has to sell the product they create. Unions are there to ensure the workers are able to charge the highest price they can for their labour. He also discusses strikes and lockouts, including the violence of some industrial disputes. Scabs need police protection against being beaten, and angry workers will tamper with the equipment so that anyone using it will be injured. They will also place fulminate of mercury in chimneys to cause an explosion if someone starts up the furnaces.

Party Politics and Socialism

Shaw describes the class conflict between the Tories, representing the aristocracy, and the Liberals, who represented the industrial middle classes. These competed for working class votes by extending the franchise and passing legislation like the Factory Acts to improve working conditions. However, each was as bad the other. The aristocracy kept their workers in poverty in the countryside, while the middle classes exploited them in the factories. The laws they passed for the working poor were partly designed to attack their opponents of the opposite class.

He goes on to give a brief history of British socialism, beginning with Marx, William Morris’ Socialist League, and Hyndeman’s Social Democratic Federation. These were small, middle class groups, disconnected from the British working class through their opposition to trade unions and the cooperatives. It was only when British socialism combined with them under Keir Hardie and the Independent Labour Party that socialism became a real force in working class politics. The Fabian Society has been an important part of this, and has made socialism respectable so that the genteel middle classes may join it as Conservatives join their Constitutional Club.

Shaw believed that socialism would advance, simply because of the numerical supremacy of the working classes, and that soon parliament would be full of Labour MPs. However, he also recognised that many members of the proletariat were anti-Socialist. This is because they depended for their livelihood on the businesses serving the idle rich. He called this section of the working class the ‘parasitic proletariat’. The working class is also distracted away from socialism through lotteries and so on.

Democratic, Parliamentary Socialism and Nationalisation

Shaw argues strongly that socialism could only be established through democratic, parliamentary action. General strikes wouldn’t work, as the employers would simply starve the workers out. The strikes intended to stop the outbreak of the First World War had failed the moment the first bomb dropped killing babies. Violent revolutions were purely destructive. Apart from the human lives lost, they destroyed the country’s vital industrial and economic structure. Socialism needed to build on this, not destroy it. Similarly, confiscating the capitalists’ wealth, either directly through nationalisation without compensation, or by taxing capital, was also counterproductive. The capitalists would simply sell their shares or unwillingly surrender them. The result would be bankruptcy and mass unemployment. This would result in further working class unrest, which would end in a counterrevolution.

The only way socialism could proceed would be by long preparation. You should only nationalise an industry once there was a suitable government department to run it. Compensation should be given to the former proprietors. This did not mean robbing the workers to pay their former exploiters, as the money would come from taxing the upper classes so that the class as a whole would be slightly worse off than before, even though the former owners were slightly better off.  You can see here and in Shaw’s warning of the ineffectiveness of general strikes the bitterness that still lingered amongst the working class after the failure of the General Strike of the 1920s.

Nationalisation could also only be done through parliament. There were, however, problems with parliamentary party politics. If the socialist party grew too big, it would split into competing factions divided on other issues, whose squabbles would defeat the overall purpose. Party politics were also a hindrance, in that it meant that one party would always oppose the policies of the other, even though they secretly supported them, because that was how the system worked. We’ve seen it in our day when the Tories before the 2010 election made a great show of opposing Blair’s hospital closures, but when in power did exactly the same and worse. Shaw recommends instead that the political process should follow that of the municipalities, where party divisions were still high, but where the process of legislation was done through committees and so on parties were better able to cooperate.

Limited Role for Capitalism

Shaw also argued against total nationalisation. He begins the book by stating that socialists don’t want to nationalise personal wealth. They weren’t going to seize women’s jewels, nor prevent a woman making extra cash for herself by singing in public or raising prize chrysanthemums, although it might in time be considered bad form to do so. Only big, routine businesses would be nationalised. Small businesses would be encouraged, as would innovatory private companies, though once they became routine they too would eventually be taken over by the state.

It’s a great argument for a pluralistic mixed economy, of the type that produced solid economic growth and working class prosperity after World War II, right up to 1979 and Thatcher’s victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pages