Archive for the 'the pseudo-left' Category

Saying No to Hugo Chávez’s Baloney Revolution

Getting out there and defending social ownership has numerous challenges. One of them is the need to disown various past and present regimes in Third World backwaters that give the idea a bad name. There hadn’t been any new ones for a while, and then along came Hugo Chávez in Venezuela with his “Bolivarian Revolution” and “21st Century Socialism”.

This “process” has two main features – limiting democracy and freedom both for opponents and adherents, and using oil revenue to buy support. There are also various bits of window dressing but these are of secondary importance. Continue reading ‘Saying No to Hugo Chávez’s Baloney Revolution’

Spiked special on Oz internet censorship

keza and Danu Poyner just got published on Spiked

Spiked: “Humanity is Underated”

spiked is an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

keza: Liberal Tyranny on the World Wide Web ( revised version of my article about Clive Hamilton)

Danu: ‘Digital Natives’ take on censorious Kevin

Continue reading ‘Spiked special on Oz internet censorship’

Iraq rocks on!

The Iraqi parliament has approved by a vote of a substantial majority of members the accord providing a legal basis for the continuing US military presence and a timetable for a US withdrawal. This is great news and puts another nail in the coffin of those who opposed the war. After the first federal election was held in Iraq, the numbers attending the anti-war demonstrations dropped dramatically. It went to show that the great majority were angry at having been lied to about the reasons for the war – WMDs rather than to overthrow a tyrant and create the foundations for democracy – but also had the best interests of the Iraqis at heart. They weren’t willing to march against a democratically elected government after the overthrow of a fascist regime. Only the die-hard pseudo-left leaders hung around to try and keep the movement going.

Where can they go from here? I think they have two options, both bizarre: first, some will try to turn it into their victory and, secondly, others will continue to beat their hollow chests from the sidelines calling the accord a sell-out and continuing the demand for an immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops.

And how wrong they were? Can anyone be more wrong? Just recall a few key items from what they said and let’s pat ourselves on the back for our left-wing pro-war position adopted back in 2002.

THEY said:

1. The national liberation movement – “embryonic” of course! – would grow and force the US out.

2. Democracy could not be established in Iraq because of tribal and ethnic differences.

3. The US would overthrow Saddam but install a new dictator.

4. The US would permanently occupy Iraq.

5. The Iraqi parliament and government are essentially puppets of US imperialism.

6. The war is about oil and the US will not leave until it secures control of Iraq’s oil resource through the draft national oil law that it (the US) framed.

7. Iraq had been plunged into civil war.

Perhaps not since the infamous Oxford University Union debate on appeasement in 1933 has a pseudo-left position been so delightfully exposed.

The ‘national liberation movement’ remains a joke, about as non-existent as something can be.

The main ethno-religious groups resolve their differences politically rather than by force, in the main, and the sectarian violence has diminished greatly as more and more Sunnis enter the political process. Armed attacks on the occupying forces have also declined greatly (as we said they would). The accord allowing for the US military presence to continue until the end of 2011 was supported across the ethnic divisions and expresses their united view that the time is not yet right for a complete and immediate withdrawal of foreign troops. In keeping with the spirit of the new democracy, the parliament voted for a national referendum to be held before 30th July to allow the people to express their view directly on the accord.

The accord has been applauded by President George W Bush and the Iraqi government and represents the long-stated policy of the US leaving only when the Iraqis ask them to, when the internal security situation and external threats are able to be dealt with by the new Iraqi forces.

That the Iraqi parliament and government are sovereign and not puppets to anyone has been demonstrated by the stridency with which the government negotiated with the US over this accord, over many months.

Remember all the talk by Fisk et al about how Iraq had plunged into civil war? I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase on Australia’s public broadcaster. Hey, what happened?! Maybe the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will let us know when the civil war ended and why its end went unannounced. Of course, it never ended because it never happened.

The US has agreed to a timetable for withdrawal under conditions of democratic progress. The oil issue remains unresolved for Iraqis, as the draft national oil law is still held up by factional wrangling. If it was a puppet government, it would have done what the ‘blood for oil’ brigade asserted throughout 2006 and 2007 and jumped to its supposed master’s alleged orders to pass the law.

It will be fun to see how the diehards try to make sense of this new development. No doubt it will be seen as some sort of victory for them: a victory for the (largely non-existent) anti-war movement around the world and for the (largely non-existent) Iraqi armed resistance. It has been, in reality, a victory thus far for the Iraqi people and their allies.

The accord will further isolate the enemies of Iraqi democracy. They too will be increasingly drawn into the political process as the prospect of the national referendum scheduled to take place prior to 30 July draws nearer.

Barry

It was Clive Hamilton who launched the current attempt to censor the internet

Guess who really kick started the current push for mandatory ISP level filtering?  No, it wasn’t those wretched Christian fundamentalists, it was Clive Hamilton and the Australia Institute (of which Hamilton was executive director, until recently).

Continue reading ‘It was Clive Hamilton who launched the current attempt to censor the internet’

Allying with the Right

You cannot avoid being allied with right wingers. It is just a matter of who and when. The people we describe as pseudo-left are in alliance with Pat Buchanan, The Cato Institute and The Independent Institute in opposing the US liberation of Iraq. On that matter we side with Bush and the neo-cons. We have written a lot on the question both here and at our parent site. We see it as a switch in US foreign policy from supporting “stability” in the region to supporting democracy and “draining the swamp” in which all sorts of creepy things fester.

Many pseudos in the US would side with Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter on trade protection. We would ally with Cato and support free trade. Both we and the pseudos would side with The Cato and The Independent Institutes on a range of civil liberties issues and on ending the embargo on Cuba.

But we must ‘fess up. We are doing more than our share of fraternizing and endorsing.

Continue reading ‘Allying with the Right’

Barry socking it to the greens

Here is nine minutes of Barry’s comedy gig at the  2008 Australian Environment Foundation Conference dinner.

Our report of the conference itself can be read here.

Palin socks it to the prigs

Real or not, it\'s a good image!

Real or not – this is the sort of image projected by Palin. I’m glad it appeals.

Sarah Palin produced a stunning performance when she spoke at the Republican Convention yesterday.  She scared the pants off the pseudo-lefty blogospehere.  When put to the test, McCain’s “idiotic” and “uniformed” choice of running mate revealed herself to be more than a “confused fundie airhead”. Turns out he knew what he was doing. It’s panic all around. Maybe the End really is nigh!  Could The Messiah be running out of luck?

Writes one depressed punter at Lovartus Prodeo

Check the sustained cheering and mayhem when she goes “the media”. It’s decent small town repubs agin dirty left liberal media blogging fops. I never seen such a big snook cocked.

I am seriously depressed. And as Nabs says – this is better than any WW writers wld ever dare serve up. (But then I’m not Nabs – so remain depressed.)

If she manages to transcends the base – and allows the mainstream white voter to find reason to honour their instincts – then the Dems are done again.

If Obama needed a challenge – he’s got it now. I’d love to think that coming back to the issues is the answer but I reckon this is gonna be all about rhetoric. Voters are uncomplicated folk by and large and economics may as well be string theory.

Oh dear!! What a pity those “uncomplicated folk” have the vote!

Continue reading ‘Palin socks it to the prigs’

July 4, 1968. Forty years on! (An Australian perspective)

July 4 1968 – 40 years on! (An Australian perspective)

The rebellious spirit of 1968 tends to focus on events overseas in May, such as the Paris uprising by workers and students, but Australia joined this international rebellion in July, when thousands of Australians took to the streets to protest against conscription and the war in Vietnam and in solidarity with the Vietnamese people. The demonstration on July 4, 1968, in Melbourne shook Australia with both its militancy and the large numbers in attendance. The Riot Act was read and many people arrested and beaten up by the police. The previous year, protests against the Vietnam war had consisted of small silent vigils outside the US consulate. The times were truly a-changin!

I was there, as a student in my final year of high school, in my school uniform. My father marched too, with a group called “Ex-Servicemen against the War”. I remember some had their World War Two war medals and others their Returned Services Leauge badges. Similar demonstrations, though not as violent, occurred in Sydney, Canberra, and the other capital cities. A militant national movement was born and, within it, were people talking about revolution. The Labor Party, under Whitlam, had shifted position from Calwell’s unconditional demand for a withdrawal of all our troops to one of ‘holding operations’ and peace talks. This fuelled the extra-parliamentary mood. While opponents on the Right saw communist manipulation behind the new militancy and direction, the Communist Party of Australia was frequently the target of the young rebels, as it tried to moderate and control the action from above. Continue reading ‘July 4, 1968. Forty years on! (An Australian perspective)’

Iraq and oil – the good oil

Sweeping away the moribund

Tyranny, in addition to suppressing people’s freedoms, also holds back long-term economic growth and development. When tyrants are overthrown and replaced by something better, an opportunity presents itself for the unleashing of people’s creativity and for the rapid development and exploitation of natural resources as a way of improving living conditions and opening up new opportunities. We see this today, most notably, in Iraq and in Nepal.

In Iraq, the former fascistic regime engaged in devastating military adventures and a nepotistic and bureaucratic centralized control over economic life that held back production. During the decades of Ba’ath dictatorship only 17 oil fields were developed out of a potential 80 fields. Oil production, Iraq’s principal source of revenue, reached at its peak only 3.5 million bpd (barrels per day).

In Nepal, the feudal monarchical system did nothing to develop and exploit nature for the benefit of the people, yet Nepal has incredible hydro-power potential. It could provide cheap and reliable energy from this source for its own people as well as earn vast revenue through the export of power. Nepal’s hydropower potential has been estimated at 84,000 megawatts (84,000 million watts), yet only a tiny fraction has been tapped.

The overthrow of tyranny in both countries, and its replacement with constitutional democracy, is an example of how old realities give rise to new ones, when the old becomes unnecessary and irrational. Continue reading ‘Iraq and oil — the good oil’

Let them talk about the weather….

climate demo

‘Anti-capitalist’ sentiment is almost in the air we breath these days. At every turn we are reminded that capitalism and the life styles it makes possible threatens to destroy everything dear to our hearts and in particular that it is trashing the environment beyond repair. Strangely enough, the rich and powerful who are accused of wreaking this havoc, don’t seem particularly concerned about this message.

Despite claims to the contrary, “Big Oil”, “Big Mining” and “Big Retailing” just aren’t throwing big buckets of money into the battle to refute Big Green and Big “Left”. On the contrary, they have done very little to try to stem this tide. In some cases they actually fund it through various philanthropic foundations and by media advertising which feeds into it. Indeed there are many individual capitalists who have actively embraced it. Others seem to be just going along with it because such a tidal wave is difficult to resist. Why isn’t the capitalist class fighting back?

A small rearguard of classical liberals in “right wing think tanks” along with the Murdoch press are putting up some resistance. (Here‘s my favorite.) Associated with them are conservative stragglers who prefer the old time religion to the new green one. However, this is a beleaguered fringe effort which has little impact on the media mainstream.

The last time those in charge supported a fake “anti-capitalist” movement was in the 1930s. That one was called fascism. Of course the present movement is not remotely as toxic and we should be very grateful for that.  However let’s hope their tolerance of the new weltanschauung backfires as badly as it did the last time.

Many people are beginning to feel that it has all gone too far. There is increasing opposition to oppressive demands that we restrict our “luxurious” lifestyle.  Petty things like having plastic bags taken away to more serious matters like the government refusing to build sufficient power stations or to open up new land for housing are generating some resistance.  And the fashionable nonsense which dominates increasing parts of the school and university curriculum has become more of a hot topic.

If a genuine revolutionary left were to emerge phoenix like and soar above this miasmic fog it would have the advantage of dominating the high ground because it would be the only serious and uncompromised defender of science and human progress against reactionary neo-romantic nonsense.  At the same time it would be capable of demonstrating that the progress still being engendered by capitalism is providing the very conditions which will enable us to advance beyond it. Now that would give Big Capitalism something it would have to worry about.

Meanwhile those in charge are happy to let us all talk about the weather.

being green

Bonjour étrangers

This blog is called “Strange Times” for two reasons.

1. Politically the times are especially strange. The old ways of thinking have become formulaic and no longer help us make sense of world events. “Left” is now Right – how’s that for a start?

2. I think that “strangeness” is in some sense an intrinsic characteristic of life, the universe and everything. The times will always be strange. Let’s beware of the warm glow of “understanding”.

This is a group blog. Although we share a common stance, each blogger here writes for him/herself.

We are a bunch of people who all have communist backgrounds and are still committed to the overthrow of capitalism. We want the working people to take over, which means that the means of production will be socially owned and wage slavery (the final form of human slavery) will become a thing of the past. When this occurs it will be a truly revolutionary change, a leap into the future, qualitatively more dramatic and far-reaching than the democratic revolution which has been (slowly) transforming the way of life of people on this planet since the 17th century. Continue reading ‘Bonjour étrangers’