Saturday, 16 May 2009

No To No2EU

No2EU, the organisation set up by the National Socialists of the British Communist Party has now announced its list of candidates to stand in the European elections. Many of those who have joined the Stalinists in this reactionary venture do so, at least partly, on the basis of an argument that a Left-Wing, more democratic alternative to the Labour Party has to be built. But, in that case it is puzzling why they accept an election platform and programme that was simply announced by the Stalinists, and which is thoroughly imbued with the kind of reactionary, National Socialist ideology of Stalinism – See: The Cancer of Nationalism in the Workers Movement - and over which they have had no right of discussion.

Only, the leaders of the other main grouping to have joined the Stalinists – the Socialist Party – have been allowed to ask for amendments to the original platform, and the changes they have been able to make have been insignificant. And the announcement of candidates, similarly without any kind of democratic selection process, is again reminiscent of the authoritarian methods of Stalinism in Eastern Europe. In recent years, the fact that large numbers of the Left ran away from the fight, meant that the Right were given a freer hand to restrict democracy within the Party, but even today the Labour Party remains far more democratic than anything that No2EU has demonstrated. At least LP members retain the right to discuss and help formulate LP policy from the Branch level upwards, at least from the Branch level upwards they retain the right to select the candidates who will stand in their name!!!!

The adverse comparison extends even further. Ever since Lenin and the Comintern advised the British Communist Party to apply for membership of the Labour Party, the Stalinists have complained that they were expelled and refused membership. The Socialist Party too, complains that it is barred from membership of the Labour Party following the expulsion of some members of its predecessor – The Militant Tendency – back in the 1980’s. In fact, the Communist Party could have retained membership of the LP back in the 1920’s simply by stating that the British Socialist Party – which was an affiliated organisation of the LP – had simply changed its name to the Communist Party – which was true. It did not, and framed its application in terms that were almost certain to result in the application being turned down, repeating Lenin’s statement about supporting the LP “like a rope supports a hanged man”! And, although its true that some members of Militant were expelled from the LP in the 1980’s, the fact is that the majority faction that went on to become the Socialist Party, simply voted to leave, rather than stay and fight alongside all the other Trotskyist organisations, and members of the Left. If Marxists and members of Marxists organisations WANTED to be in the LP they could be, Marxists have found ways to operate politically in far more difficult and restricting conditions than those which exist within the LP today. Just look at Trotsky’s arguments for his supporters to remain in the Stalinist Parties during the 1920’s and early 1930’s when they were facing physical assault and even murder!!! Look at the way Marxists in Germany operated under the Anti-Socialist laws, or even the Russian Marxists under Tsarism.

No, the reason the majority of Marxists are outside the LP, is because it is their choice to be so, and simply reflects the sectarian politics of British “Marxism” going back more than a hundred years. It compares very unfavourably with the methods of Marx and Engels, who were extremely critical of those sectarian Marxist groups of their time who made similar arguments to those of today – of groups such as the Social Democratic Federation, for instance. In comparison, Marx and Engels rejected such sectarianism when they threw themselves into support for genuine mass workers organisations like the Chartists. And, as Engels states, when they helped create the First International they made its programme as broad as possible precisely in order to bring together all of those real mass working class forces such as the Chartists and the British Trade Unions.

But, look then at the attitude of the Stalinists and of the Socialist Party. No2EU specifically refused entry to the organisation for various Left-wing and centrist organisations. They were obviously keen to refuse entry to the SWP, for the simple reason that the size of the SWP could threaten the dominance of the campaign by the Stalinists, and the SP, who will try to utilise No2EU as a recruiting ground for their own organisation, as they used the LP in the past, will not want to compete for the same ground with their rivals in the SWP! IN other words the same kind of sectarianism that has dogged the British Left for over a century is institutionalised within No2EU.

But, to be honest most of those organisations are in any case better off keeping their distance from such a reactionary Nationalist organisation. In the past weeks most of the Left has outlined the reactionary nature of No2EU in similar terms to those that I set out in the post linked to above. Whether they would have done so quite so much had they been allowed to join in the first place – as some of them tried to do – is another matter! In response, the Socialist Party, many of whose members must be uneasy about signing up to such a reactionary platform, has been taking every opportunity to defend No2EU, and to attack those other left groups as being sectarian – the same groups they have refused entry to, but from whom they expect support for the reactionary programme they have signed up to!!!

A discussion of these arguments has been going on over at the A Very Public Sociologist blog run by SP member Phil B.C. But, others have been providing some very interesting information about how the reactionary, nationalist politics of No2EU is pulling down by an inevitable logic members of the organisation into a reactionary swamp.

For example, over at the Serge’s Fist blog there was this report of the meeting of No2EU inaugural meeting attended by just 8 people, half of whom were from Left groups hostile to the campaign, in which the CPB speaker Dave Hawkins, came out with a load of reactionary crap in favour of Immigration Controls.

“The meeting began with an unwelcome discussion on the politics of the campaign with myself and other comrades taking the CPB to task for backing immigration controls, British jobs for British workers and little Britain politics dressed up in trade union clothes. The comrade from SPEW seemed genuinely shocked when Dave Hawkins from the CPB proclaimed that immigration controls are a great British tradition and that British workers should be protected from immigrants coming over here and taking their jobs.”

Well, those SP comrades may have been shocked, but it was not long before other prominent SP members had been drawn down into the sewer of such reactionary politics. A later post on the same blog related how a prominent SP member had been posting on BNP dominated websites trying to whip up votes for No2EU by appealing to all of those kinds of reactionary nationalist sentiments. In No2EU Looks To Far Right For Support , they relate how SP member, Andrew Ballard, had been posting comments on BNP dominated pages of facebook such as,

“‘British jobs for British workers and Italian jobs for Italian workers. The only reason the EU has such a large migrant workforce is to drive down workers wages and increase profits for the super rich. Vote no2eu on June the 4th.’”!

This apparently has been the “internal” position for a long time. According to one post I read last week in an internal discussion the SP’s Peter Taffe stated that if they raised a demand for abolition of all Immigration Controls, British workers simply would not understand it!

But, similar stories are coming in for other parts of the country too. This report from the Weekly Worker gives a similar picture of the defence of reactionary nationalist politics and support for Immigration Controls being put forward by No2EU spokesmen.

Given the deeply ingrained Nationalism and xenophobia of the British population that comes partly from being an island nation, unconquered for more than 1,000 years, and partly from the need to develop racism as a specific ideology based on the inferiority of those it enslaved – the American sociologist Oliver Cromwell Cox argues cogently that Capitalism as an ideology based upon the idea of Equality, needs racism in a way that previous class systems did not, precisely because of the need to explain why some people are NOT treated as equals – Marxists have a specific duty to stand against any infection of the workers movement by Nationalism. Moreover, given that situation it is obvious that even at the best of times that Nationalism will colour workers ideas and responses. In the current conditions where xenophobia is being whipped up by the BNP, and sections of the media to diver workers attention from the responsibility of Capitalism for the current crisis that duty is all the greater. If socialists stand on a platform whose very name “No2EU” chimes in with everything that the BNP and the right-wing media have been saying. Let alone when the individual elements of the programme of that organisation reinforce those Nationalistic ideas, it is no wonder that workers do not hear any potential progressive message that members of the Socialist Party might want to convey to them, because that message has already been drowned out by the reactionary nature of the name and basis of the organisation!

Even Phil was forced to admit that in his blog post about his experience of holding a “No2EU” stall in Hanley recently. No2EU in Hanley . He says,

“For starters people approaching the stall tended to be more politically engaged, though not always in the way we socialists would like! Given how the campaign's only recently come together it was unsurprising a bit of confusion greeted the name. He and Brother N spoke to some anti-EU people who were preparing to vote for UKIP or the BNP and found the best way of talking to them was to strongly contest anti-immigrant sentiment by putting forward straightforward class arguments.”

He doesn’t say what the conclusion of that was, but I’d suggest that such people are unlikely to be won over to a progressive position simply on the basis of a short discussion in the street, or being given a “No2EU” leaflet to read!!!! And, as the reports above demonstrate the nature of No2EU as a pretty opportunistic election vehicle – the opportunist nature of it was demonstrated by its declaration of trying to pick up votes on the back of opposition to sleaze in Parliament – is more likely to result in a sliding into accommodation of those backward ideas simply in order to win over votes from workers holding those reactionary ideas.

Marxists should say No to No2EU, and vote for Labour in the upcoming elections as still being the mass party of the working class. More importantly, Marxists should join the LP, and begin to do the necessary work at a Branch level of turning it outwards to local working class communities, building the working class and its organisations from the ground up on the basis of encouragement of direct-working class action and self-activity. That can be done by encouraging and facilitating the building of basic working class organisations such as Tenants and residents Associations, Credit Unions, Housing Co-operatives and so on that can give immediate practical solutions to workers in dealing with their problems here and now without asking them to wait for the revolution, or asking them to place their faith in the bourgeois state at a local or national level. It can be done by linking such organisations to the local Trade Unions, to Co-operatives of Construction Workers providing houses and repairs as well as jobs under workers ownership and control. And, at the same time it can be linked to local anti-fascist organisation to keep the fascists and also criminal gangs out of workers estates, through the building of workers own defence and policing organisations on their estates. Such solutions, however, can only ever be partial. They cannot deal with the overall contradictions of Capitalism, and the repeated economic and social crises which it suffers. But, without that basic focus on workers self-activity, without that root and branch rebuilding of the workers movement from the ground up the solutions to those bigger problems cannot be solved by the working class. Instead, the solution to those problems will be posed in terms that have continually failed throughout the last century, and which No2EU replicates today. The solution will instead be posed as coming from some “Leader”, or “Vanguard” that provides a solution from on high to be brought about either via some Parliament or via some revolution undertaken by this leader or vanguard, and to which the working class have no other relation than to be the foot-soldiers. We’ve seen time and again where those solutions lead in the consequences of Social Democracy and of Stalinism, and its time to return to the fundamental solutions based on workers self-activity, and Co-operation advocated by Marx and Engels.

55 comments:

Montreal said...

Not sure it’s the perfect time to be bigging up the Labour Party, considering what a bunch of low life crooks they all are. We need to persuade the people that only a genuine workers party can truly represent their interests, and that is not and never has been the LP.

Arthur Bough said...

On the contrary. The LP is and always has been from its inception the only genuine Workers Party in Britain on the only basis that matters i.e. that it is the Party to which the majority of workers give their votes, and the Party to which it looks for its solutions, and the Party to which its gives its active involvement.

Simply saying we need a "genuine" workers Party, by which I presume you mean a Party whose Programme you agree with has been the problem of sectarianism of the british left for the last 100 years, which has kept it isolated from the working class. You can keep declaring as many such "genuine" workers parties as you like, but as long as workers do not support them, join them, or look to them for solutions then these parties will be neither "genuine", made up of "workers", or in any real sense "parties".

They will simply be an expression of the very thing that Marx and Engels argued against in the Communist manifesto - the setting up of separate parties from the existing Workers parties, and the setting up of sectarian principles by them.

That is why Marx and Engels joined the german Democrats, a bouregois Party whose programme was certainly more bouregois than that of the current LP.

Your identification of even all Labour MP's - and so far only a small minority of them have been accused of slaeze - with the LP as a whole, is unfortuantely typical of the way sectarian socialists have attempted to justify standing aside from the Workers Party, and indeed on a similar basis even the Trade Unions, over the years.

It demeans and slanders the many tens of thousands of ordinary working people who make up the LP at its Branch level, and whose main cocnern is to try to improve the lives of working people. They may be confused or misled about how to achieve that, may as a result hold many bouregois, even reactionary ideas, but that is precisely why marxists have to work alongside them to help educate them, and move them away from those ideas.

In fact, the whole, or at least large parts of the left, seems to be overcome by a Third period psychosis. The last few years has seen a steady move to the Right, the BNP continues to grow in strength as does the BNP light UKIP. The current events have seen a marked shift towards these organisations, and instead of linking up with the ordinary workers in the LP, instead the left is denouncing them, and going off on its own sectarian Party building fantasies!!!!

In the early 1920's Trotsky explaining the nature of the United Front, stated that it was only possible where there existed both large Social Democratic and large Communist Parties each claiming similar levels of support. Without that, as he pointed out the Communists had no bargaining position as against the Social Democrats who could simply ignore them. Yet today, Left organisations that represent absolutely nothing proceed as though they can use the United Front tactic to propose such alliances with the LP etc. It is madness.

The only application of the United Front that makes any sense under present conditions is the application of the tactic in practice, the day to day joint work of Marxists with workers in the LP.

Montreal said...

I think history has passed judgement on the LP and it has failed as a workers party.

Unless this rank and file can show some strength and get rid of the crooks above them then this rank and file has failed the workers and shown them not up to the job. If this rank and file does show the strength to stand up to the bourgeois supporters that lead them then maybe I can be persuaded to change my mind but I would put money on the former.

The best course of action would be to build a coalition of the left. If the LP is as strong as you suggest and the left as weak as you suggest then I see no importance of the left diluting itself and socialism in this nest of reactionaries.

Arthur Bough said...

“I think history has passed judgement on the LP and it has failed as a workers party.”...


Marxists deal in objective realities not subjective evaluations. On any objective evaluation your statement is clearly false. The LP continues to be made up of tens of thousands of workers. It continues to obtain the votes of millions of workers. When workers have a problem they go to their local Labour Councillor and so on. It clearly continues to be not just a Workers Party, but THE Workers Party.

By comparison none of the Left outside the LP can claim any of the above. Even when they did briefly overcome their tribalism, and established the Socialist Alliance they were not able to achieve any of the above!

”Unless this rank and file can show some strength and get rid of the crooks above them then this rank and file has failed the workers and shown them not up to the job.”....


On that same basis you could say that the left has field that test too!!! Not only has it failed it in the LP, but it failed it in the Stalinist Party, and it has failed it also in the Trade Unions!!!! More importantly, using this logic we would have to conclude that the working class as a whole has failed the test, because not only has it failed to show some strength and get rid of the (Capitalist) crooks above it, but if anything it is further away from that goal than it was say 100 years ago. If your argument is correct we should look for some alternative force to the working class as the means to achieve socialism. That, of course, is the conclusion that groups like the SWP have arrived at, which is why they look instead to reactionary nationalist organisations.

Your counsel of despair is the argument that sectarians have always used going back to Marx’s time. You say the LP rank and file has failed the workers without taking into consideration that that rank and file ARE the workers! You fail to take into account the fact that they are in fact, the most class conscious workers the ones who have bothered to actually involve themselves in political activity. Your attitude to those workers is exactly what the sectarian petit-bourgeois has always been to ordinary workers, which amounts to – “These bloody stupid workers don’t understand what we petit-bourgeois intellectuals understand. Why can’t they just be born with a Marxist class consciousness, and save us the trouble of having to educate them.”

It is the attitude that for the last 100 years, on that basis has deluded itself into believing that outside these workers in the LP there is some huge cache of class conscious workers just waiting to be discovered by the revolutionaries! If only the revolutionaries could discover the Philosopher’s Stone that would bring them to life.

“If this rank and file does show the strength to stand up to the bourgeois supporters that lead them then maybe I can be persuaded to change my mind but I would put money on the former.”...


Which is like a doctor faced with a patient who’s heart has stopped saying, “If he shows signs of life I’ll try to resuscitate him!!!!

”The best course of action would be to build a coalition of the left. If the LP is as strong as you suggest and the left as weak as you suggest then I see no importance of the left diluting itself and socialism in this nest of reactionaries.”...


This nest of reactionaries as you describe it is the working class. Your position is that which the sectarian left has adopted for the last 100 years of not wanting to get its hands dirty by having to relate to reactionary workers. It only wants to talk to them AFTER they have become revolutionaries. Its why that Left has become more and more irrelevant to the working class, and rightly so.

Montreal said...

On this logic you could easily make a case for the Tory party being the workers party been as they get many workers votes and Margaret Thatcher could be considered the workers prime minister, been as so many voted for hera and the BNP are a rising workers party based on your logic.

You may be right that the left should hang onto to the Labour party no matter what but keeping socialism as an idea and a set of principles will happen outside it.

Arthur Bough said...

Montreal,

You are absolutely correct that a case could be made for the Tories being considered a Workers Party. A case can certainly be made for the BNP being considered a Workers Party. As Lenin reminded us, dialectics is all about udnerstanding the world as being complex, and comprised of contradictions. The truth is always concrete.

The German Democrats were a bouregois party pretty much equivalent to the Tory Party, but that didn't prevent Marx and Engels and their comrades joining, precisely because of that complex reality that the workers gave their support to this bouregois Party. TRotsky made similar comments about how the Italian Communists should operate to split workers away from Mussolini's fascists.

However, the fact is that the LP exists, and it is to the LP not the Tory Party, Liberal Party or the BNP that workers largely give their support, it is to the LP and not those other parties that workers tun for solutions to their everyday problems - though increasingly in some areas its to the BNP, which is what makes the Third period politics of the left, so insane - and its the LP to which they remain affiliated through their Trade Unions. And unlike the Tory party, the membership remains made up largely of workers.

That is why the LP is THE Workers Party. We may wish to see a Workers Party whose politics are way to the left of the LP, but the route to that conclusion runs through the LP, and the workers organised by and attracted by it, not by some sectarian adventure in search of a mythical class conscious working class that does not exist, and which has to be created. Such a Workers Party can only arise as a consequence of a rise in the class conscioussness of workers as a whole, and that in turn requires Marxists to be able to relate to them through the existing Workers Party.

You say that keeping socialism as an idea can only happen outside the LP. On the contrary, I would suggest to you that all the experience of the last 100 years demonstrates the opposite. That separation has led to Stalinism as a reactioanry National Socialist ideology, and the destruction of millions of potential revolutionaries during that time, it has led to a concentration on sectarian in fighting amongst all those sects that have separated themselves from building the mass workers parties, and who see each other as more an enemy than they do the ruling class. It has led to a necessary lack of faith in the working class asa vehicle for social change with a consequent search for alternatives - the Stalinists variously made Popular fronts with reactionary nationalists, and bouregois forces, the SWP and others followed a similar course and ended up supporting reactionary clerical-fascist forces AGAINST the working class, others and all have looked to other petit-bouregois milieu such as the studnet movement where they can maintain their organisations by recruiting new supplies at regular intervals of impressionable young people, or else to varying campaigns such as environmentalism and so on. All of them based on the idea of maintaining their own sectarian organisations membership of similarly minded middle class people free of the "Bouregois" or reactionary ideas of the working class, but who as a consequence necessarily infect those organisations not only with petit-bouregois ideas, but a petit-bouregois mindset and culture alien to workers.

A socialism that exists separated from the real working classa nd the real working class organisations is no socialism at all, it is just an intellectual pastime, another hobby activity for the radical middle class.

Only working in the workers organisations, including and most improtantly the workers Party, are Marxists forced to apply their socialism in practice, to justify their ideas to workers not on the basis of some abstract intellectual debate, but on the basis of what is important to workers, what PRACTICALLY resolves their problems on a day to day basis. Its on that basis that all of the sectarian ephemera is weeded out, and the basis of real co-operation laid.

Montreal said...

I can't pretend that on the face of it you provide a powerful argument here but the principle that if the BNP were to develop into the workers party at some future date it would necessitate that we on the left must join and work within it, is a principle I find hard to swallow, especially since this workers party would actively fight against the principle of workers of the world unite.

As for intellectual hobbies, you could argue that is exactly how Marxism evolved.

BCFG said...

Seen as you have given up on our mass debate regarding sex, (see carnival of socialism) I thought I would put my two pennies worth into this debate as I am sure the chauvinist Stalinist Islamic reactionary moron clerical fascist loving toe rag view will be one you are eager to hear.

I actually broadly agree with your views in this article and would contend that Monty (who also doesn’t give his real name I have noticed) occupies the same fantasy world you live in when debating with me.

However, some questions I just had to bring up.

Are you saying that at some point you could conceive of supporting the BNP? Why? Do you foresee them becoming progressive due to mass support and subsequent Marxist involvement?

Who should Marxist in Iran give their support to, the popular among the workers, clerical fascist mad man reactionary holocaust denying Ahmadinejad or some other party? Who should Venezuelan Marxists lend their support to and who should Marxist Palestinians support, Hamas or Fatah?

Arthur Bough said...

Posting this in sections because I'm having problems with the HTML and don't have time to piss about with it.

Montreal,

“I can't pretend that on the face of it you provide a powerful argument here but the principle that if the BNP were to develop into the workers party at some future date it would necessitate that we on the left must join and work within it, is a principle I find hard to swallow, especially since this workers party would actively fight against the principle of workers of the world unite.”...



Of course, it’s a principle that any decent socialist would find hard to swallow. Yet, the fact remains that if such a Party is to be defeated it can only be defeated by the working class. That can only happen if Marxists are able to relate to, and talk to that class through some organised channel of political activity. The fact, is going back to the dialectical analysis that a fascist Party is one in which that fundamental contradiction is most heightened. There is a huge disconnect between the need to recruit and win social support amongst the working class – at least in any advanced Capitalist country where the working class forms the overwhelming majority of society – which it does by anti-capitalist rhetoric, and the actual function of such a Party, to save Capitalism FROM that class. It’s the reason that whenever such parties have come to power or were on the verge of power they have been forced to purge that wing of the Party. In short we can say that the further a Party is ideologically from the objective interests of the working class the greater those contradictions within it, if it attempts to win the active support of workers, the greater the tendency for those contradictions to blow the Party apart. But, potential is not actuality. It requires the conscious intervention of Marxists.


Nothing in human society is automatic. Look at the US. There never has been a Workers Party even like the LP. There have been small to medium size Socialist and Communist Parties, but they have never won the support of workers in the way that the LP has done. Yet, the party in the US, which would have to be called the Workers Party – the Democrats – is even more bourgeois in its programme and composition than the LP. So, why have workers not deserted it, and established something even similar to the LP? In part, they did desert it, but only to resort to apathy – a lesson the Left in Britain should bear in mind in thinking that loss of support for the LP by workers will clear the path to their door. The truth is, I believe, that in the US, Marxists have to be involved in the democrats because it is to them that workers relate on a day to day basis as they relate to the LP here. Its only on that basis that they can have the necessary dialogue with workers, build the workers self-activity in finding practical solutions to their problems, and so on, and ultimately, rather as happened with the Liberal Party here – and as may happen with the LP, I don’t rule it out at all – workers themselves will say, “We are too restricted within this Party, we need something that more adequately fits our needs.” But, that has to come from the workers not from proclamations of such parties by the Marxists. Of course, Marxists need to know how to understand and interpret what workers are saying to know when that moment arises, and how to help the birth of such a party. What is happening at the moment, however, is not Marxists acting as a midwife, but rather acting like Dr. Frankenstein, trying to create new life by cobbling together parts of dead bodies!

Arthur Bough said...

”As for intellectual hobbies, you could argue that is exactly how Marxism evolved.”...


It is how Marxism ORIGINATED, but not how it evolved. In fact, the distinction is very illuminating. The young Marx and Engels, prior to their discovery of Historical Materialism, were first radical Liberals, then Utopian Communists, and only ultimately Marxists. Yes, their bourgeois background enabled them to engage in study, and political activity as a “hobby”. Indeed, Marx himself says that it is for this reason that scientific socialist ideas can only develop from that social milieu. But, so long as that remained separated from the working class, it could not be Marxism. That is precisely, Marx’s critique of Utopian Socialism – the basic Communist ideas remain pretty much the same; what makes it Utopian, is the failure to locate a force - the working class - that can bring it about!

It is precisely, the discovery of Historical Materialism, and the identification of the working class as the revolutionary historical agent, that marks the origination of Marxism, and from that moment on there can be no Marxism that is separated from the intimate liking of the Marxists with the class. Read Engels History of the Communist League, for example, Here where Engels, who, is of course, respectful of the Communist League, for what it was in its day, sets out its limitations, as being a petit-bourgeois organisation that could not go beyond a certain politics, specifically because of that, because of its separation from the working class.

Engels, somewhere, makes the point, that after he and Marx had made this discovery the whole of their politics revolved around it. He says, that for Marx, in particular, nothing he could do was too good for the workers, and that Marx often derided himself for not doing more.

I will try to provide further answers in dealing with the post from BCFG, below.

Arthur Bough said...

BCFG,

I have not given up on the other discussion, but my life does not revolve around replying to your posts. I have been involved in other work. I will respond when I have time.

“Are you saying that at some point you could conceive of supporting the BNP?”...

Absolutely, not!!!! I can foresee a situation where if the BNP had mass support from workers, and where no other mass workers party existed, it would be necessary for Marxists to work inside such a Party in order to relate to workers, break them away from that Party, and build a separate workers Party. I can see a situation where even if there was another mass workers party, it would be necessary to send people into the BNP to exploit the contradictions within it as set out in my response to Montreal, and thereby break it apart!

Arthur Bough said...

”Do you foresee them becoming progressive due to mass support and subsequent Marxist involvement?” ...

Absolutely not! The duty of Marxists is to relate to the working class, and working inside the BNP or any other bourgeois Party is simply a means to that end. Ultimately, a bourgeois Workers Party has to fly apart as a result of those fundamental contradictions between the working class base, and the political ideology of the party. Were workers in the LP, for example, to move it towards a socialist programme, then either the bourgeois elements within the Party would leave – as began to happen with the Gang of Four – or else, they would move to expel the working class base. I am not talking here about the kinds of expulsions of the Militant in the 1980’s because they formed merely a separate party within the Party that the leadership could deal with. I am talking about a fundamental shift within the working class represented by and reflected in a large increase in membership, that in a large majority stands way to the left of the leadership, so that if it is expelled it becomes the basis of a new Party, in a way that the few revolutionaries expelled and who left the LP never could.

In the case of a fascist Party we know what the course would be. We saw it with the Nazis. They will move to violently suppress the Left-Wing of the party.

Arthur Bough said...

”Who should Marxist in Iran give their support to, the popular among the workers, clerical fascist mad man reactionary holocaust denying Ahmadinejad or some other party?”...

Marxists give their support to the working class, so they would not give their support to any of the alternatives you cite. The task of Marxists is to enable the Workers to develop their own party, and to enable that party to develop an adequate program, but constant and diligent work alongside the workers in that Party, in providing practical solutions to the workers on a daily basis, not setting ultimatums in front of those workers, such as you must break with this leadership or adopt these positions or else we will not support you, but allowing them to make mistakes in order to learn from them. But, workers do not learn unless Marxists DO make those lessons clear to workers, unless they DO point out in advance the consequences of pursuing various courses. That is why Marxists could NEVER support Ahmedinejad or any other clerical-fascist, or reactionary forces, because it is their job to point out to workers the reactionary anti-working class nature of those forces.

Marxists have to adopt their tactics accordingly in breaking workers away from these reactionaries. It means where appropriate proposing united fronts with them to fight a common enemy, whilst pointing out to workers even more sharply the reactionary nature of those forces, pointing out why they will betray such a struggle, and so on. And yes, as stated above in relation to fascist parties, it may be necessary to work inside them to exploit their contradictions, and to break workers away from them. Marxists ALWAYS support the working class AGAINST the bourgeoisie, and its agents. That support DOES NOT involve the Marxists in hiding or suppressing their ideas and program, because it is only by applying that program in struggle that the Marxists can educate the working class, and separate it from the bourgeoisie and its agents.

Arthur Bough said...

“Who should Venezuelan Marxists lend their support to and who should Marxist Palestinians support, Hamas or Fatah?”...

You still don’t get it do you? Marxists do not SUPPORT ANY of these bourgeois or reactionary organisations!!!!! Marxists support the WORKING CLASS, and adapt their tactics and strategy to separate it FROM these bourgeois and reactionary forces that you continually want to trail behind like some lap dog! The whole purpose of Marxist activity is to educate the working class, raise its class consciousness, and to organise it in a revolutionary party capable of winning working class power. The main, if not only tool, of the Marxists in achieving that is their scientific method, and their ability therefrom to understand what is going on, and to formulate a program and strategy that can enable the workers to progress. But, such an advantage, such a method, such a program is useless unless the Marxists are able to convey its ideas in practice day after day to the workers, if they are unable thereby to help the workers to organise into that Party. That is why as Marx and Engels says they do not create their own separate parties from those of the workers, but instead stick with the workers in order to carry out that basic task.

In other words such a strategy is completely different from your method, which involves taking the word of the bourgeoisie as to who is some great working class leader – who more often than not turns out to be just some bourgeois or reactionary, anti-working class demagogue, who just happens not to coincide with the bourgeoisies interests of the moment – and then to uncritically throw your support behind them like some cheerleader or football fan, closing your eyes and denying the actual anti-working class nature of them, and decrying Marxists who do point out the real nature of those politics.

Montreal said...

To BCFG,

What fantasy world? It is not beyond the imagination to suggest Labour will not always be the dominant workers party and I was, like you, trying to extend the Boffmeisters logic to it's inevitable conclusion.

To the Boffmeister,

Having read Engels article and digested your views I would argue that the current left parties actaully represent the propaganda wing of the proletariat and therefore have a valuable role to play.

With reference to the LP, your logic seems to be saying that Marxists should not indulge in equality communism etc but build structures and that the immediate task is to criticise and change the LP's inadequate deomcratic structure.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

I do get it, you just miss the point of my questions.

What I did question was your assertion that Marxists should fall in with whatever party is the most popular among the workers over some undefind period of time.
I don't see how these Marxists could express themselves within these parties seen as they would be openly trying to destroy them. I think thoroughly debased parties such as the BNP and the Nazi's must be exceptions to your rule. This is my problem with your fundamentalism, there is no room for exceptions!

I actually think a rising BNP to a level where they started to rival and overtake Labour (very unlikely in my view) would likely create a radical split between workers, which could have a positive side. (It could reenergise the left). In this case Marxists would have to oppose the BNP and shout across the barricades to the deluded workers, "get over here you numbnuts" or words to that affect.
However, back in the real world, Marxists just have to put up with the Labour party, warts and all.

Anyway you constantly talk about supporting the workers but in actuality you are trying to lead them in a certain direction. (Nothing wrong with that). It is only your moral subjective view that you are supporting them.

Arthur Bough said...

Montreal,

Again replying in section.

You say,

“Having read Engels article and digested your views I would argue that the current left parties actually represent the propaganda wing of the proletariat and therefore have a valuable role to play.” ...

The truth is always concrete. The propaganda societies of the early 19th century DID play a valuable role. If you read some of my recent stuff about “Can Co-operatives Work?”, you will see there the comments Marx made about the “Utopian Communists”, about Owen, St. Simon and Fourier. He is full of praise of the ideas they produced both in their critique of existing society, and their vision of Communist Society. BUT, his analysis is that their ideas were Utopian, precisely because they did not – and could not given the time they were writing – see that their vision of how this new society was going to be created depended upon the action of the working class. They couldn’t see that, because at the time they were writing there was no sizeable working class! In fact, the one who comes closest to is Owen, and as Engels was later to relate Marx’s more favourable treatment of Owen compared to St. Simon was purely a function of the fact that Owen was writing later, and was writing in relation to Britain – the only industrialised economy of the time!

However, what Marx also goes on to say is that due to this the Utopians were forced to look to other social forces to bring about their ideas of the new society. In effect, they looked to convincing the bourgeoisie, or at least sections of it, of the idea that socialism was a more rational system. They then go on to say that once the working class DOES emerge as a significant social force, the potential THEN exists for recognising its historic role, and for connecting to it the ideas of Communism. It is the fact, that these propaganda groups DO NOT do that, that they remain as propaganda groups, that they continue to relate to other social forces for the achievement of their aims that Marx and Engels then declare increasingly turn these groups into not “Utopian Socialists”, but the kind of “Reactionary Socialists” they also describe in the “Manifesto”, those who in order to pursue their ideas of opposition to Capital, are prepared to look not forwards, but to look backwards, to align themselves with all kinds of reactionary ideas and forces.

That is precisely what we see today in the actions of groups like the SWP, of the Stalinists, and some of the other ex-Trotskyist groups.

Arthur Bough said...

To Montreal Part 2.

If you read Lenin’s writings towards the end of the 19th century you will see a similar picture. There too there was a profusion of small propaganda groups. Again that was no coincidence. At that time there was no real Russian working class. Russia was rapidly industrialising during this period, but the size of the working class in terms of the overall population was tiny. Its mass organisations were only just developing, and then in difficult conditions under Tsarist oppression. But, Lenin recognised the need to bring these propaganda groups together, and to link them to the working class, such as it was. The history of that in terms of simply merging these assorted groups together is instructive. In large part, again it mirrors the situation today. The differences and petty rivalries between them, meant that where unity was achieved it was precarious and fractious. It kept blowing apart. It is only when the working class begins to really develop when the RSDLP is able to connect to it that a more stable basis for building a Workers Party arises. Even then, though for different reasons, the RSDLP becomes divided between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

My point here is that unlike the early 19th century in Britain, or the late 19th century in Russia, a very large working class DOES exist. Not only does it exist, but its mass organisations – the Trade Unions and the Social Democratic Parties exist. The time for the activity of the small propaganda groups is long gone in that respect. The task of Marxists is to relate to those mass organisations, and to the third wing of the workers movement – the Co-operatives. The propaganda groups still have a function, to discuss, to theorise, to understand, and thereby to raise up the movement as a whole. But, for a Marxist that can only be done through praxis, by actually immersion in the workers movement.

I’d suggest reading my blog Marxists and the Workers Party , and in particular, Engels comments in relation to the building of a Workers Party in the US.

Arthur Bough said...

Montreal Part 3

“With reference to the LP, your logic seems to be saying that Marxists should not indulge in equality communism etc but build structures and that the immediate task is to criticise and change the LP's inadequate democratic structure.”...

No, almost the exact opposite. I won’t say that I care nothing about the inadequate democratic structure of the LP, but for now, next to nothing. My basic argument is this. Fundamental principles.

1. The social force which will bring about socialism is the working class, and only the working class.

2. It will not achieve that automatically, but only as a result of becoming class conscious i.e. of recognising its own interests in creating such a society, of becoming itself the owner of the means of production.

3. It will not achieve that class consciousness spontaneously – or at least if it could, it would take centuries – because it requires not just experience, but scientific understanding.

4. That means that Marxists have to support the working class, by providing that understanding, by teaching the working class how to analyse and understand society for themselves, and thereby achieve that class consciousness, so that the working class can ITSELF act to change society. The real job of a Marxist is not to act as a leader, but to act as a teacher.

5. All learning is best done in relation to actuality. Workers can more quickly learn about society, and about their own potential to change society by their own experience. To understand that a society CAN function by workers owning and controlling the means of production it is best to be able to demonstrate this in practice by workers IN REALITY owning and controlling the means of production – i.e. establishing Co-operatives of various types. Similarly, the lesson that only if such a method of production is carried out on a large scale, by Co-operatives of all sorts working together etc. and the lesson that the bosses will do all in their power to destroy and frustrate such workers ownership and control can be learned.

6. Consequently, Marxists stick with the working class. They have to work out how best to undertake that function of educating the working class, and assisting it in organising, particularly in facilitating its self-activity.

Conclusions from that. Marxists have to work alongside workers on the shop floor, and thereby encourage workplace organisation. Day after day they try to educate workers in how to understand everything that happens, and their work process. They do not set themselves up as “Leaders” as BCFG accuses me in his comments, to whom the workers blindly give their support, but only as teachers. The aim is not to get workers to support a course of action, simply because the Marxist teacher proposes it, but to get the workers to understand their condition, and themselves to understand what course of action they should take themselves! The Marxist encourages the workers not to rely on such “Leaders” – like the TU bureaucracy – but to rely on their own strength and self-activity. If there is a problem in the workplace the Marxist encourages the workers to understand that the solution should be not to call in some bureaucrat, to negotiate with the bosses, but comes from their own immediate collective action.

Arthur Bough said...

Montreal Part 4.

Of course, the Marxist does not REFUSE to take on the position of “Leader” if the workers call on them to assume it. But the Marxist, in such a position uses it only to encourage the above. Nor when called upon by workers does the Marxist refuse to give leadership in the other sense. In some new situation where it is important to take action quickly, the Marxist will at to lead workers who DO follow, not necessarily having fully understood the situation, but have from experience learned to have confidence in their teacher. But, the Marxist must again attempt to use the situation and the experience as a new learning opportunity for the working class, explaining as fully as possible throughout the process, why they propose certain things and so on.

It should be clear from this that I DO NOT see the main purpose of Marxist activity in the Trade Unions and in the workplace as being to get elected to this or that position, nor to get this or that resolution passed at Branch Meetings and so on. Believe me, I have decades of experience of that, and know how easy it is to get elected, and to get resolutions passed that do not in any way reflect the political position of the vast majority of union members! And for a Marxist that is the point. There is no gain in getting elected or getting a resolution passed unless it DOES reflect the politics of the vast majority of workers, unless it does reflect their level of class consciousness. Marx described it as “winning the battle of democracy within the working class.”

The same is true in the LP – Workers Party – and in the Co-operatives. In the local community the Marxist encourages workers to rely on their own collective strength, their common interests, and their self-activity to resolve their problems rather than turning to their local Councillor, or MP or whoever. But, here and now, how is the Marxist to do that? The reality is that the majority of people ARE still attached to the ideas of bourgeois democracy, DO look to their local Councillor etc. for those solutions! That is precisely why Marxists have to undertake that role by working through the existing organisation provided by the Branch LP’s, the basic organisations that continue to be staffed by ordinary workers from within those communities, and through whom most of these problems tend to be channelled. Typically something like, workers from an estate will grab a known LP Councillor or member in the Pub, or club to complain about this or that problem. The Marxist at the Branch meeting then proposes to resolve the problem by organising the residents/tenants through a meeting, to organise a committee, to discuss the problem, to find ways of collective action to resolve it, and so on.

Again, this is pretty independent of the existing democratic or undemocratic structure of the LP. And no one in the LP even today is going to expel you for proposing such a course of action! Yet, such action that encourages the self-activity of workers, that supports their collective organisation, that teaches them to understand both the true nature of the problem they face, and their own collective strength to be able to resolve it, is worth a 1,000 Left-Wing resolutions passed at Party Conference that are totally removed from the real level of class consciousness of workers.

Arthur Bough said...

Montreal Part 5

In both cases, a fundamental aspect of the educating work of the Marxist is to show through such struggles to workers that whether it is in the workplace or in their community, the real cause of their problems, the limitations on their ability to resolve them, even given the immense power of their collective strength, is their lack of ownership – lack of ownership of the means of production in the workplace, lack of ownership of their estates in the community. Only by changing that can those problems be avoided, and dealt with without the continual need to engage in such struggles. Hence the need for them to establish Co-operatives. And so on.

Now, of course, as a Marxist I do not see this as simply a one way process. A dialectical process is going to take place here. At the same time that the workers are raising their class consciousness through this process, there is also a feedback into the Workers Party as a consequence. Whether this feedback results in a Party like the LP being transformed, the Right splitting away, or whether it results in workers deciding that it is more expeditious to create some new more adequate party rather than be engaged in some long battle with that Right-wing, I do not seek to prejudge, but whichever, the process will result in a Workers Party whose programme develops alongside the class consciousness of the working-class, and increasingly comes to meet its objective needs and interests, whose democratic structure will also be transformed as a result of that pressure from an assertive class conscious class – just as the Trade Unions and existing Co-ops would be transformed in that process.

And, the more that happens, the more the mass organisations become transformed the greater the potential for organising and educating the class becomes, the greater potential to exert pressure within society becomes. The more heightened becomes the class struggle. But, it is that way round in which things must happen, not the attempt to reclaim the LP, or to democratise the LP, or to create some new Party.

A couple of years ago. I spoke to a comrade of mine who was a member of Socialist Organiser with me in the late 70’s early 80’s. He told me he was using this method as a LP Branch Secretary in fighting the BNP. He’s a Port Vale supporter, and he said his LP Branch had produced originally some anti-BNP leaflets, and went to the supporters and distributed them, and from that organised a meeting with sympathetic supporters, who then formed an organisation to do the job of producing and distributing the leaflets and opposing the BNP. A small example, but a demonstration of how a small number of LP activists can use the organisation and resources as a lever to mobilise and organise a much larger mass.

For a more detailed example read my blog Pits, Pong and Politics .

It shows how even with a very right-wing, very undemocratic LP structure, its not only possible to carry out this strategy, but how the kind of feedback loop referred to above can work.

Arthur Bough said...

To BCFG Part 1

“I do get it, you just miss the point of my questions.”..

No clearly you do not get it!

”What I did question was your assertion that Marxists should fall in with whatever party is the most popular among the workers over some undefined period of time.”I haven’t said that Marxists should “Fall in” with whichever is the most popular Party with workers at any particular time. I have said that Marxists stick with the workers in order to support them, and to enable them to develop their class-consciousness. Simply because, say in an election more workers voted Tory than voted Labour would not cause me to argue that Marxists should all leave the LP, and go to join the Tories!!! The point of working through the LP or any other similar party in similar conditions, is merely what flows from the need to maintain that link with the working class, and to be able to have a channel through which the task of promoting its self-activity can be achieved. But, the self-activity itself is not some standalone end in itself. The self-activity is the means by which the working class achieves class consciousness, by which it regains control over its life.

“I don't see how these Marxists could express themselves within these parties seen as they would be openly trying to destroy them. I think thoroughly debased parties such as the BNP and the Nazi's must be exceptions to your rule. This is my problem with your fundamentalism, there is no room for exceptions!” You keep throwing out this label of “fundamentalism” as yet another insult, but never explain what you mean by it. Of course, Marxists if forced to work in a fascist Party do not openly say, “We are aiming to destroy you!” Marxists would as previously stated aim to utilise the obvious contradictions within such a Party to blow it apart, and to split workers away from it. They would, for example, concentrate on supporting and propagandising for those aspects of the fascists programme that were anti-Capitalist, drawing out the obvious conclusions from them, or more precisely enabling workers to draw those conclusions.

“I actually think a rising BNP to a level where they started to rival and overtake Labour (very unlikely in my view) would likely create a radical split between workers, which could have a positive side. (It could reenergise the left).”

All the evidence is against it. In Germany, many Stalinists, and Social Democrats, actually became Nazis – and not to work inside the Party on the basis stated above. It would mark a sever defeat for the working class, and all such defeats going back to the 19th century, and witnessed during the 1930’s and 1980’s have gone alongside a big drop in class consciousness, and the radicalisation and combativity of the class.

Arthur Bough said...

Part 2

“In this case Marxists would have to oppose the BNP and shout across the barricades to the deluded workers, "get over here you numbnuts" or words to that affect.”

I don’t ever think that Marxists condemn workers for being confused about their objective interests, or simply shout at them to wake up. They try to win workers away from those ideas by whatever means they can as suggested above. But, Marxists distinguish – not just in terms of fascist organisations – between workers who are deluded and confused and drawn to bourgeois or reactionary ideas, and the hardcore, the leaderships of such parties who act consciously as the agents of the bourgeoisie in one of its masks. To the latter Marxists can only have unremitting hostility and criticism – though how they formulate this is a matter of tactics. I think, personally, that some of the language used to attack LP and TU leaders by Marxists has at times been counter-productive, because in conditions where a large majority of workers e.g. in the LP see those leaders as THEIR leaders, such visceral denunciation is often seen as a denunciation of them, of the ideas they hold too! You can show that those ideas are wrong by much better methods.

“However, back in the real world, Marxists just have to put up with the Labour party, warts and all.” No we don’t as I’ve set out above, anymore than we have to put up with Capitalism warts and all. Our job is to change society and its component parts, not put up with it!

“Anyway you constantly talk about supporting the workers but in actuality you are trying to lead them in a certain direction. (Nothing wrong with that). It is only your moral subjective view that you are supporting them.” Nothing moral or subjective about it. I do not seek to lead the workers in a particular direction. Marx himself was quite clear on this matter, for example, in opposing giving such prescriptions to workers about how they created Co-operatives. Our task is precisely to support workers in the way described above in my reply to Montreal, to enable them to understand their position, and to analyse society for themselves, and thereby become fully class conscious. The understanding of society and of workers position within it is not a moral or subjective matter, but a matter of scientific enquiry and understanding. The Marxist’s task is to provide that scientific method to the working class, just as a Chemistry teacher provides the scientific method to the student to be able to undertake experiments with chemicals, and thereby create new compounds.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

That leafleting campaign against the BNP has obviously failed miserably as reality comes crashing in. The high culture of capitalism that you espouse is creating not more class consciousness but less! All that the “high culture” of capitalism has created is apathy and distraction, surely the reason for the MP expenses scandal is a vegetative public, happy to devolve power and democracy completely.

Anyway, if in the unlikely event the BNP became the long term successor of the Labour Party, would I join it and engage in the “Marxist duty” you have described. No way! I would oppose it completely, from the outside and watch it self destruct.
Now you always accuse me of being out of step with socialist current thought, I would be interested to see a straw poll of the left to see who would be willing to join you in the ranks of the fascists, even for your noble reasons. I am guessing it would be about as popular as giving every MP a free floating duck house!


(Disclaimer: The following is in no way a rejection of science or a Talibanesque reaction against it)

You said,

“Nothing moral or subjective about it. I do not seek to lead the workers in a particular direction. Marx himself was quite clear on this matter, for example, in opposing giving such prescriptions to workers about how they created Co-operatives. Our task is precisely to support workers in the way described above in my reply to Montreal, to enable them to understand their position, and to analyse society for themselves, and thereby become fully class conscious. The understanding of society and of workers position within it is not a moral or subjective matter, but a matter of scientific enquiry and understanding.”

I don’t accept your assertion that Marxism is free of subjectivity and morality. I think it is practically impossible to keep those things out of human endeavours. You often subjectively call people demagogues for example.

You portray science here as some alien/mystical pursuit, outside humanity itself but once discovered you change forever and occupy the same mystical ground. This is not uncommon, especially among scientists themselves and something I am sure Marx was guilty of. Take Richard Dawkins, he often uses the argument that scientists are always steadfastly objective, that if their life’s work was proven wrong, they would merrily and graciously accept it, that they are free of any trace of ego or fundamentalism and some would argue humanity. This is of course total bollocks and only describes a utopian view of scientists.

Reality is different, the type of science conducted at any time reflects the existing society, e.g. the science of finding out which bomb does the maximum damage is not some innocent alien “scientific enquiry” to use your words but has a definite purpose, loaded with morality and subjectivity. The science of management in a capitalist system would not be the same as one under socialism.

To get back to your point that you are teaching workers a science free of morality, why should workers devote time looking into and understanding their place within society as a class, why not devote time to finding a way to get rich quick or something like that? The answer I believe is partly moral and subjective. Hence, “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to loose but your chains”. (I notice that you only ever quote the first bit)


Getting back to the No2theEU argument

I actually agree with the socialist party on the EU issue, you can’t get an integrated Europe under this present system, imposed from the top, the workers that you “support”, don’t want it. The socialist party point out that West European countries still spend 86% of their income on goods or services made or provided at home and only 10% on goods from elsewhere in the EU. They also make the point that fewer than 2% of Europeans work in another EU country.

Arthur Bough said...

BCFG,

Its becoming clearewr that my description of you as a Stalinist was wrong, and that you are just a spammer.

No the leafletting campaign was not a failure, but one campaign cannot overcome all of the other factors icnluding the general policy of the left, which is leaving the door open to the BNP.

In never said that the opportunities that Capitalism provides for the working class to access Education and Culture i.e. the "Civilising Mission" that Marx speaks of automtaically raises workers class consciousness, anymore than Marx himself claimed that. We both undertsand Dialectics and the complexity of society that you clearly do not, who sees things only in black and white moral and subjective terms. It does, however, provide the opporunity.

As for the BNP and the left, I can tell you for a fact that even today the Left has people who are members of the BNP.

The description of people as demagogues is not a subjective description but an objective one, consistent with the Marxist method.

I don't accept your argument in relation to science and scientists. There may be individual cases opf the sort you describe,but their are more cases of scientists who have accepted they were wrong. More importantly, the scientific community as a whole recognises when a theory has been disproved and moves on. Were that not the case then Einstein could never have displaced Newton.

Workers DO try to find ways to get rich quick!!!! That is why so many do the Lottery, or the Pools or play bingo! But, experience shows them on a day to day level that their interests are served by collective action, which is why they created Trade Unions. There was nothuing moral or subjective in that, it was pure self-interest.

As for "You have nothing to lose but your chains", I think the meaning has been groslly distorted. Marx meant as he saus in the Grundrisse, that however affluent workers became they would still be workers i.e. still chained to Capital. Lassalleanism and Stalinism has distorted that meaning to suggest that workers have no material possessions to lose, which is clearly false. Because, I accept what marx and Engels said that what they left their inheritors was a method and not a Bible, I choose to use the method rather than simply parrot like some "true beleiver" this or that mantra.

On the EU you clearly do not agree with the SP. The argument you put forward is one against the EU, and the SP are not against the EU.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

Spammer, eh?

You said,

“I never said that the opportunities that Capitalism provides for the working class to access Education and Culture i.e. the "Civilising Mission" that Marx speaks of automtaically raises workers class consciousness”

But the evidence shows that it does the exact opposite, that consumerism creates apathy and hedonism and atomises the working class. Where is your scientific method?

You said,

“As for the BNP and the left, I can tell you for a fact that even today the Left has people who are members of the BNP.”

I think infiltrating the BNP with a few spies is all very well and a logical tactic but that is not what we were arguing over is it.

You said,

“The description of people as demagogues is not a subjective description but an objective one”

Bollocks. You are like an MP, you make up your own rules.

You said,

“Workers DO try to find ways to get rich quick!!!! That is why so many do the Lottery, or the Pools or play bingo! But, experience shows them on a day to day level that their interests are served by collective action, which is why they created Trade Unions. There was nothuing moral or subjective in that, it was pure self-interest”

Trade unions are on the decline and lottery playing is on the up. Does this mean that Lottery playing is now more logical than joining unions?

On the science issue,

That why I put the disclaimer in. In the long term certain truths do reveal themselves but you seem to be saying science is outside of society and scientists on some pedestal.

Anyway there is a world of difference between the science of cosmology and that of economics, the main difference being that humans are central to the science. This inevitably means that economics is more subjective than the science of cosmology etc. Even so, there is still much dispute even within this field and Fred Hoyle went to his grave believing in the steady state theory of the Universe. Take a modern science such as climate change, most scientists believe that global warming is man made, a very real danger and drastic action is needed but that doesn’t stop some scientists proposing the opposite view, with some people prepared to follow it. And where is the biggest argument within this science, it is on economics, with people like Lomborg proposing taking no action whatsoever, even when faced with the prospect of vast areas of the planet becoming inhabitable and it can be no coincidence that right wing governments line up to appoint him and advise them.
Maybe in a society built on markets, finding a gap in those markets probably extends to science, hence a book entitled “There is no global warming”, is likely to be a best seller.

You said,

“On the EU you clearly do not agree with the SP. The argument you put forward is one against the EU, and the SP are not against the EU.”

On the contrary, I just take their point that the current EU cannot work and must be radically changed, with action from the bottom up and not top down.

Arthur Bough said...

Yes you certainly appear to be a spammer as now you make no attempt to make socialist arguments, simply to put forward arguments.

Your argument that workers are being embourgeoisified by consumerism was made by bourgeois sociology during the 1960’s and shown to be false by Marxist sociologists then. Your repetition of that bourgeois argument today is still false.

As for the BNP argument we can only deal with the situation as it exists not your hypothetical situation. What is obvious is that if the BNP WERE a dominant party then your idea of being in some alternative party shouting to the workers in the BNP is fantasy. History shows what happens to alternative parties once fascist parties are allowed to acquire the dominance you described.

Describing someone as a demagogue is just as objective for me as describing someone as a Catholic. It does not at all require making up rules!

On the Lottery and Trade Unions I didn’t say that either was necessarily logical. I said, that experience led workers to create Trade Unions. They did so out of a desire to improve their own living standards – just as they do the Lottery or Pools. That is they acted out of objective self-interest not your moral quest for righteousness.

On science, of course, scientists are part of society. Of course, that means that the nature of that society frames the nature of scientific research etc. But, that does not change the nature of the scientific method. Yes, there may be some scientists who are unscrupulous and paid servants of the bourgeoisie, but in the main they are not, and it does not particularly pay the bourgeoisie that they should be. Even in Nazi Germany scientists were led to conclusions that completely contradicted the Nazis racial theories for instance. The whole basis of science is that there are no absolute truths, but that does not mean that there are no provisional truths upon, which the majority of scientists, and society as a whole can proceed. It is the difference between the Marxist method of working on the basis of objective testable facts, and your religious method of simply holding a set of beliefs without any basis of facts or rational argument, and of simply hurling accusations at others again without any substantiation of those accusations. As I said the basic method on the Internet of the spammer.

Your comments on the EU were a good example. The original comments you gave had nothing to do with showing that the EU “could not work”. But, your latest comment on that is false too. The SP do not claim that the EU cannot work. That would be stupid anyway, because its been working for quite some time!

BCFG said...

Boffy,

To compare me to Bourgeois sociologists is exactly like me comparing you to Melanie Phillips.
Now many bourgeois sociologists repeat your mantra about people acting out of self interest, doesn't make you bourgeois does it?

If you could expand on why it is you think consumerism has not had the effects I descibed I would be interested to hear them. I am going on what I see in reality, where does your evidence come from, where are the testable facts, been as you are on your high horse about providing arguments.

On science, do you follow the advice of the worlds top climate scientists or the minority/discredited view of Lomborg?

If the CURRENT EU is working in the opinion of the SP why are they running a campaign called NO2EU?
Explain the rationality behind that please professor.

Arthur Bough said...

I didn't compare you to bouregois sociologists. I said that the argument you put forward - the embouregoisement theory - was put forward by bouregois sociologists in the 1960's, and was destroyed by Marxist sociologists.

Before I waste my time providing you with the facts proving that rejection of embouregoisement theory still holds, perhaps you would like to provide the facts proving your thesis that it does as opposed to simply telling us how things "appear" to be to you!!!

On Lomborg, I'd advise you to go back and look at what Lomborg says, as its quite different to what you claim here.

On No2EU, I'd suggest you read what the SP say. Their lead candidate Dave Nellis makes clear he does not support withdrawal from the EU, which would be the logical conclusion from opposition. The SP make clear that they disagree with much of the Nationalist sentiment contained in the No2EU Platform which was set up by the Stalinists before the SP were able to participate in its formulation. The SP are only interested in using No2EU as the basis of establishing a Labour Party Mark 2. I'd again suggest you actually read some of the stuff and try to udnerstand it before you pronounce upon it. But, then as a spammer clearly all you want to do is waste people time responding to you.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

(I provided plenty of facts re my last response to our sex debate but you failed to respond when these facts were presented. Put a disclaimer on your blog requesting copious facts to back up arguments or you will refuse to respond.)

Anyway, I said consumerism/ “high culture” capitalism has created more apathy/atomisation or embourgoisiement to use your term and generally class consciousness is decreasing not increasing
in line with this increased civilisation; while I recognise there are other factors involved, here are a few facts to back this up:

Fact 1:
Over the last 40 years voter turnout has been steadily declining in the established democracies. This trend has been most strongly felt in the United States, and has been significant in Western Europe and Japan.

Fact 2:
The sharpest falls have come at the beginning of the 90’s, when the effects of Reaganomics and Thatcherism were beginning to peak.

Fact 3:
Those democracies that have higher spend on welfare/social goods have seen less of a decline than those following the Monetarist policy.

Fact 4:
Trade union membership has declined 12% in the UK since the early 90’s, even though research shows unionized workers are better off than non unionized workers.

Fact 5:
Political party’s policies are less concerned about class politics and more about who manages capitalism better. I.e. there has been a shift to the right politically.

Fact 6:
The number of industrial disputes leading to strikes has fallen considerably in the last 3 decades, falling to record lows in the noughties.

Fact 7:
Younger people (18-25) tend to be the most apathetic and the most hedonistic and susceptible to consumerism.

Fact 8:
Consumer driven societies cause the most environmental damage and use up resources quicker. I.e. They show pyschopathic tendancies.

Fact 9:
Beginning in the 1990’s the most frequent reason given for attending college in the USA had changed to making a lot of money, outranking reasons such as becoming an authority in a field or helping others in difficulty.

Fact 10:
In the main companies and corporations have realized that rich consumers are the most attractive targets for marketing their products. The upper class tastes, lifestyles, and preferences, trickle down to become the standard by which all consumers seek to emulate. I.e. it is a negation of class conflict.

I would also argue that there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence also. Personal experience leads me to this conclusion, that is not something that can simply be written off.

While the facts point to the conclusions I have made I do recognise that we are only talking about a short time, historically speaking and that this trend is by no means set in stone. I also need to point out that these stats interest me only from a class consciousness point of view; I am not arguing a return to a time before rampant consumerism, to sumptuary law. Unless you reject the whole concept of consumerism I do not want to get into a general debate about it.

Now can I have your analysis, as I am genuinely interested in the counter argument. My mind is open on this.

I do not want to get into an extensive debate about Lomborg, other than to say most leading scientists reject his view, yet you seem to be going against the view of science.
My argument is that morality/ideology/call it what you want can’t be entirely divorced from some scientific considerations; we will have to disagree on that.

Finally on NO2EU I totally understand their position and would support their logic over yours. (It’s not my fault that your persistent misrepresentation of my view confuses your arguments.)
Your position again shows your lack of support for the workers, something you wear as a badge of honour. It again shows you telling the workers they are wrong, that you are right and that they should follow your “teachings”. Call it leadership, call it teaching, it isn’t support.

Arthur Bough said...

”(I provided plenty of facts re my last response to our sex debate but you failed to respond when these facts were presented. Put a disclaimer on your blog requesting copious facts to back up arguments or you will refuse to respond.)”I need no such disclaimer both because its my blog and I will decide if an when I will respond, and because I would expect any honest contributor to back up their arguments with facts, anyway.

”Fact 1:
Over the last 40 years voter turnout has been steadily declining in the established democracies. This trend has been most strongly felt in the United States, and has been significant in Western Europe and Japan.”
Actually, voter turnout in the US presidential elections was at a record high level! Living standards have been rising rapidly in many Asian economies, and in Latin America, with significant indications of increased political activity and class consciousness. However, this argument in fact, contradicts your thesis as is most clearly demonstrated by your next two comments.

”Fact 2:
The sharpest falls have come at the beginning of the 90’s, when the effects of Reaganomics and Thatcherism were beginning to peak.”
Yes, during that period you describe – the period of the Long Wave downturn that began in the late 60’s/ early 70’s workers living standards, the level of “civilisation” was FALLING, and class consciousness soon after was moving in the SAME direction. The same thing was witnessed during the 1920’s and 1930’s! By comparison, the period when Consumerism is most marked – the 1950’s and early 60’s – is marked by the exact opposite. The number of strikes rose sharply, the shop stewards movement took off, and class consciousness could be seen to be rising sharply!!! The same has been true of all previous such periods of rising workers prosperity as Hobsbawm points out in “Industry and Empire”.

“Fact 3:
Those democracies that have higher spend on welfare/social goods have seen less of a decline than those following the Monetarist policy.”
Yes, those that have that higher level of “civilisation”, where workers living standards were maintained rather than being driven down by Monetarist policies!!

”Fact 4:
Trade union membership has declined 12% in the UK since the early 90’s, even though research shows unionized workers are better off than non unionized workers.”
In fact, as this article shows BBC Union Membership since the beginning of the new Long Wave upturn at the end of the 90’s Trade Union membership has stopped falling. The biggest declines came from the late 70’s, again consistent with the onset of the Long Wave downturn, and the decline in “civilisation” attendant upon that. In fact, recent years have shown a repetition of what has happened in previous such cycles – we see a rising tide of workers militancy based upon the increasing confidence that the higher demand for labour creates. As I said some time ago, in this phase of the cycle, that tends to be focussed in countries such as Britain, Western Europe, and the US at first on defensive struggles – those in France and Germany have been the clearest in that, but the refinery strikes in Britain are another, whereas in those economies where rapid growth is occurring in Asia, for example, the struggles already have been far more offensive in nature.

In fact, the level of Trade Union membership at the moment in Britain is HIGHER than the historical average over the last century or so, which is around 25%.

”Fact 5:
Political party’s policies are less concerned about class politics and more about who manages capitalism better. I.e. there has been a shift to the right politically.”
That has ALWAYS been the basis of political parties concerns!!!!

Arthur Bough said...

”Fact 5:
Political party’s policies are less concerned about class politics and more about who manages capitalism better. I.e. there has been a shift to the right politically.”
That has ALWAYS been the basis of political parties concerns!!!!

”Fact 6:
The number of industrial disputes leading to strikes has fallen considerably in the last 3 decades, falling to record lows in the noughties.”


There is a good discussion on it here at Dave Ostler’s blog Dave’s Part . The fact, is that industrial action is increasing despite all of the things working against it. The fact, is that the decline in class consciousness and level of strike action is a result of 30 years of lack of civilisation, of economic decline, NOT the opposite!

”Fact 7:
Younger people (18-25) tend to be the most apathetic and the most hedonistic and susceptible to consumerism.”


And also tend to be the most likely to be engaged in some form of political activity!

”Fact 8:
Consumer driven societies cause the most environmental damage and use up resources quicker. I.e. They show pyschopathic tendancies.”


Not true. The environment in Britain today is MUCH better than it was when I was a kid when building were black, rivers were polluted, the land was scarred and so on. Its poor countries that cannot afford to adopt environmentally friendly measures that proportionally do more damage. That is why as Lomborg says, its important to divert resources to poor countries so that they can adopt environmentally friendly policies, so that they can invest in renewable technologies as opposed to their reliance on fossil fuels etc.

More importantly, this “fact” has nothing to do with the point at issue!

”Fact 9:
Beginning in the 1990’s the most frequent reason given for attending college in the USA had changed to making a lot of money, outranking reasons such as becoming an authority in a field or helping others in difficulty.”


I’d like to see the evidence that the latter was EVER a significant reason for students attending college. It seems to me were it the case that it simply means students are more honest now.

”Fact 10:
In the main companies and corporations have realized that rich consumers are the most attractive targets for marketing their products. The upper class tastes, lifestyles, and preferences, trickle down to become the standard by which all consumers seek to emulate. I.e. it is a negation of class conflict.”


Why is it a negation of class conflict???? Nothing you say here as anything to do with class conflict unless for some strange reason you believe that workers should not be entitled to have the same standard of living as the rich!!!!

”I would also argue that there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence also. Personal experience leads me to this conclusion, that is not something that can simply be written off.”

Yes, it can.

Arthur Bough said...

Even those facts you have presented contradict your thesis. But, the more important point is that Marx says that the rise in living standards, the rise in “civilisation”, are the precondition for workers being able to develop their class consciousness, a NECESSARY, but not a SUFFICIENT condition. Marx does not hold with economic determinism, that is why he argues the need for Marxists to connect with the working class, and within the conditions that this “civilisation” brings to educate the workers, organise them, and thereby develop that class consciousness. It is the failure of this latter that is as much as anything the cause of the lack of class consciousness amongst workers. It is the increasing involvement of the BNP in doing precisely that in involving themselves in Tenants and residents Associations and other Community organisations, and providing immediate solutions to workers problems – even if reactionary immediate solutions – which accounts for the rise both of the BNP, and the growing extent of racist and nationalist ideas.

”I do not want to get into an extensive debate about Lomborg, other than to say most leading scientists reject his view, yet you seem to be going against the view of science.”

Which view of Lomborg is it that you claim leading scientists disagree with???

“Finally on NO2EU I totally understand their position and would support their logic over yours.”

You claimed to be arguing about the SP not No2EU. Which view in particular are you agreeing with over mine???

“Your position again shows your lack of support for the workers, something you wear as a badge of honour. It again shows you telling the workers they are wrong, that you are right and that they should follow your “teachings”. Call it leadership, call it teaching, it isn’t support.”

Disagreeing with No2EU, which almost the entire Left does is not failing to support workers, but refusing to support a bunch of Nationalists whose politics are contrary to the interests of workers!!!!

Llin Davies said...

Whether I am right that BCFG is some kind of political islamist or Boffy is right that he's a spammer the fact remains that all of BCFG's comments are marked by a particular hostility to Boffy and the socialist politics he argues. BCFG's comments are also marked by a continual dishonesty.

He says, that Boffy wears his lack of support for workers as a "Badge of Honour". I find such a statement particularly distasteful. BCFG, doesn't even tell us who he is or what his Labour Movement credentials if any are. Yet a trawl of the Internet will show that Boffy certainly cannot be accused of not supporting workers in struggle.

BCFG seems very happy to simply throw out such insults and accusations, but never to produce any facts. Could he give us one example, of Boffy not supporting workers in struggle?

In fact, reading all of BCFG's comments it is him that supports people like Ahmedinejad and Hamas, rather than the workers who are persecuted by such reactionaries, whilst Boffy consistently argues for the defence of the workers!!! BCFG says nothing about the strike breaking activity and attacks on workers in Venezuela, because it contradicts his cult worship of Chavez.

As I said before thoroughly dishonest, thoroughly reactionary.

Larry Williams said...

I only came across this blog a few weeks ago. I agree with much of what Boffy says. I simply don't understand how BCFG has the nerve to accuse him of not supporting workers.

I tend to agree with Boffy that BCFG is just a spammer. He seems to just want to be argumentative for the sake of it, and doesn't even seem to really understand any of the arguments in which he gets involved. That would be okay if he got involved in discussions on a comradely basis, but his whole approach seems to be simply agressive and accusatory. The Left has had all too much of that kind of behaviour over the years.

BCFG said...

Llin,

At least you have stopped calling me chauvinistic!

You have misread my statement. I was saying Boffy wears his SUPPORT of the workers as a badge of honour, not his lack of support and was pointing out that in the case of NO2EU, this support, that he usually wears as a badge of honour, was missing. So the rest of your polemic is groundless. I don’t think even Boffy read it in that way.

As for hostility, if you look over the history of my debates with Boffy you will clearly see that it is he who started with the personal attacks. I have just dragged myself down to his level of debating. Something I am happy to do, unlike the Bourgeois academics like My Levy.
As for hostility to his socialist arguments, he blames the left for virtually every problem within the Labour movement –he takes hostility to the extreme. And anyway I have a lot of time for his argument that co-operatives and not mass nationalisation represents the correct revolutionary path.

To Larry,

I would advise you to look back over the arguments we have had, going back to 2008 and objectively judge the evolution of my debating style with Boffy.

It would be more helpful if the both of you actually engaged in the arguments and not just throw groundless accusations my way.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

It’s me the reactionary dishonest, toe-rag Hitleresque, chauvinistic moron. (All perfectly acceptable, comradely labels to your sect).

Anyway, here is part 1:

You said,

“Actually, voter turnout in the US presidential elections was at a record high level!”

I was looking at the underlying trend; something any good scientist would do. That is not to ignore the recent election. I am not claiming consumerism totally destroys class consciousness. There are other factors that can negate this.

You said,

“Yes, those that have that higher level of “civilisation”, where workers living standards were maintained rather than being driven down by Monetarist policies!!”

I would claim Sweden is less consumerist than the USA. That is what we are talking about, not standard of living. This is why I reject your application of long wave analysis in relation to this debate. It is why I do not consider the facts I presented as contradicting my point.

You said,

“That has ALWAYS been the basis of political parties concerns!!!!”

I do not agree with this. I believe the politics of the LP have become less class conscious.

You said,

“Not true. The environment in Britain today is MUCH better than it was when I was a kid when building were black, rivers were polluted, the land was scarred and so on. Its poor countries that cannot afford to adopt environmentally friendly measures that proportionally do more damage……….More importantly, this “fact” has nothing to do with the point at issue!”

I suggest you take another look at the carbon emissions table. This is one example of where observation can be misleading. (That is not to say the things you mentioned are not important, he pedantically said so not to encourage Boffy’s cheerleaders)

As for having nothing to do with the issue, I think it represents on a national level the mindset at an individual level. No care for anything outside personal gratification.

BCFG said...

Boffy,

here is part 2:

You said re fact 9,

“I’d like to see the evidence that the latter was EVER a significant reason for students attending college. It seems to me were it the case that it simply means students are more honest now.”

It’s not a hard fact, I’ll give you that. However, I think your answer is quite revealing. Its one thing to hold to the idea that people are naturally inclined to do things that are in their interests, it’s quite another to say humans are driven by greed. I can easily believe people can be driven by pride or a desire to help others.

You said re fact 10,

“Nothing you say here as anything to do with class conflict unless for some strange reason you believe that workers should not be entitled to have the same standard of living as the rich!!!!”

Everything is black and white for you isn’t it!

This is a complicated question.

Should every worker live in a mansion with acres of land, a heated swimming pool? –Not practical I would say. More to the point these lifestyles are the result of capitalist relations.

Should workers desire to live solely off the proceeds of others efforts? –From a socialist point of view, no.

Should workers desire to get control of their own lives and share with each other the proceeds of their labour? –Absolutely.

I think fact 10 is more about the first 2 points and less about the last. It’s not a desire to overthrow a class but become part of it. Whether somewhere in this is a negation of the negation and the roots of your co-operative future, maybe.

It was previously argued,

BCFG:(”I would also argue that there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence also. Personal experience leads me to this conclusion, that is not something that can simply be written off.”)

Boffy:(Yes, it can.)

You say personal experience can be just written off, but I would call this observation. This is a vital tool for any scientist, whether one looking thorugh a microscope or a telescope. To write off observation is totally unscientific on your part.


You said,

“Marx does not hold with economic determinism, that is why he argues the need for Marxists to connect with the working class, and within the conditions that this “civilisation” brings to educate the workers, organise them, and thereby develop that class consciousness. It is the failure of this latter that is as much as anything the cause of the lack of class consciousness amongst workers. It is the increasing involvement of the BNP in doing precisely that in involving themselves in Tenants and residents Associations and other Community organisations, and providing immediate solutions to workers problems – even if reactionary immediate solutions – which accounts for the rise both of the BNP, and the growing extent of racist and nationalist ideas.”

Well I did say consumerism wasn’t the only factor. I think this is a fair point, to some extent the left have abandoned the workers in relation to the above BNP activities. So yes, maybe rising education standards do arm workers for the battles ahead but consumerism acts as a sedative.

I am not getting into a debate about Lomborg as I could write a novel on this.
All I will say is that the scientific consensus argues that his methodology is flawed, distorted and dishonest. Only the corporate interest groups and a few Marxist fundamentalists take him seriously. The latter usually out of some mistaken notion that the climate argument is Malthusian.

As for NO2EU, I think their views represent mass opinion on the EU more so than the LP. I also think that this view is not uncommon just in our Island nation, but across Western Europe. Anti common market sentiments on the left have not come just as a reaction to the BNP, they have existed for decades, The EU in its current form will not increase internationalism but exacerbate racism/nationalism. We should stand in opposition to it, in its current form. We should take a pro-active stance against it, not reactive fundamentalising, i.e. sticking to the covenant of Marx.

Arthur Bough said...

“I would claim Sweden is less consumerist than the USA. That is what we are talking about, not standard of living. This is why I reject your application of long wave analysis in relation to this debate. It is why I do not consider the facts I presented as contradicting my point.”
Spam. Your argument was against my use of Marx’s concept of the “Civilising Mission” of Capitalism i.e. the raising of living standards.

On the LP more spam. You state an opinion once again without evidence to back it up.
On Carbon Emissions, more spam. Measured in terms of per Capita or per unit of GDP developed economies produce less carbon emissions.

On US students, more spam. You admit you have no facts to back it up, and then try to divert attention by misrepresenting what I said. I made no comments about greed as a motivation only self-interest. Under Capitalism human nature is shaped by the productive and class relations so that such considerations dominate. Socialists argue that co-operation is normal for human beings but class society makes what is normal abnormal.
On rising living standards meaning an end to class struggle, more spam. You give no argument to support this contention. As for what is practical etc. that is not determinable from here. About twenty years ago, a prominent Marxist economist said, “well probably we won’t be able to run to giving every worker a Video recorder under socialism”. Today, even tribesmen in Afghanistan take owning such equipment for granted.
As for your further comments on this about workers living off others efforts again its spam, and a repetition of your usual spammers attempt to provoke hostility by accusing someone of saying something they haven’t said.

The fact that you are a spammer is further demonstrated by the fact that you began by saying

"I actually broadly agree with your views in this article" i.e. support for working through the LP and rejecting the sectarianism of No2EU, and then forget you have said that in order to take up an oppositional stance supporting "No2EU". In other words, spamming pure and simple, simply argument for the sake of it.
More spam on Lomborg, and No2EU. You clearly know nothing about either which is why you fail to be specific. Your jibes about Marxist fundamentalists and so on show that all you are engaged here is a spammers fishing expedition. I see no point in wasting more of my time responding to spam.

BCFG said...

Um, Nurse for Boffy.

Just to clarify a few points before my parting shot,

I broadly agreed that the LP was the best vehicle for political engagement.
That was the thrust of your argument in this article. It wasn’t dealing directly with NO2EU; you had already done this in a previous article.

Just one point on the US and Sweden, I would argue that the “civilising” mission is moving in the US direction and away from the Social Democracy of Sweden. Therefore to analyse US consumerism and its effect on class consciousness seems an important and necessary thing to do.

I argue that consumerism is a negation of class conflict, hardly an uncommon view and you respond with your pathetic, childish, I am taking my ball home rant. This is a classic response of the fundamentalist.

You said,

“On rising living standards meaning an end to class struggle, more spam. You give no argument to support this contention."

This is spam, I have never said such a thing. But you obviously believe in intellectual apartheid, one rule for you, another for me.

On the US students, this was taken from a scientific study. I was just acknowledging that it is not hard fact, not a set of numbers. Open to interpretation. (Your response was idiotic)

Your rant about everyone owning a lap top is typical of your hysterical response to my points; in this case the desire to live like the rich and famous is not exactly class conflict. Your analogy is cretinous anyway, a lap top can be carried by a child, a mansion and heated swimming pool uses vast tracts of land, your moronic, Lomborgian comparing apples with bananas doesn’t surprise.

Speaking of Lomborg, it is telling that he is your go to guy on environmental issues, consider that “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was so offensive to the scientific community that Scientific American published a ten-page evisceration authoured by four actual researchers, including John Holdren, Obamas scientific advisor. It exposes you for what you are, a fundamentalist, this is enough evidence for any scientific mind to accept.

You have provided zero facts to show class consciousness is rising with capitalisms civilising mission, absolutely zero, nada. All you can tell us when not trotting out fundamentalist bullshit is the bleedin obvious fact that we are now coming out of recssion.

Your fascistic, arrogant, supremicist response to my points makes a mockery of your Marxist engagement with the workers, you are a fraud. Exposing you has been well worth the effort, my work is now done. Goodbye.

Larry Williams said...

BCFG,

Thank you for your comments. I looked back through all the posts as you suggested to what I think must have been the first exchanges between you and Boffy in a post entitled "The Lessons of Gaza".

The facts do not support your contention. Not only was your tone fairly hostile from the beginning, for example accusing Boffy of not criticising Israel when his post quite clearly did so, but despite his polite responses to you, in your post of 17th January 2009, you began with the provocative and insulting statement "Boffy, the Neo-Liberal"!

As he points out in his reply, if you make such charges against a socialist without any evidence to support it, then its not a political argument it is simply an insult. And, unfortunately, like most of the posts I have read from you here, you did not produce any arguments, let alone facts to back up your insult.

Despite his measured response that certainly did not descend to such insults, in your next post you accuse him of being no different to George Bush! Again despite his measured response to that you goad him even further in your next post now comparing him to Christopher Hitchens.

Your method is exactly that of the spammer ratcheting up your level of abuse each time in order to provoke a response.

Having then given several posts that again have the hallmark of spam in that they contained large chunks of text simply cut and pasted in without any apparent udnerstanding of their meaning or any real relevance to the discussion, and despite agains Boffy's measured response, you then start your post of 24th January with the comment, "Thanks for that barrage of imperialist apology which is prevalent in your work," in other words yet another groundless insult!

Having failed to provoke the kind of hostility you seek as a spammer you begin your next comment with,

"Your work is full of slavering, servile celebrations of Imperialism’s achievements, I invite the reader to read your blog and make up their own minds."

Where you don't have these kinds of insults, your accusations of pro-imperialism and Zionism, of being no different than Melanie Phillips your posts in that thread were simply full of what appear to be deliberate misrepresentations again designed to provoke a hostile response. To be honest I'm surprised Boffy kept his cool with you for so long.

As for your comments here in your latest posts they seem to be yet more vaccuous spam. I don’t know much about Lomborg to comment, but I did read two of his articles linked to by Boffy in another post. You seem to be accusing him of denying Global Warming in your comments here, but its hard to tell because you refuse to be specific. In fact, its clear that Lomborg does not deny that, if I understand correctly he was a member of Greenpeace!!! His objection is that the solutions are framed by big business, and are ineffective, not to mention not being implemented.

Llin Davies said...

BCFG,

The only reason I did not refer to you as a chauvinist in my last post is because your own words characterise you that way without it needing to be said!

On every issue you have commented on the reactionary nature of your politics comes out. Whether that's because you really are a reactionary, or because you are a spammer forced to adopt a reactionary stance in order to place yourself in opposiiton to Boffy's arguemnts doesn't really matter. The fact, is that the persona you have adopted, the arguments you make are reactionary.

The more I think about it the more I think Boffy is right that you are just a spammer. That explains why the persona you have adopted seems to udnerstand so little of the actual socialistic arguments you claim to support, and why you contradict yourself so frequently - for example, as Boffy points out here your change of stance within a single argument about your attitude to No2EU and he LP.

On Lomborg, I'm no expert either Larry, but I agree that BCFG again does what he has always done - he says he opposed something, but refuses to give any arguments explaining why he opposes it for fear of being tied down. Its one reason I think Boffy is probably right that he's a spammer.

I would take issue with Boffy on one point, though, Lomborg's position seems to be to argue that Government's and Capitalist institutions should undertake this transfer of resources to developing economies. Surely, this is soemthing that a socialist would argue those institutions will not do, and we should not sow illusions that they will do. Surely, a socialist environmental policy requires international action by workers.

It is, though, another example of the reactionary politics put forward by BCFG. As a spammer adopting a pseudo Left persona he adopts the charicature of what he thinks is the Left posiiton on the Environment. But, the left even more than the enlightened bourgeoisie - who also recognise this fact - know that issues such as the Environment can only be dealt with on a scale greater than the bourgois state. It is one reason why socialists would refuse to support the nation state as opposed to a larger formation such as the EU. But, that is exactly what BCFG in order to maintian his opposiitonal stance is forced to do, to support the British bourgeois state against that wider formation of the EU. A thoroughly reactionary position yet again.

Arthur Bough said...

BCFG,

Fortunately a final word. I am very, very grateful for this last post, because it shows in greater detail than I ever could have done what you really are - a spammer. The venom with which you write is even greater than that of your previous poison pen missives, the mixing together of various points of half-baked, half understood issues demonstrates precisely the method of the spammer whose only goal is to provoke a similarly vitiolic response rather than to engage in rational debate.

The only thing you have exposed in all of your writings has been yourself. Exposed as a spammer, and exposed for the udnerlying reactionary ideas you hold in your real as well as your adopted character. I'm glad you will be taking your spam elsewhere no doubt using a different name and character. My advice would be if this is what gets you off, get a life!

Llin Davies said...

Boffy,

Nicely said. I think you were right, definitely he was just a spammer the last post was proof of it. I think you really stung him by pointing out the way he'd flipped on the LP/No2EU question, which showed he was just spamming!

To say,

"I broadly agreed that the LP was the best vehicle for political engagement.

That was the thrust of your argument in this article. It wasn’t dealing directly with NO2EU; you had already done this in a previous article."

is moronic even for him, being as everyone can see for themselves that the entire post WAS about opposing No2EU here and now and working through the LP, a position he had begun by agreeing with!!!

He'd agreed with it, because he thought he was going to be able to turn the argument around to support his argument in previous posts about supporting clerical-fascists, and his argument that even the BNP could become progressive!!!! When he couldn't do that he tried to find other issues on which to take an oppositional stance, and ended up contradicting himself.

Nice job, but my advice would be in future don't engage with such morons. After all it will probably just be him using a different persona, don't waste your time.

Arthur Bough said...

Llin,

Thanks for your comments. On Lomborg, I think you are right, I should have made that criticism of his position, but this was not really a discussion about Lomborg, it was just spamming by BCFG, a fishing trip trying to find some other statement by which he could provoke a response.

A post on the Environment and a socialist poisiton is needed within, which Lomborg's arguments can be dealt with is needed, but I've already got way too many things on the go as well as trying to complete work on my house and other issues to deal with. As well as trying to finish the work on the Economy, I have a large piece of analysis on Venezuela I started a long time ago, another on Cuba, as well as some Economic essays that go back even further.

Anyway, for now I have to get back to mixing some concrete.

TrumptonRiots said...

I have read over these debates and think BCFG is correct in so far as he seemed to be discussing the role of the LP and the BNP in his comments.

Marco said...

In defence of BCFG, Boffy provides links to other articles, this is in effect cut and paste, so I don't see Larry's point here. To reference other people is not a crime is it. Or is BCFG correct, is it one rule for Boffy another for BCFG

MARWRA said...

I am boycotting this site in sympathy with BCFG. What a bunch of arrogant assholes.

You have asked BCFG to get a life and you waste your time writing this to from now on a dwindling audience.

Same goes for Llin, who writes numerous articles about the workers and the workers couldn't give a fuck about anything she writes.

You are oxygen thieves and wasters of internet capacity.

TonyM said...

Larry,

Without realising it you are agreeing with BCFG.

BCFG brought up Lomborg because Boffy had set himself up as the defender of Science. So what is science, a big business conspiracy or is it brilliant people working honestly and independently of the system -maybe yLarry and Boffy could argue this out.

BCFG used Lomborg to parody Boffy's position.

Arthur Bough said...

Trumpton,

Your post of 12:38

You say BCFG was discussing the LP and BNP. You need to be more specific as to how this makes him right! How can it be compatible to begin by saying,

“I actually broadly agree with your views in this article”,

an article which spelled out the reactionary Nationalist position of No2EU, and the need to work through the LP, for him then to go on to attack Montreal, saying,

“and would contend that Monty (who also doesn’t give his real name I have noticed) occupies the same fantasy world you live in when debating with me.” because Montreal had argued that it was time to build something outside he LP, but then several days later without any explanation to decide after all that,

“Finally on NO2EU I totally understand their position and would support their logic over yours.”?????????????????

If that is not political schizophrenia I don’t know what is!!!!!

Marco,

Your post of 12:43.

The point is that you (sorry BCFG) simply cuts and pastes huge slabs of material that are irrelevant to the point at issue, and which often contradict the point he’s trying to make! Take the quotes from Lenin on Imperialism, which he claimed to agree with, but which contradicted his professed support for the Islamists!

MARWRA,

Your post of 12:50.

The only wasters of Internet Capacity here are BCFG and his dolls. Oops, has that given the game away that I knew all along who BCFG was?

TonyM,

Your post of oh look 12:56.

Good to here from you along with all the other dolls, just like a tea party! You, (sorry BCFG), didn’t raise Lomborg other than the fact that I had referred to him briefly in a number of posts, and he thought he’d go on a fishing trip to find another basis for another argument. He hoped all along to provoke me into deleting his posts, or threatening to ban him from the blog in the way I was banned from the AWL site, and the way I was threatened to be banned from the Shiraz Socialist site. That was never going to happen a) because I’m not a Stalinist who believes in banning people, when their ideas can do them enough damage on their own, and b) because I knew by various means who I was dealing with from the beginning!

Larry Williams said...

Whoa. This is out of hand. I’ve read a number of threads here that I was really impressed with, but this debate is ridiculous. Its everything that is bad with the Left. Having said that, and looking back best I can I can’t really blame Boffy. I came here having read the Public Sociologist site for some time, and came across a comment there, which mentioned Boffy’s Blog. It seems to completely contradict the message BCFG puts forward here. It said,

“All these blogs are excellent and deserve a wider readership. But there's a few that stand out for some reason or another. First there's Boffy's Blog, written by Stoke labour movement legend, Arthur Bough. His blog is an eclectic mix of polemic, Marxism, current affairs commentary, essays and labour movement history. The AWL apparently banned him from their site for a short period - does that serve as a recommendation? ;)”

I don’t know what this legendary status amounts to as I’m not from Stoke, but given that Phil is a member of the SP, and Boffy used to be a member of the AWL, and continues to write articles critical of the SP, such as his comments on the AVPS site over No2EU, it seems unlikely that he would use such a description lightly. I hadn't come here at that time, its only after Boffy had a long running debate with a BNPer at the AVPS site that I began to track his posts. To be honest I was surprised at BCFG's attitude, which is why I decided to comment.

I am a bit confused, though, Boffy about your comments here about knowing who BCFG is, references to dolls and so on. Could you explain?

Llin Davies said...

Larry,

I don't know what Boffy means either about knowing who BCFG is, but I understand what he means about dolls. Four people all post comments supporting BCFG, each without giving any real substantive arguments for their support, and each does so about 5 minutes apart!!!! Beggars belief that this was just coincidence.

MARWRA, particularly picks me out for some reason, and speaks about all these posts I write, about which the workers apparently don't give a fuck. Even the tone of this is not consistent with that previously adopted let alone the fact that MARWRA has not had occasion to speak to me about any of these many posts.

No, its just the typical trick of a spammer who uses multiple persona. I'm guessing Boffy recognises the writing style or something of the person behind all these "dolls".

Arthur Bough said...

Larry,

I don't wish to declare what I know and how I know it right now. It would involve betraying confidences, and I need to keep open sources of information. As the expenses scandal shows there is an optimal time for making revelations.

On the dolls, Llin is largely correct. You can never be actually sure when a spammer is using multiple persona, but there are always clues when you've been doing it for a long time. There are turns of phrase and ways of writing. In literary circles its called the "Writers Voice", but you normally need a reasonable amount to detect it. But, like with the ventriloquists dolls the underlying character always sneaks through. A clever spammer will use dolls that either criticise the main character, or else strike a supportive pose in respect of the target. That way they might get e-mail contact that provides information that the spammer can use. In addition if and when the dolls flip to support the main character it makes it look like they have won some victory over the target.

Sometimes they give it aay in the names they choose. For example, I had a long running debate series of debates similar to those here on a Libertarian Discussion Board. The spammer's main character chose a name that ended in ster. Other dolls had names such as abxhgv or else another's initials were R.R. There appears no connection, but if you were a collector of DC Comics in your youth the connection becoems apparent. Many of the villains had names that ended in ster. One of Superman's opponents was name Mr. Mxmptlk, whilst running through the story was the L.L. connection - KaL EL, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lex Luther and so on.

In the end it doesn't matter. I was happy to confront some of the ideas that BCFG put down to the extent it allowed me to say things I'd have wanted to say at some point anyway. His task was to get me to lose my rag, to resort to abuse and ultimately to ban him or threaten to ban him. When it became obvious that I wasn't going to do that, but simply ignore him his game was up, and he might as well pick up his dolls.

In the end, I have the advantage that I'm not a member of any organisation. I don't write this blog to make money, or to win people over to some organisation. Its nothing more than like writing a Diary, and the setting down of ideas that I would have been considering for myself anyway. To the extent that that feeds into a wider Marxist debate all the better.

Anonymous said...

Jesus H Fucking Christ. When you have calmed down and grown up, Arthur, if ever, hopefully you will look back on this and other threads and realise what an insufferably arrogant sectarian windbag you are. What a terrible advert for what purports to be socialist politics and Marxist analysis. I'm only glad so few people will ever read it.
I can't imagine a single one of the many hundreds of thoughtful, committed and challenging shop stewards I have taught getting past your first three contributions without laughing themselves to death or calling you a complete tosser. Or both.

Arthur Bough said...

For goodness sake. You weren't able to goad me into deleting your posts or stooping to your level of abuse before, so what makes you think that posting your increasingly hysterical poison pn letters anonymously will bring you any more luck????

What was it again that Einstein said about people who keep repeating the same mistake, and each time expect to get a different result?

Given that I have actually BEEN a shop steward for the majority of my adult life rather than having just taught them, I think I have a far better grasp of what a steward would think that you!!! In reality, you will find that they have been laughing at you behind their hands, and saying to themselves, "This tart actually thinks he's one of us"!

That is symptomatic of your contributions here. Pretending to be someone you are not, whilst all the time your underlying reactionary nature, which that approach signifies sneeks through all of your writing.

AS I suggested to you some time ago, get a life, man.