Thursday, 30 July 2015

Gnosticism

Well, up to a point. Doubtless Corbyn is far too left wing to ever be electable, but in a broader sense the poll results quoted above point to the Left’s far greater sophistication than the Right’s when in comes to understanding the real mechanics of power in British politics. Up against a Tory party which suffers the opposite affliction to Labour’s – namely that acquiring or maintaining the status of high office matters far more than any other consideration – true power often belongs to those who can set the agenda and effectively intimidate the Tories into following it.
Cultural Marxism!

You can find this splendid article, and the well-informed comments that follow it here. What is amazing about pieces like this is how they are an almost exact mirror image of the ideological think-pieces on the Left. While the Left imagines itself as weak, the Right imagines the Left as being strong. While the Left considers itself to be marginalised, the Right considers the Left to have insinuated itself into being......the Dominant Ideology.

In fact, contemporary ideologues of both Right and Left share a single philosophical, no theological position, and that is that they are both essentially Gnostic. Both sides believe that they are confronted by a dominant ideology, insinuated into the culture at large by a self-regarding elite, that confounds them at every turn. This "dominant ideology" is a Demiurge type creature that has displaced the true God of the Marxists (Dialectical Materialism) and is currently working to undermine the true God of the Capitalists (The Market). It goes under a variety of names - "Neoliberalism", "Capitalist Realism", "Affective Capitalism" on the Left, "Cultural Marxism", "Political Correctness", "Equality and Diversity" on the Right, and it consists of the basic, but unproven, notion that the public at large are incapable of forming and changing their own ideas and preferences, but are necessarily hoodwinked into their beliefs by elite vested interests. All ideology is top-down because, apparently, Antonio Gramsci said it was.

Oddly though, the rise of Corbyn tends to confound this top-down model. His surge in popularity is an apparent mystery, and is being ascribed to a rising public distaste for silky-smooth career politicians. Perhaps the public are coming to the realisation that "Neoliberalism" no longer works, just as they came to the realisation in 1979 that the post-war consensus no longer worked. Perhaps they're just bored with the current arrangement, they feel that it has gone stale. The idea that ideology can be bottom-up, that the public at large set the agenda, is in many ways a disturbing one. When the public move to the Right, it upsets the Left's Rousseau-esque notions of the essential goodness of humanity. When it moves to the Left, it upsets the Right's conception of the people as being inherently conservative and immersed in tradition. Also, shifts in public opinions and tastes are necessarily opaque; they resist the theorists who derive their own power and prestige from providing explanations for the cascading patterns of history.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Home Front

During the war the anarchist movement was pretty well a closed shop, as of course it had to be. There was the overt activity – the open, public activity, and there was the underground stuff going on. There was the whole business of having to protect deserters and people on the run. There had to be security. And so the Anarchist Federation, as it was then called, was something that you were only invited to join. You couldn’t just bowl up, or write in and say “I want to join you.”

When I first went to Belsize Road, where the Freedom Press was, I was fascinated and I was interested. I felt I had come home, inasmuch I had found people of similar attitudes. The overt activity of the Freedom group was things like public speaking at Hyde Park and publishing War Commentary, which had an uninterrupted run through the war.

All papers had an uninterrupted run through the war, with the exception of the Daily Worker that was banned for a year after 1940. Because of the invasion of France Herbert Morrison decided that freedom couldn’t be extended to the Communist Party any longer, and their paper was banned until Germany attacked Russia and the Communists changed their line overnight from opposition to support of the war. They started publishing again and became the most outrageous patriots of the lot. Anyone who opposed the war was denounced as an agent of Hitler and the Trotskyists. They were absolute bastards. They used to hassle sellers at Hyde Park. You’d be jostled and papers would be knocked out of your hands.

We sold the bulk of what we printed. We had good sales here in London and a very, very good and active group in Glasgow at that time. Best working class orators I’ve ever heard speaking every Sunday at Maxwell Street, in the heart of Glasgow. In the summer outdoors, and in the winter they took St. Enoch’s Hall and had big meetings there. It was the most influential working class group in Glasgow at the time amongst anti-war people.

The ILP were very strong too. It was still the time when people talked about “The Red Clyde”, and that period of the strong ILP. Besides us and the ILP, the SPGB was the other political group totally opposed to the war.

In fact, they were one of the few organisations where you pretty well only had to go before a Conscientious Objectors Tribunal and say “I’m a member of the SPGB” and you’d get off automatically. They had a splendid record of getting people off and a lot of it stemmed from Tony Turner, because he would go and speak for somebody.


Wartime memories like you've never read before here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

German Efficiency

Random anonymous quote from the internet:
The funny thing is, I've long suspected that the fetish for all things German is the means by which the post-war generations in places like Britain and the USA compensated for the fact that they could never measure up to the generation that won the war. A sort of "OK, they may have won, but really they weren't that good, they only won by numbers against a superior enemy. Also, I shall prove this to myself by buying a BMW."
It's true though, isn't it?

I've often wondered why British Leyland went down the tubes, while the equally inefficient Fiat and Renault survived. I think it very well may have been sacrificed in the service of the generational ego, a counterpart to the publication of Corelli Barnett's "The Desert Generals."

Also, this explains the weird resentment of Germany, unique to Britain, that lasted long after the War. It wasn't prompted by memories of the War itself (although these were used as ammunition), nor by Britain's diminished status in the world, but was a necessary concomitant of the boomers enlisting the Nazis to boost their generational ego. "German efficiency" was a double-edged sword, because although it could it be used to belittle the wartime generation, it did so by implying that all the generations of Britain were inferior together.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Music about music, musical standards, the record industry, and the general value of education:

Friday, 29 May 2015

I have to say that I'm really starting to admire Sepp Blatter, who must be a candidate for The World's Psychologically Strongest Man. I've always been intrigued by the unembarrassable, the Timmy Malletts, the Piers Morgans, every rapper ever. What tremendous freedom they must have from self-consciousness and shame. They are totally immune to social suicide and voodoo death.

Blatter is particularly impressive as he rightly makes a laughing stock of the ridiculous pseudo-sport that is Association Football, itself perhaps one of the greatest frauds that has ever been perpetrated on humanity - a "game" whose results are largely dependent on the whims of the match officials. One of the secrets of football's addictive appeal is that the referee and linesmen are the hidden "third team" that make the outcome of matches more unpredictable (and thus more exciting) than any other sport. The deliberate set-up of the pitch (many players, small goal) that ensures that matches are decided on the lowest score possible also increases the sense of arbitrariness (and thus compulsive frustration) that is inherent in the football experience. This arbitrariness is the reason why football uniquely resisted modern technology to assist refereeing decisions. The fairer it is, the less addictive it is. This arbitrariness is also why football fans are capable of only two emotions - schadenfreude or grievance.

I hope Sepp displays plenty of the former as he marches football forward into its deserving future.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Psychopathology of Progressive Politics

1. The people labour under the burden of a false consciousness.

2. We progressives do not labour under this burden.

3. Once the people are enlightened by progressive ideas, their false consciousness will evaporate like the morning dew.

4. Standing between we progressives and the people is a demiurge-complex of financial power, entrenched hierarchy and media propaganda.

5. Progressives of good faith, collectively coming together, can overcome this demiurge after a requisite level of struggle.

6. This struggle is so monumental that it is bound to encompass many grevious defeats.

7. Repeat.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Basically Tory country votes Tory shockah.

Prepare for an avalanche of articles from "progressives" that will explain the result using increasingly tortuous variations of the false consciousness trope (which is what "Capitalist Realism" is btw.)

But, as I've always said, the unpleasant truth is that the society we have is the one that the British people really want (Scotland being the honorable exception), and the ideology is as much bottom-up as top-down.

Or, to paraphrase Morris Berman, the British public do not have wool over their eyes. The wool is the eyes.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Events, Dear Boy

OK, here's the agenda from Carl:
Right, we are Wetherspooning. Here from 5 http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/the-lord-moon-of-the-mall
then I guess
The Rockingham arms at approx 7:30 http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/the-rockingham-arms
then Hipster fun in New Cross at 9:30 ish http://www.royalalbertpub.com/
and a late nightcap in the Greenwich Wetherspoons from 11-ish http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/the-gate-clock
this won't work out of course. I don't have a smartphone, Phil doen't even have a mobile so hopefully we will meet up at some point. Bring anyone you like and remember we like meeting new people and have highly developed social skills.
Thrillingly, despite the fact that I spend an average of about 0.5 days a year in London, I've been to two of these pubs before.

The spirit of Bobby Byrd will be presiding over the event, ensuring that everything passes off positively, in the spirit of Krisslam.