Friday, August 05, 2005

The *SPARC ATTAC* Trident Campaign

Please Support

1 The International Simultaneous Policy Organisation SP

SP is "A peaceful, yet revolutionary political tool that empowers voters everywhere to compel our politicians - at the point of the ballot box - to commit our nations to implement global solutions." Read more about SP at SP is the first spike of the trident. Please adopt and support it.

2 Action for Real Community ARC

ARC is a special campaign for the establishment of a new civil right - The Human Right to Community. ARC’s mission is to compel politicians to ring fence land and funds in order to help “we, the people” found new utopian communities, both locally and internationally. Read more about ARC and the ideal of a New Covenant here and at the ARC website, It is envisaged that the ARC Campaign will become fully active in 2006.

3 The Global Campaign for International Taxation – EDM 500 ATTAC

This is the third spike on the trident. The ATTAC coalition is made up of a network of organisations and individuals worldwide campaigning for a new kind of economic system, beginning with a new system of international taxation, sometimes called the Tobin or Currency Transaction Tax (CTT) "No Representation Without Global Taxation!" ATTAC is a worldwide campaign aimed at turning the American Revolution on its head by reigning in on unregulated capital markets and multinational corporations. Please support ATTAC at your earliest convenience by urging your UK MP to support Early Day Motion (EDM) 500 – a new proposal for CTT legislation currently under consideration in the House of Commons. This is an urgent call to action. More information on how you can do this can be found at the following websites:,,

Info: The *SPARC ATTAC* Trident Campaign aims at forging a new global/local political consensus by pushing two core mechanisms for global reform – SP and ATTAC – and linking them to ARC. For more info please check in at

Hasta La Victoria Siempre! Ya Basta !! On With The Struggle !!!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

In Praise of Communism

Quo Vadis?

In these troubled times, it's important that we find ways to understand our position in appropriate historical terms - both our power, and our responsibility, as citizens of the rich industrialised world. We desperately need a vision that can inspire us to mobilise together against the neo-liberal hegemon, because our leaders are failing us. One recent poll has found that 43% of the British electorate don't like the way that the country is going. And this pattern is repeated across the industrialised world. At the same time, electoral participation is at an all time low - in fact a colossal 39% of the electorate didn't bother to vote at all in the 2005 General Election. More people didn't care or couldn't be bothered or didn't think their vote made any difference than ever before - more even than the number that actually voted Labour!

They say that we must understand our past in order to understand our present and our future. It therefore follows that a historical perspective grounded in a reasonable understanding of what modern human beings want and need could provide a great opportunity, a springboard if you like, for sensible, radical leadership and collective endeavour. In short, in these troubles times, it's useful to look the big picture.

German Philosophers

To help us, the German philosophers Hegel and Marx have usefully outlined the historical process in terms of stages, which they called dialectics, a process by which by which one idea or movement tends to take form and manifest in contrast to the one that came before, building in dominance until it has almost totally swept away the old order that preceded it, and then follows the next stage. Marx and Hegel described these dialectic forces as akin to thesis, antithesis and synthesis.

New Labour's False Third Way

Looking at the big picture, it's easy to see the cold war clash between liberal capitalism and Soviet communism as the most important example of this dialectic in modern times. According to this reading, the historic clash between individual freedom (thesis) and collective rights (antithesis) are represented by the western liberal democracies (thesis) and the 'communist' states (antithesis). And this has now been comprehensively won by the 'democrats' and therefore it is only a matter of time until capitalism and the market based society conquer all and the last outposts of tyranny are defeated (synthesis). Under this view, often called neo-liberalism, the free market is essentially equated with democracy. Victory for free markets (as opposed to central command economies as personified by the old Soviet system and still clung on to in protectionist Europe) equals victory for democracy. So we find in societies where this view predominates (the UK and the US for example) that the unregulated market reigns as king in all but a minority of cases ring fenced as deserving, to a varying degree special socialistic treatment (such as health and education) and Karl Marx is deemed an irrelevance. Tony Blair's attempt to forge a transforming third way ideology by combining the socialistic model and the capitalist one has failed to create a truly 'New Britain' because it misses the correct dialectical point.

True Dialectic Synthesis Equals True Third Way

The argument in this short essay is that our historic position is such that there is a deeper, simpler and importantly a truer dialectic to consider and act upon, namely the small, personal and accountable (human scale community) against the big, impersonal and unaccountable (mass society). It is here that a true third way - a way between freedom and responsibility and a way that actually liberates people - will be discovered.

Size Matters - Modernity, Freedom and the Massification of Society

The market-extremist or neo-liberal view, which holds that freedom has reached its pinnacle in our individualist orientated mass consumer society, misses what may turn out to be the most important point about modernity and its relationship to freedom, which is its revolutionary effect on our commonly held human experience of scale. The simplest and most profound change which human beings experienced as a result of the move from the pre-modern culture that had reigned for millennia was a change in the scale of the human society in which they lived. As a result of the modernising, globalising process humans have moved inexorably from small scale community living (sometimes disparagingly called 'feudal') into a massive consumer based society.In some ways this has made us more free, and in some ways less so. It must be the point of the new politics to analyse and address this less well known aspect of modernity - the freedom deficit brought about by the mass society.In a world where the distance between the governed and those that govern over us (and therefore the overall size of the 'community') is so great the significance, and therefore the power and ultimately freedom of the individual must also be diminished.

The Final Say

We cannot allow the mass consumer market state to be the final say on democracy. Our politicians who grew up at the height of cold war appear to have been blinded by the necessary focus that battle had on defeating the authoritarian tyranny of communist dictators, and the consequent need to put huge faith in the liberal individualist system as the only possible and final alternative. During the cold war we westerners defined ourselves as being not 'communist' because those that held themselves out as being communist (the Soviet Union, China and others) were so clearly misguided and tyrannical. But the ideal of communism has nothing to do with the coercive state tyranny exemplified by these countries. In fact, in terms of scale both liberal democracy and Soviet communism are of the same kind. They share the modern era's signature - bigness - because they both involve a large market and/or distant centralised state ruling over a great mass of people. In fact, the ideal of communism has been completely misused by misguided leaders who wanted to rush the steady course of history. Communism, as it was originally envisioned - literally, commune - ism is a future ideal relating to the dream of mutually supportive egalitarian free community living at the human scale - a natural post-modern synthesis of the best of the pre-modern and the best of the modern but without all their weaknesses.

The Abuse of Words and The Power of Language

Imagining the ideal of commune-ism to be properly represented by the kinds of thought that comes into people's heads when they hear the word is really an abuse of the power of language. This may seem like an academic point, but those who control the meanings of words and concepts are the people who possess real political and spiritual power in the world. And so we must find the correct words to articulate a shared vision that people will understand, appreciate and support. Human beings are constantly communicating with each other using language, the way we use words in relation to ideals is of vital importance in ensuring understanding and progress. The word 'God' for example will mean different things to different people and as a result we have fought wars over it. In some parts of the world today it is difficult to imagine an end to religious violence until this attitude changes. This is the reason why I have used the symbol to be found on the Forum page of the web-site. The power of communication for good or for evil in both language and symbols has been recognised throughout time. Interestingly in Egyptian hieroglyphics the symbol for magic can be translated as "the art of communication." In the New Testament of the Bible it says "In the beginning was the Word". In short, use of language, truth and freedom are all intimately related.

Beyond Neo-Liberalism and Blair's Modernity

So, for our purposes, as we look for the right synthesis, in other words a sensible democratic objective around which to mobilise, the appropriate historical dialectic with which to engage is pre-modernity (sometimes called, disparagingly 'feudal') - thesis - now replaced, thanks to the power of the mass market, globalisation and the new world order by modernity - antithesis. If neo-liberalism is the enemy, and modernity is her ultimate expression, then we must seek to go beyond her by embracing a post-modernity that offers a solution to her failings - synthesis. Where Tony Blair is all about modernity, and modernising, our task now as activists is to show, through our ideological clarity and ability to mobilise large number in support, that modernity is old hat. If we get it right, then we will be able to forge a new democratic settlement that transcends the current order in terms of quality of life, sustainability, economic well being, civic participation, health and education.

True Communism or Small Community Living could be the Perfection of Democracy

And to my mind true communism is what the fulfilment of the ideal of democracy will also look like - lots of small scale sovereign free communities living and working in partnership with (and all the while sweetly subverting) the capitalist world, honouring both independence and interdependence. Interestingly, in his great book 'Democracy in America', which documented the state of democracy all over the post-revolutionary US, the theorist De Tocqueville wrote "It is in the power of the commune that resides the force of the free people". 'Communism', properly understood - offered as a choice and never imposed from above - is the only alternative left . If we want community spirit before unbridled individualism, localism before centralism, multi-polarity and diversity before uni-polarity and homogeny, government by the people before government on behalf of the people, citizenship before consumerism, participation before passivity, accountability before abuse of power and sustainable forms of living before suicidal ones, call it what you like what we need is to actively support small sustainable community living, diverse spiritual communism for the 21st century.