Jun 182014
 

ED-MILIBAND CHAPTER IV: FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

 “A prendre le terme dans la rigueur de I’acception il n’a jamais existé de veritable democratie, et il n’en existera jamais. II est contre I’ordre naturel que le grand nombre gouverne, et que le petit soit gouverné. ” — J. J. Rousseau, Contrat Social.

Leadership is a necessary phenomenon in every form of social life. Consequently it is not the task of science to inquire whether this phenomenon is good or evil, or predominantly one or the other. But there is great scientific value in the demonstration that every system of leadership is incompatible with the most essential postulates of democracy. We are now aware that the law of the historic necessity of oligarchy is primarily based upon a series of facts of experience. Like all other scientific laws, sociological laws are derived from empirical observation. In order, however, to deprive our axiom of its purely descriptive character, and to confer upon it that status of analytical explanation which can alone transform a formula into a law, it does not suffice to contemplate from a unitary outlook those phenomena which may be empirically established; we must also study the determining causes of these phenomena. Such has been our task.

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Jun 172014
 

BlairBrownCHAPTER III: PARTY-LIFE IN WARTIME

Never is the power of the state greater, and never are the forces of political parties of opposition less effective, than at the outbreak of war. This deplorable war, comes like a storm in the night, when everyone, wearied with the labours of the day, was plunged in well-deserved slumber, rages all over the world with unprecedented violence, and with such a lack of respect for human life and of regard for the eternal creations of art as to endanger the very cornerstones of a civilization dating from more than a thousand years. One of the cornerstones of historical materialism is that the working classes all over the world are united as if by links of iron through the perfect community of economico-social interests which they possess in face of the bourgeoisie, this community of interests effecting a horizontal stratification of classes which runs athwart and supersedes the vertical stratification of nations and of races. The greatest difference, in fact, in the views taken of economico- social classes and of linguistico-ethical nationalities, as between the respective adherents of nationalistic theories and of the theories of historical materialism, consists in this, that the former propound the hypothesis that the concept “nation” is morally and positively predominant over the concept “class,” whilst the latter consider the concept and reality “nation” altogether subordinate to the concept “class.” The Marxists, in fact, believed that the consciousness of class had become impressed upon the entire mentality of the proletariat imbued with socialist theories.

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Jun 162014
 
Lobster

“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”

CHAPTER II: DEMOCRACY AND THE IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY

Reduced to its most concise expression, the fundamental sociological law of political parties (the term “political” being here used in its most comprehensive significance) may be formulated in the following terms: “It is organisation which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organisation, says oligarchy.”

Whilst the majority of the socialist schools believe that in a future more or less remote it will be possible to attain to a genuinely democratic order, and whilst the greater number of those who adhere to aristocratic political views consider that democracy, however dangerous to society, is at least realizable, we find in the scientific world a conservative tendency voiced by those who deny resolutely and once for all that there is any such possibility. As was shown in an earlier chapter, 1 this tendency is particularly strong in Italy, where it is led by a man of weight, Gaetano Mosca, who declares that no highly developed social order is possible without a “political class,” that is to say, a politically dominant class, the class of a minority. Those who do not believe in the god of democracy are never weary of affirming that this god is the creation of a childlike mythopoeic faculty, and they contend that all phrases representing the idea of the rule of the masses, such terms as state, civic rights, popular representation, nation, are descriptive merely of a legal principle, and do not correspond to any actually existing facts. They contend that the eternal struggles between aristocracy and democracy of which we read in history have never been anything more than struggles between an old minority, defending its actual predominance, and a new and ambitious minority, intent upon the conquest of power, desiring either to fuse with the former or to dethrone and replace it. On this theory, these class struggles consist merely of struggles between successively dominant minorities. The social classes which under our eyes engage in gigantic battles upon the scene of history, battles whose ultimate causes are to be found in economic antagonism, may thus be compared to two groups of dancers executing a chassé croisé in a quadrille.

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May 212014
 

ChevronVenIntroduction: Why a report about Chevron in Venezuela?

May 21st is the day various social movements from around the world have chosen to stage a planetary day of action against Chevron. The objective is to demand that the United States- based oil company modifies its practices and admits responsibility for the serious crimes it has committed all over the planet during its history.

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May 112014
 

1EuropeamUnionBlockBlue1THE EUROPEAN UNION — To Whose Benefit? Stuart Christie. Kindle Edition, 2014 Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  —  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! UK : £1.83 ; USA : $3.00 ; Germany : €2.25 ; France :  €2.25 ; Spain:  €2.25 ; Italy:  €2.25 ; Japan: ¥ 306 ; India: R180 : Canada: CDN$ 3.27 ; Brazil: R$6.64 ; Mexico: $38.84 ; Australia: $3.20

Mise-en-scène (1919-1939)

The European Economic Community (EEC) did not spring fully armed upon an unsuspecting world with the Treaty of Rome in March 1957. It was the culmination of a long process that had its roots in the First World War, a war from which the US emerged as the ascendant political and world power. Since the early 1920s, important elements among the US ruling elites had been pushing for a United States of Europe, believing such an entity would stabilise the European situation and be conducive to establishing a properly managed world economy. This never materialised.

Technical progress and the growth of mass production in the 1920s and 30s meant a steady drift toward larger economic units among the industrial and developing nations. In spite of the collapse of the US economy in 1929, with its large-scale unemployment which was to last the best part of a decade, the United States was the pacesetter for efficiency in modern industry. Its economic basis of mass production had enabled it to pay high wages to those fortunate to have a job and at the same time compete successfully with European industries that paid their workers less, but wasted more on unproductive charges and inefficient organisation — mainly due to the small size of the economic unit. No tariffs prevented the movement of goods from one end of the United States to the other. Each industry knew it had a domestic market of some 120 million people whose average consumption of industrial products was around 80 per cent above that of Europeans. Continue reading »

Apr 112014
 

BusquetsCoverNewAtado y bien atado por Juan Busquets (con la Asociación de Presos Políticos del Franquismo en Francia). Edición Kindle en Español, 2014 Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  —  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! UK : £1.86 ; USA : $3.00 ; Germany : €2.26 ; France :  €2.26 ; Spain:  €2.26 ; Italy:  €2.26 ; Japan: ¥ 310 ; India: R180 : Canada: CDN$ 3.29 ; Brazil: R$6.71 ; Mexico: $39.01 ; Australia: $3.23

Juan Busquets, former guerrilla and author of Twenty Years in Franco’s Jails. An Anarchist in Franco’s Prisons, explains how Franco’s victims, especially the maquis, have been deliberately written out of history by Spain’s post-Francoist governments. His starting point is that the current monarchy is a continuation of Franco regime and that little has changed in the last 40 years in which Franco’s victims have been consistently sidelined and discriminated against by the stewards of the current Borbón monarchy: Suarez, Calvo Sotelo, Felipe Gonzalez, Aznar, Zapatero, Rajoy, and Montilla. The book tells of the author’s struggle to reclaim the memory of the anti-Francoist maquis, and his analysis of the post-Franco years of the dictator’s annointed successor, Juan Carlos Borbón y Borbón, the head of state charged with fulfilling Franco’s legacy for Spain, one that remains virtually intact — as the title indicates – ‘tightly tied and well trussed up’ (Atado y bien atado). Busquets (with additional texts from the ‘Association of Political Prisoners of Franco in France’ — APPFF), gives voice to the memories of another Spain: libertarian, republican, federal, secular, and confederal, and pays tribute to the thousands of imprisoned, exiled and murdered anti-Francoists who were silenced, ignored or demonised as bandits and terrorists. S.C.

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Jan 162014
 
HerbertHoover

Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964), the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933).

On August 2, 1927, President Calvin Coolidge released to the nation his famous terse pronouncement: “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.”

To Coolidge’s consternation, the Republican Party took him at his word.1 The following June, in the oppressive heat of Kansas City, the listless perspiring delegates to the Republican National Convention nominated Herbert Clark Hoover on the first ballot as their Presidential candidate. The former Secretary of Commerce was elected on November 6, 1928.

In the opinion of the iconoclastic author, Calvin Coolidge, Hoover was simply a “fat Coolidge.” William Allen White summed up Hoover as an “adding machine.” Ferdinand Lundberg portrayed him as an “erstwhile vendor of shady mining stocks who before the war had been reprimanded by an English court for his role in a promotional swindle.”

While there was undeniable truth in each of these characterisations, none of them did full justice to the Thirtieth President of the United States.

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Apr 162013
 
ColonelCForbesforbes

Charles Robert Forbes (1878 -1952) — First Director of the U.S. Veterans’ Bureau

V — I. “The Real Old Times”

One month after the inauguration of President Harding, a certain Colonel Charles R. Forbes showed up in the nation’s capitol. He was a ruddy-faced, hard-drinking, swaggering adventurer, with a penchant for spinning extravagant yarns and an easy way with members of the opposite sex. During the war he had been decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Distinguished Service Medal. His chequered career had also included desertion from the U. S. Army, crooked ward politics on the West Coast, shady operations as a business contractor, and several years of lucrative underhand dealings as a public official in the Philippine Islands.

The reason Colonel Forbes came to Washington in the early spring of 1921 was that President Harding himself had summoned him . . .

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Apr 092013
 

       For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear- nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to the Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the tickertape and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair!  

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
October 31, 1936
Warren_G_Harding

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923), the 29th President of the United States (1921–1923)

I. The Making of a President

The Republican National Convention, which took place in June 1920 in Chicago, Illinois, was a most extraordinary affair.

The Presidency was for sale,” writes Karl Schriftgiesser in This Was Normalcy, “The city of Chicago, never averse to monetary indecencies, was jam-packed with frenzied bidders, their pockets bulging with money with which to buy the prize. The Coliseum became a market place, crowded with stock gamblers, oil promoters, mining magnates, munition makers, sports promoters, and soap makers . . . The lobbies and rooms of the Loop hotels were in a turmoil as the potential buyers of office scurried about lining up their supporters, making their deals, issuing furtive orders, passing out secret funds.”

HarryFordSinclair

Harry Ford Sinclair, head of Sinclair Oil Company

Among the captains of industry and finance who had flocked into the Windy City to make sure the Republican Presidential candidate was a man to their taste were Harry F. Sinclair, head of the Sinclair Oil Company, who had already invested $75,000 in the Republican campaign and was to put up another $185,000 before the campaign was over; Judge Elbert H. Gary, Chairman of the Board of Directors of U.S. Steel, whose name had figured prominently in the smashing of the 1919 steel strike; Samuel M. Vauclain,  president of the Baldwin Locomotive Company; Thomas W. Lamont, partner in the firm of J. P. Morgan and Company; Edward L. Doheny, president of the Pan American Petroleum Company; and William Boyce Thompson, the copper magnate, who had recently returned from Soviet Russia, where as head of the American Red Cross mission he had staked $1,000,000 of his own money  in an effort to stem the tide of the Russian Revolution.

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Apr 032013
 

GreatDeceptionTHE GREAT DECEPTION. How Parliamentary Democracy Duped the WorkersDonovan Pedelty (ISBN 978-1-873976-00-5),  £2.71, ChristieBooks. PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN341ZS. First published by Prometheus Press, Powys, Wales, in 1997 as The Rape of Socialism. This fully revised ChristieBooks (Kindle eBook) edition published 2013   Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE

UK : £2.71 ; USA : $4.12 ; Germany€3,21 ; France€3,21 ; Spain€3,21 ; Italy : €3,21 ; Japan : ¥ 377 ; Canada : CDN$ 4.07 ; Brazil : R$ 8,09

‘An elegantly argued and searing indictment of the economic and sociological background of the British political system of “representative” democracy in general, and parliamentary socialism in particular. The first hundred pages or so examine the evolution of the British Conservative Party over the past two centuries; the remaining four-fifths of the book focuses on the British Labour Party and how it corrupted the socialist ideal. An important and challenging book that should be read by ANYONE interested in politics, especially those who put their faith in the “Labour Movement”’ — Stuart Christie

A hundred years or so ago socialist thinking, in tune with the rising tide of labour protest, presented a serious challenge to the capitalist hegemony. However much they differed over ultimate objectives and how to reach them, the socialists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were at one in their conviction that possessive, individualistic, capitalism would have to be overcome to establish a just, equitable and sane society. They were equally certain that the huge advance in productive capacity which capitalism had helped to bring about, by proving that poverty could be abolished, had made such a transformation possible, immediately or at least within the near future.

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