Sunday, June 11, 2006

Carnival Of Socialism #4


Welcome to the Carnival of Socialism #4.

We seem to be well on a roll here with four full carnivals of wholesome socialism for the masses. And some interesting arguments as well.

For a blogsphere that appears at times to be full of self righteous right wingers, this is your chance to fling open the window's of your mind.

Take yourself by the hair and turn your self inside out to look at the world with fresh eyes.

Thanks to the insights provided by the following fine folks and their contributions.

Andrew Barttlet posted at the Sharpener, a collective blog of political discussion, the following;
Work ethics: efficiency.

He says; "
In the age of Homo economicus, of atomised economic units standing in the stead of thinking, civilised men and women, to be an efficient worker from the position and interests of the worker means to maximise the wages received while minimising the amount of labour input. As, in most employing organisations, wages are fixed according to rank, and as promotion hierarchies narrow as one rises through the ranks, the surest way that the majority of workers can maximise individual efficiency is to contribute as little labour as possible while remaining in employment. In other words, to skive and to slack."

The Red Baron tackles the current hot topic of Immigration, Migration and Amnesty from his outpost in the UK. Most folks in North America don't realize that this has been a major issue in Europe and the UK as long as it has in the USA.
A topic I have blogged on as well.

He challenges the contractions of the liberal/social democratic argument for letting some folks stay but restricting others from entering their countries.

"No-one doubts the need for immigration controls, but it would be immoral to deport those already here that our economy depends on" -Jack Dromey Deputy General Secretary T&GWU

The second point of order to Mr Drobey's comment is the economic premise that were there to be an amnesty (which is not going to happen but it is a point of debate) that the illegal workers currently employed within these borders would continue to be as much an asset to our economy as they currently are. This, I'm afraid is romantic idealism. The very reason illegal workers are employed here, just as there are so many Mexicans and other illegal aliens in the US is that these workers are not subject to the same legal protection offered to legitimate employees. They are not subject to the minimum wage standards nor national insurance or pension provision. This is clearly not the choice of the workers but that of the employers who can circumvent a great deal of red tape and save themselves a great deal of money both in the payment of paltry wages and the avoidance of insurance payments for every worker. Furthermore they are able to exploit worker productivity as workers can be sacked easily or threatened with being reported to the authorities if they do not tow the line.

Is there a connection between the current Imperialist agenda in Iraq and Genetically Modified foods (GMO's)? Red Aspire thinks so. In Two beads on a string RA compares the War in Iraq with the continuing efforts to impose GMO, the new Green Revolution, on the developing countries of the world. RA points out; "Aid agencies and NGOs across the globe have been reacting with horror to the
news that new legislation in Iraq was carefully put in place last year by the
United States that will effectively bring the whole of the country’s
agricultural sector under the control of trans-national corporations. This
spells disaster for the Iraqi government and the country’s farmers, paving the
way for companies like Monsanto and Syngenta to control the entire food chain
from planted seed to packaged food products."

Louis Proyect The Unrepentant Marxist takes issue with liberals and right wingers over the issue of Sweat Shop labour in the era of Imperialism. He correctly points out that American defenders of capitalism from the liberal and right wing, and the editorial board at the NYTimes, see no choice but sweat shop labour for Africa.

The opening sentence of Kristof's op-ed piece is meant to startle the reader:

"Africa desperately needs Western help in the form of schools, clinics and sweatshops."

The infatuation with sweatshops on the NY Times op-ed page even extends to Paul Krugman, the liberal icon who really differs little from Thomas Friedman when it comes to a belief in the benefits of low-wage coolie labor. Basically, Krugman wrote a column identical to Kristof's on April 22, 2001

But one wonders in light of Kristof's hymn to sweatshops whether there might be a connection to Friedman's more openly mercenary understanding of how the dollar and the bullet intersect. Could this insufferable moralizing prig be possibly be more interested in corporate profits than he is in missionary-style rescues?

For an answer to this, I'd recommend John Bellamy Foster's article in the current Monthly Review, which does a really good job of describing the emerging strategic interests of US imperialism in Africa–especially in regions that are the focus of Cruise Missile liberals like Kristof.

Always a great turn of phrase in Proyect's writings. I like that 'curise missle liberals'.

Lenins Tomb takes up the challenge of writing a lengthy, well documented essay on
Iraq: Nationalism, Communism and Islamism. Lenin has received over 198 comments on it. Showing that many are up to the challenge of reading this treatise. And this may be the reason why, he challenges and titlates his readers in his prologue;

"Someone told me once that if the United States had been serious about making the occupation of Iraq work on usable terms for the ruling class, they would have had to oblige every official to read Hanna Batatu's classic tome, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq. That and a few other things besides. As it happens, those driving the policy - while by no means heterodox - went to radical lengths to avoid having to hear from people who knew what they were talking about. We who intend to occupy nowhere but our happy little ruts are faced with all the usual questions: why is the occupation in such trouble; how did Political Islam emerge as a serious force in Iraq; what was the role of the communists, and why have they colluded with the occupiers; how did the Ba'athists develop and come to power; what's the role of Iraqi and Arab nationalism? It seems to me that the main problem to start with is understanding Ba'athism - we're always propelled toward certain metaphors or proto-concepts in describing it. From the lexicon of totalitarianism, it is always either fascist or Stalinist or both, which is understandable in a sense if you're just concerned with certain superficial modes of state rule. I shall argue a fairly orthodox class-based approach. You can't understand what happened in Iraq - from its creation under British occupation to monarchy to Qasim's Free Officers to the Ba'athist dictatorship - without understanding how class structured social power, the state's hegemonic practises and eventually the methods of Ba'athist rule."

Larry Gambone at Porcupine Blog in his essay "The Myth Of Socialism As Statism". asks; "What did the original socialists envision as the owner and controller of the economy? Did they think it ought to be the state? Did they favor nationalization? Or did they want something else entirely? Let’s have a look, going right back to the late 18th Century." He then documents all the Great Socialist thinkers who said workers control and cooperation is the real aim of Socialism. Then he says;
Why The Confusion
The state did play a role in the Marxist parties of the Second International. But its role was not to nationalize industry and create a vast bureaucratic state socialist economy. Put simply, the workers parties were to be elected to the national government, and backed by the trade unions, cooperative movement and other popular organizations, would expropriate the big capitalist enterprises. Three things would then happen:
1. The expropriated enterprises handed over to the workers organizations, coops and municipalities. 2, The army and police disbanded and replaced by worker and municipal militias. 3. Political power decentralized to the cantonal and municipal level and direct democracy and federalism introduced. These three aspects are the famous “withering away of the state” that Marx and Engels talked about.

Ravenblade at Ravens Nest, which I think may be located in the river valley of fair Redmonton, takes on the humanitarian nature of the war in Afghanistan. Wait it's not a war according to the Minister of War.....err Minister of Defense.

Anyways Ravenblade was thumbing through the local papers and discovered some contradicitions.
Ignorance is bliss.

A few days later, I was reading a copy of the Edmonton SUN . Someone wrote the following article to the editorials section:

"Could all of the anti-war protesters try protesting in Iraq or Afghanistan where the war is actually going on? Or are you all too comfortable in your homes that were won throughout the hard work and effort of Canadian, American and British troops?- Al Boschman"
Edmonton Sun, March 23, 2006

What exactly does the unprovoked Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with Canadians living in warm homes? In what war were these homes won, exactly? Certainly not Iraq and Afghanistan. Does this loud individual really believe that our troops are defending Canada by invading sovereign countries? Does he honestly believe that Afghanistan posed a military threat to Canada, or that Iraq posed a military threat to America?

Our final contributor is from the Green Left perspective. A local campaign blog to Save the Ribble. It's a campaign to save a river in the UK from city planners and their efforts barrage the river for increased housing and commercial development. It shows again the importance of Thinking Globally, Acting Locally.

Renowned Environmentalists Express Concerns about Barrage Proposals

One of the consequences of global warming and climate change is the likely rise in sea levels over the coming years and decades. Fragile ecosystems such as the Ribble are already vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and low lying flood plain areas will be at increased risk of flooding as sea levels rise. Building a barrage on the Ribble will exacerbate these risks at a time when we should be considering ways to protect our environment from the effects of global warming. The Environment Agency is also warning against building on floodplain as this puts ‘new development at risk from flooding or [is] likely to exacerbate flooding elsewhere’ which alone should prohibit the ‘Central Park’ housing and business building development proposal. In addition this so called ‘Central Park’ will result in the loss of a broad range of natural habitats which support diverse wildlife species. And once our Green Belt is developed and built on it will be lost forever.

In closing ,while they did not ask for it, I would like to contribute my own recommendation; the Atlantic Canadian web site Left News.

While providing a blog of news about the peoples struggles against capitalism, imperialism and all the other oppresive isms from around the world, they too never forget that all issues are local issues. And they interact with their local community by announcing actions, protests, etc. and then reporting on them.

Labour March Concludes Days of Action Against Atlantica!

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, comrades all, this is your Carnival of Socialism #4.

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