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1917 – 2017 The Bolshevik Revolution

Centenary of the Russian Revolution

REVOLUTION

The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 came at a time when the divisions between a tiny minority of the very wealthy and the great mass of people was at the level it now approasches. The dramatic changes usered in by the revolution brought hope and confidence to a vast international social movement. The benefits that accrued to the majority of people throughout Europe were enormous and have yet to be acknowledged. Its success contributed to improvements in education, health, and living standards worldwide, with a shift of wealth to the majority.  It is only since the collapse of the USSR has the flow of wealth and power again been in favour of the rich and the few.

Post 1917 the reverberation of the events in Russia, combined with the return of millions of men from the First World War, conversant in the use of arms, sent a chill through the ruling class of every country where capital was king. They realised what an organised people could achieve and the potential that existed for such actions to spread. Fear, that great advisor of survival, ensured that concessions were made to the workers throughout the world and on all fronts.

Socialist ideas had led the great struggles of the twentieth century; the emancipation of women, the fight against fascism and racism, they gave hope to the disposed worldwide. The anti-colonial wars of many peoples, from Southeast Asia to the Americas, were supported by socialist states. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought a decline of confidence to the socialist movement and instigated a roll-back of previous social gains which continues to this day. It gave buoyancy to unregulated capital and the concentration of wealth intensified as did every facet of the alienating order.

SOCIALISM A PLAUSIBLE DREAM

Innovations in science or business start with research, a hypothesis and chance. Similarly social revolutions require a concept or a plausible dream for the construction of a better future. In both cases, the conditions must be right but even then either may experience the risk of dead-ends and failures. Social history is generally perceived as a series of unconnected events – an almost circular movement of humanity, the coming and going of monarchs and their various battles and conquests. It ill serves an establishment to show any pattern of progress in history, for interpolations might lead to unwelcome conclusions. An emotive issue is the role of class contradictions in the formation of every economic system and state. It is the relationship between the owners of the means of production and those whose labour power is necessary for production; these forces determine the nature of an economic and social order. The ultimate resolution of the class conflict is when the producers have the ability and responsibility to take ownership of the means of production.

A HUNDRED YEARS OF HOT AND COLD WAR

The hundredth anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, the formation of the USSR and its legacy will sharpen discussions on whether history can be progressive. The 80-year experiment with socialism in the Soviet Union will be used as an example of failure. Some will and have argued as they did at the time, that it is impossible to build socialism in one country and thus the experiment was doomed from the start. Many socialists agree that what happened in the USSR was a socialism which distorted under isolation, external aggression and internal paranoia. A related issue is a lack of understanding most people have of the aggression by the forces of capital against the Soviet Union, both at its formation and during the Second World War. A war which is often falsely seen as a battle between Germany and the UK on the one hand and Japan and the United States on the other. A more balanced history from pre-revolutionary Europe, through the events of 1917 to the collapse of the USSR gives an understanding of the main players on the world stage and how they got there.

The oppressed have always yearned for a society in which their lot would improve. Slaves dreamed they might escape and return to an abundant hunting and gathering ground. Serfs in a feudal society wished freedom to farm their own plot of land and control their lives. Workers dreamed of a society without exploitation, thereby gaining and sharing the fruits of their labour, to this end they organised into socialist and communist parties. But communists were not the only dreamers of the time. Fascists from Spain to Germany were the militant face of capital and the church, they realised that democracy and internationalism threatened the rule and riches of this elite, as was evident from the events in Russia. The main objective of fascism was the crushing of all working-class organisations and any democracy that might extend power over capital. They were the front line protagonists of their sponsors – the remnants of aristocracy and owners of industry. Their dream was the establishment of a permanent ruling class, bathed in the light of xenophobic nationalism which brooked no discussion or opposition. The German fascists or Nazis coupled such ideas with a notion of an Aryan master race and an empire that would dominate Europe for a thousand years. Had it succeeded it would have been an enormous setback for civilisation. This explosion of dysfunctional capitalism caused the death of over sixty million people leaving a huge section of Europe in ruins. It did unfortunately succeed, for the unparalleled devastation that came in its wake sowed the seeds for the destruction of socialism and postponed any possibility of building a communist society.

INVASIONS BRING SETBACKS

The revolution of 1917 came not, as was predicted, to an advanced industrial state such as Germany or England but in a relatively backward feudal one. The invasions sponsored by international capital seeking to regain its wealth that immediately followed the revolution weakened the state and contributed to internal paranoia and a diminution of democracy.  An objective history of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union has not yet been written and may never be, as there are perhaps too many subjective agendas. It never progressed beyond beginning the construction of a socialist state and certainly never came near being a communist society, as no state ever has, or independently can. We will never know if in different conditions it could have evolved into a truly communist, egalitarian society. But in any event the transparency, the checks and balances and constant democratic input from the bottom did not prevail. All of this and more would have been required to maintain the confidence and support of its people. While there might be the possibility of building a socialist state within a national boundary, such could not apply to the construction of a communist society, which by definition would require the withering away of state enforcement structures. That could only emerge if it were international and without internal or external threat.

THE HOLDERS OF WEALTH WILL DO ALL TO MAINTAIN IT

Since the immortal opening lines of the Communist Manifesto written in 1848 – “A Spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism” – a certain unease has lurked deep in the minds of the holders of power and privilege. Their nightmare, that great hordes of the dispossessed, the people who sell their labour to exist, were thinking revolutionary thoughts and organising revolutionary parties to take power. In almost all cases the only reason organised workers become revolutionary is because they were given no choice, their demands ignored and democratic movements suppressed. An early revolt of that nature was the Paris Commune of 1871 when municipal elections led to the formation of a commune government. It followed the French Revolutionary tradition with a programme that called for an end of support for religion and a limited number of social measures such as a 10-hour working day. It was short-lived, ending in suppression by the national armies of the elite. The French bourgeoisie took the challenge to their power and privilege very seriously and over 35,000 communards were slaughtered. The red flag, the workers flag, was raised in France for the first time about February 1848 and came to symbolise what was to be the recurring fate of those in the lower orders who dared seek equality. ‘For though their limbs grow stiff and cold, their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold’ [song-The Red Flag- Jim Connell, Co. Meath].

 

The century leading up to 1914 was relatively peaceful in Europe with a concentration on industrialisation, colonial expansion and the consolidation of nation states. The Industrial Revolution in Britain and beyond expanded the available consumer market and likewise the numbers of producers competing for those markets. It brought massive increases in productivity and great disparities of wealth, it brought the working class and class conflict. It stimulated alternative, socialist philosophies which questioned state and church power as never before. As an antidote to the growth of international socialism and to aid colonial expansion, nationalistic feelings were promoted within each country. Superiority over other nations was preached and the dangers they posed were embellished. European nations, especially France, Britain, and Germany, joined in the rush for overseas colonies. Industrialisation and superiority in arms allowed them to seize land almost unopposed world-wide and build colonial empires. By the turn of the century most colonisation had taken place intensifying competition for the remaining areas.

The industrialised countries of Europe applied taxes on imported goods, prices increased, and trade declined. The masters of capital and politics sought scapegoats, blaming competing states which led to a spiral of tariffs, lower trade, rising unemployment and unrest. The unification of Italy and most especially that of Germany and its rapid rise as an economic and military power alarmed its neighbours. Nations reacted by building their respective military strength and forming alliances. France allied with Russia and England. Germany with Austria and Italy. Wealth, greed and competition became a toxic combination within and without the national borders of Europe. With the major powers in opposing camps, danger lay in any two members of opposing alliances coming into conflict, resulting in the possibility of a major war.

THE POWER OF CAPITAL

The awesome power of capitalism was being demonstrated by the creation of new technologies which, as trade and production of consumer goods declined were diverted into the armaments industry. The mass production of weapons, such as the machine gun, long-range artillery, mortars, submarines, and battleships, triggered an arms race such as the world had never seen. This poisonous cocktail combined with the arrogance of national chauvinism and plunged Europe into the First World War.

Nationalism like religion has the power to overcome the common interests of humanity and gather it into opposing groups. In each country the national press demonised any internal opposition and blackened the people of opposing countries into vile caricatures. Most socialists were persuaded to abandon their internationalism and join the army where they trained to kill their fellow workers. Christian priests and pastors preached to both sides that god was with them. With much singing and flag-waving the armies marched off to war, all assured of their superiority, and that victory would be theirs within a few months. Both sides were almost equal in armaments and the armies bogged down in trench warfare and unbelievable carnage. On the 1st of July 1916 at the Somme, with the aid of mine, mortar and machine gun 65,000 young men lay dead by the end of that single day. Most did not die clean, but screaming in disbelief and searing pain as they looked at their own scattered limbs or intestines. Millions of young men with common interests had been persuaded to support King or Kaiser and over four years slaughtered each other. By the end of the war, a war driven by competition and greed for markets and power between the giants of capital, 16 million were dead and 20 million injured.

REVOLUTION

On the eastern front, the autocratic rule of Tsar Nicolas II, the despair of Russian troops in a stalemated war, combined with radical movements at home to create a revolution. Russia was an unlikely place for this event, a land of approximately 170 million, where the majority of the population were peasants on a meagre existence with more than 60% illiterate. As Tsarist rule collapsed, many variants of politics briefly existed before the Bolsheviks took power. That organised workers and peasants were able to overthrow the Romanovs and extend democracy over economics brought hope to millions of the oppressed and fear to ruler’s worldwide. The rebellion took place in conditions of extreme scarcity for, in addition to the privation of Russia’s people, the war had aggravated food shortages and disease. By October 1917 the country was under the control of councils of workers, farmers and soldiers.All productive property and land was brought under the ownership of the people. The Russian army, as promised, was withdrawn from the slaughter of the front.

The first phase of any new project has an exciting quality, a hypothesis that mankind could build a society without exploitation, with equality of gender and race, where the combined productive capacity of society could be harnessed to serve the common good. It was a watershed historical moment and an inspiration to millions as they witnessed economic power pass to its producers. But it was also a watershed moment for those who were losing their land, mines, railways and investments. It was a dangerous and threatening time for capital and the ruling elite worldwide who mobilised all the power and propaganda they could muster against this new state, for if this socialist revolution was not strangled at birth, it could spread. They were determined that it had not just to be contained, but reversed.

CRUSH THE REVOLUTION

Thus external capitalist powers invaded Russia trying to regain their investments and crush the revolution. Germany invaded from the west, American, British and French forces from the north, Japanese and American troops landed in the east. All these forces combined with the internal counter-revolutionaries forces as the old order of Russia fought to regain power and privilege. As many as 255,000 troops were involved from 14 different countries, capturing large sections of the country. It was November 1920 before the Red Army finally defeated all the invaders, subdued the internal opposition and secured the country. However, the invasions had brought devastation, economic ruin and famine. Those who had failed to bring down the revolution with direct military intervention now concentrated on blockades, propaganda and isolation.

The security of the revolution in Russia depended on its spread to advanced capitalist countries, in particular to Germany, where despite five years of revolutionary upheaval, the revolution failed. The new socialist state was left isolated, struggling internally with reaction and under attack from external forces. Consequently, instead of being able to concentrate on improving the well-being of the people, huge resources had to be squandered on defence. When the leader of the revolution, V.I. Lenin, was shot in 1918 this act further poisoned the atmosphere, substantiating the belief that there were enemies of the state everywhere and increasing the paranoia. Lenin’s health deteriorated and he died in January 1924, but the struggle to build socialism went on. There is no greater school than a revolution and it is not surprising that some of the most innovative and successful literacy campaigns are those born when a mass of people fight for a better society. In such periods ideas matter as never before and the spread of literacy becomes a prime liberating endeavour. Education was massively overhauled with a tenfold increase in expenditure. Free and universal access was mandated for all children from the ages of three to sixteen years, and the number of schools doubled within the first two years. Co-education was implemented to combat sex discrimination and for the first time schools were created for students with learning and other disabilities.

ART & ARCHITECTURE FLOURISH

Revolutionary ideas in Europe were reflected by a surge of radical architecture and art, two centres of this movement emerged, the Bauhaus in Germany in 1919, a year later Lenin announced the establishment of the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops – VKhuTEMAS. The aim was to use the visual arts in the training of technically, politically and scientifically educated architects and designers in all disciplines. It became a laboratory of modern architecture and art, in which diverse artistic ideas such as classicism, constructivism and futurism came together.The oppressive forms and pompous decoration of imperial grandeur were stripped away. During the ten years of its existence, it was a leading light in the Russian and European avant-garde. The ethos of the school- which had a close association with the Bauhaus- was to develop an architecture and art of socialised man and the machine age. It was a time of promise and endless possibilities, ‘less is more’ was the catchphrase. Both schools were to flourish for ten years and have a lasting international impact. However, in time the architecture and art of a growing autocracy in Russia could not escape its own reflection, nor could the free spirit of Vkhutemas and by 1930 the school was closed. During the same period, the Nazis saw the Bauhaus as un-German, degenerate and Marxist. Its links with VKhuTEMAS in Moscow did not go unnoticed; it was also closed.

Mass literacy was seen as crucial, for it is hard to propagate social ideas and develop an economy in the midst of illiteracy. Economic conditions did not help, they were described at the time: “Hungry children in rags would gather in winter around a small stove planted in the middle of the classroom, whose furniture often went for fuel to give some tiny relief from the freezing cold; they had one pencil between four of them and their schoolmistress was hungry.” Over the next 16 years despite a diminution in democracy, progress was made in industrialisation, agriculture, science, education and social care. The emergence of the Soviet Union bolstered the confidence of trade unions and left-wing movements worldwide, allowing gains in living standards and social democracy. However, this was not happening unopposed. The enemies of socialism never sleep and fascism was emerging throughout Europe. In Spain a democracy emerged and subsequent elections established a republic but this was crushed by a right-wing army and ruling class revolt. This movement against democracy received support from reactionaries throughout Europe, including Germany, and from some within the Republic of Ireland. Thankfully, for our historical dignity 275 Irish volunteers fought with the International Brigade and many died in the unsuccessful defence of the Spanish Republic.

THE RISE OF FASCISM

In Germany, the rising Nazi party received its support from the ruling elite, not because Hitler was going to ‘solve’ the Jewish, gay or gypsy ‘problems’ but because he was going to destroy the organised workers, the trade unions, and communists. Fascism was the embodiment of competitive greed and ‘might is right’. It gained support by opposing the reparations demands of WW1 and by fomenting a populist hatred against the Jews, a policy that led to a most appalling, organised genocide, the Holocaust. It provided a diversion, a cry from a prophet Hitler, who was persuading his followers that if the Jewish, gipsy and gay ‘problems’ were solved, all would be well. But the main antagonists were at large, the spectre of communism was haunting Europe. The worker’s revolution had consolidated power in Russia and the great fear was that it could be repeated in Germany. The main aim of fascism was to thwart socialism in theory and practice. As early as August 1919, Hitler was lecturing returning German prisoners of war on the dangers of Communism and pacifism, as well as democracy and disobedience. He also delivered tirades against the Jews that were well received by the weary soldiers who were looking for someone to blame for all their misfortunes.  The title of the fascist party, the National Socialist Party, while being a total corruption of everything socialism stood for, caused confusion. The promotion of xenophobic ideas, such as the superiority of the Aryan race and German nationalism, undermined international class unity, as had happened in the First World War. Thus the left in Germany was thwarted by the rise of the Nazi party who were supported by the ruling class terrified that they might suffer the fate of the Russian elite. Hitler was seen as a better option than another Lenin.

Historians and obscurants often equate fascism and communism as equal terrors of the time. The majority of leading intellectuals of the day and throughout most of the twentieth century were often criticised for their support of the Russian revolution while condemning fascism. This is not surprising for, as the fascists were scheming for nationalism, division, conquest, dominance and the negation of democracy, communists were dreaming of the international solidarity of humanity as well as negation of class divisions, equality, universal education and democratic control over economics. The call of the ‘International’ to unite all men and end the nightmare of war, was by far the most attractive governmental cause engaged in by our species to date. That the Russian revolution and the Soviet Union did not or perhaps could not reach fruition, is the major human philosophical, social and material tragedy of the last century.

When Germany invaded Poland in1939, England and France stood by their allegiance and war was declared. The German army then swept west over-running everything in its path until it reached the English Channel. It was assumed the conquest of the United Kingdom would occur within a few months. However, air superiority was required to invade across the channel. The heroic air conflict ‘The Battle of Britain’ was a victory for the Royal Air Force and changed the tide of war on the western front. Those in Ireland of thoughtful mind and democratic bent breathed a sigh of relief, for had the Third Reich occupied England, Ireland would have quickly suffered the same fate. Even if the Nazis had not invaded they would have ensured a proxy government of their liking Socialists, trade union leaders and Jews would have suffered the fate in the UK and Ireland as their European counterparts.

WAR OF ANNIHILATION

If we in Ireland thought English occupation was rough it would have been a picnic compared to the Third Reich. Resistance would have been dealt with the same brutality as that suffered by the village of Lidice outside Prague where when a Nazi officer was assassinated, 173 men of the village were shot, any Aryan looking children were sent to ‘good’ German homes and the remaining children, together with 183 women, were sent to the death camps. The village itself was levelled. The Republic of Ireland has often come under criticism for remaining neutral in the Second World War, but it was weary from the war of independence and a civil war. Besides it did not have an industrialised army to contribute and there still existed a sentiment amongst the population which was hostile to the UK. An ambiguity towards fascism had been strengthened by the support given by the Church and media for the crushing of the Spanish Republic. However, while Ireland remained officially neutral an estimated fifty thousand Irish men and women served with the Allied and UK forces. Furthermore, Allied airman downed over the Republic were returned to their bases within a few days while Germans who suffered the same fate were confined for the duration of the war.

In the east, Hitler and Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact which fooled no one, least of all the Soviets who immediately started to move their armament factories east of the Ural Mountains. It was to be a short-lived respite. ‘Operation Barbarossa’ – called after the Holy Roman Emperor who led a crusade in 1189 to free the ‘Holy Land’ from Islam – began in June 1941, a crusade to free the world from socialism. It was the biggest military operation of all time; a mainly German invasion of the Soviet Union with three million men and 3,500 tanks, this was more than two and a half times the number of German troops operating on the western front. This invasion was planned not to be a war of conquest but a war of annihilation, to form a space for the expansion of Germany. In the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, there is a plaque which reads:

On June 22 1941. Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The rapidly advancing tank forces helped the Wehrmacht to make massive territorial gains. At the end of 1941 the German army stood before Moscow, certain of victory. Yet the Red Army’s counter-offensives in snow and frost halted the advance on the capital. In the summer of 1942 the Germans once more seized large areas of the southern section of the front, but were soon forced to retreat. The war in the East, unlike that on the West was carried out as a war of annihilation. The primary aims were to suppress Bolshevism, seize Lebensraum, living space, exploit the occupied areas and make use of the population as forced labour. The East was to provide the German Reich with food and to be colonised by Aryans. Hence the death of many millions of Soviet citizens was an integral part of the plan. Captured Red Army soldiers were deliberately left to die of hunger. Mobile killing units operating behind the front lines – the Einsatzgruppen – systematically killed the Jewish population along with Roma and Sinti as well as communist functionaries. The entire Soviet civilian population suffered from the terror of the occupation, which led them to retaliate with bitter guerrilla warfare. By 1945 the Soviet Union had more than 25 million dead to mourn.

Hell had travelled east and every village, town and city taken by the German forces was destroyed. By August 1942 they were at the gates of Stalingrad. Initially the Luftwaffe reduced much of the city to rubble with a massive bombing campaign. Then German armour and infantry fought street by street driving the Red Army defenders back in constant close combat. In November with the deepening of winter and in freezing conditions the Red Army counter-attacked and surrounded 265,000 Axis troops, mainly German but also Hungarian, Romanian, Italian and Croatian, who had been forbidden to surrender by Hitler. All were eventually overrun and the entire course of the war turned. Stalingrad is now recognised as the most decisive battle of the war; it lasted just under six months. At the end of the fighting there were almost two million causalities on both sides. It had been the biggest and bloodiest single battle of not just the Second World War, but ever in human history.

The Red Army, having broken the back of the Wehrmacht, started its push west and by May 1945 reached Berlin and the war was over. The Soviet Union paid a very high price with 25 million of its people dead, 70,000 villages and 1,710 towns, together with thousands of factories, power plants, libraries, schools, hospitals destroyed. To place the scale of the Allied losses in context, the United States lost 420,000, mainly military personnel, in the Pacific and European conflicts and suffered no damage to its industrial base. The UK lost a total of 450,000 military and civilians. Total German losses were over 7,000,000 and the country was in ruins. In the countries where the Red Army pushed back fascism, socialist governments were established. At the Yalta conference, the Soviet delegation demanded a sphere of political and military influence in Eastern and Central Europe making the point that this bulwark of allied states was an essential aspect of its national security. This effectively partitioned Europe between the western capitalist economies and the eastern socialist ones. The power and wealth of US capitalism was then directed to rebuilding the economies of Western Europe in a mode to suit the free reign of capital. Huge amounts of aid under the Marshal Plan were poured into rebuilding West Germany. The decimated USSR was not in any position to match that reconstruction in the east. In the world of free capital everything was done to promote anti-socialist thinking and contain the influence of socialist ideas. By 1950 the red scare and McCarthyism were in full swing in the United States, the part played by the Red Army in WW2 was being written out of history. An intellectual iron curtain was drawn down on socialism and the physical border between the two systems in Europe became another. The cold war developed.

THE COLD WAR

Towards the end of the war with Japan, the United States had demonstrated how two nuclear bombs could immolate a city and 130,000 people in a flash. This forced Japan to surrender but it also forced a now very nervous USSR to divert a vast amount of its resources from badly needed reconstruction and social projects to nuclear deterrence and defence. The United States was bolstered by a flourishing arms race. This forced the Soviet Union with its much damaged economy to do the same, thus seriously impairing the building of socialism. The fear of external attack forged its strategic thinking regarding the states that lay between it and the perceived threat from the west. While Soviet Russia had rendered anti-imperialist support to many countries worldwide and respected their self-determination, it would and did intervene to ensure that states adjacent to its border remained under its sphere of influence within the Warsaw Pact. This paranoia of external attack and persecution effectively prevented the flourishing of socialism in the Soviet Union and any chance of building a communist society was doomed. To this day the fear of external aggression dominates Russian military thinking, it will go to great lengths to maintain influence on its neighbours to ensure they remain allies or at least non-aligned.

By way of comparison, on September 11th 2001 after the destruction of the World Trade Centre and the death of 3,000 by hijacked airliners, the United States was gripped by paranoia. The war on terror commenced, and countries that were completely innocent were invaded and destroyed. Suspects were collected worldwide and flown to Guantanamo Bay to be held without charge and tortured. Imagine the reaction of the United States if an actual ground force invasion had occurred and 25 million Americans had been killed, 70,000 villages, 1,710 towns, thousands of factories, power plants, libraries, schools, hospitals had been destroyed.

Up to 1991, the USSR made erratic progress in production, health, education and living standards. However, the investment in armaments was to prove ever more crippling. That such a relatively backward state could, after so much destruction, match the United States in nuclear firepower, achieving a capability of mutually assured destruction, speaks volumes for the organisational ability of a people under pressure. Unfortunately the building of socialism and securing the well-being and happiness of a people requires a very different environment, a problem that highlights the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of building socialism in a single country, particularly a threatened one. Deep governance problems arose, a lack of balances and transparency within the system allowed power to move away from the worker councils and fall excessively into the hands of the Communist Party and leadership, finally concentrating in Stalin. Inherited characteristics of supplication from the legacy of Czarism and religious orthodoxy re-emerged, a cult of leadership flourished with a leader who was both feared and adored. Nothing could be further from the foundations required to build socialism from the bottom up. Huge mistakes were made in the economy. Corruption, bureaucracy and inefficiencies grew. Finally in 1991 the contradictions of external pressure and internal betrayal brought about a coup by President Yeltsin.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE

When it became evident that he would lose the next election and knowing he had support from the IMF and with billions in aid promised from the US Congress he abolished the constitution and dissolved parliament.  Having doubled military salaries, he surrounded the parliament building with troops and ordered an attack. About five hundred were killed and a thousand wounded, democracy was effectively crushed and the socialist state was replaced by a corporatist one. Naomi Klein says in her book The Shock Doctrine, ‘former communist party apparatchiks and a handful of western fund managers ….teamed up with Yeltsin’s Chicago boys and stripped the country of nearly everything of value, moving profits abroad at the rate of $2 billion a month’. Never have so many lost so much over such a short period, the pillage required terror and oppression and the country that strove for egalitarianism now languishes with an elite of billionaires and a bulging poverty.

The collapse and the break-up of the USSR was grotesquely celebrated by the western media and the elite worldwide; they were relieved when a fistful of men grabbed the wealth of the USSR and became multi-millionaires overnight. The spectre of communism was at least temporarily over; the world could now perhaps be free – free for the dictatorship of capital. With the collapse of this intrepid peoples experiment, went the confidence and influence of left-wing movements worldwide. Capital regained its confidence and accelerated deregulation and further accumulation at the expense of the majority, its global range and power increasing in inverse proportion to the diminishing power of national democracies. Workers international solidarity diminished with it a growth in divisions amongst people through nationalism and religion. Most movements against oppression which had previously been led by secular left-wing forces had been subverted and splintered into divisive religious fundamentalism, toxic to reason, but ultimately of no threat to global capital. Nonetheless the innate desire of humans to build a just egalitarian society, a co-operative internationalist community will not go away.

 

 

October 23rd, 2017|0 Comments

Left, right and Centre in Trump Times

Also published as; The Burren POP-UP-PRESS  

An opinion column by Fergus Quinlan

Left, Right and Centre in Trump Times

Life should be a battle against one’s ignorance, not an obsession with the ignorance of others. The only way the world will improve is if more people try to understand it, one is knowing why divisions among groups who have the same objective interests arise.

In the United States, the sight of white males shouting fascist slogans imparts a sense of foreboding, a group of anti-fascists shouting back does not relieve it.  The dynamics of the issues affecting the USA are similar to those throughout Europe and are worth understanding.

In the US, large sections of workers have been let down by the Democratic party which had appeared to serve their interests. However, over the past forty years, the Party’s collaboration with the corporate financial sector has been total; they have whittled away any remnant of democratic control of capital. After Bill Clinton signed away the Glass Steagall Act, they participated in a spree of deregulation, they watched trade union power diminish, and the pay and job security of workers decline. What exaggerated the situation was that the form of capitalism was changing, it was not that which grew slowly through the funding of industry, infrastructural projects and housing. It was the ’Free’  liberalised capital springing from ‘quantitive easing’ [printing money] that went spinning through a circle of hedge funds, leveraging, futures, bondsmen and a thousand other bits of financial wizardry that accelerated the accumulation of capital but without engaging with production. While this was happening, the actual production of goods moved to low wage high-profit economies.

This new neoliberal capitalism heralded a significant development within the United States and world wide. The alignment of interests between government and international financial institutions, ‘the Washington Wall-Street Consensus’, an alliance that has become a conspiracy against the people of the US  and a lethal force against peace and democracy throughout the world.

As the living standards of the once, best-paid workers in the world fell, they were showered with credit to continue buying goods and services, cars, houses, college fees. Now, in debt bondage, trapped and frightened; they see their factories rust and their world decline. They had been betrayed by the left; they turned to the right. Trump promised to bring home jobs, stop immigrants undercutting wages, and to build a wall to keep them out, they cheered. Many of these workers had been brought up in bible belt religion, drenched in beliefs that they were the good white race, they had won the west, they had been either a rebel in the Confederacy or defended the Union, they had with flags and drums marched off proudly to serve their country. They had shared the pain, with those who now oppose them as they watched thousands of their children arriving home in coffins from various wars, but they clung to their culture and beliefs. For their self-worth, they cannot bring themselves to believe that the wars they fought were not for the freedom of America,  but for the enrichment of the few.

Now, their world and confidence are falling to ruin; The indigenous,  Blacks, Women, Muslims, Jews, Gays are all deemed as equals, their ego and their perceptions, past and future are under threat. Removing their statues is akin to pulling down the Blessed Virgin at a Catholic parade.  Angry and frightened the ‘alt-right’ cry, ‘blood and soil’, ‘our streets’, against what they see as a betrayal, forces acting against their ‘dearly’ held interests. The reaction of the left was predictable; they took to the streets to face down them down, clashes and death were inevitable. But this ‘Alt-right’is not the real danger; it is not the real enemy, it is but a diversion, the real enemy is the system as protected by the ‘real news’ of the corporate media. Commenting on the chaos, it can now paint itself as the voice of reason, the middle ground; it works to support the ‘reasonable’ voice of the Democratic Party. The party aligned with the wolves of Wall Street that is decimating their lives. The party which directs the Washington War machine as it destroys any country that does not kneel before its interests.

The media, while it has the occasional independent voice, is, in general, a united, well-controlled force owned by international corporations,  well represents their interests. It endorses the freedom of capital to do as it wishes worldwide. Government agencies, such as the CIA,  acting as agents of capital, carefully stage and report on events. This copy passes to the main media outlets and like a rolling wave spreads to every acquiescent TV station, and newspaper in the world. A lie repeated often enough becomes ‘the truth’ and all else deemed as fake news. These are the forces presently demonising tens of millions of Trump voters.

The confrontation at Charlottesville appeared to have been allowed to occur by the authorities, the question one must ask is who benefits from such unrest. The beneficiary appears to be the Democratic and some in the Republican Party who are conspiring to remove the glitch that is Trump and get back to the status quo. The campaign to link Trump and Putin as fellow conspirators plotting against Hillary Clinton is a case in point.  When Trump attempted talks with Russia, it caused an uproar as any diminution of tension between the superpowers is opposed, for tension breeds fear and fear keeps people subservient. The population becomes more compliant to surveillance, the expansion of security, policing and mass incarceration. The threat of war allows the state print money and gather trillions in taxes, which instead of providing a health service, housing, and education, buys more profitable weapons from their supporters in the military-industrial complex. The money flows upwards, enriching the rich, while the frightened, confused and exploited, grow poorer and more alienated. To dehumanise large swaths of the population assists the ‘Deep State’ to intensify divisions and reaction leading to internal wars and chaos, a situation which could give the military the opportunity to bypass the electorate and allow the generals replace democracy in the interests of homeland and national security.

Hopefully, there are plenty of decent, conscious people who understand the dangers and are willing to improve the situation. The consciousness of a socialist alternative is spreading.  It’s important that the empathy and inclusiveness evident in many within the United States attempts to include the frustrated white male of middle America.

People in Ireland and worldwide are interested in America; it is the country that poses the greatest threat to humanity regarding war and climate change. The economic ideology emanating from Friedman’s Chicago School has poisoned the US and every part of the globe it touches. The future of the USA may well determine the future of the world if it starts to believe the rhetoric as used by Obama, the concept of ‘American exceptionalism’, a belief that the United States is the biggest, strongest, smartest, richest, and most-deserving country on Earth. This arrogance is dangerous enough, but any further rightward shifts could bring the world as we know it, to ruin. Any action people may take, any arguments they may make, must not concern a Tweedledum or Tweedledee of US presidents, but the system itself and that must be from an internationalist perspective.

Book and Blogs at; http://www.therepublicofreason.ie                            

 

August 31st, 2017|0 Comments

Is the Problem Washington or North Korea

In the 64 years since the end of the Korean war, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on North Korea. Washington has subjected it to starvation,  prevented it from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep.

Washington refuses to sit down with a country which it sees as its inferior.  Instead, the US has strong-armed China to do its bidding by using their diplomats as interlocutors who are expected to convey Washington’s ultimatums as threateningly as possible.  They are hoping that Pyongyang will cave in and do the bidding of the Washington-Wall Street Consensus. But North Korea has of yet shown no sign of succumbing to intimidation.They have developed a small arsenal of nuclear weapons to defend themselves if the US tries to assert its dominance by launching another war. The country has not been destroyed and its leader killed like Saddam and Gadhafi because it does not have oil and because it may have the capacity to reduce Seoul, Okinawa and Tokyo to smouldering ruins.

North Korea is a most secretive state, a country of 25 million ruled by a dictatorial dynasty and supporting a hugh army of 1.2 million with 7.7million reserves, though often referred to as being a communist society, it could not be further from such.The country emerged in 1948 liberated from the Japanese by help from Russia in the North and the United States in the south. In the chaos following the end of the Second World War, its history was dominated by Kim Il-sung, who shaped political affairs for almost half a century.

It is important to remember what moulded the modern mind and will of North Korea. In the Korean war in the early 1950s, the US dropped more bombs there than in the entire Pacific theatre during World War II. This carpet bombing, which included 32,000 tons of the chemical weapon napalm, targeted civilian as well as military targets, devastating the country far beyond what was necessary to fight the war. Hundreds of tons of bombs, and incendiary devices were dropped on Pyongyang by the US airforce, causing annihilating fires. The number of inhabitants killed by bomb splinters, burnt alive and suffocated by smoke is incalculable. Only 50,000 remained in the city out of 500,000. Overall the United States killed over 2 million people in a country that posed no threat to US national security. By the autumn of 1952, every town, city and industrial area in North Korea had been bombed. By the spring of 1953, Reservoirs, Irrigation dams, rice crops,  hydroelectric dams, population centres were all razed to the ground. The US couldn’t win the ground war, so they turned the country into an uninhabitable wasteland. Now on the pretext of being threatened by military parades or test firing of unarmed missiles the US is ready to go killing again.

There is, however, a way to end this pointless standoff between Pyongyang and Washington, a way to mend fences and build trust? The first thig is respect and for the USA to follow through on promises. Ex-President Jimmy Carter has stated that North Korea wants the USA to honour its obligations. In September 2005, an agreement reaffirmed the basic premises of the 1994 accord which included denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a pledge of non-aggression by the United States and steps to evolve a permanent peace agreement to replace the U.S.-North Korean-Chinese cease-fire that has been in effect since July 1953. The promise had been to build two light-water reactors to provide heat and light in exchange for an end to the Norths’s nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately, since 2005 no substantive progress has been made.

Relations with the North Korea can be normalised,  economic ties can be strengthened, trust can be restored, and the nuclear threat can be defused. This situation does not have to be a crisis, it can be fixed. It just takes a change in policy, a bit of give-and-take, and leaders that want peace more than war. The Republic of Ireland is ideally placed to play a role in this peace process, The media and government have played a positive role in a recent successful peace process. The country is not a part of any military alliance (ignore Shannon Airport for the moment), we punch above our influential weight in the United States. It just takes a few airline tickets and a hard neck to begin.

 

April 18th, 2017|0 Comments

The Battle for Aleppo

 

Is the battle for Aleppo coming to an end?

aleppo-1

The six-year narrative on Syria has been a criminal propaganda project deployed against a sovereign nation, its people, its state and its national army.

The prolonged dehumanization of the Syrian people, the exploitation of their children as cynical props to further the NATO & Gulf state geo-political objectives in the region, the overt and covert endorsement of NATO State-proxy terrorism, the tacit endorsement of economic terrorism via the illegal US/EU sanctions against Syria, all amount to crimes against Humanity and the Syrian people.

The “regime change” push by the Washington/Wall street Consensus is seeing their pyramid of lies being dismantled stone by stone, by the very people they have been claiming to “protect” for almost six years.

The civilians are fleeing their four-year imprisonment in East Aleppo, subjugated by various militant factions, funded by NATO states and led by Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda.  Their words will be sullied by the corporate media reporting and accounting of events, as they desperately try to resuscitate their expiring Aleppo chronicles.

They are saying God bless the army and they send their greetings to the army. They also said that there was no food and water where they were in eastern Aleppo between terrorist groups, they also said that terrorists treated them very badly and that the army helped them get out to safe areas. They also showed very big happiness seeing the interviewer who is a famous war reporter for Syrian official TV.”

The following images were taken of the fleeing civilians in the last 24 hours.

Today, more civilians exited terrorists held areas, and reached to Hanano & Al-Sakhour which are under SAAcontrol.

 

Sarah Abdallah, analyst and commentator, notes the following:

“Syrian Arab Army’s remarkable east Aleppo advancement continues: Four more districts freed today, including the pivotal region of Sakhour. In the last 48 hours alone, 12 east Aleppo districts have been liberated. From one area to the next, the “moderate” terrorists are melting down. Most important news today though is the SAA’s recapture of the Suleiman al-Halabi Water Pumping Station. The Aleppo water crisis is over! Since 2012, Turkish-backed “jihadists” have withheld water from Aleppo’s residents as a means of blackmailing them into supporting the “revolution”. This has led to unprecedented levels of sickness and malnourishment. But now, the SAA has restored water to more than one million people as it moves ever-closer to freeing Aleppo entirely.

 

November 30th, 2016|0 Comments

Fidel Castro & Cuba

fidel_castro

“A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past- 

 They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?”

 “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… it causes war, hypocrisy and competition”

“The revolution is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters- The revenues of Cuban state-run companies are used exclusively for the benefit of the people, to whom they belong”

“No thieves, no traitors, no interventionists! This time the revolution is for real!”               Fidel Castro

 

PRESIDENTS STATMENT.

 On the death of Fidel Castro, President Michael D Higgins issued a statement “expressing his great sadness, saying that he will be remembered as a giant among global leaders. His view was not only of freedom for his people, but for all the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet”.

 

Fidel Castro the 90-year-old iconic leader of the Cuban Revolution was an inspiration to all people struggling against oppression. Having completed the overthrow of Batista, on January 8th 1959 his revolutionaries triumphantly entered Havana. There he delivered his first major speech before tens of thousands of Cuban people at the vanquished dictator’s military headquarters. He inspired his country with strength and symbolism, an inspiration that echoed with all oppressed countries and peoples.

CUBAN SOCIALISM 

Socialism is a dream of extending democracy over economics, for revolutionaries that means taking existing industries and resources under democratic control to serve the interests of society rather than the few. Many revolutionaries who take power under such ‘Socialist’ slogans quickly adopt to the realities of the existing world order and cut deals with it. Then under a new national – revolutionary flag, they, like the power overthrown enrich themselves and persuade their fellow revolutionaries to become the new police, the new army and maintain the essence of the old order.  They become the guardians of capital.

STRANGLE THE REVOLUTION.

From the moment it became apparent that Castro Aand his revolutionaries meant what they said, the Washington / Wall Street Consensus, were determined that the revolution must be strangled. In some ways, they unfortunately succeeded.

Socialism is more than just extending democracy over economics, for a socialist state to succeed, its power must come from the bottom up, this democracy must be transparent. The mass of people must feel that power, they must feel ownership of everything and be willing to carry that responsibility. The wealth of their production must be seen to come back to the people. But most of all, for Socialism to work, there must be peace.  Socialism is indeed a delicate flower and delicate flowers are easy to poison.

  • PROGRESS NEEDS PEACE. An emerging socialist state can be stifled by encircling it with an army, threatening it, invading it. Even if the invasion fails, the pressure will force the country to build and maintain a huge standing army. That will bleed the country’s wealth away from schools, hospitals, housing and the welfare of the people and channel it into military hardware and the expense of maintaining an army.
  • If the adjoining state in this case the USA is very powerful and antagonistic to socialism, it can and did strangled it economically, cut it off from international trade. Its products were blocked from being sold on the international markets and vital goods were blocked from entering the country.

In addition to the problem of funding a large standing army, Cuba was forced to become militarised. Such countries, like the army itself must be organised and run in a pyramidal top down command structure, thus effectively undermining the emergence of a socialist democracy.

Every state has an internal opposition, in Cuba’s case it was those who lost their estates and their rights over resources and those who wanted the return of a society where they were free to profit on the labour of others. These external and internal forces who wished for and worked to roll back the revolution were funded and supported by the USA.

After the USA sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel Castro survived over 600 attempts by the gangsters of capital to murder him. Despite Castro laughing off these attempts to kill him, internal paranoia grew in proportion to the threat to the state and it leader. These events further stifled the development of socialism and worked to limit democratic expression.

Despite all these trials the Cuban revolution oversaw vast improvements in the provision of basic services throughout the country, such as health care, education, welfare and housing. Unprecedented advances in literacy were made across the island.

The revolution provided military and social aid to struggling countries all over the world and was the first to respond to natural disasters. But most of all, it upheld the dignity of humanity world-wide, it held aloft the possibility, the idea, that a small Caribbean society of 11 million people could exist without being on its knees before the Washington / Wall Street Consensus.

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution defied the United States for nearly half a century, and survived 11 American presidents One can only hope that the capacity of the Cuban people to resist ‘Americanisation’ can go on until the people of the United States of America and indeed the world come to understand that they too might extend democracy over economics. That they too, might try to build a society not based on the poisonous cocktail of greed and competition, but one where the happiness of society and the dignity of people were paramount.

A book of condolence will be open at the Mansion House to-day to allow people to pay their respects. The book is open from 11am to 4pm on Monday and Tuesday.

 

November 28th, 2016|0 Comments

President Trump, the good, the bad and the future.

donald-trump

The people of the United States of America, have made their choice. The establishment media, here and world-wide have been rattled, they cannot believe that their confident predictions of an establishment victory did not come to pass. They cannot believe that from a population of 319 million Donald Trump was the chosen one.

Trump came across as a blatantly sectarian, misogynist and divisive racist. Hillary Clinton as a representative of the corrupt Washington establishment on the side of the wealthiest 1% and in the pocket of Wall Street. She was also a dangerous warmonger. Both Hillary and Donald were united by the noxious cocktail of wealth, greed and power in a land where the greediest and most competitive rise to the top, they both did. They were a perfect reflection of a social order that is the advanced capitalism of the United States of America.

Since I was a young man, the military forces of the USA have been killing poorer less armed people world-wide. Any attempt by the people of south America to use their natural or produced wealth for their collective benefit has been destroyed repeatedly by the connivance or direct intervention of these forces. The young men and women of the military acting under illusions of patriotism and freedom have become the rent collectors and the enforcers of the Washington / Wall Street consensus.

When the people of Vietnam wished to established their independence and social system it was not to the liking of Washington or world finance. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was staged to allow a full-scale war against its people. Three million people were murdered in by a wild spree of bombing, machine gunning and the ghastly chemicals produced by Dow and Monsanto. Thankfully, the USA lost this war to a lightly armed but highly motivated people, an unfortunate consequence being the death of 58,000 young men and women of the USA, most of whom were drafted, needed a job or were promised an education, some genuinely believed they were defending freedom and their homeland.

While but pausing briefly to lick its wounds, US imperialism returned to the fray with the destruction of secular governments in Iran and Afghanistan, the wholesale destruction of Iraqi and the killing of a million of its people, the destruction of Libya. The interventions against any government or people particularly in South America, but world-wide who made any attempt to extend democracy over economics.

Are the people of the USA natural born killers? No, they most certainly are not. The economic system of capitalism has been running in the USA since its foundation, born in the blood of its indigenous people and fed on the free wealth of slave labour, it thrived. The flood of millions of diverse hardworking immigrants to its shore boosted its wealth and power. Over time its wealth concentrated in fewer hands.  The theory of capitalism is that the expanding wealth of the few will trickle down through society and all will benefit, for a period when trade unions were strong and a more balanced Keynesian approach was in vogue, a large wealthy middle class emerged.  But as capital further concentrated and the ideas of Milton Friedman began to hold sway, regulation on capital was abolished, this new economic philosophy more than any before looks on all people and the entire world as its field of plunder.

At the same time in poor countries under the domination of the USA, labour – which would not be allowed to organise – could produce food, goods and services at a fraction of the cost that would be the case in the USA. Thus the production core of the US was stripped out and moved abroad for bigger profits. Thus the income and security of the middle class has been falling for forty years. These abandoned blue collar workers voted for Trump. Those who perceived that their wages were undercut by cheaper migrants, voted for Trump. Those who believed that every one would be killed by jihadists, voted for Trump.

The collapse of the USSR signaled the decline of socialist ideas world wide which coincided with the demise of trade union power. The Capitalist powers of  the Unites State combined with Europe and now unopposed, took to war, they needed war. The state collects taxes, persuades its  people there is an enemy, buys billions of dollars worth of killing equipment which makes vast profits for the few and persuades the unemployed they have a duty to their country and can make a living by killing ‘brown’ people somewhere. If there is not a war or an enemy, they will manufacture both.

This plundering and killing instinct emerges not from the people of the United States who like 99% of people in all the world just want to get on with their lives in peace. It emerges from the objective need of the 1% who want their capital to be free to plunder the world at will. Any person or state who stands in the way of that agenda will be vilified, any opposition within those states preferable inane mullahs, will be funded and armed. Internal and external pressure will be applied until the regime is changed – usually in a a bath of blood – to become a kneeling supplicant to the Washington / Wall Street consensus. Over recent years the Clinton’s  had been cheerleaders for such endeavors. When  bewildered and broken veterans returned from the wars, they were discarded. Many of them voted for Trump.

The philosophy of this Washington / Wall-street consensus dominates the media in the USA and effectively controls the collective mind of huge swaths of its people. In an economy driven by the poisonous cocktail of competition and greed, the greediest and the most competitive rise to the top. The people drained of their own self worth sought a leader, a Saviour, they saw that in Donald Trump, they perceived him to be outside the establishment. The establishment which had betrayed them over and over again. While it will not make a great deal of difference who becomes president in the sham democracies of Tweedledum and Tweedledee Dee, as the real power lies in the dictatorship of capital. The President can, however, influence a trend.

How should we respond to this result?  With tears or joy, either would be a bit over the top. From the perspective of the the safety of the world, Hillary, would I believe have been the most dangerous, as she had been focused on another regime change in Syria, one in a chain of regime changes and destruction’s. To that end, she was the most likely to try and ‘take on’ Russia and China. Agreements by the western powers not to expand NATO and its war machine to the borders of Russia were broken. Countries around Russia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Ukraine have been broken, Russia knowing it is next, is nervous. However, these are not the usual ‘brown’ people that Washington kills so easily. They are very capable nuclear powers, and as Putin said recently, (generally unreported); “The last time an army came over our borders we lost 25,000,000 people, it will not happen again, the future war will be fought by men pressing buttons, Russia may be destroyed, but so too will Europe and the United States”. Trump said he would talk with Putin, he would talk with anyone rather go to war. He said the US should withdraw from NATO, if this talking were to come to pass it could set the United States and the world on a safer and saner path.

Trump’s victory will be hard on the liberal heart and soul of the United States, it will encourage racism, sectarianism, sexism and an inward-looking nationalism. But the realities of power and time will mitigate these sentiments. On the economic front, he will ignore the $19 trillion debt and continue to borrow and print money ‘quantitative easing’ and start rebuilding the cities and attempt to drag manufacturing back from abroad, directions that go against all the precepts of the Republican Party. That promise of economic engineering gave him votes, note also, the huge support that Bernie Saunders had in the primaries, he was no great socialist, but had he run instead of Clinton, I believe he would now be president. There is a great deal more linking him to Trump than meets the eye, they were both on the surface at least, anti-establishment.

We in Ireland are adopting the same economic thinking, have growing inequality and have a controlled and timid media. This hides the fact that we are following the economic and social footsteps of the USA.  Perhaps, the outcome of the election and the intellectual desert, ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’ that was shown to be rampant during the election will alert us to its foreboding presence here. Maybe it will galvanise the good people of the USA  and ourselves to take an entirely more progressive path towards a  ‘Republic of Reason’. One way or another, we all live together – but – briefly on this tiny spinning sphere, we have no choice but make the best of what we’ve got and strive for its improvement.

 

 

 

November 7th, 2016|0 Comments

RTE Coverage of Events in Aleppo and Mosul

 

 

Why does The RTE news coverage differ substantially in is reporting of the on-going battles at Mosul and Aleppo?

In its coverage of the battle for Mosul, RTE reports positively on the attack by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by US air power to defeat the jihadists of ISIS and free the city. It claims that the terrorists will use the civilian population as shields, thus if and when there are civilian casualties it will be entirely the fault of the Jihadists.

In its coverage of the battle for Aleppo RTE reports negatively on the attack by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian air support on Aleppo to defeat the jihadists of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. It constantly claims ‘atrocities’ the deaths of women and children the destruction of hospitals is due to indiscriminate dumb bombing by the Russians and the Syrian Army of using ‘Barrel Bombs’.  The defenders are described as rebel fighters – not as ISIS or terrorists or Jihadists.

RTE has abandoned any claim it might have had to fairness and impartiality. It appears obliged to consult daily with London based ‘experts’ giving credibility to a neo-conservative outlook. The view appears to be that what the Washington /Wall Street Consensus wants, fractured compliant states, is good. What Russia and Syria wants, a unified secular Syria contributing to Russian security is bad?

Uncritical analysis by the media has previously led to the demonization and destruction of Iraqi due to lies about ‘Saddams’ weapons of mass destruction. The demonization and destruction of Libya because it would not bend the knee and threatened the interests of French and American capital. The list is endless and littered with piles of tortured and dead bodies as the military power of the ‘Washington / Wall Street Consensus’ progresses with its agenda. An agenda which demands free access to all of the worlds natural and labour produced wealth. Only Russia, Iran, Syria and China now stand in the way.

While the compliance of the media with Washington’s objectives ensures a smooth flow of advertising and accolades, its lack of objectivity in reporting on events and its lack of analysis of the root causes of conflicts is bringing us all along a very dangerous path. For the world does not comprehend what happens when an unstoppable, highly motivated power -Washington, meets an unmoveable object, -Russia, both of which are armed with the most powerful nuclear weapons ever devised.

Russia is nervous, the last time it was threatened and invaded 25,000,000 Russians died. They will not allow this to happen again. NATO, against previous agreements has moved nuclear missiles to the Russian border. The pressure increases as the US and UK call for yet more sanctions against Syria and Russia, why? because they are winning the war in Syria. If that were to happen and a peaceful Syria was to rebuild with returning refugees, it would be a disaster for those who interests are served by perpetual war and destabilisation.

Hillary Clinton is calling for a no-fly zone over Syria, For the USA to attack the aircraft of Russia or Syria would be an act of war with perhaps unimaginable consequences. Putin has warned that only a few men pushing buttons will fight the next war, Russia, he accepts will be destroyed, but so will Europe and the United States.

The Media in Ireland could play a very positive international role in trying to stop this potential catastrophe by initially developing a reputation for fair and judicial enquiry. Become an internationally trusted examiner and proceed to have public judicial / neutral conversations with the main players.

 

October 21st, 2016|0 Comments

Aleppo and the Media

Syria’s Fight for Aleppo

Derived from an article by Andre Vltchek

With only 17 million inhabitants (according to the 2014 estimate), Syria is now facing the mightiest coalition on Earth – a coalition that consists of virtually all traditional Western colonialist nations. It is also facing the murderous Islamic groupings, similar to those that were already unleashed against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan. But it is standing against all odds. Its Golan Heights are illegally occupied by Israel, its borders constantly violated by the Turkish military, and by the West’s ‘special forces’ and air force.

Syria’s “political opposition” was created, then groomed and financed by the United States and Europe, in the style of “Colour Revolutions”, as has happened in all other countries that the West has been trying to destabilize and return under its deadly rule. Millions of Syrian people have been, during the last six years, terrorized, slaughtered and intimidated by jihadi cadres, implanted by the West and its regional allies: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel and others.

Some of the greatest historical cities on Earth, like Aleppo and Palmira, now lie in ruins. What the European Christian crusaders failed to destroy, is collapsing under the imperialist onslaught. Like everywhere else on Earth, everything that dares to struggle against the Washington/Wall Street Consensus is being destroyed. Almost everyone who resists is side-lined or slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian people have already lost their lives and the awful count is rising. Five million Syrian people have been forced to leave their country, scattered all over the Middle East: throughout Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey. Some have gone as far as Europe.

The rest of the world does not understand; it is not meant to understand. The propaganda coming out of the Western mass media outlets and indoctrination-spreading institutions is so thorough, so professional, that to most of people all over the world everything related to Syria appears to be blurry, murky, and incredibly complex. President Assad is demonized on a daily basis. Heroic resistance is called the “regime’s brutal actions”, pro-`western terror groups are described as “moderate opposition.”

In reality, Syria is suffering because it is refusing to kneel to the Washington/Wall Street Consensus, it is unwilling to prostitute itself, allowing them to grab everything above and under the surface.

This consensus never forgives disobedience. Its fundamentalist terror methods are the most brutal ever invented and implemented on Earth.

All around Syria, countries already lie in ashes. The Middle East hardly exists, anymore. And most of the Syrian people understand: it is perhaps better to die standing, than to live in shackles, under control. The more the terror the West spreads, the more vicious its propaganda is, the one-sided compliant journalism has ceased to ask questions. In the bulk of the media there is no hint of objectivity left.

President al-Assad of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies – Russia and Iran – are being relentlessly demonized, as if it were them who began that monstrous war! And Hezbollah, which is fighting countless epic battles against the ISIS, sits firmly on the West’s terrorist list. Everything seems to be twisted and perverted, upside down. The UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal and others, have centuries of experience in how to humiliate victims, how to justify their own heinous acts, how to brainwash their own populations and even some of their victims! The United States, the direct product of Europe, is using the same vulgar, propaganda tactics.

Nothing rational and objective can be expected from the people of Europe or North America. Except for a few insignificant protests and rebellious acts, the Western population is in a total slumber, indifferent towards the horrors that are being administered by its regime all over the globe. There is hardly any pressure to stop acts of terror against Syria. The only thing that seems to matter to Europeans is how to stop the flow of refugees from the devastated countries. The people of Europe and North America do not see or understand that they are involved in murdering millions, in one country after another, instead they blame the victims and those rushing to their rescue!

Now the biggest enemy is Russia, because it is like China clearly unwilling to dance to Washington’s tune! Russia as the Soviet Union for many decades, stood by many oppressed countries, and supported the de-colonization of the world, Russia is now defending Syria. Not because it needs natural resources, or wants to plunder. It is doing so, because it has watched the destruction of countries around it, it has seen NATO come to its borders against all previous agreements. It does so, because if the world around it is abandoned to Western imperialism, their borders are next. The last time an army, German Fascism and its allies marched over the Russian border they lost 25 million people. This, the Russians say, will not happen again.

If Syria were to surrender, it would meet the terrible fate of Iraq or Libya.  62 Syrian soldiers were reported killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on the Syrian military base Deir el-Zour, on September 17, the planes killed the soldiers that were involved in a battle with ISIS. Almost immediately, the ISIS took over the hill and the area, in what appeared to be a clearly coordinated operation between the West and the “Islamic State”, against the Syrian government forces.

A few days later, a humanitarian convoy was hit near the city of Aleppo. Without presenting any evidence, the West immediately pointed a finger at the Syrian government and Russia. But the Russian Ministry of Defence released images of a US predator drone operating in the area during the attack, and called for a thorough investigation. There is one simple point that is being constantly overlooked by the West and its media.

The legitimate government of Syria asked Moscow for help, to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups implanted by the West and its allies. Nobody invited the West! Only those groups that the West itself created and supported inside Syria invited it? Both Syrian government forces and Russia are fighting brutal foreign invaders who are attempting to destroy one of the oldest nations on Earth and take control of the entire Middle East.

The sacrifice made by the Syrian people is tremendous. But against all odds, the deadly advance of the imperialists may be stopped there, but the price is terrible, for the dogs of war are released all hell breaks loose, Aleppo is turning into the Middle-Eastern Stalingrad. The Syrian nation has made its choice: it will fight the invaders, as it fought the crusaders under Saladin.

 

 

October 4th, 2016|0 Comments

Artificial Intelligence to Oppress or to Serve

April 2016

As ice melts in the face of the rising sun, decent paid jobs are melting with the rise of artificial intelligence and the logic of capitalism. Artificial intelligence [AI] resides in computers and robotics, it is here, it is everywhere. As our society is presently construed it will hasten the growth of wealth disparity heralding widespread destitution, which in turn will promote crime as a natural equaliser. In traditional industry, the workers sold their labour power to those who owned the means of production, this brought the classic division in society, between those who sought to buy labour for the minimum cost and the worker who sought to sell his or her labour power for the maximum price.

Robot Hand

However, the future expansion of capital will be driven by AI and robotics, more efficient, trouble and strike free.  The contradiction of the diminishing purchasing power of the majority and thus their ability to consume and provide further profits for capitalism, is offset by a few factors; a reduction in the cost of commodities by outsourcing to low cost economies and increasing the flow of credit. At the same time, capital strives to eliminate social organisations and enterprises and to privatise and draw profit from every social asset, media, education, health, roads, parking, water and all avenues of communication. State agencies that enforce the rights of property, and exploitative contracts will, themselves, fall more under the influence of, and into the hands of private interests. While the relationship between those who had jobs and their employers was alienating, a situation where the majority can no longer get any decent work or play any real part in production, will be worse. Without a revaluation of political philosophy, the mass of society is likely to drown in a combination of alienation, stifled media, corporate sport, shallow entertainment and fear. The rise of such a dysfunctional state will accelerate the use of drink, drugs and suicide as a solution.

Opportunities appearing to produce job security are now more likely to quickly turn into false dawns. For example; students were urged to learn to code if they wanted to succeed, a proliferation of coding schools and boot camps emerged However, as the skill became more commonplace, particularly in developing nations like India, much of the work is being assigned piecemeal by computerised services such as ‘Upwork’ to low-paid workers in digital sweatshops, a trend that is bound to increase. It then looked a better to use coding skills to develop an app or platform and sell it in competition with thousands of others doing the same thing on an online marketplace. A forum that is swamped by choice and ruled by the same power dynamics as the digital music business.

While it is essential that many in this digital society should be familiar with how these platforms work, universal code literacy won’t solve the employment crisis any more than the universal ability to read and write would result in a full-employment economy of book publishing. It actually does the opposite. A single computer program written by perhaps a dozen developers can wipe out hundreds of jobs. It has been established that digital companies employ 10 times fewer people per dollar earned than traditional companies. Every time a company decides to relegate its computing to the cloud, it reduces its workforce. Modern technologies, replace more employment opportunities than they create. Those that don’t—technologies that require ongoing human maintenance or participation in order to work—are not supported by venture capital for precisely this reason. They are considered unsaleable because they demand more paid human employees as the business grows.

There are of course jobs for those willing to assist with the transition to a more computerised society. For example, self-checkout stations may have cost supermarket cashier jobs, but provided opportunities for some to assist customers scanning their items at the kiosk, and swiping their debit cards. It’s a slightly more skilled job and may even pay better than working as a regular cashier. But again it’s a temporary position: Soon consumers become as proficient at self-checkout as they are at getting cash from the bank machine, and a checkout tutor will be unnecessary. In another few years, digital tagging technology will permit shoppers to leave stores with their items and have their accounts debited automatically.

Likewise, specialists will be required to fit current cars with robot drivers, engineers to replace medical staff with sensors and to write software for postal drones. There will be an increase in specialized jobs before there’s a precipitous drop. Already in China, the implementation of 3-D printing and other automated solutions is threatening hundreds of thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs, many of which have existed for less than a decade. Once the robots are in place, their continued upkeep and a large part of their improvement will be automated as well. Humans may have to learn to live with it.

This conundrum was first articulated back in the 1940s by cybernetics pioneers as they studied the “post-industrial economy and continues unabated. Extensive research shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that technological progress, eliminates jobs and leaves average workers worse off than they were before. These developments are not merely the consequence of digital technology, but the realisation of the profit drive to remove humans as much as possible from the value equation. The growth of technology is often equated with economic growth, neither of which mean more jobs or prosperity for the people living in it. As some have said, ‘when all these science-fiction technologies are deployed, what will we need all the people for?”

When technology increases productivity, a company can eliminate jobs and use the savings to reward its shareholders with dividends and stock buybacks. What would have been lost to wages is instead turned back into capital, the only ones left making money are those depending on passive returns from their investments. Digital technology accelerates the process where we can all see the change occurring, but due to an endemic poverty of philosophy and the blanking out of such conversations from the body politic, society has not taken notice yet. Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. In the previous generation an individual on the average industrial wage could comfortably support a partner and raise and educate a family, this is no longer the case. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our political skills and organisations are static.

The essence is that a poverty of philosophy exists in the heart of science. This poverty of thought is an objective part of invisible government, the dictatorship of capital reflects its ethos through all the mechanisms of education, information and entertainment media. It does everything in its power to mask out any alternative dialogue.

However, the laws of dialectics, lessons of history and cycles of quantitive and qualitative change are on the side of a resolution, if not revolution. Hope lies in the realisation by the great mass of people that the nightmare scenario of a totally dysfunctional society may be avoided and the social order can move in a different direction. It can and must extend democracy over economics, in fact for the survival of society as we know it there may be no choice. It is now a race between the forces of reason and empathy, organising, against the harbingers of capital concentration and climate change.  This is a race that must be won, for the logic of the existing trajectory is war. That would indeed be a tragedy, for with the material and technological advances that our species has achieved, never before in human history have we had the resources and the potential to provide “to each according to their needs and from each according to their ability”.

 

April 20th, 2016|0 Comments

Help them find new loving sharing partners….FF would be perfect. Build a rational left opposition and future government…

Enda and Noonan tears

March 14th, 2016|0 Comments

Parasites of the economy

Parasites of the economy

bomb cartoont005 copyEurope and its central bank are structured to block the creation of money supply to any government other than for supporting banks and bondholders. A monetary and fiscal straitjacket has been built that obliges the Euro-zone economies to rely on banking for credit and debt. Thus the masters of the financial sector are the economic planners, in charge of monetary and fiscal policy without being subject to any level of democracy. To maintain their position, they breed a belief that they are an essential part of the economy, not external to it. This is precisely the strategy that parasites use in nature to persuade their hosts that they are not external invaders, but part of the host’s own body, deserving careful protection.

These privatised financial engineering corporations, with the law on their side effectively print money. They are enriched solely by interest and profit through the manipulation of money. When a country’s budget deficit deepens they simply issue more bonds to cover the debt. As the debt and interest payments grow too onerous and begin to slow the economy, the financial wizards engage in ‘quantitative easing’ an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply. However, very little of the money created gets to the real economy. It was estimated that £375 billion worth of QE in the UK, led to 1.5-2% growth in GDP. In other words, £23-28bn billion of extra spending in the real economy. It’s incredibly ineffective, because it relies on boosting the wealth of the already-wealthy and hoping that they increase their spending. In other words, the ‘trickle down’ theory of wealth.

As the state falls more under the spell of capital it dedicates itself to gathering taxes for loan repayment instead of investing it, or raising living standards. Prior to the building boom crash in Ireland, the more the finance institutions lent, the higher property prices rose, thus encouraging more lending. As mortgages and rents rose, so did the proportion of household income paid to the financial sector. The market value of property rose to far exceeded its real cost in labour and materials. Everyone was led to believe, that all they had to do was to get to own property by any means and inflation would make them rich. However, when the price of one property fell back, it avalanched, property fell below its labour and materials production value. The bubble had burst. Did the big lenders, the primary bondsmen, the wise financial advisor’s lose their money on their gambling malpractice? No, Jean-Claude Trichet senior bondsman himself and governor of the European Central Bank at the time, issued a direct threat ‘A bomb would go off in Dublin’ if they were not fully compensated for their losses. A screamed financial analogy perhaps, but it worked perfectly on our cowardly conservative politicians who trembled on their knees before the financial god’s threats of a penniless hell. So they did, as bid, cuts and austerity became the order of the day.

Just as mortgage lenders assess the potential maximum flow of money they may extract from a client and offer the highest amount of loan they believe the client can afford, likewise, international banks assess the earnings of countries to see how much debt service they can pay. They then organise to capture the entire economic surplus of that country and eventually, every country, into debt service payments.  They offer loans to gullible politicians who are then in a position to induce their electorate to return them to political power. If and when countries get into difficulty with interest payments, further creditors and the IMF  offer the indebted countries even more money at higher interest rates to pay the outstanding interest,  the debts spiral out of control.

Current economic theory is simply a mechanism for transferring wealth from the mass of people to the wealthy, it pushes countries to service the huge debts by lowering domestic wages to pay creditors. This is the policy being imposed on many countries today, it is the basis of the IMF’s structural adjustment or austerity programs for dealing with debtor countries, essentially a form of looting that transfers national resources to private lenders. It concerns itself mainly with wages and consumer prices, not with the inflation of property and stocks. It serves as a cover for the polarisation of the world economy between rich and poor the opposite of what might have been assumed with the promises of globalisation. The main form of exploitation is  shifting from wages to the financial system’s extraction of value into interest payments.

This dictatorship of capital demands loyalty from the political parties it supports and persuades that the needs of people will only be served by trickle-down economics. As capital further concentrates in the 21st century and it becomes more apparent that its wealth is not trickling down, protest and street action will intensify. To counter the protests of citizens, attacks on their constitutional rights and protections will occur under the guise of some terrorist threat, for fear, is the best instrument to subdue a people and concentrate power. To-day western economies have been financialised in a predatory way that sacrifices the public interest to that of the financial sector. Finance is no longer a positive productive part of the social economy it has become its parasite.

March 4th, 2016|0 Comments

DRUGS, CRIME AND REASON

Addiction and the Rat Park experiments

Click on the above and open the argument;

FIGHT CRIME GANGS WITH REASON NOT GUNS.
Legalise Drugs

 

Since our species discovered that eating, drinking or inhaling some substances provide a feeling of euphoria, a diminution of inhibitions, a stimulant or relief from pain, we have individually and collectively being doing just that. From the glass of wine to the pint, the cigarette to the joint and the long list of medicines, relieving and treating pain from the minor discomfort to the most severe.

Garda with guns

Some drugs are illegal, but the demand for them is just as widespread, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy tablets, the list is long and expanding. Huge money is made from their importation and sale to satisfy the market which ranges from the sprawling estates of deprivation to the fashionable houses of the bourgeois. The importation and distribution of drugs is a risky business and like any it requires greed and competition. Where normal legal business depends on contracts and courts to regulate their affairs, drug gangs operating as they do outside the law have to maintain their position and contracts with violence. The most ruthless rise to the top where  money and power concentrates. Once large sums of money are involved law enforcement is corruptible, very little of the drugs are intercepted or recovered.

For over a hundred years the ethos of the law has struggled with the complacency of the population, thousands have died in this pointless battle against the nature of our species. The war on drugs requires a huge expenditure on resources and finance and has totally failed. It is time to apply reason and change,  plenty of evidence exists to support a new direction. When prohibition on alcohol existed in the United States, gang warfare raged, speakeasies thrived, poisonous hooch was produced by the ton. Once legalised, the wars stopped, tax revenue to the state flowed, its sale to minors became easier to control and the quality of the alcohol was monitored.

A growing consensus of people now see the only sensible direction is to legalise the possession, use and distribution of all drugs. The reality of how that is done would be subject to discussion and evolution. Some categories, like cannabis, could be sold through regulated shops such as chemists, harder drugs through a self-financing state company. The drugs would be clean, free from destructive additives, carry health warnings, have selling age limits and be taxed. Intravenous drugs would be taken under supervision with clean equipment.

Such an approach would see the collapse of the drug gangs and an end to the associated warfare. It would take the addicts off the street and keep them in touch with state services who would provide counselling and care. The whole notion of addiction was challenged during the Vietnam war, tens of thousands of unfortunate US soldiers were sent to kill millions of people they had no grudge against and for reasons they did not understand. The Vietnamese resistance killed 57,000 of these young people in defence and to persuade them to leave. The stress amongst the US troops provoked drug use on a massive scale. It was predicted that when they returned home, the USA would be filled with drug addicts. It never happened, when the troops got home the majority left stress behind and stopped using. For some, residual stress and circumstances conspired to ensure continuing pain and drugs provided relief from that pain. An excellent explanation for the relationship between deprivation, pain and drug use comes from ‘The Rat Park Experiment’, see: https://youtu.be/sbQFNe3pkss

This post, arguing in favour of the legalisation of drugs, is far too brief to cover all the issues. A comprehensive book on the subject and essential reading for anyone concerned with solving the drug problem is: Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari, the first and last days of the war on drugs. The ongoing struggle to develop a sensible drugs policy can be followed at; www.chasingthescream.com

A complication to an international solution to the war on drugs arises when one asks the question ‘Cui Bono’ apart from the drug gangs – who else might benefit: Michael Hudson, in his book, Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy,  found a strange money trail and a huge amount of money from crime going into Switzerland’s secret banking system. He discovered that under US State Department direction, banks had been established in the Caribbean for the purpose of attracting money into dollar holdings from drug dealers to offset Washington’s foreign military outflows of dollars. If dollars flowed out of the US, but demand did not rise to absorb the larger supply, the dollar’s exchange rate would fall, damaging US power. By providing offshore banks in which criminals could deposit illicit dollars, the US government supported the dollar’s exchange value.

Hudson discovered that the US balance of payments deficit, was entirely military in character. The US Treasury and State Department supported the Caribbean safe haven for illegal profits  to offset the negative impact on the US balance of payments of military operations abroad. When it came to the economics of the situation, he claims that neither trade flows nor direct investments were important in determining exchange rates. What was important were “errors and omissions,” which Hudson discovered was a euphemism for the hot, liquid money of drug dealers and government officials embezzling the export earnings of their countries. Such revelations might explain why moves to legalise drugs might bring opposition from a source, one had not bargained for.

 

February 26th, 2016|0 Comments

VOTE GENEROUSLY Help those, who help others to LOOT

Cartoon noonan and Enda001 copy

February 4th, 2016|0 Comments

Bolshevik Avant-garde

VKhuTemas TowerBolshevik Avant-Garde.

As we approach the anniversary of the 1917 revolution and the foundation of the Soviet Union, the rewriting of history pertaining to these interesting times continues unabated. The “Cold War” is not over and it won’t be—until the very last memory of an alternative to the society of capital is deemed eradicated. But every now and then, the light of an idea returns to bring discomfort to the existing consensus. One of these is the spectre of VKhuTEMAS.

 

Vk 9

 

I began my studies of Architecture in 1965 and have practiced as such all my life, I had heard of, studied and admired the Bauhaus movement in Weimar and Dessau and the part it played in the development of modern art and architecture at the beginning of the last century. Only recently while researching my book, ‘The Republic of Reason & The Poverty of Philosophy’, did I uncover the existence of a larger but similar school that emerged in revolutionary Russia.

On December 19th 1920, Lenin and the Soviet government established the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops — VKhUTEMAS. The aim was to use the visual arts in the training of technically, politically and scientifically educated architects and designers in all disciplines. In the ten years of its existence, VKhUTEMAS became a laboratory of modern architecture and art, in which diverse artistic ideas and methods, such as classicism, constructivism, psychoanalytic approaches and even futurism came together.

VKhuTEMAS 7Lenin wanted art education to be scientifically based, but he was unwilling to force what he admitted were his own conservative tastes in art. Just how true this is, can be seen from the private discussion he was keen to have with VKhUTEMAS students. Alexander W. Stepanov recorded the following:
“After the founding of VKhUTEMAS Lenin took the opportunity to meet with the students, despite the serious political situation in the country and its claims on his attention. Lenin did not want an official talk with the students and took advantage of his acquaintance with the family of his comrade, Inessa Armand, a very well-educated woman who spoke various languages and served the revolution faithfully until her death. Armand had two daughters, Inna and Varya, the latter being a student at the VKhUTEMAS. Late in the evening of February 21, 1921, Lenin and his wife Krupskaya arrived in the VKhUTEMAS student dormitory in former Myasnitskaya Street. There they talked together for about three hours”.

 

VK 7
In 2014/15 an exhibition dedicated to VKhuTEMAS opened in Berlin, its catalogue stated that during its heyday, the works of the students and teachers were “unmatched, and later often served architects as templates and sources of inspiration.” The sheer scope of the training and the vast number of students and teachers make it clear that the Moscow workshops mark a unique stage in the development of modern architecture. Some 2,000 students enrolled in the first year alone, while Bauhaus trained about 150 at the same time. Irina Tschepkunowa, curator of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, writes in the introduction to the catalogue, “that one can scarcely any longer imagine in today’s ‘pragmatically oriented’ Russia the enthusiasm that broke out after the revolution. Hunger and destruction during the war, communism, the ongoing civil war in the country’s border areas and the impoverished everyday life provoked in young people — as strange as this may seem today — not dejection, but an unprecedented creative enthusiasm and willingness to work.”

Many in the West see the Bauhaus movement as a model for the Russian architectural avant-garde. However, this concept is now challenged and although VKhuTEMAS had close ties to Bauhaus and the latter held some concepts and ideas in common with the Soviet workshops, the relationship can be seen to be otherwise.

 

VKhuTEMAS 3However, over a period, revolutionary fervour came under stress as external military pressure grew against the revolution in Russia, internal defensive militarisation brought autocratic power. The ideals of the soviet, ‘power from the bottom up’ began to corrode. [See; Struggle & Defeat in ‘The Republic of Reason & The Poverty of Philosophy’]. From the late 1920s, the nationalist policy of “socialism in one country” eventually strangled revolutionary innovations. In architecture, as in the other art forms, “socialist realism” became the only acceptable doctrine. In the west the rise of fascism in Germany suppressed the Bauhaus movement. But, while the legacy of the Bauhaus is regarded as a cornerstone of the modern movement and features in every modern art history book, VKhuTEMAS was air brushed out of history.

VK8
My wife, Katherine and I have located the treasure trove that is VKhuTEMAS and with the anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution approaching are attempting to bring an exhibition of the work to Ireland where it could inspire a stimulating and necessary debate! If this could be achieved on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution and at a time of mounting anti-Russian propaganda it could provide an objective assessment of the cultural achievements of the first years of the Soviet Union. This would of great importance as the exhibition would speak for itself. It would refute the lie that the October Revolution inevitably led to oppression, and would demonstrate that the first attempt to create a more humane egalitarian society and unite our species across national, religious and racial divides, retains all its fascination.

January 25th, 2016|0 Comments

Radio Interview – Leap of faith

Listen here  to Fergus’s interview with Michael Comyn, for the RTE programme “Leap of Faith”

About the Show

In a programme for people of all faiths and none, Michael talks with those whose life experiences cause them to call on their beliefs, as he seeks to discover what religion does for people – and occasionally to them.

January 23rd, 2016|0 Comments