Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A dark mind

I have an evil, corrosive mind. A friend of mine gave me a book she cherished from childhood - a German kids book by Michael Ende (author Neverending story) called Momo.

Now, this book is excellently written, and wonderful and imaginative. I centres on a sinister group of Time bankers stealing everyone's time and making their lives miserable - the perfect anti-capitalist story, you'd think.

I enjoyed it; but my problem came afterwards. See, the happy ending basically centred on the genocide of the grey men - wiped out to the last one, sent screaming in terror to try and avoid their fate. This was more than a little disturbing. See, the novel is a classic paranoid fantasy - a mysterious group who move among us unseen, who manipulate us, who weave elaborate conspiracies around us (they attack the central character, Momo, through her friends, "turning" them against her). The sly Others are watching us, and they are stealing something precious from us, our jouissance, our time.

Mercifully, the Grey Men are bowler hat wearing cigar smoking bankers, without anything remotely to suggest Jewishness or to connect to the very similar anti-semitic theories (the connexion is in the structure of the paranoid fantasy which is affixed to the Jews in some instances). The exterminationist response is, also, similar - the grey men are rootless and have no real substance, and so may be freely destroyed to save us all.

This is the anti-capitalism of fools - or the anti-capitalism of children - the belief that rather than transforming the world, if it was just freed from the presence of the despoilers, all will be well. Similarly, George Monbiot falls into this trap in his current call for class war a tirade against the rich as polluters.

The point is, that the world as is, freed from the current rich, from the present Grey Men will be alright is flawed. Revolution is more complex that a childish wish for the bad things to just go away, for the hated enemy to stop robbing you, it's about self transformation, and changing the way you are to stop being in the position of victim.

We will have no need for a terror, to exterminate our enemies, that is what is so liberating about socialism. And I'm glad that reading against the grain opened that up for me.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is what a crisis looks like

From the Daily Mail (I know, I know), the reality of crisis:Martin Stopford, managing director of Clarksons, London's biggest ship broker, says container shipping has been hit particularly hard: 'In 2006 and 2007 trade was growing at 11 per cent. In 2008 it slowed down by 4.7 per cent. This year we think it might go down by as much as eight per cent. If it costs £7,000 a day to put the ship to sea and if you only get £6,000 a day, than you have got a decision to make.

'Yet at the same time, the supply of container ships is growing. This year, supply could be up by around 12 per cent and demand is down by eight per cent. Twenty per cent spare is a lot of spare of anything - and it's come out of nowhere.'
That is, a vast fleet of unused ships are moored off Singapore, hundreds and hundreds of empty crewless tankers.

Whats more, the ship yards are running out of orders, and will be at a standstill by 2011 - the long tail of the recession shows itself here, recovery will only soak up the available stocks, there will be a lag before new capacity is needed.


Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The poverty of politics

Real politics:

This blog shows the truth of local politics - councillors posing outside shocking potholes THAT THEY HAVE FOUND AND ASKED OFFICIALS TO FIX!

What will socialists do about the potholes, our putative electors would ask. We pointed to the bloody shovels, and let them work it out for themselves....

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


In Zambia, a journalist is being prosecuted. Plus ca change, you may say, but this journalist is being prosecuted for obscenity. So what?, you may say. true, but this journalist is, well, let the BBC tell you:
She sent photos to government members showing a woman giving birth without medical help during a strike in Zambian hospitals in June. The baby died.
Read that again. A woman giving birth in traumatic and fatal circumstances, is obscene.

I'd go to suggest that President Rupiah Banda is the one who is obscene.

Spread the word, it might get back to him.

Labels: , ,