Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Jenkins channels Kautsky

viaJon's Union Blog Simon Jenkins has been fulfilling his requirement to "say something controversial":
I say cut defence. I don't mean nibble at it or slice it. I mean cut it, all £45bn of it. George Osborne yesterday asked the nation "for once in a generation" to think the unthinkable, to offer not just percentage cuts but "whether government needs to provide certain public services at all".
Certainly, that's not the sort of suggestion the Tories want from their consultation (by consultation they mean announcing a set of fixed choices and then getting the answer they wanted in the first place anyway).

Of course, as a practical matter, I would much prefer that killing people was cut before helping people (although a few hundred thousand suddenly unemployed squaddies roaming the streets doesn't appeal). As you can see from the comments section, a lot of people remain wedded to the idea that we need to spend such fortunes on defence, because a threat might be round the corner.

Now, this is what Kautsky had to suggest would happen 'the day after the revolution':
In the first place it is self-evident that it would recover what the bourgeoisie has lost. It would sweep all remnants of feudalism away and realize that democratic programme for which the bourgeoisie once stood. As the lowest of all classes it is also the most democratic of all classes. It would extend universal suffrage to every individual and establish complete freedom of press and assemblage. It would make the State completely independent of the church and abolish all rights of inheritance. It would establish complete autonomy in all individual communities and abolish militarism. This last could be brought about in two ways; through the introduction of universal armament and the dissolution of the army. Universal armament is a political measure and dissolution of the army a financial one. The former can under certain conditions cost as much as a standing army. But it is essential to the security of democracy, in order to take away from the government its most powerful means of opposing the people. Dissolution again aims mainly at a diminution of the military budget.
Opposition to militarism is both political and practical in terms of wastage and social power. Simply ending the army isn't enough, it needs to political revolutionary change to a radical democratic society, in which all have a stake to remove the threat of disgruntled ex-military types forming new deaths quads.

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