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You say you want a revolution?

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You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:01 pm

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

 
Those words were written by John Lennon in 1968, at a time when mass protests and demonstrations in Europe and the USA, some of which turned violent, were taking place. The worst of the rioting was in France in May of that year, and it made the government there fear that a civil war or revolution was about to occur.
 
Nowadays we hear quite a few people telling us that the political systems in Britain and the USA are broken and unrepresentative and we need a fresh start. Fewer people bother to vote than 50 or 60 years ago, and if others listen to Russell Brand they won’t do so either, since he advocates nothing short of revolution to overthrow the capitalist system. Is that a good idea? Writer and author Simon Wood says: “For years before Russell Brand thrust the idea into the English-speaking mainstream, certainly since the 2008 global financial collapse, the desire for revolution has been simmering throughout the world in nations rich and poor. The rise of the amoral force known as neoliberalism has brought unprecedented levels of inequality, creating mass poverty and boundless human misery.”
 
Capitalism was described by economist John Maynard Keynes as “the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone”, and by gangster Al Capone as “the legitimate racket of the ruling class”. After the Second World War, it appeared to be successful in western countries. Much of industry and infrastructure in Europe had been wiped out and was rebuilt with money borrowed from the USA under the Marshall Plan. As those born in the’ baby boom’ after the war reached adulthood, they fuelled the demand for homes and electrical goods, which helped economies to continue to grow.
 
Things started to go awry in the 1970s, firstly from the inflationary effects of the quadrupling of oil prices almost overnight, and secondly by the loss of manufacturing in Europe when China and India started producing cheaper goods. Thatcher and Reagan kept the money flowing by making borrowing easier, but debt started to accumulate. Just as in 1929, the debt became unsustainable by 2008 and the rest is history. Clearly the system is broken when those who have full time jobs in the UK can’t exist on their wages, and when almost half of people in the richest country in the world, the USA, live in poverty.
 
Lecturer Dr Adnan Al-Daini writes: “If we insist that western economies must continue to grow year after year for poor people even to have the basics for life, and since we know that only a little of the wealth created trickles down, then before too long we will end up devouring the whole planet. How can this growth be achieved anyway? If most of the wealth created finds its way to the top 10%, where is the demand going to come from?  I hope no one is suggesting we fuel it by unsustainable debt and usury, which is what brought us to this crisis in the first place.  Those at the top already have more money than they know what to do with; there is a limit to how much an individual can consume. How many cars and gadgets does an individual need?”
 
The limitations of capitalism have also been highlighted by author and journalist David Simon: “The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile.”
 
So capitalism isn’t working, but is a revolution the answer? Has revolution ever made things better? In his novel ‘1984’, George Orwell reminded us that “no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” In France in 1789, growing discontent with France's feudal government suddenly exploded into a bloody revolution. The events which followed saw an army general seize control of the government. Instead of a democracy, the result was a dictatorship under Napoleon and war against other countries.
 
The revolution in France brought no economic advantage for the peasants, for whom life became more expensive. Even though the peasants were able to find work, now they had to pay more for their food. The rich that prevailed after the revolution charged even higher for rent. The legal abolition of feudal dues did not end right away after all the decapitations. Other middle class opportunists decided to buy rights to charge the dues for themselves, so the peasants still had to pay up.
 
When Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 and the French monarchy was restored, it seemed that the revolution had been nullified. In France the bourgeois and landowning classes emerged as the dominant power. However, at least feudalism was dead, and social order and contractual relations were consolidated by the Code Napoléon. The revolution also unified France and enhanced the power of the national state. The Napoleonic Wars helped to tear down the ancient structure of Europe, hastened the advent of nationalism, and inaugurated the era of modern, total warfare.
 
Looking at more recent events, did revolution achieve anything in Egypt, where the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 ultimately brought about the election of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who then granted himself unlimited powers? Morsi was then removed in a coup d'etat led by General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who then suspended the constitution and ordered a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. To all intents and purposes, Egypt is now back to where it was before its ‘Arab Spring’.
 
While there was an alternative to western capitalism, the ruling classes were careful to maintain enough compassion in the system to prevent mass revolt. With the demise of the communist bloc, the hounds were released. Simon Wood has written about the brutality with which the peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters were treated, adding: “Just imagine what will happen if violent protests occur. Hundreds of innocent people will be killed or injured, and the violence will provide the authoritarians in power with the perfect excuse for ever more draconian powers over privacy and freedom, all cheered on by establishment stooges throughout the media and a sizeable portion of the population, deceived via blanket media coverage of violent scenes involving protesters into believing such measures are in their interest: namely, for their protection.” As John Lennon put it: "They’ve got all the weapons. They’ve got all the money. And they know how to fight violence because they've been doing it for a thousand years.”
 
So are revolutions pointless? Wood concludes: “Revolutions in the traditional mould are doomed to fail because even a completely new group of people in power will always be constrained by external entities of control like powerful nation states, the IMF and the World Bank. If a nation is in debt, the new rulers will remain subordinate to the global financial system at the expense of the welfare of their own citizens.”
 
So how do we fix our apparently broken and out of touch political systems in the UK and the USA without resorting to violence? Or do you say you want a revolution?
 
Sources used:-
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/1968/yearofrevolutions.shtml
 
http://daily99998271.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/you-say-you-want-revolution.html
 
http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/06/capitalism/
 
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire
 
http://frenchrevo.pbworks.com/w/page/14994569/Arguments%20Against
 
Further reference:-
 
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/10/russell-brand-on-revolution
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:33 pm

As always, a thought-provoking piece Ivan
After a gruelling day, I need a bit of down time before I can properly respond to the points you have explored.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:29 pm

Many of us casually think about replacing the present unrepresentative shower of self-seekers who are intent only upon growing fat on the backs of others.

But first we have to decide on a suitable alternative.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Dan Fante on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:37 am

That was a good read, Ivan. Although somewhat depressing even for an old cynic like me, especially since I, like most I suspect, would honestly have to answer: I don't know.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by bobby on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:29 am

When the state use violence against its masters, the people who's Country they are supposed to represent, why is that OK, but if the true owners of a nation behave in very much the same way, its called a revolution (from the Latin revolutio, "a turn around").
When you end up with a Government who act in the manner ours is presently doing, which is nothing to do with anything they almost won the election on, a Government who has blatantly lied and robbed the people who are their pay masters, why should we have to wait for 5 years to rid ourselves of them, in the past 4 years this country has become totally unrecognisable for no other reason than we have a Government who use the entire Nation as a cash cow and their personal means to prosperity. These people are where they are for no other reason than who thy know and favours called in, if we behaved like them we would be called Gangsters.
If A Government cock up in the way this Government have continuously since taking office, why is it wrong for the people to take whatever action they have at their disposal to turn things around.
If the poor and needy get nothing but pain from those charged with the welfare of a country, at least we should not be too upset if they use the only thing left to them. Why should this Government expect/demand the people to behave any better than they themselves behave.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:59 am

A piece from Ivan which deserves a far larger readership than it will achieve here - and a far more comprehensive analysis and response, too.

I am nowhere near clever enough to begin to answer the questions posed, but, as ow suggests, we need to have a clear idea of an acceptable alternative. A traditional revolution would , in my estimation, simply replace one horrendous 'ruling class' with another - and possible one which was far worse than the devil we know. Just imagine the scope there would be amidst the confusion and 're-establishing of order' for Mob Rule to fill the vacuum, with armed gangs roaming the streets staking their claims.

The need for change is enormous - and the means of completing the journey are complex. But it has to be by evolution, and that is inevitably slow - painfully and frustratingly so. There are so many strata of 'society' - each of which has a slightly different version of reality and 'what is needed'. To some the answer might lie in advancing the influence of the best teachings of religion to heighten the moral conscience of the nation. To others it is about sacrifice by the 'haves' in favour of those with less. The variations are endless.

Those who are wealthy beyond their needs have either gone out and worked for it all, or have become adept at holding onto ( and increasing) what they obtained by some other means. Such people will always exist in one form or another.

If , as a caring community of humanity, sufficient of us are determined to make the changes we instinctively know are justified and urgently needed, we need to be bold enough to adopt a mindset which is directed to chipping away ( peaceably) at the foundations of what is wrong. Maybe we should start to stop using banks in the way we do, or make other choices which do not pander to the commercial greed of which we see so much. Maybe we just need  to conform to our usual habits a bit less and create some unpredictability in the minds of those who perpetuate the corporate and social crimes we see. Most of all we desperately need a genuinely charismatic figure or group around which to coalesce in pursuit of greater justice. Sadly,I see none on the horizon . In all of this, however, we do need to be clear that - unpopular though the suggestion may be -there are , indeed, those who are sponging on us all and they are just as worthy of contempt as those who kick the truly needy.

So, there it is -just a few thoughts. For myself, I have no need to seek any change in all honesty . I have far more than I need and my only motivation for any form of revolution (or evolution) is the desire to assuage the anger I feel for the injustice I see so many folk suffering and to see a better place for them...


Last edited by Phil Hornby on Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correcting a typo)
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:25 pm

Perhaps the pressing need is to develop a "reward for effort" which is fairer and better whilst also equal to the profit motive inherent in a Capitalist society.

Can anything replace money as a measure of work done or value received?
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Dan Fante on Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:48 pm

If you reward effort rather than achievement you then have the problem of who judges that effort and what criteria they use.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:24 pm

Anyone who has ever haggled for a souvenir in an Arab bazaar will have a notion about at least one method of agreement.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:26 pm

It's long been my firm belief that none of us has any real power over anything outside our own heads.

The only things any of us can change are what we think, how we behave and how we interpret the impressions we receive through our senses.

The 'power' of politicians rests in the mistaken impression of others around them. We can choose not to listen, not to react, not to believe the various lies we are told by politicians and by the media. Sadly, most of us do not so choose - we persist in the fantasy of 'power' and easy answers to difficult problems.

Politicians gain our support, and their 'power', because they appear to have simple answers to difficult questions. I guess the way to starve the power base of politicians may be to empower individuals to take personal responsibility within their own lives and their own communities to make things better. Individuals who experience a sense of personal efficacy may be less likely to succumb to the fantasy version of reality peddled by the power brokers.

Personally, I'm feeling a bit encouraged by the Labour party's current focus on the training of community organisers, individuals who will take on positions of influence and responsibility within their own local communities with a view to making communities more resilient and individuals within those communities more confident to challenge the status quo if it does not accord with their own life experience.
I think the Labour party does have an inkling about doing politics differently, and opening the debate so as to hear all voices, not just those of the political classes, who represent no-one but themselves.

I don't think revolution is 'wrong' - but it is counter-productive - violent overthrow of the State will just result in the establishment of another State which in its turn will require overthrow.

Our local Labour party is mostly composed of elected representatives - and I guess most local political parties are similar - everyone is an office holder of some kind - lets get out there and join our local parties - whatever flavour of politics we favour - lets get out there and make them represent our views.

Better to  light a penny candle than to curse the dark - that's what I think, anyway

 Idea Basketball sunny
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:15 pm

I like the thrust of the sentiments, boatlady - not that I agree with them all, but you have started to build some foundations for hope...       Idea
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by bobby on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:01 pm

Why does everyone seem to think a Revolution has to be violent?
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:50 pm

I guess because revolution always seems to involve some sort of violence - either it's the violent overthrowing of the state, or it's the violent resistance of the state to revolutionary forces that threaten its power.

That's always been my understanding anyway - perhaps you could explain a bit more?
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by buckspygmy on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:13 am

bobby wrote:Why does everyone seem to think a Revolution has to be violent?

Red mist, for instance seeing Iain Duncan Smith strung up from a tree in the garden of his rent free home is something a lot of people would like to see.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:06 am

Not an unattractive prospect, but a version of "the biter bitten" might be even sweeter if by some mischance all the Tory toffs on the front-bench were to find themselves unexpectedly in abject poverty.

Imagine the learning-curve, and the scenes ensuing at their respective Benefits Offices!



Last edited by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:48 am

Ok, ow - but can we then string them up from that tree, please...?    Smile
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:13 pm



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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:26 pm

Revolutions are most likely to occur when desperate people have nothing left to lose. Since the welfare state was created, providing cradle-to-grave support, there has been little impetus for revolution in the mainstream of the population. Even though the current system may, and should, be perceived as unfair, most of us have had too much to lose by trying to overturn it. Now Iain Duncan Smith and other neocon fascists in this Tory government are rapidly dismantling the welfare state. That may lead more people to think of taking matters into their own hands, as those rioters in London did briefly in August 2011.
 
You can have non-violent revolutions. For example, the Philippines had peaceful revolutions in 1986 and 2001. The collapse of the communist states in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991 was largely non-violent. However, anyone who seriously believes that the British Establishment could be overthrown without violence is deluding themselves. The BBC would be no problem (always take over the media if you want to control subsequent events), even Downing Street might be fairly easy (but please use the side gate so as not to annoy the police), but the full force of the military (at least those members who haven’t been made redundant) would be summoned to defend the Windsors in Buck House. And as a majority of people apparently like to wallow in the feudalism of monarchy, a revolution would lack sufficient popular consent and be doomed to fail. In fact, Mrs Windsor could be wheeled out, as Richard II was in 1381, to tell the revolutionaries that all their demands would be met. Then after everyone had gone home, it would be a case of “plebs you are, and plebs you will remain”, no doubt accompanied by some retribution.
 
The existence of those communist states in Eastern Europe made the ruling classes in Britain and the USA realise that there was always an alternative. Now that that external threat has gone, and Friedmanism has been rampant, those with the power have reverted to their bad old ways. The British and American people have been strangely passive in the face of their continuing enslavement and degradation at the hands of their masters. Perhaps it was their own fault; after all, how many working class people voted - like cows requesting a butcher - for Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s? And as Russell Brand put it: “We British seem to be a bit embarrassed about revolution, like the passion is uncouth or that some tea might get spilled on our cuffs in the uprising.”
 
All is not lost. Writer and author Simon Wood says: “Effective change can come about through an assault on all fronts, but without resort to violence, and this is already occurring. Corporate media control of global news is being challenged by transparency organisations like WikiLeaks and social media, with independent media groups and (often unpaid) analysts, bloggers and commentators providing vital perspectives that are habitually omitted from the mainstream narrative. Movements around the world are raising awareness of the crimes of the giant corporations and their pet state governments. Hidden history is being revealed to an ignorant generation.”
 
http://daily99998271.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/you-say-you-want-revolution.html
 
Further reference:-
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/philippines-shows-the-way-with-its-peaceful-revolution-703234.html
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/adam-roberts-the-peaceful-revolution-of-1989-1816588.html
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:50 pm

Most people need to have something to look forward to, so bloody revolution has usually overthrown any regime that tried to rule only by fear.  The Tories are more frightened by us than we are of them, so it will probably just have to be the ballot box for us, for the time being.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Shirina on Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:48 pm

Ivan wrote:The British and American people have been strangely passive in the face of their continuing enslavement and degradation at the hands of their masters. Perhaps it was their own fault; after all, how many working class people voted - like cows requesting a butcher - for Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s?

I don't think the American people are quite as passive as they once were. Everyone knows that as long as people are comfortable and warm, the government can do pretty much as it wishes. But lately, the conservatives and the GOP (Tories) have been pushing to take a lot of those comforts away. I'm not just talking about the welfare state, either. In America, the wealth disparity is the third worst in the industrialized world - by a lot - and there are fewer and fewer decent jobs for an ever-increasing population. Since 2010, 67% of all jobs created were low-paying jobs mostly in the service industry. No doubt many of the remaining jobs are for an elite cadre of folks with insider connections and Ivy League credentials that the "average person" could never hope to compete for. In addition, skyrocketing health care costs (the average American family of four pays over $20,000 per year for insurance) and equally skyrocketing university tuition (which pundits are calling "the hobbling of a generation"), there simply isn't a way to achieve the American Dream any longer. Even the highly conservative Wall Street Journal has published articles pronouncing that upward mobility is now largely a myth. Parents today who tell their children, "You can be anything you want" are liars.

Hence you had the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that swept the country last year, and it even spread to other nations. I have told many politically deaf conservatives that what you just saw with OWS was a warning shot across the bow. Americans are growing increasingly fed up with the wealthy - and policies and political ideologies that favor the wealthy while simultaneously taking food right out of the mouths of the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. I don't know what it's like in the UK right now, but here in the US, I tried to get into government housing - the waiting list is over 4 years and they're not even accepting new applications. Not that I really want to live in those places since they are filled with criminals, drug addicts, gang members, and mental patients who aren't taking their meds. Unfortunately, the waiting list is long because people who know how to "game" the system always end up with the housing and people who are truly in need end up out in the street.

The OWS movement should have sent a message that the NEXT movement will be bigger and almost certainly more violent - and there is every likelihood that such a movement WILL turn into a spontaneous revolution even if it didn't start out as one. As more and more people find themselves with a foreclosed home and living in their cars - or worse, living in impromptu tent cities that no one wants to talk about (Ssh! We don't want anyone to know how bad it REALLY is!), it won't be long before mass looting and destruction of property begins in earnest.





Keep in mind, these aren't "gypsies."  We really don't have them here in the States. These are average people, people who used to live in homes with warm food on the table and a bed to sleep in. These are average people who worked hard for what they had, believed in the American Dream, and never thought in a million years they would be living like this.

And as it gets worse ... well, let's just say that I don't know how the rest of the world will react if the most powerful nation on earth becomes unstable, racked by revolution and violence. Other nations like North Korea, Iran, and various enemies of Israel, might take advantage and move militarily against their enemies.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Penderyn on Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:30 pm

A revolution is the replacement of the rule of one class by the rule of another. Looking at what the feudalists and the capitalists have done to bugger up the world, yes, I am for a revolution, much as the bosses will attempt to distort it, as they always have so far. Working people have better manners and attitudes, and no need to be killing.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by bobby on Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:53 pm

We wont have a revolution until we have enough people who's names end with Ski, sku or vic, I don't see them accepting what is being done to us once they have adequate numbers and feel they have a right to fair wages etc.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Dan Fante on Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:59 pm

They're on better wages than they were before they moved here. That's why they moved here.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:37 pm

A news item on BBC Radio 4 at lunchtime today covered the "brain-drain" being suffered in countries like Bulgaria and Romania which are losing Doctors and Nurses, who can earn TEN times as much by emigrating with their skills to Scandinavia, France, Germany or Britain.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by bobby on Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:32 pm

They're on better wages than they were before they moved here. That's why they moved here.

Agreed, but whatever benefit that may have is taken away by the cost of living in "Rip Off Britain".
Those who stay here, just how long do you think they will accept being treated as slave labour.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Dan Fante on Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:56 pm

bobby wrote:Agreed, but  whatever benefit that may have is taken away by the cost of living in "Rip Off Britain".
Those who stay here, just how long do you think they will accept being treated as slave labour.
Well they're free to leave any time they like. That's not me saying 'bugger off where you came from', before anyone starts. The point is, if they're worse off here than in the country they moved from there's no incentive to stay, so they probably won't. I really don't see them as slaves who will revolt due to poor wages.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:26 pm

I hope it's not going too far "off-topic" to remark that (particularly) aspirational immigrants usually have a firm desire to return home in triumph.

They can't go back admitting economic failure, so may just stay here as their least-bad option.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:17 pm



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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:46 pm

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Howard_Zinn
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Shirina on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:05 pm

One of the problems I see quite often in America - and it's probably true in the UK as well - is that people talk about a revolution against the government. It's always the government. Yet in capitalist nations like America and Britain, the government is really not the biggest problem. Overthrowing the government is like overthrowing middle management. No, the REAL targets of a revolution need to be the corporate entities that kieep jacking up prices, passing on excessive costs to the consumers, inventing ever more fees for services, refusing to offer good products, refuse to pay liveable wages, refuse to pay benefits, and treat workers like living machines ... just to name a few things.

The corporate world is a world of fascism and authoritarianism. Rarely does anyone below the senior executive level receive any kind of voice, vote, or petition to let their bosses know when they've crossed the line. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion - indeed ALL Constitutional freedoms are suspended while on the job and the only thing that stands between some jobs and sweatshop conditions are laws enacted by governmental agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which businesses leaders hate. Business leaders don't like safety regulations, environmental regulations, or any regulation that interferes with profit - which is why you will often hear one of the main platforms of right-wingers being deregulation.

Your work will almost certainly rule your life from the moment you enter the capitalist system. You are told when to come in, told when you can leave, told how to dress, your company dictates to you your lifestyle by controlling your income, and with the advent of cell phones and the internet, companies can now intrude upon your off-hours by calling you during your family time to discuss work. In fact, with tablets and laptops, bosses can even demand that you work "off the clock" from home. Thus you might hear, "Sorry, honey, I know it's your sweet 16th birthday today but my boss wants me to finish this proposal TODAY. Yes, I know it's my day off ... yes, I know I said we would have the day to spend together ... yes I know ... honey? Honey? No, don't be angry. Please don't walk away .... *sigh*"

Focusing on the government is a cannard. Corporate entities rule the government in all but name. In fact, here in the USA, the Supreme Court just recently ruled that campaign contributions by corporations is considered free speech protected under the Constitution. This means that the ONLY type of monetary exchange between corporations and government is quid pro quo. In other words, outright bribery. But that's pretty easy to get around. This ruling has officially turned our democracy into a bona-fide plutocracy as now the people - for whom our government was created - no longer has a real voice. We can vote a person into office, but once there, that politician will be beholden to the corporate entities and private enterprises holding the purse strings. What's worse is that two-thirds of all campaign contributions go to the Republican party.

The whys and wherefors are extremely complicated here in America. There is still the vestigial arrogance of a nation on top of the world during the 50's and early 60's which has blinded tens of millions of people with the delusion that we're still Number One, but in all the ways that matter to the average person, we are not. There is the protestant work ethic at play, too, which essentially says that your value as a human being is determined by how much you produce - and that work is the second most important thing in your life (God of course being first). There is the influence of right-wing media and a massive propaganda effort by the fascists in this country that has elevated the corporations and billionaires (now euphemistically dubbed "job creators") to almost godlike status. People are still duped by starry-eyed dreams of becoming wealthy like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even the most destitute, poverty-stricken right-winger sees corporations as the providers - of jobs, services, and products - and views the government as an impediment to corporate financial growth.

Thus Occupy Wall Street didn't just have to face an increasingly fascistic police force or condemnation by the Wall Street sycophants. It also faced opposition from the entirety of the conservative political wing, rich and poor alike. The protesters, who for the first time in recent memory, were protesting Wall Street instead of the government, were lambasted in the right-wing media as being a bunch of lazy bums who, despite a 10% to 20% unemployment rate (depending on the demographic), were just supposed to go out and find jobs. They were painted as being violent, drug-addled, and as a bunch of communists - every arrest, every fight, every person caught with a baggie of marijuana was touted in the right-wing press as a vindication. See? See? I told you they were violent. I told you they're druggies! Never mind the fact that the majority of those incidents were caused by transients and hobos not involved in the actual protest.

BUT ... going back to my premise about corporations being inherently fascistic ... therein lies the true enemy, not the government. If the corporate monetary influence were removed from both elections and government policy-making, our democracy would run as it should.

In addition, it shouldn't be about overthrowing capitalism but simply changing it by eliminating its excesses and adopting a more egalitarian model. Some of these changes might include:

a) Running businesses like democracies instead of dictatorships
b) Stock options and profit sharing for all employees
c) Placing reasonable salary caps on high level executives
d) Very tough anti-trust and anti-monopoly legislation
e) Eliminate the corporation as a legal entity so that people, rather than the corporation itself, are held responsible for wrong-doing
f) Price stabilization measures - there is no tangible or scientific reason why prices need to increase every year. Increases should be very rare and very modest.
g) Trading in stock futures should be made illegal
h) Realistic minimum wage laws that take into account how much it REALLY costs to live in a 1st World nation
i) Eliminate all forms of corporate welfare unless there is demonstrable proof that the company will go under and disband AND that the dissolution of the company would cause a major disruption to the nation
j) Getting rid of the credit score for everything except when actually taking out a loan
k) Abolishing "at will" policies that allow companies to fire employees without just cause
l) Any decision to lay-off more than 100 employees must be reviewed by an independent panel of economists and accountants to ensure that the lay-off is really needed and isn't being done just to increae profits
m) Perhaps most important of all, a massive overhaul of campaign finance laws prohibiting large campaign donations by individuals and corporations. It should be made illegal for an employeer to intimidate its employees by threatening to fire people or reduce salaries if the employer's favored candidate loses. Preachers should not be allowed to tell their congregations who "God wants them to vote for." In fact, no authority figure should be allowed to intimidate their subordinates regarding their voting choices. Political campaigns should last precisely 6 months and no more - and each candidate should be given a stipend from the government coffers to be used for campaigning. All candidates will receive the same amount and will not be given any more money. Using personal wealth or private donations should be strictly prohibited. Those are just a few examples.

Etc. Etc.

The goal of any revolution should be to change the existing system, not to destroy it. That is the alternative that some of you are looking for. It's not about ousting prime ministers and presidents or ushering in a completely new economic or political model and/or paradigm.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:41 pm

yes, yes, yes
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:50 pm

Shirina wrote:One of the problems I see quite often in America - and it's probably true in the UK as well - is that people talk about a revolution against the government. It's always the government. Yet in capitalist nations like America and Britain, the government is really not the biggest problem. Overthrowing the government is like overthrowing middle management. No, the REAL targets of a revolution need to be the corporate entities that keep jacking up prices, passing on excessive costs to the consumers, inventing ever more fees for services, refusing to offer good products, refuse to pay liveable wages, refuse to pay benefits, and treat workers like living machines ... just to name a few things.
 
Or, to sum up, Governments don't control the Capitalists - the reverse is true.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:24 pm

Today, 4th. August 2014, is the one-hundredth anniversary of WW1 and also possibly the birth of true irony.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
and smile, smile, smile!
While you've a Lucifer to light your fag
Smile boys all the while
What's the use of worrying?
It never was worthwhile
So .... Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
and smile, boys, smile.


(Exhortation to the common man to preserve the life-style of his self-selected Superiors)


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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:47 pm

Baroness Warsi has resigned from her position at the Foreign Office, in protest at Cameron's attitude to Gaza.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/gaza/11012530/Baroness-Warsi-resigns-from-Government-over-Gaza.html

Which prompts a question regarding what our attitude might be to a "Revolution" sparked by the Muslim element of Britain's population.

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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:32 am

A neat little summary of what the much-misquoted Karl Marx actually said:-


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSQgCy_iIcc
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:07 pm

This piece on Marxism is very interesting - and very convincing - thanks for posting
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:40 pm

A modern take on Revolution was a regular part of the introduction to Channel 4's drama Homeland series in which Hillary Clinton is heard to say, "You can't release deadly snakes into your back yard and expect them only to bite your neighbours"

Starting a Revolution is just as easy as reporting something to the Police, or talking to a newspaper reporter, or releasing a savage dog on a burglar - and in all such cases you thenceforth have no further control of the situation.  Many people refer, approvingly, to the 1789 Revolution in France but without also mentioning that four years later Napoleon declared War on us.

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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:07 pm

I know it's much more sensible and economical to tweak the status quo - and really what most people want.

There's a sense around presently, fostered by things like the impending TTIP agreement and recent moves to limit access to justice via employment tribunals, benefit appeals and the like , that the situation may be developing beyond the point where tweaking the status quo will go anywhere near producing a fairer society - feels as though power is being completely taken away from the common man (and woman) and we will become mere dehumanised tools of the wealthy oligarchy - usually in history once matters got to that state, the only way for change was through violent struggle.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:25 pm

Perhaps true, but it's the counsel of Despair - when no alternative presents itself.  Our alternative is only just over four months away.  Today's Sunday Times gives the Tory Party a mere 16% chance of governing on its own.  Political commentators willing to take a punt (most saying it's too close to call) think Miliband should be the next Prime Minister.

All we have to do is vote.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:38 pm

And I certainly will - strangely, I think Ed Milliband may prove to be just the man to steer us clear of total domination by the corporations.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

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