G'day Hugh,

>What Rob is describing in Seattle is what Bob M and me have been describing
>in Sweden, and what me and Bob and Dave have been going on about for years

You go on about it during the recess breaks between retreads of the ol'
'I'm a good bolshie, you're a bad pb menshie, and all we need is
leadership' refrain.  Or so it seems to me.

>It's called an upsurge, and we have been very explicit about it as
>being an expression of a worldwide tendency (mind you Dave thought it was
>all a bit exceptional in a "reactionary" period, but that was then, maybe),
>perhaps clearest in relation to Albania, the Congo and the Oz wharfies'

Er, we got creamed in the Wharfies' strike, Hugh!  And after that it was as
if nothing had ever happened.  Seems our elected betters are preparing to
pull the same stunt on our one remaining strong politically-aware union as
we speak (the CFMEU, check 'em out at:
http://www.ifbww.org/~fitbb/INFO_PUBS_SOLIDAR/Information.html ).

>I'll be putting up Marx's views on Free Trade and Protectionism from 1847
>soon, again, for the umpteenth time, too, so we can all see that Free Trade
>and Protectionism are not at all where it's at for the working class --
>they're purely bourgeois concerns and always have been. We have other fish
>to fry.

Fry fish when you have fish, I reckon.  I'm going with the 'whither
democracy' line on WTO just now.  Sorta furnishing the tacklebox, if you

>And I think it's weird that Rob "generally" agrees with Simon on
>unspecified issues,

I made it pretty clear just on which specific - and important - points
Simon and I seemed to agree, did I not?

>while he agrees (tends to agree) with me on the
>fundamental scientific issue of the character of the bourgeoisie and its
>relation to the productive forces of society at the present time, surely
>one of the most important matters in the class struggle -- like, know your
>enemy...  I mean, it does sound as if Rob regards the imperialist
>bourgeoisie as his enemy too, doesn't it?

Doesn't Simon?  You're disagreeing on other things, I reckon.  I tend to
your view on finance as decisive structure/engine of our day - and the role
of this development in highlighting to the suddenly resurgent populace its
role as functional object of exploitation.  But Simon is getting at
something important, though.  The attitude of a world in which the
financier's view of capitalism is replacing that of the
factory-owner-manager's view, IS an attitude of blissful consumption,
insofar as decisive price signals are ignoring the C that separates M1 from
M2.  That'd distort production in the short term and separate stock values
from assetts/price-earnings ratios/sustainable productivity projections to
such a degree as to make the system vulnerable to a credit crunch of
possibly unprecedented intensity and durability.  We can only guess at the
decisive kick-starter of such a crisis.  But it'll come.  Big finance has
proven itself very good at managing crises geographically (destroying
foreign brown capital/people), but a popped bubble on Wall St would demand
bailouts in the first instance - bailouts contingent on having lots of
precisely what a popped bubble would make scarce - public funds and lines
of credit.

>Perhaps we should ask Rob to give us his definition of an enemy, him being
>a sociologist and all, after a cold one on the porch of an evening has
>subdued the fevered heat of yet another Oz summer's day...

It WAS bloody hot today (34 degrees and a cloudless sky, but I was sweating
in the shed with cups of tea, alas).  Another warm one tomorrow, but mebbe
something for the water tanks come evening.  No coldies until next week,
I'm afraid.

And I guess the socialist's enemy is the capitalist relation.  Right now,
the fight is about minimising creeping (charging?) commodification of
what's left of our human lives.  So that'd be the enemy du juour.  If all
goes well, capitalism shall have produced for itself an enemy worthy of it.
One which has proven to itself its ability to defend (Bill Woodfull-style),
thus coming to entertain the thought of some aggressive strokeplay - at
first pursuing the first-innings deficit with a few cuts and hooks (Stan
McCabe-style), and then ruining the enemy's line and length altogether, and
taking the lead with some flourishing drives (Don Bradman-style).  Jardine
(finance) would have Larwood (the state) charging in from the fence by
then, and it'd be on for young and old.  Sorry to go so far into the
archives for my summery metaphor, but I needed to invoke an English cricket
team worthy of the might of capital.

One place you and Simon do disagree is to do with how'd you handle
capitalism's bodyline tactics?  Do you emulate Jardine (as McCabe advised),
and emulate your enemy (grab the state and deploy its mechanisms) or do you
do a Woodfull (see the state as inimical to your raison d'etre and deploy
an unprecedented global integration in the context of unprecedented forces
of production to organise along lines more consistent with how it should
be).  S'pose that all depends on the who and when of it.

>As for the belly of the beast, consider this: imperialism as a beast has
>contained vast and increasingly agitated amounts of gases (popular
>frustration, resentment, protest and not infrequently rebellion) over the
>past twenty-five years or more (let's say Nixon and Kissinger gave the
>starting signal, and Reagan and Thatcher carried the ball for them). Its
>repressive policies and austerity policies and
>strangulation-of-the-poor-and-working-masses-at-home-and-abroad policies
>have so compressed these internal gases that it is more like a
>pressure-cooker or a power-station boiler now than any common-or-garden
>dragon. When I mentioned the other day that Sweden is seething, this was in
>the actual pressure cooker. Little bubbles under great pressure. Now most
>of us know what happens if you suddenly release the pressure under such
>conditions -- you get a bloody great explosion and learn just what
>insupportable pressure there was in the containing vessel. And given that
>this is the belly of the Great Satan, just imagine the stink...

Yep.  Of course this explains that enhanced neo-Nazi profile in Sweden
quite nicely, too.  The left needs to keep a broadly appealing, publicly
accessible, compromisingly unifying profile if it's to avoid driving many
natural constituents rightwards.  Hanson got ten per cent of the Australian
vote at the last election.  'Our' side didn't.

>Looks like some strong indications of an imminent release of pressure are
>happening in Seattle. And, against the Jeremiahs who have been preaching
>tranquillity and total imperialist control for ever and ever (Henwood shall
>be nameless, as he is by no means alone in this, he's had the whole bloody
>chorus of ex-Marxists and ex-revolutionaries and petty-bourgeois Doubting
>Thomas's doo-wah-ing along behind him), it's obvious that there's a whole
>broad spectrum of angry masses involved.

Again, the right (eg Buchanan) as much as the left.  And Doug is there,
mate, at the advantage line and doing the hard yards up the middle (oops,
that's a winter metaphor).  With luck, he might be miked, and we'll get an
update from the scrum.  Er, I'm getting carried away ...

>Imperialism is being deserted by
>its one remaining mass popular political base, the intermediate strata of
>bureaucrats, educated jobsworths and petty-bourgeois at home in the
>once-privileged heartlands.

I prefer 'educated jobsworth' to 'pb', anyway.

>Watch for superstructural contortions as the likes of Clinton and Blur try
>to create the appearance of offering concessions to these enraged masses
>without actually providing any substance. All the crap about the power of
>spin, the medium being the message, surface rules, etc, will go oot the
>windae like the oppressive arseholes thrown on to hard paving stones from a
>great height in Prague in 1419 and 1618.

Underestimate the spin at your peril, Hugh!  (insert Gatting/Warne footage
Even if Clinton/Blair don't cut it (and they're absolute champions at the
art), doesn't mean the likes of Buchanan won't.  We're gonna have to be
very clever right now.  And I reckon that means going back to unifying
basics.  Stuff like 'democracy', 'dignity' and even 'rights'.  The idea
right now is to give, inter alia, wet little disillusioned social democrats
like me somewhere to go.  If you don't make their beans jump - them and the
greens - and if you don't resonate with unionists (such that they move to
democratise and energise the only institutionalised expression of
worker-power there is at the moment) - well, look forward to a resurgent,
renovated, extra-rationalised, ultra-centralised, all-seeing (I'm told that
just using the word 'nazi' in a post gets one's epistle filed at echelon
even now), turbo-charged capitalism par excellence.  We'll be reading
Schumpeter for our moral sustenance then.

Yep.  We're gonna have to be cleverer than the left has ever been.

>Cheers (and feeling better already)

Well, these ARE interesting times - I'll give you that.


>PS Read about the Defenestrations in Prague in any good encyclopaedia or
>history book. An easy starting point is the Britannica website at
>Britannica.com -- the whole encyclopaedia free on line!
>It's not quite the decapitation of kings, Charles 1 or Louis XVI, but it's
>not bad for a small people in a far-off land...
>Oh and while you're at it, check out John Hus and the Taborites! If they
>could do it then, we can do it now!
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