Monday, November 02, 2020


 Robert Owen, the Welsh  utopian cooperative industrialist is credited with the comment,  "All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer." Said circa 1828. 

In the north of England  “There’s nowt as queer as folk”  takes the strangeness of an individual and moves it to the collective. Note: Cultural changes have occurred. In this context the word means odd, strange. How queer would an extraterrestrial find the folk on the

 Blue Planet?

 Twenty two years and a bit ago a Socialist Standard article, (‘Birth Pangs, April 1988), posited the rhetorical question, what conclusion would a visitor from Mars sent to discover if there was intelligent life on earth come to?   Among the items of life which distressed our alien visitor at that time were the Sun newspaper, still being published; soap operas like EastEnders, still showing  on television; mind sapping programmes like The Price is Right, which in various guises went on until 2007. “In June 2019 it was announced that The Price is Right had been chosen as one of the country's five all -time favourite game shows to be “supersized and rebooted” in new series “Alan Carr’s Epic Game show”… and broadcast in May 2020. 

A testament to Oscar Wilde’s line from “The Picture of Dorian Gray,”  "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Rupert Murdoch is still propagating pollution in printed form.

  Fairy stories are still being preached from churches mosques and synagogues although in 2020 the message that no matter how crap it is here it will be better up there is more likely to be blasted into the comfort of your own lockdown home.  People are still being conditioned to think that there's nothing that can be done to consign hunger, poverty, homelessness and misery and the alphabet soup of woes ensuing from capitalism to the dustbin of history. As the French have it, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

 Twenty two years on isn't even a blink of the eye in the onward march of the cosmos. Twenty two years on has the global working class proven Lenin’s wrong with his elitist remark that 'the history of all countries demonstrate that the working class,  exclusively by its own efforts, is able to develop only trade-union consciousness',  (“What is to be Done.”) ?

 Given the  present state of the world there  are no doubt many who would like to thumb a ride or hide away as stowaways on the Martin’s spacecraft when the space tourist departs this chaotic planet. Without a majority coming to the awareness that the present capitalist system has long outgrown its historic role in laying the foundations for a  sane socialist society to come into being then the next twenty two years could well see this planet categorised on the interplanetary ‘avoid at all costs- dangerous critters ’ list.

  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”   (Oscar Wilde.)



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