Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Labour Party; the Bankers Friend

Ex Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson used to say that a week is a long time in politics. That comes from a time when the Labour Party used to at least make an effort at being a Party of the working class. There were members and politicians then who thought of themselves as socialist, albeit of the reformism kind. The delusion that they were the champions of the poor, along with other vote and power seeking parties, was maintained for quite a time afterwards. Now, no longer. Politicians of the workers friend Party can no longer even to be bothered to keep up the pretence.

If there is, as expected, a general election later in 2024 will everyone remember The Who’s 1971 song, Won’t get fooled again? Or will new boss, same boss, be installed, whichever political party it is, to continue to run affairs to the benefit of the capitalist ruling class as a whole?

‘The shadow chancellor has told the BBC Labour would not reinstate a bankers' bonuses cap that was scrapped last year by the Conservative government. It comes as Rachel Reeves set out Labour's plans to boost economic growth through the financial services sector. She described the sector as one of the UK's greatest assets which the party would "unashamedly champion". It marks a big change from the policies of the previous leadership and past criticism of the bonus cap removal.

A maximum bonus of 200% of bankers' regular pay was introduced across the European Union (EU) to deter the excessive risk-taking many blamed for the financial crisis.’

BBC 31 January

From the Socialist Standard, February 1930

Mr. Tom Shaw, speaking at Wandsworth on December 16th, 1929, gave the following interesting pledge on behalf of the Labour Party: —We make no apology for saying that the instant we are powerful enough to do it, poverty shall be abolished.

—(“Evening News,” 17th Dec.)

The “Evening News,” in an editorial, expressed its doubts about the matter :— That is not the maundering of a street-corner spell-binder. It is the considered utterance of Mr. Tom Shaw, one of His Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State in the Labour Government and incidentally the man who once complained piteously that he could not produce a remedy for unemployment “ like rabbits out of a hat.”
We make no apology for saying that though Mr. Shaw and his friends should be returned to Parliament with no opposition at all poverty will not be abolished. We venture to add that the type of mind that could produce such a statement as Mr. Shaw made at Wandsworth last night will never decrease poverty, let alone abolish it.We are strongly of the opinion that the “Evening News” is right; we also do not think that the Labour Party will succeed in fulfilling Mr. Shaw’s promise. We are quite certain that poverty will not, and cannot, be abolished under Capitalism, although the administration of the system is in the hands of “Labour” men. But what surprises us is the further admission of the "Evening News” that the problem has not been solved in the U.S.A., which the “Evening News” is always telling us to imitate.

We might begin by reminding Mr. Shaw that the world has never been without poverty and that in the United States to-day, the richest nation in material wealth that the world has ever known, there is plenty of it—not relative poverty merely, but want and destitution.

Next time we are invited to copy American methods, perhaps the “Evening News” will tell us in what way “want and destitution" in the U.S.A. are preferable to “want and destitution” in the United Kingdom."

Socialist Sonnet No. 133

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle becomes more decrepit,

Talons still brandishing its three arrows,

But the olive branch it long since let go,

All the while losing its grip, bit by bit.

Fanciers misleadingly quibble about

Whether the right wing or the left is best

To keep their bird flying, though, even blessed

With power in both, the body’s giving out.

Meanwhile its emboldened prey no longer

Grudgingly quails, turning a passive back,

Not only resisting, but will attack

Viciously; all the while feeling stronger.

Amidst blood and feathers, look closely, look,

It is not an eagle, but a lame duck.


D. A.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Emotional Appeal for War


With the present drip drip drip in the main stream media in preparation to persuade the population of many western States that a forthcoming world is inevitable and that they must be prepared to fight for it on behalf of their various capitalist ruling classes this piece from the Socialist Standard of August 1931 is still apposite.

Letter to the Editors from the August 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

The correspondent whose letter was replied to last month, writes again on the need to make an “emotional appeal.”

Tottenham, N.17,

July 7th, 1931.

The Editor,

Socialist Standard,
42, Great Dover Street,
London, S.E.1.

Dear Sir,

(1) May I reply to the points raised against my letter in the July issue. The success of the emotional appeal of the war reveals how powerful appeals to irrational forces can be. The workers do not simply commit an error of judgment, mistaking "the capitalists’ interests for their own,” but respond because their behaviour is so largely influenced by emotional tendencies, which, suppressed by the demands of civilised life, find outlets in behaviour often irrational when judged from an economic standpoint.

 The Socialist case may be rejected or fail to arouse interest because the dominant trends in a person do not respond sympathetically to the exposition. Trivialities such as the manner, speech, or clothes of the propagandist may evoke unfavourable impressions, or the immediate attraction of a tennis game or dance distort the value of the propaganda.

Influences which seem remote from politics play a part in the making of Socialists. As mentioned in my letter, “experiences of sexual character, dislike of certain individuals, jealousy, etc., find consolation in Socialism,” supplying motives other than a sense of inferiority.

(3) It is noteworthy that, while Christian, Communist, and Socialist vigorously assert the intellectual character of their convictions, it is not difficult for each to discover emotional influences at play in the others.

(4) Modern psychology, distinguished by its emphasis on a dynamic or hormic view of the mind, is reversing the conceit that man, among animals, is a rational creature. In the nineteenth century, when Darwin established the truth of evolution, those whose approach to people depended on the retention of an obsolete account of man's origin, resisted the theory strenuously. Now, a like opposition is offered to the psychologists’ conviction that the intellectualist interpretation of man’s behaviour is equally outworn.

Just as evolution is older than Darwin, so there may be much that is not new in modern psychological theory, but it is through the mass of evidence collected that theories gain weight and insist on scientific recognition.

(5) The tendencies within capitalism seem to point to a drift towards Socialism, but they, after all, are tendencies only, to be worked out by human-beings. There is no divinity benevolently directing events to a happy ending, and so if Socialists persist in presenting their propaganda to a mythical working-man, guided by intellectual preference, and, with a fine disdain, refuse to stoop to moulding their propaganda nearer the hearts of the workers, their efforts may be misspent.

Yours faithfully,

(1) Our correspondent now claims that the workers' support of the war proves "how powerful appeals to irrational forces can be," and he denies that they responded to an appeal to their "interests." Does our correspondent then deny that the workers in 1914 were trapped by being told that defeat would mean the loss of "their" colonies, "their" foreign trade, “their" merchant shipping, "their” property, "their" liberties, "their" jobs, and "their" security, not to mention their lives and those of their dependants? If these are not appeals to the workers' interests what are they? Even the talk about "poor little Belgium" was backed up with the threat that defeat would mean the same treatment for this country as had been meted out across the Channel.

If the workers respond merely to "emotional tendencies," not guided, by assumptions as to their interests, why do not the workers endeavour to treat their class enemies at home as they treated the Germans when they (the workers) believed their interests to be bound up with the outcome of the war? What sort of "emotional tendency" is it that leads the half-starved and unemployed dweller in a slum to vote for the class (and even for the individuals) responsible for his miseries, makes him leave the place where the miseries are inflicted and could be ended, and actually lay down his life on foreign soil under the orders and in the interests of that class? If the uncontrolled "emotional tendency” dominates the situation why did not and do not the victims make a direct attack on the landlords, employers, and politicians with whoso activities their miseries are closely and obviously associated?

The answer is that the workers are always having it drummed into them that they have a common interest with the capitalist class in maintaining capitalism.

Our correspondent, as was pointed out last month, ignores the results of 40 years of I.L.P. and Labour Party appeals to emotion. He persists in ignoring the results, except to make the claim that the war shows how powerful the emotional appeal can be. In his anxiety to seize a supposed point he appears to have forgotten what we are discussing. His admission that years of emotional appeal from the Labour Party and I.L.P. did not succeed in making socialists but did succeed in making willing victims for the slaughter only supports our objection to the emotional appeal as a means of making socialists.

(2) The remarks in this paragraph are obvious but not in the least helpful. Of course socialist propaganda will be listened to more readily if it is pleasantly and tellingly presented; but so will anti-socialist propaganda. Does our correspondent imagine that Liberals are all of them people who think that Lloyd George has a nice kind face? And that the workers are all childish like H. G. Wells and will, like, him, allow their dislike for Marx’s Victorian whiskers to dissuade them from studying socialism?

(3) It is difficult to make out what this paragraph is intended to imply, as it seems to have little to do with the argument. Our correspondent lumps together Christian, Communist and Socialist and says that he finds "emotional influences" in us all. It would indeed be strange if he did not. If he looks a little closer he will discover that we are actually human beings. But what has that to do with our contention that emotional appeals are not a method of building-up a socialist organisation, and with his contention that emotional appeals are such a method?

(4) Again, we must ask our correspondent to consider the facts and not just discuss airy assumptions. "Modern psychology,” he tells us, has shown that the emotional appeal is the way to build up a socialist party. Will he then explain why the I.L.P., which concentrated on this emotional appeal, from its formation back in the eighteen nineties, has failed so utterly to get socialism, or to build a socialist organisation, or even to build a solid and dependable organisation at all? Why, in face of emotional appeals backed up with lavish funds and delivered by professors at the game such as J. Maxton, why, in face of that has the I.L.P. lost half its members in two or three years?

In this paragraph our correspondent (who, by the way, writes in language which the average reader would find it very difficult to understand) tells us how to get to the hearts of the workers and thus not waste our efforts. We can only reply that if we had had the relatively enormous financial resources of the emotional appealers the I.L.P. and the. Communist Party, and yet found our efforts had produced as little result as theirs have done, we would indeed have cause to look for different methods. But the facts point to the reverse conclusion. Apart from confusing the workers’ minds and making our propaganda efforts more difficult, the emotional appealers have achieved nothing of assistance in the task of getting socialism.

Editorial Committee


Sunday, January 28, 2024



SOYMB has been pointed in the direction of a site where ten classic Utopia novels are listed. There are many lists of this kind, they can feature music, sports teams and sports players, food, tourist destinations, even politicians and leaders (sic). Some lists are concerned with which historical or contemporary figures or States ended, through various means, wars, famines,colonisation, gulags, genocides, the most human lives. Depending on the timeline that list could be extensive.

Obviously, lists tend to be subjective and the person compiling a particular one is influenced by many factors. Out out the ten on the website (link below) William Morris’s News From Nowhere is this present writer’s only proper Utopian piece. Subjective opinion.

Utopia, to many who continue to support the exploitative capitalist system, is something that will happen, human nature don’t ya know, or some such spurious reason, and the word is actually used as a sneer and an insult; You’re Utopian, you’re an idiot!

The concept of a Utopian society goes back a long way, first posited in 1516 by Thomas More, but as the Socialist Standard article shows the idea goes much further back into history.

Socialists would not make the claim that with the transition from Capitalism to Socialism society as a whole would immediately become Utopian. But it depends how you define the meaning of the word. It is beyond doubt that with the move away from the present social system many of the problems that afflict the world and which are directly related to Capitalism would be eradicated. Even a small amount of Utopia would be welcome compared to the dystopian system which holds us all in its grasp now.

From Socialist Standard, July 2009

'The word utopia, together with its derivatives utopian and utopianism, is a familiar part of our political vocabulary. It originated as the title of a work by the Tudor lawyer, statesman and writer Thomas More, first published in Latin in 1516 as a traveller’s description of a remote island. Utopia is a pun: it can be read either as ou-topos, Greek for ‘no place’, or as eu-topos, ‘good place’ – that is, a good place (society) that exists in the imagination.

More invented the word, but the thing it represents is much older. Plato in his Republic discussed the nature of the ideal city state. Medieval serfs took solace in the imaginary ease and plenty of the Land of Cockaigne. More’s utopia, however, is the first to embody a response to capitalist social relations, which in the early 16th century were just emerging in England and the Low Countries (in agriculture and textiles). As the first modern utopia, it has a special place in the emergence of modern socialist thought.

Contents of More’s Utopia

The work consists of two ‘books’. Book I is More’s account of how he came to hear of Utopia. Book II describes the Utopians’ way of life – their towns and farms, government, economy, travel, slaves, marriages, military discipline, religions.

More presents his story as true fact. Henry VIII sends him to Flanders as his ambassador to settle a dispute with Spain – and we know that this is true (it was in 1515; the dispute concerned the wool trade). During a break in the negotiations he meets his young friend Peter Giles, who introduces him to an explorer, Raphael Hythloday, just back from a long voyage. There follows a long conversation between More, Giles and Hythloday.

Giles and More urge Hythloday to put the vast knowledge acquired on his travels to use by entering the service of a king. Hythloday refuses, arguing that no courtier dare speak his mind or advocate wise and just policies. This exchange is thought to reflect More’s misgivings about his own career in royal service.

The conversation then turns to the situation in England. They discuss the enclosure (now we call it privatisation) of common land to graze sheep, the consequent pauperisation and uprooting of the peasantry (“your sheep devour men”), the futile cruelty of hanging wretches who steal to survive, and other social ills.

This leads them to the question of remedies. Hythloday declares that the injustice, conflict and waste inherent in the power of money can be overcome only by doing away with private property. More objects that this would remove the incentive to work. (Sounds familiar?) Hythloday replies that More would think otherwise had he been with him in Utopia.

Utopia is, indeed, a society without private property. Households contribute to and draw freely on common stocks of goods. Money is used only in dealings with foreign countries, while gold and jewels are regarded as baubles for children and “fools” (i.e., the mentally retarded). In these respects Utopia resembles socialism as we conceive of it.

In other respects, however, it does not. Decision-making procedures are only partly democratic. A hierarchy of “magistrates” enforces draconian regulations: travel, for instance, requires official permission. The main penalty for serious transgressions is enslavement – not to individuals, of course, but to the community. Thus, there is a class of slaves who do not participate in common ownership but are themselves owned. Utopia is not a classless society.

Was More joking?

Almost all critics treat More’s factual presentation as a mere literary device. They do not believe that he met an explorer while in Flanders or that he was influenced in his description of Utopia by information about real places. This is not to say that they attribute everything solely to More’s fertile imagination. They often draw connections between his ideas and the thought of Greco-Roman antiquity. In the foreword to an edition of Utopia published in 1893, William Morris even calls Utopia ‘an idealised ancient society’. More was one of the foremost classical scholars of his day, so it is a plausible view.

Yet More always maintained, even in private correspondence, that Utopia was based on fact. Was he joking? He liked a good joke.

Two researchers take More at his word. It is quite possible, they argue, that he did meet an explorer who had encountered or heard about a pre-Columbian society in the Americas that served More as a prototype for Utopia. Arthur E. Morgan, an engineer who was chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s, takes the Inca Empire as the prototype (Nowhere was Somewhere: How History Makes Utopias and How Utopias Make History, University of North Carolina Press 1946), while the anthropologist Lorainne Stobbart identifies the Utopians with the Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula in present-day Mexico 
(Utopia: Fact or Fiction? The Evidence from the Americas, Alan Sutton 1992).

They argue that it is not valid to argue that Hythloday cannot represent a real person because Europeans knew nothing of the Maya or Incas at the time when More was writing Utopia (1515—16). This is true only if we accept the conventional chronology that conflates discovery with the military expeditions of the Spanish conquistadors (Cortes first landed in Yucatan in 1517; Pizarro entered Inca territory in 1526). But Morgan and Stobbart refer to old maps and documents indicating that Portuguese explorers reached the eastern shores of Central and South America as early as the 14th century (Hythloday is Portuguese), while English sailors were trading with the new lands by the 1470s. Whether any of these early travellers got as far as Peru is less certain, though some may have obtained indirect information about the Incas.

How closely does More’s Utopia resemble the Maya and Inca civilizations? Morgan and Stobbart detail numerous similarities in political and economic organization, dress, social customs, city layout, family life, science and art, and so on – even down to such practices as the erection of memorial pillars and ceremonial wearing of quetzal feathers. The Maya and the Incas, like the Utopians, used money only in foreign trade and had common stores from which officials distributed produce (except that, in contrast to Utopia, it was rationed). It is extremely unlikely that so many close parallels should arise purely by chance.

But there are also important differences. The most telling criticism made against these authors is that they obscure a wide gap in social structure between the aristocratic autocracies of the Maya and the Incas and the basically democratic governance of More’s Utopia (see George Logan’s review of Stobbart in Moreana, June 1994).

It is therefore doubtful whether Utopia is a direct representation of any specific pre-Columbian society. Nevertheless, More’s account does probably reflect the influence of knowledge of such societies that he had somehow acquired, possibly from a Portuguese explorer he met in Flanders.

A bureaucratic mode of production

This conclusion has implications for our understanding of the development of socialist ideas. For it means that a seminal work of modern socialist thought bears the imprint of archaic societies that though not based on private property were far removed from the classless democracy of genuine socialism.

The Maya and Inca social systems are strikingly ‘pure’ examples of what Marx called the ‘Asiatic mode of production’. In this mode, a royal bureaucracy extracts and redistributes surplus from pre-existing peasant communes and directs public works. The monarch is considered the owner of land and resources. The word ‘Asiatic’ does not, of course, fit the New World context (Marx had mainly India in mind). Karl Wittfogel, stressing the centrality of water management, coined the term ‘hydraulic mode of production’. Or we might call it the pre-industrial bureaucratic mode of production.

Louis Baudin paints a vivid picture of what it was like to live under this system in his 
Daily Life in Peru under the Last Incas (Macmillan, 1961). It was a hard life for the common people, but their basic necessities were supplied: a small dwelling, two woollen garments each when they marry, a patch of land, relief in the event of local famine. They were more fortunate in this regard than poor people were in More’s England – or than they themselves would be after the Spanish conquest. But they were victims of class exploitation nonetheless.

It is understandable that the Incas and the Maya should have appealed to early European critics of capitalism. Theirs, however, was not the only alternative model that the pre-Columbian Americas offered to the reign of private property. The New World was also home to the much more egalitarian ‘primitive communism’ of peoples like the Iroquois who so fascinated the 19th-century anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan and through him Engels and Marx, influencing their conception of ‘advanced communism’.

An upright and honest official

More’s utopia is a sort of compromise between the democratic and authoritarian-bureaucratic conceptions of communal life. He omits important information that would help us clarify the nature of the society that he is portraying. In particular, how are the higher officials appointed or elected? (We know that lower-level officials are elected.) Do they have material privileges? Does Utopia have an aristocracy of any kind?

I interpret this ambiguity in light of More’s general attitude toward the lower classes. He felt genuine compassion for the suffering of the poor. This is clear not only from the sentiments he expresses through his alter ego Hythloday, but also from his reputation as an upright and honest judge and official. He did not take bribes from the rich and he patronised the poor. By the standards of his day and age, he was open-minded and tolerant. He belonged to the same social type as that other upright and honest official, his near-contemporary in Ming China, Hai Rui.

But More, like Hai Rui, was no rebel. He was a “good servant” of God and king, a member of the ruling class with a strong belief in order and hierarchy. His ideal was not the fully democratic self-administration of society, which he could hardly imagine, but rather paternalistic “good government” by upright and honest officials like himself.

In conclusion

So what shall we make of More’s Utopia? It is, to be sure, an eloquent critique of the cruelty and perversity of capitalism, all the more remarkable for having been written at a time when that system had scarcely bared its fangs. However, More – although he envisages the abolition of money – does not provide a picture of what we now mean by socialism. But then that could hardly have been expected of him.'


Saturday, January 27, 2024


 'Its a big club and you aint in it...They don’t give a f*** about you. They don't care about you at all -- at all -- at all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on; the fact that Americans will probably remain wilfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue d*** that's being jammed up their a******* everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth: it's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.’'

George Carlin

Lloyd J. Austin III is the the American Secretary of Defence. After reading his address to the Reagan National Defence Forum on December 2, 2023, you might think he was indeed some fictional character straight out of the novels of Robert Ludlum or from the thrillers of R J Ellory.

‘We don't want to fight but by jingo if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, and got the money too!
We've fought the Bear before and while we're Yankees true
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.’

Apologies to George William Hunt for adapting Macdermott's War Song (1878)

Might is right, allegedly, and this, straight from the horses mouth, is the bragging bullying voice of the ruling class of the ‘land of the free.’ These people make Dr Strangelove seem sane.

Highlighting by SOYMB.

... I also urge you to pass our urgent supplemental budget request to help fund our national-security needs, to stand by our partners in danger, and to invest in our defence industrial base.

... only one country can consistently provide the powerful combination of innovation, ingenuity, and idealism—and of free minds, free enterprise, and free people. And that’s the United States of America.

And let me be blunt about our mission. The U.S. military is here to win our country’s wars—and to win them decisively.

[it’s not the working class’s country, and AK47’s say otherwise.]

We will always try to deter conflict. But if we have to defend our country, we will fight—and we will win.

[not always Lord Copper, not always.]

...the rules-based international order is central to our long-term security.

It is the structure of international institutions, alliances, laws, and norms built with American leadership after the staggering losses of World War II.

They help ensure that civilians are protected, and not targeted.

[If you don’t know what’s happening in the world you need better intel.]

And they help to punish aggression and keep bullies in check.

Since 1945, the rules-based international order has helped to give our country—and the entire world—an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.

[Aggression and bullies here means other capitalist states in competition for resources, markets and trade routes. ]

But the troubles of our times will only grow worse without strong and steady American leadership to defend the rules-based international order that keeps us all safe.

[That work to the benefit of the American ruling class.]

The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians.

You see, in this kind of a fight, the centre of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.

So I have repeatedly made clear to Israel’s leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative. And so I have personally pushed Israeli leaders to avoid civilian casualties, and to shun irresponsible rhetoric, and to prevent violence by settlers in the West Bank, and to dramatically expand access to humanitarian aid.

[if it wasn’t so tragic what’s going in the world it would be funny – sick funny.

Don’t think the Zionists have been taking much notice of you there bud. Not doing a good job at all are ya?]

... the United States will remain Israel’s closest friend in the world. Our support for Israel’s security is non-negotiable. And it never will be. And we remain fully able to project power, to uphold our commitments, and to direct resources to multiple theatres. 

[The USA’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Resources means the means to kill and maim as many people as possible.]

The United States is the most powerful country on Earth. And we can walk and chew gum at the same time. Since then, the United States and our allies and partners have worked to get many key weapons systems—including HIMARS, and Patriots, and Abrams tanks, and more—into the hands of trained Ukrainian operators.

[Looking at the state of your infrastructure and the living conditions of the working class. Note the use of language – makes training people to kill sound like they’re being taught how to serve fast food.]

Ukraine matters profoundly to America and to the entire world. And it matters for four key reasons. First, Putin’s war poses a stark and direct threat to security in Europe and beyond. Second, Putin’s aggression is a clear challenge to our NATO allies. Third, the Kremlin’s deliberate cruelty is an attack on our shared values of democracy and decency. And finally, Putin’s war is a frontal assault on the international rules-based order. As the Ukraine war drags on, more attention is being paid to the real reason for Putin’s attack on his neighbour -the desire of Russia’s capitalist class, backed by its government, to control Ukraine’s mineral and agricultural wealth. That wealth was an inevitable temptation to a large power whose monopoly on trading such resources on the world market was increasingly at risk.

[We want what they’ve got.]

The course of the war suggests that Putin misjudged the readiness of the capitalist classes and governments in Ukraine and the West to allow this monopoly to be extended. The whole scenario illustrates perfectly the Socialist Party’s argument that wars in capitalism are caused by competition for global domination of resources, markets and trade routes.’

Our National Defence Strategy describes the People’s Republic of China as America’s “most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge for the Department of Defence.” The PRC is our only rival with the intent—and, increasingly, the capacity—to reshape the international order. The PRC hopes that the United States will stumble, and become isolated abroad and divided at home. But together, we can prevent that fate.

[History shows that all empires come to an end. When the transition to Socialism occurs History will take a totally new turn.]

You know, I had a great visit yesterday at our Defence Innovation Unit in Silicon Valley. DIU focuses on fielding and scaling commercial technology across the military. It’s directly plugged into Silicon Valley, working with venture-capital firms and tech innovators who are often doing business with DOD for the first time. And it will help us deliver thousands of game-changing capabilities at speed and at scale. When we sharpen our tech edge, we expand our military edge.

That’s why we’re making such major investments in innovation. And we’re giving the American taxpayer extraordinary value—even while our spending on national defence, as a percentage of GDP, remains about half of what it was during the last decade of the Cold War.

[Bet they’re delighted to know that the cost of killing, maiming and destroying is more cost effective than previously.]

The Department’s budget request includes $145 billion for R&D and $170 billion for procurement. Now those are the largest such investments in U.S. history. We’re also making major investments in Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control. And those investments will make us even better at joint operations and combat integration.

... we’ve also created the Office of Strategic Capital, which will help attract and scale private capital in our critical technologies.

Now, Ukraine’s high burn rate for artillery has hammered home the need to invest even more in munitions. So compared to the defence budget from just five years ago, we’re putting nearly 50 percent more money into munitions.

[Because why would you spend money on improving the lives of everyone who lives in your particular State.]

And during this administration, America’s production of artillery shells won’t just increase. It won’t just double. It will quadruple.

How sick do you have to be to boast of this as an achievement?]

Meanwhile, we’ve launched what the Army calls “the most ambitious modernization effort in nearly 40 years” for our defence industrial base.

Some $50 billion of our supplemental budget request would flow through our defence industrial base. And that will create or support tens of thousands of good American jobs in more than 30 states. That includes making missiles in Arizona; vehicles in Wisconsin and Indiana; and artillery shells in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas. And that all means greater prosperity at home and greater security around the globe.

The U.S. military is the most lethal fighting force in human history. And we’re going to keep it that way.

[It ain’t going to help you when the majority decide that this iniquitous system is being dumped in the trash can of history.]

Friday, January 26, 2024

France and Russia invade England!


An American tennis player, John McEnroe, in his playing days was well known, before social media, for the verbal meme, ‘You cannot be serious!’ screamed at the umpire when a call in his games went against him.

The news of the last few days emanating from various sources that the Russians are coming and the UK population must be prepared, man, woman and child, to pick up their pitchforks and defend this sceptred isle to the death can only elicit a McEnoe response.

The main reaction on contemporary social media was the traditional British two fingered one to this call to arms by the British ruling class.

A good overview of ‘invasion literature’ can be found at Wikipedia.

In the late nineteenth centure/early twentieth century there was a plethora of fiction dealing with the invasion of the British Isles by foreign states. Germany appeared to be the state considered the main threat after 1903. Up to then, according to Wiki, France was seen as the most likely threat.

In William Le Queux’s 1894 The Great War in England in 1897 the adversaries were France and Russia with Germany eventually getting involved on the side of Britain.

Le Queux’s 1906 novel, The Invasion of 1910 was firmly of the opinion that the next threat would come from Germany and Britain was dangerously unprepared for it.

Jump seventy two years and a book purporting to have been written in 1987 describing the 1985 Third world war initiated by Russia came from the same mindset. The Third World War August 1985 by General Sir John Hackett and others was written in the Cold War period. Spoiler alert, NATO wins.

At the UN the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov apparently said. Russia does not want to enter into a “big war” and has no intention of attacking other countries. “No one wants a big war,” including Russia. “We have lived through ‘big wars’ many times in our history,”

Russia maintains that, ‘In recent weeks, senior officials in several European nations have been urging their citizens to prepare for a potential military confrontation with Russia. Moscow, however, has insisted that it has no interest in waging war against NATO.’

Mandy Rice Davis , friend of Christine Keeler involved in the 1963 Profumo Affair said in court when told that a Lord denied knowing her or having had an affair with her, Well he would, wouldn't he? Miss Rice Davis’s riposte would seem to be still apposite to doubts about intentions, or non intentions, of the Russian state articulated by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock remains at ninety seconds to midnight but it’s obvious that the world is still a very dangerous place. No one needs to join the military to see Armageddon at first hand because each and everyone of us is directly in the firing, or missile, line. In current, and previous, conflicts civilians are/have suffered.

States may claim that the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction is no longer an option but given the forces at play within capitalism this cannot be assured.(no pun intended).

Humankind cannot continue to leave its fate to the MAD capitalist system and those running it. William S Burroughs said that no one owns life but anyone who can pick up a frying pan holds death. Some frying pan. How much nearer to Armageddon does the world have to get before it decides, enough is enough and implements Socialism, the only sane alternative for us all?