27 November, 2019

26 November, 2019

Brexit: Manufacturing Consent?

While there are certainly some convincing left-wing arguments for leaving the European Union, none of these featured in most Leavers' reasoning in 2016, in the original push for a referendum or in the current Tory party's attempts to manufacture consent for a no-deal Brexit.

As the UK sits at the precipice of another general election, we must try and understand why and how the Conservative Party, and large parts of the economic elite, are doing this. The media (most major newspapers and television news including the BBC) are certainly pushing for this outcome and are engaged in a substantial propaganda war against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

It's worth re-visiting this great documentary, Manufacturing Consent (1992), featuring the ideas and work of Noam Chomsky. In this film Chomsky asserts that the media always works this way, in the interests of vested interests and big money. Brexit and this current election are no different.


Play and its role in learning

I have been watching a BBC TV documentary about the role of Play on animal learning (especially in the young). The general conclusion was that Play was more important than it is usually given credit for.

But, any analysis of such things must start from a sound basis - one which must necessarily address a great deal more than the accumulation of just everyday knowledge and skills.

Indeed, to really get at the processes involved, it cannot be purely an aggregating mechanism, but also, in some way, informatively address unavoidable crises, and even the Emergences of the Wholly New.

Now, useful contributions can be made without such a stance, but it will never address the significant Qualitative Changes that are the essential ingredients in real Development - or The Evolution of Undertsanding, rather then the aggregation of Knowledge only.

So, though many of the points made were of some value, they could not address the more important questions.

Let us look once again at the Play of young animals in their early years, but let us consider it in terms of the diverse capabilities endowed to the animal in question by its Quantitaive Evolution!

For embedded in the baby animal, from birth, is a complex system of bones and muscles capable of a significant number of movements and abilities passed on to it by it Evolution over, perhaps, millions of years. The potential for what that animal could do, is already built into its form, and certainly NOT due to its actions and experience.

So, what is the primary role of Play?

It is to reveal to the individual the built-in potential of its inherited form, but as a form of pleasure and fun, rather than mere functional exercise - to encourage them to do it all the time. Part of that inheritance will be the endorphins and pleasurable emanations also released by such new movements.

It is a process of already available discoveries of the young animal's built-on potential, BUT, it is not how they discover the wholly New.

And it is not how Evolution takes place!

In the most advanced animals, like us, it is NOT how they qualitatively change their understanding of things! That is a very different process which has been termed Emergence, and must never be confused with the incremental accumulation of Knowledge, which ultimately just recreates what is already knowable.

Indeed a valid alternative word for what an Emergence reveals is that it delivers a Revolution: and such can be both in their Living Processes and in their Thinking. But in the latter it is NOT merely New Knowledge!

And, it is never merely an addition in either sphere: it is always cataclysmic and destructive. For it to occur, elements of what went before, first get challenged, in a series of usually overcome Crises, but ultimately do deliver the Emergence, where these have to finally cause an overall Collapse of the Old System, in what seems to be a debilitating Dissociation, but in so-doing it also dismantles the self-maintaining features of the past stability, and thereby enables a natural construction of a wholly New System.

This is always totally unpredictable from the prior seemingly permanent Stability.

And, if you dont believe it.....What was the Origin of Life, and the much latter Appearence of Consciousness? What was the Neolithic Revolution, when Mankind, after hundreds of thousands of years, switched from being Hunter/Gatherers to Farmers and Domesticators of Food Animals?

Also what were the English, American, French and Russian Social Revolutoons?

And why is all of this not a part of the Thinking of Mankind?

It is due to one of these Revolutions that took place 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece - The First Intellectual Revolution, where the breakthrough was to assume the fixety of all fundamental categories, Names and even Concepts, by the universal adoption of The Principle of Plurality. For this excluded Qualitative Changes from Mathematics, Reasoning and even Science, where it still rules to this day!

The interesting thing about Play is that it limits what has to be passed in via genetic Materials, for in many animals and all plants literally everything that is needed is passed on in genetic material, but when Play is passed on, it both reveals the potentiality of bodily capabilities and also teaches the young animal how to use them in different ways - its more flexible.

There is NO training in flying insects how to fly, it is genetically transmitted: but in Humans Beings and many higher animals the transmission of playing, and parental care is far more efficient, if longer to acquire. Needless to sat Humans have an exceedingly long Childhood, while certain seabirds, for example, "fly" and swim straight from the nest, and are effectively "on their own" within weeks!

Evolution has equipped the higher animals in very different ways via actual Emergences, though they have never been clearly evident until Darwin and Wallace's revelation of Natural Selection, though even they didn't fully understand exactly how these radical developments occurred - they just discovered that they had happened.

The philosophical Revolution that began to tackle Qualitative Change did in fact begin seriously in the early 19th century, via the criticisms of Formal Logic by the German Idealist Philosopher Hegel, but he only applied his Dialectics to Human Thinking, and the task of applying it effectively across the board, and particularly in Science has only begun to make inroads there in the 21st century, with the recent successful attack upon the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

Now, there is still an enormous amount yet to be addressed, but Qualitative Change occurs in literally Everything so the current domination of Plurality in most Intellectual Disciplines, has still got a long way to go. Apart from the recent application to Sub Atomic Physics, the only extensive and indeed, at the time comprehensive prior definition and application to concrete Reality was undertaken in the Study of Capitalist Economics by Karl Marx in the 19th century, but both denounced and suppressed by an academia dominated by the pro Capitalist Ruling Class across the World, clearly because Marx's conclusion was the necessity for a Socialist Revolution...

The State I

What is the State and whose interests does it work for?

The State: Now, Post-Revolutionary & Ultimately Desired

Now, the unavoidable and constant defining problem, for the vast majority of ordinary Working People, historically (and even now) has always been: who is in control of the State in which they live, for it is is absolutely never in the hands of the majority.

Now, when the difficulties of living under such circumstances, though never good, can and do get altogether too much to bear, so there can be, and, indeed, often has been, some kind of revolt, which, when it proceeds to general fighting action against the whole State, is termed a Revolution.

Indeed, a colleague was recently able to identify almost 800 violent revolts against their current overlords within our known Social History. It wasn't as rare as you think!

But, literally no Society is totally homogeneous - possessing of the same needs and desires throughout all its inhabitants. Militarism and Wealth has always accrued to minorities of individuals, which has always divided Society into various Classes, with the consequence that the majority is kept virtually powerless, and a relatively tiny Elite is therefore maintained in overall and lucrative control - even in supposed democracies.

And, that Elite has always necessarily gathered around itself a penumbra of somewhat privileged retainers and servants, who see their future solely in terms of the Elite they serve.

But, the majority have no say, AND also importantly NO means to overthrow the incumbent regimes, until, that is, some form of major crisis also affects even those who thought they were safe, and new temporary alliances between parts of the Middle and the Lower Classes, which could possibly challenge the Elite's Control.

The Middle Classes could, of course, never do that by themselves, though certain armed sub groups certainly could carry out successful coupe d'états- such as The Army, for example! But, it was The People-in-Arms in Russia, during the First World War, that ultimately sided with the suffering People, because that is also exactly who they too really were.

But, in most Revolutions, nascent New and increasingly powerful Classes - like Landowners, Manufacturers, Merchants and Traders, who then had sufficient financial wherewithal, and had promised the Lower Classes exactly what they desired to form into a capable Revolutionary Alliance, but who could also separate from that coalition upon success to deliver a new privileged elite!

In the English Revolution, the Parliament - representing the wealthier Landowners, chose Oliver Cromwell, as their leader, and who built his New Model Army, largely out of the Peasant Class, but who then developed their own ideas and associations like the Diggers and the Levellers, and who certainly had much more radical ideas than the wealthy Middle Class. Yet together they defeated the Royalists and decapitated the King! But, thereafter, the successful Revolution did literally nothing for the Peasants.

Upon Victory, the alliance fell apart (or more accurately was cleansed of its lower orders), while the privileged layers within the Army were easily converted into a means of maintaining the now established New Order. Indeed, Cromwell is still, to this day, reviled in Ireland for his brutal putting down their own Rebellion.

And then, slowly at first, but soon reaching colossal proportions the Peasants were driven from the land by Enclosures by the Landlords, to make way for much more profitable Sheep Farming, and also to increasingly supply Workers for the new Capitalist Factories appearing everywhere.

The promises to ordinary people of:

Liberté, Egalitéet Fraternité

were soon forgotten after the French Revolotion, and it was becoming clear that, every such Revolution, would not be completed without a change in both the Economic and the Political Systems too! It meant that the toiling masses had to be equipped with an agenda for the New State, developed from their needs and desires, and independent of those from more privileged prior comrades in arms, and involved themselves in a continuing fight to establish it, even after such a supposed initial Victory.

But, in Russia the nature of the New Revolutionary State, even though it was finally achieved decisively by the Toiling Masses, had effectively just transferred ownership of the Means of Production into the hands of a New State Bureaucracy.

The workers still had no direct control!

And, predictably, the new arrangement generated its own privileged Elite - Communist Party leaders and bureaucrats.

What was being undertaken in such a Revolution had to have those involved adequately informed by an understanding of all of this, and equipped with both a Powerful Theory and Developed Practice to produce the Conscious Engine Room both of and for the Toiling Masses. The Class had to have a dedicated Revolutionary Party to ensure its real success, which had also learned lessons from the mistakes of the past.

25 November, 2019

Is Revolution a Natural Part of all Development?

Natural Revolution

SHAPE Journal is proud to present a new film by Michael C Coldwell and Jim Schofield.

This is a film about revolution.

A film about how revolutionary emergences are a natural and crucial part of all developing reality. 

Based on a wide-ranging discussion between Marxist philosopher and scientist Jim Schofield, and filmmaker and researcher Michael C Coldwell, this essay film explores diverse themes, from Stalinism to the evolution of language, from the origin of life on earth to the failure of the 1960s revolutionary movement. The visuals are ripped and mashed from Youtube - archive footage, newsreels and films from the 20th century. Music is supplied by Conflux Coldwell and the Urban Exploration collective.

19 November, 2019

Socialist Broadband!

Great stuff from our future Chancellor John McDonnell ;)