El desfile del 12 de octubre

No liberé París,

ni perdí Gibraltar,

ni gané en Lepanto,

ni masacré en América,

ni me prohibieron mi cultura,

ni aniquilaron mis instituciones,

ni le di al mundo una gran lengua,

ni tan siquiera forjé esa Transición,

ni fui con la cabra a “pacificar” Irak.

Que me dejen en paz con su pasado,

que no me torturen con sus historias,

que ya tengo yo bastante con las mías.

Ya sé que Francisco Franco fue un criminal de Guerra,

(como Blair y Bush, pero sin ganar elecciones y sin guante blanco)

cuyos secuaces asesinaron vilmente y sin castigo al hermano de mi abuelo.

Ya sé que el PP es un nido de fachas que se sienten herederos de su bando “nacional”.

Ya sé que el sufrimiento de millones debe ser recordado y donde haya genocidas encontrarlos.

Ya sé que muchos han muerto defendiendo la justicia y deben ser nuestro ejemplo, por su valentía.

Ya sé que si no fuera por el pasado, el presente sería distinto.

Ya sé que debemos evitar los errores de otros.

Pero que se dejen de tonterías y manipulaciones nuestros políticos y sus periódicos:

No me siento ni orgulloso ni culpable por cosas que sucedieron cuando yo no había nacido.

Más nos valdría preguntarnos por nuestra contribución personal como votantes a la Gran Crisis.

Más nos valdría mirarnos al espejo para ver quiénes toleran el expolio de banqueros y empresarios.

Más nos valdría hacer desfilar hoy a nuestros “representantes”, bien esposados, camino de la cárcel.

Copyright © 2015. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

My Olive Breasts

My olive breasts are covered
In Western urine and sweat,
In Russian vodka and vomit,
In mustard from Asad the chef,
Who bakes with toxic dribble
Iranian and Turkish bomb cakes.

Nations of hate,
It will not be me
Who’ll take you away!

Rebels trained by the CIA
Launch infidel lethal grenades
Paid with Saudi lazy gold.

A million Goliaths from Israel
Enforce an embargo in Gaza
On crackers, slings and stones.

Hyenas fathered by Blair
Behead innocent people.
May sharpens their swords.

Priests of hate,
It will not be me
Who’ll take you away!

In the streets of Ankara
Dozens begged my return
But perished in Gladio attack.

Eloquent porters in Europe
Feed the masses with fear
Shutting borders and hearts.

Traders of hate
It will not be me
Who’ll take you away!

Doctors brutally killed,
By silent fighter jets
Sent by Peace Nobel Prize.

Rivers and rivers of Syrian blood
Desperate flow through humble canyons
Carved in mountains of media lies.

Gods of hate
It will not be me
Who’ll take you away!

As my mission in this world is to wait,
Nude and simple as I came here,
For a big testosterone eruption
To wash down the power of states
And all the filth that their leaders
Splashed on my olive breasts.

Copyright © 2015. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.
Poem started in the night of the 9th of October and completed in the afternoon of the 10th, following the Ankara bombings.

Our Chinese Crisis

I saw the U.S. chief editor of the FT, Gillian Tett, last night on Channel 4 talking about this new-not-so-new crisis in China. I have to confess that her self-righteousness made me sick. I guess it comes with the job (hers and mine).

It is very sad to see all these clever, educated and eloquent people, the cheerleaders of global capitalism who did not foresee the big financial crisis in the U.S. and Europe, the myrmidons who turn a blind eye to financial and political incompetence when it suits their masters, demanding that the Chinese Government completely deregulate access to financial markets and stop “bureaucratic” intervention (whilst snarling their upper lip).

We had deregulation and re-regulation in the USA and the UK and the whole thing crashed anyway.

So, what’s a fair diagnosis for the Chinese Crisis?

Well, it is a structural fault of global dimensions: the Social Structures of Accumulation that come with this phase of Global Capitalism are collapsing and there is little we can do to prevent this from happening. Conventional regulation and deregulation can only slow down the collapse in some places or for some people, but nothing else. (If you want to know more about Social Structures of Accumulation, there is plenty of academic and non-academic readings and videos about it).

Is there anything else that can be done?

Capitalism is self-destructive, so Hopefully it will take care of itself. However, there is no room for complacency: Our Governments should alleviate the pain caused to people across the world, with our solidarity. We can engage as individuals in rebuilding, culturally, politically and economically, our own communities. We can help others to do the same.

But what is wrong with capitalism? It would be easier to answer this question by explaining what capitalism is and what is good about it:

Capitalism is a combination of values, social relationships, practices, institutions and legally binding rules enshrined in national and international laws, that has enabled a few people in the world to extract and abuse for their own benefit the economic resources of the majority.

Capitalism is based on the supremacy of human predatory self-interest, disregarding most other aspects of human nature, and it is supported by cultural domination. Contrary to what many people believe, capitalism does not respect individual freedom or private property as a universal human rights.

Capitalism cannot work well at the same time in all places across the world because it relies on inequality. The wealth of someone is the destitution of someone else somewhere else in the world.

The good thing about capitalism: If you are lucky enough to be born in the countries whose States have been supportive of the economic interest of their “industrialists”, mainly in North-America and Europe in the last two centuries, then you may be able to benefit, as a worker, as an independent professional/trader or even as a non-producing individual, from the economic surplus that flows around you, but only by virtue of the “Welfare State”, a sort of deal between business, common people, cultural elites and politicians for all of us to have a decent life without causing trouble to each other.

Unfortunately, the “Welfare State”, comprising socio-economic rights, in the workplace and beyond, and public services, is being dismantled in the places in the world where once worked, and will not take off in most places in the rest of the world because of the lack of resources in those places. The inherent inequalities of the capitalism have become more acute at this stage are there are no signs that this will change.

Is this an apocalyptic vision?

Sort of. But I am confident that there are a lot of talented people across the world working on alternative forms of co-operative economy and on peaceful sustainability. There are also many other people promoting political and cultural movements that will Enable our transition to a different form of global society. Crucially, human ingenuity is on our side. All the technological inventions, scientific discoveries and social advancements of the last century were the work of common people like you and me, either a) people who were paid a salary for their intellectual and physical efforts, very often working in publicly funded institutions or b) self-employed people who had to fight their way as individuals in a network of corporate (capitalist) interests.

So, there is a future, of course, but you won’t read about it in the FT.

Entryists fear not

The Labour Party is in turmoil. The New Labour establishment, and some sectors of the media, are terrified by the Corbyn-mania. The avalanche of new supporters is being exaggeratedly linked to Radical Left “entryists” and Tory trolls.

Interestingly, the term “natural supporter” has been used in some quarters to refer to the people who should be allowed to join Labour as supporters, as opposed to those who shouldn’t. This is, sadly, a term that does not help to differentiate much. Blair’s New Labour associated itself with the world of business and with highly successful, economically, individuals. More recently, Labour has shown support for many of the economic and social policies of the Tories. Hence almost anyone could be a “natural supporter” of Labour nowadays, even those who criticise migrants and benefit claimants, even those who defend austerity, or those who aren’t bothered about zero hour contracts.

Should the party do anything about people who are believed to have signed up as supporters or members with the intention of harming the organisation?

Yes, they should. Party officers can and should research cases of infiltration of people who have no loyalty whatsoever to the organisation, people who are not genuinely prepared to support it under any circumstances. If there are indications of ill motives, the party should challenge the people concerned in order to give them a chance to explain themselves and come clean (if they can). At this point it is very important to delegate this type of enquiry to local branches, as they know better the people in their neighbourhood.

What if someone is a member of a left wing organisation?

If the person genuinely wants to help the Labour Party to be a stronger and more appealing and successful organisation, the applicant should be allowed to become a supporter, even if s/he has been critical of Labour or s/he militates in another organisation. The key requirement should be simply good will.

The future 

I believe the future for the Left in the UK lies on the idea of multi-party platforms, as explained recently by Stephen Moss in the Guardian. This is the formula which has already catapulted the Real Left to the power in Madrid and Barcelona, in Spain. You can read more about it in an article I wrote for Left Unity.

If we want to stand effectively for the principles of social justice that inspired the creation of the Labour Party and for the future of our public services, our children and our environment, we in the Left need to get used to the idea of multi-layered and fluid organisational loyalties.

Electronic democracy

We need much more citizen power and responsibility, coupled by new types of mandate for political decision-making.

Participation is increasingly electronic. Whether we like it or not, online platforms and tools are more successful in generating engagement and are becoming the norm in many situations.

Open online political participation is therefore to be celebrated, developed and extended into various areas of public life. It allows waves of common people to define the direction of any organisation, including political parties and governments.

It is true that participatory democracy, as opposed to the traditional representative democracy, generates asymmetries, as it gives more real power to people who are more active. Research carried out on in the area of participatory budgets across the world confirm the obvious: local activists who have more time at their disposal, and therefore more information and opportunities to coordinate their actions, can shape the decisions. This is natural and inevitable in any system in which common people have a real opportunity to participate politically on a regular basis and become influential activists if they wish so.

Openness is the way forward. Only the establishment has anything to fear.