Occupy

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Wed, 19/10/2011 - 13:03
Found this map on the Guardian quite interesting on the ammount of 'Occupy' type protests going on at the moment around the world (admittedly some seem to be so small they only tenuously count).
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/oct/18/occupy-p...

Interested to know what people's thoughts are. Happy that there are some peaceful protests going on that give people a voice. But will they make any real difference?
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#1
Wed, 19/10/2011 - 13:42
$200,000 dollars donated to Wall Street, whereas so far London have received 200 quid. I can't share Michael Moore's optimism, especially when i see how many folk are getting turned on watching the women and children of Dale Farm being moved on. That said, as this crisis starts to deepen and ordinary folk are forced to make real sacrifices, support for Occupy will only grow, as will the concept itself as it should hopefully start defining a political agenda. Right now as a concept of protest, it's doing fine.

Regulation and tangible reform, above and beyond what's on the table in 2019 (something to truly safeguard future generations), would be a massive victory, despite what Moore thinks.
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#2
Wed, 19/10/2011 - 14:39
it's all a collosal waste of time

too many times through history, people thought they could influence from the street only to find it doesn't work like that. The forces of reaction usually win - eg Nixon getting elected in 68

in this case, there's too many issues, and too many abstract, woolly issues at that. Yes, it's all unfair, I share their grievances, aspects of capitalism are obscene, but they are too institutionalised to be challenged by a few people in tents. The elites are trully global, and transcend local laws. They're too canny to be caught, it's an unwinnable struggle.

I think the smart way to challenge the system is to try and ignore it best you can (through gritted teeth) and create an alternative system of localised economies and enterprises and thinking of new ways of generating wealth and land-use - these for me are the real and immediate challenges for now - I want to know what the growing industries are and where they are, that for me is much more urgent
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#3
Wed, 19/10/2011 - 19:11
Mr Hanson wrote:
it's all a collosal waste of time





Agreed.

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#4
Wed, 19/10/2011 - 22:17
Mr Hanson wrote:


I think the smart way to challenge the system is to try and ignore it best you can (through gritted teeth) and create an alternative system of localised economies and enterprises and thinking of new ways of generating wealth and land-use - these for me are the real and immediate challenges for now - I want to know what the growing industries are and where they are, that for me is much more urgent


How is this smart? It's fantastically dim. Ignoring governments and corrupt systems is the same as sticking your head in the sand while they legislate against you and in their favour. They have developed this way over the past twenty years precisely because there has been no focussed opposition.

Protest movements change things. It's not pie in the sky. It's fact. From the suffragettes to the Pentonville Five, doing something is better than doing nothing. We've had a generation of people who have meekly accepted what has been dealt out by successive governments simply because it's said there's no alternative. Anyone challenging that, however utopian their aims and ideals are, has to got to be a good thing.

Yours,
An old Marxist.
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#5
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 00:05
Old Marxist views are Kool & the Gang in relation to singular domestic challenges like suffragettes, poll tax mollarky where you know who you're challenging on what, whilst offering alternatives. Old Marxist views are too dusty to deal with issues that transcend borders, traditional economics nor account for massive shifts in global economic power (China/India) nor the fucking huge effect that 'religion' (primarily Islam) might play in shaping future power shifts.

It's no reason to sit back and watch it happen and tents outside global institutions might well lead to bigger tings a'gwaning, but the solution ain't Marx (you reckon?) and without a clear blueprint it won't matter a jot to the '1%' that probably don't visit city financial centres all that often anyway. Are they going to relinquish their assets following a fit of introspection/soul-searching?

Great if the increasing pressure engenders parallel political/societal innovation. Hats off!

Thought I'd try and end on a positive note Wink
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#6
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 00:19
ladyboygrimsby wrote:
Mr Hanson wrote:


I think the smart way to challenge the system is to try and ignore it best you can (through gritted teeth) and create an alternative system of localised economies and enterprises and thinking of new ways of generating wealth and land-use - these for me are the real and immediate challenges for now - I want to know what the growing industries are and where they are, that for me is much more urgent


How is this smart? It's fantastically dim. Ignoring governments and corrupt systems is the same as sticking your head in the sand while they legislate against you and in their favour. They have developed this way over the past twenty years precisely because there has been no focussed opposition.

Protest movements change things. It's not pie in the sky. It's fact. From the suffragettes to the Pentonville Five, doing something is better than doing nothing. We've had a generation of people who have meekly accepted what has been dealt out by successive governments simply because it's said there's no alternative. Anyone challenging that, however utopian their aims and ideals are, has to got to be a good thing.

Yours,
An old Marxist.



...but there isn't a focussed opposition, that's the whole problem. The left or what was the left is decimated, there's no coherent alternative to the various shades of capitalism the tories and labour offer anymore. Everyone has grievances but very few have solutions. Which is why these protests are doomed, they're not going to galvanise mass support, they're not going to excite 'man in the pub', and so the govt, the establishment are safe. And ultimately if you're unemployed, your immediate priority is new work, you accept that those cunts might have cost you your job but recriminating won't get it back. The key priority for the UK is to try and work out what kind of industries it can grow in a post-consumer kind of society, maybe green technologies, maybe cottage industries, and maybe labour needed on mass scale to repair the infrastructure, so how will this be done? now, that for me is the only thing that matters. If the bankers would cough up that would be great, even more so if there were prosecutions, but who are we kidding? they will all fuck off to the cayman islands with their loot, the moment any action is taken
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#7
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 02:10
the reigning elite want the talking point to be "there isn't a focused opposition". it seems to be working.

the left has a long, long list of demands. that doesn't mean that it's unfocused. it means there's a shitload of grievances. that long list points to no failure of the left to focus.
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#8
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 07:13
i tend to agree with bill that trying to do something is better than nothing. making yourself heard is better than bottling it up and grumbling about it to yourself.

i think that asking the banking sector to change its ways is probably a wasted effort in the end though, someone needs to take political control of the banks and make them invest in british industry rather than making an easy buck overseas. unfortunately there's no one competent in government to do that as they're too busy lining their pockets and the pockets of their pals.
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#9
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 10:16
lurkster wrote:
Old Marxist views are Kool & the Gang in relation to singular domestic challenges like suffragettes, poll tax mollarky where you know who you're challenging on what, whilst offering alternatives. Old Marxist views are too dusty to deal with issues that transcend borders, traditional economics nor account for massive shifts in global economic power (China/India) nor the fucking huge effect that 'religion' (primarily Islam) might play in shaping future power shifts.

It's no reason to sit back and watch it happen and tents outside global institutions might well lead to bigger tings a'gwaning, but the solution ain't Marx (you reckon?) and without a clear blueprint it won't matter a jot to the '1%' that probably don't visit city financial centres all that often anyway. Are they going to relinquish their assets following a fit of introspection/soul-searching?

Great if the increasing pressure engenders parallel political/societal innovation. Hats off!

Thought I'd try and end on a positive note Wink


Then you ain't read Marx, blud. He was talking about all of this shit in the 1800s! Globalisation? Fucking hell, yeah. For miners and steelworkers, read call centre workers and baristas. It's the same old shit with a different uniform, mate. There's nothing, absolutely nothing, happening now that hasn't happened before.

There is no-one out there now saying anything that is more relevant than the stuff Marx wrote about over 100 years ago. No one has studied capitalism and understood it better than Marx. Go back and have a read for yourself. You might not agree with his solutions to the problems, but as far as examining capitalism and its inherent failings, he's the daddy, and there are plenty of right wing theoreticians happy to acknowledge his contribution to economics.

I remember discussing the 90s boom over 15 years ago with my old Trot mates and the general consensus then was that the next recession would be the worst ever because the boom of the 90s was almost entirely built on credit. They didn't have crystal balls, they were just looking at the facts as they saw them.

What's lacking now is organisation, but the anger is greater now than it's ever been. Big up the Occupiers, I say.
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#10
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 11:44
marx was brilliant at diagnosing where things were wrong, how people were getting exploited, less good however at prescribing solutions. It's all well and good saying the state should step in but HOW does the state step in when it's skint!

which is precisely why these demos won't be taken seriously - have yet to hear anyone offer an alternative, have yet to hear anyone say where/how the common man is going to live in a post-debt, post-consumer system, it seems that nobody has thought this through. How is the Uk (or probably England by itself) going to adapt to its reduced role in the world, do we become scandinavian-style social democracy with modest pretensions (which for me would be the ideal) but then how do you provide social security for 60-70m ageing people? who pays for it? how? and would the rich stick around if politics took a shift to the left?

I do sympathise with a lot of people on the demos, esp if you're young, unemployed, and hoodwinked by society into thinking university offered a guaranteed future - those guys who camped out in Spain for months obviously weren't doing it for fun, but I think they're all delusional if they think it will achieve anything, and my fear is that middle class voters wary of instability, will now all give the rightwing PP a landslide, in which case, the demos will have proved a total disaster.

so this is where I wonder whether the "doing something is better than doing nothing" argument falls down - I think the battle against capitalism was lost a long time ago and the real battle now is how to adapt to this cruel landscape
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#11
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 11:50
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#12
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 11:59
Mr Hanson wrote:
have yet to hear anyone offer an alternative, have yet to hear anyone say where/how the common man is going to live in a post-debt, post-consumer system, it seems that nobody has thought this through.


On the flipside I haven't heard a lot of fantastic alternatives from anybody else either. The present system will have to come to an end sooner or later. It's unsustainable and we don't have the resources on Earth to support it. You seem to make the assumption that people are just going to stand out there and already have all the answers, just be born with the solutions, which never actually happens. It is better to get your feelings out there and known and this helps to develop a solution in the long term through discussion. You are never going to find a solution by keeping your thoughts to yourself and accepting that you are just going to get shafted your whole life.
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#13
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 12:40
ladyboygrimsby wrote:
lurkster wrote:
Old Marxist views are Kool & the Gang in relation to singular domestic challenges like suffragettes, poll tax mollarky where you know who you're challenging on what, whilst offering alternatives. Old Marxist views are too dusty to deal with issues that transcend borders, traditional economics nor account for massive shifts in global economic power (China/India) nor the fucking huge effect that 'religion' (primarily Islam) might play in shaping future power shifts.

It's no reason to sit back and watch it happen and tents outside global institutions might well lead to bigger tings a'gwaning, but the solution ain't Marx (you reckon?) and without a clear blueprint it won't matter a jot to the '1%' that probably don't visit city financial centres all that often anyway. Are they going to relinquish their assets following a fit of introspection/soul-searching?

Great if the increasing pressure engenders parallel political/societal innovation. Hats off!

Thought I'd try and end on a positive note Wink


Then you ain't read Marx, blud. He was talking about all of this shit in the 1800s! Globalisation? Fucking hell, yeah. For miners and steelworkers, read call centre workers and baristas. It's the same old shit with a different uniform, mate. There's nothing, absolutely nothing, happening now that hasn't happened before.

There is no-one out there now saying anything that is more relevant than the stuff Marx wrote about over 100 years ago. No one has studied capitalism and understood it better than Marx. Go back and have a read for yourself. You might not agree with his solutions to the problems, but as far as examining capitalism and its inherent failings, he's the daddy, and there are plenty of right wing theoreticians happy to acknowledge his contribution to economics.

I remember discussing the 90s boom over 15 years ago with my old Trot mates and the general consensus then was that the next recession would be the worst ever because the boom of the 90s was almost entirely built on credit. They didn't have crystal balls, they were just looking at the facts as they saw them.

What's lacking now is organisation, but the anger is greater now than it's ever been. Big up the Occupiers, I say.





Marx may well have been right about much of capitalism (it's a dogs dinner, let's face it) but that's obviously very different to saying a return to the communism blueprint is a viable alternative, which was really my point.

I repeat - you reckon?

(sorry would liked to have been a little more comprehensive but nursery have just phoned to ask me to pick up my 1yr old as she's got chicken pox, and I've got shit-loads of work to do this afternoon. I hate it when that happens.)
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#14
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 12:56
*stands on soap box*

My feelings are that there has been a deliberate and systematic approach to disengage most of the population into political apathy in the UK since the election of Thatcher in 1979.

I like many people on here are of very much left of centre. Whatever that means now, I really don’t know anymore. My problem is that the majority of the electorate in the UK are led by a bunch of career politicians/cuntos who do not represent their constituents in any shape or form. Furthermore, the distinct lack of personality in politics is dire. I defy anyone on here who can name me five members of the current cabinet and five members of the opposition. I fucking can’t unless I go on the internet to find out. Flippant as it sounds, the much lamented Spitting Image is sorely missed as it gave me an insight onto their personalities and who they really were, as well as being piss funny.

The current state of affairs is that the target audience for said career politicians/cuntos are the middle classes that go out and vote leaving the majority of the working class folk, (me included) by the wayside, who by and large just don’t care as they have no idea who represents them or can’t be bothered.

The protest in the City of London is being led by a disparate collective of minorities who are probably middle class, aesthetically pleasing and will be able to provide moderately interesting soundbites that will feature on the news. Sadly they are not the majority, the working class are. As things stand the working class would prefer to watch X-cunting-factor rather than watch the news. I’m probably generalising but I am certain I am not far off from the truth. I sincerely hope something comes out of this protest but I doubt it will happen because of the general level of apathy in the UK. I’ve grown to understand that democracy is a euphemism for mob rule by smoke and mirrors and it’s a massive, massive cunt.
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#15
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 13:17
on the spitting image point, I remember Rory Bremner saying he was finding it harder and harder to find political characters to lampoon - I think that's because a more technocratic breed of politician (often from council/legal backgrounds) came through in the 90s and replaced the 'flair' politicians of the past. Another big difference from the 80s is that in those days Thatcher and Reagan offered an obvious focal point for hatred whereas now the blame is scattered at various shadowy organisations and invisible, elite structures, grey men which makes it far harder to focus your line of fire.
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#16
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 13:39
Mr Hanson wrote:
marx was brilliant at diagnosing where things were wrong, how people were getting exploited, less good however at prescribing solutions. It's all well and good saying the state should step in but HOW does the state step in when it's skint!
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erm, you been reading a different Marx or something ?
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which is precisely why these demos won't be taken seriously -
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which one's aren't being taken seriously ? The US ones ( go on Fox news, listen to Obama now talking about the 99 % , Congress debating etc etc ....) ? Chile ? Spain ? or just UK ?
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have yet to hear anyone offer an alternative, have yet to hear anyone say where/how the common man is going to live in a post-debt, post-consumer system, it seems that nobody has thought this through.

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yeah, resistance / social justice movements all over the world fighting back, with a mass of different ideologies / ideas / aims driving them on, but no one's "thought it through ' apart from keyboard expert Hambo here
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How is the Uk (or probably England by itself) going to adapt to its reduced role in the world, do we become scandinavian-style social democracy with modest pretensions (which for me would be the ideal) but then how do you provide social security for 60-70m ageing people? who pays for it? how? and would the rich stick around if politics took a shift to the left?
----------------------------
undoubtedly the 1 % don't / won't lilke the idea of any genuine wealth re-distribution, but it's a global issue needing global responses - the rich can't simply dissappear if the push comes to shove.
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I do sympathise with a lot of people on the demos, esp if you're young, unemployed, and hoodwinked by society into thinking university offered a guaranteed future - those guys who camped out in Spain for months obviously weren't doing it for fun, but I think they're all delusional if they think it will achieve anything
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yaaawn......from Peterloo to the Arab Spring.....but ol Hambo here knows best peeps...
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and my fear is that middle class voters wary of instability, will now all give the rightwing PP a landslide, in which case, the demos will have proved a total disaster.

so this is where I wonder whether the "doing something is better than doing nothing" argument falls down - I think the battle against capitalism was lost a long time ago and the real battle now is how to adapt to this cruel landscape

----------------------
mankind : 6 m years old
capitalism : 250 yrs old
it's kinda unlikely that this is the end point in mankinds socio-economic development perhaps ?
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#17
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 13:50
politicians paying lipservice doesn't mean anything will actually change - in fact, do politicians even have the power to implement change? the easy flow of capital across borders makes politicans pretty close to useless imo - unless you do a mugabe and make it impossible to take money out of the country

arab spring means shit until there's real democracies in place - yet to see any real evidence of that

the situation in Greece is pretty volatile on the street but I don't think a lot of the protestors realise just how little their government can do - it's austerity or total collapse

ps/ have never claimed to be any expert - am just troubled by this notion that change can come from the street when history suggests to me it doesn't
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#18
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 14:09
The politicans do have the power to impliment change, that's why we're fucked.
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#19
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 14:09
change has been brought about from the street countless times throughout history. unfortunately it tends to have led to people getting into power who were just as bad or worse than the last lot on most occasions.
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#20
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 14:37
political change comes nearly always from within, when colleages get jealous/ambitious, when the military don't get paid, when certain factions feel marginalised, when conservative forces feel that there is too much radical change or when there is the need to give the impression of change. There's countless revolutions which were actually just coups, Russia 1917 a prime example. There may be a lot of noise on the street but it is usually just background music. When Eastern Europe seemed to fall like dominoes in the late 80s, it wasn't the people rising up and rejecting communism that made the difference, it was the fact the old communists didn't have the means/resources/will or USSR backing to stop them - but the way it was portrayed in the western media made it look like they were toppled by the people. When Cory Aquno came to power in the Philipinnes there was massive support on the ground, but the army would never have allowed it to happen if they didn't think they would be protected after. When the Chinese people took to Peking streets in 1989 to demand political liberalisation, they just got shot or sent to 're-education centres' - they believed they had influence because one chinese official had called for change but the military complex decided otherwise... and that's the point, powerful institutions only allow change if it suits them.
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#21
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 16:11
Mr Hanson wrote:
political change comes nearly always from within, when colleages get jealous/ambitious, when the military don't get paid, when certain factions feel marginalised, when conservative forces feel that there is too much radical change or when there is the need to give the impression of change. There's countless revolutions which were actually just coups, Russia 1917 a prime example. There may be a lot of noise on the street but it is usually just background music. When Eastern Europe seemed to fall like dominoes in the late 80s, it wasn't the people rising up and rejecting communism that made the difference, it was the fact the old communists didn't have the means/resources/will or USSR backing to stop them - but the way it was portrayed in the western media made it look like they were toppled by the people. When Cory Aquno came to power in the Philipinnes there was massive support on the ground, but the army would never have allowed it to happen if they didn't think they would be protected after. When the Chinese people took to Peking streets in 1989 to demand political liberalisation, they just got shot or sent to 're-education centres' - they believed they had influence because one chinese official had called for change but the military complex decided otherwise... and that's the point, powerful institutions only allow change if it suits them.




completely daft, and just exposes the rest of your waffle for what it is ...you say your 'no expert', no problem, who is , but what are you basing this stuff on ? guesses ? blind prejudice ?
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#22
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 16:24


completely idiotic, and just exposes the rest of your waffle for what it is ...you say your 'no expert', but c'mon....


an idiot... who did study the russian revolution - there was a very complicated set of factors and all sorts of players involved and two different coups that year. There was certainly no sense of inevitability about the chain of events between the tsar fleeing and the bolsheviks coming in and certainly the role of the street, 'storming of the gates' in engineering change is much exaggerated by Soviet revisionist historians (often for propaganda purposes)

but carrying on calling me names if you prefer
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#23
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 16:28
My tuppence worth, very quickly.
A few fairly (blindingly?) obvious things:
– The global situation is incredibly unstable at the moment.

– It seems unlikely that things are just going to go back to the way they were before, i.e. post WW2 settlement + neo-liberal capitalism (although Bill's point about the cycles inherent in capitalism pointed out by Marx seems sound to me).

– Massive systemic change is not necessarily caused by people having well-thought out alternatives. It tends to be a lot messier than that. (e.g. Europe-wide revolutions of 1848).

– The Occupy movements could well not last that much longer – it's getting cold. However, there are strikes coming and it's impossible to predict even two months ahead at the moment.

– They do seem to have had a disproportionately large effect for the number of people demonstrating, which is what's making me think things could change faster than we might think.

At the moment I feel inclined to think about the Occupy movement – and especially the reaction to it, which is far more important than the actual demos right now – as a symptom of the current instability rather than the first steps of a mass movement, let alone a revolution. It's striking that there are not actually that many people there in London at the moment (very few in Paris where I am – I checked it out on Saturday evening and there were like thirty people with about 5 tents).

So I reckon it might be a bit too early to start talking about revolutions and coups. Also when the revolution comes, I'd love it if the soundtrack wasn't a fucking samba protest band.
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#24
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 16:53
Zucco wrote:


– Massive systemic change is not necessarily caused by people having well-thought out alternatives. It tends to be a lot messier than that. (e.g. Europe-wide revolutions of 1848).


Greece and Iceland perhaps?

http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1?frommailing=1
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#25
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 16:59
hambo wrote:
Zucco wrote:


– Massive systemic change is not necessarily caused by people having well-thought out alternatives. It tends to be a lot messier than that. (e.g. Europe-wide revolutions of 1848).


Greece and Iceland perhaps?

http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1?frommailing=1



Yeah, that works!
Interesting article. Didn't know about that Iceland constitution.
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#26
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 17:10
what about gandhi and the indian independence movement, mr hanson? surely you will acknowledge that people can change things if they have clear goals and good leadership?
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#27
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 17:19
Mr Hanson wrote:


completely idiotic, and just exposes the rest of your waffle for what it is ...you say your 'no expert', but c'mon....


an idiot... who did study the russian revolution - there was a very complicated set of factors and all sorts of players involved and two different coups that year. There was certainly no sense of inevitability about the chain of events between the tsar fleeing and the bolsheviks coming in and certainly the role of the street, 'storming of the gates' in engineering change is much exaggerated by Soviet revisionist historians (often for propaganda purposes)

but carrying on calling me names if you prefer

there were no 'coups' ffs, they were mass proletarian movements, these are facts . The revisionism has come from no marks like proven liar/ weirdo Orlando Figes and his ilk, who try to paint the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 as coups to fit their own miserable, reactionary agendas.
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#28
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 17:34
Zucco wrote:
My tuppence worth, very quickly.
A few fairly (blindingly?) obvious things:
– The global situation is incredibly unstable at the moment.

– It seems unlikely that things are just going to go back to the way they were before, i.e. post WW2 settlement + neo-liberal capitalism (although Bill's point about the cycles inherent in capitalism pointed out by Marx seems sound to me).

– Massive systemic change is not necessarily caused by people having well-thought out alternatives. It tends to be a lot messier than that. (e.g. Europe-wide revolutions of 1848).

– The Occupy movements could well not last that much longer – it's getting cold. However, there are strikes coming and it's impossible to predict even two months ahead at the moment.

– They do seem to have had a disproportionately large effect for the number of people demonstrating, which is what's making me think things could change faster than we might think.

At the moment I feel inclined to think about the Occupy movement – and especially the reaction to it, which is far more important than the actual demos right now – as a symptom of the current instability rather than the first steps of a mass movement, let alone a revolution. It's striking that there are not actually that many people there in London at the moment (very few in Paris where I am – I checked it out on Saturday evening and there were like thirty people with about 5 tents).

So I reckon it might be a bit too early to start talking about revolutions and coups. Also when the revolution comes, I'd love it if the soundtrack wasn't a fucking samba protest band.


agreed on all points, although samba bands can actually add a bit of rythmic energy and an alternative to Swappies on repeat on the megaphones I find .
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#29
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 19:59
Fundamental to all this is that even really good samba bands are shit, there's no two ways about it.
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#30
Thu, 20/10/2011 - 19:14
that's crazy talk! no good samba records!?!
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