Jeremy Corby and Clause 4

From the September 2015 issue of The Socialist Standard


Clause Four Resurfaces


As we go to press, it is with the Labour Party leadership battle raging and its four contenders spouting all manner of promises to secure votes. At the forefront of this contest is the long-serving and perhaps unusually principled left wing MP, Jeremy Corbyn. For a Labour MP, he is as radical as they come and a genuine throwback to the days when Labour was considered by many in Britain to be ‘socialist’. His attack on everything Blairism has come to represent, his stance on nuclear weapons, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and many social issues, has won him much support, a lot of it from other parties on the left.

In early August came news that Corbyn was championing Labour's old Clause 4 – its supposed socialist commitment to common ownership of production, distribution and exchange. ‘Corbynmania’ kicked in almost overnight, with social media sites buzzing with news that ‘socialism’ was back on the agenda, whilst the rightwing press, big business and big Labour donors have done all in their power to discredit him and anything to do with old Labour.

Liz Kendall, another Labour leadership contender and avid Blairite said: 'Life has moved on from the old Clause 4 in 1994, let alone 2015. We are a party of the future, not a preservation society.' Big Labour donor and businessman Assem Aklam, who swelled Labour’s coffers with £300,000 in donations, said he would stop funding the party if Corbyn became leader, announcing that he would not back a 'dead horse'.

Nostalgic workers, who mourn the demise of Clause 4 in the 1990s, would do well to remind themselves of its authors and who they actually were – the Fabian Society – and what they actually thought about the working class. Perhaps the closest we come to a definition of the Fabians is Engels' description of them as 'a clique united only by their fear of the threatening rule of the workers and doing all in their power to avert the danger.' What danger? A danger that had been prophesised by the ILP when they wrote 'that should there be a workers' revolt in Europe, there is nothing save a narrow strip of sea between us and what would then be the theatre of a great human tragedy.'

With Engels description in mind, however, we can begin to set Clause 4 in its real context. For it was penned in November 1917, when news of the Bolshevik takeover in Russia was still making news in Britain, when there were uprisings in Germany, Hungary and Ireland, when the Bolsheviks were arguing the case of peace with Germany, when workers all over Europe were war weary and sick of the social problems the war was creating, when crime rates in Britain were spiralling and when the ruling elite were beginning to realise that the Britain the soldiers would return to would not be, as Lloyd George had promised, 'a land fit for heroes'.

The fear of insurrection amongst the ruling elite – amongst whom the Fabian Society considered themselves – was real enough. The Fabians had in fact felt such qualms for thirty years, seeing in the working class not a mass of exploited workers, impoverished workers, in whose united strength resided their own emancipation, but rather a seething mass of potential revolutionary fervour that must be contained at all costs.

In the 1890s, Beatrice Webb could expect 'no hope from these myriad of deficient minds and deformed bodies – what can we hope but brutality, madness and crime?'  Two decades later, her views had not changed, for she saw unions as nothing but 'undertrained and underbred workers'. Bernard Shaw even toyed with a solution – 'sterilisation of the masses' – an idea later to be taken up by Churchill and Hitler.

From the outset, the Fabians did not wish to abolish capitalism and thus remove themselves from their privileged positions. They wanted to reform capitalism, to soften some of its harsher effects, to make capitalism worker-friendly. They wanted peaceful, gradual change from capitalism to what Shaw was to describe as 'state socialism'.

Rejecting the Marxian view that the state was a manifestation of the domination of the capitalist class, the Fabians believed the state to be impartial, neutral, to be used by anyone who could take power. However, the idea of the workers taking control was anathema to everything they stood for.

Their idea of socialism was one in which the state was controlled by experts and professionals 'like themselves' – trained in the new social sciences. They were, it appears, technocrats, believing that the technical administration of society should take the place of party politics. They certainly did not believe that the upsurge of protest against capitalism could be led by a class-conscious majority intent on social change in their own interest.

Moreover, the Fabians did not care who took their ideas on board and even harboured the notion of selling their wares to the Conservatives and Liberals.

They were arrogant, held the workers in contempt, feared them and were more than guilty of the charge of blatant class collaboration. Neither was Clause 4 written out of a genuine sympathy or empathy with the workers and with a view to changing the existing social system. It was penned to assuage, to pacify that section of society that was beginning to nurture the idea that it was time it took matters into its own hands.

Clause 4 was penned in an attempt to persuade that section of society that posed a threat to the ruling class that their lot could be bettered if they put their faith in an elite, an intellectual vanguard, who would work on their behalf in parliament and at a time when workers elsewhere were attempting to change society themselves, even if this was proving to be without any foresight.

State capitalism
Clause 4 did not mean socialism, only ever state-run capitalism, the nationalisation of capitalist industry, which would continue to be run according to the dictates of the profit system, only by a state-appointed board, not by private capitalist firms.

The 'common ownership' clause, which would eventually be reproduced on every Labour Party membership card was nothing short of a Fabian blueprint for a more advanced, as they saw it, form of capitalism, and with its adoption the Labour Party became the foremost advocate of state action to control and humanise the operation of private enterprise – which has nothing to do with socialism, because the profit system and its myriad shortcomings still exist and workers are always subject to the worst excesses of its contradictions.

To be sure, the idea of 'socialising' the means of production and distributing wealth was by no means a new idea in 1918. The notion had been mooted by previous Labour Party conferences and, although the idea attracted a lot of support, it never appeared in the party's constitution. Whilst many a delegate regarded themselves as socialist, it was believed that such a blatant expression of 'socialism' would be a vote-loser.

This is an important point, as it shows that the Labour Party then, as now, was not so much interested in promoting ideas that threatened the hegemony of the capitalist class, but in securing the most votes. What made it possible, and indeed urgent, that the Labour Party should adopt Clause 4, without it being an electoral liability, was the radicalisation of workers brought about by war. But the time would come when Clause 4 was seen as an electoral liability.

Electoral liability
In 1955, Labour had lost 1.5 million votes compared with the 1951 election. Conservative seats rose from 319 to 345 seats and Labour's share fell from 293 to 277.  At the 1959 election, Labour lost a further 196,000 voters, whilst the Tory tally rose by 448,000. One Labour commentator, Douglas Jay, speaking of nationalisation, said: 'We are in danger of fighting under the label of a class that no longer exists.'

After the 1959 defeat, the then Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell decided there had to be some serious changes in Labour Party policy.  At a specially summoned post-election conference, previous defeats were discussed. Gaitskell declared: 'In my opinion capitalism has significantly changed, largely as a result of our own efforts and the changing character of the Labour Party. Importantly, he argued, Labour had lost votes through its identification with common ownership – Clause 4'. Conference listened quietly, but cries of derision greeted his next words: 'Standing as it does on its own, this clause cannot possibly be regarded as adequate ... it implies that the only precise object we have is nationalisation, whereas we have many other socialist objectives.'

Although Gaitskell's idea to drop Clause 4 was supported by many, including Bevan, it was quickly rejected.
Seemingly, it was Mrs Thatcher who eventually brought the question of Clause 4 back to the debating table, when she decided to privatise anything that stood still long enough to be privatised.

In 1983, the Labour Party manifesto claimed that common ownership would be expanded. The following year, the party conference passed a resolution on a show of hands that reaffirmed: 'Clause 4 Pt 4 of the Labour Party constitution is the central aim of the Labour Party,' and called for 'repossession of all parts of the public sector privatised by the Tories.'

At the 1985 conference, Roy Hattersley asked for support for a resolution on 'the need to extend social ownership and democratic planning into a significant number of key organisations, in banks, manufacturing, new technology and the service sector.' Conference obliged. It also supported a resolution which called on 'the next Labour government to return all privatised services ... and all privatised industries to public ownership, and to repeal any privatisation legislation.'

By the time of the 1987 election, though Labour pledged to take back only BT and British Gas under 'common ownership', neither company would be in line to be nationalised. Instead, existing shares would be converted into new bonds, including varieties of ‘deep bonds’, designed to be attractive to institutional shareholders. Again, at the 1987 conference, the NUM moved a resolution to renationalise all industries privatised by the Tories. The union block votes were wheeled in and the motion was lost 3,869,000 to 2,397,000 votes. Within a few short years there was a gradual acceptance of Tory ideas that would continue.

Another nail in the coffin of 'common ownership' through nationalisation was the support for increased share ownership. Bryan Gould, Labour's campaign manager in 1987 argued, in an amazing piece of Tory logic: 'The idea of owning shares is catching on and, as socialists, we should support it as one means of taking power from the hands of the few and spreading it more widely.'

Enter Tony Blair
After three successive defeats at the polls, many in the Labour Party were now intent on burying Clause 4. One thing was certain, argued new Labour leader Tony Blair – if Labour was to stand a chance of winning the next election, Clause 4 as it stood had to be ditched. Blair declared this to be his intention at Conference 1994 and the party's new Clause 4 appeared in March 1995 in time for a specially summoned conference on April 29th.

The vote was put to the membership whether Clause 4 should be reworded. Jarrow CLP became the first to vote in favour of holding on to the original Clause 4, but only three more would oppose it.  Blair's new version won the day. A discussion document – Labour's Objectives: Socialist Values in a Modern World – had been available before the vote. If Labour Party members had studied it – Clause 4 aside – many would probably have resigned in the belief that it was penned by Margaret Thatcher. The document explained that the idea of common ownership only came about because 'there was a genuine revulsion at the sheer anarchy and exploitation associated with the free market of Victorian capitalism.' The reference to 'Victorian capitalism' was a clever piece of trickery, giving the reader the idea that capitalism in the 1990s was no longer 'anarchic' and was now worker-friendly.

And what of the new Clause 4? Again we could see regurgitated the same old lie that 'The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party'...which aims to put 'power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many' which was something Thatcher had claimed privatisation was doing. This startling new 'socialist' objective claimed 'we work for a dynamic economy' in which ' the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition are joined with the forces of partnership and cooperation to produce the wealth the nation needs.' Little wonder the Sun could announce (of Blair) 'He speaks our language.' Little wonder that when Labour took power, Thatcher could proudly inform a gathering of the Tory faithful that Tony Blair was her 'greatest achievement'.

It was a mammoth achievement for the Tories, so much so that Labour continued to lurch further to the right year on year.

Never was socialist
For over a hundred years this journal has been arguing that Labour was never socialist. Even with Clause 4 being held up as a sign of its commitment to real change in the interest of the many, it has always been a party of capitalism and, in office, ever willing to serve as the executive arm of the capitalist class, never hesitant to use the might of the state to club the workers into submission whenever they became uppity, whether using troops to break strikes, creating the Special Patrol Group, internment in Northern Ireland or supporting and indeed initiating myriad conflicts throughout the world, from World War I, right through the Vietnam War and up to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. For over 110 years, Labour has hoodwinked the workers, and endlessly led them down the blind alley of reformism, always mindful that its real allegiance was to the master class who own and control society.

Make no mistake. A Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn would make no departure from the historical record. Its task would be primarily to try to make capitalism – a system based upon the exploitation of one class by another – work in the interests of the exploited. Labour, under Corbyn, would not really control the economy, it would control him. The historical record shows that if the dictates of capital demanded, the workers would have to be lied to, betrayed and made out to be villains of the peace and a threat to the economic interests of the country. No Labour leader to date has failed to be cast in a mould created by the capitalist class, no matter how noble their intentions.

If workers are really attracted by ideas of common ownership they would do well to realise that a party which has stood uncompromisingly and unwaveringly for real common ownership and, more, real democratic control of the earth's natural and industrial resources, is still in existence – the Socialist Party.  Moreover, you will find no aspiring leaders within the Socialist Party, slugging it out and making rash promises to the membership, only a membership of equals in which Party affairs are decided democratically by the membership.

Neither are we keen on reforming capitalism or prostituting our principles on the high altar of opportunism as Labour has been doing since its inception and will continue to do even with Corbyn as leader. We seek the abolition of capitalism and all it represents, replacing it with a system of society in which money has been abolished, class antagonism eradicated and in which each person has free access to the necessaries of life.

Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution, as originally drafted in 1918 and subsequently amended


1. To organise and maintain in parliament and in the country a political Labour Party.
2. To cooperate with the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, or other kindred organisations, in joint political or other action in harmony with the party constitution and standing orders.
3. To give effect as far as possible to the principles from time to time approved by the party conference.
4. To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.
5. Generally to promote the political, social and economic emancipation of the people, and more particularly of those who depend directly upon their own exertions by hand or by brain for the means of life.
6. To cooperate with the labour and socialist organisations in the commonwealth overseas with a view to promoting the purposes of the party, and to take common action for the promotion of a higher standard of social and economic life for the working population of the respective countries.
International (Gaitskell amendment in 1959?)
7. To cooperate with the labour and socialist organisations in other countries and to support the United Nations and its various agencies and other international organisations for the promotion of peace, the adjustment and settlement of international disputes by conciliation or judicial arbitration, the establishment and defence of human rights, and the improvement of the social and economic standards and conditions of work of the people of the world.


The US School System - The dumbing down of America

Charlotte Iserbyt is to be greatly commended for having put together the most formidable and practical compilation of documentation describing the deliberate dumbing down of American children by their education system. Anyone interested in the truth will be shocked by the way American social engineers have systematically gone about destroying the intellect of millions of American children for the purpose of leading the American people into a socialist world government controlled by behavioral and social scientists.

What is so mind boggling is that all of this is being financed by the American people themselves through their own taxes. In other words, the American people are underwriting the destruction of their own freedom and way of life by lavishly financing through federal grants the very social scientists who are undermining our national sovereignty and preparing our children to become the dumbed-down vassals of the new world order. It reminds one of how the Nazis charged their victims train fare to their own doom.

One of the interesting insights revealed by these documents is how the social engineers use a deliberately created education crisis to move their agenda forward by offering radical reforms that are sold to the public as fixing the crisis which they never do. The new reforms simply set the stage for the next crisis, which provides the pretext for the next move forward. This is the dialectical process at work, a process our behavioral engineers have learned to use very effectively. Its success depends on the ability of the change agents to continually deceive the public which tends to believe anything the experts tell them.

Dowload the ebook Dumbing Down of America


The death of Osama bin Laden and its implications

The May 1st presidential announcement of the execution of Osama bin Laden has been fĂȘted as a great tactical victory by the White House, by Western governments and the world’s media. The longed-for news saw a wave of nationalistic, back-slapping hysteria in the US and the killing has served as a sorely needed propaganda tool to enhance the standing of the US military in the eyes of the domestic public.

Despite world-wide celebrations and Obama’s rise in popularity at home and the propaganda value of the killing, there is no evidence that the death will have any impact on the flagging military and political situation of the US in South Asia, the Middle East and other theatres of high tension.

The Socialist Party are not conspiracy theorists, but we note that the initial White House bin Laden story was so amateurishly broadcast, that within three days it had been altered several times, making it seem that Obama was involved in a game of Chinese whispers with his advisors. And what stands out is the nonchalant and haughty clumsiness of this and similar official announcements, as if the White House has become so convinced of its ability to hoodwink us that practically no attempt is made to make reports credible. So long as the US has an agenda then it can be sold with any version of a story, regardless of its credibility.

So just what agendas does the news of a dead bin Laden story help promote? Well, firstly, and not surprisingly, within a few hours of Obama’s statement, CIA director Leon Panetta ominously suggested that bin Laden’s death would trigger new 9/11-type attacks from al Qaedians seeking revenge for the death of their leader. Paradoxically this can only increase the demand for more profits from the military-industrial complex, whose lobbyists will waste no time in promoting the case for more investment in the US war machine.

Homeland Security jumped on board and posited that the killing of bin Laden would inspire “homegrown violent extremists” (inclusive of environmentalists and anti-war protestors) to acts of political fanaticism.

Helping with the post-Osama spin, Senator Hilary Clinton seemed all too keen to help boost the profits of the military/security complex and the authority of Homeland Security, by asserting that bin Laden’s death was testament that the war on terror was paying off and must be allowed to carry on, unfettered, until the enemies of the US are no more.

Elsewhere, others in the Obama administration quickly seized on the Pakistan achievement to promote their own sinister agenda, with Americans reliably informed that their doubts on the use of torture were misplaced and that bin Laden was actually found as a direct result of information gleaned by the CIA’s torture of captives

Some have suggested the death of bin Laden affords the US an escape strategy from Afghanistan, bringing closure to a decade of embarrassment in the country. To be sure, the US’ attempts to create a pliant puppet regime in Kabul are failing. The Taliban, indeed, al Qaeda, is no nearer defeat than ten years ago and still notching up US casualties. Quite significantly, in the latter regard, at Kabul airport on 29th April, nine high-ranking US military officers were assassinated by a "reliable" Afghan fighter pilot That this attack happened in an ostensibly high security area, implies that no place in Afghanistan is secure from attack by the Afghan resistance, that anyone is vulnerable, and that not even allied Afghan military personnel can be trusted.

With the US tied down in an unpopular war in Afghanistan, domestic woes rising and his political standing falling, it would seem Obama was desperate for a military success story, moreso considering 9/11 is now a decade ago and years of rampant military expenditure are factoring high in the current budget deficit.

Undoubtedly, the ‘War on Terror’ will continue to serve many interests, with politicians promoting the concept at every opportunity to justify overseas military excesses and to keep the public in a state of mild panic. It is thus worth looking at the concept of terrorism itself and to judge the definers by their own definition.

The US Army Manual definition of terrorism is “the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence, to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature, through intimidation, coercion or instilling fear.”

This is quite close to the British government’s definition, which is “the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting, and is intended to influence the government, or intimidate the public, and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological case.”

When these two definitions are considered, then it becomes clear that the very creation of government terrorist-related propaganda, pumped daily by a fawning media, is itself an act of terrorism on us. Make no mistake, the war on terror is intended to frighten us – to get us all paranoid about a freedom-loathing bogeyman who is just waiting to come and destroy all we hold sacred – and to get us to fall in line behind the wider objectives of US and British foreign policy, which are in reality the objectives of a small corporate elite who really call the shots in both countries.

George Bush was every bit the terrorist when he introduced the “Shock and Awe” strategy of 2003 and indeed when he announced “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. Likewise with Tony Blair who announced to a terrified British public that Saddam could reach Britain with his WMDs within 45 minutes – a fact that that later proved to be total fallacy.

It is, perhaps, important to set the war on terror in context. America, for 45 years, terrified us with the threat of the Soviet menace, meanwhile expanding its reach all over the world.

When the Kremlin’s empire collapsed, America suddenly found itself deprived of its hegemonic credentials, no longer able to use its anti-communist passport to interfere in global affairs from Cuba to Vladivostok – the end of the cold war meant it was stamped null and void.

It now needed a new propaganda framework through which to assert its authority on the international stage, a new enemy, a new bogeyman to protect us all from – and the first bogeyman who reared his head was Saddam Hussein, who invaded Kuwait within two years of the Berlin Wall falling, sparking the first Gulf War and the start of the US obsession with Iraq that has lasted 20 years. Saddam would later be joined by Osama in 2001 after 9/11, the events of which all of us are now over-familiar with.

Notably, the language and jargon used to discuss the war on terror, all its definitions, is chosen by the US political elite. Likewise it is the US that gets to delineate the ideology of the enemy, whether it be fascist or communist or militant Islamic. In the case in question it would have been insensitive in the extreme to declare a war on Islam, so North Korea had to be incorporated into Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’, less the entire Islamic world rise up against the USA.

The US has certainly benefited from the war on terror, extending its reach like no empire in history. It now has in excess of 700 military bases around the world, and these bases can be found in 177 of the world’s 193 UN recognised countries. More likely, it seems the war on terror has everything to do with full spectrum dominance and the desire of the US capitalist elite to control the world’s mineral wealth, trade routes, foreign markets, areas of influence and to maintain the strategic sites from which all these sources of profit can be defended. Little wonder there are many who claim that if Osama bin Laden did not exist, it would be necessary to create him to get into Afghanistan.

Then why Afghanistan? The Caspian Basin, which the country borders, contains an estimated $12 trillion dollars worth of oil. It is not the case that he US wants this oil for itself, but needs a presence in Afghanistan to be able to control just who does have access to it.

There are real contenders for US economic supremacy, namely India, Russia and China, all with a growing and insatiable thirst for oil to lubricate the wheels of their own profit machines. By controlling as much oil as they can, the US gets to stack the odds in its own favour.

But before you can mobilise to take over the world’s scarce resources you first need to terrify your people. You need them on your side. You need their consent, their support and their approval of you as the champion of freedom.

This is why George Bush could so cleverly tell the American people: “They hate our freedom, our freedom of religion, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with one another,” and that “you are either with us or with the terrorists.”

This was not just Orwellian double-speak. This tactic came straight from Nazi Germany and from Joseph Goebbels:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie ... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the governments of George W. Bush and Barack Obama and Tony Blair have told and repeated a “lie big enough" to confirm Joseph Goebbels' statement, and the American and British people have come to believe it. It is the "War on Terror."

Whilst we were informed that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were in retaliation for 9/11, it is now clear that the Bush administration had them clearly in mind upon taking office, and set in motion as early as Feb. 3, 2001, some seven months before 9/11 and thus had nothing to do with terrorism.

9/11 presented a fantastic opportunity. In the ensuing anger and bewilderment, the bush administration could disguise its objective and the true nature of its intended wars and swing into action.

In Afghanistan, the duplicity of the "War on Terror," however, is clearly revealed if we consider a few simple facts:

In Afghanistan the state was overthrown instead of capturing the terrorists. Taliban offers to hand over Osama bin Laden, if the US could provide proof he was responsible for 9/11, were dismissed.

Neither the CIA nor the FBI have ever stated that Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11. Although bin Laden was on the FBI’s list of most wanted men, it was for something unrelated.

A quite recent survey in Afghanistan’s Helmand province found that 97% of people interviewed had not heard of 9/11 almost 10 years after the event.

The War on Terror has not only validated the US passport - allowing it to play the role of globo-cop to further the interests of its own capitalist elite - pushing aside anyone who gets in its way - it has also strengthened the hand of the state at home also. For out of the war on terror came the Patriot Act (USA) and the Terrorism Act (Britain) which put civil disobedience on a par with a felony. Any one of us can now be charged under anti-terror legislation if we step out of line and challenge the power of the state and, with it, the capitalist system which it overseas.

Orwell’s words come only too readily to mind when contemplating White House pronouncements: “Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future.”


Poem - Thoughts after watching pickets on TV

Well, this site has been inactive too long, not least because I couldn’t remember the bloody password or email address that opened it and also, its fair to say, that my spirit has been kicked to f**** for some time.

Anyway, this is me re-launching Class Warfare with a recently unearthed poem that I penned twenty-plus years ago, in the wake of the Battle of Orgreave.

Thoughts after watching pickets on TV

Disheartened miners knew just who to blame.
Perhaps they found analogy in Scargill’s name –
a vengeful shark? “But then, just when w’ thought that it
was safe t’ go back in t’ pit, w' saw’
a comrade gettin' fisted off the law.
‘E nearly got away but slipped in horse’s shit”

Most viewers watched with empathy the charge
of mounted police on humble moles and serg-
eants urging desk-acquainted cops, “advance and cosh.”
The angry pickets, lacking MUFTI train-
ing, hurled abuse and bricks and sticks in vain.
It seems they weren’t as disciplined, nor half as posh.

I watched in shock the state-rewarded thrust
Of wooden batons on some miner’s crust.
His temple spewed the colour of his politics.
He grabbed a sound recordist’s coat and said,
while pointing to his coal-seem-gaping head,
“I ‘ope your bleedin’ camera’s catchin’ all of this.”

What was that army beating shields and chant-
ing one in unsion? Some muffled rant
intended to un-nerve their foe? Will right-wing press
explain away the carnage here without
the commie imagery – the front page clout
at Marx – neglecting to include the Russian mess?

Will evolution give the miners thick-
er skulls to help absorb those downward sick-
ly thuds, or elongate the long arm of the law?
Will miners one day grow immune to pain,
or will they calmly compromise and gain
a mole’s buck teeth, his quite efficient digging paw?



BNP elected official gets arse kicked for telling porkies

Richard Barnbrook - the BNP's third highest elected official and their only member of the London Greater Assembly (pictured doing a Monty Python Holy Grail impression) - has been exposed fabricating two murders in a high profile BNP campaign. He has been found guilty of bringing both the Greater London Authority and the Barking and Dagenham Council into disrepute - his lies show the depths the BNP are willing to stoop to in their propaganda war.

Because of the severity of his lies, Barnbrook has been suspended by the Council for a month, forced to submit a written apology to the Greater London Authority and made to undertake "training." This is just the tip of the iceberg - the BNP has been capitalising on fear for years in an attempt to take over working class communitiues But this time is different - this time we have proof in black and white that their campaign is entirely based on fear, falsehood and hatred.

Barnbrook is right to be concerned about people in Barking and Dagenham who carry blades, and who think nothing at all about posing for pictures with them.


Biden and Powell Warn of a Generated Crisis

Nostradamus, eat your heart out! Colin Powell and Joe Biden, both on the same day, are talking about a crisis that will occur in January 2009, on or around the 22nd. Can someone define a “generated crisis”? All that's missing from these videos is reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse.


Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land

U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sut Jhally & Bathsheba Ratzkoff / U.S. / 2003 / 80 min

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

Interviewees include Seth Ackerman, Mjr. Stav Adivi, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Neve Gordon, Toufic Haddad, Sam Husseini, Hussein Ibish, Robert Jensen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Karen Pfeifer, Alisa Solomon, and Gila Svirsky.


New York Zionists celebrate the deaths of Gazan children

This film perhaps makes more sense in light of the US political elite’s response to the bloodshed in Gaza.

You just knew in advance of the vote on US Resolution 1860 on the 8th January that it was going to be shit on by the US. Of the 101 Israel-related irresolutions voted on at the UN, 65 have been critical of Israel; none of the Palestinians. Israel has observed none of them. The US has scuppered them all. What is instructive is that the US so blatantly looked for the tiniest breach of UN resolution to launch a war on Iraq.

Ironically, Condoleza Rice who assisted in the preparation of the aforementioned resolution was eventually instructed not to vote fort it. Seemingly, according to the boastings of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, when he heard the US intended to vote on the resolution he demanded to get Bush on the phone, and refused to back down after being told that Bush was at that moment giving a lecture in Philadelphia. In double-quick time, Bush interrupted his lecture to answer Olmert's call, so Olmert has claimed, and to be told which way the US was expected to vote at the UN.

Now cast your mind back a few years. On the morning of September 11th, President Bush is interrupted while reading a story to school children and told the World Trade Center had been hit------and he went on reading. Hit for the second time by a plane, that is – having been informed before he entered the class that one plane had already hit the twin towers. The US was so clearly under attack by hijacked planes and Bush sat for seven more minutes, the book My Pet Goat, being far more interesting.

Now, here we have Olmert calling Bush and demanding he comes to the phone and Bush responds in an instant? Jeez, who is cracking the whip in the USA?

Israeli politicians have been boasting for years about the respect they command in the US and their power and influence there. Consider the line form my last posting: “A member of the Israeli war party once commented that New York has only two Senators representing it in Congress.

LIkerwise, you needed no crystal ball to know that The House of Representatives would vote in support of Israel. Indeed, they voted 390-5 for a resolution that backed Israel in its Gaza onslaught, affirming "Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza." A day earlier, the Senate overwhelmingly supported Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism.

The US Senate (8th January) voted 100% on a non-binding resolution promoted by the influential Israeli lobby AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and effectively endorsing Israel’s war on Gaza. The resolution, entitled “A resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in Israel’s defense against terrorism in the Gaza Strip” recognizes “the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” and reaffirms “the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas”.

Is it any wonder New York Zionists can thus celebrate on the streets? Is it any wonder they feel so unashamed of their ostentatious shows of jingoism, when Israeli state violence is so clear;ly endorsed by Congress and indeed the president?

Oh, here’s Bush again, having been told that a second plane had hit the twin towers:


The Zionist House of Representatives

A member of the Israeli war party once commented that New York has only two Senators representing it in Congress. Israel has fifty. The same goes for the House. Of Reprobates s. They just voted a "two thumbs" up for Israel's military assault on Gaza.

It's hard to get Congress to agree on anything, especially in matters relating to the future and physical and economic health of the US. However, one thing both sides of the aisle can agree on - consistently and overwhelmingly - is that anything the Israeli war party wants to do is fine by them.

You really should see this following video.

Regardless of his politics, you just have to admire Ron Paul for telling it like it is – in this instance that Hamas was largely an Israeli invention and that militant Islam can be placed at the doorstep of US foreign policy.


Uncensored Video Report From a Doctor In a Gaza Hospital

Dr . Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor in Gaza, tells Sky News that the number of civilians injured and killed in Gaza proves that Israel is deliberately attacking the population.


“Just a little bit more than an hour ago the Israelis bombed the central fruit market in Gaza city and we had a mass influx of about 50 injured and between 10 and 15 killed. At the same time they bombed an apartment house with children playing on the roof and we had a lot of children also. So this is really like speaking from the dumps of Inferno, it’s like hell here now, and it’s been bombing all night. Until now close to 500 people have been killed and the number of casualties is getting to 2,500 of which 50% are children and women.

Are your hospitals reaching capacity? Can you deal with these people?

We have been doing surgery around the clock. I have just talked with one of my colleagues in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), he's not been sleeping for three days and the hospital is completely overcrowded, we are running 6 - 7 Ors (Operating Rooms) and there are injuries you just don’t want to see in this world… children coming in with open abdomens and legs cut off. We just had a child that we had to amputate both legs and an arm. And their only crime is being civilians and Palestinians living in Gaza. The relief now is not more doctors and more drugs; the relief now is to stop the bombing immediately, this cannot go on, it’s a disaster.

You’ve talked about the civilians, the women, the children, the men who aren’t involved in this, but are you also getting casualties that are Hamas fighters?

To be honest, we came on New Year’s Eve in the morning. I’ve seen one military person among the tenths… I mean hundreds that we’ve seen and treated, so anybody who tries to portrait this as a totally clean war against another army are lying. This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza, and we can prove that with numbers. And you have to remember that the average age of the Gaza inhabitants is 17 years, it’s a very young population, and 80% are living below the poverty limit of the UN. So this is a poor and very young people, and they are able to escape absolutely nowhere, because they cannot flee like other populations can in war time, because they are fenced in and they are in a cage, so they’re bombing 1.5 million people in a cage… young people, poor people and, you know, you cannot separate between the civilians and the fighters in such a situation.”


Barak Obama - No Real Change in the Whitehouse

Judging by the ubiquitous media-generated euphoria that greeted the Barak Obama victory in the US presidential election, you could be forgiven for thinking that the class struggle had ended in the USA. Across the globe, the world’s media intimated that this was the dawn of a new age and hundreds of millions of workers breathed a sigh of relief, convinced President Obama will now undo all the wrongdoing carried out by President Bush and generally improve the quality of their lives and the safety of the planet.

The first thing to note, however, is that this had been the most expensive American election so far. The pooled cost of the Republican and Democratic campaigns was a cool $1 billion. The McCain camp raised $340 million whereas the Obama team secured $640 million.While Obama’s team boasted that most of their money came from small $100 and $200 donors, in truth the great bulk of his financial support came from Wall Street and the US corporate elite and was way in advance of that given to John McCain, suggesting the US capitalism plc feels its profits are best protected via Obama. The US power elite bankrolled the Obama campaign and for no other reason than that they know he will have to repay their loyalty.

An estimated 64 percent of the US electorate turned out to vote – a record by all accounts - 62.3 million votes. The majority of the extra voters were Blacks and Latino, not only drawn to the ballot box by the longing to oust a reactionary Republican regime, or by Obama’s promise of ‘change’ but, moreover, because Obama was non–white. Socialists could only watch on and comment that this election was not a race issue, but a class issue and lament their selective amnesia. One time Secretary of State Collin Powell rose through the ranks covering up the My Lai massacre and famously presented false evidence to the UN in furtherance of the US justification for the invasion of Iraq. Consider too his successor Condoleezza Rice, the zealous maid-servant to Bush’s imperialist strategy.

To be sure, Obama was not breaking any mould, despite his hope-fused rhetoric. The vast majority of voters, indeed workers the world over, were heartily fed up with Bush’s wars, his imperialist conquests, the US disregard for international law and the increasing pariah status this had earned America and sincerely wanted to see the back of it. The signs, however, that Obama was more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing were already there, not least in the Senate where he sanctioned every increase in funding for the Iraq war that George Bush requested.

Furthermore, like Bush, Obama is a supporter of the death penalty. He is pro-pollutant nuclear and coal industries and, whilst the Guardian could optimistically run a headline “Obama will move to veto Bush laws” (10 November), has not mentioned eradicating repressive legislation such as the Patriot Act, homeland security, the Military Commissions Act, internet control, and wiretapping and spying on the US populace.

It certainly looks like the Bush administration’s imperial ambitions will continue under Obama. He has already spoken about building up US military power by 20,000 troops and has declared his intention to cut troop numbers in Iraq and transfer them to a surge in Afghanistan and indeed spread war to nuclear armed Pakistan. All of this will be, as under Bush, carried out to further the interests of a profit-hungry corporate elite and veiled in pompous patriotic oratory about spreading democracy and American values and fighting the “war on terror.” Undoubtedly, Obama will soon be using the hackneyed theme of social unity to wage the class war internally and abroad on behalf of a small power elite.

He also undertaken, to “isolate Hamas”, elected in democratic elections that were verified by an international team of observers and, picking up the baton from Bush, used his first press conference as president-elect to likewise cock a snook at the US National Intelligence Estimate and evidence presented by the IAEA on Iran’s nuclear intentions, and accused Iran of the "development of a nuclear weapon" and vowed "to prevent that from happening."

If Obama apologists think President Obama will put a halt to the blood letting they are going to be sorely disappointed. Make no mistake; whilst the left are fond of castigating Republicans as the masters of war, the truth is that historically the Democrats have started far more wars than the GOP. More recently, under the last Democrat to hold office, President Clinton, one million Iraqis are said to have died under US enforced sanctions, 500, 000 of them children. Sorties over Iraq were flown every single day Clinton was in power. Yugoslavia was mercilessly bombed and a much needed pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was bombed on the pretext that it was manufacturing Chemical weapons, and villages in Afghanistan were flattened because Bin-Laden was presumed to be living there. And who could forget the US invasion of Somalia, with troops storming the beaches live on prime time TV!

Who will make up the Obama administration is at the time of writing speculation, though we do know his Chief of Staff is Israeli army veteran Rahm Emanuel, popularly viewed as Likudist hawk and that his National Securtiy Adviser will be architect of the Mujahedeen Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Not only is Obama incapable of ushering in significant change, bar a few miserly reforms, but neither is there anyone he can bring to his administration capable of bringing the change that was so promised in his election campaign for no other reason that changers do not get confirmed by the Senate. There exist quite influential interest groups – the AIPAC, the military security complex, Wall Street etc to hinder the advancement of such undesirables

The hope many have in Obama to implement policies that will benefit the class that matters is misplaced. His political rawness means he will be manipulated by more experienced advisers, little different from the neo-cons, maybe even key figures from the Bush administration, and pressured by a corporate elite who funded his victory to execute policies that fit in with their own agenda.

The outcome of US elections carries one truth: namely that whichever candidate becomes president, he has but one remit once in office – to further the interests of the US corporate elite. It’s just not a feasible option for any newly elected president to entertain any idea other than guaranteeing a safe playing field for the domestic profit machine and doing what’s needed to try to ensure the US maintains its global hegemonic status.