Sent to the Shields Gazette, 5/10/04
Dear Sir,
Out with the branch stall recently, I was drawn into a debate with one punter who called me an enemy of civilisation becasue I believed in a society without prisons, police and armies. I wasn't offended, I was was flattered. He had unwittingly hit the nail right on the head. Socialists are indeed opponents of civilisation. We favour an uncivilised alternative to the detestable "law and order" of the present social system.

When Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western Civilisation he replied that it would be a good idea if they ever tried it. Civilisation as the vast majority refer to it is that period of history in which the tyranny of property has prevailed. To be civilised is to submit oneself to a structure of power based upon the ownership and control of property by a minority. Civilised morality is an ethic of reverence for those who possess. Civilised law and order prevail as long as propert is safe.

Civilisation is the killing and maiming of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the release of tens of thousands of bombs on Dresden and a single catastrophic bomb over Hiroshima. Civilisation is prison officers beating up inmates, police charging lines of pickets, batons raised. It is the sound of tractors ploughing millions of tons of vegetables and fruit into the ground because too much has been produced and the sound of the malnourished orphan crying beside his decomposing parents on some African wasteland. Civiliation is the stench of pollutants in the air and its corruptable taste in the food we eat.It echoes in every ill that plagues humanity.

Yes I am opposed to Western "ciilisation" and I'm for a world devoid of waste, want and war, where people commonly own and democratically controll the earth's natural and industrial resources and in which they will have free access to the benefits of civilisation. This, though, is not being civilised, but being utopian and indulging, I am told, in a futile battle against immutable reality.

The Socialist Party

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