Through a prism darkly

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baboon
Through a prism darkly
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I'm not going to write about this in any great detail but I think it worth a mention to start up a discussion on an issue which must concern us, an issue that has been highlighted by the revelations of a US whisteblower regarding the surveillance undertaken by the USA NSA and its "Prism" programme.

I don't know much about computor technology - it's all I can do to make a link - but the scale of the surveillance by the state of all electronic communications has now reached breathtaking and unprecedented proportions and will continue to do so, as is demonstrated by the prism programme. From what I can understand of it, the US spy agencies have access, with the complicity of Google, Facebook and the rest of them, to all our electronic communications including all phone, mobile and landline, communications. They also seem to have direct access to fibre optic lines in a way that I don't understand. I did use to think that there was so much information it would be too difficult for them to process it all but it seems that they can do so very easily and very quickly and that they are refining this process all the time. They can also store everything or pull it from the providers as and when.

One method of working seems to be that investigation, the first investigation done electronically is by a buzz-word that may be of interest to the policing authorities say for example "Somalia". Further words are looked for, say, "attack", "embassy" or "imperialism", and so on. Another aspect could be "protest", "strike", etc., and there are any number of possibilities and permutations that are constructed by different words but which are rapidly, very rapidly, classified. In this way a full picture can be built of what the communications are about and where the communications are coming from and going to. Thus it's very easy to imagine that the bourgeoisie can quite specifically categorise any threat that it feels is leveled against it. For example, one category could be "greens" and their protests, another., elements organising social movements, yet another leftists, trotskyists and communistsand the differences between them. The bourgeoisie looks like it has separate banks of information that it can add to, further refine by percieved threat and it can bank them and pull them up at will.

There is no absolute security of course. Even very high levels of class struggle do not favour it as the murders of Luxemburg, Liebknecht and hundreds of others at the height of class struggle in Germany showed. But we should at least be aware of this element of the totalitarian state.

That the "Great Black Hope" Obama should be sitting on this pile of shit is quite instructive. I saw him on TV with his 'you have nothing to fear" defence (echoed by the police state everywhere) and he actually adoped some of the mannerisms and affectations of George W Bush - at one stage, despite his colour, he really did look like him. His recent visit to Germany showed the indignation in the variety of anti-Obama slogans such as the ubiquitous "Yes We Scan" and other such witticisms. And his "address to the German people" was a million miles from Kennedy's with a steel-fenced, security-riven heavy kettle of 4000 flag-waving invitees while thousands more protesters were pushed out of earshot.

Although this has been given a certain anti-American slant - particularly agaiinst Google and so on - all nations are at it. Britain and others sharing stuff direct from the US and Germany and France with their own systems. And India has just set up its own version of Prism.

Fred
This is well said baboon, and

This is well said baboon, and I very much share your fears of what the bourgeoisie is up to, and also think the change of the Obama mask - or has he just removed his "friendly" disguise - to one of a kind of menacing thinness,  gives credence to the fact that our rulers are increasingly showing their teeth: that is to say their menacing Machiavellian side is coming much more to the fore. We can all look out! Could it be that they are now more aware of what's at stake as a result of their failed economy and the potential effects of austerity than is the working class itself? I think so!  Could it be they are more aware of the possibility of real class struggle on the historical agenda again, than are the proletariat?  I think so!  As KT points out in his draft statement for tomorrow's meeting: there are two sides to the class struggle, and the bourgeoisie is putting a lot of effort into its side, by seeking continual control of working class manifestations of dissatisfaction.  Also, perhaps predominantly, through Internet spying as baboon has shown. Are some of us, one day, going to be woken before dawn, with a sinister knock on the door? We'll be arrested and "questioned under pressure" as suspected terrorists, accused of threatening to undermine or damage the smooth workings of the all-powerful, all-dominant  bourgeois state.  It'll be like Germany in the 'thirties.  Except the working class will not have been defeated, and will still retain  a world-wide potential for revolution.

 

 

 The sooner we gain control of the worldwide web, and other kinds of communications networks, the sooner we'll be on our way. The sooner we all respond to the creeping putrefaction of capitalism in its death throes, and this deceitful lying and deadly ruling class, the quicker we can rest easy in our beds. For everything is speeding up now: the decomposition of capitalism; the class war - still largely implicit on our side; and the mindless destruction of the planet for money. The awful domination of money: the rejection of thought. The end of humanity? Enough! 

Fred
Watching Prime Ministers'

Watching Prime Ministers' Question Time on tv which I sometimes do, I was struck recently by PM Cameron's clear irritation with leader of the opposition Milliband's persistence in attacking what the government is doing, which is  to stick patches on the very sick economy and make out that, while all is not well, things are getting better, and failure to offer any support to the government  or even admit the existence of economic problems beyond the reach of simple bourgeois party politics.  Milliband's old-fashioned persistence in implying that if the electorate would only put labour back in office all would be well, is possibly not recognised by increasing numbers of the bourgeoisie as being the easy solution  Milliband assumes. Its almost as if Cameron can't understand  Milliband's failure to  see that the bourgeoisie have got to stick together on this one - the serious crisis of ailing capitalism - and that the days of scoring silly political points against each other are really over as a suitable manifestation of bourgeois democracy at work.  But young  Milliband just doesn't get it.  He really doesn't see the need for a "strong" bourgeois coalition such as existed during the 2nd. World War.  In fact the poor economy really requires a  3rd. World War, or some similar calamity - terrorists unleash atomic holocaust? - as a productively destructive event  (a) to allow a possible reconstruction of capitalism - the bourgeoisie are probably ready to take the risk on this though it could be calamitous and (b) as the answer to, and a distraction from, painful austerity.  But in the absence of this solution, serious coalitions, working together, are at least some sort of way forward. In the UK the Tories and the liberals appear to understand this, but labour lags behind.

 

 

What is it like in the USA?  Are party politics still the strict order of the day?  What about Europe?  Does Europe stick together? With difficulty I think. Things fall apart: the centre cannot hold. And then there's The Golden Dawn manifestation; very active in Greece and promising to spread elsewhere with the crisis.  Their simple emphasis on skin colour, race and nationality, as all that matters in life has a certain appeal for many. Golden Dawn will feed you in Greece as long as you're not "foreign" or an immigrant.  The same goes for the minimum of health care now available in Greece. It isn't to be wasted on foreigners, and the Dawn keeps a check on exactly who those hospitals still functioning are treating.  So says Australian TV. 

 

And on top of all this there's the bourgeoisie's spy system;  their almost complete surveillance of us all. It's  George Orwell's nightmare of Big Brother is Watching You come true.  And who better to do it than the freedom loving peace loving bourgeoisie?  Slogans like "War is Peace", "Hate is Love", and "Yes we Scan" show the Machiavellian hypocrisy of the lying ruling class, as they begin their preparations for class war. As KT has said, they are ahead in their consciousness of what's at stake in the current era of capitalist collapse.  And we have some vital catching up to do. 

baboon
Fred

Fred I think that the Labour Party are fully part of the game of the line-up of the bourgeoisie. They've got to appear to have some differences as this is part of the democratic state which is a mystification in itself. Labour is essentially following the same policies of the Tories and their Liberal partners with any real "differences" amounting to a couple of billion pounds so it's important that they play up differences that really don't exist. On the other side the unions can denounce Labour for being too like the Tories and the left and leftists can denounce the union bureaucracy and so and in real political terms there's not a fag paper between them.

The "Yes We Scan" was joke held up by German protesters against Obama regarding the wholesale spying of the US (and carried out by Germany of course). It was alongside other jokes such as "I have a drone" (Martin Luther King's speech) and so on. I said that there were thousands protesting but I see that it was hundreds. However the difference between Kennedy's, as well as Obama's previous visit was notable.

Talking of protests, there have been nightly street demonstrations in Bulgaria for over a week now. They started off over rising electricity prices and reached over ten thousand people in Sofia over the week-end. They've generalised to fights with the police and, like the other movements, have shown some nationalism but are express disgust with corruption and politicians of all hues.

Fred
baboon wrote: Fred I think

baboon wrote:
 Fred I think that the Labour Party are fully part of the game of the line-up of the bourgeoisie. They've got to appear to have some differences as this is part of the democratic state which is a mystification in itself. Labour is essentially following the same policies of the Tories and their Liberal partners with any real "differences" amounting to a couple of billion pounds so it's important that they play up differences that really don't exist. On the other side the unions can denounce Labour for being too like the Tories and the left and leftists can denounce the union bureaucracy and so and in real political terms there's not a fag paper between them.

 

 

I agree and  this was my starting point. All I was trying to suggest is that times have changed. This  isn't still the 80's with the left in vigorous but phony  opposition (remember  Michael Foot?), and the situation for capitalism  with regard to its mortal crisis is much more serious and much more obvious. I think Cameron, Obama too, realize this and are looking for ways to get the political bourgeoisie to pull together more - in preparation for the class struggles they see pending - and not to go on perpetuating the phony made-up political differences too much.  After all, from the B's point of view, the imposition  of savage and worse-to-come austerity measures is absolutely vital  if capitalism is to be saved, or at least somehow salvaged from the wreck.  The job of the left now has to be to help persuade the working class that we really are all in this together, and that rocking the boat will only make things worse.  Mocking the Tories or republicans ain't enough now.  The B need a wide spectrum coalition to force the working class into submission in front of  austerity. Cameron understands this, but young Milliband still wants to be the challenging oppositional firebrand.  He's no good at it anyway. But even if he was its  out of place now.  The B needs a united front against the class. 

 

 

As to "YES WE CAN" and its transmutation into YES WE SCAN" ...well even I had realized this was a joke believe it or not.  But I was trying to make some other point in regard to Big Brother type slogans. But I clearly failed.

jk1921
Ideological Division of Labour

Fred wrote:

baboon wrote:
 Fred I think that the Labour Party are fully part of the game of the line-up of the bourgeoisie. They've got to appear to have some differences as this is part of the democratic state which is a mystification in itself. Labour is essentially following the same policies of the Tories and their Liberal partners with any real "differences" amounting to a couple of billion pounds so it's important that they play up differences that really don't exist. On the other side the unions can denounce Labour for being too like the Tories and the left and leftists can denounce the union bureaucracy and so and in real political terms there's not a fag paper between them.

 

 

I agree and  this was my starting point. All I was trying to suggest is that times have changed. This  isn't still the 80's with the left in vigorous but phony  opposition (remember  Michael Foot?), and the situation for capitalism  with regard to its mortal crisis is much more serious and much more obvious. I think Cameron, Obama too, realize this and are looking for ways to get the political bourgeoisie to pull together more - in preparation for the class struggles they see pending - and not to go on perpetuating the phony made-up political differences too much.  After all, from the B's point of view, the imposition  of savage and worse-to-come austerity measures is absolutely vital  if capitalism is to be saved, or at least somehow salvaged from the wreck.  The job of the left now has to be to help persuade the working class that we really are all in this together, and that rocking the boat will only make things worse.  Mocking the Tories or republicans ain't enough now.  The B need a wide spectrum coalition to force the working class into submission in front of  austerity. Cameron understands this, but young Milliband still wants to be the challenging oppositional firebrand.  He's no good at it anyway. But even if he was its  out of place now.  The B needs a united front against the class. 

 

 

As to "YES WE CAN" and its transmutation into YES WE SCAN" ...well even I had realized this was a joke believe it or not.  But I was trying to make some other point in regard to Big Brother type slogans. But I clearly failed.

 

The bourgeoisie may need a united front against the proletariat. This much is true. But doesn't it need an apparatus that can occupy the "left space," in order to derail and recuperate struggles when they come? This is why the debate on union busting is so important. What does this represent? Why do some factions of the bourgeoisie seem so hell bent on getting rid of them? Do they risk disarming themselves in the face of coming struggles? This is also why it seems a bad idea for the left of the bourgeoisie's political apparatus to become too identified with the attacks. There seems a real danger that Obama has gone too far to the right risking the destabilization of the right/left division of ideological labor. Perhaps, Blair went too far in that direction also, but the far left of the British bourgeoise is much stronger than the American counterparts, perhaps making up for that some.

Fred
The "left space" when the

The "left space" when the time comes, can be re-occupied by the Unions - virtually redundant at the moment in the UK at least- and of course the "Red Bourgeoisie" itself, now apparently on leave. But the extreme left of capital is easily summoned, as is its extreme right - look at the marvelous work Golden Dawn is doing for the B in Greece, and the upstart party UKIP in the UK on the far right of the Tories and stealing all their electoral votes - so when the times require it the extreme left'll be back I'm sure. Being "hell bent on getting rid of the unions" gives the Unions a heavy veneer of respectability in the eyes of many workers, but aren't we in a kind of situation of stalemate, or "wait and see" now, as workers wonder just how bad, or how "mortal" the crisis is, while some of the bourgeoisie's leaders may have a hunch that things are not exactly rosy and are considering how to prepare for the worst? Do I take it though that you don't as yet field a Red Bourgeoisie in the States, only the looney right? This is surely a vacuum soon becoming desperate to be filled?

Fred
The "left space" when the

The "left space" when the time comes, can be re-occupied by the Unions - virtually redundant at the moment in the UK at least- and of course the "Red Bourgeoisie" itself, now apparently on leave. But the extreme left of capital is easily summoned, as is its extreme right - look at the marvelous work Golden Dawn is doing for the B in Greece, and the upstart party UKIP in the UK on the far right of the Tories and stealing all their electoral votes - so when the times require it the extreme left'll be back I'm sure. Being "hell bent on getting rid of the unions" gives the Unions a veneer of respectability in the eyes of many workers, but aren't we in a kind of situation of stalemate, or "wait and see" now, as workers wonder just how bad, or how "mortal" the crisis is, while some of the bourgeoisie's leaders may have a hunch that things are not exactly rosy and are considering how to prepare for the worst? Do I take it though that you don't as yet field a Red Bourgeoisie in the States, only the looney right? This is surely a vacuum soon becoming desperate to be filled?

jk1921
I think the unions are a

I think the unions are a little different that a political party. They are a bureacratic structure that take time and planning to build and maintain. They are as much a structural obstacle to class struggle as an ideological one (although its true that in some countries the unions are more fused with a particular party). They exist within and around the working class; impacting on its daily experience of captialist exploitation.

But Fred raises an interesting point, is it the case that no matter what happens in the internal political life of the bourgeoisie, some party, some group will occupy the "left space"? There will always be "leftists" that will claim to act in the interests of the workers. Perhaps even in some cases, this space is filled by right wing groups? How does the working class overcome this "mystification," if it is always there?

commiegal
My view is that the

My view is that the bourgeoise are actually divided, they dont have a fucking clue what they are doing. The thing with the Labour party is that they are "pragmatists", they are like the business managers side of capitalism whereas the tories are ideological freaks who actually do think that what they are doing is the right thing, they are also completely out of touch old bourgeoisie and aristocracy rather than with the labour party (and i suppose part of the left of capital) who do actually understand how to appeal to working class people a bit. So I think these arguments that they have are sort of genuine, although we all known that they are probably mates behind the scenes and this is just a performance for a lot of them. I think some of the bourgeoisie like the CBI ( Confedaration of British Industry ) are genuinely concerned with the impacts that the Tory policies will have on capitalism, not because they want to help the working class or anything but because they are concerned about their policies leading to social instability and economic instability.

And within the Tories, Labour etc there are all sorts of disagreements as to how to manage things I think. Is it also fair to say that some of the ruling class could be concerned about the growing inequality within the UK and the revelations about corruption etc, in the full view of the public. not because they think it is bad but because they are concerned about "decomposition" and the intrusion of criminality into the state and the breakdown of their power, not because of what the working class hacve done but because of what they've done and are like wanting to manage it and make sure that it doesn't spread. They probably see the tories as dangerously irresponsible.

It seems that the Labour party take a far more "measured" approach and are concerned with this sort of capitalism, a more "sensible" form of capitalism and this also means appealing to voters and not turning growing numbers off the system and simply having them not vote etc entirely.