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It's turkey and tinsel time again and we have so much to give thanks for this year don't we?   We should thank President Obama, the Tea Party and the Tooth Fairy for working so hard to protect and preserve bourgeois democracy.  Without it where would we be?  In a communist paradise...? Don't make me laugh and just grow up will you!  We live in the real world not in fantasy land.  But Obama, the Tea Party and the rest are trying so hard to steer the dear old tumbril of bourgeois democracy to safer pastures, despite the fact it rumbles itself relentlessly on towards the knacker's  yard and the gaping holes of history's garbage cans,  that we should find it in ourselves to feel grateful for their efforts, and lies and self-seeking, just as if they all had our interests at heart rather than just plain old profit and their own. 


And we should give thanks to for the workings of bourgeois democracy in Great Britain.   In the weekly music hall called Prime Minister's Question Time, David Cameron did something unprecedented and  mentioned  the name of Marx; then later, that of Engels.   The first he brandished as a threat in the direction of Red Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party, and a great socialist, like his father before him who was a patriotic communist and a professor too.  But Red Ed didn't take the bait, presumably seeing it as an earned compliment.  After all, he isn't called "RED"  for nothing is he,  and there's no smoke without fire is there? And Red Ed is even critical at times of the Trades Unions  who some believe are more commie than Mao or even Stalin himself.  So think about that!  So then, after the name of Marx appeared to fall a little flat (strange though this may strike you, for this took place in the House of Commons: the very sacred and barely beating heart of bourgeois democracy ) Cameron, hot and almost belching  with rage, suddenly produced the name of Engels.  And Engels too, he shouted!  Red Ed looked astounded: who or what is an Engels he wondered. But Cameron had delivered a master stroke.  To mention Marx as being the driving force behind the economic strategies of the Labour Party, in so far as there are any, was a triumph; to throw in Engels for good measure showed at once the intellectual  superiority of the Prime Minister, his understanding of the motivational forces operating beneath the machinations of the Labour Party and his own undoubted mastery over the cut and thrust of Question Time.  Hallelujah!  In fact, as it happened, and as it turned out among all the noise and vulgar shoutings of the chamber, and the Speaker trying to quiet the crowd like a Music Hall  Master of Cermonies  with an excited audience, Citizens Cameron and Milliband ended by looking like Laurel and Hardy. The one all loud blustering and pompous, the other weedy and nervous, and unable to make his point.  



Also cashing in on this Season of Good Will and cranberry sauce, the Pope has attacked capitalism and the excesses of the rich  in a new encyclical.  Like Francis of Assisi  the pope has come out on the side of the poor and destitute and wants capitalism to improve its ways. He sees the rich as too rich and the poor as too poor.  It isn't clear that he wants to get rid of the distinction altogether. For that he'd have to be a communist  himself, wouldn't he, and not just a Red Ed. He'd have to see the system for what it is and insist we work together to get rid of it.  Not much chance of that I think.  But is there enough money in the world to achieve the aims he wants?  After all, he doesnt just wish to feed the five thousand  as Jesus miraculously did, but to feed the starving and dying billions the product of dying  capitalism.   Can he do it?  He could auction  off the treasures of the Vatican, and sell the Sistine Chapel to a Chinese billionaire, but he still wouldn't have sufficient funds to solve even a portion of the world's problems would he?    For that, to even start to do that, he, like us, would have first to get rid of capitalism itself. Only after that is it possible to begin  building a world fit for humans to  live  in and prosper.


 And so we should give thanks this Thanksgiving that at least we know what the solution is. 



irate papal critic wrote:
 The pope has gone a bit overboard, however, in his recent attack on free-market capitalism. In a lengthy “apostolic exhortation,” Pope Francis rails against “an economy of exclusion” and a “ financial system which rules rather than serves.” The pope points out that, in a time of miraculous technological progress, alarming numbers of people still live in misery and desperation.

“The culture of prosperity deadens us,” the pope writes. “We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”  




radical pope

In seeing the world in terms of "us" and "them" doesn't our radical pope identify with the wrong side?  "The culture of prosperity deadens us," he says - identifying himself with the bourgeoisie. In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity are a mere spectacle,  "they fail to move us." Now I know he's only using a rhetorical device in taking the side of the bourgeoisie - or is he? - but would his medieval namesake have done that?


How much more dramatic  to declaim: "Your culture of prosperity, built on our backs, is killing us, the workers of the world.  Yet you are so blinded by your riches that you choose not to see or not to care what you do to us, who make it all.  But the meek will inherit the earth one day.  Jesus and Marx both said so."  

Sign of the times?

So the pope had to recently deny being a Marxist. Sign of the times?

bird talk

In a program on CNN extolling all the wonderful things the pope has already done, it became apparent that he hasn't actually done anything other than talk a lot and in a radical way. On women priests. There won't be any because all the apostles were men! But it doesn't matter anyway because women have always made inestimable contributions to the Church without ever being priests and therefore it isn't necessary that they should be.  This is Jesuit logic.  On gays.  Pope Francis is the first pope to ever utter the word "gay".  Did you know that?  A commentator, in breathless admiration, explained that "he said it and the Vatican didn't collapse!"  Perhaps that's as well.  Think of the Insurance costs if it had, with all those  priceless art works inside.    The pope said something like: "Who am I to criticize gays over the way they feel...?  (Perhaps he feels the same.  Why not?)  Though he didn't go so far as to approve gay sex!  


This shows the limits on his type of radicalism. He's going to talk naughty talk about radical change but that'll be it.  Nothing'll actually change, except that tv commentators will get over-excited and have secretive orgasms in dark corners.  After all, you can always confess. 


But it it seems that many of the faithful and particularly the media have silently  been longing for a radical talking pope for some time.  It'll polish up the image of the Church, and help sustain all the hypocrisy and lies that capitalism puts out by aiding in the suppression of the 1.5 billion adherents of Catholicism around the world. Most of them poorly educated and hungry. Submission to the church is submission to capitalism in their case.   They won't be instructed to use condoms, certainly not, but  sympathy  may be expressed towards those who fall by the wayside and do. It'll still be a sin though, likewise gay sex.  

The smartest thing the pope has done so far is to choose the name of Francis which has effectively rendered him a radical no matter what he says or does.  But he has been quick to see the benefits of his name, choosing to live in some modest villa in the Vatican rather than in the state rooms, which goes down well with the consumers. Whether he will get round to preaching to the birds one day remains to be seen.  But wasn't there some Venezuelan politician recently who used to get messages from a bird?   And he was Marxist too wasn't he?