Wishful Thinking

March 31, 2008

March 31, 2008 

Unfortunately, it is the end of the month, and once again I find myself scrambling to come up with something to put on Ravens nest.

In the international news it seems that everything is exactly the way it has been for the last half a decade, but despite that, I continue to notice the bourgois papers trying to spin things with their wishful thinking.

 Fidel Castro and Cuba: Now, the errors of Cuban “socialist” construction aside, there is nowere that the bourgois press jumps the gun more than stories involving Castro. I remember a few years back, when Fidel was sick, the local rag (Edmonton Sun) featured a front page story about “Fidel Castro Dead (?)”, with the obligatory question mark to absolve themselves if he happened to survive, which he has to present (two years after the article was published).

 More recently, when Raul Castro was handed power as the new head of state, the Miami exile trash and the United States government celebrated, as though “the winds of change were blowing in Cuba!” All the media, on television and in print, dedicated a segment to parroting the wishful thinking of the US capitalists, that Raul would bring “Democracy” and “Freedom”, and basically return Cuba to it’s rightful place as an American neo-colony.

 Now, literally the day after Raul assumed power, nothing happened. Not only that, but he voiced his commitment to maintain things in Cuba. The bourgois press went silent for the most part, with a few passing mentions to ” Hardline communism unshaken in Cuba, blah blah blah…”, acting as though the press had never had their hopes up in the first place.

 Iraq: Recently, the media has been touting the war in Iraq as a success, a conflict that has finally yeilded fruit. The press and generals talked about the “Troop surge”, and handing power to the Maliki puppet government, while the Bushites smirk with an “I told you so” attitude.

 Now, less than a few weeks after touting their supremacy, there have been conflicts all over Southern Iraq, including in Bagdhad itself. The Maliki troops were said to lay down their arms to Iraqi militias during the conflict, and the United States called in air support to maintain order. Upwards of 300 people are said to have died by the bourgois press.

 The smug smiles and assurances of suprmeacy have been wiped clean from the faces of American Jingoists, after the reality in Iraq has shattered their delusions of ever triumphing in their occupation of attrition.

 North Korea: A few months back ,the American press was once again claiming victory in the North Korean situation (with the Six party talks,) having convinced the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea to pursue nuclear disarmament of their yongbyon reactor.

The Workers Party of Korea agreed, and the USA touted their supremacy in their mainstream organs. The press focused on a story about the New York Philharmonic orchestra playing in the North Korea.

 Now, once again in light of  a new government on the South of the Korean Peninisula, acting in a hostile fashion to the North (undoubtedly with American support,), the DPRK has resumed testing of missiles, and may not shut down their reactor and nuclear facilities.

*                                              *                                                      *

  Basically, the equation of all Bourgois news is that the mainstream mouthpieces put out the official version of how they would like the world to look, and then reality invalidates their hopes and ambitions soon after.

Currently, the propaganda mission is devoting full effort to putting spin on the Elections in Zimbabwe (allready alleging voter fraud/tampering,), puttigng spin on the lamaist orchestrated demonstrations in Tibet, and basically spinning any other subject into a version of events that pleases them and perverts public support. I am anticipating the inevitable triumph of reality within the next short while, and sit observing the world situation with re-newed moral, as the reality of social conditions and un-relenting popular struggle continue to consistently clash with the official verison of events as presented by monopolized capitalist media;The hopes and dreams of imperialists and oligarchs are promptly banished back to the the realm of wishful thinking, by the bullets of the defiant, and disobedience of the workers.

  


Commie Toon, February.29/2008

March 1, 2008

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(Click for larger image.)


Black and White

January 31, 2008

This post was written in January (barely). I kept telling myself “update your blog”, but I just never got around to it.

 A few reflections on various things, I  guess:

 Today I was reading in the free local newspaper, the Victoria News Daily,that in Toronto right now they are planning to develop a “black-focused” school.

 I for one, thought that this sounds like a very hip, very politically-correct way to bring back racial segregation, because that is what is basically happening here.

The article says, and I’m quoting:

” The largest school board in Canada plans to launch a black-focused school to tackle the problem of high dropout rates.

In a vote last Tuesday, the Toronto District School Board decided to move ahead with the project after months of debate over the value of creating an Afro-centric school. About 12 percent students in Toronto schools identify themselves as black, according to data.

 ‘We are committed to providing the extra resources our students need,’ Gerry Connelly, a director of the TDSB, said yesterday. ” – Victoria News Daily, January 31, 2008

 Okay, here is my thoughts on that little new snippet:

 1.  In the first sentence they blatantly imply that black students are drop-outs, or that they have a disproportionately larger rate of drop-out. Numbers, and my persynal experience, would suggest that drop-outs are arguably larger in terms of numbers and percentages on the part of white students. To characterize black students as “drop-outs” is uncalled for stereotyping, because basically now every black Student in Toronto is a “potential drop-out” based on skin pigmentation.

Also ,as with most “feel good, liberal humanitarian” analysis’s, it stops just short of hinting at what the economic and social causes of these drop-outs are ( having to get a job to support the family, drug issues, teenage pregnancy,), instead vaguely insinuating that black students are drop-outs, for unknown predetermined reasons.

2.  I audibly scoffed at the term “Afro-centric” school, when I read it. What exactly will be “Afro-centric” about this school, other than the attending student demographic? As if the curriculum would be anything other than Euro-centric, as the alternative would imply teaching Toronto black students about the long history of civilization in Africa, the true brutality of European conquest, and the after-effects of neo-colonialism and imperialism that still linger today in Africa, and the racism and economic-discrimination that persists in North-America to the descendants of slaves. Such a curriculum would be a little too honest in terms of awakening anti-imperialist class consciousness to this “12 %” of Toronto students, and that does not sit well with the folks who print the textbooks.

How can it be expected that the curriculum, in terms of history and language arts, will be anything but Euro-centric? How could it be, anything but assimilation and defeatism, exalting the classics of white writers and culture, downplaying the great civilizations of Africa as “noble savages” at best?

 Also, this brings up an amusing point, that what is (undoubtedly) a predominantly Caucasian school board are going to be the ones to decide and ink an “Afro-centric” curriculum.

3. They are cloaking segregation as a perk. I’m not saying that the general public schools are any less of a system of cultural genocide, Canadian chauvinist propaganda or indoctrination. What I’m saying is, under the auspices of humanitarianism, the Toronto school board is creating a division between black and white, between the students and therefore between the developing adult population demographics in that area. Rather than encourage common tutelage of the students, to discourage xenophobia and erase prejudices through close contact and persynal experience, the school is dividing the students of Toronto along the lines of race, to preserve the “mystique” of each race for each other, and therefore the feelings ignorance towards the unknown.

 Myself, in Ottawa, I grew up in an incredibly interracial school, mostly with many black classmates and working-class whites. I think this experience helped to demystify the concept of race for me at a young age, so that I could completely expel racial prejudice.

My brother, on the other hand, went to kindergarten in a predominantly white town, had an overwhelmingly white class, and hence preserved all the the suspicion and xenophobic ignorance against other races that eventually was nurtured into full blown racism, from the youngest age.

 This is divide and conquer tactics, straight up. It is part of the general trend, perpetuated by Media and entertainment as well, that black and white peoples are incompatible.  Whites must fear and discriminate against the black man, blacks must despise and shun the white man. The powers that be, the same people who print our school textbooks and run our prisons simultaneously, don’t want us to get close enough to realize how much we have in common, specifically in terms of goals and social situations.

 At my job in Edmonton ,I think what you saw was a beautiful thing: Half of my co-workers were impoverished blacks, half my coworkers were impoverished whites, and we all realized that we were poor, on the factory floor, producing for someone who did absolutely fuck all.

We don’t need 21st Century segregation. We need 21st century congregation, as a precondition to long overdue social change.


Commie Toon, Dec. 31/2007

January 1, 2008

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A bit of a fib here… This was actually made Sept.8th, 2007, but I haven’t posted it til now.

I dobn’t know what ever became of the SPP situation, but this still reflects my ideas on the subject. I’m not pro-SPP, but I am anti-Canadian chauveninsim.


You can run, but you can’t hide…

November 28, 2007

I am writing this piece mostly in frustration over a growing ideological tendency that I am encountering frequently. It is not one incident that has prompted me to write this, but the general drive of large sections of the political left towards this erroneous dead-end.

 In the political left-wing, dead-end ideologies and Utopian rubbish are cheap and plentiful (anything to keep tangible revolutionary models at bay). The particular ideological tendency/movement that I’m speaking of does not have a name, but it centers around a common theme of “escaping” from, or “walking away” from , capitalism. For lack of a better term, I’ll refer to this tendency as ” Social-Escapism“.

 I hear it everywhere; it is on the campuses, it is in the lyrics of socialist music, and recently it has infiltrated my own organization and work. This widespread theory keeps popping up, stating that class-war, that a revolution, is “not necessary”; capitalism “doesn’t need to be overthrown”. The answer, according to these ideologues, is simply “walking away” from capitalism; choosing “not to participate” in capitalism, via commune living, sustenance farming, forming a movement that is “so large in numbers, that the capitalists won’t even be able to take up arms against it”. These deluded petty-bourgeoisie believe that you can “ween yourself off of capitalism”.

See, this is an incredibly dangerous tendency. I’m not saying it is dangerous because I’m afraid of it; that isn’t the case. I’m saying it is dangerous, because it leads otherwise well- informed, politicallly active comrades away from class-struggle, and into the rural areas to grow beets and carrots; away from revolution, and into the abyss of this social-escapism.

 Speaking for myself, I have only voiced support for commune living on one occasion, in my early political development; even then, I believed that the commune was simply a tool of organization, a way to get all of the political forces together, rather than as an alternative to capitalism. Utopian commune-dwelling has never appealed to me, possibly because of my up-bringing around the local Hudderites of Alberta, and other failed Utopian experiments.

Anyways, to get back on topic, I would like to propose a scenario to try and counter these notions of social-escapism. In this particular analysis, I’m focusing on the situation of our Victorian/British Columbian social-escapists in particular.

 Okay, let’s say that some of these social-escapists did band together, and do what they are keen on doing: going out to the rural areas, getting some land with dwellings, and starting to grow their own food. Perhaps they also raised their own bees for honey, (an idea from a Victorian social-escapist) and possibly livestock. As for electricity, solar panels for all! A form of anarchist councilism somehow prevailed as the organizational/legislative model, and the people are blissful.

This is the vision. Now, here are the stumbling blocks of reality, to pop the bubble.

First of all, under a system of capitalism, it is not possible for an individual, or even for a collective of individuals, to purchase a single plot of land in perpetuity. Even if this group of Utopians “owned the land” that they were cultivating and living on, they would still have to pay property taxes .

Now, this insight throws a giant stick  into the spokes of this Utopian theory by itself. The taxation levied by the capitalist government on these social-escapists, you would think, should be enough to jar them back to reality, a reminder that they have not “severed” themselves from capitalism, no matter how rural their surroundings.

 Although property taxes can be quite low (especially for uncultivated land,), this introduces a new variable into the lives of those who are trying to avoid “participating” in the capitalist system : expenses.

 Now, these expenses give rise to a necesity for currency, in order to continue the upkeep and operation of the commune and farmlands.  Now, the social-escapists may deal with this problem in many ways. In the event that some (or all) of their membership have to resume wage labour employment to raise funds, well then I think that their whole attempt at “waling away” from capitalism becomes moot. If this does become the case, the commune dwellers are as dependent on selling their wage labour as ever, and still firmly tied to the capitalist world and system.

More likely, as I have been told by social-escapist ideologues, the commune dwellers would sell part of the fruits of their labour. For the sake of argument, lets say that these fruits would include vegetables, honey, unique crafts, fresh bakery products…

Now we see, in reaction to the taxes levied by the capitalist system, the rise of another fatal error on the commune: commodity production. All of the sudden, rather than selling their surplus at their own leisure and discretion, the social-escapists start to produce products and designate entire sections of their garden produce as commodities, to be sold for profit (supposedly to help keep the commune going.).

So, now the commune-dwellers sell some of their fruits, perhaps at local farmers markets and whatnot. Now they have acquired a limited income for the commune.

Well, with income comes income tax; More taxes. Once again, the capitalist class (whom the social-escapists didn’t think it was necessary to defeat,) levies taxes from the commune dwellers.

More taxes become more expenses. More expenses lead to the commune-dwellers being forced to sell more of their produce (which was formerly geared towards the needs of the commune,) to continue the upkeep of the commune. Perhaps to accomplish this, the commune dwellers purchase advanced machinery to help increase the harvest (which turns out to be yet another expense, especially when fuel and insurance are concerned.).The commune dwellers are forced to expand gardens, and produce more home-made products( the materials needed to produce these, may bring another expense), solely for the purpose of commodity production. They also are forced to find more outlets to sell their wares. Ah, the increase in commodity production, and the beginning of their expansion into as many markets as possible. More and more, the commune acquires symptoms of capitalism, from the ground up.

Of course, it is also reasonable to assume that the commune would have a vehicle of some sort, almost definately gas powered. Even though social-escapists are typically life-stylists, who prefer bicycles (and other emision free modes of conveyance,) , bicycles are impractical for long range travel (remember,they are living in a rural area), for transportation of goods, and especially impractical in the winter, in most of the northern hemisphere. Because of these factors, they are most likely to have a vehicle to start with, or the commune will purchase one when the necessity of commodity production forces them to adopt one (The very act of purchasing a vehicle may place more weight on the budget of the commune.).

 Vehicle ownership leads to (you guessed it,)…Expenses! Fuel, repairs, and of course Insurance! The commune dwellers will require a street-legal vehicle to use (even if they only have one,), so they will accept all of the costs that go with it. More costs, more expenses. The strain on the commune may force a member to have to take a job, in which case it is quite clear that they have not escaped capitalism. At this point, they also need to do things for the capitalist authorities, like possess a valid driver license ( How can any person claim to not be reliant on the system ,when you are subject to it’s rules and regulations?).

I know from experience, it is very difficult to feed a whole family on only what you produce, let alone a group of people, big or small. Now, by this point in time, the commune is producing largely for profit, trying to juggle the needs of the membership, with the demands for currency. During this time, the availability of food becomes more and more scarce, as it has to be sold to pay for upkeep;this leaves commune members hungry. How are they going to feed their members? Well, I guess they could buy groceries… another expense!

 Take into consideration also that people get sick. What are these social-escapists going to do if one of their number gets sick or injured, especially seriously so? Herbal teas and home remedies only go so far; if you have appendicitis, you need surgery. Now, assuming that everyone on the commune has the possibility to get sick or injured, that would mean that every person would require a health care card, which is yet another monthly expense! If they didn’t live in a country that had  socialized-medicine, it would be even worse, because they would have to pay even more for an HMO or insurance. More expenses, more demands for currency ( health-care for upwards of ten people can really add up,), and yet another bond forged to the very world and social system that they are trying to “ween themselves off of”.

In actuality, the sheer weight of the contradictions and financial demands on the commune would have forced the social-escapists to either become wage-slaves (and defeat the whole purpose of the commune), or devote the overwhelming majority of their productive forces to commodity production, for profit.

Now, even if hypothetically they are able to maintain a level of commodity production, in exchange for currency, and cover their operating costs, by that time capitalism has triumphed. The goal of the commune has shifted overwhelming from self sustenance to profit, and the commune members are not only completely subject to all of the rules and regulations of the capitalist state, but they are tax-paying citizens of it.  What began as a self-sustaining commune has become a commercial farm; the social-escapists, in the eyes of the capitalist state that they reside in, are simply farmers, economically indistinguishable from other farmers enthralled by the system.

Now, keep in mind that this is a very austere estimate; I didn’t factor in any miscellaneous expenses, or “habits” that the commune members may nurse, all of which lead to miscellaneous demands upon the commune for currency. My estimate assumes that the social-escapists do not smoke, drink, or engage in any other form of leisure that would require repeat purchases of commodities ( a cigarette habit alone consumes ten dollars a day from most smokers. If the commune has ten smokers out of the whole, that’s one hundred dollars a day. That’s a lot of potatoes that they have to sell!).Even assuming that these social-escapists live a minimalistic, utilitarian lifestyle, they are still doomed.

 In the event that the social escapists abandon the law-abiding road, they may prolong their existance in a valiant “robin hood” style, but they are still doomed. Whether they evade taxes, poach wild-life, squat on property, grow illegal crops like Marijuana (for profit and/or personal use), or engage in any other type of illegal activity, they guarantee that their commune will be stamped out by force, and that their membership will be arrested. Even if they initially manage to evade notice of the illegal activities committed by their commune, it makes little difference; the longer that they continue the existance of the commune (and these illegal activities  along with it,), the more certain the reality that they will be caught, and eventually the day will come when capitalist police forces will “remind” these Utopians who is  really in charge; capitalists don’t fuck around when it comes to tax evasion. Anyways, even being a bandit upon the system is still a form of reliance and dependency.

Well, there you have it; from the best of intentions to probable dissolution within less than a decade. the commune is doomed to failure (not a single one of these communal social-experiments attempted in the past have survived.).

 See, the most important point to expose about the flawed nature of this social-escapism is that it actually doesn’t aim to “escape” capitalism; it aims to co-exist with it. Perhaps this is the fundamental flaw of the whole notion.

See, it is not true escapism, as escape from global capitalism would require nothing less than a space faring vehicle ( and given that there are no known inhabitable planets other than earth in this system, you would actually still be dependant on earth for the import of vital commodities.). What the social-escapists aim to do is occupy a plot of land/geographical area (which is already claimed by capitalists,), and try and survive there, without being bothered by any of the forces of capitalism. For their part, the self stated ambition of the social-escapists is not to make any effort to defeat capitalism, so therefore the true aspiration of the social-escapists is hermit-like co-existence of their own socio-economic system with that of the global capitalism.

Now, this is a large part of where the theory falls flat, as historically speaking , at no point in history has capitalism ever co-existed with a separate economic system. Capitalism brought about the defeat of feudalism in the advanced colonial countries (the American revolution ,the French revolution, etc), swept away tribalism in colonial nations, and fiercely sabotaged all past experiments in the building of socialism. By their very nature, with their lust for new markets to expand to, as well as new sources of capital and resources to exploit, capitalism can never co-exist, side-by-side with any other system, and from it’s place of global dominance, it will allow no up-starts.  If there is only one lesson to heed from the revisionist Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev, it is the fallacy of his attempts at “peaceful co-existence”, which majorly contributed to the ruin and defeat of socialist countries/organizations everywhere.

In addition to this naive and erroneous desire to co-exist, and be left in seclusion as social hermits of this earth, among all left-wing political tendencies, this social-escapism is a current that is the bringer of revolutionary defeatism: ” We will never win against capitalism, things will never change; fuck it. Get the kids, an axe, and some camping supplies, we are going to live in the woods.”

Now, don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I am not suggesting that the commune system is inherently reactionary and doomed to failure (peoples communes actually functioned quite well in the PR China, as part of their grand efforts to build socialism and self-sufficiency.); what I am saying is, quite simply, you can not “escape”, “walk away from”, “ween yourself off”, nor co-exist with the likes of capitalism.

The only way to end the tyranny of this capitalist system is to cast it down from it’s perch, and the only way to that is, and always has been, by awakening the masses to assume political power in their own interest.  Utopian escapism and naive, hermit individualism will only lead in circles, back on your knees to the very system you boasted of “escaping”.


Arise, ye wretched of the earth…

November 8, 2007

Today marks the anniversary of the great October revolution that brought about the worlds first socialist workers state.

On a more local note, the upcoming 12 of November marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Socialist Labour Party(Organizing Committee) , formerly known as Victoria Marxist-Leninist Organization.

 I would, ideally like to think that the two are connected: the legacy of successful socialist revolution, to influence the formation of this contemporary organization, and hopefully rekindle the fires of workers struggle.

Some may find it pompous that I would group a infant socialist organization in with the likes of the Bolshevik party, and try to claim the legacy of 1917.The thing is, on this day, the anniversary of the victorious October revolution, the main point that needs to be driven home is that a workers revolution is not a thing of the past. 

Too often we find ourselves resigning to nostalgic defeat, marking the anniversaries of all great ruptures in the system of world capitalism, but neglecting our duty to continue this tradition of class struggle. We must not submit to the defeatism put upon us by capitalist crowing at their perceived victory; Socialism must rise again, and if you believe this is not the case (and presumably capitalism may perpetuate forever), then you have renounced revolutionary socialism in favour of opportunism.

 Until we reach the society of communist man, our struggle isn’t over.  While we must fondly remember the revolution of 1917, we must recreate it in these times. We must facilitate the creation of more October revolutions!

 Workers of all Countries, unite!


Three Observations of October 2007

October 27, 2007

I’ve been thinking hard about a subject for a new post for some time now; I am still somewhat undecided what to write about.

 It’s not that I don’t have various ideas and subjects; I do. I just can’t choose one that I think is best, and I’m having a bit of trouble trying to tie the various thoughts of mine into one work.

 Anyways, I have decided to mention a few snippets of various concepts that have been on my mind lately.

 The myth of “the Boss, as  a victim” in the capitalist sphere:

Lately, due to  the influence of many more deeply penetrating social analysis’s that I have been studying, various ideas and concepts that I have been encountering in popular (Bourgeoisie) media and culture for years are suddenly noticeably peculiar/ sinister.

 The one concept that has struck me most recently, as both strange and completely absurd, is the prominent myth of the “victimized boss”, the “cheated bourgeoisie”, who is “taken advantage of, and swindled” by his labourers. There are many versions of this myth, all of which are presented in the form of opinions and generalizations of the Boss-worker relationship (and presented as an honest analysis of the Canadian work place), but they all contain the same basic formula: “The boss is just an honest person, trying to get by in this crazy dog-eat-dog world with their business, but they are being  cheated by the laziness/down-right theft of their employees.”

 Wow, that is an incredibly twisted, completely backwards analysis of the worker-boss relationship (in Canada, and elsewhere). This is  like shooting someone, and then cursing them for “stealing your bullet”.  For a boss, a bourgeoisie, a bloated parasite on the working class who exists on exploited profits, to accuse his labourers of cheating him out of profits is outrageous. This is beyond the pot calling the kettle black;  this is the leech complaining that it’s host is “withholding blood”.

 And this fairytale, this notion that has even proliferated among workers, and has turned toilers against each other, serves the interests of the exploiters in so many reactionary ways, as this falsehood provides the ideological basis for their various anti-worker assaults. The bosses claim that they are “forced” to import foreign workers and subsequently lay off domestic workers because domestic workers are “Lazy”, and “lack the work ethic” of their third-world counterparts (who, coincidentally, will work for lower wages, and have next to no rights, both of which are very attractive to capitalists).  the anti-union offensive is conducted under this pretense, by spreading the imagery of unionized workers as obese and sluggish, always trying to “work the system”. In this scenario the boss is once again the “victim”, as these mooching union workers are protected by the union above their head, so once again the “poor,  victimized  boss” is forced to shrug and endure the abuse and extortion of the “lazy” union workers.

 Everything from the axing of jobs, the shutdown of industries, the outsourcing of labour to the passing of reactionary and draconian laws against the workers are based on this myth, of the “Exploited boss”.

In my experience, I remember that my old boss used to drive workers from the job site to the office, and back again.  the thing is, he was unable to do so without loudly complaining about the gas money involved, and making sure that we all “felt grateful” for a job necessity that he considered a great favour. Finally, one day I had enough and told my fellow workers ” Look, we are the ones who pay for his gas, not him. We are also the ones who pay for his gigantic new vehicle, his office, his house, his country club membership… We are the ones who earn the profits, and he is the one who takes them. At the very least, he owes each of us a ride to work every single day, let alone the other half of the profits we generate, which we are never seeing”. This sentiment was well received by my fellow workers, and it has been for years as I have retold it.

Marxism-Leninism upholds that all profit is produced by labour. This is called the theory of surplus value, and is a central tenement of Marxist theory. That said, if all profit in any business/industry is produced by labour, what right has any bourgeoisie to claim that they are “being cheated” (let alone lay any claim to said profit in the first place)? Motherfucker, I produce twenty dollars an hour, you pay me ten; it isn’t you who is getting cheated, and don’t ever forget it.

Red Caught red-handed:

One of the things that I’ve just had to accept and get used to, is people trying to catch me in contradiction; I suppose that anyone who believes in anything can say the same (I remember that I once made a big deal out of a hard-core christian Womyn I know speaking profanity, even though to the best of my knowledge she has only done so on that one occasion. ).  Still it is quite irritating, to say the least.

 Wether it is someone that I know well, or just a passing acquaintance, as soon as my politics become apparent, they commence their mission to root out hypocrisy in my lifestyle. The biggest problem with this is, even though they are looking for contradiction between my beliefs and my actions, it falls flat because they don’t understand my beliefs, so they can not say that my actions are incorrect.

To give an example, I may talk briefly about some current event or some political theory or whatnot with a person, and then afterwards we may get a soda or something. Immediately their face lights up, and they grin deviously like someone who is suddenly privy to all  of my darkest secrets. The following conversation ensues:

“Aha! You’re drinking pop!”

“So?”

“So, you’re a hypocrite!”

“Why? Communists can’t drink pop? What is anti-communist about pop?”

“Pop is made by corporations!”

“So is everything; so is the rest of my food, for that matter. So is my clothing”

“Yeah, but instead of buying from small businesses, you choose to support large corporations! Hypocrite!”

“No, that is your belief, not mine. See, you believe that there is a difference between small capitalists and big capitalists, and supporting smaller ones is somehow “better” than supporting big capitalists. Me, I hold no such beliefs; in my view, the Marxist view, a capitalist big or small is a capitalist. A mom and pop store may not be Walmart, but it has the potential to become one, and supporting petty-bourgeoisie is not preferable to supporting big bourgeoisie.  In the meantime, until the workers control the means of production, all basic commodities that I require on a day-to-day basis are manufactured by capitalists.

Would starvation make me more proletarian? Marx said that ‘communism deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the products of society; it simply deprives him of the ability to subjugate the labour of others’. My solution to the corporate stranglehold on production is not a liberal/social-democratic style boycott, but rather to organize the workers to seize all productive facilities as part of a greater revolution.”

At this point the poorly-informed, ill thought out onslaught of my capitalist adversary ceases immediately, as he or she realizes that they really don’t understand my beliefs, so in trying to catch me in contradiction, they are merely projecting their own notions onto me, and creating ridiculous straw-man arguments in my place.

I am not some sort of commune-dwelling flower child who is in favour of “free love” and socialism on a Utopian, metaphysical level. I am not some sort of anarcho-primitivist, who believes that complete retrogression is the only solution, and shuns all technological marvels of this age. I am not a pacifist,as I only oppose imperialist war, not peoples war.  I completely reject the concept of “sticking it to the corporations” by giving my patronage exclusively to the petty bourgeoisie (and perhaps succeeding only in creating a new monopoly capitalist entity in the process.). I do not support former socialist nations on the basis of their military prowess or nationalist hero-worship, and I am disgusted by those who do.

The wealth of misconceptions about my ideology abounds, and therefore leads to this repetitive, never-ending parade of people searching for hypocrisy in my deeds, tying to perhaps “expose me” and therefore discourage me from the path of Marxism. At this point I wish some of them would do a little bit of research, because their attempts are not only completely futile; they are a maddening irritation!

Who shot JFK? Who the hell cares? 

It is quite difficult to be in the political left for any amount of time, and not hear at least a few conspiracy theories. 

Admittedly, much of what is known as confirmed factual events to the left is considered wild conspiracy theories by the general public, always has been ( in the case of the plain cloths cop who was forced to admit his infiltration of a protest at Montabello Quebec, I found this to be a great victory, as most people consider the idea of police infiltrators to be a ridiculous, unfounded conspiracy; we in the left know that this phenomenon is very real.).

Anyways, I’m talking about the conspiracies that are still considered conspiracies, even among the informed left-wing. The general proliferation of these theories is large, and they are a dime a dozen.

The most popular conspiracy theories among the political left are “who shot JFK” and “Was 9/11 an inside job” ?

With the Kennedy assassination, there has been an abundance of  compelling evidence compiled to possibly implicate the CIA, the Miami Cuban exiles, etc, but still it is inconclusive. The same goes for the September eleventh world trade center attacks, where the United States government is by and large considered the culprit.

I don’t place much stock in these theories. It’s not that I don’t think that there is any merit to them, or that they false; perhaps what they are saying is true, that these events were an inside job.

 I just don’t care. It has no relevance to my life, nor is it relevant  to the peoples of any nation.

These conspiracy theories about JFK and 9/11 are not only diversions from the everyday hardships of the people of the world, but in actuality, they are the epitome of ethnocentrism.

See, I don’t need to know if agents of the United States government were behind the death of JFK. I know that they were behind the deaths of many prominent black panther party members and American socialists, and that is enough for me. I would like to know conclusively whether the United states government killed Anna Mae Aquash, not JFK.

I don’t need to know if the Miami Cubans had a hand in the Kennedy assassination; they weren’t exactly saints before then. They have had their hands in numerous acts of sabotage, terrorism, subversion and murder of Cubans over the decades since revolution, so whether or not they had a hand in the JFK incident becomes incidental trivia rather than an incriminating sin.

I don’t need to know if the United States government was behind the destruction of the world trade center on September 11th, and the subsequent deaths of 3,000 people.  I already know for a fact that the United States government has been behind the destruction of entire cities on every corner of the earth, leading to the death and indirect deaths of Millions.  I already know that the US government kills their own citizens covertly. What is so mysterious or scandalous about 9/11, whether the US government had a hand in it or not?

See, this is what I’m talking about: ethnocentrism. Three thousand Americans die, it’s a landmark world tragedy that must be marked every year indefinitely; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis die, it’s a newspaper clipping, a “current event” of interest, nothing more.  As Koba correctly remarked on the subject ” A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

These conspiracies are beyond irrelevance, as they pass into the realm of service to bourgeoisie reformism and capitalist apologism. Who the hell cares about JFK anyways?  Whether he was gunned down or not, JFK was a bourgeoisie front-man who launched an unsuccessful invasion of socialist Cuba, and continued the funneling of aid and “military advisers” into South Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict (even sanctioning the “removal” of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem when he refused to cooperate); to be an apologist for this mans regime is in-excusable liberal reformism.

Even 9/11, while I will pay respect to the dead as much as any other dead, is not “the key ” to unlocking some sort of great mystery. By pursuing the trail of “who dunnit”, you are not going to come to any real earth shattering revelation. If the US government did orchestrate the entire thing, that may be tragic but not at all surprising; the entire history of the United States government is a litany of all of the peoples who have been crushed underneath it’s jack boot, both domestically and internationally.

I am sad to report it, but even the local “communist party” in my area, the Communist party of Canada, heavily deludes themselves with these reformist conspiracy quests. When they spout rubbish about JFK to me, I am sickened.  Why do you care? JFK was a virulently anti-communist, anti-worker oppressor! Yes I said it ; it needed to be said! Stop this nonsense!

The reason most people are attracted to these diversions is that they mostly center around one question: Is the American government undemocratic, and willing to subvert the will of the people at all costs?  This is probably why these conspiracies hold no interest for me, as I know the answer: Yes. Yes, your government is undemocratic, yes they are willing to kill you for their own gains, yes the American government and ruling class will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. You don’t have to analyze the Zapruder film; analyze the the pictures from the police murder at Kent State, and you’ll find the answer you are looking for.

So, now that hopefully I have established that the American government is undoubtedly undemocratic, we can move on from these conspiracy theories to the more relevant question: What are we going to do about this un-democratic American state, and this government that oppresses the people?