Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 04, 2020

The Financial Times Asks For Socialist Policies

On the same day the British Labour party announced the election of a center-rightt new party leader to replace the much denigrated socialist Jeremy Corbyn, the Financial Times(!) calls for the socialist policies Corbyn had planned to implement.

From today's FT editorial headlined:

Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract (also here)

If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.
Radical reforms - reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades - will need to put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.


Amen to that.

There was a time when I regularly bought the FT weekend edition to the read the economic discussions in it. The weekend edition also has a section that is titled "How to spend it". The newest luxury cars are tested and the greatest estates are discussed in it. I never had a craving to buy any of the things that section promoted. I thought that the snobbish section title was probably meant to be ironic.

Now the FT has finally found the right content for that section.

This editorial is a sea change. We will quite soon experience more of it.

Posted by b on April 4, 2020 at 17:43 UTC | Permalink

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"Virus? Pig's arse!" - Eagle Eye

lol mate, I haven't heard that one for quite a while. Classic Aussie parlance.

Posted by: Hass | Apr 5 2020 4:20 utc | 101
A party is throw by the winners./s

Posted by: Tonymike | Apr 5 2020 4:25 utc | 102

Meant "thrown."
Bleeding late where I am.

Posted by: Tonymike | Apr 5 2020 4:26 utc | 103

Anyone calling Germany, Japan and SK "socialist" is either ignorant of the state of affairs in those countries or ingorant concerning the definition of "socialist".

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:56 utc | 77

Care to prove otherwise?

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 4:27 utc | 104

@ nemesis, ll

>> We have heard over the years that robots will replace workers at their warehouses. We have... All a pipe dream.

Did someone say “today, everyone gets fired”? I never heard that. But, that’s what I have to assume in order to make sense of your comments on this subject.

>> Why else would they still be engaged in this union-busting if those advances were anywhere close to bein rolled out?

Because (1) they’re probably 2-10 years away and (2) companies want to keep you around until the exact day they don’t need you.


If you haven’t read an AI book, especially one that focuses on reasoning, please do.

Or don’t. Let’s agree to disagree and meet back here in 10 years, to see who has the most “future shock”. :-)

Posted by: oglalla | Apr 5 2020 4:34 utc | 105

King Lear @91: Why do you keep pretending that the Cold War is still on?

Why do you keep pretending that it isn't?

Because it fouls up your false equivalence?

The Mad King believes in donkey tales.

The rest of us can see the Empire's steadfast determination to maintain 'full spectrum dominance' and to meet the challenge from China and Russia via 'Great Power Competition' that includes proxy wars, trade wars, and propaganda narratives like Trump's "Chinese Virus".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 5 2020 4:38 utc | 106

I don't believe past experience with actual UBIs have shown the results to be "Drug abuse, Alcoholism, Pornography, Prostitution, Virtual reality Video games, etc"... it's actually been a sense of financial security... the ultimate enemy of capitalism, apparently. This might be one's fantasy, but then the 'Mad Max' movies don't accurately portray the real consequences of catastrophes... see 'A Paradise Built in Hell', by Solnit. Historical reality can be a ... bitch, is the word?... when our ideology demands otherwise.

Posted by: Nancy E. Sutton | Apr 5 2020 4:40 utc | 107


Yes, we are in disagreement.

Can't make heads or tails out of your comment. English must be your second language. One more than me!


There is also the issue of optics. Amazon being automated would mean one-upping Wal-Mart in the evil-bastard department.

There is also the fact that people need to get paid in order to buy. It is unclear if socializing wages would affect Amazon's model. I believe it would to its detriment.

Sorry. Just haven't seen any evidence that humans will be made obsolete. Technology is making their jobs easier, yes, but two-handed mamillian bipeds are still vastly underappreciated and undervalued imo.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Apr 5 2020 4:46 utc | 108

Or don’t. Let’s agree to disagree and meet back here in 10 years, to see who has the most “future shock”. :-)
Posted by: oglalla | Apr 5 2020 4:34 utc | 113

But we were already 'here' 10 years ago....

2010! New York Times -- Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic!!!!! --

Everyone believes what they need to believe to manage their fear and terror. We need to respect that.

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 4:50 utc | 109

>> Can anyone seriously argue that the one of the greatest leaps in technology from horses to cars eliminated jobs?!?! Or from candles to electricity?!? From hand-washing to washing machines... From abacus to calculators... etc... Technology improves and speeds up life and frees us to attend to other needs and necessities...

No one ever argues that.

Humans can do physical work and mental work, both with limitations. You’re referring to advances in physical work or menial mental tasks. That left a lot for humans to do. And it was “higher value work”. Next, AI will perform that higher value work. Eventually, all of it.

It’s too bad so many humans suffer from delusions of being irreplaceable. It’s that hubris that leads to “libertarians” blaming the jobless for not learning how to code or develop other 21st century skills. We should introduce a UBI (small at first, larger with time). Because eventually no one is going to out-produce HAL in any endeavor, including the arts.

Posted by: oglalla | Apr 5 2020 4:51 utc | 110

- Mr. Micheal Hudson (from the US) talks to Mr. Martin North (from Australia) on the topic "Debt & Power".

(The following weblink points to a canadian website.)

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 5 2020 4:58 utc | 111

Next, AI will perform that higher value work. Eventually, all of it.

It’s too bad so many humans suffer from delusions of being irreplaceable. It’s that hubris that leads to “libertarians” blaming the jobless for not learning how to code or develop other 21st century skills. We should introduce a UBI (small at first, larger with time). Because eventually no one is going to out-produce HAL in any endeavor, including the arts.

Posted by: oglalla | Apr 5 2020 4:51 utc | 118

AI in its present form will do no sort of thing. People are replaceable, but just not by machines that humans invent. It is hubris on the part of humans to think that they can create a machine that will replace them. Most likely, modern people will go down the way of Neanderthals, who were replaced by modern humans. Evolution, nature, the skill-full God of creation will determine who evolves and who does not. This new species may be already among us, we - the lower creature - just can not recognize this...

So much for that...

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 5:13 utc | 112

Terrific. A greater role for government. Just what's needed.

Carte Blanche for the same morons who clung to the EU, drank America's and Israel's bathwater, made the UK a surveillance state viciously hostile to free speech, played the Grandes Hommes in stupid foreign wars, slobbered over NATO long after its expiration date, and imported millions of primitive, hate-filled third worlders?

Oh, hold me back! I can't wait for Act II! And the fresh new lot of statists will arrive at #10 brimming with new ideas and please, Jesus, oh please let those be socialist ideas because, if there's anything the last 103 years have taught us, it's that trusting immense power to morons is the way to go.

Posted by: Ace | Apr 5 2020 5:52 utc | 113

Some good news. The US is signalling cooldown in middle east, partly because COVID has impaired its military readiness.


On March 30, the US-led counterterrorism coalition in Iraq announced in a statement that it has handed over three of its bases to the Iraqi government over the past two weeks by way of “repositioning troops”.

On March 31, the UK, France and Germany announced the first sale of goods to Iran (unrelated to coronavirus) using a bartering mechanism called Instex established to bypass US sanctions. The German Foreign Ministry hinted that more transactions are in the pipeline. Evidently, Washington was in the loop but chose to look away.

In fact, on March 31, Pompeo held out the possibility for the first time that the US may consider easing sanctions on Iran to help fight the coronavirus epidemic.

On April 1, US defence officials told POLITICO that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman is planning to leave the Gulf, marking the end of the first extended use of two carriers in the region, in a drawdown that can only signal that the threat of reprisal attacks from Iran or its proxies has subsided.

On April 2, Joe Biden, former US vice-president and leading Democratic presidential candidate, issued a lengthy statement on Iran, calling on the Trump administration to take specific steps to ease sanctions, which include: “issuing broad licenses to pharmaceutical and medical device with Iran to support its COVID-19 response.”

On April 3, Trump himself said that the US would think about the issue of sanctions to help Iran fight the coronavirus if Tehran asked for it. As he put it, “I have a moral responsibility to help them (Iran) if they ask.”

Posted by: occupatio | Apr 5 2020 6:01 utc | 114

Not only is there no agreed-upon definition of "Intelligence", there is clear highly credible agreement that, whatever "intelligence" is, it cannot be represented by a single number.

For example, if you have the courage, see The Mismeasure of Man by Stephan Gould. The mistranslation/misquoting/miscalculation and omitted data on "intelligence" helpfully clears much of the fog.

Now then, as for Artificial Intell, that just builds on top of moon-is-made of-cheese, as above.

For those who have been fooled into believing they know and can quantify "intelligence" into a number, or any other single metric, please consider this:

After untold amounts of hard data in physics and chemistry and all the other hard sciences, including an unending quest to breakdown atomic particles in ever smaller, sub-atomic ones and looking for the binding glues, have you noticed the dearth of scientific inquiry into just what is "human" "memory"? Of course, what-all composes a "human" also begs for better definition.

And just what is this awkward word "mind"?

And while there seems agreement that a "spiritual" quality exists about all "life" forms, there is no agreed upon definition that has much workability.

We are reduced to , in essence, defining "life" in terms of "not death"...especially bec "death" seems to have no workable meaning beyond absence of "life"

There is enormous hubris to go on about AI. It has huge amounts of faux-definitions, about as many as there are "experts" on the subject.

WARNING: the greater number of "experts" on any given subject, the less is known for certain about it. Refer to above words in quotes.

Posted by: chu teh | Apr 5 2020 6:18 utc | 115

Its a complete new world...from FT.

Posted by: Zico the Musketeer | Apr 5 2020 6:26 utc | 116

@ vk | Apr 4 2020 22:26 utc | 64

"1) social-democracy depends on super-profits to exist. And super-profits can only exist in a world with First and Third Worlds (which was clearly the case in the post-war): the First World, as the industrialized part of the capitalist world, extracted super-profits from the Third World, thanks to extremely cheap commodities the later exported to the former, in exchange for much more valuable manufactured goods. This resulted in chronic trade surpluses for the First World at the expense of the Third World. That room for superexploitation doesn't exist anymore, as China rose to the status of superpower, and the Russians are not caving in so easily as the western elites planned;"


This is something much of the phony "Left" in America, Europe, or Anglophone countries always obscure whenever they spout their propaganda about empowering their own working class (i.e. the Labor Imperialist class).

That is, the relatively privileged social-democratic way of life enjoyed by Anglo-Americans or Europeans was necessarily built on ruthlessly raping the masses in the Developing World.

But as the Developing World has risen, this exploitative dynamic has been destabilized--to the detriment of the Euro-American middle and working classes.

For all their disingenuous propaganda about "internationalism," the Euro-American Left is actually driven by a more predatory self-interest: namely, restoring this system of Euro-American world dominance, which their beloved Way of Life has been based on.

In short, the Euro-American labor aristocracy shares much in common with their own oligarchical elites (whom they are always whining about) in that they all believe in their God-given right to enjoy these fruits of this global plunder. They are all parasites with an arrogant sense of entitlement--big or small.

Indeed, this grievance about restoring a lost "way of life" is exactly what American nationalist demagogues like Donald Trump tap into.

This is the 1000-lb Gorilla-in-the-Living-Room issue that the Euro-American Left all avoid addressing--like the Trotskyites, the (faux) Marxists, the Progressives, or Bernie Sanders-style "Socialists."

To hell with them all.

Posted by: ak74 | Apr 5 2020 6:30 utc | 117

chu teh 123

You sound like someone who has studied a fair amount of Buddhism.

What is "being" (or self)? It is the conglomeration of the five aggregates, namely, form, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness.

Posted by: David F | Apr 5 2020 6:52 utc | 118

Posted by: carl | Apr 4 2020 21:23 utc | 56

Exactly. US calls itself "democracy" but is anything but. You can bet they will invent their own definition of what they call "socialism". In the end, it will always be 1% ultra rich and 99% slaves.

Posted by: Abe | Apr 5 2020 7:25 utc | 119

Terrific. A greater role for government. Just what's needed.
Posted by: Ace | Apr 5 2020 5:52 utc | 121

Government is just a tool, like a hammer... A hammer can't be good or bad, question is who wields it? Those who despise governments despise hammers... Kind of nonsensical to hate hammers. There is something to the idea that guns don't kill people, people using guns kill other people... Poor people can use the government to stop inequality and stop being poor... that's why we are taught that to hate government.. forget everything you were taught...

We must always say who wields the government. Government of the wealthy aristocracy will be used against everyone else. Government of the people will protect people. We say that democracy originates in Athens, but their democracy and our 'democracy' have nothing in common except word spelling. Greeks thought that aristocratic government is the worst, followed by tyranny and democracy... they did NOT elect politicians, they selected them by lot.... democracy, a political arrangement in which everyone makes decisions.... do we make decisions... we merely get consented... read Edmund Burke. We are done unless we change our ways...

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 7:38 utc | 120

Enough neolib tosh!
Starmer spent 3+ years undermining Mr Corbyn. He was the rightist leader of the plan to neuter Mr Corbyn's 'cut through' by forcing a 'take no sides on Brexit' stupidity onto Labour Party policy.
Polling had told the party that not backing Brexit would lose the labour party all of its traditional stronghold seats in the Midlands & further North, with no definite indication the south eastern remoaners would switch to labour - a chief reason for this was Starmer's stitch-up with the zionists (aka Labour friends of Israel) to label; the least racist man in england an anti-semite.
Corbyn's problem was naiverty, it took too long for him to realise that his 'comrades' in the PLP would rather have a tory government than a slightly left of center leader.
Dig out the englander fishwraps from 2018 & early 2019 and you'll find Starmer at the head of every move to castrate the Labour Party with the fear of brexit bulldust.
The man is a truly nasty piece of work who moaned, bitched, wailed and gnashed his teeth at every attempt the corbynites made to drag the labour party into the policies their members demanded.

Now he is the boss we can be certain that the Blairite scummy tricks for negating the left will run riot with Starmer & co doing to leftist MPs things they accused Corbyn of 'planning' altho he never did them nor showed the slightest intent of bullying his point of view onto others.

A simple test, Mr Corbyn would have stopped the Assange extradition in its tracks, Starmer will applaud the destruction of a hero when Julian is sent to spend the rest of his life in some cruel super-max.

Posted by: A User | Apr 5 2020 9:25 utc | 122

I am afraid your prediction is optimist, there were the example of USSR at that time where people could see alternatives. The realist in me tells that a fascist government will be the norm around the world with three layers in society: the rulers, essential workers, and masses who will be left to their own who would likely to be killed en masse should they try anything funny; a society like the US planned (but failed in implementing) in the middle east.

Also contemporary populations around the world are like sheep, perhaps corona would induce some awakening but the idiotic mass consent in Sweden makes me think there won't be any awakenings.

We are marching towards a dystopia, unless a powerful example emerges from the ashes of what we have now.

Posted by: kemerd | Apr 5 2020 10:35 utc | 123

Nice to see VK back in territory that poster excels in! Excellent analysis. Like a physicist explaining phenomena that others are prone to view as miraculous or metaphysical.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 10:37 utc | 124

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 8:39 utc | 129

That was misunderstanding by me of what you were saying.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 5 2020 11:10 utc | 125

"Corbyn's problem was naivety"

So why is it that ALL leftist and leftish leaders are are so pathetically naive? America's Sanders, Mexico's AMLO, Brazil's Lula, Bolivia's Morales, Ecuador's Correa, Venezuela's Maduro... every single leftist and leftish leader on the entire planet today with the possible exception of Xi (jury is still out on that one) is naive to the point of infantile or even criminally negligent.

I realize that a certain bunny and some other empire fanboys haunting this forum would say that those leftish leaders are all willing participants in the empire's elaborate hyperdimensional plans, but that is just plain silly as it casts the empire's operators as omnipotent and omniscient when they are painfully obviously just a gang of incompetent, mouth-breathing morons. All of those leftish leaders mentioned above really and genuinely want to do the right thing for the common folk, but they keep getting blind-sided by the agents of empire. And how naive does someone have to be to allow themselves to be blind-sided by incompetent, mouth-breathing morons? Pretty damn naive!

But the problem is actually fairly straight forward. All of those leftish leaders are lacking one thing that would make them true leftists and would equip them to successfully confront the empire of capital head-to-head. That missing trait is the one that posters like VK and bevin often display here, which is real and studied Marxist analysis. Armed with that one will never be fooled by the sweet sounding words of the empire's neolib figureheads du jour and instead one would focus on the class dynamics in the empire and the empire's economic imperatives. It is always those dynamics and imperatives that will determine the empire's behavior and never its stated policy. This is as inviolable a natural law as are the Laws of Thermodynamics, but it takes Marxist analysis to understand that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 11:30 utc | 126

Britain is in melt down !
Labour gone right wing. Tory full on genacidel !
Nurse’s having to wear bin bags. Care workers deliberately used to infect the community. Infected prisoners now being unleashed onto the community !
All the while this virus is preventable and treatable cheaply!

Jacob Rees-Mogg says we can earn a lot of money from this situation.

The way forward is Antifacism.

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 5 2020 11:45 utc | 127

Posted by: anon | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 13

"On what planet is Starmer "centre-right"?

You've lost a reader."

On this planet. If you talk outside of your own filter bubble about this topic with people less than 5% in Germany would continue to talk to you. 95% would immediately drop the talk. Face it! Your reaction is stupid.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Apr 5 2020 12:15 utc | 128

re William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 11:30 utc | 134

I doubt that there are many people as well read on Marx & Engels in politics today as Mr Corbyn is.
Not that he was going to shout that from the rooftops while party leader.
Setting aside the car crash which generally occurs when a leftist leader is as capable of juggling the reins of power as any rightist pol is - the problem for Mr Corbyn was far simpler.
Corbyn nailed his colours to the mast long ago, showing himself to be a principled man who couldn't 'be persuaded' to change his view. If he had been a realpolitik politician he would have been set up and tossed out of the party long before, back in the noughties when the bliar was tossing out all the lefties Mr Corbyn would have been chucked too. trouble was not only could the arseholes not get anything on him, many MPs on both sides of the house who stood against everything mr Corbyn believed in spoke up for him as being 'honourable' & principled.

Mr Corbyn couldn't be bought or persuaded to 'be more pragmatic'.

That is exactly why the anti-semite garbage was dragged out - not to convince MP's cos they knew it was tossage, but a way had to be found to portray Mr Corbyn as being racist, a hypocrite, a man of no honour to the electorate. Anyone who knew him knew it was a lie yet, once he became party leader and went on to give May & the tories a big scare, the notion that he was too pure to be sullied by deceit went out the door. It was one thing when he was just a harmless backbencher, but now he was endangering incomes, cleaving others' hold on power, the gloves had to come off.
Every media outlet in the UK turned on him and poisoned the electorate against the man.
It has to be one of the sickest acts englander pols have ever committed and lets face it a mob who used to think it was a jolly jest to draw an opponents entrails out his naval while alive, with a weird combination corkscrew hook affair (the drawing part Guy Fawkes copped when he was hung,drawn & quartered) have done plenty of sick things over the last 700 years.

The icing on the cake was a couple of months before the general election of 2019, when Orangeman announced from behind his desk in DC "that Mr Corbyn would not be allowed to win, he would be stopped".
By that time it was a pretty safe call the bloke had been well stitched.
I doubt there was any great conspiracy - the entire establishment devoted themselves to slandering a decent human not because they organised it, it was total because every scumbag in england was worried about what Corbyn would cost them, it wouldn't have mattered how deep Mr Corbyns knowledge of Marxist-Leninist dialectic was, he had no comeback to a consolidation of the most powerful in town, all standing against him.

AS has been said here ad infinitum, it is not possible to change anything by ticking a box or pulling a handle, at least the first couple shifts to a much more sharing society will have to be achieved through revolution.
Mr Corbyn who only ever advocated change via the ballot box, was the proof (as if any were needed), that the idea of meaningful change by voting, is an impossible dream.

Posted by: A User | Apr 5 2020 12:26 utc | 129

Posted by occupatio @ 122

Yes, this is good news regarding the first use of Instex. The trade was apparently for medical goods which I would assume relate to COVID19 though nature of goods not more specifically defined in the article I read.

China has also donated 1,000 ventilators to NY and it appears that Cuomo intends to purchase another 17,000 @ $25,000 each from China. At the same time US sanctions on Cuba has prevented aid of COVID19 related medical equipment from China reaching Cuba. Cuba is well supplied with doctors and is sending 52 health professionals to assist in Italy. There is no way that the international community will fail to notice who needs aid, who is providing aid and who is preventing aid. The USA is eating into its reserves of soft power in a big way.

I hope that b will see his way soon to fleshing out what is happening in Iraq - but given the COVID19 crisis now in play in the USA, it is difficult to see how it can hope to do anything but fade out of Iraq and the ME as quietly and with as much dignity as it can.

Posted by: Eliza Hallinan | Apr 5 2020 12:39 utc | 130

Interesting to see that the UK seems to be actively trying to undermine the potential of cheap hydroxychloroquine, because we know that Bill Gates is one of the main funding source of the Wellcome institute, one of the biggest research institution in the UK. Gates has actually been involved in the bio business exponentially in the last decade, turning even some formerly state institutes into their playgrounds
If it was launched in Davos, what can go wrong?
"Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched during the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2016 by its five founder partners: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the Wellcome Trust and the governments of India and Norway."

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 12:42 utc | 131

A User @137
Thank you for every word of that !spot on. See link below

‘The Financial Times asks for socialist polices’. It’s a poison apple 🍏!!!
See end of link below

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 5 2020 12:50 utc | 132

Singapore has a surge. Cnn blames it on expats while the Bbc blames it on migrant construction workers. Flights are still going on as usual.
"Singapore has expanded its stay-home notice (SHN) this weekend, to include countries such as France, India, Switzerland and all of the ASEAN region, the ministry of health said in a statement.

The SHN will require the Singaporeans, long-term pass holders and permanent residents returning from the listed nations to self isolate in their homes for 14 days.

Singapore saw a spike of 75 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number to 1,189. Nearly 300 people have recovered. "
"We've just reported that Singapore has recorded its highest daily jump in cases. Now we have more details about these 120 new infections and measures the government are taking.

The government data indicate that large numbers of migrant workers are infected with the virus. The government is quarantining two dormitories, with around 20,000 people, and preventing workers from leaving their rooms for the next 14 days.

Of the 120 cases, 116 are locally transmitted (rather than brought by visitors to Singapore). The government hopes to prevent further spread among migrants.

The country has around 300,000 foreign workers, many employed in construction."

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 13:12 utc | 133

King Lear @ 96 says:

I don’t understand why you resort to calling people “Stalinists”, because if you haven’t noticed, besides me (and possibly Donkeytale), their are no real Marxist-Leninists on this website. Instead their are bunch of Faux Marxists like VK, who claim China is still socialist, and are clearly advocate of Neoliberalism draped in a Red flag

and then there are some of the rest of us who perhaps don't fit quite so snugly into such a cozy ideological, binary ism schism.

how 'bout distributism, mutualism, anarcho-syndicalism, or my favourite, anarcho-pacifism.

our fearless leaders are overseeing the death throes of economic growth(extractivism), which they've exploited for many decades, pretty much trashing the planet in the process, pretty much dismantling their own market-based systems.

i mean, when it's over, it's over.

Posted by: john | Apr 5 2020 13:21 utc | 134

A User @137: "I doubt that there are many people as well read on Marx & Engels in politics today as Mr Corbyn is."

Indeed. Perhaps there are none. And that would likely be just as true if all Corbyn had ever read was the first paragraphs of the Communist Manifesto and a few chapters about Marx in college textbooks written by neoliberal hack academicians like Krugman or Galbraith.

" is not possible to change anything by ticking a box or pulling a handle..."

Absolutely. While "liberal (capitalist) democracy" elections can sometimes be a useful tool to advance a revolution, no Marxist would ever assume that is where the power lies in society. If one is running in a liberal democracy election to win rather than merely as a means of organizing the working class for class combat, then one is not using Marxist analysis to guide one's actions. Such a one is a naive puppy who is in for heartbreak and disappointment and will unavoidably lead any who choose to follow into that heartbreak and disappointment as well.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 13:22 utc | 135

William Gruff @134:

"But the problem is actually fairly straight forward. All of those leftish leaders are lacking one thing that would make them true leftists and would equip them to successfully confront the empire of capital head-to-head. That missing trait is the one that posters like VK and bevin often display here, which is real and studied Marxist analysis. Armed with that one will never be fooled by the sweet sounding words of the empire's neolib figureheads du jour and instead one would focus on the class dynamics in the empire and the empire's economic imperatives."

Well, that's a start, but all the Marxist analysis in the world won't help a left-populist leader if (s)he doesn't have sufficient firepower and loyalty among those wielding it to thwart first-world and in particular American infiltration and invasion. Morales didn't have it, and is gone. Maduro has it, and is somehow still, despite everything, hanging on (although for how long is anyone's guess; I'm not optimistic).

Posted by: corvo | Apr 5 2020 13:29 utc | 136

My expectation is that Trump will attack Iran at the start of his second term, and that they’ll have a “Pro-Democracy” uprising, ready to go in order to make the operation appear “humanitarian”.
Posted by: King Lear | Apr 5 2020 3:10 utc | 103

Jeeesh, another RSH acolyte. At least his war with Iran predictions are by the end of the – such and such year style.

King, could you please open this up and explain what happens on day 2.
What happens when rockets rain on all bases, cities, and ships around Iran from Hindu Kush to Mediterranean? The sickest of soldiers can press a button to launch a rocket, so, no virus can stop this.


Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Apr 5 2020 14:04 utc | 137

"...sufficient firepower and loyalty..."

And that is precisely where the Marxist analysis is lacking. Revolutionary power isn't about loyalty to a leader or a certain amount of guns.

Venezuela's Chavez had either done some studying or he associated with some people who did. While he failed to take the fight to Venezuela's capitalists, and thus left them in a position to attack Venezuela's revolution from the inside, his government at least did a great deal to empower and organize Venezuela's working class. Neither Chavez nor Maduro are personally responsible for defeating attempts at counterrevolution in Venezuela. It has been the Venezuelan working class that has in every case defeated the capitalist empire's attacks and Venezuela's domestic capitalists efforts at counterrevolution.

A Marxist knows that a revolution is never just about flowers and uplifting songs, and it is never over with winning a liberal capitalist election. It isn't about spending the government's tax revenues on nice things for poor people. It is about restructuring one's society to put those poor people in control of the economy. Until you have done that you still have capitalism and the capitalists will use the power that gives them to retake control over society's political superstructure. In Venezuela the working class did independently organize, at least a little, and the fact that it was only a little but has still been able to defeat counterrevolution shows how powerful the working class is when organized even a small amount.

It isn't just the behavior and fate of the empire that is determined by class dynamics and economic imperatives, but every human society on the planet. For a Marxist, organizing the working class is of paramount importance, while campaigning in elections is just one of many ways to accomplish that organization. To a Marxist it is the organization that develops in the course of a political campaign that is important, not the win at the end. If you win an election without having your class organized and ready for class combat, then you have won nothing. This is not a mystery to Marxists.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 14:06 utc | 138

all war has been cancelled.,cause the emperor /empire is naked ,stealing p.p.e from other nations.

Posted by: a | Apr 5 2020 14:10 utc | 139

This graph may be another reason the FT is worried:

More than one in eight Americans in over half US counties don't have adequate food.

Posted by: vk | Apr 5 2020 14:30 utc | 140

The long-term economic performance of the United States and indeed of G7 countries has declined almost constantly since the economic crisis of the 1970s. Secular stagnation is reflected in particular in declining rates of growth of labour productivity. This decline in productivity growth is due to insufficient productive investment and the diversion of resources into financial activities. The reason for the lack of investment is a falling rate of profit which only massive creative destruction can reverse (and whose social costs are almost certainly unacceptable). State planning and state-led investment (socialism not captalism) is an alternative.
China has embarked on industrial upgrading and has made significant relative progress in some of the technologies that will lead the next industrial revolution. These industries include robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. Some lie some way into the future but a consequence is that US corporations may not control some of the leading sectors of a new industrial age starting with 5G wireless telecommunications. The US is determined that it should continue to dominate all critical technologies and aims to prevent China from making progress and finding markets. Almost certainly it will fail.
As for the article in Repubblica I was amused at the idea that the EU is a (shared) destiny community (una comunità del destino, una Schicksalsgemeinschaft). China has called for a global community with a shared future/destiny 人类命运共同体 (renlei mingyun gongtongti). The problem is that as Vučić said ‘we have all understood that European solidarity does not exist'. The same applies to western capitalist countries in general.

Posted by: md | Apr 5 2020 14:30 utc | 141

A User @137

Why are "socialists" like Corbyn and Bernie so unwilling to take the fight to the EMPIRE?

No one seems willing to make a case for why EMPIRE is against the interests of the people. Even when, in Corbyn's case, the establishment is attacking them as antisemitic.

Zionism and Empire are two sides of the same coin.

Socialists are attacked as wanting to give free shit to the unproductive masses. But EMPIRE gives free shit to scoundrels. Why is that so difficult to see and articulate?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 5 2020 14:39 utc | 142

The Starmer accession is very easily explained. The Labour Party in the UK has two bases, the Trade Unions and the local government electoral machines.
The Unions are almost totally corrupted, the largest and wealthiest, rather like those in the US, are highly bureaucratised, work with government all the time, never strike, spend most of their energies preventing members from annoying their bosses. And are deeply invested in the neo-liberal status quo, despite/because of the fact that they have almost no power left except that to work for the state/employers.
These Unions, headed by people who-for the most part- are well educated careerists almost indistinguishable from corporate managers, hated Corbyn and all that he stood for: they feared being pushed by members into confrontations with the government that they had no stomach for. They feared losing, through fines and court assessed damages, the vast reserves, property, 'strike funds' that they controlled. They were Generals in an army that feared war above everything, the defeated leaders of an occupied territory, who, like the PLA, follow the Occupiers' instructions to the letter and squash all signs of resistance and militancy among the rank and file.

And then there are local electoral machines. Their main strength lies in their control of local government, which involves not only much patronage but constant liaison and co-operation with the the Central government-the source of all money and power- and businesses. Labour local authorities are constantly involved in property development, re-development and gentrification programmes, in which millions of pounds are at stake. They sell and purchase public property, approve licenses and planning permissions. And they employ thousands of people, as well as choosing contractors and sub-contractors.
Such people have very little interest in substantial reform or transformation let alone revolutionary change. And then, there is the important fact that they are very well paid, collect self authorised expenses and have nothing to do to earn their wealth except follow the instructions of those to whom they defer. In theory this includes the electorate. In practice 'forget it.'
It was the extraordinary corruption of the Labour machines which led to the Party's collapse in Scotland and Wales. It was part of the reason that the "Red Wall" collapsed in the North last year too.
Corbyn was elected because after Blair and Brown had shown themselves to be completely bankrupt of ideas, the membership had been reduced to its lowest ever levels. The Corbyn campaign led to the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters ready for change. They overwhelmed the right wingers not only in numbers but in ideas. Corbyn wasn't very radical- he didn't have to be to seem so against the background of 'New'Labour's combination of support for Imperialism and fervent belief in capitalism- but he was engaging and open to suggestions. And the masses, particularly young people, were eager for change. Corbyn had the appeal of old Cobbett in that the change he offered was packaged as a restoration of a stolen inheritance- the NHS, nationalised, public service, utilities and transit, the restoration of Union rights. The rights of the freeborn Englishman in the Welfare State era.
"We want great change" he might have said adding, in reassurance, "but we want nothing that is new. Nothing that my generation did not grow up with-, for example free education in comprehensive schools, free tuition and living allowances at University.."
To a population struggling against a half century of counter attacks by the capitalist class, cutting living standards, reducing economic and legal protections, smashing the manufacturing industries in order to sell of the pieces and to break the working class, a population reduced to begging for work, no longer assured of the basic necessities-housing, heat, income, security- and unprotected, Corbyn's Labour Party offered a glimmer of hope. Thus it was that in 2017 it came within a few hundred well distributed votes of winning the election.
Not that that could have led to very much: the Labour caucus was overwhelmingly opposed to him and his policies. As the last two years showed there was never any chance that those policies could have passed Parliament- the Blairites would have seen to that.
But what happened to the "largest socialist party in Europe"? The answer is that its new members, mostly young and inclined to believe in 'leadership', were easily manipulated. The organisation with which most of them identified, Momentum was actually a privately owned corporation, impervious to democracy and dominated by a capitalist with Zionist affinities. Any chance that Corbynism might last was dashed when Momentum and some of Corbyn's closest associates took two crucial decisions at the Liverpool policy conference- the first was to veto the idea of allowing local party members to kick out MPs that they didn't like and select new candidates. The other was to approve a definition of anti-semitism so loose that virtually anyone could be suspended and expelled from membership on the grounds of anti-semitism. Of course most who were expelled were Jews and almost all were people with long records of anti-racist policies.
This didn't matter because money- thousands of office holders' salaries, tens of thousands of patronage jobs, hundreds of millions in contracts, enormous fees from lenders taking part in "Private Public Financing" scams and control over untold wealth in the form of public property,- money, was at stake. And the local politicians and their machines were perfectly placed to fill the membership lists of the party with the names of thousands of people, most likely religious congregations and ethnic organisations who, when the election came, could be instructed who to vote for.
I would not be surprised at all if some people actually got paid for their votes. I would be very surprised if a large number of religious leaders- local temple or church organisers- and the heads of clubs, as well as Union leaders do not see themselves as holders of IOUs signed by Sir Keith.

The good news is that a party of the sort that Starmer is bound for rapid self destruction. The PASOK model is far from unique. The French Socialist Party has descended from control of the Presidency to virtual disappearance within a few years. The SPD is, well, perhaps someone can tell us what the other half of the German coalition is. And what its long term prospects are.
The left in the UK doesn't have a choice any more- it has no future in Starmer's party, the expulsions will soon begin. It is going to have to organise anew the movement from which it sprung. This will include local socialist associations and opposition to elected politicians, but it will also include new syndicalist union organising and the defence of workers fighting for their lives, livelihoods and human dignity. It will involve real international solidarity, and for the best of reasons: without workers uniting internationally, they face only defeat. It will involve complete hostility towards imperialism and militarism. And it will begin with the formation of Palestine solidarity action.
This is the story of capitalist society, the class struggle: defeats shaken off, victories, betrayals, errors, victories again. Epochal defeats, such as the Miners' Strike. The learning of lessons- the development of political consciousness, struggle. And, eventually a new world of freedom, brought into the world wet with the blood of martyrs

Posted by: bevin | Apr 5 2020 15:34 utc | 143

many fine comments today here.. thanks... a user @ 137, william g, bevin, jackrabbit and etc... thank you... i am fairly ignorant on marxism... but i know what bullshit looks like when i see it though and the uk sure seems mired in it... the fact corbyn was axed with all the anti-semite bullshit seems to point out how messed up the uk and world are here in 2020... this struggle has a long ways to go - ''The good news is that a party of the sort that Starmer is bound for rapid self destruction.'' @151 bevin quote.. covid might speed it up some... hard to know... as a user notes the stark difference between these men is in response to julian assange... there is nothing more clear then that right there..

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2020 16:55 utc | 144

A User | Apr 5 2020 12:26 utc | 137

"blowing from a gun" was a method the British used to execute rebels.

That will bring to mind an impossible picture. But it is true and accurate, yet darkened enough to allow publishing the fact.

There is even a mock-photo created deliberately to confirm the words.

It happened multiple times but the 1857 Sepoy mutiny/rebellion in India is best known. This is the enemy that Corbyn surely knows. Tied to the muzzle of a cannon as a lesson to the rounded-up community who were forced to watch. Perhaps we need the reminder:

Blowing from a gun...

It's what happens and Corbyn knows it.

Posted by: chu teh | Apr 5 2020 18:20 utc | 145

So glad to see FT elucidating what probably would have just been considered some crazy liberal theory up until now. COVID-19 has, in fact, laid bare the fact that the system always was broken, even moreso now that we have a sociopathic pathological liar for president (don't ever forget he closed the WH Pandemic office).

What we need, right now, is Scandinavian-style democratic socialism. The fact you virtually never see any Scandinavians moving to the U.S., and that they consistently rank as being much happier than Americans is a very good starting point for arguing why the current system needs to be scrapped posthaste.

Posted by: Kevin | Apr 5 2020 21:43 utc | 146

" the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. "

What are the "privileges of the elderly"?
Old age pensioners who draw a pension, having worked all of their lives?

The inclusion of "the elderly" in this recipe is a red flag for me. Who is meant by this? Historically working-class elderly have gotten a very poor shake in the UK.

If distribution of services is fair, there is no need to play off the needs of the young against those of the elderly. The education system in the UK has been going to hell in a hand basket for a long time, a situation that has been well chronicled and analyzed in a number of long pieces in the London Review of Books. Don't blame that on the elderly!

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 6 2020 1:12 utc | 147

Posted by: King Lear | Apr 5 2020 22:28 utc | 154

Ah, all wishful thinking of neocons spoken here.
How quickly we forget the soldiers who had an 8 hour notice at Ein Al Assad and still got "head trauma."

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Apr 6 2020 1:14 utc | 148

Realist I:
"That was probably one of the many regular commenter twats that pollute this place, most likely one of the Stalinist contingent, sockpuppeting and impersonating or whatever term you prefer."

Realist II: "Stalinist in the sense of unable to coexist with or tolerate difference of opinion and view. Perhaps Chekist/fascist/ISIS-like might be a better description"

LOL. I guess it takes one who is intolerant of other views to recognize one.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 6 2020 2:36 utc | 149

Armed with that one will never be fooled by the sweet sounding words of the empire's neolib figureheads du jour and instead one would focus on the class dynamics in the empire and the empire's economic imperatives. It is always those dynamics and imperatives that will determine the empire's behavior and never its stated policy. This is as inviolable a natural law as are the Laws of Thermodynamics, but it takes Marxist analysis to understand that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 11:30 utc | 133

Well, it seems clear enough to me, and I ain't no Marxist analyst.
Has anyone told these guys this?
Maybe write to them?

Posted by: Realy?? | Apr 6 2020 2:54 utc | 150

If one is running in a liberal democracy election to win rather than merely as a means of organizing the working class for class combat, then one is not using Marxist analysis to guide one's actions. Such a one is a naive puppy who is in for heartbreak and disappointment and will unavoidably lead any who choose to follow into that heartbreak and disappointment as well.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 5 2020 13:22 utc | 142

Are you talking about, say, Maduro here?
He won leadership of the country through the electoral process.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 6 2020 3:30 utc | 151

bevin | Apr 5 2020 15:34 utc | 150

Thanks for this overview of Corbyn's recent role in the Labour Party and developments within the party. I hope you are right---that sooner rather than later the true progressives in Labour will realize that they have been made homeless in that party and will decamp to form something better.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 6 2020 3:40 utc | 152

Posted by: King Lear | Apr 6 2020 1:42 utc | 157
No need for nukes. They are rendered un-Islamic. Iran can blow up anything it wants with the non-nukes, and then some.
You have not answered how it end?
My view: use of nukes.
Oh, and perhaps you may want to look at this Millennium Challenge study from eighteeeeen years ago to familiarize yourself.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Apr 6 2020 4:04 utc | 153

Really?? @159

Yes, I am including Maduro, though with the caveat that Maduro, and Chavez before him, encouraged mass-based community-level organization throughout Venezuela. This is that "...organizing the working class for class combat..." that I mentioned. They were wise enough to realize that beating the capitalists in their own elections is not good enough, which is why the revolution continues in Venezuela.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 6 2020 11:53 utc | 154

Realy?? @158: "Well, it seems clear enough to me, and I ain't no Marxist analyst."

Well, to be clear there are physical laws that can be understood without being a physicist as well. If you are holding a rock and let it go it will move towards a larger rock (the planet). Simple "gut understanding". With that said, if one's understanding of physics beyond this is weak and muddied by metaphysical thinking it may be possible for a con artist to convince one of things like his being able to throw that rock to the Moon."Hey, I know how to do this. My buddy landed a spaceship on the Moon like fifty years ago!"

Perhaps you are not fooled, but many people are. Consider: "We'll print a couple $trillion and splash it around and that will make everything better!"

Without using Marxist analysis there is a lot that one can (and most, if not all do) misunderstand about economics and society.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 6 2020 12:11 utc | 155

Posted by: King Lear | Apr 6 2020 6:31 utc | 162
No reason to continue this. You seem wedded to the idea that Iran won't have a say in a war against it, and it needs nukes. So twentieth century. Neocon hubris at best.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Apr 6 2020 12:36 utc | 156

I see that my comment at 149 has 'corrected itself' to refer to a Sir Keith....In fact his name is Keir. Is it significant that the Labour Party founded by Keir (Hardie) is being buried, alive by a Sir Keir (Starmer)

Posted by: bevin | Apr 6 2020 13:54 utc | 157

A slum in Paris. Giving them shelter anywhere is NOT on the agenda of the gov (although they are Europeans! it is a Rom camp).

Posted by: Mina | Apr 6 2020 15:21 utc | 158

janet thornhill @168

People of the West have been disenfranchised. But they are slow learners.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 6 2020 17:11 utc | 159

janet thornhill @168

Why is there not a Yellow Vest Movement in every country?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 6 2020 17:13 utc | 160

Posted by: King Lear | Apr 6 2020 17:48 utc | 171
I've shown that Iran does not need nukes to stop an invasion.
Iran gave the empire a perfect reason to retaliate in a military way. Why oh why did they chose economic sanctions instead?
Which country was the last country that attacked the empire directly and so brazenly, and got whimpers of cries back? Economic sanctions. Pshhh.
No, you have it incorrect. No need for nukes. That's why there is so much hullabaloo about the missiles. If you read the link I provided, Van Ripper would have told you that.
I'm dropping this.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Apr 6 2020 18:22 utc | 161

The mad King @171:

It’s not Neocon propaganda, to state that Iran needs Nukes to ensure its sovereignty ...

Why does Iran need nukes when they have Russia protection?

<> <> <> <>

Neocons and hasbara trolls seek to incite a war with Iran.

We must stop the madness.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 6 2020 19:03 utc | 162

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