Comrade Anklebiter's Last Redoubt


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
So you're aware, I wrote my first paper criticizing the 1996 welfare reform bill back in 1996. I'm not defending that at all. I'm calling that first article cheap and insubstantial. Yes, the plight of those people is awful, and it does them a disservice by explaining the causes poorly IMO.

The article's cheap and insubstantial because I pulled out one line that mentioned Clinton's welfare reforms? Man, you are touchy.

I'd continue to ignore you because we have already determined that your thoughts are worthless, but I guess it'd be rude to ignore you in my own thread.

Have a Happy National Mourning Day.

The criminalization of youth is very much an issue and I can see a case made for a foundation in various Clinton crime bills, but so much of this is the result of state and county governments that laying it at the feet of the Clinton's is a red herring. It's fighting a battle 20 years ago in which your primary opponents (conservatives) will gladly chant with you about how much the Clinton's suck, and then when you ask them to change it, they'll do nothing.

"Hey Republicans, the Clintons are to blame for how much of a mess this country is."
"We agree."
"Okay, lets change it then."
"You're right, we should completely eliminate welfare."


A) The article doesn't lay it at the Clintons' feet, which you would discover if you actually read the article.

B) The line that you object to mentions three things: the legacy of welfare reform, Congressional spending priorities (I assume they are referring to, among other things the 2014 Farm Bill Obama signed that cut food stamps by $8.7 billion) and slow wage growth. Your fixation on defending the Clintons says more about you than it does about the article.

C) My primary opponents aren't conservatives; they are defenders of capitalism. You are a forthright fan of capitalism. We are opponents. I don't see any point in continuing this conversation, but I don't wish to be rude.


It was raining when I woke up and I didn't feel like driving for an hour and a half by myself to stand in the rain for two hours to drive back for an hour and a half before heading into special double-time-and-a-half overtime, even if there is a new formation in NH we need to check out called Seacoast Young Socialists.

I know, I know, I'm a slacker. Will probably spend the rest of the morning eating leftovers and reading Clash of Kings.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
C) My primary opponents aren't conservatives; they are defenders of capitalism. You are a forthright fan of capitalism. We are opponents. I don't see any point in continuing this conversation, but I don't wish to be rude.

Not true, but whatever.


Man, that Theon Greyjoy's a real jerk.

Irontruth wrote:
Not true, but whatever.

"My primary opponents aren't conservatives; they are defenders of capitalism."

That one's true.

"You are a forthright fan of capitalism."

"I've become a capitalist over the past 15 years, it's a system that works really well for large portions of the economy. I think a fair and appropriately regulated economy is better than trying to determine every aspect from on high."

"I do support international capitalism."

That seems pretty forthright to me. Not uncritical, true, but pretty forthright. I guess one could split hairs between "fan" and "supporter" if one were so inclined.

"We are opponents."

Have been for a long while on a wide array of issues. Oh, sure, we agree sometimes, but I agree with most people sometimes.

"I don't see any point in continuing this conversation, but I don't wish to be rude."

Well, I don't wish to be rude, but sometimes I am.


Labor After Bernie

In which a former comrade interviews a dude that we keep running into at Massachusetts labor events.

Rand Wilson’s road to Damascus-like conversion to the Democratic Party

In which curmudgeonly blogger criticizes said dude that we keep running into at Massachusetts labor events.

We stand with Kshama Sawant

In which American Cliffites solidarize with my most famous comrade


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VIVA CASTRO!
I'll always remember the great work he did for South Africa.
Long live the revolution!
[Clenched fist salute]

Grand Lodge

Begins lurking

Scarab Sages

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I think the best economic system is "none."

I've formally studied economics - 1 year in high school, and several semesters in college. I liked my teachers, and they liked me. By the end of it all, I'd reached the following conclusion: That the field of economics is, at best, nothing more than a subtopic of history, a river that features certain recurring currents, but can never really be stepped in twice - and at worst, it is a pseudoscientific cult (or perhaps it is merely a "religion" when taken as a whole, with certain sects therein, the "Chicago school" for example, reaching the level of full-on cult). Science studies things that are real, whereas "the economy" is just a kind of game, the rules of which can be whatever people agree to. This would explain both the catastrophic failures of capitalism, and those of many of the alternatives that have been attempted, since they still accept as a starting point the initial concept of "economics" as articulated by Adam Smith. The genius of John Maynard Keynes was to (at least to a degree) see the illusion for what it was, and make economic decisions based on (shall we say) a pragmatic/nihilistic/absurdist/situational/atomist/ad-hoc approach (I don't know, I might be giving Keynes too much credit, but at the very least, the fact that his methods worked so well up until the New Deal was broken reveals this greater reality).

What's real is material resources. People have free will and cannot be predicted by a few equations (maybe up to a point and/or under certain conditions, but certainly nothing like how atoms, chemicals, and inanimate objects can be predicted - and yes, this is a lurking monkey wrench beneath all "social sciences," but none do a worse job than in economics). The saying that "put 10 economists in a room, and you'll come out with 11 opinions" is a joke one makes about rabbis, not scientists.


Fergie wrote:

VIVA CASTRO!

I'll always remember the great work he did for South Africa.
Long live the revolution!
[Clenched fist salute]

[Clenched fist salute]


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[Clenched fist salute]

. . . I really hope Lord and Lady Dice didn't see that!

Scarab Sages

Fergie wrote:

VIVA CASTRO!

I'll always remember the great work he did for South Africa.
Long live the revolution!
[Clenched fist salute]

...And the CIA will never be able to take credit for it. I always thought that was impressive.


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La Principessa's Guatemalan Anarcho-Syndicalist Playwright Friend just posted this on FB, which I thought was nice:

"Say what you will about Fidel, he was a true believer, and in a region of the world ruled by caudillos, his caudillo rule was far more beneficial and merciful than the butchers he fought against. Latin American reformism died during Guatemala's coup in 1954. Che was in the country during the CIA sponsored bloodshed and fled for Mexico, where he met Fidel. No competent revolutionary would attempt reformism after seeing how the Americans responded. The American founding fathers recognized that a nation constantly at war couldn't be free, and Cuba's perpetual conflict with the US was not of their choosing. You can't understand the Cuban Revolution without understanding the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala and the effect it had on leftists, anti-racists and the poor of Latin America. Cuba has many problems, but it also has strengths and accomplishments beyond what other similar countries accomplished. May Cuba continue to improve, develop and maintain the anti-imperialist struggle."

To which he appended a short video about Fidel in South Africa.

Anyway, time to go back to work.


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Crossrail construction workers occupy contractor's HQ in pay and union rights protest

Amazon UK's warehouse blockaded in Black Friday protest

Today, we visited the legendary Lost City of the Aromatherapists in order to sell books and general crap and raise money for the Paper.

We sold some books and general crap and raised money for the paper, so mission accomplished, and may also have gained a new recruit or two, possibly, neither of whom are actually aromatherapists (so far as I know)


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Responding to Facebook comments about Edmund Wilson brought me to this essay about the only other book of his that I ever read. Probably should go into the Good Books thread, but whatever.

“Patriotic Gore is Not Really Much Like Any Other Book by Anyone”

Revisiting one of the most important and confounding books ever written about the Civil War.

Cross Post from Books Thread

First section of To the Finland Station deals with Frenchmen that I know very little about and have never read:

Jules Michelet
Ernest Renan
Hippolyte Taine
Anatole France

Oh, and an Italian:

Giambattista Vico


Second Part Dealt with Dudes I Was Way More Familiar With

Francois-Noel "Gracchus" Babeuf
Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon
Charles Fourier
Robert Owen

Last chapter in section was a survey of the utopian socialist communities, starting with a bit on this guy:

Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin

and a couple of others:

Auguste Comte (this guy gets mentioned a lot in histories of Marx and 19th-century Marxism; never really figured out what positivism was)
Etienne Cabet
John Humphrey Noyes

Next section starts up a bio of Marx and Engels; covers all the familiar ground (Young Hegelians who I think I covered in my old thread, Feuerbach, controversy with Proudhon), but Wilson is a bit of a genius at prose stylin', so it's fun read. Read five chapters at work yesterday, let's see where I get today!

Scarab Sages

Here's a question for you, Comrade (and I guess anyone else): What do you think of tariffs and other forms of national economic protectionism? Is it or is it not a barrier to a greater internationalist vision for the future?


I oppose protectionist campaigns among the American unions because it fosters the illusion that American workers and American capitalists have the same interests and tends to lend credence to campaigns to demonize workers from other countries, particularly Mexico and/or China. The murder of Vincent Chin back in the eighties is a good example of protectionism fueling chauvinism in the working class. In contradistinction to protectionism, communists put forward international workers solidarity.

As for when the government does it, I tend to view tariffs and whatnot through the prism of "trade wars lead to shooting wars" but I am aware that this reflects my position as a resident in the most powerful imperialist nation in history and I might have a slightly different view if I lived in, say, Venezuela, or, more to the point, Cuba.


Back to To the Finland Station:

Romp through Marx and Engels bios going swell, although I was largely disappointed by the chapter "The Myth of the Dialectic." Next chapter, "Marx and Engels Go Back to Writing History" revealed that Engels's The Peasant War in Germany is a gaping hole in my Marxist classics reading list that should be addressed soon.


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In my view, some measure of protectionism is necessary, especially if you're a developing country, to help safeguard emerging/strategic industries. It also helps avoid the sort of race to the bottom we've seen, where we (in the UK, at least) are told that we have to compete with the Chinese, etc., in terms of working hours/wages or none of us will have jobs.

Not that it's all positive by any means, and it never lasts, capitalism being capitalism, but internationalism on the IMF/EU's terms is internationalism for them, not us, in my view.

In other news:

Solidarity liberates Sudanese CP HQ

UPS racism drives London staff to picket lines


UPS Christmas strikes are awesome!

Article I will read when I get home tonight:

Everybody Hates Cornel West

With mention of Adolph Reed!


My ankle was sore, so I only did one shift today. Mr. Comrade texted to say he's at some meeting to demand that UML become a "sanctuary school" and he's planning not one, but TWO inauguration day protests (one in Manchester, one in Lowell). He sure is ambitious.

Anyway, more Cornel West.

And while I'm at it,

Afropunk video featuring one of my comrades

and a profile of the org in former far-leftist turned far-rightist David Horowitz's website

THE 'SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE'--A close look at one of the key organizers of the anti-Trump protest movement.

and finally, another Jacobin article, although I think I missed Fred's b-day

The Return of Engels


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Top Situationist fillustufer Guy Debord's Marxist wargame


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Not too much communism to report on as of late, alas, although I was able to sit in on a contact session yesterday morning before work.

Young black woman, high school student that I met at the anti-Trump rally in Concord a while back. It was the same rally where Young Gay Autistic Comrade was trying to light up small little stars-and-stripes flags that he had written "F+#& Trump" on, but it was a windy night and he ended up accidentally setting ablaze his Anti-Fascist Action banner. I think he's given up on flag-burning. Anyway, later in the rally, I was standing next to him when aforementioned young black woman asked about his remaining red banner. "Are you a communist?" she asked. He gave some very strange, rambling response, and I interjected and said, "yes, he's a communist. Here's a flyer."

And a couple weeks later she called and had read The Communist Manifesto and wanted to become a red. Huzzah! That's the way it's supposed to work!

In the nostalgia department, kid that CAJE used to stand out in the street for sues police and The Lowell Sun re-runs quotes from Anarcho-Syndicalist Hipster who, last I heard, was out at Standing Rock.

Lowell officers named in suit
Man claims 3 officers used excessive force

Scarab Sages

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Lowell officers named in suit

This just sounds sort of funny.

"Yes...well, officers are normally seen in suits...."


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Synergistic Weirdiosity

Just finished the second chapter, "How Capitalism Got Its Groove Back" in Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank which ends with the following paragraph in a section entitled "Enter the Bubba":

The exact point where these trajectories intersected was occupied by one Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas, a Rhodes Scholar, and a McGovern campaign worker who had grown up to become the chairman of the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council). He led the idealistic Sixties generation and he warred with the teachers' union; he smoked dope and he never got high; he savored Fleetwood Mac and he got tough with welfare mothers. Here was the one-man synthesis of the grubby dialectic I have been describing, and he arrived in Washington to fulfill the sordid destiny of his class like Lenin arriving at the Finland station.

Scarab Sages

I'm a bit puzzled - where's the "Synergistic Weirdiosity" in that? Yes, it explains how the Clintons are embodiments of a kind of "synergistic weirdiosity," but you make it sound like something is going on now that's a remarkable coincidence to be happening along with your reading that.

In other news, for whatever it's worth, I've worked out that I'll be attending my state's "Hamilton Electors" protest with my father on the 19th. I had been kind of lackadaisical about going since the state I live in went the less-ohgodsnoyoumustbejoking direction anyway, so our local electors aren't the ones that need prodding, but if nothing else, it's an excuse to go on a day-trip somewhere nice.

I've already thought of a good picket sign:

If a
Democrat
were caught conspiring with
Russians,
they'd already have been
KILLED!


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
I'm a bit puzzled - where's the "Synergistic Weirdiosity" in that? Yes, it explains how the Clintons are embodiments of a kind of "synergistic weirdiosity," but you make it sound like something is going on now that's a remarkable coincidence to be happening along with your reading that.

The previous book I was reading/posting about was To the Finland Station.

Scarab Sages

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:


The previous book I was reading/posting about was To the Finland Station.

Ha. I see.


Next chapter should be interesting: Study of my second favorite state, Massachusetts, as exemplar of technocratic DP-controlled yuppie austeritarianism. Should be fun.


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This reminded me of a certain goblin.


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Next chapter should be interesting: Study of my second favorite state, Massachusetts, as exemplar of technocratic DP-controlled yuppie austeritarianism. Should be fun.

If ewe iz reel goblin, youze's flavorite state iz state of compete disarray of hughman eclonomy and sobriety. And BURNING!


Chapter wasn't even that good. Lots of Boston yuppies and the cult of innovation, one or two pages about industrial decline in Fall River.

Anyway, two articles:

The Weimar Analogy

Which caught my eye because me and Mr. Comrade usually refer to the city of Lowell as the Weimar Republic of Lowell in honor of Mr. Comrade's unconventional, free-swinging sex life in said city. Article isn't about sex at all, alas; rather it's about how anti-Hitler liberals ended up Cold War technocrats who thought the "people" were too dumb to know what was good for them.

Psychedelics & Sexual Healing: A Talk with Dee Dee Goldpaugh

By a hippie-dippie woman who was part of the larger Lowellian activist scene; now that I know what she writes about, maybe I should pay her more attention, hmmm.

Speaking of Lowellian activism, Anarcho-Syndicalist Hipster and Train-Blocking Environmentalist Semi-Celebrity are having their "welcome back from Standing Rock" party, but, alas, I'll be at work.

Scarab Sages

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Which caught my eye because me and Mr. Comrade usually refer to the city of Lowell as the Weimar Republic of Lowell in honor of Mr. Comrade's unconventional, free-swinging sex life in said city. Article isn't about sex at all, alas; rather it's about how anti-Hitler liberals ended up Cold War technocrats who thought the "people" were too dumb to know what was good for them.

Can't say I'm unsympathetic. I've had technocratic leanings for a good long time.


We all need agency - we all need meaningful control over our lives. That's what the anarchists/libcoms get right; I think you need some sort of collective means of doing so, which is where the state/Trade Unions come in; that's what (some, but by no means all) libcoms get wrong.

Technocracy bypasses that - in my view, it's fundamentally elitist and is far more compatible with some sort of ancap/feudalist horror than it is with socialism.

However, don't worry, because Humpty Dumpty has a brilliant idea that'll put everything right -

LOYALTY OATHS!


Argle bargle gargle...


So waddya want - a rrrubbah biscuit?


Taking the oath may be a good idea... I mean, the US has done it a long time, and they don't have any problems with islamist extremism...


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That reminds me of George Takei's tweet:
"I pledged allegiance to the flag every morning inside an internment camp. I would never burn one, but I'd die to protect the right to do so."

Here is an excellent editorial written by Takei himself in the Washington Post.

I've recited that stupid garbage thousands of times, (everyday of school started that way), and always thought it was a steaming load of b$*~&**@ propaganda.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Can't say I'm unsympathetic. I've had technocratic leanings for a good long time.

You may be interested in the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, whom I posted about (linked his wikipedia page) above. He may have, don't quote me here, invented technocracy and, although not exactly a socialist, was a big influence on Marx. Later, after he died, one of his followers convinced another one of his followers that the latter was Jesus reborn, or something, and that once he found the perfect woman to be his wife, then they would take over the world. The latter tried it out for about a dozen years and then when the Perfect Woman never showed up, he gave it up. Along the way, he led a cult of thousands, got thrown in jail and, apparently, came up with the idea for the Suez Canal.

Anyway, there's enough Marxists in the world, could use a few more Saint-Simonians.

In other news, I've often read that the American "Pledge of Allegiance" was written by a "socialist" but I can't imagine that he was one that would excite my interest, so I never looked him up.

Finally, Mr. Comrade found an Oscar Wilde aphorism that I had, inexplicably, never heard before:

"The trouble with socialism is that it takes too many evenings."

(Although I can't find it said the same way twice on the internet; perhaps apocryphal?)


Article by a friend of a friend in Jacobin:

Deportation Profits--El Salvador’s call-center industry is profiting off US deportees.

Also, Mr. Comrade tells me that a Russian ambassador got assassinated in Turkey?!?

Haven't checked the news in a few days. Thank god peak's almost over.

Scarab Sages

Limeylongears wrote:
So waddya want - a rrrubbah biscuit?

I've heard that before - where is it from?

In other news: My father and I went to our state capitol to participate in the local Hamilton Electors protest, such as it was. We now know that that didn't turn out as well as I might have hoped, but for me, the apex of the experience today was when we were walking (just my father and I, no crowd with us) to another part of the city to participate in somebody's attempt at a branch protest, and this passerby with a blue-frosted beard saw my father's sign ("Donald Trump - Vladimir Putin's Choice!") and said in a thick foreign accent (couldn't tell from where, but vaguely European), "Trump has been made President? He can go to Hell."

There was just something in the way he said it that I got a kick out of.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
In other news, I've often read that the American "Pledge of Allegiance" was written by a "socialist" but I can't imagine that he was one that would excite my interest, so I never looked him up.

"Where all classes of society merge insensibly into one another every alien immigrant of inferior race may bring corruption to the stock. There are races more or less akin to our own whom we may admit freely and get nothing but advantage by the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races, which we cannot assimilate without lowering our racial standard, which we should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes."

Francis Bellamy, Christian socialist, author of the "Pledge of Allegiance." I don't always enjoy being right.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
So waddya want - a rrrubbah biscuit?

I've heard that before - where is it from?

The Chips - Rubber Biscuit

Scarab Sages

Limeylongears wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
So waddya want - a rrrubbah biscuit?

I've heard that before - where is it from?

The Chips - Rubber Biscuit

0_o


Found this on the new contact's Facebook page:

Graded on a Curve: Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

I knew I liked her.


Hey what's happening, gobbo?


Not too much. Biggest jump in organizing since Occupy and I'm stuck loading boxes into trucks. But not for much longer!

After that, I've got a vacation week sometime in January in which I expect to visit La Principessa, grade quizzes, watch Season Three of Game of Thrones and do it all week, not necessarily in that order.

How's Japan?


Interesting non-communism article:

The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does

Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?

Includes theories of alternate dimensions.


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There was a Scientific American episode on PBS a while back about something similar.

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