Assange and the sex predators

21 Jun

Assange was falsely accused of sex assault and has been effectively detained for almost 3,000 days. Now two sex predators are running for President of the United States.

13 Replies to “Assange and the sex predators

  1. Sorry for going off topic Philip, but a recent Off-Guardian article starts with this:

    “The State is a belief system.”

    And then goes on:

    “People who believe in the State are called statists. Those who don’t, broadly come under the umbrella term anarchists. For statists, the anarchist is despised. Life without their State is unimaginable, therefore those who wish to live without it must be evil. The anarchist has long been reviled by statists as the dangerous subversive.”

    There’s a complementary bit about Proudhon, along with such nuggets as “Anarchy is already the way we order society in our day to day lives.” I’ll bet you didn’t know that!

    I didn’t read any more and I won’t. What a heap of posturing impotent pseudo radical crap! Anarchists, eh?

    Hal Draper had their number well and truly sussed.

    • I’m tempted to reapply Lenin’s depiction of ultra leftism – an infantile disorder. But a key reason for my recent mild depression was the extent of division – and, in too many cases, manifest lack of sincerity, discipline and basic good manners – in oppositional circles.

      Until the many areas of difference become matters of vital and immediate importance, I’ll do what I can to get along with those whose views I don’t share.

      BTL at Off-Guardian, for instance, I’m put off by smug and needlessly rude comments. Not by the fact many express worldviews sharply divergent from mine.

    • Well, that’s Anarchism completely and comprehensively demolished then! What a relief, no more digging up the Diggers, peering at the works of Proudhon, bothering with Bakunin, caring about Kropotkin, glancing at Godwin, or lurking with the Levellers.

      Or maybe a little bit of unthinking Marxist prejudice has crept into your soul. (Pardon me if you don’t believe in ‘souls’)


      • Well let’s start with that OffG article:

        “The State is a belief system.”

        No, the state is an organisation of vast numbers of individuals which is split up into various departments all serving various aims. It isn’t a question of “believing” in this institution. It is there above us and is the product of a very long history, each stage involving the imposition of rules and regulation for the society “under” it. Scare quotes necessary because I don’t see any rigid demarcation between the state and society. The anarchists see themselves as purely free autonomous individuals who would be able to function in a totally “natural” way without this “dictatorial” state.

        “Anarchy is already the way we order society in our day to day lives” is total nonsense. The ordering of our society takes place through our livelihoods which, at this point, are organised on a capitalist basis. Sure, you can tidy up your household any way you want and indulge in activities with your neighbours any way you want – but these activities too are dependant on your capitalistically organised social being, not to mention all the items you need which are supplied by a system organised along capitalist lines.

        So much for definitions. The theoretical implications of “anarchism” were analysed by Hal Draper (“Theleme” was an abbey imagined by Rabelais. It has only one rule: “Do what you like.”):

        “Anarchism is not concerned with the creation of democratic control from below, but only with the destruction of “authority” over the individual, including the authority of the most extremely democratic regulation of society that it is possible to imagine. This has been made clear by authoritative anarchist expositors time and again; for example, by George Woodcock: “even were democracy possible, the anarchist would still not support it … Anarchists do not advocate political freedom. What they advocate is freedom from politics…” Anarchism is on principle fiercely anti-democratic, since an ideally democratic authority is still authority. But since, rejecting democracy, it has no other way of resolving the inevitable disagreements and differences among the inhabitants of Theleme, its unlimited freedom for each uncontrolled individual is indistinguishable from unlimited despotism by such an individual, both in theory and practice.”

        • Well, and so? Anarchism is just as coherent and believable as Socialism or Marxism. It’s a matter of personal choice and belief which you would like to see in practice. There is very little to be gained in discussing the pros and cons of each possible system here. All the arguments have already been made, and are available to view. All the arguments you care to make against Anarchism will have been discussed and refuted to anyone’s satisfaction, or not, as your individual position may be. It is completely pointless for you to throw in your tuppence-halfpenny worth, which is no more (or less) compelling than the arguments of others already made. You are not going to convince anyone who is not already convinced. do I have to belabour the point any further?

          • I would say that whatever kind of society we ultimately achieve is something we can argue about later – and much of it will depend on unforeseeable outcomes. Many Marxists (Hal Draper certainly) have said that people can only create a society “on the hoof” and by trial and error.

            What is important right now is the recognition, which I think we all share, that the system we are living under right now (whatever you want to call it) is not only destructive but suicidal. However, the powers that be have no intention of just handing everything over. They have enormous resources at their disposal – an entire legal structure set up to benefit themselves and all the physical force to protect themselves against “interference”.

            I don’t have any plan of attack. I don’t know what is going to happen. But one thing I can be sure of is that to say “It’s a matter of personal belief and personal choice” is precisely what we don’t need right now. And that is what I object to in what I perceive as the anarchist position. We can be as individualistic and idealistic as we want AFTER the revolution – or, if you prefer, after the “change”. Right now, we need solidarity. (And you can be sure that the ruling class – or vested interests or whatever you want to call them – know perfectly well that THEY need to have solidarity too.)

            (And I thank Philip in his comment below which reminded me to stay civil. I have a problem with flying off the handle – and this volatility is something which I think the ruling class constantly try to instil in everyone.)

            • Yes, I agree with the first part of your reply. But trying to get everyone who is on the same side to subscribe to one singular analysis is both futile and counter-productive. Surely the way forward is to accept other viewpoints from people who (in the first stages of trying to obtain change, at least) want to travel in the same direction, instead of sniping at them when you disagree. To deny that one’s political position can be “a matter of personal belief and personal choice” is to say the least, Stalinist.

              We need solidarity, but we don’t need conformity. Yours fraternally, comrade.

    • George – I think it was a certain Mr Marx who first envisaged the “withering away of the State”

  2. Philip, I’m sorry to be veering ever more off topic, but one of the things that astonish me about the Marxist material I am discovering is how it has the habit of outlining certain movements which are all too prevalent nowadays, but which are hardly new. So much of the present is already pre-echoed in the past. And Hal Draper had a wonderful diagnosis of the origin of that “Banker conspiracy theory” I previously alluded to:

    “The working class is not the only class or group alienated, at one time or other, by the operations and depredations of capitalism; the capitalist class has despoiled middle class strata, bankrupted petty bourgeois property owners, embittered an intelligentsia, plundered a peasantry and so on. Radicalized movements and parties based on these social resentments have not been rare. But the political programs they tend to adopt as they move into opposition to the status quo are likely to remain within the bounds of the capitalist system. Hence they tend to concentrate on mere political reform, on economic rostrums like money manipulation, on demagogic attacks on the Bank Octopus or Interest Slavery or some other excrescences of the system; they do not tend to come out for abolition of the capitalist system.”

    I would add to this that some of those embittered intellectuals have indeed developed lovely rosy ideas about a “better system” but haven’t a clue about the cumbersome matter of how to bring it about. The upshot is that they develop a contempt for the “weak” and “stupid” working masses who are blamed for failing to deliver the desired movement which these intellectuals have no intention of dirtying their hands with.

  3. Interesting and worthy debate here, George and Jams. Is it getting a tad tetchy? Vital to keep sight of the fact you both recognise ours as a darkly suboptimal world, with change a more than ever burning priority. The commonalities vastly exceed the differences between you. We all have raging egos, and ego is constantly seeking to locate itself in difference.

    Doesn’t mean difference shouldn’t be explored. It should and must be. But please, don’t slip over into disrespect. Not saying that’s happened, just making a plea that you both stay mindful of the dangers.

    • Thanks for the advice Philip. Just to add that Hal Draper emphasises that one of the props of bourgeois society is to instil a belief that “the people” are like little infants who will always remain so and therefore need to be constantly guided all through their lives. And it is precisely THIS attitude that stops all those people from growing. If people are going to learn they need to be allowed to make mistakes. And this will apply to the creation of a new society. We cannot simply permit a self-appointed elite to patronise us into submission. I’m sure that anarchists will be in total agreement.

    • I think we’re cool here. PS Fraternal sign off above NOT given ‘tongue in cheek’ – just in case it’s not clear! We do need solidarity.

  4. Reading BTL so far I’m reminded on a number of levels of browsing in the Independent Bookshop (corner of Surrey Street and Tudor Square) back in the eighties seeing a postcard on the rack (produced by Leeds Postcards- wonder if they’re still going?) depicting a small group of revolutionaries/anarchists in a pub pondering the question of how to overthrow the capitalist system/state?

    The thought bubble caption of one of the syndicate read “vote Conservative!”

    The point being that the vision of the capitalist free market of Thatcher and Reagan was as close as you were ever going to get to an anarchic ‘free for all’ system.

    Surveying the terrain today the line of thinking depicted in that ‘cartoon’ conjures up a number of observations.

    Firstly, despite what is sold to us as ‘Capitalism’ (at least in the West) by those who claim to believe in it as a system, I’m not convinced what we have, here and now, can be properly regarded as Capitalism any more.(N.B. always define your terms).

    I don’t think I’m alone in that observation. There seem to be some with actual first hand experience and who can actually demonstrate a knowledge of how Capitalism is supposed to function and operate systemically who have been raising this question in recent years.

    Whilst I consider some of them to have a blind spot in regard to the State (on behalf of collective society) borrowing to invest and reaping the rewards (alongside a somewhat limited understanding of economic history), there are a number of key aspects in which they have a valid point.

    The cycles of ‘creative destruction’ in which Capitalism as a system renews itself (perhaps the most succinct description was provided by the Soviet era economist Kondratiev, who was sent to the Gulags and subsequently executed for this ‘blasphamy’ by Stalin) where new businesses based on emergent technologies mature and are themselves replaced and allowed to go under seems to have come to a halt. An observation which Paul Mason makes in one of his recent books a few years back.

    The few observers who genuinely demonstrate they know their backside from their elbow on these matters have been increasingly attempting to point out that printing money in billions and trillions by Central Banks to keep ‘Zombie Companies” afloat ‘aint capitalism. Some have even gone as far as to argue if something is too big to fail it’s too big to exist.

    Certainly, creating vast amounts of debt to give to companies across sectors which are either failed, failing, or not producing added value to the system ( where the newly created out of thin air money is ploughed back into such companies to inflate their balance sheets and stock prices, and subsequently the multi-million £/$Euro/Yen bonuses of CO’s) is not what those who claim to believe in Capitalism says on the tin.

    The crazy situation in which companies going into administration, like Hertz and Chesapeake Energy, find their stock price going up several hundred per cent because investors using Apps like Robin Hood are convinced that the Fed has their backs and will underwrite their losses with magic money from the printing presses to be paid back by he serfs through permanent austerity neatly illustrates the dire situation.

    Apparently, to provide one example, the US Central Bank (pre-pandemic) owned around $4.2 trillion of QE created Magic Money debt. The up to date figure is now $7.2 trillion. Or, to put it another way, around 30% of US GDP. To put that in some historical and contemporary perspective, Britain, when it abolished slavery in the 19th Century borrowed some 40% of its GDP to compensate the families who owned slaves in Britain for their “loss”.

    That debt was not paid off until 2015. Not far off a century and a half later. Leaving aside the opportunity costs of that largess and the generational benefits and advantages enjoyed by those families to the present day, the taxes of many people in the UK today right back to their great, great grandparents have been paying off that debt.

    The UK and EU Central Banks are no better in this regard. Since the US came off the Breton Woods system under Nixon it and it’s mini-me (the UK) have essentially being operating a Ponzi scheme of global proportions which seems to have halted what we traditionally considered to be ‘Capitalism.’. The rate at which useless debt is being created (that is, not invested in productive value enhancing endeavours which generate a multiplier) has started to see some observers and commentators openly suggest that once the Central Banks reach a point in which they own a debt equal to 100% of GDP we will back to full blown feudalism.

    Secondly, in addition to what is traditionally regarded as ‘Capitalism’ not (as in the objective real world) operating to specifications, Democracy or the demos also needs to be subject to similar critical scrutiny.

    Leaving aside the well worn observation of a ‘Democratic” system based on two interchangable party’s (Democrats/Republicans; Tory/New Labour) operating under the same narrowing Overton Window as to make no discernable difference: the practical effect of the Henry VIII clauses in the UK Government Brexit legislation is starting to gather steam in terms of Ministerial fiat and pushing through changes with inadequate, if any, serious democratic scrutiny.

    Consultation with the devolved nations assemblies and Parliament’s and Local Authorities of the UK over relaxations of so called ‘lockdown’ restrictions are now non existent. Ditto in respect of those vulnerable groups, and the medical profession responsible for their care, shielding who are set to lose food parcels and expected to put themselves at risk.

    The more outrageous examples of junior ministers smoothing through planning applications for pornographers in return for party donations which deny the public purse and cash strapped Councils (8/10 are apparantly on the verge of bankruptcy) tens of millions look set to become the norm. As is the Marie Antoinette approach and attitude of referring ordinary voters to the same process of blatant bribery and corruption if they want anything out of Government.

    And “The Loyal Opposition”? With internal whistleblowers being pursued by a Knight of the Realm so called leader what are the prospects for democracy in the future with a Party Organisation captured by the elite which works to prevent the Party winning an election if its members elect anyone with policies which challenge this ossified system in which history has been actively and deliberately frozen?

    Little wonder that some members are pursuing court cases against the Party and individuals for undermining not just party rules but the democratic process per se. Having canvassed forcthe odious Angela Smith in 2017 it was obvious from the literature produced at that time that the Party bureaucracy right down to the Regional Offices/Officers had no intention of winning that election.

    The report I submitted to the CLP at the time observed two campaigns, one by the bureaucracy and one by the leadership. Both in opposite directions with contradictory objectives. There can be little doubt that Brexit would be a different prospect if that undemocratic action had not prevailed. We certainly would not have had another election last December and the current pandemic would have been handled more professionally with a lower mortality rate.

    The fact that there are people still willing to give up time and effort to pursue a forelone hope of “winning” (for what purpose, to what ends, with what values?) next time around (assuming there is a next time) in a clearly rigged system is indicative of a further issue which receives scant attention and critical scrutiny which is just as problematical on the ‘left’ as it is on the ‘right.’

    As with “Capitalism” and “Democracy” the assumed conception of society is predicated upon assumptions which no longer seem to be valid.

    Whatever differing opinions existed in the past it seems reasonable to observe that, at least post-enlightenment, there existed an acceptance of objective realities and their confines outside of the subjective ego based opinion. Arguably, it could be said that acceptance of objective realities provided the basis for the coherence of a functioning society.

    Again, this no longer seems to be a reasonable assumption to make.

    Across a range of issues; from little englander British/Unionist Nationalism (the Nationalism which pretends not to be a Nationalism) and associated notions of right wing white orientated ‘patriotism’; through to the liberal SM mobs on the so called left all denouncing anyone who questions their subjective opinion as the literal equivalent of tratior to Country/instigator of genocide (take your pick – as Michael Miles used to say) and demanding everything short of burning at the stake punishments (give it time) there is little if any room for non post modern concepts, practices and principles such as due process, objective evidence, and the scientific methodology upon which a coherent society can operate and function properly.

    As I type I learn the LP ‘s RLB has been sacked from her shadow post for the “crime” of linking the techniques applied in the death of George Floydd with training from the IDF. RLB was, you may recall, vociferous in promising the BoD everything it wanted in its demands. Leaving the LP and it’s non elite foot soldiers at the mercy of organisations hostile to not only the LP stated principles and values but also enlightenment principles of due process and objective evidence.

    And this is far from the only similar issue. Meanwhile, vulnerable people of my aqaintance are abused and pursued for defending hard won rights (over decades) and voicing scientific realities by similar vociferous organised lobbies claiming to speak for all as an homogenous group with no dissenting views.

    In this now dominant approach subjective self defined opinion is the only game in town. Who shouts the loudest and makes the most denunciations is merely one facet of this puerile approach. In regards to the rejection of objective external evidence and due process norms in favour of internally constructed “realities” (thanks a bunch Karl Rove) there is little difference between this and, at a higher level, the Ministerial Fiat of a feudally educated minority elite and the Fed has our back Zombie “Capitalism”.

    Which brings us right back to the “comrade” in the postcard concluding the only way to a truly anarchic society was to continue voting Tory until the Corporate Capitalist State disappeared up its own contradictions. Like Martin Peters, someone clearly ahead of their time given the way things have panned out today.

    Be careful what you wish for.

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