COP-26 WILL BE ANOTHER COP-OUT.

The forthcoming international Conference of Parties (COP) to discuss limiting global warming, we can already say, will be a complete and utter cop-out. Despite decades of evidence of the dangers of overproduction, over-consumption and reliance upon fossil fuels, like other such pro-capitalist gatherings, little will be done. The coming Cop-26 event in the UK during November will pussyfoot around discussions of ‘symptoms’ whilst steadfastly ignoring the cause. Capitalists and pro-capitalist governments can only tinker with symptoms because they are in denial about the current mode of production – which is the underlying cause.

So dominant and entrenched is the ideology of ‘capitalism’ that even those among the middle classes who are critical of rising temperatures, pollution, floods, fires and poverty, remain unable to grasp that the existential threat to humanity is from the economic system itself, not the dangers it continually spawns. Consequently, those at such Cop-26 events, will be locked into only considering a range of reforms – all of which confirm and depend upon the existing mode of production. The choice of technical ‘alterations’ or ‘adjustments’ discussed at Cop 26 will be between a few immediate token actions and more token measures to be implemented – decades in the future! None of these ‘adjustments’will reverse the present trajectory of human-led ecological devastation.

The reason it will not halt or reverse this trajectory is not hard to understand. The larger the mass of middle and upper class ‘better off’ individuals there are in any class divided society, the more overall production is necessary to satisfy the cultivated needs of their elevated station. The working classes, who provide all the essential (and luxury) services for all classes, are therefore required to work harder and continuously increase their productivity. However this increased productivity requires more materials and energy to produce the new products, more resources to distribute them and more resources to dispose of those products replaced by the latest ones. Yet the only resources available to maintain such cycles of present and future production and consumption are those still available on an already depleted planet earth.

The cycle of earth, air and water depletion due to present and future conspicuous consumption will not be altered or interrupted by productive methods which are less reliant on carbon and fossil fuel for their manufacture. Furthermore capitalist based science will not (and cannot) solve this problem of class divided modes of production. Indeed, science and it’s ally technology, has created the problems we face. Mass production, Plastics, and other Petroleum products, Nuclear weapons, Mass Air, Road and Sea transport are all the products of capitalist based scientific and technological innovations. Moreover, all of them were hailed by their inventors as solutions to past problems. These and many other past ‘invented solutions’ (Alfred Nobel’s dynamite to end wars, for example!) have become the problems faced by humanity.

The only solution to capitalist resource squandering and overproduction is to stop doing it. The solution to repairing the planet is not to scientifically find other things to overproduce or divert public attention into the fantasy of space tourism and planetary colonisation. Social problems can only be solved by social means. Science, technology and politics cannot solve them. These aspects of our mode of production are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They only ‘appear’ to be possible solutions to those who don’t probe beyond surface appearances. These are the modern equivalent of those who thought the sun circled the earth because it appeared to do so. Or those who thought the earth was flat because the horizon appeared straight. The bad news for humanity is that although flat and earth-centred believers are few and far between, nevertheless the vast majority of people are focused on appearances. Most people seem unable to see beyond the socio-economic surface of the capitalist mode of production.

The results of this general intellectual inability, will be that the token decisions taken at Cop-26 will satisfy some optimists, but business as usual will continue. People will continue to be encouraged to consume current and new products and services for the sake of the ‘economy. Actually it’s ‘their’ economy. Among the masses, the ‘entitlement’ generations of all classes, will expect and demand holidays abroad, along with extravagant nights out and walk, drive or fly past those homeless and unemployed as if there is no connection between the wealth of some and the poverty of others. Yet it is not the talents of individuals which deliver riches to a relative few and poverty to many – that too is merely an ‘appearance’. The underlying reality is that it is the current economic system which delivers these unjust outcomes.

During the current Covid19 pandemic, members of these same entitlement generations have proved they are prepared to accept a high level of unnecessary deaths of other citizens as long as they can continue to experience holidays, sports and entertainment. If they are not sufficiently concerned about the deaths of those who live in the same or neighbouring communities, then how bothered will they be about floods, fires, storms and famines experienced by those in different and foreign lands? That and the current Vaccine imperialist type hoarding and authoritarianism, are precursors of things to come. The elites and their supporters in the advanced countries want the current economic system to survive and prosper – by whatever means they decide is appropriate!

NB. Every elite who control a dying mode of production, turn to authoritarianism and to blaming the systems victims as a strategy to allow it to survive.

However, elites also need to convince a large proportion of the victims that the authoritarianism they espouse and implement is a benign form of concern for them. How well they succeed in getting the masses to agree to elite inspired authoritarianism and to accept the demonisation of those who in various ways oppose the capitalist system, determines the future struggle. In the 20th century, it was ordinary Jews, Slavs and Communists, who were demonised as the threat and thus Fascist means of authoritarianism were needed to combat and silence them. In the 21st century – as yet – it appears to be immigrants, anti-vaxers and extinction rebellion supporters who are to be demonised and suppressed. Finally, I suggest the outcome of Cop-26 in the UK will undoubtedly disappoint all those who are really concerned with the future of planet earth and the life forms dependent upon it.

Roy Ratcliffe (September 2021)

Posted in Critique | Leave a comment

DEATH and DEBACLE in AFGHANISTAN.

Despite some differences, the current situation in Afghanistan, resembles many other troop withdrawals from foreign territories by advanced capitalist countries of the west. The recent panic stricken airlift evacuation of people after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, has been eerily reminiscent of the panic and disorganisation associated with the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. However, that too was nothing new. Leaving chaos behind has actually occurred in many other cases of western and European withdrawal after earlier invasions of foreign territories. Indeed, throughout history, ‘getting in’ is as destructive as ‘getting out’.

If in doubt of the above assertion, just check out the history of the Greek Empire under Alexander; the Roman Empire’s entanglement in the Middle East, before its decline and fall; or the British Empire’s efforts at getting out of North America, India and Africa.

Getting in.

The historic excuse for imperialist and colonialist invasions and occupations has always been ‘rationalised’ as for the benefit of the occupied people. It has been presented as bringing the benefits of civilisation or ‘true’ religion or peace (sic) when the real reason has been to benefit the invaders. The greed for tangible resource benefits such as oil, rubber, gold, diamonds, timber, land, slaves, trade routes or competition, has always been wrapped up in a verbal pretense of altruistic concern for the intended victims. After conquest, structures and institutions are put in place to administer the exploitation/extraction of the particular benefit associated with the country targeted in this way. The process involves encouraging local collaboration to assist in the resource extraction.

Getting out.

However, once that ‘benefit’ (however calculated) has reduced to the point of it costing more to stay as an occupying power, than to get out, then the subsequent confusion and mayhem of withdrawal are almost universal. The structures, including local bureaucracies, are not designed nor equipped to do more than enable imperial or colonial extraction. Therefore, these structures begin to collapse almost as soon as the occupying power loses the means or motive for maintaining them. Afghanistan is merely the most recent example of a common pattern of western military withdrawal from incursions within the continents of Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. The rapid collapse of the American and British supported Afghan ‘regime’ in 2021 was therefore predictable as will be the humanitarian crisis it leaves behind.

This is because the Afghan ‘administration’ was not an indigenous creation, but an occupiers client semi-state, with corruption running through it like a water mark indelibly stains paper. The ghost army which was created by the contradictions of this corrupt US backed regime never existed beyond paycheck numbers, so never really existed. Thus the real Afghan army when faced with a choice of risking their lives in order to defend the corruption, discrimination and authoritarian clients of US foreign policy, decided it was not worth it. So like the South Vietnam soldiers (and many others in such collapses before them) they decided to lay down their rifles, abandon their equipment and discard their uniforms and boots. The US governments empty justification for placing ‘boots on the ground’ has been Trumped and the boots probably just lie abandoned – yet again!

General Incompetence.

The incompetence of the elite sponsored US and UK withdrawals from Afghanistan should not have come as surprise either. The pro-capitalist elites have absorbed no lessons outside of those needed to secure their own personal interests and welfare. When they pulled out of Vietnam, Iraq and many other places of occupation, they did so in the form of a hasty, unprepared shambles, leaving chaos behind. Closer to home, the warnings of climate change, pollution and ecological destruction, have been sounded and ignored by governing elites for decades, yet the planet is currently burning and flooding all over the place. More recently elites the world over, had many years of advanced notice and warnings of a coming pandemic and completely bungled the preparation for, and handling of, that issue.

It should have not come as a surprise, therefore, that the warnings of Afghan diplomats and other ‘intelligence’ experts that if the US and UK elites didn’t plan a careful well-rehearsed exit strategy for Afghanistan, chaos would follow and many who had helped them would be left behind. And the complementary coincidence of a chaotic Afghan withdrawal during a chaotic global pandemic was illustrated by media optics. Packed to overflowing, streets of terrified crowds in heat-saturated queues and cramped planes left Kabul, with no masking, washing facilities and no social distancing. Despite an out of control pandemic, Covid precautions were clearly not factored into this withdrawal debacle.

This whole chaos at Kabul and other places in Afghanistan, is also an unnecessary and potential super-spreader event which together with the dominance of the Delta variant, is going to create an additional layer of problems. In any country accepting those desperate people leaving Afghanistan, the working classes will bear the brunt of any additional problems created by this unnecessary Covid problem on top of the current refugee problem, which is also on top of the current climate change problem.

Was it worth it?

Many voices have been raised about the costs of this Afghan occupation in money and lives and these questions have been conveniently pushed into the future. Former soldiers have asked whether their sacrifices were worth it, but of course the answer to this depends upon who determines ‘it’. If the advancement of humanity was the purpose, then deaths and limb loss were certainly not worth it, because the same fundamentalist Taliban regime has taken over yet again, with all that implies.

Twenty years ago, they were patriarchal fundamentalist opponents of secularism and feminist rights and they remain so. After all, it’s their ideological raison d’ etra! However, if the purpose of occupation was to serve the interests of the pro-capitalist elites, then the deaths and injuries suffered by the troops were worth it to them, because these elite interests have been served. For millenia, soldiers, employed by elites have always served the interests of those elites and never humanity as a whole.

All this should be obvious by now and should have been obvious before to all who are not blinded by self-interest into supporting the present system of production. The whole question of why so many men (and women) prefer a system of ancient patriarchal tribal governance, such as the Taliban etc., to modern secular so-called democratic capitalism is a metaphorical elephant in the room. The existence and resurgence of religious fundamentalism of all strains – Islamic, Jewish, Christian, etc. – in the modern world is largely a distorted protest against the way modern capitalism has developed and is administered throughout the world.

Patriarchy versus Patriarchy.

This religious fundamentalist opposition (Taliban, ISIS etc.) to what now dominates, takes the form of a deeply oppressive mode of governance. It is one in which aggressive males still dominate humanity in the East, in the name of worshiping a fictitious God, rather than the aggressive males now dominating humanity in the West in the name of worshiping ‘capital’. Humanity is certainly at a defining moment in its evolution. How our production is organised, how it’s results are shared and how we think about each other requires revolutionary changes if we are to survive to really become a wise and humane species. Afghanistan, as the metaphorical ‘grave yard of empires’ is yet another long-running example of the problems we face as a species, not an example of the way our manifold problems can be solved.

Roy Ratcliffe (August 2021)

Posted in Critique | 1 Comment

CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – 37.

The Danger is not yet over.

Optimists in Europe and North America are suggesting that the Covid 19 Pandemic is close to the end of its three act (lock down) drama. The vaccination programme has been interpreted by these optimists as the equivalent of the cavalry dashing onto the stage, saving the victims, and allowing the curtain to fall to the audiences applause. Pessimists, on the other hand, are anticipating that the current vaccination process is more in the nature of a temporary ‘refreshments’ interval and there are more tragic acts to follow on the national or global stage. In this latter regard an investigation of a recent Covid19 outbreak in the USA, revealed that;

“Almost 1000 people got infected, and the CDC investigation indicated that vaccinated folks were not only getting infected but also passing on COVID to ‘other’ vaccinated folks.” (emphasis added RR.)

If this evidence is replicated elsewhere, the logic is inescapable. Vaccination will not prevent catching Covid again, nor will vaccination fulfil the humanist desire to avoid it being transmitted to those already vaccinated or not vaccinated. In face of the delta variant and others, the only function vaccination will possibly play is to prevent personal critical illness and death. However, even this is not as uplifting as it is being made out. It has also been recently revealed that 90% of those hospitalised by Covid in an Israeli hospital, we’re fully vaccinated. The fact that fully vaccinated people in Israel needed to go to hospital means that those ‘breakthrough’ reinfections were (and can be) serious forms of illness. Moreover, the pandemic was bad enough when the first Covid 19 virus was being socially transmitted. Then, it reached an average of eight people, passed on from one infected individual. This latest delta variant appears to be transmissible to an average of 125 people.

Of course, the Delta version only surged after the social distancing regulations were relaxed and then removed due to increased vaccinations. This confirms the above noted fact that vaccinations have not prevented the spread of the pandemic and this critical illness level ‘spread’ has now accelerated among the younger generation. The jury is still out on the effects of what has been classified as ‘long Covid’. But because this virus is now adapted to get into most organs of the body and kidneys, lungs, heart, liver and brain, (and regardless of spike protein adaptations), it cannot be assumed that even moderate infection loads (suppressed by vaccinations or not) will not have long term health effects. Vaccination is therefore not sufficient to prevent infection and may not prevent long term illness. Only the lucky or the hyper-vigilant can avoid the worst effects of this increasingly mishandled pandemic.

Clearly, the new COVID mutations (including P618R) are not just producing more virus load in infected people (SARS-CoV-2; attains viral loads 1000 times greater than earlier versions). Furthermore, once exhaled and inhaled by those close to infected people, the virus is now better at avoiding the recipients immune system and replicating itself and/or mutating.

Dodging the Delta variant.

The lesson from avoiding the first Covid 19 variant was clear. If you don’t want to trust in luck or in pro-capitalist government advice then avoid close contact with those who have Covid. The greater the exposure to the virus you get, the sicker you will become. So if you are unsure who has Covid (or not) then the safest policy, whether vaccinated or not, is to consistently mask, distance, wash hands in all mixed situations. And to double mask, extra distance, ventilate rooms and wash frequently in any close and crowded situations. In the latter case a number of other preventive measures can be sensibly added to these. In view of the fact that the main entrance point of airborne micro-particles containing viruses are eyes, nose and mouth (in those with no skin damage) then the methods of prevention are obvious: Effective nasal sprays or creams, eye coverings, protective hand coverings and effective masks (doubled) are advisable in crowded, small un-ventilated spaces – if these cannot be avoided altogether.

Those who can only imagine life under capitalism will also advocate further vaccinations such as booster shots of existing vaccines and the development of further more targeted vaccines. Already three and four injections are being advocated by some professional microbiologists, medical experts, vaccine producers and politicians. One wonders how many more ‘jabs’ will they eventually think are enough? What they all have in common is that they have little understanding of the capitalist mode of production in which they live. Every short term thing possible, (such as vaccines) therefore, must be utilised (and people sacrificed) in order to keep the current capitalist method of production and consumption functioning.

However, short term capitalist based solutions will not work. The fact is that the current mode of production is doomed for at the same time as spectacularly creating and then bungling the handling of the pandemic, it’s representatives are also creating existential climate change, ecological destruction, pollution and poverty. These additional symptoms of existential damage and destruction are perhaps somewhere at the back of some professional consciousness, however, as yet these contradictions have not yet worked their way to the front of their minds. Consequently the dots which clearly connect all these symptoms have not yet been joined up in their professional consciousness. Until reality causes a general rethink in the way societies are run then it is up to individuals and communities to keep themselves safe.

Roy Ratcliffe (August 2021)

Posted in Critique | 3 Comments

EXTINCTION REBELLION.

Extinction is clearly occurring – but is rebellion enough?

Over a number of years, prior to the Covid19 lockdown, the activities of Extinction Rebellion had created considerable interest, not to mention opposition and condemnation. Some of their tactics were so disruptive to everyday life for many people, that criticism even emerged from people sympathetic to their concern of ecological destruction and climate crisis. That type of disruptive activism was encountering the same responses faced by public service employees and those in the private sector who by striking or demonstrating, interrupt the normal functioning of capitalist economic activities. In other words such disruptive activities make the oppression of working class victims of this damaging mode of production worse by interrupting their ability to travel for paid employment or for shopping.

Those campaigning against climate change (and many other ‘single-issue’ problems) have followed a familiar, but dead-end process, which will ultimately end in failure. The dubious freedom of one set of workers to pursue their own perceived separate interests whilst interrupting those of other working class citizens, has never been really effective. Despite the bravery, persistence and dedication of Extinction Rebellion activists, their focus so far has been extremely narrow (ecology), their direct targets (government) superficial. Their tactics suffer from the collateral damage their activist campaigns inflict upon other sufferers under the system. Climate change and ecological damage is a serious and existential threat to all humanity and it affects everyone irrespective of their political views or current voting patterns. However, this acknowledged fact does not automatically result in a greater mass of people organising together to press for change. An alternative perspective of change and tactics need to be devised.

Moreover, the notion of a ‘rebellion’ is also problematic for it hinges around the intention to ‘rebel’ just enough to make those in political power do what they have consistently failed to do for decades – if not centuries. In fact rebellions, as with uprisings, are predicated upon forlorn attempts to persuade or force those with power – within a socio-economic system – to implement policies which are against the class interests of the powerful. The dismal results speak for themselves. Politicians in local and national government have been lobbied for decades on pollution and ecological destruction, (not to mention poverty etc), but politicians left, right and centre in government, have done little or nothing over the past half century. The stubborn fact is that big money can lobby politicians far more effectively and reward them far more handsomely than climate campaigners or any other type of reformist campaign. Since its origin in the ancient Greek Polis, politics has been an intermediate problem, inserted between the interests of ordinary citizens and their ruling elites. Politics has never been a solution and it remains so.

In modern times, the political classes of all shades are pledged to uphold the current capitalist mode of production and it is the mode of industrial production with its private wealth accumulation motive which determines pollution, climate change and ecological destruction. It also determines how politicians relate to it. In this respect, Extinction Rebellion thinking has not followed the logic of elite economic domination and culpability further than this first intermediate political level. Such inability to think outside the capitalistic box becomes transparent once the aims and target of Extinction Rebellions demands are considered. Their ideas and actions are primarily addressed to the same political system that has nurtured and deepened the ‘extinction’ problem in the first place.

‘Extinction Rebellions’ 3 Founding Aims.


“1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency..”
“2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions…”.
“3. Government must create ..and be led by…a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice..”

Let us briefly consider these three points.

The government must tell the truth.’ Two naive idealistic assumptions are expressed in this first aim. First, the concept of ‘truth’ is a slippery concept derived from religious ideology. In response we always need to ask ‘whose truth’? Second, governments are political institutions using methods and approaches, which are far from being fair or even rational. Indeed, politics is based upon bias and hidden evidence and all governments are founded upon secrecy and ‘establishment’ propaganda. So there is no chance of getting anything other than elite determined aims and outcomes. Even the ‘true’ (ie accurate) numbers of huge demonstrations and large petitions are routinely falsified and ignored.

The government must act now…to halt biodiversity loss and ..emissions….’ This too is a naive demand. For a start, political institutions do not control the processes of industrial production and distribution which drives biodiversity loss and toxic emissions so even supportive politicians cannot halt them. The capitalist mode of production and consumption in private and public hands is the source of both these symptoms (and many others) and the economic elite are more powerful and influential than the political elites they finance and support. Financial and economic elites have invested heavily in the current means of production and are not going to damage them let alone scrap them.

Government must create and be led by..a citizens assembly.’ Governments are never “led by” their citizens. As the Brexit and other antics in the UK Parliament and the US Senate budget setting, demonstrate, governments are able to find ways to avoid being led in directions they do not fully embrace. Consultations with citizens in general are invariably a sham to make it appear the public are involved in altering their opinions. The political class in the UK invited citizens to vote to leave the European Union and then failed to act upon it for over two years. And as we know climate urgency has been ignored for many decades. [Check out the 1960’s classic book ‘Silent Spring’.]

The missing socio-economic dimension.

Those academics and intellectuals who initiated the Extinction Rebellion movement, have failed to openly confront the fact that it is the capitalist economic mode of production which is the primary engine of environmental destruction, climate change and toxic emissions. Many thousands among the middle-class already know that so why do those in Extinction Rebellion withhold it and keep silent? Most of them also know that politics serves the needs and interests of the dominant pro-capitalist economic elites, so why stay silent on that question? They also know that it is not the ordinary worker and the poor who are causing global pollution and climate change etc. These symptoms are first-world creations via a mass production based economic system, driven by a powerful pro-capitalist elite whose incentive is profit and wealth accumulation. Consequently the decisions of those who are the wealthiest propel the consumption of more and more resources and thus create more pollution and ecological damage than millions of the poor.

I suggest two further factors have nurtured that middle class failure to identify capitalism as the problem. The first is the fact that Extinction Rebellion is exclusively an expression of middle-class environmental worry and parental concern for the future employment opportunities for their offspring. In general the middle-classes do not want to change the current economic system, because their position (spread across the middle of it) is either reasonably, or overwhelmingly, comfortable. It is only their own and their children’s future environment and employment which is considered a serious enough problem to make activists of them. The second factor is an inadequately analysed outcome of previous anti-capitalist politics which has immunised them against taking up a potential or actual revolutionary-humanist anti-capitalist stance.

Their own class-based mis-identifications of the Soviet Union and Communist China (et al) as ‘anti-capitalist modes of production’, loom so large as to represent an insurmountable intellectual barrier to their thinking. However, it should be obvious that in all areas of human endeavour many early attempts fail disastrously. Particularly when these are ‘led’ by those with the arrogance to think they always know best. As was the case with the state capitalist forms of the Bolsheviks and Moaists. In contrast, the wise approach to failure is to persist and rectify the manifold previous faults. It would seem that Extinction Rebellion’s failure to move on beyond capital is rooted in the failure of the middle-class intellectual to be radically critical and self-critical and give up their current stipends.

Politics – all politics – is of course, the problem, not the solution. But the solution to the existence of sectarian and divisive politics is to build social movements based upon openness and inclusiveness. The humanist answer for middle-class activists is not to become involved in existing politics or to invent a new form of politics nor to adopt the least worst existing form. The solution is to follow the logic of a humanist concern to save the planet – and not just for middle-class humanity, but for all humanity and other life forms. This logical extension of saving the planet would mean adopting an all-round humanist approach to all the capitalist inspired problems facing humanity, for these are many more than emissions and biodiversity loss. For such an aim, rebellions are insufficient means, revolutionary transformations are required.

The limitation of rebellions.

The type of rebellion Extinction Rebellion suggest is similar to the Arab Spring rebellions against various dictators. These ‘rebels’ also desired to convince a systems representatives which had created the problems in the first place to reverse their chosen path and start down another. Modes of production, as with many other systems of course do not do this, they conserve themselves until they internally collapse and an alternative emerges. Indeed, the capitalist mode of production has all but collapsed twice before. It was a collapse which resulted in two world wars, in which mass extinctions of people, infrastructure and natural ecology took place around the globe, but no satisfactory alternative emerged. Instead, the middle-class rebellious academics and intellectuals of that pre- and post-war period, (1920’s to 1950’s) in the west supported the systems attempt to reform and clean up the mess 20th century capitalist inspired warfare had made of the world in 1945.

So in many ways 21st century Extinction Rebellion is another case of a Radical Reformist Rebellion which urges the capitalist system to reform itself in order to survive. However this time the crisis is more extreme than the one in the 20th century. It is depressingly frequent that otherwise intelligent people fail to think things through or thoroughly study past experience before thinking they have arrived at a potential solution. The capitalist mode of production and it’s representatives among the elites are those elements which have created the climate and extinction problems we face. Asking them to stop doing what they are doing is the equivalent of trying to convince fully evolved predatory animals (such as lions and tigers) to suddenly become vegetarians.

Roy Ratcliffe (May 2021)

Posted in Critique | Leave a comment

CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – 36.

Blaming the Victims – again!

In the UK Boris Johnsons hasty and spurious pandemic ‘Freedom Day’ turned into ‘Freedom to Spread the Virus Day’ and has now eased the path for a ‘Blaming the Un-vaccinated Month’. This latter level of outrageous chutzpah by politicians and medical officials should not surprise us. The bourgeois elites of past and present generations have always tried to divert problems arising from their capitalist system on those who become its victims. The latest ‘blame game’ tactic associated with the ongoing Corona19 virus Pandemic, is now being directed at the non – vaccinated.

Those with longer memories than the much maligned goldfish, will remember that very early on in the pandemic, nurses and care workers were also blamed for not using protective gear correctly. Later still people who failed to abide by the first and second lock downs were blamed for the spread. Next came those who refused to wear masks who were castigated for being selfish and not thinking of others. The continuous and intentional disparagement of victims of the pandemic was (and is) designed to divert attention from the real culprits in this whole tragic episode.

The real culprits in the spread of the 2019 pandemic are those politicians and senior medical advisers who in lucrative government positions failed to prepare for a pandemic which was expected, then who failed to provide PPE for hospital and care home staff, simultaneously failed to put restrictions on the borders of countries and then failed to provide clear and consistent information and advice. Now it is the turn of those who are hesitant or averse to having a vaccination to be blamed. There is an increasingly authoritarian tone coming out of the mouths of these very same elite political and medical actors who created the problem to blame the un-vaccinated.

From Biden in the USA to Johnson, Gove et al and Macron in the UK and Europe, those suffering from or practising vaccine avoidance, are being aggressively targeted and character assassinated as being selfish and irresponsible. Yet these very characteristics of selfishness and irresponsibility are those which actually define the elite and their class, rather those among the real victims among the general population.

The servile press, who have proved incapable of having an independent or critical outlook, are now echoing the latest mantras of this blaming the victim tactic and this sets a dangerous precedent. If enough people out of frustration or anger at their situation just swallow this latest garbage gutter press opinion then it will effectively drive a wedge between the vaccinated and un-vaccinated victims of this pandemic. Such a response would collude with the elite intention to divert blame away from them and away from their system of production and governance. It amounts to a similar tactic to those who blame relatively affluent working class pensioners for the poverty that working class students and young people experience. It conveniently avoids blaming the system which handsomely rewards the elite and leaves the victims squabbling over inadequate social welfare provisions.

This Covid blame tactic is also a modern example of the historic bourgeois patriarchal game which tried to blame the size of women’s brains, or their menstrual cycle or their less robust muscles for the fact that they were being treated unequally at home or work. Similarly, dark-skinned victims of European elite colonising atrocities around the world were blamed because they did not have a monotheistic religious ‘god on their side’ or modern technological equipment. That same type of inverted mentality – in modern guise – also insinuates that young unemployed and low-paid people, of dark or pale skins, are at fault for not having the correct qualifications. It ignores the fact that a system of employment which only needs a certain (restricted) number of low-paid employees, and by necessity must discriminate by ‘selection’ on whatever basis it prefers.

The present system of exploitation relies on short memories, lazy intellectualism, ‘officially approved opinions’ and dualistic forms of thinking among the masses. Liberation from this exploitation requires the opposite: long memories, vigorous intellectual activity and dialectical thinking. [See ‘The Dangers of Dualistic Thinking’ on this blog.] The following fact needs to be stressed and widely publicised. The first quarter of the 21st century has produced a conjunction of multiple factors of crisis (economic, financial, social, ecological, political and medical) which existentially undermine the current system of production and consumption. These are not factors which can be solved on the basis of the system which produced them. They can certainly be ignored – but not wished away.

If the reader doubts this latter assertions, try to imagine how the problems of unemployment, social care, financial instability, ecological destruction, heatwaves, floods and fires, this current and further virus epidemics, essential species loss and political authoritarianism can be effectively slowed or reversed on the basis of the present capitalist mode of production. If, on the basis of the pro-capitalist elite handling of Covid 19 pandemic, you can’t imagine any of these problems being tackled effectively; then where does responsibility lie except in the hands of those who have recognised this inability?

All movements for radical change commence with a few who recognise the need for radical transformation rather than reformist tinkering but lack the ability and numbers to institute it. Their initial task, therefore, is to refuse to be hoodwinked by elite divisive propaganda and to broadcast the all-round negative reality of the system in a non-sectarian way. Real positive change can only begin to occur when a sufficiently large ‘critical-mass’ emerges which have understood the current system and in particular have understood the mistakes of previous attempts to change the mode of production.

[Use the following link to download a free document containing short articles on many of the multiple problems covered in this and other similar articles.]

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTgiCGN-50rGR9uOFKxOmWztx8_4v88kKMy3dHtlTGjZcC5wBQYKu3CXRlmUZcvtQegx-lzvWl83peo/pub

Roy Ratcliffe (July 2021)

Posted in Critique | 5 Comments

CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – 35.

Are viruses mainly a medical or a social problem?

In a previous Corona Virus Pandemic article (ie No 11 April 2020 on this blog) I pointed out the complete neglect in all countries of a strategy to prevent the outbreak of virus epidemics and pandemics. Over 12 months later and there is still no other official strategy than to manage a pandemic – after it breaks out! Moreover the main tool in that management strategy is now to use profit-based vaccines. The almost universal assumption of bourgeois political, medical and economic elites remains that the Covid 19 pandemic of 2019 (and onward) is mainly a medical problem and it is a problem to be solved by medical means.

The most senior medical advisers in Europe and North America still characterise the current struggle to subdue this most recent pandemic as a war between humanity and a virus in which medicine has to beat the virus. This conclusion ignores the fact that the most reliable means of preventing it’s circulation – so far – has been by social means. Lock downs, masks and social distancing, the former albeit used too late and utilised as blunt instrument, have been the most effective methods of depriving the virus of the human means of survival. Vaccines may make the survival of most viruses more difficult, but they do not remove the ability of them to survive and mutate by circulation within human communities.

In other words it is not the virus’s ability to mutate into variants and multiply which makes it spread, it is the way society is organised which is responsible for the way this virus (and any future virus) circulates. The cycle of viral infection spreading is well known and obvious. In this case, from its initial animal source of circulation (stage 1) it is passed to a human primary source (stage 2) and is then passed on to a first social circulatory phase (stage 3) before that early group (work or social) carries it forward and exponentially passes it on (in a modified form) into a wider social epidemic phase (4) and then other multiple social groups carry it beyond this to a global pandemic (stage 5). Viewed in this way it becomes clear that the solution to preventing virus spreading from animal communities to human communities is not to try to manage the pandemic once it gets to stage (4) or (5), because by then it is too late. Not only are people dying unnecessarily but economic activity, other health activities and social activities are seriously disrupted or curtailed.

Just as it is impossible to vaccinate the entire world (not enough vaccines, too much vaccine hesitancy, virus resistance to vaccines via mutation), it is also impossible to eliminate viruses from animals and nature. They abound there and are an established and essential part of life on earth. Furthermore where they circulate within wild animals they do so without causing animal epidemics or pandemics. Indeed, animal and human immune systems probably comprise of many RNA strands donated from historically adapted/mutated viruses to live non-parasitically or even beneficially within their hosts. However, whilst we certainly have to accept the existence of viruses, the idea that we have just to accept virus epidemics and pandemics, as some politicians, medical experts and vaccine producers suggest, is actually untrue. Furthermore, that form of elite misinformation and/or disinformation is an extremely dangerous piece of nonsense.

For example, we humans have to accept that fire destroys our buildings but we do not have accept that we can do nothing about it. Safety, measures are sensibly put in place such as sprinklers and fire proof or fire retardant materials are used (hence official culpability in the UK for Grenfell Tower fire etc). Similarly speed kills, but speed limits and seat belts save lives. The list of such prevention examples could go on almost indefinitely. Despite the flouting of many prevention measures by irresponsible actors, the idea that humans should give up on preventing bad virus epidemics ‘and learn to live with them’ is quite frankly elite nonsense: probably motivated by ignorance or self interest. However, since humanity cannot prevent virus pandemic deaths by means of vaccination and humanity cannot prevent them by entirely eliminating viruses, a vitally important prevention strategy can still be sought elsewhere.

The logical and rational answer, as with other prevention measures is to look at the chain of events from origin to outcome and see which link in the chain would be most effective in identifying, containing and preventing it going further. If we consider the five stages of virus transmission outlined above, it becomes obvious that stage (1) is not sensible since virus circulation among animals is normal, and when within animals viruses are impossible to identify which are problematic to humans. That stage is too early. It is also logical that waiting to stages (4) or (5) is far too late. Indeed, those are the stages that governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have been trying to manage ‘it’ and failed miserably as we have been experiencing since 2019. So that leaves stages (2) to (3) as phases or stages to set up measures and protocols which monitor those working in close proximity to animals. It is here that viruses can (and do) enter a human and can go through an initial phase of adaptation. In other words a successful virus will undergo an adaptation or mutation and become partially or fully adapted so as to continue its life cycle in humans in general.

If monitored and identified at that stage (2) or even after it had entered into immediate work and social networks (3), it could then be contained by isolation of a relatively few individuals and those within their immediate social circulatory groups. Careful protected medical intervention, could ensure maximum beneficial outcomes to such small groups and the rest of humanity could continue their lives as before. It therefore came as a pleasant surprise to me when near the end of writing this article I was made aware that some among the medical profession had arrived at a more sophisticated version of the above chain of known transmission. I am therefore indebted – yet again – to Randy Gould (who regularly sends me interesting links) for a link to an academic article which appears below. That link (clicked or pasted into a search engine) produces an important and far more detailed article than this one. It also includes a graphic representation of the social circulatory model the authors suggest is the rational one to be used as a guide in targeting a prevention strategy.

However, I think it is unlikely that the current governing elites and medical establishments will follow this alternative model or the advice offered by this group. The former have ignored even less challenging conclusions from all and sundry including their own advisers. To hope they will admit even relative incompetence and embrace another model of intervention is a rather forlorn one I suggest. However, this alternative strategy needs to be recorded and recognised beyond any dusty academic archive it may get sidelined into. If there is ever a future mode of production not dominated by capital and pro-capitalists which encounters such future problems it is worth knowing that a serious and well considered attempt has been made to alert us to focus on social solutions to socially produced problems.

Roy Ratcliffe (July 2021)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935121009701

Posted in Critique | 2 Comments

CRITICAL RACE THEORY.

For those as yet unfamiliar with the term ‘critical race theory’ (CRT) I will attempt to shed some light upon the phenomenon and at the same time criticise it from a revolutionary – humanist perspective. For some time CRT has been the product of a radical trend of academic thought which although originating in the USA has spread to Europe and elsewhere. In its essence it amounts to a legal and academic critique of civil rights legislation and other bourgeois laws on discrimination around the spurious concept of race. In other words CRT is a more assertive intellectual reaction to the fact that after decades of struggle, people, originally of enslaved and colonised countries currently resident in the USA, Europe and elsewhere are still not represented in many occupations in proportion to their numbers among the general population.

The adherents of the CRT trend consider that discrimination within western capitalist societies is primarily a result of institutional dynamics rather than the result of general capitalist inspired exploitation and individual prejudice. It is this alleged ‘institutional dynamic’ which upholds what CRT exponents generally class as ‘white privilege’. Like many other ‘conservative’ thinkers, humanity is dualistically divided by CRT advocates into at least two virtual (and thus false) categories (races) of humanity – in this case black and white. It is a form of mythopoeopic consciousness which creates and perpetuates a long held virtual reality, for there are no black skins, no white skins and despite ancient religious and modern secular inventions – no races.

These categories of patriarchal and bourgeois created ideology are simply elite inspired inventions. Consequently these dualistic forms of mythic consciousness and activism such as CRT, Black Lives Matter, etc., collude with bourgeois and patriarchal inventions of race and thus conserve and perpetuate these mythopoeian based categories which are used to justify exploitation. They then connect them to the reality of class discrimination under the capitalist mode of production. In this way they delude themselves (and those under their influence) to think that their sophisticated intellectual constructs are a correct image of reality.

In the real practical world, although there is massive discrimination, there are only pale and dark skin colours and no races. So the problem of general discrimination within capitalism – via bourgeois and CRT constructs – is transferred to the abstraction – institutional dynamics. It is this abstraction which then supposedly ensures that the ‘selection’ and appointment of candidates for jobs, positions and posts – at whatever institutional or occupational level – primarily discriminates against dark-skinned candidates. This is clearly not true universally nor in individual countries.

Overlooked by this CRT virtual reality construction is the fact that ‘selection’ is always personal discrimination in one form or another. Discrimination is perpetrated by those individuals who are ‘privileged’ to do the selecting. Moreover, discrimination is the fundamental basis of all class divided societies including capitalism. In marriage, friendship, occupation and community, class divided societies invariably discriminate against the designated ‘lower’ classes, no matter what the actual colour or shade of their skin. The middle classes do likewise.

Within countries dominated by dark skinned elites or multifarious religious elites, people similar to them will in general be more favourably selected than those of different skin colour or alternative religion. The modern bourgeois concept of ’positive discrimination’, hinges around this basic fact of pre-capitalist and capitalist forms of discrimination. It is important to recognise that Critical Race Theory does not wish to end discrimination, it’s advocates, just like ‘Me Too’ advocates just want to end the form of discrimination which affects their chosen constituency.

Critical Race Theory advocates accept the continuation of current capitalist mode of production along with the current divisions of labour between those who work manually for low pay and those who occupy the more privileged ‘clean’ occupations of academia, media, entertainment and sport. They merely wish to reform certain areas of capitalism in such a way to allow more dark skinned access to positions of power, wealth and status. Advocates of CRT do not consider positions of social power, wealth and status as problematic in themselves, so CRT is not a revolutionary trend of thinking but a conservative trend. It seeks to conserve capitalism by marginal reforms.

However, to some sections of the conservative elite middle class, CRT appears radical and assertive because it desires uncomfortable changes for them. And it is this ‘reform’ change aspect which has provoked the conservative and reactionary wing of the capitalist and pro – capitalist elite to accuse it of being influenced by Marxism. Consequently a war of words and further job and sinecure discrimination and termination has broken out in many US Universities and academic circles. The clash is between ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ wings of the pro-capitalist establishment.

However, CRT advocates such as Derrick Bell, a Harvard University academic have expressed the opinion that they have no time for ‘Marxism’. In the use of the term ‘Marxism’ we encounter a further ‘virtual reality’ confusion of mainstream academia who have yet to comprehend the difference between the revolutionary – humanism of Karl Marx and the sectarian dogmatists such as Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. The latter 20th century middle-class academic and legal reformist radicals falsely claimed to be following in Marx’s footsteps, when in reality they were perpetuating class-divided ‘big’ state-capitalist societies. [See the article ‘Marxists against Marx’ on this blog]

Indeed, Paul Macomb a CRT supporter, in attempting to define the trend, has classified CRT as a ‘Radical Liberal’ theory. That in my opinion is still not accurate, but it does take us closer to understanding it. My own characterisation of ‘Critical Race Theory’ is that like, ‘Black Lives Matter’, the ‘Me Too’ movement and ‘Extinction Rebellion’, it is simply another ‘liberal reformist’ trend. Moreover, it is one which in the current period of radicalised and decaying turmoil of the capitalist mode of production, appears in the bourgeois world of virtual reality as far more radical than it actually is.

The current period of capitalist crisis appearing within six fundamental areas of life (economic, financial, social, environmental, ecological and political) has been deepened by the health crisis triggered by the global Covid 19 pandemic. Each of the above areas has produced many seemingly radical single issue movements as reactions to the severity of the crisis. The advocates of each single issue (now often desperately and widely affected) articulate a present existential situation particular as the central ones requiring urgent solution. The solutions they imagine are by reforms to the existing mode of production – exclusively in their own chosen sector. They primarily see the world from their own particular sectional perspective – based upon the immediate material conditions they are living within.

However, by wearing such single issue blinkers, reform activists are blind to the larger global picture of humanity as a whole. Rising above this narrow restricted view to see how all these important issues are linked by the fact that they all are products or by-products of the capitalist mode of production, is at the moment beyond them. A whole generation has been blind-sided by the failure to recognise that the phenomena of Marxism, Communism and Fascism, were nothing more than previous middle-class radical forms of saving capitalist style relationships of exploitation by means of one party authoritarian States.

The fact that these state capitalist forms were administered by different political elites whose political perspectives were superficially opposed, has served to obscure the fact that their social and economic positions were almost identical. They all – without exception – intensively exploited wage labour by controlling private and/or state controlled capital. The modern middle – class, now horrified by the state capitalist forms their activist predecessors instigated in the 20th century, are still pursuing their interests – but now by other reformist means. Amazingly, they seek to reform a system of production which is not just massively oppressive to workers everywhere but is destroying the ecological and climatic foundation of all metabolic life forms upon which all human societies rest.

This liberal reformist activism occurs at the same time as the class system – by multiple inbuilt rivalries and nationalist orchestrated competition – is also undermining the solidarity and cooperation of working class humanity. International solidarity is now more than ever, necessary to solve the global problems currently facing humanity. Yet these and other such ‘globally renowned left wing scholars’ (sic) are publishing expensive books, holding elite participant conferences on this and other ‘topics of interest’ (such as re-invigorating another variant of top down ‘Marxism’) whilst enhancing their status and stipends, and all this as the capitalist system collapses around them and us.

Marx once wrote of an earlier 19th century generation of reformist intellectuals who sought to tinker with bits of capitalism; “These gentlemen, as has been proved, are chock full of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideas.” (Marx to Bebel, Liebknecht and Bracke). The new 20th century petite-bourgeois intellectuals have yet to see past their class arrogance. It is they, who now seek to “teach what they have not yet learned” (ibid), along with the other ‘self-made’ (sic) middle-class saviors of capitalism such as Musk, Bezos, Branson and Gates, etc., – some of whom think taking the rich into space will benefit the whole of humanity. They are all now part of the problem for humanity, not part of the solution.

Roy Ratcliffe (July 2021)

Mythopoeia. Although commonly applied and understood in the realms of fiction and mythology, this term has wider scope and implications. It also applies to a framework of thinking deeply immersed in categories already mythicalised (such as God, Race, Bolshevism, Maoism etc.) and whose thinking also becomes dominated by the immediate impact of an existential issue or situation. Those prone to mythopoeia are often ‘involved’ as participants in the issue or situation rather than as analysts of it. They invariably blend the past mythic language and understandings with a contemporary existential situation. As for example many Zionists with regard to currently defending and reclaiming land mythologically ‘given by God to a chosen people’. (sic). RR.

Posted in Critique | Leave a comment

COINCIDENCE ISN’T ALWAYS CORRELATION.

In the UK the public are not being informed of the statistical evidence nor the modeling of them being used by the Conservative government to justify it’s decision to end compulsory pandemic measures here. The ill-thought out and erratic measures so far taken in an attempt to mitigate the continuing spread of the Covid 19 pandemic, have allowed the spread of the virus to continue. The latest figures for the UK infections and deaths are 5, 000,000 cases with over 128,000 deaths with vast majority of these (4.3 million and 113,000) occurring in England. The lame and misleading rhetorical question of Boris Johnson; “If not now – when?”, completely misses the point.

The possible ending of pandemic restrictions is openly admitted by the government to be necessary in order to restart the (their) ‘economy’ and they are prepared to risk another 100, 000 people dying in order to do so. This is to be expected for ‘their’ version of an economy relies upon exploiting working people in farms, factories, offices and shops to mass produce and then mass consume the very commodities and services whose supply lines are routinely uncovering viruses and destroying the health of people and the planet in multifarious ways. To try to convince people that ‘personal responsibility’ is a sensible strategy, they have concluded that the link between hospitalisations and deaths has been broken by their so-called ‘successful’ (sic) vaccination programme.

However, as the title of this article implies, this coincidence between a reduction in deaths and vaccines during this pandemic does not by itself prove that vaccination has caused the difference between these outcomes. Nor does it prove that vaccination will end the current or any future pandemic. No matter how much the elite and the vaccine profiteers hope for vaccination to save the capitalist system, their hope and narrowly focused propaganda will not determine what really happens. The factors which reduce deaths from virus spread are well known. 1. Reduced contact between people. 2. Improved citizen individual health and cleanliness. 3. Those who have contracted the virus at least once and survived (natural immunity). 4. Scientifically developed and confirmed barriers and medicines and remedies.

The first three of these prophylactic barriers to contagion are obvious and do not require a technologically advanced mode of production based upon profit to be successfully implemented. They just need a humanist approach to production based upon need. Thus the various lock downs, social distancing and masks reduced aerosol contact between people; those with low virus exposure and strong immune systems, or anti-bodies have also cut the link. These have all worked to reduce the hospital numbers and deaths. To elevate vaccines as the causal link is a political ploy. Those who were previously weakened and not sufficiently protected are among the 120, 000 who have died because from the outset in 2020, the elite placed the capitalist mode of production above the needs of protecting the vulnerable. The numbers could have been far less! The current focus and reliance upon vaccination by the political elite is merely a continuation of that same narrow minded elite defence of what is left of the capitalist system.

However, it is clear from the failed global distribution of vaccines, that vaccination is not going to prevent the virus from spreading globally nor will vaccines save the capitalist system. Even in the advanced capitalist countries which have hoarded more than enough vaccines for every citizen, the vaccination programme has failed to convince everybody to have repeated jabs. Nor have the pro-capitalist elite in the UK and elsewhere enabled everybody to isolate themselves even if they wanted to. The situation in other countries is even worse. This vaccination, profit-based techno-fix safety net, is full of excessively large holes and meanwhile the virus is continuing to mutate. Also full of holes is the complicated, confused and contradictory guidelines now suggested for opening up the entertainment, sport, arts, leisure and holiday industries.

A significant proportion of the economic activity of advanced capitalist countries is based upon businesses which require the maximum possible number of paying customers on a regular basis in order to pay overheads and make a profit. However, for many businesses, these maximum seating capacities will not be filled in the short, medium or even long term. In the short term, after this current deregulation, large numbers of people – vaccinated or not – will avoid crowded venues and those with bureaucratic entry requirements. Such safety minded or anti bureaucratic ‘boycotts’ will result in more business closures and redundancies with the consequential unemployment effecting the medium term viability of many businesses. In the longer term, the activities of many businesses, will also need to be curtailed because their methods are too polluting, too destructive or too dangerous to people and their environments.

The green capitalist fantasies of a future world of electric cars, lorries, trains and planes, will not save the system. This dream of stimulating further decades of continued overproduction by eco-transport methods will soon be shattered by the fact that they and their production will be no less (indirectly) polluting than petrochemical based transport. Moreover, given the productivity of modern production, those vehicles which are produced will come from one or two advanced countries. Instead, in reality, the accelerating collapse of the capitalist mode of production which will be experienced over the next year or two and beyond, will be an even greater shock to people than the Pandemic itself. The current euphoria of many people at hopes of release from lock downs and regulations and a return to pre-covid sport, leisure and holiday entitlements, will be short lived.

Humanity will eventually be forced to wake up and confront the fact that going back to a previous capitalist ‘normal’, or going on to a future capitalism based upon high-tech conspicuous consumption, will not be possible. The difficult and demanding necessity of transforming the present hierarchical and unsustainable mode of production based on profit to one based upon sustainable egalitarian human need we will require a different understanding and a different way of relating to other human and non-human beings, than the ones which currently dominate our species. So instead of Johnson’s misleading pandemic rhetoric, I suggest the following; ‘if we don’t start thinking differently now; then when?’

Roy Ratcliffe (June 2021)

For further analysis and critique of the Covid 19 Pandemic response as it unfolded during 2019/2020, a document can be downloaded by clicking on he link below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSTMzKeeo0jIM0Gzin0RW16UWwjPl-OZsf-1SNHfbQxCR5U9fGwJrgHjkpregjPANHLvZL3XPfq6mSo/pub

Posted in Critique | 1 Comment

ONE HAN’COCK-UP AFTER ANOTHER.

The resignation of ‘cock-up’ Matt has finally happened. It is interesting to note what caused the suggestion to resign by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the actual decision to do so by his Health Secretary. It was not because of the appalling level of deaths in the care sector under his watch, nor the failure of the test and trace initiative which has contributed to the huge Covid 19 death rate in general. Nor was the failure to sort out the financial barriers to self-isolation for the self employed. The failure to ensure that the UK national borders would prevent the virus in its numerous variants from sweeping through Britain, was also not enough. However, being caught clutching a consenting (?) female assistant’s buttocks, whilst kissing her was apparently sufficient to ‘prick’ his and Boris’s conscience and trigger a further ‘incompetus interruptus’ of health service leadership.

The whole pandemic episode epitomises (and Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson personify) the continuing bankruptcy of the capitalist mode of production. Among the elite of, ‘me, me’ capitalism, the system can only produce human beings who are either incompetent or grasping opportunists. Even during a world altering pandemic, in politics, entertainment, sport, media, travel and science, the elite are exclusively fixated on their own entitlement to continue to take advantage of every lucrative opportunity that comes their way or demand public money to compensate any shortfall. As the climate and ecological crisis mounts up and working class human communities around the world face floods, famine, fires, drought, air and sea pollution, collapsing infrastructure, unsafe buildings and depleted food resources, the elite exert every pressure they can in order to re-open business to start the very activities which created the above noted problems in the first place.

Even the environmentally aware middle-class are only prepared to advocate more environmentally friendly travel and recycling, not question the whole basis of the present system of production, consumption and energy sapping conduits of supply. The medical profession have completely bought into the pro-capitalist mantra of ‘vaccinate the world’ because they and the political elite have no intention to stop the profit based economics system which continues to unearth the viruses and spread them along its supply chains. The medical profession have not even woke up to the fact that the ‘vaccinate the world’ is an absolute fantasy and is no different than the previous failed ‘feed the world’ fantasy promoted decades ago. The capitalist mode of production is not willing or able to deliver food or vaccines to the world, because it’s method of production is based upon a greedy elite being provided with wealth and profit, not ordinary people being provided with what they need. [‘Where have all the vaccines gone – long time passing’. Apologies to BD]

Its time to wake up to the fact that for some time the capitalist system has been steadily collapsing from its own internal contradictions. The Covid19 virus has not caused the capitalist system to collapse, as some superficial observers have concluded. The virus itself is a symptom of a progressive deterioration of the planet and it’s ability to sustain human life. Every natural barrier the system has overcome on the planet since the 19th century; time, distance, temperature, physical and environmental barriers, has come at the cost of depleting the very animal, vegetable and mineral foundation upon which all life – including humanity – depends and upon which it all rests. Sadly, the entitlement ideology of advanced industrial capitalism has infected the lower middle and working classes to such an extent that those who can still afford to travel abroad are eager or even desperate to do so.

The risk of introducing more virus variants to their communities on return; the inevitability of increasing the pollution and ecological damage of distant people’s; plus the exploitation of nearby cheap labour on holiday, cruise ship or business trip; these bi-products of ‘holidays’ and ‘entertainment’ are not considered their problem or concern. The phrase ‘enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think’ has never been more apt both at person level and at a species level. Environmentally, it really is later than you think. Saving the planet from pollution and ecological devastation and humanity from lethal viruses is going to be a herculean task. It will not be achieved by the current elite ignoring their own rules, the rest of us relying on the Hancock’s of this world. And it will not be achieved on the basis of the economic system they uphold and defend.

More people need to get serious about understanding the fundamentals of the system which governs all our lives and stop relying on the Johnson’s, Hancock’’s, Macron’s and Biden’s of this system to sort things out. They have already demonstrated their class interests and incompetence. For people who are seriously concerned, there is a price to pay. Like any serious endeavor it requires hard work in study and activism – nothing less is required.

Roy Ratcliffe (June 2021)

Posted in Critique | 1 Comment

“LIONS LED BY DONKEYS.”

On Wednesday 26th May 2021, the title of this blog is how Dominic Cummings referred to the British Government elite during the the Corona Pandemic from February to September 2020. Leaving aside the insult to real donkeys, what he forgot to mention was that he was one of the well paid beasts, plodding around Downing Street. Moreover he chose to donkey off to Barnard Castle, not caring about the lives of essential workers and other citizens. Despite the obvious spite triggered by his treatment from his previous buddies, what Mr Cummings revealed was confirmation of what many people, already knew. Mr Cummings ‘lions’, the nurses, doctors and essential workers in the UK, were left to fend for themselves. However, Mr Cummings analogy of lions and donkeys is far off the mark.

If anything lions, as predatory hunters, are parasitic on other life forms and should not be a term applied to nurses and essential workers. These live to defend life not take it. However, lions as top of the food chain killers, could be applied to the governing elite. The Tory ‘pride’ in their Number 10 den, like those in the wild, were not concerned with how the ‘herd’ was fairing. The virus for a time, was therefore allowed to rip through their ranks, and their ‘immunity’ was left to chance. Not long after this, in another lion-like demonstration of elite power, some were making a ‘killing’ on government contracts, while the bodies ‘piled up’. Those in the den at number ten, were getting the ‘lions share’ of what could be scavenged. Indeed, like all top-of-the-food chain predators, the capitalist and pro-capitalist elite, throughout the pandemic were (and still are) concerned primarily with their own welfare.

Keeping with the Cummings analogy for another paragraph, as with hard working, loyal, real donkeys, the working class beasts of burden were being worked to death with no sanctuary in sight. Nurses, doctors, care workers and others carried burdens far beyond what should be humanely contemplated. To expect the Tory elites, as with all other elites, to admit to anything which does not reflect well on them is a waste of time. Instead we have already witnessed a strategy of damage limitation. The governing elite here in the UK are constantly asserting that the lack of preparation was because the virus was new and no one could anticipate what happened. But this assertion is definitely not true, either through ignorance or manufactured memory loss. Although Dominic Cummings made lack of preparation a part of his criticism, he too fails to mention an important government document. The existence of the 2008 UK National Security Strategy, was (and still is) being ignored. This is because within it, scientists and experts agreed a serious pandemic was “highly probable”. It also laid out detailed advice on how to prepare for it.

Mr Cummings revealed that within Downing Street, there was a trivialization of the new ‘flu-like’ virus and suggestions were made of just letting it rip through the community to achieve “herd immunity”. [Herd immunity is achieved when the weak are killed off, but the stronger survive and henceforth have natural immunity.] He also suggested that lies were told regarding testing, and tracing and that positive Covid19 carriers would not be sent to care homes. But of course they were, and many thousands died unnecessarily by this failure. He claims Test and Tracking was delayed and then stopped soon after it started. We knew that. Similarly, national borders were not closed because the Prime Minister and his supporters prioritised the economy. The tourist industry and import and export capitalist were listened to rather than medical experts and practitioners.

The priority given to the capitalist producers over non-profit based production, continued to outweigh any concern for the health of people; hence the reported inner cabinet comments such as ‘let the virus rip’; ‘let the bodies pile up’ and ‘we will hit and hope’. Indeed, this is still clearly the attitude of those in government, to those of us considered as part of the herd. Is this why the Indian variant is being allowed to be passed along the wide open transport links between the UK and the Indian subcontinent? I think we know the answer. Although, Mr Cummings, was (and is) part of the problem we face, at least through anger at his treatment, he has merely confirmed the attitudes we suspected existed within government. However, many people had already deduced these attitudes must have existed within government, simply from the actions, and lack of actions, of the elites in the UK.

The general rule applies: Take more notice of what people do, than what they say, particularly if they are politicians. For those who hadn’t the time or the energy to follow the antics of Mr Cummings and his Tory predators, the link below will deliver a document which did follow them during 2020 and beyond.

Roy Ratcliffe. (May 2021)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSTMzKeeo0jIM0Gzin0RW16UWwjPl-OZsf-1SNHfbQxCR5U9fGwJrgHjkpregjPANHLvZL3XPfq6mSo/pub

Posted in Critique | 1 Comment