For a generation or two, the liberal left in the UK campaigned against the monopoly of politics by a wealthy elite and the monopoly of morality by religious belief. Now in the 21st century, the liberal left in the UK have done a complete U turn and intellectually and practically slumped and sent us all backwards. After campaigning to get secular representatives of the working class into Parliament and the titled wealthy elite out of continually deciding the fate of the masses of working people, the liberal conservatives have promoted extremely wealthy Muslims into Parliament and promoted one of the wealthiest of them to Prime Minister. Islam and Capitalism have joined Christianity and Capitalism as the ruling ideologies of the UK elite. In an even more bizarre about face, the liberal laborites in the Labour Party have gone even further back in time and chosen a Christian Knight of the realm to govern them – and the rest of us – if he gets the chance! Keir Quixote, tilting at imaginary left-leaning windmills is about as dynamic as it gets in the UK. Not to be ‘left’ out (pun intended) the once radical political class in Scotland seem keen to follow suit with their own version of pro-Capitalism with an male Islamic face to replace a female Christian face.

It should not be overlooked, but it often is, that these two religions are part of a trio of authoritarian Abrahamic ideologies tailor-made to assist ruling elites to govern human societies in a totalitarian manner. All three religions instruct that everyone should conform to one ideology and that ideology is both Male-Centred and hierarchical. If women are having a difficult time in Afghanistan, Iran, and elsewhere, look no further than the fundamental Islamic beliefs of the Taliban and the Iranian ruling elites. If non-believers not long ago were being decapitated and burned, then look to the same Abrahamic belief system that either promotes such atrocities, rationalises them or stays completely silent about them. If Palestinians are still being pushed off their former houses and olive fields then examine the ideology of a ‘chosen people’ and the founding Torah documents of Judaism.

If people in Europe and elsewhere do not like the fact that young women are being groomed and trafficked, for sexual activities or domestic slavery or subjected to ‘honour’ killings or disfigurement, they need to check out the religious affiliation of the perpetrators. If women are still being harassed and raped everywhere or are among the low paid menial workers around the globe, or their reproductive rights restricted, check out the religious background of the culture in which it takes place. Furthermore, when there is land grabbing warfare set in motion anywhere on the planet, just note where the elites who start them go to pray. Odds on that over many generations, one or other of the three Abrahamic religions has had an undue cultural influence in the country or region, where these symptoms occur.

For those who still think religion is benign and have not recently read the founding ideas of these religions, here are just a few extracts which are either openly used, quietly avoided or embarrassingly suppressed.

“Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers…..When the sacred months are over slay the apostates wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them”. (Qur’an. Sura 9.4)

Of unbelievers and those who are considered hostile or do not keep their distance then;

“Lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.” (Qur’an. Sura4.91)

On women:

“Keep aloof from women during their menstrual periods and do not touch them until they are clean again. Then have intercourse with them as Allah enjoined you…..Women are your fields: go, then into your fields as you please.” (Qur’an. Sura 2.222/3)

The reader may recall that ISIS and most other fundamentalist believers practiced all of these extreme sectarian behaviours, but what is just as notable is how few Muslims actually condemn these verses. Moreover, when one did – in the form of Salmon Rushdie – he was placed upon a death fatwa. One which still applies as does the silence about it from most Muslims. However, it is unfair to single out the Islamic version of Abrahamic monotheism for its inhumanity for the other versions  are just as bad. it is worth noting that the Christian Old Testament contains in Numbers chapter 31, instructions from God and Moses to send the Israelites to kill the Midionites. After killing, burning their homes and plundering their goods as instructed, Numbers informs us that they brought captives and booty to Moses;

“Verse 14. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the army, the comanders of thousands…and said to them. Why have you let all of the women live?……17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18. But all the female children, who have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers chapter 31 verses 14 – 18)

These are not the only outrageous instances of brutal and inhumane treatment of other human beings, (including misogyny against women) within these founding scriptures and gospels of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, there are literally dozens of such examples. That fact itself is shocking in a religious ideology promoted by elites over generations for the rest of their sheep to follow, but there is even something worse. What is even more shocking and also revealing is the fact that not one voice of condemnation has been raised against these verses from within the devout followers of these three religions. In my whole life time, including when I was in Church of England confirmation classes as a sixteen year old, through my 81 years of existence as an engineer and teacher have I ever heard (or read) one other note of condemnation – from within any of these three religions – of such verses. Nor have I come across clear condemnation from believers of the religious perpetrators of the same or similar acts by their contemporary fellow believers.

Once again, as it was in the early 20th century, the citizens of the UK are to be ruled by a religiously inspired wealthy capitalist elite. It has perhaps not been brought sufficiently to most peoples attention that during the rule of the last religiously inspired elite during the period from the 1900’s to 1944, things were also extremely  bad. There was large-scale unemployment, low pay, soup kitchens, mass poverty, housing shortages, low funding for teachers, dilapidated schools, few libraries, people sleeping rough and inadequate privatised health services. In the 1920’s and 1930’s there was also financial crises and bank bailouts along with vast inequalities in wealth between the richest and the poorest. So the only real social difference between then and now is that the religion of a part of the British elite has changed and the health service has yet to be privatised. In the 21st century, the conditions for the working and lower middle classes are being steadily driven back to the pre-war levels of austerity, poverty and precariousness and of course new billionaires are everywhere. Yet amazingly this change in the complexion and ethnicity of the UK elite north and south of the border is being presented by many on the liberal and labour left as a general step forward. In fact it is a serious step back for humanity.

Although the backward political shifts in the UK are not as bad as the backward steps being taken elsewhere, it is part of a global trend of elites finding the ways and means of defending their privileges and imposing the costs of their currently created crisis on the working and lower middle-class citizens. In the UK, conservative and liberal left has not yet taken humanity back to the level of the Islamic inspired Taliban in Afghanistan or the Islamic inspired Iran, or the Muslim inspired Egyptian regime and the many others. Nevertheless, the trend is still heading in the same authoritarian direction and the backward steps are still being taken. In the absence of an alternative, what is to stop this slide into another yawning elite created abyss for the masses – except a series of the occasionally predicted huge ecological and climate-based disasters? There is something of a morbid irony in the fact that it may be the middle class promoted multicultural face of capitalism which destroys itself along with the very foundation of life on earth. It doesn’t seem at all likely that middle class humanity anywhere will wake itself up from its self-induced soporific dream of ‘me, me’ consumer progress and the organised working classes are struggling to simply survive.

R. Ratcliffe (March 2023)

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Once again, as in 2007 and 2008 a financial crisis is ripping across the global system of production and consumption and media confusion is following in its wake. For those interested in understanding the basis of this latest US Silicon Valley Bank triggered crisis rather than wrestling with the superficial froth and myth which is always spun around the production and financial manipulation of the capitalist mode of production I offer the following 10 points. This should simplify this recurring problem.

1. The banking system consists of masses of paper symbolic representations of the surplus value created during general  production. They are created in the form of tokens representing profits made during the production of goods and services. To create profits the costs of production must always be lower than the value produced by production. This means the producers (masses of workers) must always be paid less than the value they create whilst working. This is contradiction number one, because purchasing power in one country can never buy everything produced. Production is always surplus production.

2. Those profits areplaced in banks by the profit takers, as money and is used by them to live from day to day and also to invest to make more money through profits or  interest. The banks therefore lend this money (and the credit they create through loans, overdrafts and credit-based ‘instruments’), in order to create more monetary value than the value of the assets they hold. However, much of this ‘money’ is fictitious.  It only exists as paper promises if investments return as hoped for.  If it does, any extra surplus the banks subsequently make, is kept by them for their investers and their own salaries.

3. The banks creation of credit and credit-linked instruments, plus quantitive easing (printing more currency) creates more paper money value than the value of the commodity production noted in point 1. This in effect DEFLATES the general value of money. If a house costs twice as much ten years later, it has not gone up double in value, it is the currency which has halved.  However, this deflation symptom appears in everyday life as an increase in the costs of purchasing the production noted in point 1. Therefore, deflation of money-value appears as the inflation of prices. This is contradiction 2.)

4. Furthermore, any reduction in the production of commodities and services when there is considerable amount of available money (and credit used as money) will also have a similar effect. The existence of more money and credit value than the value of available commodities, will mean more can be paid for them. This symptom also makes it appear as if prices are rising when in fact it is still the currency which is devaluing or losing its previous purchasing ability. (A continuation of contradiction 2).

5. An institutional financial crisis therefore, begins when; A) the present value of money becomes obviously insufficient to maintain (or increase) its value to purchase the things produced; or B) the money returning from bank investments is no longer sufficient to honour the interest promises the banking  institutes have made to its clients.

6. Both of these symptoms cause people to remove their value containing instruments from the banking systems and place them elsewhere , say in Gold, Silver, Government Bonds etc. This is contradiction 3, because it reveals the entire banking system is unstable and just needs a relative failure in one part to trigger a whole chain of unresolvable debt chains and payment failures.

7. This collective action can create a run on the banks and banking institutions, who because they have created more paper value than the value they actually have, cannot honour their promises to pay. Therefore, the banks must default and go bankrupt or be rescued by other people’s money (public or private) and have a partial default – as occurred in 2008 and i’s happening now in March 2023.

8. These types of crises have happened continually throughout the history of the capitalist mode of production at least one or more times per generation. The crises are, of course, amplified by corruption, pandemics, famines and wars, but they are not created by these secondary amplifications. This because these crises are caused by the continued unsustainability and instability of the system based on the three fundamental contradictions noted above.

9. So to be clear, the three fundamental contradictions are as follows. First that more product value is created than can be consumed by the purchasing value given to the producers; and Second; the huge amounts of banked surplus value in money form is used to increase money value without increasing the number of value containing products. Consequently huge amounts of it turn out to be fictitious amounts of paper or bookeeping value when the promises of their  promissory  notes are  defaulted. Third, the removal of assets from banks can effect the millions of people who have done nothing to cause the problems.

10. This means that political and banking solutions which do not remove these three fundamental flaws in the whole capitalist mode of production, will not prevent them from occuring again. (Reformism being contradiction 4) The symptoms will continue (including the attendent poverty, pollution, ecological damage of the economic system as a whole) as long as the causes of them – the capitalist mode of production  are allowed to continue.

For further detail on the system and crisis see the economic sections in ‘The beginners Guide to Revolutionary-Humanism’ on this blog.

Roy Ratcliffe (March 2023)

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It is well known that the burning of books is motivated by a form of ideological thinking among some people whose views seeks to dominate all other ways of viewing the world. Catholic ideologues in the middle ages were notorious for preventing and killing other narratives by censorship and burning and its hierarchy would even burn to death the authors of ideas they disliked. The Fascists of the 20th century were frequent perpetrators of censorship, the burning of books and also of burning people they didn’t like – only in ovens – after gassing them to death first. The Bolsheviks under Lenin and Stalin censored or suppressed books and shot people who opposed their ideas. Burning was something Stalin’s torturers did to their victims body parts. Catholics did it in pursuit of their idea of a improved religion; the Fascists for their idea of a improved thousand year Germanic Empire; the Bolsheviks for their idea of an improved future for humanity.

It is clear that holders of such dogmatic ideologies, not only wish to silence the views of people they disagree with but also to do them as much physical harm as possible. The latest group of 21st century ideological dogmatists have assembled around the ‘flag’ of who has the right to be classed as a woman and they have become quite influential. In a few instances they have been extremely sectarian and violent against those who think the category of woman is actually biologically determined and not an ideologically determined category. Not too long ago, J.K Rowling expressed a view not in harmony with the the new sectarian dogmatists of alternative gender-identity rights, and true to form for sectarian dogmatists, the books of J.K Rowling were duly burnt. However, this did not do as much direct harm to J.K as it did to other female and male academics who were hounded out of their jobs for essentially expressing the same view.

If this all sounds a bit, ‘Life of Brian’ type crazy, to non-ideological driven citizens and working class populations of the world, then it may seem that it is not worth taking seriously. However, I suggest it is. This is because the idea of individuals having something wrong with their bodies or minds, that bodies and brains, having evolved over millions of years, all of a sudden needs fixing, is a recent one. It is now part of an established middle-class trend in the ideology of modern hierarchical mass societies.

The dominant ideology of capitalist-based mass societies in particular, holds that these latest mass society forms are the best, if not the most perfect, forms that can possibly be imagined or created by humanity. Therefore, those who cannot find peace of mind or reasonable contentment within them must have something personally wrong with them. This view ignores the fact that in a number of ‘advanced’ capitalist countries of the world, it is estimated that 1 in 5 citizens; 1 in 4 women and 6 out of 10 students have some form of mental disturbance ranging from moderate depression and clinical anxiety to more extreme forms including, serious intravenous drug dependency, self-harm and attempts at suicide.

In addition to alienated citizens, there are in our modern mass societies, middle-class professionals and semi-professionals trained to assist those experiencing difficulty with social integration. It is these who make a living out of helping people to ‘adjust’ and rationalise the alienation experienced within the societies and the neighborhoods their clients inhabit. Since in general these middle-class professionals prosper reasonably well from these mass society occupations they rarely see any need to focus upon the alienating, authoritarian, competitive, unjust, and inhuman circumstances the majority of people in hierarchical mass societies are having to cope with.

Because many people also manage to cope superficially well with these alienating societal pressures, it is invariably the ones who can no longer ‘manage’ who seek help or are offered it. It is here we need to remind ourselves of the origins of the modern helping professions. Such 19th and 20th century nation-state provisions of health and welfare, were implemented to ensure mass populations exist which are physically and mentally able to endure the 24/7 madness of either; a) militarised killing during wars between nations, or b) working for between 40 and 50 mind-numbing, back-breaking hours per week for 48 years, on minuscule wages, also for the benefit of the ‘nation’.

Before my life began, some professional middle-class people in mass societies carved a career for themselves by routinely applying electricity to other peoples brains or by directly cutting pieces out of their cerebral-cortex. This was done in order to help them fit into society after the operation. Usually those who didn’t ‘fit in’ were lesbian, homosexual, or considered seriously anti-social ‘misfits’ (!). The banal analysis of previous generations of ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest’ experts, was that these peoples bodies were OK, but their brains/minds needed serious modification.

During my life time this physically intrusive means of citizen ‘adjustment’ was no longer fashionable. Although it obviously still carried on as a fringe minority procedure because I personally knew two people who were ‘helped’ in this way: one with electrodes zapping each side of their temporal lobes (it didn’t) and the other with a hole drilled into their cranium to see what might be causing problems (it didn’t). But post the Second World War, the fashionable helping ethos has steadily moved from being predominantly concerned with re-fashioning the brain to the opposite, being predominantly concerned with re-fashioning the body.

Professional helpers were then (and still are) focused entirely on the individual and not on the increasingly alienating social system as it careers towards its own destruction. So now it is the brain that is mostly judged ok – but the bodies of some people perhaps need changing. Some among the modern helping profession now reason that if an individual’s body parts are not allowing them to feel good about themselves or to integrate into society sufficiently, then it’s the form of the body that needs fixing, not the form of society. Experts can now help by ‘cosmetically’ cutting pieces out of it or surgically putting pieces into or grafting them onto it. If a male would prefer a socially constructed imitation of a woman’s body, to feel at one with themselves and society, that’s also now OK, providing someone will pay for the intensive and extensive skilled flesh and bone reconstruction involved.

The modern helping surgical profession can now cut off testes and penis, create an makeshift vagina type groin entrance and implant breasts. Job done, whopping salary banked. However, this painful and expensive level of physical intervention is not always practical or desirable, so a section of the helping profession have come up with a social alternative. If a male merely wishes to feel better about themselves in society by being treated as a woman, for example, they will declare this idea exists as a human ‘right’ and then persuade (or force) people to address the male as such and treat them as such.

Apparently it does not matter what the majority think – including those born as biological women – or what biological science has for millennia designated as constituting the sexual dimorphism of women among all human and mammalian species. [NB. Since ancient times roughly half of all mammals were classified as females, because their bodies invariably; menstruated, formed ovaries and wombs, produced placentas, bore children  and developed special, lactating glands.] The bio-chemical reality of multi-cellular life on earth, retained over multiple millions of years of plant, insect and animal evolution (multi-cellular organisms having moved on from the single cellular form of mitosis and self-budding) have definitely not mutated away from the two sex model of species reproduction.

Yet this millennia old bio-chemical reality is to be ignored and replaced by a recent bout of petite-bourgeois invented ‘alternative’ thinking! What clearly matters to the sect-like gender identity ideologists, is not reality but, like other fundamentalist ideologues, the dogmatic and violent defense of an emotionally driven idea. In the context of a 21st century confused humanity, obsessed almost daily with entertainment type virtual realities, what does this ‘conversion’ away from biological reality represent? To me it represents a sectarian type assault by those holding a virtual-reality version of life on earth in their heads, and pitting it against the objective reality of the rest of life on earth.

Leaving aside the possible manipulative use of this gender dysphoria symptom (formerly GID) by predatory individuals, that is not the worst of this dogmatic, virtual-reality fantasy. Young people who already go through terrible torment by growing up in intensely alienating and alienated societies (and given the greater number of crises our 21st century social systems are going through), are facing even greater existential dilemmas. Yet some of them are being told – even encouraged – to live out a fantasy scenario they may have been encouraged to adopt – or to entertain unrealistic hopes and ambitions of a future, gender-changed peace of mind and contentment within existing mass societies.

And this trans-formation is to be miraculously achieved by taking hormone altering drugs or by having drastic non-reversible surgery. For some modern helping professionals, their ideological confirmation of a clients emotionally directed and perhaps only a currently preferred perception, is taking place when young people are already having their body parts and feelings deflected this way and that by the natural bio-chemical hormonal and social changes occurring during their transition through puberty and beyond.

It is difficult not to conclude that these modern gender-identity professional and semi-professional ‘helpers’ on so-called gender disorder issues, may well be the latest iteration of those earlier noted professionals. I am referring specifically to the ones who, also blinkered or blinded to the alienated reality of mass society living, arrogantly or enthusiastically thought they were only helping people ‘fit-in’ by destroying brain tissue with scalpel, electrical probe or corrosively destructive chemical mixtures (as with code breaker Alan Turing.)

Undoubtedly, some of these ‘adjustment bureau’ professionals did not live long enough to recognise their involvement in these professionally based ‘crimes against humanity’ procedures, (as defined at Nuremberg trials) that were later abandoned. But we have! Not only have such forms of ‘help’ been mostly abandoned but are now almost universally recognised as a mistake. Mistakes, moreover, with tragic consequences for those they ‘helped’ and for their families and loved ones, who had to deal with a ‘cure’ which was often many times worse than the prejudiced characterisations applied to them by official mass society actions and opinions.

Is the history of class based society ‘helping’ (sic) sort of repeating itself again; once as tragedy, the next as farce? Sadly, it might well be!

Roy Ratcliffe. (March 2023)

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One year on from Putin’s Special Operation and despite fierce resistance from the Rebel Alliance in Ukraine it looks as a real time, stripped down version of Star Wars is on the cards. If so it will not be the first time in the history of hierarchical mass societies that their ruling elites have ordered their ordinary working people into wars of mutual mass destruction. From the ancient Persian Empire, through to the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire and the Islamic Empire, wars in which the victims on all sides had no say and nothing to gain from such struggles are symptomatic of real as well as fictional Empires governed by the Dark Sides 21st century elite’s. The current self-absorbed ‘cheering-them-on’ antics of C-3PO Johnson, R2-D2 Sunak and Chewbacca Biden are simply creating a deadly stalemate for Hans Solo Zelenskyy.

If the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is the human rights of citizens which are then fully suspended as martial law and military style governance is enacted. Which is exactly what has happened in Russia and Ukraine. The only citizen rights now allowed in Ukraine and Russia are the right to follow orders, to fight and kill other workers and to silently accept or verbally agree with every measure ordered by the respective elites. Sooner or later escalation from a special operation to something larger is almost inevitable, because the reality behind the special operation idea, initiated by Putin’s state control of Russia, lies a much larger Imperial type idea. Just like the Nazi elite used the fact of German speaking people to invade territories outside of their immediate control, whilst intending to create a Greater Germanic world power, Putin has used the fact of Russian speakers outside of Russia, to invade territories outside his immediate control. As a step toward  resurrecting a Greater Russian Empire.

In both these 20th century cases (and others) the intermediate operational targets (Sudetentland, Donbas etc) are only episodes in a recurring clash of rival mass society Titans. The early 20th century heated rivalries between the rival Empires of the West and East, were damped down after the defeat of the Nazi Blitzkrieg attempt to create a Greater German Empire, but have been rekindled in the 21st. The Cold War between the former State Capitalist Soviet Empire based on Russian territory and the Private Capitalist Empires based on British and then US territory has definitely turned hot again. What has been maturing ever since the collapse of the Soviet system of annexation and exploitation, is a re-kindled version of the previous competition between former rival Empires. The prize being a dominating influence over, (and control of), other countries markets and resource assets.

It should not be forgotten that the existence of the Soviet system of exploitation and control, the remnants of which Putin and his accomplices, inherited, commenced as a Russian elite reaction against territorial control of Russia by the rising German Empire and its allies in the West. That 20th century clash of the military industrial Titans culminated in the Second World War between the British led Allies and the German led Axis and was only temporarily resolved by the victory of the allies. However, in 1945, the technological and territorial basis of the Soviet Empire had expanded with the collapse of the Axis powers, whilst the British Empire had disintegrated and it’s hegemonic leadership of Finance and Industrial Capital replaced by the USA. The clash of one set of central Mediterranean, elite Titans with the Eastern ones had merely been replaced by another, the North American based set of Titans.

Yet the elite motives for extending territorial and resource control have never gone away. Indeed they have increased. It is an inevitable socio-economic tendency of mass societies from ancient to modern that the more wealthy elites (either land owners or billionaires or both) there are in agricultural, economic or financial Empires, the more resources, both territorial, contractual and exploitable, are needed to keep their wealth and families on top of the social pyramid. Exceptional wealth is never enough for those whose lives are dedicated to amassing it and there is always a queue of hopefuls who wish to join the banquet of exploitation by oppression. The only problem the elite have in engaging in territorial ‘expansion’ is to fool enough of the cannon fodder that it is their duty to fight to the death to kill the other sides cannon fodder or if that is not possible pass a law compelling them to do so.

Yet someone needs to be clear about what is at stake with this war and any escalation for the ordinary working people of Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere, because the elite and their media sycophants will not be. For the fate of the working classes will be very different from what is at stake for the elites in Ukraine, Russia, and for the elites among their European and American allies. Most ordinary people on all the actual fighting and support sides of the conflict, as it is currently focused now or as it escalates, will suffer hardship, death, injury, loss of possessions, loss of health and loss of occupations. On the other hand most of the elites on all actual belligerent and their support sides will not suffer death, injury or loss of occupations. In very many cases, by insider investor knowledge and trading, they will increase their wealth, their status, and their occupational opportunities. That is how – in war or peace – hierarchical mass societies are constructed so as to consistently distribute any advantages to the elites and distribute any disadvantages to the rest of us.

Meanwhile, much to the frustration of the ever hopeful ‘green’ reformists, the ecologically destroying, climate changing, pollutant spreading harm being done during the more peaceful periods of capitalist production processes, will now be rapidly accelerated. Despite the below standard, earthquake prone and fire trap housing supplied to the poor in the advanced and less advanced capitalist countries, little will be done to remedy this aspect of  so-called ‘civilisation’. Instead, the elites are already directing production and resource investments to the profitable manufacture of explosives, other killing materials and their eco-destroying delivery systems. None of which is intended for the welfare of humanity or the planet but for the absolute destruction of whatever targets the politicians and military see fit. Whether such targets are guilty or innocent of any wrong doing will not disturb the twisted morality of most elites providing their system of exploitation survives long enough for them to consolidate and bank their investment gains.

Twentieth and twenty first century reality as fashioned by hierarchical mass societies demonstrates that life on earth needs a complete system change, not more of the same.

Roy Ratcliffe (February 2023.)

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In every part of the world political systems are oozing with elite corruption and mafia style collusion within and between them. Organised crime type gangs of politicians are in every hierarchical nook and cranny of their respective state systems in order to exploit their economies, cheat the taxation protocols and drain all the wealth away from the working people who create it. In the advanced capitalist countries the decades of multicultural positive action has demonstrated that a multicultural, gender inclusive and gay tolerant gang of political exploiters is still a gang of political exploiters; a multicultural, gender inclusive and gay tolerant oligarchy of charlatans is still an oligarchy of charlatans and a multicultural, gender inclusive and gay tolerant upper class are still prepared to grind working people into a multicultural, gender-inclusive and gay tolerant poverty.

In the UK the multicultural, gender inclusive, gay tolerant Cabinet of Ricky Sunak’s Conservative government is just as devious, self-serving and corrupt as the previous all pale-skinned Anglo-Saxon coterie drawn from the wealthiest traditional Conservative families. The ‘nouveau riche’ drawn from the countries of Britain’ former Colonial Empire are just as eager and determined as their indigenous Anglo-Saxon predecessors to enter the back handed  ‘fees on the side’, British Parliament and government. Moreover, whilst in Downing Street, with both feet in more than one luxurious trough, they are just as content as previous ‘establishments’ to starve the essential service and production workers into eventual destitution and submission. This submission is to the abstraction ‘market forces’ which through skillful ‘manipulation’ have made these ‘careless’, tax-returning Chancellors and assorted parliamentary opportunists, disgustingly rich and disgustingly immoral.

Meanwhile in other former colonised countries, sections of the former oppressed people’s in Africa, Indonesia, India, Arabia, South East Asia, South America etc., have become the new authoritarian governing classes. Despite previous suffering from colonialism the new – often dark-skinned – elites are copying their former colonial rulers and milking the struggling economies and peoples for as much wealth as they can stash away in Swiss Banks or other offshore accounts. In North America, having destroyed the Indian Tribal Nations, stolen their land and resources, the US elites then created plantations worked by slaves stolen from Africa and used the invented idea of race to justify it. So extreme is the alienation and exploitation under capitalism that for generations the police forces around the world have been socially and culturally permitted and encouraged to brutalise ordinary working people and women into a condition of subservient obedience to ‘their’ market forces.

In the USA, having recruited a multicultural and gender inclusive police force, trained in that same brutalised bourgeois authoritarian cultural tradition, the North American media commentators have apparently been shocked this month. The fact that multiple  Afro-American police officers meted out to Tyre Nichols, a fellow US citizen of Afro-American descent, a similar type of brutality that befell George Floyd and hundreds of others was greeted with incredulity. The media apparently do not know that the history of hierarchical mass society brutality and indifference, indicates that like Covid, it is a socio-biological contageous disease. It is transmissible across all those human populations sufficiently exposed to it.

After all, the same multicultural and gender inclusive government of the USA which trains police officers in their authoritarian duties to serve and oppress, supplies arms and funds to support an illegal, cruel and brutal Israeli occupation of land belonging to Palestinians. Then does the exact opposite and supplies arms and funds to Ukraine to stop an illegal and brutal occupation of Ukraine by a Russian elite. It clearly does not depend upon being opposed to brutality or the principle of territory stealing. It is clear that US elite policly depends upon  who is in the exclusive United Nations ‘club’ of colonisers and exploiters and who is not. Putin is obviously well on his way out of the international cosy nostra ‘family’ of land grabbers and IMF percentage takers.

All this global mayhem, orchestrated by the worlds governing classes takes place alongside an increasing deterioration of climate and weather, pollution and ecological loss which is approaching existential proportions. A stranger to this global world of the 21st century might think that humanity had gone insane to have promoted such a self-indulgent rich elite and at the same time allowed the destruction of communities of essential citizens who provide all the fundamental economic and social activities. However, it seems people can become inured to anything if it goes on for long enough. What has gone on long enough, however, is the lack of a class analysis of the current state of the world and a corresponding recognition that the class we belong to is the defining characteristic of all bourgeois mass societies. The current lack of sustained class solidarity of working people is being starkly revealed in Europe and particularly in the UK at the moment.

Here in the UK, Nurses, Teachers, Ambulance Drivers, Rail workers, Fire Fighters, Bus Drivers and assorted others, have recognised their precarious class situation with regard to the hiked up cost of living initiated by finance capital manipulations. In response they have planned separate collective campaigns to improve their own situation – regardless of the desperation of others. The obvious idea of a larger collective Alliance of working people organising together and assisting each other is somehow missing. Nevertheless, facing down the determined Richi Rich gang of heartless elite predators in control of the lucrative spoils of UK PLC, will take more than uncoordinated sporadic sectional action.

Even a nest of ants or bees, with their extremely limited awareness and material resources would invariably stand or fall together when invaded by a group of predators bent on destroying – from within – their only means of collective existence. And this is exactly what is taking place here in the UK and within all hierarchical mass societies around the globe. So what has happened to the UK’s collective sting? Globally, there is a class struggle between governing elites and the ordinary working people over what kind of society ought to prevail – now and in the future! With the 20th century sectarian atrophy of the anti – capitalist left, it now means that not even the idea of a solidarity alliance of working people, nationally and internationally, is being promoted with any degree of intensity or coherence.

Yet all the other forms of oppression based upon, skin colour, gender, ethnicity, religion and cultural identity, as important as they currently seem to many activists, cannot be addressed satisfactorily until the division of humanity into classes within an elite controlled mode of production is ended. As the historical record confirms, in the immediate, intermediate and final analysis, it is the means and mode of production – and who controls it – that determines practically everything else, for good or bad. And at the moment it is extremely obvious that in fundamental ways, it is predominantly bad and gradually getting worse. Meanwhile, don’t be fooled;


Roy Ratcliffe (February 2023)

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Ignorance of the bio-chemical details of the human bodies multi-cellular composition, interdependence and environmental interactions, has allowed health-advising quacks to prescribe miracle remedies for various symptoms. The same general lack of knowledge in sufferers has tempted them to obtain and swallow or apply such remedies, in the hope of a cure for whatever ailment afflicted them. Interestingly, a similar phenomena has occurred within the realms of climate change and ecological loss. Here also, ignorance of the integrated and interdependent relationship between human individuals within their hierarchical mass societies and with the natural world, has seen a number of quack remedies recommended.

Over a number of decades, technological and pseudo scientific cures for pollution and climate change have being recommended and a few clueless economic and political elites have occasionally discussed implementing some of them, but to some people’s amazement failed to do so. Yet once the actual form and relationships existing within mass societies are understood, the reason why so little has been done becomes obvious. The barriers or restrictive conditions standing in the way of solving humanities current and future existential problems whether, ecological, climate or humane do not lie in the absence of adequate ideas – fantastical or otherwise. The barriers to solving them are primarily practical, social and thus material, not ideological. The restricting conditions for radical change broadly fall into the following four categories A to D;

A:   A key set of restrictive barriers or constraints are the existing historical divisions of labour into classes and occupations now based upon the industrial mode of production – as it has actually developed. During the 20th and 21st centuries, the overwhelming number of jobs essential to the securing of food, clothing and shelter for mass society individuals and families became linked directly or indirectly to carbon-coal or petro-chemical driven forms of production, distribution, consumption, disposal and profit realisation. The global socio-economic system is  at least 90 percent dependent upon coal, oil or gas. To end this climate-changing dependency upon such energy sources requires a thoroughgoing practical revolution, not just in energy technology but in skills training, job organisation and transitional employment security. Ideas, no matter how good or detailed they are will not alter that mass society practical reality. Indeed, quite the opposite is needed. It will require the radical alteration of that mass occupational reality to allow even the best eco-friendly ideas to be fully or properly implemented.

B: Some other ‘real’ restrictive barriers to radical change flow from the above set. These are the physical and intellectual skill levels achieved by the different classes within these hierarchical mass society modes of production. Most classes of citizens, could not effectively do anything other than the existing group of tasks they have already been physically and mentally trained to do. The 24/7 dull repetition of hierarchically structured intensive daily tasks has also negatively restricted the average physical and mental skills of everyone into one-dimensional repetitions of hand and eye coordination and require workers to follow exact instructions. Very little, if any, individual or collegiate initiative is expected or desired. Indeed it is mostly frowned upon and often punished.

The above realities are so integrated into the above divisions of labour that the resulting life-long habit, opinion and current social preferences will be almost impossible to alter in the short term.  Plus the me, me, self-indulgent attitude of ‘I deserve what I can grab’ now infects whole classes of our mass societies. These latter, Pavlovian type automatic (salivating) responses are currently stimulated by every successful advert, even whilst the danger of extreme poverty, savage oppression, huge pandemics, massive forest fires, devastating floods, severe weather events and obscene wars of genocide continue routinely all around those living self-indulgently in these societies. Nothing over the past several decades or since Covid has made more than a tiny dent or surface scratch to the idea of ‘growth‘ and to the fetish of consumerism – in all its current manifold forms. Consequently, the problems facing large sections of humanity or the planet are still increasing not decreasing.

C: Yet another set of restrictive conditions are due to the existing elite class based social relationships within hierarchical mass societies. Particularly the conservative conditions and expectations of those who exercise direct control or substantial influence upon the main means of profit-based production.   Capital of enormous concentrations has been invested in exactly the production, distribution, consumption and disposal of commodities and services which are the causal effect of climate change, ecological damage and pollution in the first place. These elite citizens will not expect or desire to obtain anything less than what they have obtained before – nor will they do anything to forfeit their expectation of present and future capital accumulation. In addition, those in the media, sport, entertainment, government, commerce and industry, who perhaps should know better, are still urging people to consume more stuff and jet across the world and are profusely doing so themselves. Pollution, ecological loss and climate change are the heavily dispersed waves of relative affluence these people are currently surfing around on.

D: The fourth set of restrictive conditions or barriers to re-balancing the relationships between nature and humanity are the repressive state powers wielded by those ruling political elites who effectively control much of the entire social structure. We can see from many current examples as well as recent history (and ancient history) that a single powerful representative of a hierarchical mass society (or an oligarchical coterie among them) can inflict on any form of progress which does not allow them to govern exactly as they see fit. However, even so, the armed forces of the state are not the restrictive barrier even though per capita the latter use far more petrochemical based materials than any comparative group of individuals. Nor, I should add, are armed forces the cause or basis of mass society formations, they are merely a consequence of them.

The actual material basis of mass society formations is the above noted division of labour which is an internal and dynamic ‘system’ restriction. State formations with armed bodies are only required by elites in order to keep control of any social unrest and any attempts at unauthorised wealth distribution. This is why they are only brought into action during civil disturbances. During the periods in between such emergences, ‘normal’ economic and social activity goes on 24/7 because, (as yet,) there is no other way of feeding, clothing and housing oneself and family. Nevertheless, Asad, Erdogan, Putin, Sisi, Iranian elites, the Taliban, the Military in Myanmar all provide totalitarian examples of how far elites will go when people begin to ask for change which is not actually in the elites own interests.

All the above four (A to D) social and intellectual restrictions stand as human barriers to a transition from a petrol-headed humanity to some Guro’s imaginary dream-future of green and pleasant peaceful lands around the world. In contrast, saving the planet and the best of our humanity will require a revolutionary transformation, not only in the technology used (or not used), but of internal human relations and external relationships with the rest of ‘life on earth’ or ‘nature’ if you prefer. The historical record over the last few millenia have indicated that ruling elites will not give up control of the hierarchical mass societies they have become accustomed to exploit no matter how damaging it has become. On present showing this is therefore likely to be the case for present generation of 21st century pro-capitalist global elites.

Therefore, this has become an additional reason why the relatively comfortable chit-chat talking heads and the urging of reforms compatible with capitalism as discussed at Cop meetings (23 and counting) by heads of governments and by demonstrations (whether peaceful or not) will not succeed. These impotent token gestures of complacency on the one hand or frustration on the other, will not bring about the hoped for radical changes many people would like to see, precisely because they ignore the above noted restricting socio-economic realities.

Even if everyone on the planet was convinced of the need for radical measures to save what remains of ‘life on earth’ (and we are very far from that) it would take a revolutionary level of commitment for a decade or so to turn the global economic direction around. In other words it would require a world war two type holistic effort of socio-economic re-organisation and social unity. It would in fact reqire a new mode of production. It would take no less to reverse the the present trends, stabilise the global eco-system and replace the dwindling essential species which are necessary to sustainably support mass society nutrition.

Since the above is an unlikely scenario then the possibility (or perhaps the probability) will be that through a series of huge future economic, ecological or climate collapses, civil strife and disorder will be created and lead to the atrophe of many current hierarchical mass societies. The ruins of former mass society cities and settlements buried under sand, rubble or jungle vines such as those in Mediterranean Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and Aztec and Maya in South and Central America, testify that even the most numerous and confident periods of past hierarchical mass society monument building came to an ignominious end. Creating the seven wonders of the world, did not save these hierarchical mass societies from being engulfed by terminal disasters – often largely of their own making. This current empire of capital is every bit as fragile and unbalanced as previous ones and it cannot be ruled out that since it is already in severe socio-economic turbulence, that it is not already in the process of its own decline and fall, as Gibbon catalogued in the case of the Roman Empire.

Either way a basic knowledge of the last several thousand years needs to passed on to future generations so that those who survive are able to make better choices – if they get the chance to make any. Despite the mass of information currently available concerning hierarchical mass societies the majority of it has been partial, one-sided and euphorically optimistic. What contradictions these ancient and modern hierarchical mass societies were/are based upon; what sustained violence they conducted during their existence; what devastation they wrought upon the broad spectrum of life on earth which sustained them; and how little they exercised their advanced brain power to maintain and retain all the benefits the evolution of life on earth bestowed upon them, has not been widely acknowledged.

Only two people in the whole of recorded history (Adam Smith and Karl Marx) have undertaken a full and forensic critical analysis, of the capitalist economic system. The latter repeatedly drawing attention to the crucial role the mode of production plays in every other aspect of life on earth and at every stage of its development. Only a handful of people (James Lovelock and Lyn Margulis in particular) have drawn attention to the fact that life on earth for billions of years, has been overwhelmingly based upon biological and sociological cooperation and symbiosis, not aggression. It turns out that ‘nature’ – even amongst the few predatory species – has never emulated the whole-sale militarily aggressive, elite-led human behaviour. Behaviour which incidentally only became a feature of life on earth around six or seven thousand years ago with the development of hierarchical mass societies.

Indeed, life on earth survived in the form of millions of species evolving over billions and millions of years and could not have done so if it had been engaged in an all out war against its own and all other species of life on earth. For millions of years, prior to mass societies, humanity and our hominid forerunners had neither the numbers or technical means to eliminate anything in substantial numbers. All previous generations of organisms have died, but only the relatively few predator species have actually deliberately ended the life of other organisms on a lare scale. The valuable insights pioneered and recorded by the above and other serious critics of hierarchical mass societies need to be protected and transmitted to future generations. Otherwise this knowledge will become lost among the sheer volume of pro – hierarchical mass society material which has been churned out since writing was invented.

Roy Ratcliffe (January 2023)

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Throughout this series, I have tried to draw attention to the overlooked fact that the many serious problems facing humanity are not simply products of the latest capitalist based mode of production. The bloated self opinions of the elite who manage and ‘mismanage’ capitalist social production for their own profitable ends, arise as the products of the hierarchical social system they are born into. The humanity of previous elites was no less distorted by their hierarchical systems. However, the speed and ferocity of the capitalist mode of production has outstripped by many times the speed and ferocity achieved by the ancient hierarchical empires of the middle East and medieval Europe. It has brought ‘life on earth’ perilously close to multiple extinctions of life’s foundations; ie., nurturing environments; complex webs of interdependent species; and the globalisation of air, water and soil pollution

This dangerous and inhumane trajectory of social production for elite wealth accumulation has merely been accelerated by the industrialisation of production achieved by the capitalist mode of production. However, its ‘essence’ of greed and avarice, has been there from the inception of hierarchical mass society formations. I have previously mentioned the ancient so-called civilisations of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome as being one endless historical stream of destructive wars of possession and destruction between city states, regional empires and nations, yet this has not dented the commitment of the middle classes and the ruling classes to this form of hierarchical mass society living. .

It seems not to matter that the progress of ‘civilisation’ (sic) has involved regular episodes of conquest, genocide, enslavement and poverty within its own species, along with wholesale environmental and ecological destruction of habitat for most other species of life on earth. To the modern anthropocene obsessed middle class intellects, hierarchical mass societies, no matter how destructive they have been or become, never get a not-fit-for-purpose designation. Having, in its latest capitalist form, brought humanity and the rest of ‘life on earth’ to the brink of extinction, the best that the members of the ruling elites and the middle class want is merely to engineer a mythical ‘greenwashed’ civilisation.

This Part 7 article is much too short to detail a litany of past hierarchical mass societies actions and attitudes, but in researching for a much longer piece I came across the following two quotations. They both outline the effects these societies had upon their elite citizens. The first one is with reference to the upper and middle classes of Greece by, Thucydides, living roughly around 460 BCE. The second, also referencing the elite, is by a Roman Senator, Senaca four hundred years later. I was struck by the fact that each description – in a number of ways – could be applied to both and to the modern economic and political sections of the ruling elites and their media supporters, some 2,000 years later

“The common meaning of words was turned about at men’s pleasure; the most reckless bravo was deemed the most desirable friend; a man of prudence and moderation was styled a coward; a man who listened to reason was a good for nothing simpleton. People were trusted exactly in proportion to their violence and unscrupulousness, and no one was so popular as the successful conspirator, except perhaps one who had been clever enough to outwit him at his own trade, but anyone who honestly attempted to remove the cause of such treacheries was considered a traitor to his party. As for oaths no one imagined they were to be kept a moment longer than occasion required; it was, in fact, an added pleasure to destroy your enemy.” (Thucydides. quoted in ‘A Short History of Greek Philosophy.’ J. Marshall. Chapter Ten.)


“One man is possessed by an avarice which nothing can satisfy, another by a laborious diligence in doing what is totally useless: another is sodden by wine: another is benumbed by sloth: one man is exhausted by an ambition which makes him court the good will of others: another, through his eagerness as a merchant, is led to visit every land and sea by the hope of gain: some are plagued by the love of soldiering, and are always endangering other men’s lives or in trembling for their own: some wear away in that slavery, the unrequited service of great men: many are occupied either in laying claim to other men’s fortune or in complaining of their own….” (Seneca. To Pauline, ‘On the Shortness of Life.’)

We can only imagine what life must have felt for the 5th and 1st century working classes of slaves and semi-slaves attached to the land, mines and work benches of these hierarchical mass societies. We are left to guess, because working people’s experiences were rarely recorded two and three thousand years ago. However, we do not need to guess what life is like for the modern working classes of our current hierarchical mass societies. In the advanced capitalist countries with extensive super rich elites, there is homelessness, working and non-working poverty, deprivations in housing, food and fuel essentials, along with rising suicides among young people.

In the less advanced countries things are even worse and in all countries the working classes are continuing to face the worst effects of climate change, air and land pollution, along with extreme weather effects. In countries facing the armed interventions of any of the advanced militarised countries the recent example of the mass bombardment of Ukraine illustrates what it has been like this century for ordinary people in Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Lybia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Palestine. Consequently, as part of the 21st century challenge facing people with a humanitarian concern for the welfare of ‘life on earth’ in general and the planets ecological balance in particular, I suggested in Part 3 of this series, we should do three things.

FIRST, describe modern societies as they actually are, economically, socially, environmentally and ecologically without any elite friendly gloss or spin. SECOND, a campaign should be launched in which instead, of indifference and hostility to working class struggles, we should collectively begin to actively help, support and defend all citizens both economically and socially. More of us need to begin to function in accordance with our real world inter-dependent reality. A first stage for such a historical behavioral correction would be for those already aware of the above inter-dependence and the massive scale of the problems humanity faces to begin to openly advocate this and act in accordance with that reality themselves.

THIRD, the pattern of continuing in sectarian isolation from other like minded individuals and groups, needs to replaced by communication and cooperation. A further stage would be for increasing numbers of citizens to begin to demand of governments the modern equivalent of the 20th century ‘inclusive’ peasant demand for ‘peace, bread and land’. In other words a potentially revolutionary demand that not just our own particular sector of mass society be delivered from existential hardship, but that – as a priority – everyone in all mass societies, should have adequate food, clothing, housing and education – as a right!

Such a campaign would – at the same time – be a practical counter to elite attempts to divide the masses along the current (short-sighted) sectional interests. I now further suggest that in addition to those three suggestions above, the following should also be included:

FOURTH, to publicly accuse the elites of all shades in; politics, finance, media, commerce, entertainment, sport, and academia of disproportionately benefiting from the essential services and products which supply their water, power, transport, food, education, health, social care, sewage disposal, and mortuary services by the low paid working classes during each annual cycle of social production.

FIFTH, to publicly expose and shame, the middle – classes, who also benefit from the provision of essential services and products supplied by the low paid. These activities are the 24/7 efforts which keep the mass society systems afloat and functioning. However, this middle-class group keep quiet about their share of the social product and do nothing about the unfairness of the system to those workers they absolutely rely upon. If these groups actively threw their support onto the side of the low paid, their low pay salary and conditions campaigns would succeed. This would remove the need for essential workers to inconvenience anyone by striking when they are faced with their own increasingly inconvenient job losses, house repossessions or food and fuel deprivations.

Alongside such a campaign of exposure and shaming, the alienating harm caused by the divisions of society into classes, and endlessly repetitive 24/7 job occupations should be constantly highlighted. Human societies will not become humane societies as long as the divisions between ‘owners’ of the means of production and those who are compelled to slave away at them continues. Better salaries and wages for workers would still leave the majority at the mercy of alienating working conditions and the economic decisions made by those with ownership or control of the means of production. The productive forces and forms of social relationships have become over-developed to such a degree that in the control of a relative few motivated by greed, they have become overwhelmingly destructive.

For at least a generation now, global climate, ecological balance and all integrated forms of life on earth have been disrupted, distorted and devastated on the orders of a rich and powerful few. A single person or an oligarchical coterie can order space itself to be littered by toxic debris the near obliteration of forests; the extensive pollution of savanna’s and entire ecosystems. They can even order entire cities and regions to be blasted into nothing but massive piles of rubble.To save the planet and its life forms, the extensive socialised forms of mass society production require genuine socialised forms of ownership and control. In the absence of genuine social control, totalitarian tendencies, fueled by greed and rooted in the private ownership of land and resources, will continue to surface to the detriment of all life on earth.

Roy Ratcliffe (January 2023)

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The influencers.

Of course, those prone to totalitarian practices and ideas do not choose to see reality as it really unfolds, they only see it from their own needs and perspectives and wish to influence everyone else to see it in those same ways. For some, such reality blindness is perhaps a combination of confirmation bias and even wilful ignorance. Since vastly unequal social reality cannot be easily justified on its own terms, totalitarians, as Hannah Arendt pointed out in ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’, often justify it on the basis of a ‘truer reality concealed beneath perceptible reality’ which can only be understood by an elect few (Plato’s shepherd leaders, left, right and centre) with imagined extra abilities far beyond the normal five senses and above average muscle density or brain capacity.

Hence the perceived self-destiny attributed to actual (or potential) totalitarian leaders (Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Trump, Putin, Xi etc) is to ‘ingeniously’ (?) lead, the masses and save the existing mass society (and its privileged advantages) from whatever threatens it. Where this arrogant certainty of deeper understanding and exceptional abilities of a leadership (religious, military or political) are accepted by the citizens of mass societies, then a corresponding complementary response can occur, in which the majority reluctantly or enthusiastically accept being sheep to be led and subsequentlwillingly or unwillingly accept this elite distortion of perceived reality.

By varying degrees, using persuasion, intimidation (or state enforcement) historical records demonstrate that many people can be ‘influenced’ to believe and act on the basis of being led by a self-appointed ‘saviour. That way the responsibility for serious thinking about the situation and any ensuing complex recovery strategy can be avoided and left in the hands of a group of individuals (usually self-serving charlatan’s), whose motives are unlikely to coincide with the interests of humanity in general, let alone suffering humanity in particular. But by then the die has often been cast – as it was in 2022.

The Invasion of Ukraine by the decision of the Putin-led Russian elite and the backing of Ukraine’s elite by the US elite has simultaneously illustrated the nature of elites using state control within hierarchical mass societies. At the same time the backwardness of many on the left has been revealed. It is a myth that the first casualties of war is the truth, that has always been a permanent casualty in peace time as well as war. The first casualties of war are a section of the countries own citizens who by state edict are chained to an elite military command and trained to kill their own species on command – the dogs of war – as they say – are released. The second casualties of war are the families of these soldiers who are abandoned to their own devices, whilst the third casualties are the ordinary citizens who must not protest and also foot the bill.

Elite directed wars start with this authoritarian/totalitarian leaning procedure against their own citizens and continues with the orders to kill the citizens already under the authoritarian direction of another set of elites. That is the reality of war – any aggressive war! Yet the left internationally is so bereft of clear thinking that it is currently split three ways. One set are influencers against the US and are supportive of Putin’s right (?) to invade; another set are influencers against Putin so are in support of the US supplying weapons and intelligence to Ukraine’s elite; another set are so confused they support neither side and stay silent whilst genocide continues unabated.

However, the strategy is clear from a revolutionary-humanist perspective. 1 We should all be opposed to our own elites, they have proved over many decades they are incompetent and dangerous to humanity and the rest of life on earth. 2 Bombing and killing civilians is an outrage and whoever is doing it should be condemned. 3 Soldiers killing soldiers is also a humanist outrage and should also be condemned. 4 The soldiers on both sides should be advised and encouraged to stop fighting each other and demand their leaders endorse a cease fire. 5 Each sides soldiers should be encouraged to organise themselves into battalion discussion groups to express their own views on what should happen next, including how repairs and reparations should be organised and structured.

If the above, (which has actually historically happened in the past) sounds utopian in 2022 then this merely shows how distorted human acting and thinking has become due to hierarchical mass society living. The current insane alternative of daily bombing and killing each others citizens on the instructions of various deranged elites, whilst the very fabric of the planet is disintegrating is the most extreme dystopian madness imaginable. Doing nothing but cheer on one side or the other or doing and saying nothing are all utter denials of our humanity and complete abdications of our better natures.

This confusion on the left is a tired repetition of the time when the leadership of the radical left, held a seriously mistaken opinion. Because some hierarchical mass society elites were anti-imperialist, they thought that these countries were progressive and should be supported. It was an ideology promoted by the Soviet and Chinese Communist elites for obvious reasons. The elites there wanted a viable hierarchical mass society on their own territory and needed to end the stranglehold of the advanced capitalist countries in order to do so. These so-called anti-imperialist projects were not undertaken by colonial elites so they could liberate mankind (or even their own citizens) but so they could effectively live off the surplus-labour of their own workers.

It started with Lenin‘s proclamation of the ‘Right of National Determination’ rather than advocating workers self-determination. It is obvious that ‘nations’ allow existing, (or elites in-waiting,) to form a loyal state apparatus and thus dominate the nation. That was exactly what Lenin‘s Bolshevik-led party and Mao’s Communist Party intended and implemented. This Party ‘line’ continued under Stalin who vigorously promoted the idea that the Communist Parties in each country should cease to be revolutionary and become loyal reformists and promote ‘friendly’ state relations’ with soviet state exploitation.

The enforcers.

So it was never true that some hierarchical mass societies were progressive and others not. All such societies were oppressive, exploitative and reactionary. They were capitalist modes of production with a loyal armed state to enforce the hierarchies wishes. They were simply at a different and earlier stage of capitalist development. This should by now be abundantly clear. Not one anti-imperialist hierarchical mass society has ended wage labour, elite privilege and compulsory compliance with elite determined state directives.

Yet some on the left have remained stuck in the mire of 20th century sectarian fairy tale dogma, where the US and UK were the Imperialists par excellence whilst Russia and China with their so-called workers states, were the imaginary champions of the working class. It was nonsense then and is doubly so now. Being anti-imperialist was then a surrogate form of appearing anti-capitalist whilst not being anti-capitalist at all – and it still serves the same function! Only ruling elite minorities need armed states in order to exploit, oppress and control the majorities, whilst egalitarian societies only need social and administrative committees.

A similar phenomena occurred by those on the left hypnotised by the word revolution. If some actual or hopeful hierarchical mass society elites opposed to foreign control called themselves revolutionaries and designated their conquest of power as a revolution, then a Pavlovian response kicked in. Some gullible people on the left simplistically thought it their duty to support a ‘revolutionary elite’ without ever bothering to analyse what was really going on in these countries. The ‘radical’ elites in Algeria, Egypt, Cuba, South Africa, Vietnam, etc., might not have been imperialist, but they were middle class individuals with an aspiration to lead a hierarchical mass society with themselves as the hierarchy.

Therefore they subsequently ‘established’ themselves in power and utilised armed bodies of loyal state enforcers and the workers were sent back to low paid wage slavery. Not one of those so-called 20th century, ‘progressives’ were more progressive than the welfare capitalist elite of the ‘spirit of 1944’ Britain. The latter also nationalised many industries, introduced free education and welfare and allowed extremely exploited workers to strike. But they also strengthened their state at the same time – and then progressively took back all these ‘reforms’, they tactically conceded after the Second World War.

In a period of existential crisis and totalitarian tendencies, the question arises as to what can be done, if anything, to break the links between the seven (or more) stages between existing bourgeois hierarchical neo-liberal mass society democracies and the emergence of bourgeois inspired totalitarian political forms. I suggest that one of the early pre-requisites of answering ‘what is to be done’ now is to recognise 21st century reality as it is, and not be content with a virtual or ersatz story book version of it. There is almost a complete failure to see that all forms of hierarchical mass societies, even those classifying themselves as liberal democracies, contain both explicit and implicit authoritarian tendencies. Part 3, of this series mentioned the challenges facing those who share a revolutionary-humanist, anti-capitalist perspective, the next, final Part (7) of this series will develop these further.

Roy Ratcliffe (December 2022)

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The ideology.

A link can be made between the totalitarian ideas maturing within thinkers in ancient hierarchical mass societies, through those in the middle ages and on to those in the modern era. Greek thinkers such Plato, Aristotle, the unknown Abrahamic monotheist narrators, Papal Catholic thinkers, such as Augustine, the Jesuits and on to Hobbes and Hegel, in the 17th and 19th centuries all developed ideas along such lines. The philosopher, Karl Popper, for example considered that Hegel represented a “missing link” between Plato and more modern versions of totalitarianism and he also connected this with the totalitarian tendencies in the Abraham religions, writing the following;

“The church followed in the wake of Platonic-Aristotelian totalitarianism, a development that culminated in the Inquisition…It is set out in the last three books of the Laws, where Plato shows it is the duty of the shepherd rulers to protect the sheep at all costs by preserving the rigidity of the laws and especially religious practice and theory, even if they have to kill the wolf, who may admittedly be an honest and honourable man whose diseased conscience unfortunately does not permit him to bow to the threats of the mighty.” (K. Popper. Open Society etc. RKP. Page 24.)

Note that the inquisition had its own ruthless version of torturing and burning for ‘crime think’. However, a more developed concept of totalitarianism was introduced into early bourgeois consciousness by Thomas Hobbes. He asserted the need for supreme authority to be given to one man in order to secure the peace and defence of bourgeois “industrie”;

“For by this authority…he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred upon him, that by his terror thereof, he is in able to forme the wills of them all..” (Leviathan. Hobbes.)

Hannah Arendt in her book ‘Totalitarianism’, also traces the roots of modern totalitarianism to Thomas Hobbes in his ‘Leviathan’ in which Hobbes argues that the sovereign power, however formed, has 12 absolute powers of life, death and opinions etc., over everyone it rules. She correctly distinguishes between dictatorship where elite rule is satisfied by the exercise of overwhelming power to actively promote the dictators own interests, and the much further extension of such power to include the absolute power over every action and thought – for the good of the system.

She reminds her readers that the prelude to the totalitarianism achieved in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin Russia was the colonial/imperial rule by Europeans of so-called ‘subject races’ in Africa, Asia and North and South America. Rule and exploitation of land and bodily labour was never enough for the insatiable greed of European wealth accumulation. Only total rule over thinking and culture including language and custom could ensure exclusive bourgeois rights over any other prior rights of conquered peoples.

The practice.

The British Empire was the most clear example of this transition from dictatorship to totalitarian rule where the conquered were required to be grateful for being conquered and however painful it became, be thankful for their subjection. They were required to learn to absorb and admire the bourgeois culture and alleged benefits of European capitalism. Those who rebelled were made an example of by graphically horrible means. (Just like Iran’s Islamic rulers are doing by this months public executions and Putin’s Iranian sourced drones have been doing for months on civilians in Ukraine) Furthermore, the ‘rectification of thinking’ is a logical step for totalitarian control as in 20th century Soviet Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. However, it should not be overlooked that;

“…totalitarian government is different from dictatorships and tyrannies; the ability to distinguish between them is by no means an academic issue which could be safely left to the theoreticians, for total domination is the only form of government with which coexistence is not possible. Hence, we have every reason to use the word ‘totalitarian’ sparingly and prudently “ (’Totalitarianism’ H. Arendt.)

Therefore, we need to monitor authoritarian tendencies and register how close they are to becoming fully totalitarian. For example, the existence of ‘criminals’ without having committed a real crime such as the ‘thought crime’ of Orwell’s 1984 and the Turkish imprisonment of teachers etc. in 2016 are examples of authoritarianism tending toward totalitarianism. The full suite of totalitarian categories include; one party rule, no freedom of association, no freedom of opinion or thought, no public expression of dissent, arbitrary arrests, assassinations, secret trials and summary executions. These are the usual indicators of the arrival of the final totalitarian stage of mass society governance. However, there are several stages before that final one. There are seven steps from being a ridiculous figure to a seriously terrifying autocrat in the estimation of Ece Temelkuran in her book ‘How to Lose a Country’ (from Democracy to Dictatorship in Turkey under Erdogan).

To understand the social dynamic involved, the following description of the situation regarding the masses in hierarchical mass societies needs to be considered. In a serious crisis of such societies, the desperate, discarded ‘I want’ something better individuals, begin to recognise their needs are common to many more and therefore often become the ‘We want’ something better collectives. These collectives become a potential revolutionary force, often described by the establishment as the ‘mob’ (or despicables) and are seen by themselves as the ‘real people’.

The needs of such ‘left behind’ ordinary people are actually social not political, but so habituated are the mass of people to thinking within a political framework, that they are easily persuaded to put their trust in some form of populist politician to improve their socio-economic position. However, populist leaders needs are different from their followers. The politicians needs are to gain political power, their followers needs are to improve their socio-economic situation. Once the politicians have gained power, the people are then invariably betrayed. In their eyes, the people become Plato’s sheep and therefore at the mercy of a radical political shepherd. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao in the early 20th century, and later, Khomeini, Putin, then Erdowan, Bolsonaro, Trump, Sisi, etc., in the 21st.

There are many partially correct observations concerning totalitarianism and links, such as those noted above, but most authors seeking theoretical continuity between practices and ideas, miss the real material connection between the resurgence of these actions and ideas. The real material connection is the existence of hierarchical mass societies themselves during all ancient and modern periods. For example, one celebrated ruler, Ashurnacirpal, (approx 860 BCE) even openly boasted of his totalitarian brutality in the subjugation of those who rebelled after having been previously conquered. Thus;

“I drew near to the city of Tela. The city was very strong; three walls surrounded it. The inhabitants trusted to their strong walls and numerous soldiers; they did not come down or embrace my feet. With battle and slaughter I assaulted and took the city. Three thousand warriors I slew in battle. Their booty and possessions , cattle, sheep, I carried away; many captives I burned with fire. Many of their soldiers I took alive; of some I cut off their hands and limbs; of others the noses, ears and arms; of many soldiers I put out the eyes. I reared a column of the living and a column of heads. I hung up on high their heads on trees in the vicinity of their city. Their boys and girls I burned up in the flame. I devastated the city, dug it up, in fire burned it; I annihilated it.” (Standard Inc. , col. I. 113 – 118./ quoted in ‘A History of Babylonian and Assyrians’. By George Stephen Goodspeed. Section 168.)

It would not be difficult to furnish similar examples from the historical records of ancient Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Roman imperial periods of hierarchical mass societies. Even the Old Testament in Genesis 34; Exodus 32; Numbers 31 (10-18) and Isaiah 61 (12-16) demonstrate the same aggressive, acquisitive and punitive mentality by the nearly Israelites. It is also not difficult to recognise essentially the same thing being done to communities in the 20th and 21st centuries from a bomber a mile high or from a distantly located missile launch pad.

So in fact, the links between acts of totalitarian terror do not directly flow via a continuity between the ideologies of totalitarian iconoclasts but the link is through the hierarchical mass society form itself. This form of social living itself is authoritarian and totalitarian and thus continually gives rise to actions and theories about it which relate to it either negatively or positively. The positive supportive ones emanate predominantly from the elite beneficiaries of such societies and the negative views predominantly ( but not always) from the subservient sufferers.

Original Sin or material context.

Nevertheless, a fundamental confusion about motives arise when the logic of hierarchical mass society wealth accumulation is insufficiently considered and understood. Abstract terms, particularly among those whose thinking runs in predetermined political or religious grooves can be used to interpret conquest and violence as necessary – for a greater good. Yet there is no greater good than fully accepting the natural rights of humans, animals and other life forms to live in the utmost harmony possible. For example, it is not a natural or biologically inbuilt symptom of humanity to be nasty and horrible, as some suggest. The answer to the developmentof such aggressive behaviour lies in the type of society people live in. In settled societies as distinct from nomadic societies, far more wealth – in whatever form is considered wealth – can be accumulated than can be carried on human shoulders or animal backs whilst moving around.

Therefore, unlike early human societies, in settled mass societies, wealth accumulation is only limited by somewhere large enough to store it, the ability to obtain it and the power to retain it. Hence, the ‘grab and go’ armed military conquest histories of ancient Babylon, Sumer, Egypt, Persian, Greece, Rome and the European fuedal land wars and later colonial conquests. Such organised mass murders and pillaging do not occur prior to hierarchical mass societies. Among hunter gatherer societies there is simply not enough accumulated objects to steal and since it was (is) easier to gather and hunt than risk life and limb to raid what others have gathered or hunted, very little stealing and chopping off heads existed.

It also needs to be born in mind that, excessive inequalities in wealth and power in mass societies have always been viewed as unfair and largely resented, often accompanied by attempts to circumvent it or reduce it by one means or another. Consequently, in hierarchical mass societies where excessive wealth is appropriated by an elite, then that elite needs an unlimited extension of power to prevent any citizen attempts at wealth re-distribution. In calm periods, the elite needs only as much power as is necessary to accumulate and retain that wealth, but they also need the flexibility to increase that power if and when necessary.

Thus in ancient times when normal authoritarian control was insufficient, these were superseded by ‘extraordinary measures’ in the form of military crackdowns on civil disobedience or colonial unrest. These featured regularly in the ancient world and the modern Foreign Policies and Emergency Powers Acts are a similarly derived feature of the elites in Capitalist countries, precisely because wealth accumulation remains a conditioned feature of their entire lives. Consequently, total control is never going too far.

Roy Ratcliffe (December 2022)

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Ten points to ponder.

1 Hierarchical mass societies based upon capital, require continuous growth for both the return of the initial capital invested and the anticipated surplus-value realised as profit. 2 Capital and profit are maintained and sustained by the production and sale of commodities and services. 3 Furthermore, for growth in the 21st century, global capital requires a global supply and export infrastructure for raw materials and markets. 4 Since the change over from coal and steam to petrochemicals and electricity for production and transport in the 20th century, the commodities made from petrochemicals have proliferated.

5 To manufacture, plastics, synthetic rubbers, agricultural fertilisers, cars, ships, aircraft, clothes, phones, fridges, vitamin tablets, medicines, keyboard instruments, computers, television sets, cameras, bicycles, toys and thousands of other products, industries are now dependent upon petrochemicals. 6 This dependence is not just for producing the electrical energy to manufacture them by machinery but for the raw material they are actually made from. 7 Over many decades, this high production output has not only enriched the elites who control the means and mode of production, but has consolidated their control of the political system and the production of ideas supporting this system.

8 Moreover, the high energy obtained from relatively cheap to extract, fossil fuels and the machinery it now drives has not only increased the number of products manufactured but has reduced the number of people required to mass produce them. 9 Since its domination, petro-chemical fuelled mass production has serviced a global population rising from 2 billion (in 1927) to 8 billion (in 2022) in less than 100 years. 10 Despite the millions of years required for the fossilisation of former organic materials such as wood, coal, oil and gas, modern industrial technology is set to consume them as material and energy sources in a matter of centuries.

This high productivity boost from high energy sources such as oil, gas and nuclear has therefore become the self-defeating Achilles-heel of the whole profit based system.

In other words even without the side effects of pollution, climate change and ecological loss, etc., which emanates from burning fossil fuels, the consumption of raw materials and energy is exponentially faster than their original production. That is to say, faster than nature – the originator of all the organic sources of raw materials – can replace them! With 8 billion consumers groomed by advertising to want more and more products and gadgets, the available material to make them on an industrial scale will soon run out. That logic alone points to an end game for mass society production on a capitalist basis.

Furthermore, the obscure side effects of production cannot be ignored for waste product pollution, which causes ecological loss and climate change is continually creating problems during and after raw material extraction and during and after commodity manufacture. These waste product rubbish dumping places, (rivers, seas, atmosphere, quarries, valleys etc.) make the waste not only immediately harmful for life on earth, but some (including mercury, and nuclear) will exist for thousands of years before nature will be able to effectively neutralise them.

To boldly (or blindly) go!

The growing realisation of this problem has split the elites in control of advanced capitalist based hierarchical mass societies into two basic energy supply camps; the capitalist traditionalists and the capitalist futurists. The capitalist traditionalists are centred around the fossil fuel, climate denying lobby, whilst the capitalist futurists are centred around so-called ‘clean’ energy, green-future lobby. A virtual civil war between the two political camps exist in which by mixing a poisonous broth of distorted fact and deliberate fiction the two sides have set about assassinating the character of the others whilst successfully gathering support from many of their citizens and blaming the each other, rather than the system.

Fake news and ill thought out proposals now proliferate from every elite side. However, those battles of words are merely the early stages of deeper political crisis for both sides are also logically prone to totalitarian social control tendencies because they are both still committed to ‘capital ownership’, ‘wage-labour’ and to ‘hierarchical’ mass society forms. If ordinary citizens continue to support either of these elite tendencies or strategies (or any other such elite political tendency) they will create catastrophe and take down whole societies with them.

Moreover, if any present or future committed hierarchical mass society tendency gains power and they cannot persuade their citizens to go along with their way of dealing with problems they will, as in the past, use totalitarian methods of force and even civil war to enforce their will. Examples, already exist in North Korea, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria and more are likely, with ‘supreme’ (!) leaders either in name or fact. Elites can do no other, as will be explained in Part 5.

Yet when all is said and done, all traditional or futurist energy tendencies are doomed to ultimate failure in sustaining the present mass society system because; 1, The traditionalists offer more of the same which means continued economic growth utilising petro-chemical fuelled mass production. Thus continued ice cap melting, sea level risings, climate changes, key species loss (particularly insects and soil micro-organisms) and civil unrest from vast wealth inequalities, will all continue; 2, The futurists are deluding themselves and their supporters.

The so-called clean energy is not really clean. Electric cars, wind turbines, wave energy converters etc., may not spew out fumes and detritus on our city streets or holiday beaches but fumes and detritus are being spewed out elsewhere where the lithium, cobalt and other exotic metals are being mined, where the batteries are being manufactured and where the oil for the plastic fascias, battery cases and tyres are being ‘refined’ (sic) and processed.

It is obvious that manufacturing products for hierarchical mass societies means massively using up raw materials and massively creating waste materials and gases. Also the global climate pattern of winds and sea currents, (even if they alter) will ensure these pollutants will be dispersed to even the most remote areas. Similarly, solar panels may not produce fumes and toxins in towns and cities, but their manufacture and eventual disposal do so elsewhere. Wind turbines and wave capturing machines have a similar raw material extraction problem as well as those pollutants exhausted during production and waste disposal.

The use of words such as ‘sustainable’, ‘ecological’ ‘and recyclable’ by left, right and centre political tendencies are meaningless lures to fool the naive into clinging on to hope in an elite-guided future. Even if energy itself were made independent of fossil fuels, the raw material from which capitalism manufactures its millions of commodities and thousands of services cannot be made independently of fossil fuels. This is because the other substitutes for petro-chemical based raw materials are the pre-fossil fuel materials of wood (now much depleted), metals, glass, slates and granites, most of which are finite and where still plentiful, also require expenditure of considerable energy to extract.

High energy mass production = Planetary Degradation!

Beneath all the nuanced rationalisations and elite generated hot air fantasies and polemics concerning climate change, lies an undeniable reality. Mass pollution, climate change, ecological destruction and resource depletion, are the results of high energy mass production and consumption – period! It does not matter what kind of energy is used to manufacture them or which elite hierarchical tendency controls mass production output. Making lots and lots of stuff, uses lots and lots of stuff and makes lots and lots of mess – period! Moreover, making lots of dangerous stuff makes lots of dangerous mess – also period!

Raw material extraction was one thing when the energy source was wind, water and human or animal muscle power, but is another when the mechanical digger, conveyor belt and chain saw is involved. Mass gatherings and ancient mass societies based just upon human, animal, wind and water power did exist from pre-history until 200 or so years ago. But in the past humanity did not continually mass produce commodities because of an endless greed for accumulating profits and the latest gadgets; they produced primarily for immediate consumption and were using low grade tools and relatively weak energy sources to do so.

At that pre-industrial point in human evolution, forests, animal reproduction and seas globally could just about keep up with replenishing the trees the wood cutters axe demolished; the animals a bow or spear could cull; or the fish the small nets could entangle. Likewise resource depletion by building huge Stone Circles, Pyramids, Palaces or Cathedrals would be spread over many decades or even centuries by large, slow moving human workforces using ropes and hand chisels. All that changed with the Industrial Revolution. In contrast, mass societies based upon high energy fuels, high efficiency machinery and an insatiable profit motive – no matter which political tendency governs them – are definitely going to be a relatively short – lived and exceedingly detrimental phenomena for all forms of life on planet earth.

The logic of the capitalist mode of production driving humanity on the equivalent of an economic, perpetual motion, suicide mission against nature and its own essential human nature, has been known since its socio-economic logic was forensically examined by Karl Marx in ‘Das Kapital’ the ‘Grundrisse’ and ‘Theories of Surplus Value’. Hence his hope that before the final, self-inflicted death agony of capitalism, the working classes would overthrow the capitalist elite and organise mass societies in a non – hierarchical way and organise production for egalitarian need.

Final points.

Yet so ingrained is a fetish type regard for hierarchical mass society forms, that despite Marx’s exhaustive research there is even an international trend of self-declared Marxists, who misusing elements of Marx’s analysis entirely agree with a plan of China’s ‘authoritarian’ leaders for just such a hierarchical mass society future! It contains the following eight points (abbreviated here) to enable their ‘vision’ of constructing a Green Ecological Civilisation, led – of course – by the Chinese Communist Party.

  1. Spacial planning. 2. Technical innovation and structural adjustments. 3. Sustainable use of land and resources. 4 Ecological and environmental protection. 5. A regulatory system to ensure conformity. 6. A method of monitoring and supervision. 7. Public participation. 8. A system of policy of planning, organisation and implementation.
  2. Anyone familiar with the disastrous and inhumane results of Bolshevik Five Year Orgplans and Orgbureas (also full of ‘convincing’ sounding words) set up under Lenin and Stalin’s leadership will recognise the bureaucratic centralised model of ‘Spacial Planning’, implicit (if not explicit) in the above list. Note that an elite, self-perpetuating ‘sovereign’ leadership has already drawn up the plan for everyone and will be in charge of planning and instructing. It will obviously continue ue to use a bureaucracy with police powers in order to ensure the implementation of this imaginary Ecological Civilisation.
  3. It is not surprising that the Chinese Communist Party came up with such a hierarchical top down idea, after all they never intended to do away with classes or allow the state to whither away or indeed to allow the masses to determine their own future needs and desires – as Marx insisted should be the case. But for some on the left to promote the above, says a lot about the atrophy of the radical left in the 21st century. The real revolutionary-humanist Marx on the other hand even in the 19th century perceived the problem attached to such ingrained political mindsets, writing;
  4. The political mind is a political mind precisely because it thinks within the framework of politics. The keener and more lively it is, the more incapable is it of understanding social ills …The more one – sided and, therefore, the more perfected the political mind is, the more does it believe in the omnipotence of the will, the more is it blind to the natural and spiritual limits of the will, and the more incapable is it therefore of discovering the source of social ills.” (Marx/Engels. Collected Works. Volume 3, p199)
  5. Roy Ratcliffe (December 2022)
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