As many of you in the UK will be aware, it was revealed in Monday’s Guardian and Channel 4 Dispatches that Peter Francis (alias Pete Black), a police officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), had infiltrated Youth Against Racism in Europe in order to undermine the far left and smear the family of Stephen Lawrence (the victim of a racist murder), if he could come up with any “dirt” on them – including involvement in demonstrations (also utterly scandalous that that would be considered “dirt” to be used against them; I recall that a family member was due to speak at the demo outside the BNP HQ but pulled out due to an anti-racist organisation offering instead to arrange a meeting with Nelson Mandela).
The revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden of the (previously) top secret PRISM programme, run by the National Security Agency in the USA, gathering and analysing massive amounts of data gathered about everyone on the planet (except for US citizens) including the contents of phone calls, emails, Facebook activities, web searches (using all the major search engines including Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo!), and their collaboration with “national security” centres like GCHQ in Britain is unsurprisingly causing a huge storm amongst people concerned about civil liberties.
[And yes, the companies involved have denied knowledge of PRISM, saying they only cooperate with law enforcement/security services when there are court orders, so I perhaps should qualify the above with “allegedly”, but there has been a lot of circumstantial evidence in my life that a high level of surveillance (to model the world to a high degree of accuracy, predict what is likely to happen, and interfere in subtle and not so subtle ways to try to ensure events go their way) has been going on for over a decade, and that the PRISM software is far more sophisticated than checking for keywords but uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to understand our communications. And I’m an AI expert by profession, who has developed an AI/simulation language called SDML capable in a much more limited way of doing the same sort of modelling, so I should know roughly what’s possible.]
The usual excuse is that if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear. The capitalist ruling class tries to justify programmes like PRISM as the most effective way of stopping terrorism (but of course attacks on civil liberties like PRISM and Guantánamo Bay are a cause of anger amongst potential terrorists).
So what should we be worried about? Unfortunately, most commentators on civil liberties make general points without mentioning the fact that programmes like PRISM can be used to try to stop a genuine democratic socialist society (probably in one country at first, quickly spreading around the world, rather than simultaneously) from taking place. This is not wild speculation – PRISM (and possibly less sophisticated predecessors) has been used to try to thwart me in my revolutionary activities.
What more proof do we need that the Tories and Labour are conspiring against us, to ensure that there is no real choice come election time? Tory chancellor George Osborne and his Labour opposite number Ed Balls are among the participants at this year’s Bilderberg conference (held in the UK for the first time – near Watford), alongside other politicians of the “centre left” and “centre right” from around the (Western) world, bankers, businessmen (and the odd businesswoman), right-wing academics and journalists, and other leading figures of international capitalism such as Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Even the infamous Peter “something of the night about him” Mandelson is there. [Thatcher and Blair have attended in previous years, before they became prime minister.]
There is a crying need for the divide-and-rule strategies of capitalist ruling classes across the world, aided and abetted by extreme right-wing forces – such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL), as well as religious extremists who also have right-wing agendas (who objectively play into the hands of the very capitalist states they often claim to oppose if they carry out terrorist acts) – to be effectively opposed by left-wing arguments.
Some of the right-wing arguments are easy to oppose. Blaming immigrants for the current economic malaise is obviously nonsense, since the world economic crisis started with “sub-prime” mortgages in the USA. Instead of our ruling classes bailing out the banks, they should all have been nationalised, only compensating pension schemes, and turned into building societies – focusing on lending to individuals (mainly for mortgages) and small businesses, funded by deposits by individuals and small businesses. All big businesses should also have been nationalised, only compensating pension schemes, in a socialist transformation of society. [Arguing what should have been done is incidental, since capitalist governments obviously wouldn’t do it; such a socialist transformation of society (revolution) can only take place by a mass movement from below.]
The argument for “no borders” (i.e. no limits on immigration) is harder to make, especially considering the propaganda from the likes of the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun, reflecting the arguments not just made by UKIP and the BNP but mainstream capitalist parties. They whip up hatred towards asylum seekers (utterly heartless to try to inflict further suffering on those fleeing persecution elsewhere in the world) and other refugees (don’t those dying of hunger warrant our help if they can get here?), as well as people in poorer countries in the European Union (with UKIP targeting Romanians and Bulgarians as part of their argument to get the UK to leave the EU).
Let me put forward (what I think is) a convincing argument for “no borders”:
It wouldn’t be implemented until after a socialist revolution, so demanding that our racist ruling classes, kept in power mainly by their use of divide-and-rule implement it, is pointless. However, after such a revolution, we should welcome anybody who wants to come and experience life in a wonderful, vibrant, joyful socialist country, and many of them would go back to their own countries and spread the ideas of socialist revolution there.
For a revolutionary socialist (Trotskyist) account of the unfolding Turkish uprising, including specific suggestions for the way forward and demands for activists to put forward towards the government, written by activists in Turkey – linked to other Trotskyist organisations around the world via the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) – go to http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6337.
The following blog entry is well worth reading, for an unbiased and deeply moving report of the start of the unfolding uprising in Turkey (although it has been widely circulated so you may have read it already) from a participant in the movement:
My band Fruity Frank and the Frisky Freaks (based on a computer game I wrote in the 1980s with my brother providing graphics like shown above!) has recorded a cover version of Bob Dylan’s song “Death Is Not The End”, also performed by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds featuring Kylie Minogue, or alternatively by other artists including the Waterboys (although our version was closer to Nick and Kylie’s).
It was dedicated to Ruth Wallis, my grandmother, who died today (about 12 noon, 3 June 2013), an atheist and committed revolutionary who did not live long enough to see a socialist revolution. Even if she is not in heaven, she leaves behind a sort of spirit in those she has affected over her lifetime. I sent her a CD including this song which she really appreciated – the inspiration she has given me, as well as good advice, over the years (mainly by telephone in more recent times), is part of her legacy which lives on now she has gone.
An article from the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) newspaper, the Morning Star, is appropriate today, on the revolutionary movement engulfing Turkey. My grandmother, who was an avid reader of that newspaper (and member of the CPB and its predecessor, the Communist Party of Great Britain, CPGB, before the split) since the time of the Spanish Civil War (in the late 1930s, she told me in our final conversation that she joined at a meeting on Munich) died today.
After 3 years in prison (during his first year of incarceration the conditions Bradley was kept in amounted to torture and were condemned by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez), WikiLeaks whistleblower finally comes to trial on Monday (3 June).
In any sane society, Bradley’s revelations about the misdeeds of the US military should make him a hero – and indeed, he is a hero to socialists and anti-war activists – but the US state wants to keep him incarcerated for the rest of his life (and some nasty pieces of work want him to face the death penalty).