MUST WATCH! The Necessity of Civil Disobedience: Bill Moyers Interviews Tim DeChristopher
DeChristopher—who was released less than a month ago—joins Bill Moyers to talk about the necessity of civil disobedience in the fight for justice, how his jury was ordered to place the strict letter of the law over moral conscience and the future of the environmental movement.
Call it irony, if you will, or call it a nightmare, but Big Oil evidently has no qualms about making its next set of profits directly off melting the planet. Its top executives continue to plan their futures (and so ours), knowing that their extremely profitable acts are destroying the very habitat, the very temperature range that for so long made life comfortable for humanity.
For us, this old voiceover brings back wholesome childhood memories: “Funding for this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and viewers like you.” But thanks to Republicans and people like David Koch, only 12% of PBS’s funding comes from the federal government. “Viewers like you” can barely pay their rent, let alone donate sizable amounts to PBS. So the public’s network is forced to “create content that educates, informs and inspires,” so long as it does not offend the plutocrats who keep it alive—even if that means censoring documentary filmmakers.
Divestment Campaign Launched for New York State & Local Retirement Fund
This campaign is targeting approximately $150 billion of New York state funds held and administered by the New York state comptroller. A large amount of the retirement fund is invested in fossil fuels.
Let’s explain what our various ‘isms’ mean before we call ourselves ‘whatever-ists’
… My definition of working class is much closer to the Occupy concept of the 99%
So, everyone who’s not a billionaire?
but that’s also a loaded term so instead let’s use the phrase “working people”.
It’s the same as the Marxist definition of “working class”
No it isn’t.
but with less connotations attached to it.
Hmmm, less connotations? Everything to do with radical politics has negative connotations - there are people who make it their business to make sure of that. “Working people” is meaningless - a person who works is not necessarily working class. Donald Trump is a working person. We are not a collection of working people we are a CLASS. So what if there are negative connotations, it doesn’t change the fact that the struggle against capitalism is a struggle between classes.
We need to make it clear that you can eat as much humous as you like, as long as you don’t own a large a chain of businesses then you’re the right class for Left Unity.
So if you own a small chain of businesses you’re alright?
Reformist/ Revolutionary What is a revolution if it’s not a series of radical reforms?
The complete reorganisation of society from the bottom up, abolition of private property and wage labour
For me, this whole distinction is a way for “revolutionaries” to smear “reformists” by which they mean anyone who doesn’t already identify themselves with an explicitly revolutionary ideology like that of “Trotskyism”, “Leninism” or “Anarchism”.
…or anyone who believes that capitalism can be reformed without the violent expropriation of the bourgeoisie
This definition of revolutionary excludes the vast majority of actual revolutionaries. The Egyptians, Venezuelans and Cubans are all out as is Alexis Tsipiras and his Greek Syriza party.
Hahaha, do you like what he’s done here? Doesn’t want an exclusionary definition of “revolutionary”, goes on to list “actual revolutionaries”, thereby excluding everyone else. Stop pretending that your personal politics are “actually” correct as if there’s no debate you sneaky liberal
All these groups were inspired, not by the ideas of dead Russians, but by the desire to radically change (reform) their material conditions.
Because those are the only two possible sources of inspiration. Give me a break.
Trotskyist/Leninist/Bolshevik This isn’t an attack on those ideologies themselves
yes it is
but what do people think of when they hear them? I know my friends think back to dimly-recalled GCSE Russian history lessons. Older people probably think of the Soviet Union they grew up hearing horror stories about. OK, so maybe people have got the wrong impression. Maybe we need to re-educate them and recover the good name of these glorious leaders
patronising crap, I don’t even subscribe to those ideologies but they describe actually existing revolutionary movements of the working class, how else should we refer to them? ‘lets-all-be-jolly-friends-ism’?
but it’s not going to happen.
Are we a Russian history discussion club or a political party?
yet another false dichotomy
Do we want to debate the legacy of Lenin or transform modern Britain?
Socialist Socialism means different things to different people…
Which one depends on your personal definition of Socialism. At a Left Unity meeting we had a debate about the word socialist. It was said that we have to be honest with people but if I tell a stranger I’m a socialist, and they think that socialism is the same as supporting the Soviet Union, am I really being honest with them? One time I was chatting pleasantly away with a Czech woman in a café in Sheffield, I mentioned that I was a socialist and she stormed away saying the socialists had killed her grandparents. A friend of mine, knowing that I’m a socialist, said I should write a blog, sincerely adding “they’ll love it in China and Russia”. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Let’s explain what socialism is before we call ourselves socialist.
This is exactly what he did earlier. Socialism means many different things to different people, so what we need to do is first explain what socialism IS. He’s saying ‘Socialism has many different definitions, but I know the only correct one’ Therefore let’s not say the word until everyone accepts my definition of it.
Capitalist/Anti-Capitalist I’ve heard people at meetings endlessly saying things like “I don’t want to be part of a party that tries to reform Capitalism”, “Capitalism’s rotten to the core, we need to get rid of Capitalism”.
Yes go on
What I’ve never heard is someone explain what Capitalism is and what getting rid of it would look like.
You’re going to the wrong meetings
For me, Capitalism is where businesses aren’t owned by their workers which is a ridiculous and undemocratic arrangement.
That’s not what capitalism is.
Does this make me an anti-capitalist?
I would say it does, many would say it doesn’t.
They’d be right.
If we can’t define what Capitalism is then how can we decide what’s the point of even talking about whether we’re an anti-capitalist party, still less falling out over it.
You honestly can’t define what capitalism is? Karl Marx managed it in 1867.
Furthermore, the vast majority of British people don’t define themselves as anti-capitalist and so any leaflet from an “anti-capitalist” party will go straight in the bin.
where it belongs.
A party that says they want workers to control their workplaces on the other hand, re-build the welfare state and re-nationalize the railways and utilities on the other hand sounds good to everyone.
Not to the millions who vote tory it doesn’t. Or the millions who don’t give a fuck. Or me, even.
I’ve got a couple of points I’ve found that when people say this at meetings it means they’ve got a speech prepared in which they’ll attempt to spell out what’s wrong with society and how to fix it. This’ll go on forever and will bore people away from Left Unity for good.
Yes, only ‘actual’ revolutionaries who know what socialism “is” should be allowed to bore everyone.
Keep it as short as possible, people have short attention spans and are impatient for change.
You hate the working class, don’t you? This whole piece is one big appeal to dumb down radical politics because people are too stupid to differentiate between Ken Loach and Stalin. It’s a liberal reformist agenda dressed up as ‘common sense’ in ‘plain language’. This is the exact same rhetoric and content that the ‘left wing’ of the Labour party have been dressing up in different ways for as long as I can remember. It’s about as new and exciting as Tony Benn’s pipe and slippers.