Being pro-independence

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The Good Soldie...
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Aug 17 2005 08:20
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

errr....you could be deported to Australia in 1889 for going on strike?

Why weren't the Bryant & May match girls deported en masse, then? To say nothing of other organised Union strike leaders at the time?

In the 19th century, yes.

There were 100 years in the 19th century.

It's a simple question: did Annie Besant risk transportation to Australia in 1889, or not?

Edit: in fact transportation to Australia as a punishment was repealed in 1840. So irrelevant to the case we're discussing, I'm afraid.

The Good Soldie...
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Aug 17 2005 08:30

I regard it as personal information. Given the rudeness, contempt and hostility you've shown me, forgive me if I choose not to share it with you. Now either add something to the topic of this thread, or sling your hook.

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Aug 17 2005 09:20
pingtiao wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

1. So mediated by a Scottish boss rather than an English one? Why is that useful?

Why isn't it? Your question is based on the view that all bosses are the same regardless of where they are, what business or service they are engaged in, and what their outlook on life is. A sweeping assertion in my view.

Do you think that the following is an accuratedesription of a pressure that acts within capital:

Bosses want the most amount of work for the least amount of money, workers want the least amount of work for the most amount of money

??

Of course individual bosses can choose to buck this- can pay over the odds for a particular skill, can give better conditions, can choose not to close down a factory to reinvest elsewhere... but this is a pressure that exists everywhere within capitalism. Yoiu seem to be focussing on the possibility of an individual boss decoupling their actions from their material interests, and ignoring the systemic pressures that dictate the direction the whole moves in...

The systemic pressures you mention- of course. I was pointing out that you seemed to be generalising rather. The UK is increasingly being visited with US-style capitalism which is of a more rapacious breed in my view than the capitalism obtaining in Scandinavia.

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2. So the 'policy makers' would live on council estates? They wouldn't live in communities of other people from their social stratum? Wouldn't send their kids to the same schools? What on earth makes you think that?

That's the kind of Scotland I'd want to see. I don't think that if we all just sit back and wait patiently it'll happen. there'd be no public schools either, so yes, their children would go to the same school as everybody else.

That is also a Scotland I, and everyone on this board, would like to see in preference to the one we have now- capitalist though it would be. You have yet to show how on earth that could come out of Independence. In the meantime I'll file it under 'naive and unrealistic'...

alongside 'libertarian communist society', then? I'm glad that at least someone recognises that this would be a step forward from what we have now. This is the kind of Scotland I'd like to work towards in future, but, given that we have no possibility of developing our own independent political culture at the moment, I'll work with anyone advocating independence, as a next step forward. There is nothing inevitable or fixed or guaranteed about that kind of society emananting from an independece vote and I haven't for a moment suggested anywhere that it is.

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3. That is an assertion, a view revealed by a crystal-ball gaze of your own.

It's not totally an assertion- much of what I say in point three can be found in the policy documents of parties advocating independence for Scotland (Greens, Trots, Nats). Some of it isn't, but this debate has been conducted in very abstract terms.

A common anarchist critique of representative democracy, that I'm sure you've seen countless times before, is that people can and do say what the fuck they want in 'oppositon'- but when in power their 'radicalism' becomes somewhat tempered by the threat of capital flight, and the need to appeal both to foreign investment and the local business class. What about this case makes you think that these pressures would not affect the replacement of Westminster-rule with Edinburgh-rule?

I'd look at the social democratic systems of Scandinavia- which has, historically, seen a combination of a strong state with striong public services locally administered. I'm not aware of mass capital flight in response.

Re: Green party: check out catch's critique of it elsewhere on the site

I shall read this at lunchtime :)

re: your last para, food for thought, thanks.

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Aug 17 2005 09:41

That's nice.

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pingtiao
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Aug 17 2005 09:52
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

alongside 'libertarian communist society', then? I'm glad that at least someone recognises that this would be a step forward from what we have now. This is the kind of Scotland I'd like to work towards in future, but, given that we have no possibility of developing our own independent political culture at the moment, I'll work with anyone advocating independence, as a next step forward. There is nothing inevitable or fixed or guaranteed about that kind of society emanating from an independence vote and I haven't for a moment suggested anywhere that it is.

Not really. Those of us who talk of libertarian communism understand which social pressures would lead in it's direction, and which militate against it. It is this appraisal of the state of play that leads us towards certain forms of activity over others. No-one I know thinks that a libcom society is going to happen any time soon, but all of us think it is possible and necessary for long-term human survival ('socialism ou barbourie').

The point of what we do is not the future society we all want...it is the everyday- which currents within society should be fostered?

The small-scale federated society you have mentioned would be great compared to this one, but as Revol asked earlier- where would it come from? While power remains in the same hands [not just the managing power of politicians, but the social power of those who control investment and production- which you are explicitly rejecting a wholesale dismantling of], where would the mechanism for implementing your ideal come from? How would it work? Why would those who control and manipulate the levels of power act against their material interests?

Appealing to romantic ideals of nationhood or culture are wishes, whereas material interests are real. A boss can, as I wrote in a previous post, ignore their material interests and act against them- but that isn't a pressure in any meaningful sense- it is an aberration.

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Aug 17 2005 10:17
pingtiao wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

alongside 'libertarian communist society', then? I'm glad that at least someone recognises that this would be a step forward from what we have now. This is the kind of Scotland I'd like to work towards in future, but, given that we have no possibility of developing our own independent political culture at the moment, I'll work with anyone advocating independence, as a next step forward. There is nothing inevitable or fixed or guaranteed about that kind of society emanating from an independence vote and I haven't for a moment suggested anywhere that it is.

Not really. Those of us who talk of libertarian communism understand which social pressures would lead in it's direction, and which militate against it. It is this appraisal of the state of play that leads us towards certain forms of activity over others. No-one I know thinks that a libcom society is going to happen any time soon, but all of us think it is possible and necessary for long-term human survival ('socialism ou barbourie').

I know you're realistic about it. One thing interests me about this part of your statement though- is it your belief that only libertarian communism can stave off 'barbarism' and ensure humanity's long term survival? or can you envisage circumstances in which other strategies would achieve the same aim?

The point of what we do is not the future society we all want...it is the everyday- which currents within society should be fostered?

The small-scale federated society you have mentioned would be great compared to this one, but as Revol asked earlier- where would it come from? While power remains in the same hands [not just the managing power of politicians, but the social power of those who control investment and production- which you are explicitly rejecting a wholesale dismantling of], where would the mechanism for implementing your ideal come from? How would it work? Why would those who control and manipulate the levels of power act against their material interests?

The possibility that they might lose control of their enterprises altogether? Co-operate, or we'll boot you out and replace you with someone who will co-operate (much as the Chinese Reds did following their take over in 1949- many of the old 'capitalist bosses' stayed in charge of factories and farms, they just had their power relationship with the workforce and the state altered. I'm not a Maoist as you know, but it's an example of how such a thing could-and has-worked.)

1. Appealing to romantic ideals of nationhood or culture are wishes, whereas material interests are real. A boss can, as I wrote in a previous post, ignore their material interests and act against them- but that isn't a pressure in any meaningful sense- it is an aberration.

1. Notions of 'nationhood' and 'culture' are not of themselves 'romantic ideals'. Aspiring towards an independent nation or (shudder) 'pure' culture for its own sake are romantic ideals. From what I understand of your view, 'self determination/independence/whatever' is not a 'current' within society that you would 'foster'. Completely fair enough.

But in order to reject such a 'current', you have to understand what you are dealing with, and to develop a case against in order to take people with you, rather than, as has largely been the case with others- dismiss people who find national identity important as 'stupid', 'outdated', 'blinkered', etc. For many, national identity and interests are just as important as immediate material interetss- and indeed for many others they are intimately interlinked.

That for me has been the revealing aspect of this thread. On this thread you, volin and ed seem to have grasped that point. As for the others- I guess it's true that empty vessels make the most noise.

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Aug 17 2005 11:42
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
is it your belief that only libertarian communism can stave off 'barbarism' and ensure humanity's long term survival? or can you envisage circumstances in which other strategies would achieve the same aim?

I think what pingtiao is getting at here is that the logic of capitalism (constant expansion in the search of growth and profit at all costs) will lead us to 'barbarism' through environmental destruction, war, withering away of workers' rights etc. This is simply how capitalism works until it reaches crisis point (f.e. depressions). The only way to stop these crises happening is to get rid of capitalism and you can only do that through libertarian (i.e. non-hierarchical, anti-statist etc) and communist (from each according to ability, to each according to need) means.

The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
pingtiao wrote:
Why would those who control and manipulate the levels of power act against their material interests?

The possibility that they might lose control of their enterprises altogether? Co-operate, or we'll boot you out and replace you with someone who will co-operate (much as the Chinese Reds did following their take over in 1949- many of the old 'capitalist bosses' stayed in charge of factories and farms, they just had their power relationship with the workforce and the state altered.

Sorry mate, but gone are the days when you can point to China and go, "You see that lads? That's what we're aiming for". I'm not quite sure when those days were, but I guess for some they're still here! wink

Seriously though, China didn't exactly miraculously cow international capital into submission, first it crushed its own working class and then it sought to build links with other similar regimes such as the obviously imperialist USSR (not sure about China's own foreign policy but I think something around south-east Asia was far from nice!). All in all, it didn't just sit on its thumbs being rather pleased with itself after expelling the foreign bourgouisie, it sought to expand its own markets.

Also, the boss' relationship wasn't altered. All that happened was that the state took the profit not the boss (who became more of a manager). Overall, a change in administration still meant fuck all change for the working class.

Lastly, I think you can also see quite plainly that China is (and has been for some time now) becoming integrated into the world economy, with all the normal exploitation that entails. I would highly recommend you read the China Labour Bulletin to see how the Chinese working class is reacting to this, and how the Chinese authorities have been dealing with the upsurge of working class militancy. Now imagine it all happening in Aberdeen.

The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Notions of 'nationhood' and 'culture' are not of themselves 'romantic ideals'. Aspiring towards an independent nation or (shudder) 'pure' culture for its own sake are romantic ideals. From what I understand of your view, 'self determination/independence/whatever' is not a 'current' within society that you would 'foster'.

Firstly, self-determination and independence are currents within society we'd like to foster. We just have a different idea of what that means. What you think is self-determination, we see as just letting a local boss run your life rather than one from another country. For us, self-determination means direct democratic control of communities.

Secondly, culture might not be a romantic ideal, but to forge a unity based on that is, basically, weird. If you want to unite with people on the basis of culture then look at this situation: a Scottish goth, a Scottish chav and an English goth. Culturally, who has the most in common? Again, an English landowner, a Scottish landowner, a Scottish builder? How about a Scottish Sikh, an English Sikh and a Scottish Catholic? If culture is such a big factor, then will the Sikh community in Scotland get their own little statelet? Or perhaps Glasgow should be cut into two mini nations - Prods one side, Catholics on the other. Or at least the Catholics should get their own mini-Ireland in Glasgow, right? Or will they miraculously find unity under their newfound Scottish cultural heritage?

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For many, national identity and interests are just as important as immediate material interetss- and indeed for many others they are intimately interlinked.

For many, race is even more important than class. Doesn't make it right and doesn't mean it's based in any rational thought process.

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Aug 17 2005 12:17
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

errr....you could be deported to Australia in 1889 for going on strike?

Why weren't the Bryant & May match girls deported en masse, then? To say nothing of other organised Union strike leaders at the time?

In the 19th century, yes.

There were 100 years in the 19th century.

It's a simple question: did Annie Besant risk transportation to Australia in 1889, or not?

Edit: in fact transportation to Australia as a punishment was repealed in 1840. So irrelevant to the case we're discussing, I'm afraid.

I never mentioned Annie Besant at all, whoever she is, the fact remains you could be deported to Australia in the 19th century for organising in your workplace. I quote "In January of 1813, eighteen workers convicted of Luddism were hanged at York, and the deportation of organised workers to the penal colonies in Australia increased at a frightful rate." Anarcho-Syndicalism, Theory and Practice; Rudolf Rocker, AK press 2004. p29 Not only were you deported, you could get hanged as well. Now doesn't this mean people are capable of organising under these conditions, on a class basis, so it can happen, it's just people are prevented from doing so today by the racism of the Government, through asylum-seeker hysteria. The Government is here using racism to divide people, so it can control them better. I await your answer.

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Aug 17 2005 13:21
Quote:
If I was arguing for a nation of compulsory Burns nights at secondary school and flag waving sessions on the sports field, because i assumed that everyone in Scotland regardless of background would have the same response and interest to it simply because they were Scots, then yes, you're right, a 'cultural nation' would be absurd.

Funnily enough, this is not what I was implying. But how do you define the Scottish nation and what is it that ultimately "unites" us? "Our difference lies in my not agreeing with your conception of a nation as a'top down class institution'."...and yet, that's exactly what a nation-state is! Through all history and in every case of the formation of such an apparatus it has been based in, is, hierarchy and existing solely for the benefit of a class system (ie. the ruling class) -a top down class institution. You can attempt, but only partly, to distinguish a "nation" from a "state", but the fact remains they need each other and the former is only an artificial entity created by the state. But I wonder how your state would differ?! Historically, Scotland as a "nation" probably only came into being, ironically, when it joined the Union of 1707. Before that, although there was attempts to rally people together in defence of what appeared to attack everyone ("foreign" intervention) but the land itself was split by neighbouring and often hostiles clan-groupings, language and religious, geographical, political and economic groupings. You might disagree with that, but I highly suspect nationalism and Scottish patriotism is far more recent than you'd expect.

Quote:
Scots wouldn't be ruling themselves

that's a moot point.

So, ordinary Scottish people would in fact be ruling/governing/deciding for themselves without being represented and dictated to by abstract and alien institutions they have no control over? You might have a token interest for semi-decentralisation, which is extremely radical for nationalists, but that suffers the exact same criticisms when you have a state remaining. In many cases it doesn't even increase empowerment of the people to any extent, the government remains.

Quote:
why can't this sytem be reformed? Why is a revolution inevitable if there is to be any meaningful change?

It's an important question and should be addressed by anyone with an interest in improving society and countering the effects of capitalism. The answer lies in an understanding of what the economic system is -one of private enterprise where the needs of a few hold far greater weight than the many, and where there is a constant need for growth and profit. It is material accumulation and competition based in the exploitation of labour. From a labour point of view then, you can't reform a system that is inherently contrary to your needs and the needs of mankind as a whole.

When you talk of, "the 'cobweb left' kaleidoscope of 1917 nostalgiacs and the Heinz 57 varieties of anarchism" you seem to be getting confused between the "Left" and anarchism. These days there are not 57 varieties of anarchism, like there are with Leninism, we have quite a consistent ideological tradition -mainly described as anarcho-communist, but we can theoretically unite quite easily with Libertarian Marxists, socialists and syndicalists as well as any socialist anarchist that exists. IMO, that's not our problem but in finding our feet and putting our ideas into practice. The fact that we are so few is one our biggest challenges today.

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In my view it [national indepdence for Scotland] would be a small step forward in a small corner of the world to things being marginally better than they are now.

I don't want to diss you personally (I used to be a pseudo-nationalist myself as I said earlier in the topic) but it in no way addresses the social question; poverty, economic inequality and private gain. Which linked to the distribution of power is, in our view, the BIGGEST issue of human society. It doesn't seem to take environmental concerns into consideration (perhaps BIGGER), and it couldn't because nationalism isn't capable of it...both socialism and environmentalism are international concerns, and we need radical global change in both places. Things like dismantling Scotland's nukes, keeping the money we make for ourselves etc. sound good and I'm certainly for the idea. In practice the nuke thing is only a side-issue to nationalist concerns, it's only a far bigger problem of national militarism. "Keeping the money for ourselves", is a fallacy that implies the Scottish people would be directly benefitting from things they produce and manufacture, when they'd only recieve an indirect "trickle-down" of those things. Things of the earth which are produced in common and should be shared in common.

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most people simply want to be left alone to get on with their lives the best they can

Most people are completely apathetic and ignorant of their situation, which is understandable seeing as they play little part in it.

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Aug 17 2005 15:38
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

errr....you could be deported to Australia in 1889 for going on strike?

Why weren't the Bryant & May match girls deported en masse, then? To say nothing of other organised Union strike leaders at the time?

In the 19th century, yes.

There were 100 years in the 19th century.

It's a simple question: did Annie Besant risk transportation to Australia in 1889, or not?

Edit: in fact transportation to Australia as a punishment was repealed in 1840. So irrelevant to the case we're discussing, I'm afraid.

I never mentioned Annie Besant at all, whoever she is, the fact remains you could be deported to Australia in the 19th century for organising in your workplace. I quote "In January of 1813, eighteen workers convicted of Luddism were hanged at York, and the deportation of organised workers to the penal colonies in Australia increased at a frightful rate." Anarcho-Syndicalism, Theory and Practice; Rudolf Rocker, AK press 2004. p29 Not only were you deported, you could get hanged as well. Now doesn't this mean people are capable of organising under these conditions, on a class basis, so it can happen, it's just people are prevented from doing so today by the racism of the Government, through asylum-seeker hysteria. The Government is here using racism to divide people, so it can control them better. I await your answer.

You don't know who Annie Besant is? For a man airily invoking 'the history of the workers movement' as vindication for your argument, you seem remarkably ignorant of one of its more noteworthy episodes. Not that your ignorance is without precedent in this discussion, mind.

Before 1840, it seems, you could be transported to Australia, or hanged for participating in a worker's organisation. I'd put it to you (as I did initially) that conditions for workers are somewhat different now than they were then. So the question of people 'organising under these conditions' is still very much a moot point I'm afraid.

Ed & Volin- I shall return to your far more considered responses tomorrow, other things on tonight.

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Aug 17 2005 16:01
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

As I remember too, Annie Besant didn't organise a strike with her union under immediate threat of arrest & deportation by the authorities, or physical violence and false imprisonment by her employers.

Quote:
Before 1840, it seems, you could be transported to Australia, or hanged for participating in a worker's organisation. I'd put it to you (as I did initially) that conditions for workers are somewhat different now than they were then. So the question of people 'organising under these conditions' is still very much a moot point I'm afraid.

Well, let's see shall we, while I'm not talking about Annie Besant, the truth is people could get deported for organising, which thankfully you've admitted now. But also you claimed that the situation for asylum seekers is much worse than it was then. So the fact that asylum seekers are working under almost identical conditions as workers in the early 19th century has just escaped your notice has it?

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Aug 17 2005 16:54
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

As I remember too, Annie Besant didn't organise a strike with her union under immediate threat of arrest & deportation by the authorities, or physical violence and false imprisonment by her employers.

Quote:
Before 1840, it seems, you could be transported to Australia, or hanged for participating in a worker's organisation. I'd put it to you (as I did initially) that conditions for workers are somewhat different now than they were then. So the question of people 'organising under these conditions' is still very much a moot point I'm afraid.

Well, let's see shall we, while I'm not talking about Annie Besant, the truth is people could get deported for organising, which thankfully you've admitted now.

I've 'admitted' it!`LOL! You didn't even know when the fucking law was repealed!

But also you claimed that the situation for asylum seekers is much worse than it was then.

you'll have to remind me. I've spent so much time dealing with your bullshit that one loses track.

So the fact that asylum seekers are working under almost identical conditions as workers in the early 19th century has just escaped your notice has it?

are they? Asylum seekers aren't legally allowed to work at all. Some illegals are employed by gangmasters and sweatshop owners to work in apalling conditions for virtually zero pay. I'm always pleased when such gangmasters are locked up and their wealth sequestered by the very authorities you oppose so bitterly.

Other asylum seekers are locked up in detention centres such as Dungavel. yet others have the good sense to disappear from the authorities' notice.

So, er, what was your point again?

Oh yes- that the unfortunate experience of some asylum seekers being exploited by criminal gangs can somehow be extrapolated to the general observation that, the conditions of the working classes at the beginning of the nineteenth century and now are, er, pretty much the same.

Aye, right.

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Aug 17 2005 17:16
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

I've 'admitted' it!`

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Before 1840, it seems, you could be transported to Australia, or hanged for participating in a worker's organisation.

There you are.

Well ,it seems I've lost the thread of my argument, but hey it's bound to happen occasionally, but it's so humiliating to be bested in a dispute by a bourgeois academic, who probably gets paid to talk about nationalism anyway, and then decries any logical argument that says nationalism is a load of pish by saying that it's bullshit. Scottish people are racist irrational bigots, and you're not going to cure that by appealing to their hatred of their nearest neighbours. It doesn't matter what you think will happen under an independent Scotland, it matters what the bosses think, and they'll turn it into a total backward banana republic rather than let anyone else dictate the course of their own lives. Nationalism is based on hierarchy, and anyone who thinks you can create solidarity by excluding other people (i.e. the English) on the basis of what is after all, a state religion is either lying, deluded, or both. Fortunately, we are inextricably linked with the English, so hopefully the working classes sense of solidarity will win out, and their realisation that no change in top-down institutions is going to alter anything in their day-to-day lives will prevent what is, after all, the triumph of irrationality and bigotry over reason. Those who want Scottish independence just want it to be able to create mini-empires of their own.

There you go, I've said my piece.

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Aug 17 2005 17:33
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:

I've 'admitted' it!`

Quote:
Before 1840, it seems, you could be transported to Australia, or hanged for participating in a worker's organisation.

There you are.

There I am what? I was filling in a historical date which you didn't know despite basing your argument of the time on it.

Well ,it seems I've lost the thread of my argument,no shit Sherlock but hey it's bound to happen occasionally, but it's so humiliating to be bested in a dispute by a bourgeois academic, who probably gets paid to talk about nationalism anywaynope, you;re wrong again, but don't let me stop you, carry on, do..., and then decries any logical argument that says nationalism is a load of pish by saying that it's bullshit you clearly have a different definition of 'logic' to me. Scottish people are racist irrational bigotswhat? all of them? your good self included? or are you one of the 'chosen' who's escaped this ghastly fate?, and you're not going to cure that by appealing to their hatred of their nearest neighbours.I've already explained that I have no bad feelings towards the English, but that apparently didn't matter to you- because you knew already that I secretly did It doesn't matter what you think will happen under an independent Scotlandfuck me. 3/4s of the way through your post and you've got something right it matters what the bosses think, and they'll turn it into a total backward banana republic rather than let anyone else dictate the course of their own lives Sure. It's all inevitable and pre-ordained. Were you brought up in the Free Kirk by any chance?. Nationalism is based on hierarchy, and anyone who thinks you can create solidarity by excluding other people (i.e. the English)erm, I don't want to exclude the English, nor does any Nationalist with a big N, or a small n, that I know of (see previous posts ad infinitum), but keep going... on the basis of what is after all, a state religion is either lying, deluded, or both. Fortunately, we are inextricably linked with the English,another one of your moot points so hopefully the working classes sense of solidarity will win out, and their realisation that no change in top-down institutions is going to alter anything in their day-to-day lives will prevent what is, after all, the triumph of irrationality and bigotry over reason.Rangers have won rather a lot of late, it's true. :( Those who want Scottish independence just want it to be able to create mini-empires of their own.Rubbish- for the reasons suggested above

There you go, I've said my piece.

To quote you from yesterday, 'thank fuck'.

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Aug 17 2005 18:45

Yar, tis neither beast nor man me hearties, but a hideous congloberation,

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Aug 18 2005 09:25

Good Soldier, are you not gonna address any of the points I made?

Unlike you, I'm not an academic and it takes me a while to write stuff out. I'd be very upset if you didn't reply to my points. I may even cry cry wink

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Aug 18 2005 10:30

I will ed....bad personal things happening all of a sudden....will get back to you on your decent points, just give me time....

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Aug 18 2005 12:50

Sorry to hear about the personal crisis, mate. Shite when that happens.

Re China, just found this article which I think illustrates perfectly my point about the Cinese government's relationship to the Chinese working class. Well worth the read, as are most things on that site, imo:

Remembering June 4, 1989 and the Struggle for Workers Rights in China

China Labour Bulletin wrote:
For sixteen years the Chinese authorities have done everything in their power to whitewash the events of that day, but the world still remembers. And more importantly, China itself remembers. There are those who point to the economic gains that China has made over the past decade, as if to say: "Perhaps the government was too harsh then, but don't the ends justify the means?" I ask such people to take a closer look at China’s economic miracle, at a country rife with corrupt officials getting fantastically wealthy through the abuse of power and authority, while the people for whom they ostensibly work languish in increasing poverty. While actively working to suppress democratic reform in China ("because the Chinese people are not ready for democracy," they claim) these same officials are throwing the door wide open to business – any business, regardless of its nature. And so the morally corrupt and ethically bankrupt are rewarded, while many of those who strived in 1989 to bring China into a new era of social justice and accountability are still behind bars or under police surveillance.
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Aug 18 2005 13:19
revol68 wrote:
i don't think he really is an academic to be honest.

keep digging fucknuts.

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Aug 18 2005 13:20
Ed wrote:
Sorry to hear about the personal crisis, mate. Shite when that happens.

Re China, just found this article which I think illustrates perfectly my point about the Cinese government's relationship to the Chinese working class. Well worth the read, as are most things on that site, imo:

Remembering June 4, 1989 and the Struggle for Workers Rights in China

China Labour Bulletin wrote:
For sixteen years the Chinese authorities have done everything in their power to whitewash the events of that day, but the world still remembers. And more importantly, China itself remembers. There are those who point to the economic gains that China has made over the past decade, as if to say: "Perhaps the government was too harsh then, but don't the ends justify the means?" I ask such people to take a closer look at China’s economic miracle, at a country rife with corrupt officials getting fantastically wealthy through the abuse of power and authority, while the people for whom they ostensibly work languish in increasing poverty. While actively working to suppress democratic reform in China ("because the Chinese people are not ready for democracy," they claim) these same officials are throwing the door wide open to business – any business, regardless of its nature. And so the morally corrupt and ethically bankrupt are rewarded, while many of those who strived in 1989 to bring China into a new era of social justice and accountability are still behind bars or under police surveillance.

Thanks for this & yr good wishes ed. I promise you a proper rely when there's time, it may be a wee while yet though....

The Good Soldie...
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Aug 18 2005 13:25
revol68 wrote:
ah at last, something approaching a cogent point.

seriously though, I don't think your an academic at all, I reckon you at best are a GCSE teacher in Civic Duties.

wtf is 'civic duties' when it's at home?

Anyway- you're wrong again- just because I won't tell you what my job is or where, doesn't mean I am not who I say I am.

After all, who the fuck would pretend to be an 'academic'- other than a fatuous wannabe such as your good self?

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Aug 18 2005 13:42
revol68 wrote:
civic duties/ citizenship classes are where we are told all about our great heritage, what it means to be British/Scottish/Irish and how we all can make it better bladdy blah.

With your niave dreams of a better fairer independent scotland you'd be the perfect mug to peddle this nonsense.

And seriously I do thik your lying about being an academic, and if you are an academic im guessing it is in something far removed from the social sciences.

PM butcherapron and ask him. I know him real life and he knows exactly who I am and what I do.

That is if you're on speaking terms- which given the nature of your 'contributions' on here I rather doubt.

Why are you so obsessed in finding out who I am, if I'm such a 'mug', anyway?

The Good Soldie...
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Aug 18 2005 13:54

Rather than waste the little time I have here today on the weirdly stalking adolescent clown 'revol68', I think I'd be better respnding to some of the serious contributions others have made.

Ed wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
is it your belief that only libertarian communism can stave off 'barbarism' and ensure humanity's long term survival? or can you envisage circumstances in which other strategies would achieve the same aim?

I think what pingtiao is getting at here is that the logic of capitalism (constant expansion in the search of growth and profit at all costs) will lead us to 'barbarism' through environmental destruction, war, withering away of workers' rights etc.That is if the planet lasts long enough to reach this ultimate state of 'barbarism, sadly. This is simply how capitalism works until it reaches crisis point (f.e. depressions). The only way to stop these crises happening is to get rid of capitalism and you can only do that through libertarian (i.e. non-hierarchical, anti-statist etc) and communist (from each according to ability, to each according to need) means.

That's a logical point...but how do we get there? Without being mean to pingtiao, his prescription of, er, slowly building things up and hoping people take your point on board outwith electoral politics seems a strategy likely only to win very local and very short term gains. You;re talking about a project to do away with how the globe revolves. Aren't you daunted by how massive the task is? It's bad enough trying to make a difference in one tiny and insignificant corner of the world.

The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
pingtiao wrote:
Why would those who control and manipulate the levels of power act against their material interests?

The possibility that they might lose control of their enterprises altogether? Co-operate, or we'll boot you out and replace you with someone who will co-operate (much as the Chinese Reds did following their take over in 1949- many of the old 'capitalist bosses' stayed in charge of factories and farms, they just had their power relationship with the workforce and the state altered.

Sorry mate, but gone are the days when you can point to China and go, "You see that lads? That's what we're aiming for". I'm not quite sure when those days were, but I guess for some they're still here! wink

Seriously though, China didn't exactly miraculously cow international capital into submission, first it crushed its own working class and then it sought to build links with other similar regimes such as the obviously imperialist USSR (not sure about China's own foreign policy but I think something around south-east Asia was far from nice!). All in all, it didn't just sit on its thumbs being rather pleased with itself after expelling the foreign bourgouisie, it sought to expand its own markets.

True. I was using it as an example of the kind of thing pingtiao seemed to doubt could happen. I also know that red China, 1949, was a long, long time ago and that China is as capitalist as anywhere else these days.

Also, the boss' relationship wasn't altered. All that happened was that the state took the profit not the boss (who became more of a manager). Overall, a change in administration still meant fuck all change for the working class.

Lastly, I think you can also see quite plainly that China is (and has been for some time now) becoming integrated into the world economy, with all the normal exploitation that entails. I would highly recommend you read the China Labour Bulletin to see how the Chinese working class is reacting to this, and how the Chinese authorities have been dealing with the upsurge of working class militancy. Now imagine it all happening in Aberdeen.

The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Notions of 'nationhood' and 'culture' are not of themselves 'romantic ideals'. Aspiring towards an independent nation or (shudder) 'pure' culture for its own sake are romantic ideals. From what I understand of your view, 'self determination/independence/whatever' is not a 'current' within society that you would 'foster'.

Firstly, self-determination and independence are currents within society we'd like to foster. We just have a different idea of what that means. What you think is self-determination, we see as just letting a local boss run your life rather than one from another country. For us, self-determination means direct democratic control of communities.

Meaning, in practice, what?

Secondly, culture might not be a romantic ideal, but to forge a unity based on that is, basically, weird. If you want to unite with people on the basis of culture then look at this situation: a Scottish goth, a Scottish chav and an English goth. Culturally, who has the most in common? Again, an English landowner, a Scottish landowner, a Scottish builder? How about a Scottish Sikh, an English Sikh and a Scottish Catholic? If culture is such a big factor, then will the Sikh community in Scotland get their own little statelet? Or perhaps Glasgow should be cut into two mini nations - Prods one side, Catholics on the other. Or at least the Catholics should get their own mini-Ireland in Glasgow, right? Or will they miraculously find unity under their newfound Scottish cultural heritage?

Isn't trying to forge a 'unity' based on class just as arbitary and, therefore, weird? Isn't it also, in an individualist consumer society, a pipe dream? I think this is the fundamental difference between my own position and that of most people on here. Oisleep put it very well earlier in the debate (before himself being 'niggled' by that 'great intellectual', revol). He'd rather organise horizontally via class rather than vertically vcia 'nation'. As I see the former project as wholly unrealistic, I opt for the latter.

Quote:
For many, national identity and interests are just as important as immediate material interetss- and indeed for many others they are intimately interlinked.

For many, race is even more important than class. Doesn't make it right and doesn't mean it's based in any rational thought process.

Again, people are very keen to try and link democratic nationalism with 'race' on this thread which is just not what I'm about. for a start there is no such thing as a 'Scottish race', or an English, or a Welsh, or an Irish 'race'. Race is an irrational categorisation- nations may be arbitary and contingent upon accidents of history- but they remain a powerful reality for many.

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Aug 18 2005 13:56
revol68 wrote:
butchersapron and me have a good online relationship, namely cos we both have little time for niave liberal bullshit.

Now obviously you can be a sound bloke in real life but your posts about scottish independence are just bollocks.

once again your astute theoretical dismantling of nationalism leaves me dumfounded.

If all you're going to do is try and disrupt the conversation through insults, accusations that I'm lying, and general bollocks, why not go and find something more useful to do with your time?

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Aug 18 2005 14:06
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Oisleep put it very well earlier in the debate...He'd rather organise horizontally via class rather than vertically vcia 'nation'. As I see the former project as wholly unrealistic, I opt for the latter.

Why is it unrealistic? I ofcourse know what you've said, about working-class achievements being swiftly defeated after momentary success and this is true*. It's just for us non working-class achievements aren't worth anything. They mean nothing to the interests of the working people.

*and things change.

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Aug 18 2005 14:12
Volin wrote:
Quote:
If I was arguing for a nation of compulsory Burns nights at secondary school and flag waving sessions on the sports field, because i assumed that everyone in Scotland regardless of background would have the same response and interest to it simply because they were Scots, then yes, you're right, a 'cultural nation' would be absurd.

Funnily enough, this is not what I was implying. But how do you define the Scottish nation and what is it that ultimately "unites" us? "Our difference lies in my not agreeing with your conception of a nation as a'top down class institution'."...and yet, that's exactly what a nation-state is! It;s not yet my intention to overthrow capitlaism, though, volin. Unambitious of me maybe, but there we have it. Through all history and in every case of the formation of such an apparatus it has been based in, is, hierarchy and existing solely for the benefit of a class system (ie. the ruling class) -a top down class institution. You can attempt, but only partly, to distinguish a "nation" from a "state", but the fact remains they need each other and the former is only an artificial entity created by the state. But I wonder how your state would differ?!Well, I don't know myself, in your terms. I never claimed to have all the answers- these are just my ideas at present. Historically, Scotland as a "nation" probably only came into being, ironically, when it joined the Union of 1707This isn;t true at all, actually. Scotland as a 'nation' existed in folk's imaginations centuries before the Union. Before that, although there was attempts to rally people together in defence of what appeared to attack everyone ("foreign" intervention) but the land itself was split by neighbouring and often hostiles clan-groupings, language and religious, geographical, political and economic groupings. You might disagree with that, but I highly suspect nationalism and Scottish patriotism is far more recent than you'd expect. In terms of patriotism to Scotland as we understand it now, you're closer to the mark- the general discontent and rioting that followed the Act of Union, and the writings of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, probably qualify as the first extant modern Scottish nationalism, which dissipated during the Industrial revolution and Imperial plunder, to re-emerge politically in 1886 with the formation of the Scottish Home Rule Associaition.

Quote:
Scots wouldn't be ruling themselves

that's a moot point.

So, ordinary Scottish people would in fact be ruling/governing/deciding for themselves without being represented and dictated to by abstract and alien institutions they have no control over? You might have a token interest for semi-decentralisation,it's not 'token', old boy which is extremely radical for nationalistsnot really, as it happens- see any Plaid Cymru manifesto from foundation in 1925 onwards, or SNP manifestos from the late 1960s onwards, but that suffers the exact same criticisms when you have a state remaining.Well from your point of view the state in all cases is A Bad Thing- I don't share your view In many cases it doesn't even increase empowerment of the people to any extent, the government remains.True, thus far. According to this logic, we should never try libertarian communism either, because it's never worked before and has no track record of success. You can't mean that, surely...

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why can't this sytem be reformed? Why is a revolution inevitable if there is to be any meaningful change?

It's an important question and should be addressed by anyone with an interest in improving society and countering the effects of capitalism. The answer lies in an understanding of what the economic system is -one of private enterprise where the needs of a few hold far greater weight than the many, and where there is a constant need for growth and profit. It is material accumulation and competition based in the exploitation of labour. From a labour point of view then, you can't reform a system that is inherently contrary to your needs and the needs of mankind as a whole.

OK- how do you 'raise consciousness' of this amongst members of the labouring classes and by what means?

When you talk of, "the 'cobweb left' kaleidoscope of 1917 nostalgiacs and the Heinz 57 varieties of anarchism" you seem to be getting confused between the "Left" and anarchism. We all knwo how fractious, divided and moribund the 'revolutionary left' is in the UK. Do you consider anarchism to be a part of, or separate from, the radical left? Even if you consider it separate, there are about a dozen miniscule anarchist organisations diluting your tiny numbers even further- is this true or am i mistaken? For all revol's ignorant sneering about Cornish separatism, Mebyon kernow has probably ten times the number of members as there are 'class struggle anarchists' in the whole UK. These days there are not 57 varieties of anarchism, like there are with Leninism, we have quite a consistent ideological tradition -mainly described as anarcho-communist, but we can theoretically unite quite easily with Libertarian Marxists, socialists and syndicalists as well as any socialist anarchist that exists. IMO, that's not our problem but in finding our feet and putting our ideas into practice. The fact that we are so few is one our biggest challenges today.

Quote:
In my view it [national indepdence for Scotland] would be a small step forward in a small corner of the world to things being marginally better than they are now.

I don't want to diss you personally (I used to be a pseudo-nationalist myself as I said earlier in the topic)In what way a 'pseudo-nationalist'? but it in no way addresses the social question; poverty, economic inequality and private gain.Or, an Independent administration could begin to address it in a small way in one part of the globe. Which linked to the distribution of power is, in our view, the BIGGEST issue of human society. It doesn't seem to take environmental concerns into consideration (perhaps BIGGER), and it couldn't because nationalism isn't capable of it...both socialism and environmentalism are international concerns, and we need radical global change in both places.Yup- that's true- and there are strong currents of both socialism and environemntalism in both Plaid and MK- less so in the SNP for the reasons explained earlier in the thread. To suggest that democratic nationalism is ignorant of, and indifferent to, both these issues, is quite ludicrous. Things like dismantling Scotland's nukes, keeping the money we make for ourselves etc. sound good and I'm certainly for the idea. In practice the nuke thing is only a side-issue to nationalist concerns, it's only a far bigger problem of national militarism.I agree. Costa Rica had the right idea by getting rid of its military forces. I;d like to see scotland to the same, but it;s damned unlikely. "Keeping the money for ourselves", is a fallacy that implies the Scottish people would be directly benefitting from things they produce and manufacture, when they'd only recieve an indirect "trickle-down" of those things.Better than 'no trickle at all' as obtains currently Things of the earth which are produced in common and should be shared in common.

Quote:
most people simply want to be left alone to get on with their lives the best they can

Most people are completely apathetic and ignorant of their situation, which is understandable seeing as they play little part in it.

Agreed. sad

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Aug 18 2005 14:19
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
Again, people are very keen to try and link democratic nationalism with 'race' on this thread which is just not what I'm about. for a start there is no such thing as a 'Scottish race', or an English, or a Welsh, or an Irish 'race'. Race is an irrational categorisation- nations may be arbitary and contingent upon accidents of history- but they remain a powerful reality for many

.

yes, a powerful reality that needs to be criticised and undermined as much as possible if we wish to move beyond petty and arbitrary nation state, which arbitrarly divides the working class and hence strengthening the hand of capital.

You can't help yourself in using perjoratives even when you're attempting to be 'heavyweight'. How are nation states 'petty'?

The reason we seek organise on class is because it is not some arbitrary imagined construct like nationalism. If you'd read my earlier post, you;d have already seen my extreme scepticism regarding class as 'empirical'. It is something we experiance the reality of everyday. It is not some sort of abstract static category but rather a relationship we reproduce everyday through our interactions. I share a class position with Indian call centre workersdo you have the same material and social condition, the same aspirations, the same personal experiences, the same interest, the same thoughts?I'd imagine the reaction of an Indian call centre worker to an earnest white Western European 'radical' calling for 'class solidarity' would be laughter, contempt, incredulity, or a combination of all three. when Im employed by the same employer, do the same job and face the same arbitrary rules. In renting a house I share an experiance with billions around the globe.And all those billions of house renters have the same needs, aspiratons, thoughts, feelings, motivations? Class is not a primordial thing we seek to create unity around but rather a social relationship that already requires our unconcious unity, Unconscious unity? eh? I thought you regarded yourself as a 'social scientist' of some reknown, rather than a Freudian... whether we like it or not capital links us to proletarians all around the globe, we only seek to give expression to this situation and to build on it in order to further understand and strenghten our own struggles.

All very worthy- a rather visionary ecclesiatical piety about this aspiration- what does it mean in practice?

nationalism only serves to mystify our real standing in the world and as such stands in the way of overcoming our alienation.

In your opinion.

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Aug 18 2005 14:21
Volin wrote:
The Good Soldier Svejk wrote:
Oisleep put it very well earlier in the debate...He'd rather organise horizontally via class rather than vertically vcia 'nation'. As I see the former project as wholly unrealistic, I opt for the latter.

Why is it unrealistic? I ofcourse know what you've said, about working-class achievements being swiftly defeated after momentary success and this is true*. It's just for us non working-class achievements aren't worth anything. They mean nothing to the interests of the working people.

*and things change.

Fair enough. if only working class achievmentns and experience count with you, I understand fully why nationalism isn't a current in society you'd 'foster'.

I'd imagine that if I said only Scottish achievements and Scottish experiences mattered to me in apprehending the world, I'd be slaughtered on here- and rightly so.

just a thought.

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Aug 18 2005 15:12
Quote:
"wonder how your state would differ?!"Well, I don't know myself, in your terms.

With respect I don't think you understand the State. Well, if you, excuse the word, scientifically analyse it for what it is you can only see that it exists as a top-down apparatus to defend the interests of the economically entrenched few. You can't alter that, come to a half-way house, make it "better" for the exact same reasons you can't with capitalism. It mistakes what it actually is. Now, maybe that doesn't bother you. Anarchists aren't just anti-state, the state is a natural manifestation of wealth and power hierarchy. You said you're not against capitalism. Often I find it doesn't enter into nationalists critiques because they've never really thought about it. To turn it around, why are you for capitalism? If not because you have an automatic disinterest in its alternatives?

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This isn;t true at all, actually. Scotland as a 'nation' existed in folk's imaginations centuries before the Union.

Most debateable actually. I believe there was some kind of loose concept of "Scotland" in contrast to the other places, but a "national consciousness" didn't exist until the Scottish "nation" joined with England in 1707. This view is examined by Neil Davidson in his book, "The Origins of Scottish Nationhood" - read it? "The traditional view of the Scottish nation holds that it first arose during the Wars of Independence from England in the 13th and 14th centuries. Although Scotland was absorbed into Britain in 1707 with the Treaty of Union, Scottish identity is supposed to have remained alive in the new state through separate institutions of religion (the Church of Scotland), education, and the legal system. Neil Davidson argues otherwise. The Scottish nation did not exist before 1707. The Scottish national consciousness we know today was not preserved by institutions carried over from the pre-Union period, but arose after and as a result of the Union, for only then were the material obstacles to nationhood - most importantly the Highland/Lowland divide - overcome. This Scottish nation was constructed simultaneously with and as part of the British nation, and the 18th century Scottish bourgeoisie were at the forefront of constructing both. The majority of Scots entered the Industrial Revolution with a dual national consciousness, but only one nationalism, which was British. The Scottish nationalism which across in Scotland during the 20th century is therefore not a revival of a pre-Union nationalism after 300 years, but an entirely new formation."

Quote:
not really, as it happens- see any Plaid Cymru manifesto from foundation in 1925 onwards, or SNP manifestos from the late 1960s onwards

I'm not aware of Plaid Cymru's manifesto from the 1925 onwards, funnily enough, but I do know of "decentralisation" within the SNP's policies. To be frank it doesn't really deserve scrutiny. Minimal decentralisation isn't a bad thing, we just think its a gimmick and a reformist gesture that won't, as I said, empower the people to any extent. It is entirely token and "nicey nicey" when viewed in the Nationalist movement as a whole.

Quote:
According to this logic, we should never try libertarian communism either, because it's never worked before and has no track record of success. You can't mean that, surely...

Libertarian communism has worked in that it "empowered the ordinary people to the greatest extent ever seen before in the modern world". The fact that it was brutally crushed, and repeatedly, does not in any way reject that simple fact. Minimal decentralisation with nationalist independence "won't work" not because you're not capable of seeing it established but such decentralisation doesn't greatly empower the people. That's what I mean.

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Do you consider anarchism to be a part of, or separate from, the radical left? Even if you consider it separate, there are about a dozen miniscule anarchist organisations diluting your tiny numbers even further- is this true or am i mistaken?

Personally I'm Post-Left in that I see anarchism and libertarianism as seperate from the condition of the so-called Left (the authoritarian and other socialisms) and as the only movement worth being taken up by the working people. I'm quite happy to co-operate with others on Left as long as that co-organisation and support doesn't conflict with our ultimate goals as Anarchists. But yeah, after what we've seen I think they should be "left" behind. And again, sectarianism exists but I think its over-exaggerated in place of the bigger problems that attack all anarchist attempts at organisation.>>>"how do you 'raise consciousness' of this amongst members of the labouring classes?", by demonstrating anarchism in the practical sphere and involving the people to directly change their own future.

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an Independent administration could begin to address it in a small way in one part of the globe

No it couldn't. An independent administration would just be part of that.

Quote:
if only working class achievmentns and experience count with you, I understand fully why nationalism isn't a current in society you'd 'foster'.

Well a working-class based movement and attempt to change society and the environment is the only thing that matters. The concept of nationalism, of restoring a nation-state etc. just doesn't matter.

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Aug 18 2005 15:37