The Whinger - Paul Petard

Paul Petard cartoon

An irregularly published fanzine by anarchist-communist cartoonist Paul Petard.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 13, 2022

The Whinger (un-numbered) 2000

A four panel cartoon.

Possibly first issue of this irregular anarchist-communist fanzine, with cartoons and articles on Brixton's 121 Centre, UK lorry drivers protest about fuel, housing, Socialst Party of Great Britain, etc

Submitted by Fozzie on August 22, 2022

PDF courtesy of Sparrows Nest Archive, Nottingham.


whinger1.pdf (19.23 MB)


121: A brief personal trip down memory lane - Paul Petard

121 eviction party - April 1999
121 eviction party - April 1999

Paul Petard reflects on a squatted social centre, now evicted, that he used to frequent.

Submitted by Spassmaschine on July 9, 2009

(Oh no I've got to walk down Railton Road again.)

121 Railton Road: South London's world famous radical squatted house/anarchist bookshop/autonomous social centre/free community space survived for a record breaking 18 years before being evicted. Some people claim the place was haunted, by the ghost of euro punk perhaps.

121 was certainly haunted by Jack Frost as you nearly always felt cold inside the building (even when it was warm outside!). The number of meetings and events there one sat through with shivering limbs and chattering teeth, we all deserve medals just for passing the test of physical endurance involved in going to the place. It is the comradeship and community, the social movement and historic struggles that the place was connected to that actually matter. On the long run the building itself was always expendable. And let's face it folks the building itself was a bit knackered from day one. Maybe, if they could have got away with it, it would have been better had the people who first squatted it demolished it there and then and started building some folk art Watts towers or Gaudi cathedral like fantasy house to live in. So many hours of maintenance work and decorating on the building and its famous anarcho squat centre toilet from hell but to little avail.

It felt only slightly more cosy in the early years when the ground floor dividing wall was still up and the bookshop was in the front with the latest "Black Flag" and "Crowbar" hot off the presses wafting printing ink thinners out the door. But maybe it only felt that way because we were younger then. There would be real agitated ANARCHIST meetings in the back room with young punks, ageing Spanish veterans, anarcho-nerd bookworms, romantic insurrectionaries, hardcore squatters, urban saboteurs... (today's "anarchist" meetings just don't have that same authentic feel). It was the last days of the cold war, Thatcher was in power, there was open mass unemployment, there were inner city riots, big industrial battles like the miners and the printworkers yet to be fought. Life was so much politically simpler in those days, the revolutionary vision appeared much clearer, insurrection seemed just round the corner. In those days you could get easy student grants and loaf around for several years, you could sign on for years with a minimum of hassle, the giros felt bigger and silkier. The queues in the dole office were more chatty and friendly. Tell that to the young whippersnappers in R.T.S. today and they won't believe you.

I remember my first conversation in the bookshop when I first visited 121 in 1981; I sat down with a cup of tea and chatted about summer riots, squatting, secret police and whether the room was stuffed with bugging devices or not. This was still in the days when the arguments between Black Flag and Freedom actually mattered to anyone so it was fun to pop into Angel Alley, Whitechapel, and then travel down to Brixton to catch up on the latest exchange of the political raspberry blowing. Not satisfied with smalltown anarchism in the early eighties I used to catch the train up to London at weekends in search of the hardstuff. A typical friday routine for me circa early eighties: Travel to Brixton, meal at 121 in the cafe upstairs, then downstairs for an anarko meeting, wander off for a little "direct action" or flyposting, crash at somebody's squat, then saturday morning maybe a paper sale and meeting in a pub in Ladbroke Grove (Class War had just started coming out as a paper) or a demo in central London.

The quality of 121 cafe food was not universally awful but it often got pretty close. Yellow broccoli in squat food is a political issue. I miraculously escaped food poisoning in all 18 years eating there although I believe several victims are still convalescing in a London infirmary to this day. Was the good meal in '92 or '93 ? I can't remember. The 121 toilet: The architects and designers model of the ultimate in grungy, dingy and dire squat toilets. There is a full size mock up of it in police training college.

And what of more recent years; the nineties for instance? I didn't get there quite so much. The postmodernists tried to redesign the place into the "121 Centre" but it just wasn't going to happen without a cappucino machine. There were several changeovers in personnel in the collective, sometimes it looked like it was dying, but then it would come back to life a bit for a few months as a bit of new enthusiasm was put into the place. And then video and discussion evenings and anarcho theme cafes, the sex cafe, dead by dawn raves, exhibitions, music events in the opened up basement.... I popped down to some of these events and even, shock horror, enjoyed myself once in a while. But still the temperature, the building, the toilet!!! Otherwise I would only be down there for the occasional London ABC (prisoner support) meeting in one of the upstairs rooms, so cold the biro would freeze up.

And all those bundles of unsold udistributable unsellable copies of every anarko paper and leaflet piled up in a strategic reserve/political text mountain. In politico speak piles of unwanted tatty old newspaper are referred to as an "archive". The old logbooks/daybooks from 121 make a good read, I believe they were rescued with other stuff before the eviction and still exist. During the Brixton riot in '81, while pitched battles were going on in the street outside, book sales listed for that saturday included "Towards a Citizens Militia" by Cienfuegos press and "Mutual Aid" by Kropotkin, this is true!). As for since the eviction and the future? Well let's be honest; half the comrades today are earning so much money in white collar professional jobs they're almost rich enough to buy the place if they wanted.

Paul P. Autumn 2000.

Taken from the Antagonism website.


Communism before the revolution - Paul Petard

Internationalism - P. Petard
Internationalism - P. Petard

Paul Petard discusses the unobtainability of a future human community, unless the current struggle to meet needs and desires becomes the primary focus.

Submitted by Spassmaschine on July 3, 2009

.....If we accept that for the time being struggle is just ongoing, that we are “stuck” in a weak and fragmented class struggle, that there is no immediate possibility of the successful complete overthrow of capitalism in a central political physical action then in a sense struggles and revolts become liberated. They become liberated from the tyranny of “revolution”, revolution as a sort of political pantomime bolshevik style stunt. The struggles and revolts we make as proletarians and dispossessed can be judged and viewed on their own merits, as events in themselves that may be socially useful or not. They no longer have to be judged in terms of being subordinate moments in some grand mystical apocalyptic religious plan of “world communist revolution”. Communistic outbreaks exist now as a tendency and a form of practise in certain struggles and revolts around our labours (whether productive labour in capitalist production or other forms of labours such as service labour, reproductive labour, domestic labour, etc.,). So called “Capitalism” and commodity economy are not yet “total”, if they were it would be impossible to even think about communism. Struggles need and can create a communistic direction and program, but this involves practical strategy and useful winnable objectives. If it becomes an abstracted utopian vision a program runs the risk of being an alienated chore, an idealised projection to rule over us, a future event to which the present must be subordinated.

Apocalyptic Revolution= mythology; myths are sometimes useful, but they are myths nonetheless. Let us not knock utopian dreams and visions and myths too harshly, they can inspire us and motivate us. But today we have grown conscious of what they are, we don’t need to religiously believe in them. And let us not have any of this neo-primitivist/pseudo-primitivist rubbish of withdrawal into tiny groups paranoidly rejecting all tools, technology and social complexity to return to a non-existent past idyll. Communistic solidarity involves millions engaging in complex sophisticated mutually-interdependent social arrangements, and seizing technology and productive resources to create something new.

An instant global revolution against capital, bosses, commodities today to create world communism tomorrow is not possible in the present, why?, because it is only communistic struggle/solidarity in the present that can eventually break open a situation where a revolution against capital, bosses, commodities becomes possible in the future. In this sense communism comes before the revolution. Otherwise putting the revolution first becomes part of the process of prevention of communist struggle in the present (bolshevism etc.). “The communist revolution is the continuation as well as the surpassing of present social movements. Discussions of communism usually start from an erroneous standpoint: they deal with the question of what people will do after the revolution. They never connect communism with what is going on at the moment when the discussion is going on.” (Dauve, Eclipse)

“When communist workers gather together, their immediate aim is instruction, propaganda, etc. But at the same time they acquire a new need - the need for society- and what appears as a means has become an end. This practical development can be most strikingly observed in the gatherings of French socialist workers.[sic] Smoking, eating and drinking, etc., are no longer means of creating links between people. Company, association, conversation, which in its turn has society as its goal, is enough for them.” (Marx, Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts)

Despite minor grumbles about things like wage cuts, service cuts and the occasional excitement of “anticapitalist” protests (subcultural glamour scene of demo-luvvies), struggle might appear to have half disappeared in this corner of the world at the moment. But this is never the case. At first informally, half invisibly, millions of proletarians continually struggle to try and create subtle alternative networks of mutual aid and social support in daily life. These alternative communal networks are vital (and so too are social funds of provisions) and it is important to create them well in advance of outbreaks of overt class struggle, they will become an important building block in the process of building wider solidarity when the situation gets big. They are outside the bureaucracy of the trade unions. Indeed the daily life microbattles to try and invent and maintain some kind of alternative social fabric in opposition to capitalist conditions will themselves slowly add up into a more general pressure helping force bigger revolt out into the open.

Head teachers complain they have a problem with school pupils secretly communicating by text on mobile phones hidden under their desks. If a pupil in the class is secretly communicating with a pupil in a class in another school about what teachers she likes or dislikes, what clothes she wants to get for winter, and meeting up for coffee after school, she is not just talking about individual taste and consumerism. Such communication contains great potential for new ways of co-ordinating future solidarity.

“Capitalism” as a system is unevenly and disjointedly developed, it is never completely coherent or unified or total. Likewise the proletariat it creates and builds up beneath it is uneven and disjointed, there is no one big centralist proletarian party or single historic event that can overthrow the capitalist system in one fell swoop. Revolution is a drawn out lengthy process involving as much spontaneity and chaos as design.

Dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour.

Communism: World human community, internationalism, universal abundance and free access to all the necessities of life, space, resources, materials, food, social production for need and desire.

Taken from the Antagonism website.


The Whinger #04 2004

"irregular journal of hysterical madterialism" a cartoon human is drawn around a bricked up window

Communist fanzine by Paul Petard.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 13, 2022

John Zerzan and the primitive confusion, by En Attendant - Paul Petard

Contented: cavemen happily deciding not to develop language or symbolic culture
Contented: cavemen happily deciding not to develop language or symbolic culture

Paul Petard reviews a pamphlet criticising the primitivism of John Zerzan.

Submitted by Spassmaschine on July 3, 2009

This Chronos pamphlet, John Zerzan and the primitive confusion is a reprint of a French text which was translated in September 2000 to coincide with a talk in London by the political neo-primitivist John Zerzan. The talk was hosted by U.K. Green Anarchist and Zerzan's subject was the Green Anarchist movement in America. The text dealt critically with two of John Zerzan's books, "Future Primitive" and "Elements of Refusal", and criticised them for being an ideological re-writing of the history of humanity.

I made the mistake myself of going to the talk in London, and I was disappointed to find Zerzan, and more particularly his U.K. Green Anarchist hosts, talking some tiresome tosh against ALL technology, against ALL towns and cities, against any agriculture except the most basic smallest scale subsistence horticulture, against electricity, against language, rationality, logic, against any large or sophisticated human interaction. The only valid thing for them being very small neo-primitive subsistence groups and isolated individuals as a compulsory universal model for everyone. All those who don't conform to this are to be despised and regarded as the enemy.

As I have argued before elsewhere, I am opposed to the despotic policy proposal of some "communists" that hermits ought to be eaten for protein because they are outside community, to the contrary I am very much in favour of leaving alone the eccentric individualists and isolationists and those who need a bit of temporary solitude. But those who are not into this and want to live freely in larger communities are not necessarily the enemy.

Now what is the solution to the world's problems as far as the political neo-primitivist is concerned?- why it is the very presence in the world of the humans that is the problem. And if the majority of the humans conveniently disappeared then that would solve the problems. There's quite a few neo-primitivist characters who will wring their hands with glee in a doom mongering fatalist way at the prospect of ecological disaster. They hope major catastrophe will teach the majority of those stupid humans a lesson and destroy all their towns and houses. Certainly there are plenty of things for us to worry about and act upon in the world today, but doomsday politics is a con.

We spoke up and tried to put the case for umbrellas as aesthetically pleasing and practically useful objects the knowledge of which comes to us because of the complex productive interaction and intelligent discourse of many humans. You can if you choose make the things out of "natural" materials like bamboo and stuff. But some of the green anarcho-puritans in the room wouldn't have it; umbrellas were wicked and evil and part of civilization and there be devils among us. Another comrade pointed out how Zerzan's talk was based on a deeply pessimistic view of humanity; nearly everything these humans do they nearly always do bad.

It should be asked whether Green Anarchist themselves might be more correctly titled Green Bolshevist. They have ended up constructing the perfect ready-made megalomaniac misanthropic petty-terrorist ideology. An ultra-green elite vanguard, themselves of course, can sneer at the rest of "civilised" humanity, and everything and everybody living in the modern world becomes a legitimate target. Mind you an ideology like this can become tempting for a few minutes if you ever find yourself squashed up on a crowded commuter train full of accountants and systems analysts stuck outside a station one morning.

Anyway back to the pamphlet; "John Zerzan And The Primitive Confusion". Here En Attendant argue that Zerzan is engaging in an ideological re-writing of the history of humanity, he makes use of different research works by prehistorians, anthropologists and philosophers with the sole aim of establishing a pre-conceived idea of what humanity is all about, has been and will become. The trouble is pre-history is a field of very shifting knowledge and based on extremely fragmented traces, animal and human bones and carved stones. The ideas we have of prehistoric periods cannot be precise, the picture keeps changing and new complicated questions get thrown up.

The text accuses Zerzan of wanting to paint an idyllic picture of the origins of humanity and therefore only seeking elements that will permit him to paint this picture. "For Zerzan, scientific discoveries are just a way to develop his ideology... clearly he will take no account of what hinders him, he will reserve the right of using the argument of scientific authority when it will be convenient for him, and to reject it when it will cease to be convenient to him. Here is the essential of Zerzan's "method", which can be found in all his texts." The authors make a comparison of Zerzan's method, "scientific activity put at the service of an ideology", with that of a character like Lysenko.

Zerzan wants to presume that a vegetarian gathering rather than hunting must have been the natural state of ancient humanity, so he wants to ignore or play down evidence of hunting activity before Neanderthals. The text accuses Zerzan of deliberately ignoring, for instance, evidence of hunting by Homo habilis, the very first humans, at the site of Olduvai in Tanzania 1.8 million years ago, and also at the site of Vallonnet 950,000 years ago (Neanderthals not emerging until about 400,000 years ago). "One can see clearly that even by dating back humanity to its most ancient representative he does not manage... to demonstrate the existence of "good" humanity which he is looking for... The surest way of being wrong in the face of whatever reality is to want at all costs to make it say something."

Zerzan's thesis in "Future Primitive" is basically that "progress" and division of labour, domestication, symbolic culture, were consciously, intelligently and deliberately refused until fairly recently in human existence. En Attendant point out the potential contradiction in this; how can you consciously and intelligently refuse something you have no knowledge of? And no specific evidence has been found suggesting temporary experiments by ancient humans with agriculture which were then abandoned and refused, which is not to say it may never have happened. But they go on to argue; "In fact, as soon as humans have practised agriculture or the rearing of animals, they have never gone "backwards". We have cases at the beginning of the Neolithic era of sedentary humans also practising gathering and hunting but these groups afterwards evolved solely towards agriculture." And they claim; "Settled culture, once it is formed, is never abandoned."

Now I am not sure this last generalised claim is strictly true. One can look at an example in modern Mongolia: since the fall of Stalinism thousands of Mongolians have left the planned urban housing blocs and the failed industrialisation projects and have taken up a new modern semi-nomadic travelling/ herding lifestyle. They haven't become primitive again or rejected technology, they still drive vehicles and listen to the radio etc. Meanwhile worldwide, millions of "settled" workers are now being pushed by economic pressures to uproot themselves and become modern transient economic refugees. Of course, this is not neo-primitivism.

As to the question of agriculture, just why did it develop in the first place? The passage to the Neolithic era still remains quite a mystery. There are only theories. The theory that the development of agriculture was provoked by climate change is dismissed by En Attendant. They suggest there were at least 15 significant climate changes in the relevant period, but agriculture didn't develop in each case. Nonetheless is this dismissal acceptable? Climate change may well have been a catalyst in the birth of agriculture, particularly if it coincided with cross pollination of certain plants creating new varieties particularly suited to agriculture that hadn't existed before. So maybe it does take at least 15 climatic changes over 3 million years to help successfully kick off this agriculture thing.

What they do say about the development of agriculture is: "Human societies seem to aspire more to their own conservation, to the upholding of their own structures than to the domination of the surrounding environment.... What took place during the Neolithic era, is that the conservation of the social structures went through the domination of the natural environment, a domination that in turn brought about the creation of new structures"

The text scoffs at Zerzan's notion of a "face-to-face society", his desire to "live in the present", his affinity for the spontaneity of the hippies, his like of psychedelic drugs, his individualism etc. They also sneer at Zerzan for being, as they put it, an "American feminist". Here in my opinion the text actually starts taking an ugly turn. The authors slag Zerzan for being "moralistic" for seeing "evil" in stocking (no stupid, not "stockings", but stocking; storing and hoarding etc.), in agriculture, in complex organisation etc. But are they not being "moralistic" and puritan themselves in scoffing at psychedelic drugs (according to them psychedelic drugs are all a C.I.A. plot), at youth movements, at the practical preference some may have for organising in smaller groups, at "individualism"?

The authors show their own miserable big-bourgeois collectivist prejudices in their sneering at "individualism". They sneer at "wounded individualism" and the isolated "vegetable". But it is not just peasants and small farmers in the third world who have a real material need to defend their remaining individual space and petit informal reserves against the relentless encroachment and enclosure against them. Individualised and atomised workers under dispersed fordism in the developed world also have perfectly good reason to defend their individual space and what little reserves, whether social or individual, they have left against further encroachment by both corporate capital and state capital. It is part of the process of defending both the individual and the social wage, and what amounts in part to an informal strike fund, while under capital.

This "individualism" of the individual peasant or the individualised worker, defending what remains of their petit reserves, can only be regarded as "reactionary" to the extent that you are mad, bad and stupidly Marxist enough to think that enclosure by big capital and state capital is in any way "progressive". For instance, only a very sentimental variety of ultra-leftist would think it in workers' interests to demand lower individual wages and less housing in order to bring themselves closer to "communism". And here paradoxically, in their sneering at modern "individualism", En Attendant end up slipping into their own backward looking trajectory.

The individual spaces and petit reserves of the modern atomised individualised worker are there to be subtly subverted and detourned into something socially radical, ultimately to be turned against capital and state. They should not be despised or scapegoated as the cause of all the social ills. In this respect it is the collectivist marxists and the collectivist sociologists who are the ones who are really guilty of fetishising and exalting the abstract "individual" in order to scapegoat it. When vulgar ultra-left collectivists adopt a puritan stance of being anti "individualism", all they are really doing is ganging up with collective capital, with social democratic politicians, and with the clergy. Their solution to the problem of individual alienation is merely to suppress it under a collective alienation, a collectivist property, or some bureaucratic collectivist gang. The question of workers' individual pride and individual dignity is not just a question of conservatism. At the same time the social solidarity and mutual aid of the exploited and oppressed in struggle is not necessarily the same as collectivism. Meanwhile doesn't the Stalinist union bureaucrat always attack the autonomous wildcat strikers for their "individualism" and parody them as "petty-bourgeois"?

In the future under "communism" if there is not a degree of tolerance for some individual space and some individual autonomy then the real sentient physical individual humans will be suffocated and crushed. And the supposed "communism" will have succeeded in suffocating and crushing itself in the process. So we are both pro radical individualist and pro-communist at the same time!! -and we revolt against the prejudice that this must be a contradiction. As for any form of collectivism that might have a radical side, like a wildcat strike committee that actually had some clout, we fear a lot of it of it died out in the early eighties. Only a weak rump remains.

En Attendant finish off, as one would expect, with a rant about "revolution": "When, for example, the revolution is done (which no doubt will be soon, of course) we will occupy ourselves intelligently re-afforesting the millions of hectares devastated by industrial agriculture, this will not be done by the action of "small isolated groups". And if, as an individual, I have the good fortune to participate in this collective action, I will be quite indifferent to inscribing my name on each tree I will have planted, and that besides, without doubt, I will not see reaching maturity. I will not feel less an individual for that."

Now maybe I'm being too paranoid in my reading of the above passage, but it does hint a little to me of some sort of state socialist collectivist labouring army, or mass compulsory work team; yuk! The painful truth is that a lot of the damage to the environment is semi-permanent and we are just going to have to live with a lot of it for some time into any post-industrial, post-capitalist situation (and the "revolution" might not at all be soon). Like old derelict mills dotted around the landscape, the big chunks missing from the ozone layer and rainforest will serve as grim follies and monuments reminding us of a different grim past.

En attendant also don't seem to appreciate how material conditions and physical scale, the quantity of resources and density of population for instance, may have some influence on the various social forms that might occur in a given situation. Maybe it is just possible to imagine a city of a million people being "managed" in a non-exploitative and non-hierarchical way, without capital and domination. But if the population grows beyond a critical point and gets too crowded won't it become increasingly difficult to "manage" it in this way? Even if such a city is run on egalitarian lines the physical pressure of overcrowding could still end up being harmful to both the humans and the environment, won't such pressures tend to harm and deform the egalitarianism? Even a hard left communist like Bordiga could see it would be useful to communism to reduce the massive population imbalance between urban areas and rural areas.

Paul, May 2004

Libcom note: Originally published in The Whinger #4 May 2004. Taken from the Antagonism website.



13 years 9 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by arminius on July 3, 2009

Shouldn't this be *here*? -


13 years 9 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Steven. on July 3, 2009

No, this article by Paul Petard is a review of that article.


7 years 5 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by jahbread on October 10, 2015

The link to the Antagonism website no longer exists.


7 years 5 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Spassmaschine on October 10, 2015


The link to the Antagonism website no longer exists.

Yeah, the article was copied here when geocities, which hosted the Antagonism website, was being closed down. Another mirror of the Antagonism site can be found here:


7 years 5 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by jahbread on October 12, 2015

Yeah, the article was copied here when geocities, which hosted the Antagonism website, was being closed down. Another mirror of the Antagonism site can be found here:

Thank you

Lots of Awkward Questions - Paul Petard

An illustration by Paul Perard of some abstract humanoid faces

Paul Petard on the fetishisation of proletariat (2004).

Submitted by Fozzie on August 13, 2022

Today, are any struggles that might exist for communistic social relations exclusively the struggle of just one class, the famous grandiose "Proletariat" as "class for itself"? Or in reality, do pro-communistic struggles by necessity involve diverse radical social movements and awkward material struggles, which are likely in practise to contain elements from more than one "class"? Or is it the movement itself which defines the class?

In which case what are we to make of the conflicts in social and economic interests to be found in practise within the various movements and struggles? Can all questions of social difference and conflict be reduced exclusively to a question of "class"? Is there a "real movement" one can really put ones finger on, or is it just a romantic myth? And does the marxist mythology of the universal revolutionary "Proletariat", and total "Communism" after the "Revolution", bear any relation to the real need for practical solidarity and practical struggle in the present, however imperfect these may be?

Is there any good reason why what remains of small farmers, peasants, self employed artisans, permanently unemployed and so on, shouldn't be included in the struggles for communistic social relations alongside wage labourers in revolt? Despite growing encroachment and enclosure and dispossession it is not yet the case that all these people are fully proletarianised and fully absorbed into wage labour. Nonetheless, is it not the case that many of them are still capable of seeing the need for, and having a desire for, communistic relations? And struggles don't just stand by and wait for the supposedly convenient moment when dispossession of virtually everyone is complete, they break out anyway while the process is still going on.

Sometimes small farmers, peasants and artisans are capable of being pro-communistic, and this isn't necessarily dependent on their proletarianisation. The peasant has an objective direct interest in resisting the exploitation of the landlord and the userer even while they are still a peasant, and they might see the overall need for communistic social relations from the point of view of petit-bourgeois rationality. At this point the vulgar Marxist would jibe that the peasants and their friends aren't strong enough on their own to form a class capable of leading a revolution against the bourgeoisie. However the depressing evidence of recent years unfortunately suggests that a similar jibe could now be made about any supposedly universal revolutionary "Proletariat".

Also would it not also be useful for social revolts to aim to bring in and include some of the small farmers, who could provide good food for the social revolt to eat? You certainly won't get good healthy food from the ecodisaster of big industrial agribusiness, whether controlled by the capitalists or even by collective workers' self-management?

Today is it not the case that when social revolt breaks out it is not so much any more about forming and building class but more about destroying class? What it forms is less likely to be a clunky tanky "class-party" but instead a radical insurgent diverse mass of humanity. The bog standard ultra-left Marxist formulation that the "Proletariat" as the "universal" class comes together as a "class for itself" to "overthrow" Capital, impose the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat", and in the process succeeds in abolishes itself as a class, is a bag of very awkward and not at all satisfactorily explained contradictions. In reality there is a problem of class formation, and in reality there is never a perfectly fully formed Proletariat for itself.

Is it not actually the case that what we are seeing now is the mass of atomised individual exploited "proletarians" already engaging half way in the process of abolishing themselves as a class by conspicuously refusing to come together on a mono-class basis and impose the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" in the first place?!!! The workers have been unable to continue living up to the expectation the big employers once had of them; to act as a fine strong coherent corporatist body of fordist workers. Now, in addition, the workers are inclined to resist both capitalist work, and their apocalyptic supposed "historic mission", as laid down for them by marxism.

The workers strike against themselves, and as capital decays, the proletariat as human variable capital decays with it. As "Troploin" have put it; "no dynamic capital, then no dynamic proletariat"

And in reality wouldn't the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" just turn out to be the ultimate collective capital?; capital revolutionising itself in the form of an intense bourgeoisie-less state capital? Increasingly many individual proletarians refuse or are unable to unite on the basis of a conservative workerist identification with, and fetishising of, their own fundamental impoverishment and misery under wage labour exploitation, a condition they despise so much that half the time many of them refuse to consciously even think about it any more.

Instead, if they openly revolt, in addition to direct industrial disputes, they are just as likely to

a) Express their suppressed needs and desires through proud individual rebellion, or radical hedonism, or individual semi-antagonistic lifestyle alternatives, or

b) Join together with other individual proletarians and a smaller number of disillusioned members of other classes in radical diverse social movements and social revolts.

The majority of workers are not individually paid up members of the official trade unions, nor are they members of any formal unofficial unions. For a variety of material and historical reasons the majority of workers are unlikely ever to become members of formal unions. The majority of individual trade union members are not actively involved in the organisation. It is increasingly visible to many workers that the trade unions are unable to win any significantly large gains for the majority of their own members, never mind the workers as a whole, only win and defend some temporary gains for certain "key" entrenched sectors. Some traditional industrial militancy does continue, like the recent wave of wildcat walkouts in the Post Office in the U.K. for example. But it is heavily sectoralised and contained and doesn't have as much leverage as it used to. Some of the industries in which it occurs, like the Post Office, just aren't as important today as they were ten or twenty years ago.

The decentralisation of much of production, together with new systems of "dispersed fordism" and "globalisation", have undermined the sectoral collective bargaining power of many workers. In the seventies if the miners in the U.K. went on strike they could bring down the government. Today if all the miners remaining in the U.K. went on strike how many people would even notice? Industrial militancy and fist waving alone don't necessarily make you strong, you also need some essential leverage. Some groups, like posties, transport workers, firefighters might still possess a degree of this. But the need to break out of exclusive industrialism and workerism has become obvious.

There are millions more workers who don't struggle openly. They remain silent, collapse in on themselves, become depressed or neurotic, or they turn to religion or drugs or alcohol, they burn out and become nervous
wrecks, go mad or become ill to the point they are no longer able to work efficiently or work at all. In the U.K., one of the industrialised developed centres and certainly not a "third world" country, on any given work day there is an average of 6 million workers and people of working age who are officially too sick to work, that's if you total up the long-term sick and unable to work with the short term sick and those phoning in sick. In 1980 in the U.K. there was 0.5 million of working age on long-term sickness benefit or incapacity benefit. Today the figure is well over 2 million. Against capitalist work and production, for many workers who do not have the strength to struggle openly, the weapon of default is growing ILLNESS. I am myself an unemployed temp worker getting older and tired and ill.

In the sixties and seventies and early eighties, the production line would often be stopped by a strong coherent body of workers forming a strike committee, or shopfloor assembly, or flying picket, or workers council. Today all over the world the production line is just as likely to be stopped by half the workers burning out and falling to pieces on the job, slowing down or even collapsing from exhaustion, while the other half desperately find ways of skiving off, dodging, running away and individually escaping. A dignified organised conscious worker activism or worker militancy, whether in the union or not, is no longer a realistic option for the majority because they are too tired or too burnt out or too drugged up or too ILL. Only a minority are still capable of maintaining it to any extent.

Workers' sickness becomes a major problem, both for them and for capitalist production. Even in social insurrectionary situations such as have recently occurred in Bolivia or Argentine, the formation of "workers councils", or autonomous "union committees" and "strike committees", or "peoples assemblies" is only half the story of the real crisis in the bulk of production. Yesterday production would be periodically interrupted by moments of class formation. Today millions of workers worldwide have been so burnt out and worked to the limits of exhaustion that production is increasingly being stopped indefinitely by physical class-collapse.

The "Proletariat" as a class are irrepairably fragmented, atomised, shattered. But the twist in the tale is that the "capitalists" are losing too. Despite all the humbug talk of "recovery", the social landscape is becoming less successfully dynamically "capitalist". It is becoming more lumpen-bourgeois BARBARIST instead. The social clashes, which in the first place were never strictly totally centred on one big supposed opposition of "Proletariat versus Capital", increasingly break down into a drawn out series of fractured conflicts between a dispersed diverse déclassé mass of billions of humans on the one hand, and a fractious collection of lumpen-bourgeois barbarist elites on the other. Neither a unitary action nor a unified consciousness is instantly possible.

Maybe the silver lining to this gloomy cloud is that we are not going to get one big "Dictatorship of the class-party" with its inherent neo-stalinist dangers, magically leading us to one big total centralist-integralist "Communism". Is it not instead the case that the potential in the real historic movements in the real world right now is for diverse dispersed free and open social revolts leading to many diverse dispersed free and open "communisms"?

Paul Feb 2004
[email protected]


The Whinger #06 2007

Cover of The Whinger #6

Articles and illustrations on working for the post office, housing, struggles in the UK in the 1960s/70s, etc.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 18, 2022

PDF courtesy of Sparrows Nest Archive, Nottingham.


whinger6.pdf (12.41 MB)


The Good and Bad Old Days - The Whinger

Paul Petard cartoon

The following notes look at various developments in employment, unemployment, and industrial struggles, mainly in the UK, through the period of the sixties, and up to the mid-seventies.

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 26, 2007

These notes are not revolutionary, they don't even claim to be radical,... I_just nicked them and adapted them from an old seventies cyclopedia I found in a charity shop!. But they do tell a story, and they illustrate a big process of change at a critical turning point.

From; The Whinger - Irregular journal of hysterical madterialism; No. 6, Oct 2007.
For more Whingeing and radical cartooning, see; here


The Good and Bad Old Days

In 1932 there were 3 million unemployed in the UK.
In no year between 1919 and 1939 were there fewer than a million unemployed in the UK.
In most post war years up to the end of the sixties less than 2% of the working were unemployed - contrasting with 11% for 1937 and 22% for 1932.
By the mid-seventies, after 30 years of general rapid growth and unprecedented prosperity for the western economies the prospects for growth became much less favourable.
-growing open militancy in workers struggles
-big jump in oil price

The low unemployment of the post war years was not maintained in the late 60s, and by January 1972 unemployment touched I million; 4% of the labour force. According to bog-standard capitalist economics, "full employment" is defined as about 1 - 1.5% unemployed. Of the 603,000 people on average unemployed in 1970, 514,000 were men, 89,000 were women.

Britain:- Annual average-------------------l----% of total
unemployment in thousands-------------l------workforce
1932 - 2829-----------------------------------------22.1

1958 - 457---------------------------------------------2.1
1960 - 360---------------------------------------------1.6
1962 - 463---------------------------------------------2.0
1964 - 381---------------------------------------------1.6
1966 - 360---------------------------------------------1.5
1968 - 564---------------------------------------------2.4
1970 - 603---------------------------------------------2.6
1972 - 922---------------------------------------------4.1
1973 - 609---------------------------------------------2.6

In England in 1965 there was a serious critical labour shortage in the south and in the midlands! But by 1970 the situation had already turned round to the extent that the incoming conservative government of Ted Heath already wanted to achieve a big "shake out" of "underemployed labour".

It also needs to be remembered that large pockets of unemployment still continued to persist during much of this period in parts of Scotland and the North East of England. Throughout the whole period there was heavy unemployment in the North of Ireland, particularly for those workers from a catholic background.

Between 1955 and 1970 basic wage rates rose by 102% and total earnings for workers by 150% (this is if you add on overtime, piece rates, bonusses, etc.... ). The advance in wage rates was only a little bit higher than the rise in retail prices in the period - which was 70%. But earnings rose considerably more than prices, so the main source of the extra real income of workers is to be found in the widening gap between earnings and rates.

1969 - 10 million trade union members and over 500 different unions.
1970 - there were 3,900 strikes in the UK, 1.8 million workers were directly involved, 1 1 million working days lost to the employers.... a big year for strikes. But; growing unemployment, growing inflation. Worse industrial relations after 1967, increased incidence of work stoppages in Britain.
1970 - Britain: 740 days lost through strikes per 1000 persons employed!
1970 - U.S.: 2200 days lost through strikes per 1000 persons employed!!
In the Industrial Relations Act of 1971 the conservative government laid down new laws for the regulation of industrial relations and for the curbing of strikes. However the act was repealed by the incoming labour government of March 1974 under Harold Wilson. (Meanwhile; October 1973 onwards - world oil crisis).

1960 - boom
1961-1962 - minor recession
1962-1966 - upswing and boom
1967 - emerging stagnation
1968 - slight reflation shortlived
1969-1971 - recession and growing unemployment
1972-1973 - sharp upswing but high inflation
1974 - oil crisis, stagnation, re-emergence of continual mass unemployment
Near full employment was maintained between early 1964 and early 1966.
(wage rises had to be restrained to some extent by government incomes policies)

By comparison, 1974 saw a simultaneous failure to meet all four main government economic objectives: adequate economic growth, full employment, stable balance of payments, stable prices.

Production in the first quarter of 1974 fell by 5.5%, affected the three day working week, temporarily imposed by the government in response to the overtime ban and then strike in the coal mining industry. The miners' strike was settled and full-time working was restored by an incoming labour government in 1974. By 1975, the labour chancellor Dennis Healey was announcing big cuts in state spending and rises in taxes. Unemployment continues to grow....

"Inflation" after 1967 had also began to grow, and by 1970 came the "wage explosion". This could not just be attributed to pressure of demand for labour as by 1970 unemployment had already risen to quite a high level compared to the "full employment" of the mid sixties.

The wage explosion appeared to reflect a general increase in militancy by the rank and file of the trade unions angered by the near stagnation of real earnings and real disposable incomes between 1967 and 1970, and was also influenced by militancy in other countries. Once begun, the wage explosion was further maintained by the growth of expectations that prices would continue to rise rapidly.

1972 - "Wage-price spiral" in full swing, both wage and price increases accelerated. In November the government tries to intervene with a pay and price freeze, followed in 1973 by a "price and pay code"

Ted Heath etc.: In 1970 the conservative government had disbanded the National Board for Prices and Incomes. To curb "inflation" it started by maintaining the economy in recession, and squeezed company liquidity to encourage lower wage rises and more layoffs. It also attempted to resist wage demands in the state sector at the cost of provoking long strikes, e.g. in electricity supply, the post office, and in coal mining. The miners' strike of 1972 was particularly strong, and successfully won big gains. The post office strike ended in more of a compromise.

The government measures were by no means a sure rernedy for the "inflation spiral". Even its strategy of deterring high wage demands by maintaining high unemployment was dropped in the reflationary budget of 1972. The government switched to placing its faith in the infamous Act for the Reform of Industrial Relations, to try and solve the problem of wage inflation.
1972 - Marked increase in the number and seriousness of strikes. The national miners strike accounted for 10 million of the 24 million working days "lost" in 1972. Main cause of strikes: pay claims. In the six months between the first and third quarters of 1972 average weekly earnings rose by no less than 7%. Even the expectation of an impending government freeze only encouraged further wage and price increases!
Jan 1974: The National Union of Mineworkers, feeling strongly that their relative pay had fallen, but also recognising their new bargaining power resulting from the oil crisis, refused to settle under the governmnt's price and pay code. A national overtime ban had begun in Nov 73 which in Jan 74 became a new national strike. In Nov 73 the government declared a state of emergency, and in January 74 introduced a three day working-week (!!!) for industry, and periodic power cuts, in order to conserve coal and coaldependent electricity.
The government was effectively forced to call a general election. The pay board reported just after the election, they recommended that an additional increase be paid to the miners on the grounds that the long-run contraction of the industry would in future be reversed and that higher relative pay would be necessary to recruit and to retain more miners (!). The pay increase and recommendations were accepted by the incoming labour government.

The Labour Party came to power pledged to deal firmly with prices, but to abandon statutory wage controls. It took early action on rents and food prices by means of controls and subsidies. By July 1974 the pay board was abolished and the policies of compulsory wage restraint ended.

During the February 1974 general election, an agreement between the TUC and the Labour Party had been announced known as the SOCIAL CONTRACT. The hope was that, in return for the repeal of the 1972 Industrial Relations Act, the TUC would be able to persuade its members to cooperate in a programme of voluntary wage restraint. In this way it was hoped to avoid the strains caused by formal incomes policies which appeared to trade unions to leave them without any particular role to play. Under a voluntaty system they could still do their job of bargaining about wage rates.

By early 1975 it was feared the Social Contract was failing.
If the government continued to reject a stutory incomes policy, it was argued, the only alternative would be highly restrictive budgetary policies - monetarism etc
Before anyone starts blaming "Thatcher" and "Thatcherism" for so much of the hung over current misery, let us remind ourselves that it was actually Dennis Healey and Jim Callaghan who first went cap in hand groveling to the International Monetary Fund and introduced full on monetarist policies into the UK. The Tories subsequently built on what the other lot had started.

By the end of the seventies the constant set piece industrial showdowns, culminating in the "winter of discontent", between employers and organized sectors of labour in both private and state sectors, who still had entrenched collective bargaining power, were becoming increasingly stuck and deadlocked. For the majority who were not directly involved in these collective struggles in industry, the experience was increasingly one of stagnation, service interruption in the community, and the perception of a growing "chaos".

The Grunwick's dispute, which began as a small local dispute around a photo processing laboratory in north west London was then seized on by wider organized bosses' forces and the state and turned into a laboratory exercise for designing and testing the archetypal lock out entrapment model for breaking other strikes.

Come the end of the seventies, millions of working class people were sufficiently bored and pissed off with the stagnation and atmosphere of chaos to join large numbers of the middle classes in voting for Thatcher. She promised a radical way out of the deadlock, and appealed to workers' aspirations for individual rather than collective advancement.

Part of our mistake at that time was that we still did not fully understand what the real agenda of the ruling elite had become. Many of us still thought that they just wanted us to be more patriotic, more loyal to industry, more hardworking, and to work for lower pay without tea-break in order to boost britain's industrial efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness, so they could sell more manufactured goods to the world.

What we didn't fully realize was that many of the big bosses and capitalists in the UK were already completely fed up with the whole game of continually having to argue at home over productivity with industrial workers. Whether the workers were being a little less productive or a little more productive, the whole ritual of arguing about it had become a time wasting drag for them, and they wanted to free up their capital globally. Behind the scenes their real agenda had now become to smash the majority of the industries, shut them down, reduce their immediate dependence on them, and push them abroad. Domestically they wanted to shift mainly to a service economy, and a financial bubble economy centred on the city.
Thatcher began by pushing unemployment up to over 3 million, putting down a wave of inner city revolts, staging a small patriotic flag waving war over the Falklands, and testing and improving Grunwick-style strike breaking techniques in the Warrington printworks dispute.

Then came the war on the miners, an attack that had been ten years in preparation. Thatcher didn't just shut a few mines. Some mine closures had slowly been going on since the sixties and before, and the majority of mines aren't particularly healthy places anyway. What she did, out of bitterness and class hatred, was to ruin and destroy whole miners' communities, destroy their social fabric, destroy their strong rebellious spirit, and their material ability to sustain themselves. At the time this was going on I joined in local picketing at Didcot power station, participated in support demos in London, and went to the usual benefit concerts and events. But as most of the "action" was hundreds of miles away I remember having to spend most of the time at home watching the events unfold on the telly.

Two years later, with King Coal slain, my political education progressed with support for the regular picket line battles outside Murdoch's newspaper printworks at Wapping. This was a pre-arranged set up that descended from tragedy into farce.

Rather than "winning the cold war and bringing it to swift end". Maggie's love-in with Reagan deliberately prolonged the cold war with the Soviet Union by another ten years, threatening Europe with cruise missiles. It was at this point that the seeds of Al Quaeda were originally sown with the west's covert but large-scale support for islamist mercenaries bringing terrorist sabotage to undermine the secular bureaucratic state in Afghanistan, and in doing so drawing the Soviet Union into a snare.

To celebrate her demise, some people are calling for a party in Trafalgar Square London the evening that Thatcher dies (she might hang on for another ten years or more). I'm not enthusiastic about this idea myself. If Thatcher dies a natural death it means she will have effectively gone unpunished, so we will be celebrating her victory. In any case, the war crimes of Blair and Brown, with their own love-in with the sinister post-shachtmanite-trotskyist-unipolarist neocon neoimperialists, and the Bush-Cheney grab-it-while-it's-there peak oil gang, are measurably worse than anything Thatcher did. Anti-toryism and token anti-toffism in the british context too easily becomes a default cover up for the Labour state, and for the British imperial labour corporatism that helps keep it going.


The Whinger #07 2008

titles of articles plus a cartoon of a wobbly old man pushing a shopping trolley.

A fanzine by Paul Petard with articles and cartoons on the term "petit bourgeois", two/three class theory, the credit crunch etc.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 11, 2022

Crunchonomics Meets Trashonomics - Paul Petard

page 5
page 5

An article on the "credit crunch" financial crisis, from "The Whinger" number 7, Fall 2008.

Submitted by Fozzie on April 27, 2022

Apparently there has been some sort of "crisis" going on recently in the big wide world, or so people say. They tell you it is to do with the economy, before calling you "stupid". Fucked if I know what it is really all about. Although we might be able to intelligently guess some of it.

Some of it seems to involve a big inflated housing mortgage and financial credit bubble underpinning western imperial economic hegemony, particularly large in the U.S. and the U.K. for the last ten years suddenly going pop! thrrrp! plop! Some of the small banks were pushing their luck a bit and were vulnerable, they were infected with toxic debts. Savers and investors got the "jitters" and weren't too happy to invest in them any more. So some of the small banks went under and got eaten by some of the big banks.

But some of the big banks were also infected too and started to catch a financial cold. So the state capitalists and governments muscled in and nationalized part of the banks.

Unfortunately this doesn't mean us little people have become real small shareholders in the assets. It is more like the government has nationalized the banks' debts at our expense and we're going to have to pay for it with extortionate higher regressive taxes against ordinary and lower income earners over the next few years. Most people have already guessed that the first budget after the next election will be horrible.

Meanwhile the stock market fell a massive chunk as there is a shortage of spare cash to invest and it can't lift itself up out of the doldrums. The massively inflated house prices that lots of people had banked on and borrowed on have now crashed 15% in one year in the UK. Apparently in parts of Detroit houses are like seriously cheap if you wanted to live there, but of course in somewhere like grey London they are still way beyond what you or I can afford.

"Recession" is the current buzzword and mass involuntary unemployment is back, although it never really went away. One side effect of this is I don't quite feel so socially excluded or left out as usual, but for many it is a real problem. The real unemployment level in the UK could now be higher than 3 million, about 12% of the workforce, if it were not for the government fiddling the figures (the "official" figure is over 1.8 million).

Despite threats whip the unemployed and make them jump up and down on the spot, they can't, and don't want to, "solve" the "problem", they just carry on paying the majority of us dole money to go indoors and shut up. This isn't situationist work-free heaven, it is just mindless powerless near subsistence daily life drudge, and bureaucratic dependency. And one does want a share of some of the productive labour sometimes, if there is any.

It is all very well philosophizing about "social relations" as general misty processes, but in practise social relations involve people-interactions, and some people have a lot more power and privilege to impose the dominant social relations than others. This particular situation I'm in ends up cultivating in me not just a dislike for the individual rich, and naughty private capitalists that many currently love to hate, but actually a more specific anger with the state-welfarist bureaucratic system, and its bureaucratic fat cat subsidariat-salariat, immediately ruling over me. And also, alongside this, a specific loathing of crummy landlordism.

I am much pleased to hear that, despite the situation in London, apparently many cowboy buy-to-let landlords in the north east of England have been caught out by the onset of slump. They are now desperate for tenants, and the boot is now temporarily on the other foot.

Apparently the capitalist economy in China is experiencing a "fall" in its growth rate from over 10% per year to maybe 8% or less, which if you think about it , is still a big steaming capitalist growth rate! So despite what some romantic millenarians think, I don't think all capital accumulation and capitalist development is about to end just yet, in a couple of years it might widely surge again.

Maybe the big "globalised neoliberal market economy" project-thing they've been trying to shove down our throats is now really crashing and pulling all the big capitalists down with it, maybe not. But even if it is, it doesn't inevitably mean the end of all local small capitalists and freelance merchant gangs. Somali pirates hijacking oil tankers are a demonstration of that.

Gordon the moron Brown has been attempting to launch bureaucratic takeovers of more and more of the economy and the society under the panic cloak of the "crisis". As private industrial capital and finance capital weaken and retreat, then moribund state bureaucracy steps forward. More and more of economy just becomes a suspended artificial toy for the state rentier, revenue collector, and bureaucrat to play games with. So who is "predominant" now?... socialism or barbarism, or bureaucratic state corporatist misery and a life wasted on welfare?

The so-called "crisis": The final failure of "capitalism", or just another failure of "apocalypse"?

"Lower interest rates and lower taxes," they cry, "We must spend money into the economy to keep it afloat." And for the short term the government obliges with a temporary de facto pay rise for the upper working classes and lower middle classes. If necessary interest rates could be lowered all the way down to 0% -Proudhonism is here!? They are desperate to avoid deflation, a much nastier lurgy for the economy than the usual inflation. But it would make my dole money worth more, before they cut me off.

Build more railways! build more social housing! upgrade school buildings, build more trident nuclear missiles!!! Funny how social housing and nuclear megadeth go hand in hand under Keynesian measures to try and beat recession. What a mess they are dragging us into.

But what if anything might have been going on, on our side of the equation, behind the scenes to give the economy such a bad hangover? Maybe it was something to do with millions of workers starting to assert themselves in the far east and putting a partial halt to the neoliberal "race to the bottom" with wages. Labour costs in the most industrialized parts of south eastern China have climbed 50% in the last four years. The minimum industrial wage in Shanghai went up by 12% in Sep 2007, and then climbed another 14% in April 2008.

Inside China wage demands have been fuelled by both inflation and by industrial militancy. Many exported Chinese manufactured goods on which we increasingly depend are becoming more expensive. Periodic waves of riotous industrial insurrection in the garment factories of Bangladesh have forced some of the clothing and fashion corporations to stop and think a bit.

But is it just about worker revolts in the far east? What about the ongoing long-term problem of industrial profitability in the west? The workers are too expensive, and the industries and their employees need continual government subsidies in one form or another. For some years the credit card and mortgage bubble allowed some of the upper working class in the west a sort of increase in their social wage, they were encouraged to go on an atomized credit card fuelled spending spree, and this helped divert from workplace wage pressure and militancy.

This came at the expense of community and solidarity, and paradoxically the shattering of social fabric ends up encouraging social disfunctionality, pushing up health and social welfare costs further down the line. The state has to spend more money again.

The state is even forced to take responsibility itself for part of the workers' struggles and demands: putting up the minimum wage, paying working tax credit, allowing more maternity leave, implementing some workplace health regulations, etc. These are token and never enough of course. But it is interesting to note how the state must step in and take a lead in advancing workers' demands, as many workers are too atomized/ fragmented/ knackered to organize even reformist demands for themselves.

In a minority of sectors some formal industrial action still goes on; transport workers, civil service and local government staff, post office workers, education and health workers,... When formal organized strikes and industrial action takes place it isn't always clear who has actually "won", or what the outcome really was. Both sides must continue to tread carefully.

Whether it is an official union walk-out for a day or two, a slowdown, work to rule, overtime boycott, sick-in, refusal of dangerous conditions and equipment, demanding to do something more socially useful, expropriating part of the production ("strikes" aren't the only form of struggle), there is always some little industrial grumble going on somewhere. Does this explain the "crisis"?

Maybe it is the true cost of failed imperial aggressions, killing sprees, and plunders in Iraq and Afghanistan finally coming home, this is probably a significant part of the immediate economic problem.

Maybe also there is something else... We continually hear the media talk in terms of "lack of confidence" in the economy and the urgent need to "restore confidence". What is this "lack of confidence"? Is it just some piece of pop psychology, or some piece of systemic false consciousness that obscures more than it reveals? Is it just businesses and entrepreneurs just feeling a little wary of each other?

Maybe some of it has to do with several million formerly "ordinary" and "small-c conservative" people in the west, and also elsewhere, in the back of their minds undergoing a fundamental loss of belief.

Even up to ten years ago many of these people might not have been uncritical of some aspects of the political and economic systems under which they lived, and would not have regarded the capitalist economy as perfect. Nonetheless they would have seen the various problems as temporary aberrations, exceptions to the rule, and all essentially solvable, or at least absorbable, within the framework of the existing capitalist economy. They would still have believed that, despite minor problems, endless capitalist growth and development, and the endless expansion of the consumer economy, were essentially benign, and for the overall benefit of the majority, and was undoubtedly the progressive way forward.

Now millions of formerly ordinary small-c conservative people, not just your usual political activists and radical suspects, have become consciously aware in the back of their minds that GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHAOS and GLOBAL RESOURCE DEPLETION and LIMITATIONS are all for real, and are going to start seriously kicking in within their lifetime. What they now understand consciously in the back of their minds is that the much wider economic system has serious finite limitations. Large-scale capitalist growth and development and expansion can't just go on indefinitely, sooner or later they have to seriously trip up.

In itself, knowing this is not yet something one could call a social revolutionary consciousness, but it is already a significant shift in part of mass consciousness. The majority of these people are not yet rushing to join the activist scene, or join street protests or political groups, or form strike committees. For the time being they are carrying on going through the motions, if they can, of going to their jobs and doing their shopping and continuing with their "normal" daily life routines. But instead of working and consuming with fundamental belief and eager enthusiasm, they are now in so many little ways beginning to withdraw participation and effort in their corner of the political and economic systems, and starting to drag their feet.

What might be a next step is when thousands of bus stop conversations turn from the weather to what can people do in a libertarian way to mutually help each other break out of the misery.

Paul Nov 2008.


They're Calling Us "Petty-Bourgeois" Again - Paul Petard

Article on the term "petit bourgeois" from "The Whinger" number 7, Fall 2008.

Submitted by Fozzie on April 27, 2022

If you keep calling people by an offensive name or keep using a particular word as a label in an abusive manner against them, there might well come a point when, rather than having to continually deny the term, they might actually turn around and adopt the term as a badge of pride, re-appropriate the word, and change its meaning into something positive.

One traditional term of abuse, still thrown around to this day on the marxist dominated left, is to denounce somebody or something as "petty-bourgeios". It is sort of a clever term of abuse as it implies a double insult. It's bad enough being accused by a marxist as being "bourgeois", who are regarded as the general class enemy. But the marxist can have a sneaky begrudging cowardly admiration for the big modern "bourgeois" as a supposedly dynamic and progressive force up to a point. But the "petty bourgeois" are merely small, and to be derided and looked down upon as simply "backward", "undeveloped", "reactionary",...

And it is a witch-hunt kind of accusation: If a marxist accuses you of being either "bourgeois" or "petty bourgeois" then, seeing as it is marxist ideology that claims a monopoly of defining these notions in the first place, you must be guilty. In the time of Stalin, in some cases the accusation of "petty bourgeois" could be equivalent to a death sentence. There is also a subtle element of cultural and ethnic prejudice latent in the accusation. Less industrialized, small trading, craft-based, and peasant peoples and cultures are being sneered at as inferior.

Anarchists and libertarians don't have a monopoly of suffering this abuse, but they have often come in for strong doses of it at the hands of hard marxists and hard marxisms. Anarchism is often denounced as a "petty bourgeois ideology". I recently had one quip thrown at me by a "dialectical" hegellian mystic saying that "If you scratch an anarchist on the surface you'll find a petty bourgeois underneath". To this it could well be replied that if you scratch a marxist on the surface you'll often find a romantic despotist underneath.

So how politically should we respond to the stalinist name calling that still carries on today, even in the 21st century? If we get labeled "petty bourgeois", or maybe "lumpen", or "peasant" in a derogatory way, because we insist on a socialism that comes with liberty and with developed self-conscious individuals, then should we just feel embarrassed and wriggle a bit? or worse, should we fall into the trap of posturing as harder and prolier than thou? Maybe instead of pleading not guilty, we should plead guilty and proud of it!

The late Albert Meltzer, who used to edit Black Flag, commented on the issue and pointed out that originally:

"..the term was "petit" (small) not "petty" that qualified the adjective ["Bourgeois"] -and meant precisely that these were not the same as bourgeoisie. The small burgher was one who had less privileges, economically, than the wealthy, but had some privileges by virtue of their craft."


"Anarchism, said Marx, was the movement of the artisan worker... not subject to factory hours and discipline, independently minded and difficult to threaten,..." and "The Paris Commune was above all a rising of the artisans who had been reduced to penury by Napoleon..." (Quotes from ANARCHISM: Arguments for and Against, by Albert Meltzer, AK Press ISBN 187317657-0)

When you actually read some bits from Marx himself on the subject of the petit bourgeois they come across as confused and self-contradictory. His most vulgar work, with Engels, was probably the Communist Manifesto, 1848, and in it we find:

"The small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -all these sink gradually into the proletariat..."

Well many of them have been diminished and many have been pushed into various forms of wage labour over the last century and a half. But then again, globally many of them, despite encroachment, are still carrying on.

Sectors of peasants and small farmers are still a continuing necessary part of today's wider production in many parts of the world. They are still a vital necessary component in sustaining other parts of the human population as well as themselves. The vulgar Marx wants everything to conveniently reduce to a generalized bipolar two-class opposition of bourgeois versus proletarians in order to sleight-of-hand posit a unipolar universal monolithic outcome: the dictatorship of the proletariat! So he wants to get these other classes hurriedly cleaned up and conveniently swept under the carpet, but unfortunately they won't disappear.

He generalizes and romanticizes the industrial workers as the proletariat:

"...the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product."

But the industrial workers are in fact several different classes and sectors and continuing complex production develops them to be so.

Further on:

"The medieval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries which are but little developed, industrially and commercially, these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie."

The word bourgeoisie comes from the word burgess, but Marx's argument isn't good enough. Marx here is trying to place the whole blame for the development of modern aggressive predominant capital on the shoulders of the peasants and artisans and their occasional small trading!!! But medieval burgesses and small peasant proprietors are never strong enough on their own to accumulate and grow into modern bourgeoisie.

It is more the case that feudal state capitalists, who already had big central accumulations, in interaction with the big monetary accumulations of aggressive independent mercantilists on the edge of European Feudal society (such as the early Venetian merchants, who already led Venetian society BEFORE north and west Europe had even fully developed as medieval feudalist!) who were the real main precursors of the modern capitalists.

Also, although they don't develop as fast as the modern bourgeois, peasants and craftspeople DO actually slowly develop over time. They will slowly develop and change their tools and techniques and patterns of working, living and reproducing. They slowly change their social relations and community structures over periods of time. If they sometimes show "revolutionary" tendencies, it is not just to do with impending "proletarianisation", but also sometimes is to do with their periodic need to overcome social obstacles to their own radical redevelopment.

Further on, Marx has to admit new petit bourgeois are continually being reproduced, but he still tries to kill them off:

"In countries where modern civilization has become fully developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie and ever renewing itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The individual members of tjis class, however, are being constantly hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and, as modern industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will completely disappear...."

So one moment they are coming, the next moment they are going, but then they are being redeveloped again, but although Marx wants them to disappear they never fully go away. Meanwhile, as the organic composition of industrial capital changes, and industries become more capital and technology intensive, much industrial labour is actually shed. It is shifted down into the lumpenproletariat, or it is shifted to other new classes! Even in a place like China, although industrial capitalist development will continue to grow, there will come a point where the portion of the population directly employed in the industrial development will proportionately begin to decline.

The term "proletarian" existed long before Marx used it, and previously referred simply to the lowest class of a community, or to the common people, sometimes lowly strata of agrarian workers. Marx's narrative of the modern industrial "proletariat", despite its claims to be "scientific", is essentially a romantic and idealistic spiritual narrative. No modern industrial work is completely unskilled, and the modern skilled industrial worker in practise is developed to be precisely NOT just a "proletarian". They are developed as people, and they struggle as people.

Modern skilled industrial workers must always have a small share of control of production, if they didn't the employers wouldn't have much use in employing them. So although they might not individually own the means of production they still function as small temporary conditional controllers of capital, and as a result the majority of them can in practise bargain for a small token share of the profits of capital. In practise the majority of industrial workers always tend to earn wages that are significantly above subsistence.

The long term general tendency, visible for a large part of the 20th century, has been for the majority of industrial workers to push their wages upwards. That small money surplus is a small share of capital and with it some sectors of workers have bought various forms of small property or investment. The majority of industrial workers are never strictly "without reserves" or all reduced to absolute universal dispossession, they never fully form as the one "fundamental and universal class". Workers are not only de-skilled, but many need to be re-skilled, particularized, individualized, developed as modern people, by today's capitalist production.

The individualized freely-contractual industrial money-waged labourer, who is already human variable capital in the first place, is developed as a new form of relatively impoverished and exploited modern petit bourgeois worker. Freed up from the tied and bonded communal relations of feudalism, individualization and new petit-bourgeoisification become a necessary part of the modern worker's historic development. "Proletarianisation" might be philosophically and hypothetically a very long term "fundamental" tendency for those who like that sort of thing, but the practical and prevailing tendencies (the ones that matter in life) include a new semi-bourgeoisification.

This is both a necessary and useful development, workers can get inside their petit bourgeois individual with its particular skill and thirst for freedom, and detourne it, and push it to its radical limits in opposition to predominant capital and state. If you want to go "beyond" the petit bourgeois condition and social form you have to develop it further to its limits in order to enable it to go beyond itself.

So we ARE petit bourgeois; modern newly developed petit bourgeois workers, and we should be proud of it. Now as big-beard Bakunin put it: Freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice. So we need to fight exploitation by the capitalist and the landlord, and take back the land and productive resources. But as big-beard also put it: Socialism without Freedom is slavery and brutality. So rather than choosing the path of a grumpy repressive socialism that fears the developed individual and seeks to suppress it, we should choose the path of a sophisticated libertarian socialism, capable of accommodating and allowing space for skilled and self-conscious developed individuals as part of free communities.

Paul 2008


Review of "Anarchy in Action" by Colin Ward - Paul Petard

A cartoon by Paul Petard of a male figure sitting in a chair reading a newspaper titled "Anarchy"

This review of the latest edition of Colin Ward's "Anarchy in Action" apeared in The Whinger number 7, Fall 2008.

Submitted by Fozzie on August 11, 2022


Review: Anarchy In Action, Colin Ward, Freedom Press (84b Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX, U.K.) New Edition 2008, ISBN 978-0-900384-20-2

Although it is an old anarchist favourite read by thousands, and has been an important influence to many anarcho-activists from the 70s onwards, I have never actually read Colin Ward's "Anarchy In Action" before. So I am reading and reviewing this new 2008 edition, conscious of the world as it is today, without being influenced by previous memories of having read it in the 70s or 80s. As a result I can discover for the first time how relevant Colin Ward's message might still be to our world right now.

Colin Ward argues that there are two basic historical approaches that lead to Anarchism as a conscious set of political ideas: "Anarchism as a political and social ideology has two separate origins. It can be seen as an ultimate derivative of liberalism or as a final end for socialism".

I think it would be fair to say Colin Ward himself comes a bit more from the "liberal" approach to anarchism. He was for many years involved with Freedom Press and the anarchist paper Freedom, which was often dismissed in the past by the more militant and class-struggle orientated Black Flag as "liberal".

I remember, particularly in the 1980s, the cold war rivalry that sometimes went on between Freedom and Black Flag. But the two claimed approaches to Anarchism, "liberalism" and "socialism", are in fact closely related. Modern ideas of socialism were very much a product of the evolving contradictions and developments of classical liberal ideas and the conditions that went with them. So we shouldn't just dismiss what Colin Ward has to say in his book.

Ward makes clear that "Anarchy In Action" is not about strategies for revolution and it is not about speculation on the way a future anarchist society would function. It concerns itself more with continual social struggles for self-organisation by ordinary people that sort of go on all the time. The book, as he puts it, "is simply an extended, updating footnote to Kropotkin's book Mutual Aid".

The core argument of "Anarchy In Action" is that an anarchist society, a society which organizes itself without authority is always in fact already in existence, although half hidden and buried under the weight of state and bureaucracy and capital. The book attempts in a readable way to bridge the gap between present realities and anarchist aspirations.

Ward uses a wide-ranging analysis drawing on many sources and examples. With chapters on a range of subject areas including education, urban planning, welfare, housing, the workplace, the family, and the environment, he demonstrates that the roots of anarchist practise lie very much in the way that people have always tended to organize themselves when left alone to do so. Ward talks from a 70s perspective, there is a significant emphasis as one might expect, on sociology, and he talks primarily but not exclusively from a british perspective. He wrote the book very much in the context of the wave of radical ferment and revolutionary optimism that followed on from the late 60s. The events of 1968, the general strike and student uprising in France, the Prague Spring, protests, riots and revolts in Mexico City, Rome, London, U.S. cities, and many other places all being an inspiration.

Looking back from today's perspective, it seems like Ward was almost still writing in an age of "innocence". His subsequent introduction to the book's second edition, 1982, only brings us up to the early days of the Thatcher regime.

Colin Ward talks a significant amount about workers' self-organisation, workers' control, and sometimes about class struggle. He touches briefly on some of the great workers' struggles in history. But he is not particularly concerned with class stereotypes and reductionist class positions, and he doesn't walk around wearing the ideological label of "class-struggle anarchist".

The first chapter, "Anarchy and State", gives a straightforward restatement of the classical anarchist criticism of government and the state, and then it outlines the historic division between anarchism and marxism. Marx, as Bakunin pointed out, wanted to achieve socialism through centralization and a despotic provisional government , with the state as sole owner of land and capital. Bakunin argued instead for the reconstruction of society from below upwards, by the free federation of all kinds of workers' associations liberated from the state.

Ward describes how by 1918 in Britain the Labour Party had already committed itself to a "socialism" based on the unlimited increase of the state's power in the form of the giant managerially-controlled public corporation. Elsewhere, when state socialism achieved power it created monopoly state capitalism with a veneer of social welfare.

Ward argues that the criticism of the state made by the 19th century anarchists increased in validity in the 20th century, the century of total war and the total state. Today, in the 21st century, we see state corporations openly operating hand in hand with private multinational corporations, imposed "privatization" and state power go together.

In opposition to the state Ward favours the approach of Gustave Landauer who said, "The state is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution, but is a... certain relationship between human beings... we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently."

I would argue that Landauer's approach does have some basis in social reality, but at the same time it is a bit weak. Even when masses of workers and people do make conscious attempts to contract other relationships and behave differently, it doesn't necessarily mean they have the strength to successfully break out, or that the state will fully wither away and just disappear as a result. The entrenched state also involves bureaucratic and despotic elites with stored up surplus power. There is no easy answer to this. In practise, squadism and instant-insurrectionism don't succeed in immediately ending the state either. The struggle is currently stuck in an ongoing "struggle of many struggles". As Landauer admits, there is no final struggle, only a series of partisan struggles on a variety of fronts.

War is the health of the state, and eventually the state will to find its perfect expression in total war. The weakening of the state and the strengthening of different modes of human behaviour is now essential argues Ward, but where do we begin? Obviously we don't begin by joining the state, or joining political parties. Instead, he argues, we have to build networks instead of pyramids.

The classical anarchist thinkers envisaged the whole social organisation woven from an extended network of individuals and groups, such as the commune or council as the territorial nucleus, and the syndicate or workers' council as the industrial unit. These units would federate as a fluid network of autonomous groups.

The second chapter puts forward the theory of "Spontaneous Order", and to illustrate he draws on real historic experiences of social revolutionary situations and the examples of working-class self organization they temporarily threw up, before a new hierarchical order had managed to impose itself in place of the previous one.

Ward describes the libertarian aspects involved in the uprising in Hungary in 1956, during the Prague spring 1968, and in part of the workers movement in Poland in 1980. Most importantly he returns to the Spanish revolution of 1936, and in particular he quotes the example of the village of Membrilla where the land was expropriated and the village collectivized by its own people; "Food, clothing, and tools were distributed equitably to the whole population... The necessities of life were distributed freely..." Here self-organisation breaks out, combined with a basic libertarian socialist agenda addressing the material needs of the community.

I think it is often the case that the strength of the spontaneous order in such examples will significantly depend on how self-ordered the community was beforehand while still struggling under the shadow of the authorities, the landlords, and capitalists. In the 1930s in many agrarian communities in Spain the domination of capital and state, although repressive, was still "formal" and "stand-off" and somewhat external. Internally the community itself was still likely to have a strong autonomous social fabric, together with a strong sense of solidarity, both of which it depended on for survival. When the state and bosses suddenly buzzed off, the vacuum could be filled with a flowering of the spontaneous order, self-organisation, and solidarity that was already there contained under repression.

A problem with a theory of spontaneous order today is that many communities, particularly in the developed world, are so penetrated by the state, and so subsumed and commodified under the predominant capitalist economy, that the social fabric of the community is shattered, fragmented, and broken up. In these circumstances, in a freak situation, if the authorities suddenly buzz off for a while, there is a danger of outbreaks of anti-social violence, spontaneous bullying and abuse, gang war, sectarianism, and so on. But nonetheless mutual aid will also emerge, and it will start to fight back.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 use a variety on non-anarchist sources, including material on some African tribal societies, to set out three key principles of anarchist organization: leaderless groups; diversity rather than unity; and federalist organizations without central authority. In reply to those who might say anarchism can only work for small isolated simple communities, Colin Ward is quite right to point out in chapter 4, "Harmony Through Complexity", that "Anarchy is a function, not of society's simplicity and lack of social organization, but of its complexity and multiplicity of social organizations."

From a hard "socialist" anarchist point of view, the "dodgy" bits in Anarchy In Action are perhaps to be found lurking somewhere in the pages of chapter 7 on housing, and also maybe later in chapter 12 about welfare. On housing, Ward starts by celebrating the big history of autonomous urban squatter settlements surrounding many big cities across the world. In the U.K. he looks at the big squatting movement in disused army camps in the 1940s, the radical revival of squatting in the 60s and 70s, and also mentions the cooperative housing movement. But he falls into an over-enthusiasm for private housing and the owner-occupier. This, together with his slagging-off of public housing, and his stereotyping of council tenants, is bound to provoke a few grumbles, particularly with today's crisis in both public and ordinary private housing.

In the chapter on welfare Ward points out that "there is an essential paradox in the fact that the state whose symbols are the policeman, the jailer, and the soldier, should have become the... organiser of social welfare." And he describes the failure of the big traditional Victorian welfare institutions, like the workhouse, the mental asylum, the orphanage, the care home, the old style hospitals, etc.

Meanwhile it is symptomatic of the 1970s flavour of the book that he optimistically sees claimants unions as an anarchic way forward in the community's struggle to transform the welfare state into a genuine welfare society. Today there are not many claimants unions, despite unemployment and benefit-dependency being far higher than in 1973. Many unemployed and claimants today are too weakened, fragmented, and demoralized to be able to commit time, energy, and enthusiasm to help running unemployed groups and claimants unions.

Sometimes the situation is not so much that we are weak because we are disorganized, but that we are disorganized because we are weak. Part of their role, like benefits advice and legal support has been hijacked by the growth in state welfare agencies anyway. In the introduction to the second edition Ward admits some of the issues he was raising were "unfashionable" and the original arguments had become "complicated" by the emergence of mass unemployment.

When we read the chapter on work and the demand for workers' control, we are struck by how the period in which Colin Ward was writing was such a different world from today. Then life for many in an industrial country like the U.K. was still dominated by mass centralized fordist production and manufacturing, which directly employed many millions. Writing later at the beginning of the eighties, with industries shutting down, unemployment rocketing, and power shifting to finance and the city, he was moved to comment, "This is the chapter which is most in need of bringing up to date."

It is not just that most of the factories have gone to the other side of the world, it is also that many of them have changed shape and been restructured. Much production has been dispersed, heavily automated, and is globally coordinated "just in time" by information technology.

Ward looks at the idea of being self-employed, being your own person, and setting up your own trade. This was quite a popular ambition of many workers in the seventies, and is still an inspiration for many today. But now we see technical "self-employment" being imposed on many by the economy and the state as a way of cutting employers' admin costs, or of massaging the unemployment figures. Many are now pushed to survive by "setting up trade" in the illegal economy, selling dodgy goods, or dealing in drugs! Is this what is meant by a "self-employed society"?

Ward shows how over the years in industry the idea of workers' control, whether in the form of guild socialism, cooperativism, syndicalism , workers councils or assemblies, has always tended to resurface. He also shows how there has always been a battle to co-opt parts of these ideas by the employers in the forms of "workers' participation", "joint management", "works councils", and so on. Today many "professional" workers are expected to take responsible control of their own work and self-manage their own exploitation, and be good self-motivated "team workers". There have always been debates around the notion of "workers' control"; control by which workers? of what production? and for the workers in the workplace alone or the wider community?

But then what do such questions mean in the harsh face of real history? What do demands and debates about workers' control of the mines mean, for example, if Thatcher and Co. have no hang-ups about shutting down the whole mining industry including profitable mines, and then smash up the miners' communities in the process? How do we keep the idea of "workers' control" meaningfully alive when only a smaller proportion of the population is involved in any meaningful productive work in the first place?

In my opinion, in the future, until there is super-abundance of all needs and resources, there will still be a transitional need part of the time for some social rationing involving some kind of social exchange with some self-managed "necessary" labour, such as half a day a week or whatever. Puritan ultra-leftists might not like this, it isn't perfect total communism, but then nothing ever is.

The closing chapter, "Anarchy and a Plausible Future", raises questions, already being asked at the end of the 60s, about environmental and resource limitations on the growth of the existing economic system eventually forcing dramatic change. But he points out: "Necessity may reduce the rate of resource-consumption but the powerful and privileged will hang on to their share... Power and privilege have never been known to abdicate. This is why anarchism is bound to be a call to revolution. But what kind of revolution?"

Ward returns to the Kropotkinite vision of "industry decentralized, and the competition for markets replaced by local production and consumption while people themselves alternate brain work and manual work." Then, in an odd but accidentally relevant political clanger (page 169), he suggests this was already being realized, at the time he was writing his book, in a political climate different to anarchism, in China! -Well not today it isn't!! If you wanted to sum up many of the traumatic social developments, industrial and economic restructuring, and neoliberal globalising that has affected us all in the last 30 years in one symbolic word, then it might well be; "China".

Colin Ward doesn't see anarchism developing in the context of immediate total social unanimity, but in the context of pluralist development; "So we don't have to worry about the boredom of utopia: we shan't get there." Meanwhile in the present he reminds us: "There are vast areas of capitalist societies which are not governed by capitalist principles,... you might even say that the only thing that makes life live-able in the capitalist world is the unacknowledged non-capitalist element within it,..."

As a book, "Anarchy In Action" makes a good "propaganda" tool because in a clear coherent lucid way it begins by telling people what they already know. The book illustrates the arguments for anarchism, not just from theories, but from actual examples of tendencies which already exist in peoples' lives and communities. "Anarchy In Action" is clearly a product of its time and place, the U.K. in the 1970s (my favourite decade), but the basic message of many of the chapters stands the test of time. It remains a good radical social-libertarian propaganda book, and it still beats some contemporary "anarcho-introduction" books. It will continue to have an influence, -even for people under 40!

Colin Ward is still very much alive and kicking today, and having only just read what he was thinking in the 1970s it leaves me itching to know what he thinks NOW, about de-industrialisation, , the illegal economy, the internet, carboot sales, ASBOs, post-modernism, mobile phones, freecycle, credit boom, credit crunch, the minimum wage, food riots, peak oil, global warming,... and all manner of subjects.... Paul, Summer 2008.