Is Global Warming a new dawn for Anarchism?

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baboon
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Mar 7 2007 14:13

The thing about the clown's abuse is its cowardice. Revol would never talk to anyone like this in real life - all his bones would be broken by now - but hides behind his keyboard. It's not an uncommon weakness.

I think Blackred has a point on the NHS. It was set up primarily for the needs of the state and the development of state capitalism. It was based on the necessity for a reasonably healthy work and fighting force for capital. I tend to think in class terms and don't think that the working class ever fought for a NHS as such. However, the services, such as they are, are part of the social wage, are part of our wages, and as such should be fought for. The same goes for jobs and conditions of NHS workers. The danger is getting dragged into the "Defend the NHS" campaigns of the left and leftism, as Alf points out. It's the same thing as fighting for "Defend British Leyland", or defend nationalisation, defend this and defend that leftist stuff. There are real issues and struggles to be fought by workers involved and this is where the real issues lie. "defend the NHS" by itself is a trap for the working class.

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madashell
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Mar 7 2007 15:17
baboon wrote:
The thing about the clown's abuse is its cowardice. Revol would never talk to anyone like this in real life - all his bones would be broken by now - but hides behind his keyboard. It's not an uncommon weakness.

I think Blackred has a point on the NHS. It was set up primarily for the needs of the state and the development of state capitalism. It was based on the necessity for a reasonably healthy work and fighting force for capital. I tend to think in class terms and don't think that the working class ever fought for a NHS as such. However, the services, such as they are, are part of the social wage, are part of our wages, and as such should be fought for. The same goes for jobs and conditions of NHS workers. The danger is getting dragged into the "Defend the NHS" campaigns of the left and leftism, as Alf points out. It's the same thing as fighting for "Defend British Leyland", or defend nationalisation, defend this and defend that leftist stuff. There are real issues and struggles to be fought by workers involved and this is where the real issues lie. "defend the NHS" by itself is a trap for the working class.

Speaking of which, is anybody interested in my new campaign, "Defend unnecessary, ultra-leftist semantics"?

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 7 2007 15:32

you can't just defend the semantics - you have to defend the use-value they represent to the ultra-leftist class roll eyes

i mean, yeah, obviously there's all sorts of leftists swarming all over this issue, but we have to defend a big part of our social wage, administered in the form of the NHS, so 'defend the NHS' is hardly criminal short-hand, though i do prefer 'keep the NHS public' for its slightly less status quo-ist ring.

i do think a big part of our (libertarian communist) propaganda should emphasise the status quo is by no means ideal, stress solidarity with NHS workers as well as our demands as users etc, rather than giving the impression that the NHS is unimpeachably brilliant as it is or was in some mythical golden age of the welfare state, like some of the leftist prop tends to. obviously.

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Tojiah
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Mar 7 2007 15:43
Joseph K. wrote:
i mean, yeah, obviously there's all sorts of leftists swarming all over this issue, but we have to defend a big part of our social wage, administered in the form of the NHS, so 'defend the NHS' is hardly criminal short-hand, though i do prefer 'keep the NHS public' for its slightly less status quo-ist ring.

Maybe slogans that don't actually name the NHS, like "Defend Public Health" or even better, "Stay off of Our Health"/"Hey, Thatcher, Leave our Health Alone", hinting that you're not for the status quo, but, rather, against deteriorating conditions for the working class.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 7 2007 15:51

yeah, i'll suggest it. i think the local group, including leftists, is called 'keep our nhs public' which is also a national campaign (i think), but in terms of slogans in leaflets etc yeah that kind of thing works. i mean, we are discussing ultra-left semantics here, because even successfully resisting the government cuts will be a massive victory, let alone restructuring the health service on libertarian communist lines.

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Tojiah
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Mar 7 2007 16:04
Jack wrote:
tojiah wrote:
"Hey, Thatcher, Leave our Health Alone"

Given that we're currently invading the Falklands, do you really think now is the right time to campaign on health?

Don't you understand that the Falklands skirmish is just a ruse to distract the people while further public health cuts are underway? black bloc

Anyway, you can obviously substitute someone else for Thatcher, anything that scans (though nothing will scan that well, I imagine... sad).

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 7 2007 16:42

What about "Oi Attlee you cunt! Give us back our free prescriptions!"
or "Hey Nye, do you call this socialism?" or
"Hey you social democratic arseholes do you recognise this: To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service?"
"Fabian twats we'd rather be healthy than contract MRSA in one of your industrial units!"
"Oi Bevan your fucking hospitals are built on exploitation of the colonies! I bet we could do better!"
"You! Meteorite! Stop! Us dinosaurs never did you any harm!"

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madashell
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Mar 7 2007 16:53

Ned, I'm still not clear on what you're arguing for here. Are you saying that we shouldn't resist NHS cuts and hospital closures? Are you suggesting that we go around telling people to eat healthier, like some kind of anarcho-social workers? What?

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 7 2007 17:05

Revol you're such a funny man yourself comedic criticism from you really stings! Ouch!

Madashell, I don't see the point in getting back into a point-by-point discussion with you. We seem very unlikely even to understand one another let alone to find an inch of common ground.

Take what you like from the "slogans". Somehow this discussion seems to have turned into one about (how to label) defending the social wage, it's not a fight I'll criticise except to say that on the one hand alone it doesn't further libertarian communism and, to be brutally frank, it's likely just another road to good ol' fashioned leftist defeat; oh we do it so well. If we must do it - and I know many of us feel compelled to - at least we should try a little bit of innovative thinking now and again about an anarchist way forward. Given the subject that began this thread I think that this would be an appropriate place for such thought..... unless what you call a campaign to defend the NHS is more important of course.

fort-da game
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Mar 7 2007 20:10

Magnifico,

Quote:
Ok so when we can no longer afford healthcare and are suffering death and disability from easily cureable diseases and injuries which used to be provided for by the NHS at least we can all take great solace in the fact that the health we no longer have was 'alienated' anyway.
Instead of funding nurses and MRI scanners the government could provide everyone with some sociology books, just to make sure we understood.

We don’t ‘afford’ healthcare and the government serves the interest of capital. But anyway, this a typical leftist put-down, ‘a-ha, you’ve read a lot of books, but this is the real world.’

In fact, I have not read many text books which is why I’m not jaded by concepts such as alienation. My comments are drawn from reflecting on my daily experience of working as a pen pusher in the NHS. But more importantly, alienation is not derived from text books anyway, it is the basic conditioning of how we live under capitalism. If you don’t like the word, then ‘separation’ does as well.

Capitalism may be criticised from two directions, the first takes alienation as a basic category, the second argues from a perspective of efficiency (but for reasons I won’t go into here, the critique of inefficiency remains within capitalist ideology).

I will give a brief summary of my point here: even if we accept that the NHS played an important historical role in securing the health of the working class and thereby putting them into a position where they might better seize control of production (and accepting that the cost of this ‘stage’ of development was a dispersal of class struggle and thus the opportunity for a social revolution in the 1940’s), even if we accept the progressiveness of this stage, we now must turn our attention to its regressive impact on health today and upon the consciousness of the cause of those impacts.

How is the NHS presently detrimental to health?

The answer is developed by the situationist critique of our stagnating survival and a continued experience of powerlessness within material conditions where communism has become possible. Since the 1970’s we have seen the production on an unprecedented scale of ‘new’ diseases (by new I mean diseases or conditions which have passed from a class of rare occurrence to a class of major problem). We can include within this category: diabetes type 2, obesity, heart disease, lung cancer, chlamidia, asthma, anxiety states, mental illness, addictions. It is quite evident that these conditions are ‘caused’, that is exacerbated, by the conditions under which people live. This exacerbation has occurred, to use last year’s phrase, under the NHS’s watch and yet the NHS has not made the link.

To the above we could also add the crisis of technological preservation of life, this has resulted in the decline in midwifery (a profession which is now incompatible with the NHS command structure), mental health care, and the chronic maintenance of unviable lives, particularly the old (I do not say the very infirm ought not to live but rather that no decision has been made; a prolonged condition of non-death is the outcome in many people’s lives of mere process and not of human compassion). Recent technologisation has also led to centralisation, the closure of small hospitals, and thus the breaking of the requirements of quarantine.

If the NHS represents the health of the workers then it must necessarily adopt a critique of alienation. It must contest reification and it must contest social relations as they impact on individual health on a mass scale. The political point to be drawn from this is that the government will never fund a critique of capitalism, therefore the workers of the NHS must impose consciousness on process so that process is made to serve their purpose (rather than the opposite as currently occurs). The bringing of consciousness of human need to industrial process in the form of critique of process is exactly what ‘seizing the means of production’ implies. By definition such a move is a critique of alienation. And for this reason, our task is to develop increasingly complex questions (a complex and critical awareness implies conscious, for-itself power over conditions) rather than trying to organise around simple slogans directed at the government.

In my opinion, the required complexity of workers’ control is only possible if divergence of opinion is encouraged between individuals within the milieu as this allows for more complex/nuanced cohesion and movement at the higher, or milieu level. In other words, our personal disagreeing on the slogan ‘defend the NHS’ is useful in helping the concrete development of a subjectivity which is capable of seizing hold of the NHS, complexities and all.

pil

ernie
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Mar 7 2007 21:00

An extremely interesting discussion on the NHS. I agree with those who say that it is not a question of defending the NHS but of defending NHS workers conditions.
In relation to the improvement of workers' health due to the introduction of the NHS. There can be no denying that life expectancy has increased and many diseases are now treatable. However, the largest increase in life expectancy happened long before the NHS when at the end of the 19th century water and sanitations systems were put in place. This increased life expectancy by 15 years, because of the eradication of the many of the common infectious diseases.
When one looks a bit closer at what has happened to workers overall health things get very reveling. Health inequalities between the classes have increased over the period of the NHS. In England and Wales in 1930-32 a non-skilled manual worker's chances of dying before age 65 was 23% higher than the average, by 1991 this had reached 87%!!! In Britain as a whole the differences in chances of dying before 65 between a non-skilled manual worker and a manager went from 60% in 190-53 to 100% by 1996-98 (figures taken from Inequalities in Life and death. R Mitchell et al, 2000) This same book has some very startling figures about the life chances between different electoral wards, which show very clearly that those living in working class areas have a much higher chance of pre-mature death than those in the mainly bourgeoisie areas. Thus, whilst life expectancy has increased the gap between the health and life chances of the working class has worsened.
The ruling class has a whole sociological machine that investigates the question of health inequalities because they understand that the question of health and the provision of health care is a central question for workers -and society as a whole-. The idea of the NHS being a gain for the working class is central to the idea that capitalism has something to offer the class. Today this idea is taking a very hard beating

robbo203
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Mar 7 2007 22:32

Hi all

Getting back to the subject of global warming what do people here think of the apparently growing number of skeptics in the scientific community who question aspects of global warming theory. Here's one I came across at random - there are many more - via google.

http://xtronics.com/reference/globalwarming.htm

Some of the arguments produced by the skeptics are patently reactionary bullshit but others are a lot more reasoned.

Im not a scientist and the evidence of shrinking ice sheets convinces me that something is happening that is affecting our climate in a potentially serious way. What that is however is probably more open to question than the mainstream scientific community appears to be suggesting. But I may be quite wrong here

What do you think?

Cheers

Robin

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Alf
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Mar 7 2007 23:28

Joseph - the slogan 'keep the NHS public' is even worse than 'defend the NHS' and I'm surprised that you advocate it. The NHS is part of the capitalist state - in what sense is that 'public'? This is really a concession to the idea that nationalisation is some form of socialism.

This is not about semantics. It's about developing class autonomy. There is immense confusion within the class about the class nature of the state and the idea that it intervenes to defend the 'public good'. We shouldn't be adding to it.

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 7 2007 23:32

Dr Cous Cous, I am sorry there is no smiley that I know of for taking one's hat off to someone, but consider mine doffed. And, also, if somewhat less enthusiastically given the company I find myself in wink, to you ernie.

As for the increasingly desperate climate change "skeptics" I suspect they'll be sneering on the other side of their faces possibly a lot sooner than you might think. Look Robin, there are so very many reasons to move as quickly as possible away from the present global corporate industrial system that climate change is just the icing on the apocalyptic cake. Socially and ecologically, not to mention psychologically and physiologically capitalism is fucking us all up, if it takes the western ice sheet falling off Antarctica to convince someone of that then they've not been paying attention to the story so far.

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thugarchist
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Mar 7 2007 23:40

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 8 2007 07:39

Fantastic. Thanks Thugarchist, I shall go on a quest to find the hat-doffing smiley! smile

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Demogorgon303
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Mar 8 2007 08:17

Another point to remember about the NHS, backing up somewhat what Ernie has said already is that it has always benefitted the ruling and middle classes more than workers. Working class areas have always had less NHS doctors, nurses, etc. per head of population than middle class areas. The same goes largely for the rest of the supposed benefits for workers when "social assets" are managed directly by the state.

The question of state control is a vital one for the working class. It seems contradictory to call for the bourgeois state to control social assets to defend workers while critiquing the very concept of a "workers state" in revolutionary situations.

The key question is not for us to choose which boss (state or private) they want to be exploited by any more than it is for us to vote Tory or Labour in the next election. It's a matter of us being able to defend our immediate living conditions against the onslaught of all the bosses.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 8 2007 08:50
Alf wrote:
Joseph - the slogan 'keep the NHS public' is even worse than 'defend the NHS' and I'm surprised that you advocate it. The NHS is part of the capitalist state - in what sense is that 'public'? This is really a concession to the idea that nationalisation is some form of socialism.

This is not about semantics. It's about developing class autonomy. There is immense confusion within the class about the class nature of the state and the idea that it intervenes to defend the 'public good'. We shouldn't be adding to it.

it's the slogan of an existing group down here, not my ideal political treatise. yeah it does equate 'public' with 'nationalised', which obviously as an anarchist and a communist i reject. what i prefer in it is the notion health should be public, although the formulation implies it already is, vs. the implied status quo fetishism of 'defend the nhs.' i mean all the nhs workers i've spoken to say it should be about need not profit, which could easily feed into a leftist defence of the state or be read as an essentially communist position. i mean i think we're in a good position to stress the state's nature as a boss, not 'public servant' when nhs workers' conditions are under attack, although this is often expressed as a criticism of the marketisation going on, leading to the conclusion that the state is fundamentally ok.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
Another point to remember about the NHS, backing up somewhat what Ernie has said already is that it has always benefitted the ruling and middle classes more than workers. Working class areas have always had less NHS doctors, nurses, etc. per head of population than middle class areas. The same goes largely for the rest of the supposed benefits for workers when "social assets" are managed directly by the state.

quite possibly true (i don't actually know, but it seems likely), but for example what's happening in sussex is the closing of all the regional A&E departments and their centralisation to Brighton - a nurse i was talking to was telling me they've done the 'blue light' tests and it takes over half an hour to get from some of the previous hospital sites to brighton a&e, let alone from the rural areas previously served by say haywards heath a&e. so while you're probably right, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to stop things getting worse ...

Quote:
The question of state control is a vital one for the working class. It seems contradictory to call for the bourgeois state to control social assets to defend workers while critiquing the very concept of a "workers state" in revolutionary situations.

The key question is not for us to choose which boss (state or private) they want to be exploited by any more than it is for us to vote Tory or Labour in the next election. It's a matter of us being able to defend our immediate living conditions against the onslaught of all the bosses.

but we're not calling "for the bourgeois state to control social assets to defend workers" any more than striking against wage cuts is 'calling for the maintenance of wage labour' - the question is how do we go about defending our immediate living standards? opportunities for industrial action are limited by the nature of the job - the nurses i was talked to mentioned working-to-rule, but said the union was reluctant (no surprise to us perhaps, but more so to them). outside that we're looking at necessarily more 'social' resistance, i mean it's not like the poll tax where there's a point of practical unity in non-payment, but i'd imagine it's going to take the broader 'community'* to stop this.

* which may well be a somewhat cross-class formation, though people have so far been quite receptive to the following argument: 'the nhs cuts are a class issue because company directors and senior managers, as well as politicians and union bosses earn enough to not really miss it if it was completely privatised, so we can't rely on them to do this for us whatever they say now, because at the end of the day it isn't really going to hit them like it is us'

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 8 2007 10:52

i've split the NHS discussion here (well, the last few posts of it)

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 28 2007 13:15

to bump this thread, i noticed some stats on the BBC of relevance

Joseph K. wrote:
most emissions are not directly related to consumer goods at all

The BBC wrote:
According to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, total UK carbon emissions are now 161.5 million metric tons [mmt], which breaks down as follows:

  • Business, industry, agriculture & public sector: 42%
  • Residential: 25.8%
  • Domestic transport (minus aviation): 25.2%
  • Aviation (international and domestic): 7%