Alexandra Kollontai re: Vladimir Lenin

An aggregator (lycos retriever) offers the following links:

In 1898 Kollontai abandoned her conventional marriage to study political economy in Zurich. She had already read Marx and Lenin, but in Zurich she familiarized herself with the views of Karl Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg. Before returning to St. Petersburg in 1899, she met in London Sidney and Beatrice Webb, whose reformist thoughts she rejected. Kollontai’s first article, dealing with the relationship between the development of children and their surroundings, was published in the Marxist journal Obrazovaniie in 1898. In her article dealing with Finland, published in Novoye vremia, she used the pseyudonym Elin Molin. Kollontai contributed … to the German journal Sociale Praxis.

Kollontai ardently believed in the natural and sacred function of motherhood and said so many times. Her largest book and much of her political effort after October was devoted to ensuring adequate medical care for working mothers. She … believed that society had an obligation to assist mothers by helping to raise their children. But her belief bore a qualification rarely mentioned in comments about it or about her: The state would not take children away from their parents, and all public child-rearing arrangements would be voluntary on the part of the parents. Her primary concern was that every woman would have the right and the genuine opportunity to have children and to be sure that they would be cared for. “Every mother must be convinced that once she fulfills her natural function and gives a new member to communist society, i.e. a new worker, the collective will love and attend to her and her child.” Marriage and sex were personal affairs; but motherhood, she said in words almost identical to Lenin’s, was a social concern.

Kollontai became the first woman elected to the Party Central Committee. After the October Revolution, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power, she was appointed People’s Commissar for Public Welfare. In the Ministry she was welcomed with a strike, as the other Commissars. “Immediately the poor of the great cities, the inmates of institutions, were plunged in miserable want: delegations of starving cripples, of orphans with blue, pinched faces, besieged the building. With tears streaming down her face, Kollontai arrested the strikers until they should deliver the keys of the office and the safe; when she got the keys… it was discovered that the former Minister, Countess Panina, had gone off with all the funds, which she refused to surrender except on the order of the Constituent Assembly.” (John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World, 1919)

Kollontai was a member of the Social Democratic Labour Party. At its Second Congress in London in 1903, there was a dispute between two of its leaders, Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. Martov won the vote 28-23 but Lenin was unwilling to accept the result and formed a faction known as the Bolsheviks. Those who remained loyal to Martov became known as Mensheviks.

When the February revolution of 1917 broke out, Kollontai was in Norway. She delayed her return to Russia only long enough to receive Lenin’s “Letters from Afar” so she could carry them to the Russian organization. From the moment of her arrival, she joined Alexander Shlyapnikov and V. M. Molotov in the fight for a clear policy of no support to the provisional government, against the opposition of Kamenev and Stalin. She was elected a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet (to which she had been elected as a delegate from an army unit). At a tumultuous meeting of social democrats on April 4, she was the only speaker other than Lenin to support the demand for “All Power to the Soviets.”

Throughout this period Kollontai had consistently stressed the need for working class women to organise independently from the bourgeois feminists. In this she was at odds with the majority of the Menshevik faction which consistently adapted to and compromised with the forces of bourgeois feminism. Her hostility to feminism placed her closer to the Bolsheviks who similarly waged a war against feminism. But at this stage she had not yet developed a coherent communist position on the organisation of working women which she was to develop alongside the Bolsheviks on the eve of the 1917 Revolution. Most importantly Kollontai, unlike Zetkin, failed to grasp the importance of ensuring Party leadership of the working class women’s movement. In this sense she remained closer to the positions of the Menshevik faction than to those of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The! New! Edition! of! The Paper! will! be! handed! out! at! the! March! 26! rally! in! London!

WRITE FOR US…. (click the imaged to download)

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The Paper: April Edition. “Too Much News in the World? Lets Make Some More!”

We all cross swords on what we’re fighting against, but what do we want to rally for? This is an invitation to counter the ‘news’ of the now with forecasts for alternative futures.

If only this rally were not just today, and not just from here to there – but all day, all month, and everywhere, all the time. Radical democracy to replace the 40-hour (let’s face it, often 60+) work week and the boredom/grim tedium of struggling to pay rent, to survive precarity, ducking and diving, constrained by rules. We could make it different. Say: step one, all senior management incomes (corporate heads, bank bonuses, tax evaders, military budgets, piggy-polly perks etc) to be redistributed as a democracy premium to allow all people to be involved in all decisions, all the time. The permanent forum of the Festival Hall as an open-access debating chamber. The budget of the Royal Household deployed for the National Health Service, and the Palaces made into hospices or welcome centres for refugees. Draft legislation on the abolition of the Trident nukes as the next order of business; thereafter, no colonial bombings abroad and free (and more!) public transport at home. Breakout meetings to propose alternatives to roads – not just cars, the entire road system to be rethought. Also, housing – communal luxury-squatting in the meantime, and a shuttle bus service to the daily demo… things like this, at the very least.

I know the idea of a permanent debating forum is a bad dream for some, but given the current bland waking nightmare of now – the continuous drip-feed of non- informative news coverage, the fake choices, spray-on TV tans, and our false participation in plastic democracyTM – well, its just not fit for use, is it?

Critical support for the organisations and all that, but a timid trade union movement that would only march from A to B has not yet learned the media politics of Millbank or Tahrir. A smashed window or a traffic jam is not news, but a rallying cry – and if there is no alternative but the tweedledum and tweedledum of parliamentary illegitimacy, such a trades union movement has set its sights too low. Indeed, it has already capitulated, when we could do so much more. I would not rush to say ‘you can’t kettle chaos’, but talk of feeder marches, breakout groups, the situ- diagrammatic imaginings, the (en)closures of Oxford Street, the counter-mappings, the myriad blocs – this bodes well as a fractal Party form.

As yet, the protest march ‘against cuts’ has not articulated a sufficient alternative – the political and social reorganisation that would end militarism and the arms sales that fuel it; that would reverse the devastation of the planet that comes with allegiance to outmoded technology, such as the combustion engine and its oil; or the dangers of the nuclear industry and opportunistic energy corporation initiatives to build on fault lines, in volcanic areas, or without due regard to renewables; undo the neo-colonial market imperative that returns food scarcity to the very regions that provide abundant foodstuffs for the bourgeois tables of Europe and the ‘developed’ west; against obscene detention and incarceration as punitive, racist population-cleansing, starting with the incredibly high proportion of Black Americans in prison in the USA, and the disproportionate working class population imprisoned in the UK, give or take a few white-collar criminals caught out in an expenses scandal or done for perjury; refusing opportunist use of ‘human rights’ as an ideological club to beat the non- West, while at the same time selling arms indiscriminately and pontificating about war as humanitarian intervention whenever a Western ‘leader’ needs a ‘legacy’ issue, pace David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron; also: reparations for slavery, colonialism, sexism and homophobia (as democracy credits, seats in the front of the bus, agenda items of choice).

This list goes on. No expenditure on State visits, Freedom of Movement for all (restrictions on capital movement, a planned economy, a reserve fund for relief). Oppose all nationalisms, parochialisms, jingoisms… A NASA Mission to Mars, what bullshit! Instead, more engaging movies, romantic dramas about ageing communists, Regime Change on the Jedi Planet (the conservative clerics deposed) or The Bourne Conversion (to communism). For a political and popular culture that is not a festival of death. For a Life Extraordinary.

No to marching in lines.

Yes to running wild in the streets – we can sit down afterwards and work out how to do it all differently, again and again, that too can be fun. We just have to ask what is required to win a life like this, and more? What politics? What organisation? What movement? More than a mere ‘like’ or ‘retweet’, or a one-day dawdle. Diagram this.

– John Hutnyk

Originally published here – The paper April 2011

David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron

As we watch appalled as the UN decides to declare war with No Fly Zone and more, this is the onward march into the new crusades on the part of David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron. With his arms-trader interest in weapons sales and colonial intervention as a sideshow, he can secure his ‘legacy’ with the every-leader-must-have-one bespoke middle east war. Its clearly not just daft daft daft, its criminal – and it worked out so well for his twin Thatcherite brother Bliar. Both of a type…

so, as we watch this car crash unfold…

…a reminder to read the Vijay Prashad piece on Ghadafi in The Paper.

Libya’s Lost Promise

Write me for actual paper copies while they last.

STW: 10 Reasons to say no to western intervention in Libya

By Andrew Murray National Chair, Stop the War Coalition 14 March 2011 The political campaign to launch a military intervention in Libya – ostensibly on humanitarian grounds but with patently political ends in sight – is gathering steam among the NATO powers. A “no-fly zone” has now been urged by the Arab League – for the most part a collection of frightened despots desperate to get the US military still more deeply involved in the region.  That would be the start of a journey down slippery slope. 

Here are ten reasons to resist the siren calls for intervention:

  1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty.  This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok.  As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
  2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war.  “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.
  3. Intervention will lead to escalation.  Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance.  That way lies decades of conflict.
  4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did.  Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies.  Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.
  5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War.  Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003.  Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.
  6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia.  NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.
  7. Yes, it is about oil.  Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example?  Ask BP.
  8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region.  A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.
  9. The hypocrisy gives the game away.  When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order.  As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”.  NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.
  10. Military aggression in Libya – to give it the righty name – will be used to revive the blood-soaked policy of ‘liberal interventionism’.  That beast cannot be allowed to rise from the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan.

What is the Weight of the Moon? 21.3.2011

Screening and discussion Nabil Ahmed: a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy.

Monday 21 March RHB Cinema Goldsmiths, 6.30PM


Nabil Ahmed took the title for What is the Weight of the Moon? from The Middleman, a film by Satyajit Rai forming part of a cycle of films that reflects on the political implications of being a student in Calcutta during the 1970s. Ahmed’s project is a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy. Through the medium of film, What is the Weight of the Moon? explores the low visibility of the colleges, which are often identified only by ambiguous-looking signboards in the east London area, and the near-invisibility of their students.

Originally conceived as a two-channel video installation consisting of a video essay and a set of edited interviews, Ahmed’s work places student interviewees outside the frame. The viewer is invited to become an active listener by controlling a three-channel audio mixer to hear field recordings and simultaneous translations of the interviews in Bengali and English.


meanwhile, in Cairo…


“Activists are under the threat wherever they go, Dina (17 yrs old) and Israa (19) Abdallah Abo El-Azm, two sisters detained by the army three days ago for distributing flyers are now to be sentenced in front of a military court. In reality they were only walking down the street in Cairo at midday. They were kidnapped by the army and falsely accused. Not just the activists themselves are in danger, anyone who looks like what came to be stereotyped as a Tahrir Square protester, risks detention or beating”.

I do not know more about who has written this, but that the Military mates of Mubarak remain in place was always a concern – though not for the BBC who of course went on to other stories quick smart. Someone on Al-Jezeera did anticipate something like this, but I didn’t note who said it. More than one person for sure. Anyone got more on detentions in particular?

The entire article is here.

When the army hits the fan!

Posted by Leil-Zahra on 3/16/11 •

The Egyptian people have always loved the army, especially that they haven´t seen much of them since 1973 apart from a controversial participation in the Desert Storm war on the side of the United States. The army was always the romantic figure of glorious times under Nasser who stood in the face of Israel and pumped Arab nationalism and pride in Egypt and beyond. Movies, TV series, documentaries, songs, popular tales of heroics and braveries, novels, and school books all glorify the participation of the army up to 1973.

The popular memory froze in time in 1973, maybe because the Egyptian people didn´t have much to celebrate or take pride in under the rulers that came afterwards. Both Sadat and Mubarak destroyed the spirit of the people in every way possible and on every level imaginable (though this doesn´t mean that Nasser was the best thing that happened to this country). It became once again the tale of Pharaohs in the center-stage, the slaves building the Pyramids forgotten and marganilized.

Egypt is the country of romanticism par excellence. For decades while tens of millions of Egyptians were famished for collective self-esteem, reminiscing and nostalgia were the only survival tool available. The Pharaohs and the army were at the core of it all, equally present in the memory of the people and equally ancient history in the tangible reality. It was all memories of glorious days that lived in the reality of the people. Even some of those who found it emotionally hard to oust Mubarak did so because they respected him as a leading military figure from the war of 1973.

Full article continues: here.


Sandline crisis . . . 14 years on

Tim Spicer, where in Iraq are you now? (seek him here seek him there, the bumbling millionaire mercenary with his camo-wear…

this is from the PNG Post Courier today:


Retired and Former Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force Major General Jerry Singirok MBE, reflects on the 1997 Sandline Crisis that grabbed the attention of the nation as well as the international community. His professional judgement at the time was critical. His conscience outweighed what was deemed as lawful executive order.

By Major General Jerry Singirok
MBE (Rtd)

It has been fourteen years to this day when under my command as Commander Papua New Guinea Defence Force made a conscious decision, not only to abort the Sandline Contract “Contravene”, but also to expel Sandline mercenaries out of PNG and subsequently ask the then Prime Minister, his deputy and the Minister for Defence to resign.
Historians and many commentators have marked this event as a major crisis in PNG history. However in the main it was a result of series of blunders on the part of the executive arm of the Government and policy advisor who had far ulterior motives other than addressing genuine plea for increased benefits for the landowners and the Bougainville Provincial Government.
The result was a significant shift in the security decision making thus affecting national security within the context of protecting PNG’s national interest, subsequently unleashing the contract by the grieving party which was me as Commander and a handful of military hardliners who supported my opposition and successfully executed Operations “ Rausim Kwik”.
Upon reflection, it is disheartening to say the least that nothing has changed much since March 1997. From influx of illegal immigrants, lack of effective border security, and hegemonic tussles between the economic global giants, PNG continues to be an open and free playing field for investors and opportunists who by cohesion with our decision makers and respective agencies in the name of economic development ignore the plight of landowners and continue to generate uncertainties, frustrations thus creating a certain air of frustration throughout Papua New Guinea today.
Our era (1975-1997) was in the cold war era, where the military had to re-think and re-strategise new roles in Civil Military Affairs whereby the military if it had to justify its existence, must be restructured and re-trained into a military force that should be ready to assist during natural disaster, assist mainly in policing roles and contribution to international peace keeping and law enforcement.
It was therefore incumbent that those in position of command at that time understand the transition of a fighting force to a force for peace-making and the constraints and limitations it had was most daunting task for any military commander. This was the dilemma I had as Commander where the Papua New Guinea Defence Force was not tailored to fight a prolonged civil war against antagonists as it was not prepared, ill-equipped, lacked combat power which drastically affected the morale of the troops and most significantly lacked the political support. I had been a career soldier and attended one of the most prestigious and reputable military colleges where future Generals were bred. I have been privileged to be an exchange officer with the United States Army, British Army and was accorded a two year employment opportunity with the Australian Defence Force as a lecture in Military Arts and Tactics at the Land Warfare Centre. These exposures and professional training I received was an insurance that assisted me to take command of the Defence Force even at a prime age within the bounds of good command, leadership and stewardship based on strict military ethos based on empathy.
I will always mitigate and justify my actions regardless of public opinion and what lawyers and critics say. My professional judgement at the material time was critical where my conscience far outweighed what was deemed as lawful executive order to me were deemed unlawful superior orders because of the serious consequences of a military operations against thousands of innocent civilians.
The consequence of the actual military onslaught according to my professional judgment would result in a carnage that would have been devastating to include serious crimes against humanity and would have drawn global condemnation and possible indictment to the Hague to face War Crimes Tribunal for atrocities against thousands of innocent civilians.
The indictment would have included members of the National Security Council and me as Commander, as we would be deemed to be culpable for conducting surgical military operations. The experiences by Bougainvillians, Panguna landowners, royalty issues, the environmental damages and the lack of negotiation on their behalf by the National Government and the developer, Bougainville Copper Limited were critical issues that were not mitigated well.
The lessons of good governance which lacked wider community and professional consultation are still ambiguous even to this day. Investors with multibillion investments are flocking into PNG to exploit the people and the resources that are now becoming scarce globally regardless of community concerns.
Today foreign and commercial security companies have taken over national security functions it seems, a service reserved for state security forces with little or no government investment has been redirected to revitalise and revamp PNG’s own security forces. As a result of this neglect, the national security agencies have become defunct, disjointed, and operationally ineffective to protect PNG’s interest, sovereignty and security to say the least.
The concerns of lack of comprehension and understanding the issues of protecting national interest and security are appalling. It requires a government that puts the wellbeing of its citizen first before any other agendas. The law and order is escalating, HIV and AIDS is on an endemic rise, use of illegal guns, poverty is widespread, rural infrastructures are deteriorating or have deteriorated and the Government services of basic health and education had not been seen and accorded to many remote parts of PNG. The land border remains porous and the maritime boundaries and air space are not protected. Equally of significant concern is the environmental damages as a result of industrial waste by the multimillion investors are a force of destruction that has and will continue to affect and plague Papua New Guinea.
Really if we continue the trend in the next five years of neglect to our national security then we may as well have an open door policy where exploiters globally can help themselves to our God-given resources forcing the next generation to opt to resort to antagonism as seen globally where established regimes are being literally ousted by the mass.
It is too evident to see the parallels of what is happening in PNG today even after series of government came into power from 1997 onwards, except today there is tactfulness in the way large contracts are handled so as to suppress and distort public opinion. The landowners and the citizens always get the raw end of the deal.
Regrettably the lessons learnt from the engagement of Sandline mercenaries and Bougainville civil war is easily forgotten it seems. While Papua New Guinea continues to go down a path of self destruction based on omissions, self serving and false proclamation of the wealth creation for only a few, the reality is that the next generation of Papua New Guineas may turn out to be a generation of disgruntled, misfits, uneducated, city roamers who may see those in authority as tyrants, self serving and may decide to take up arms to engage in a prolonged armed resurrection against the Government, foreign investors and exploiters.
In any case this security quagmire scenarios anticipated in the coming decade would be very difficult to deal with as lessons in the past have never been learnt. It has always and will be the people’s call first for good governance while upholding our Constitution for the wellbeing of our citizens. It’s time to learn from the lessons learnt from Sandline in 1997 and correct them for the better.




A chit chat tonight with a comrade – now a note to self for later:
Seems some people have had a hard time seeing democratic centralism and meeting procedure as anything like fun. :)
I was a peripheral participant in a thing called Open Polemic long ago. I think that is the way. Unfortunately it was too soon codified by people I like, with a structure I do not want to sign up for – even if I think its fine if other people do. I find myself half way between the CPGB, Mao’s principles, and the anarcho-comms. Is this something that can be distilled?
The CPGB offer rules: Here
but so do the anarchos: If you have seen David Graeber’s book on Direct Action, and the whole wobbly hands meeting procedure thing, plus the soon to be released Occupations Handbook, from AK Press, you’ll soon be well sick of rules. Usually a technique for closing down imagination or delegating/appropriating power to the inner clique of first name basis friends.
Maoist organizing is a long term drawn out learning, criticism and self-criticism. I’ll dig out the texts…
but maybe not tonight. Though it is important…
Lynne Segal, socialist-feminist from Sydney Push, perceptively said: ‘when the excitement of finding a new collective voice begins to ebb, everyday politics becomes a far more discouraging, even tedious affair, a matter of competitive interests and conflicting alliances’ Segal 2000:19 in ‘Only Contradiction on Offer’ in “Women: A Cultural Review” 11:1/2:19-36.
Maybe we need to keep a step ahead of that resigned-to-it tone, but also must recognize the constraints – which are perhaps best dealt with through Joy, and thought-crime.

Bradley Manning

SUNDAY March 20th. 2pm *U.S. Embassy/London- Join Us to Demand they “Stop Torturing Bradley Manning!


To demand the end of the torture pf Bradley Manning in Quantico U.S. Marine Base, Virginia USA. Although 23 year old Bradley Manning is a U.S. Army intelligence officer he is being held without explanation in the largest U.S. Marine Base in the world! Bradley is being held, in effect, in isolation and sensory deprivation, his conditions are tortureous. Techniques finetuned at Abu Ghraib and Guatanamo have been unleashed on what U.S. authoriteis see as a nonviolent dissident within the U.S. war machine.

U.S. anti-war and human rights activists, lawyers, military veterans and the former commander of Quantico are heading down to Quantico this Sunday March 20 to demand justice for Bradley Manning. Others of us around the world will go on Sunday March 20 to U.S. embassies and sites of siginifiance in the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and do like wise. Consider joing us or initiating your own activity for Bradley Manning on Sunday March 20.
Youtube – Previous Jan. 17 demonstration for Bradley at Quantico

Bradley has been accused of leaking, to WikiLeaks, footage of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre in Iraq of 2 Reuters journalists, 9 Iraqi civilians and wounding the children in a vehicle that detoured from the “school run” to tend to the wounded and the dead. Those who carried out this massacre hve not been brought to account, the U.S. government wished to “shoot the messenger”.

We refuse to accept this. We hope you to do too? Show viisible solidarity with Bradley Manning this Sunday March 20. If not with us at the U.S. embassy at 2pm – in your own community, speak out at church, stand in your city centre demand Justice for Bradley Manning!

TIME? – Sunday March 20th. 2 pm

WHERE? – outside the U.S. Embassy, Gorsvenor Square.
Closest tube: Bond St.

HIgh School Kidz from Brad’s Welsh Village…5324/

Bruce Kent – Long time British Peace Activist and Organiser.

Ben Griffin
SAS Iraq Combat Veteran, Reusenik when he refused a 2nd tour deouncing the war, gagged from speaking of his experiences by the M.O.D./ High Court.…er%29

and others… more here

Marx making plans

Marx to Lasalle Feb 22 1858: ‘The whole thing is divided into six books. 1. On Capital (contains several introductory chapters). 2. On the Ownership of Land. 3. On Wage Labour. 4. On the state. 5. International Trade. 6. The World Market.’ … the critique of the history of political economy and of socialism should form the subject of another book’

‘[but] After all, I have the feeling now, after fifteen years of study, when I can at last analyse the thing, storms from outside will probably interfere. Never mind, If I finish too late to call the attention of the world to these matters, then the failure is obviously my own…’ (M&E Letters on Capital 1954/1983:52)
April 2 1858, Marx wrote to Engels with ‘the whole crap’ offered in the same 6 book scheme,  and he added that Capital would have four sections ‘a) capital in general. … b) Competition, or the action of many capitals against each other. c) Credit, whereby the capital appears as a general element in relation tot he separate capitals. d) Share capital as the most highly developed form (going over to communism) together with all its contradictions’ (M&E Letters on Capital 1954/1983:57)
October 13 1866, Marx wrote Kugelmann:
‘The Whole work breaks down into the following parts:
Book 1 The process of Production of Capital
Book 2 The Process of Circulation of Capital
Book 3 Forms of the Entire Process
Book 4 The Theoretical History
Volume 1 contains the first two books
Book 3 I think will take up the second volume, the third will contain Book 4′
(M&E Letters on Capital 1954/1983:99)
In 1868 Marx writes to Engels about the shape of the proposed volume three, in section 7 of which, he suggests: ‘Finally we arrive at the forms of appearance which serve the Vulgar Economists as a point of departure: land rent originating from the soil, profit (interest) from capital, wages from Labour. From our point of view, however, the matter looks different. The apparent movement is explained. Further, the A.Smith-ian nonsense, which has become the foundation stone of all previous economics, to the effect that the price of commodities consists of those three revenues, that is, variable capital (wages) plus surplus value (land-rent, profit, interest), is overturned. The total movement in this apparent form. Finally, since these three (wages, land-rent, profit (interest)) are the sources of income for the three classes of landowners, capitalists and workers – the class struggle is the consequences, in which the movement and the analysis of the whole crap is resolved…’ (M&E Letters on Capital 1954/1983:138)

UfSO: The Free Free Market Market


The Free Free Market Market

Friday, 25th March 12.00pm, Outside the ICA

The University for Strategic Optimism’s Free Education Market is hitting the West End Friday, 25th March and you’re all invited. And what will be on sale? With the major cuts to all levels of education and the public services EVERYTHING MUST GO, so come and join in the great education cattle market of the future. Time to show off those skills. Create your own stalls to bring along, we’re expecting all kinds! Why not treat yourself to a BSc in Tescosisation? An MA in Streamlining Public Culture? Or two for one in dead-end internships and part-time jobs whilst trying to scrape together enough money to postpone eviction? Six week micro-philosophy courses to help you charm creative contacts whilst networking, seal the deal on business success, and have all the right opinions about books, film, and art. Do you have some cultural capital to splash out? Oh yes!

– We are looking for people to bring along stalls, make them out of cardboard or whatever you like, use your imagination!

– If you can’t make a stall, we are looking for people to come along and throw around some specially created cultural capital banknotes or just contribute in any way you can to the festivities!

– We are looking for people who want to shout and make some noise!

Our market has a bargain for everyone. Come and bring a stall or simply swing by and flash(mob) your cultural capital. We welcome buyers and sellers of our education futures. There will be vouchers, special guests, bargain boxes and maybe even raffle prizes!

Join us for an ‘art performance’ you’ll never forget. Bring all your friends and whatever you’d like to sell off at the biggest education market since the transformation of UK’s education system into a privatised zone of business academies and the selling of the public services by the ConDem(ned) coalition. We start outside the ICA at 12.00 and move off from there to secret location – we will be seeking a number of indoor and outdoor locations to maximise profits.

See you there!



You are cordially invited to the next event in the Contemporary Africa On
Screen programme


This event includes a live performance by Nathalie Mba Bikoro and a series
of films relating to performance, including the premiere of Ato Malinda’s
film, *Fertile,* as well as works by Lerato Shadi and Ingrid Mwangi.

Mba Bikoro is a French-Gabonese interdisciplinary artist based in London
whose practice focuses on performance through body excavation, film and
African vocals. Her work examines issues of human rights and cultural
identity. Malinda is based in Nairobi, Kenya and previously worked in
Europe and North America. Her practice spans performance, video and
painting and she is particularly interested in exploring issues of
identity in relation to African art through a video and performance
practice. The event is followed by a presentation by Mba Bikoro and an
open discussion.

Friday 25 March, 7pm, Free

South London Gallery
65 Peckham Road
London SE5 8UH

This event is part of CONTEMPORARY AFRICA ON SCREEN, curated by Jennifer
Bajorek, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the South London Gallery in
partnership with Juma Bah, Community Action Southwark

Screening and discussion are FREE, but booking recommended On 020 7703
6120 or

Supported by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange /
Goldsmiths, University of London / Community Action Southwark / Arts
Council England / Southwark Council

Mapping Goldsmiths

An open invitation to all students and staff at Goldsmiths:

The Other Survey: Mapping Goldsmiths Workshop

Tuesday 15 March 2011, 5-7pm, NAB 326

The drastic cuts to university funding, tripling of student fees and
ongoing ‘restructuring’ of higher education have been accompanied by an
insistent language of measurement, evaluation and competition.
Intensifying tendencies that we’ve been living with, and enacting, for
some years, the university is being formatted as an institution in which
the “student-consumer” is asked to rank “service providers”, and where
artificially scarce resources are to be allocated according to competitive
pressures, in line with principles that are indifferent or antithetical to
a transformative conception of learning, and to non- instrumental
relationships between those who teach, study and work in universities.

The project that we are trying to build starts from the idea that we can’t
allow knowledge about the university to be colonised by student surveys,
league tables, and indicators of financial performance. Rather, we should
perhaps reflect on how little we know about how the institution works, how
power is distributed within it and what the economic, emotional and
existential realities of the “student experience” are, including how
Goldsmiths relates to its local, national and global environments.

In this workshop we would like to begin this process of collective
reflection, dialogue and mapping using it to improvise a participatory
project on university life. Come along with your questions, stories and
ideas so that we can start to sketch out the experiences of students,
teachers and workers who are a part of the College and explore what other
visions and practices of the university we might develop.

Corporate Watch

Corporate Watch is launching a new project called Corporate Rule
(, which they intend to be a dynamic showcase
for some of the best independent, corporate-critical research on corporate
power, sparking debate and provoking action.

Corporate Rule is a web-based resource featuring new and old research into
the relationships between corporations and various social, economic and
political structures and institutions. The project aims to explore the
mechanisms deployed by corporations in exercising and accumulating their
power over the decisions made in what are often called ‘democratic’
countries, with a specific focus on how this plays out in the UK, and the
ways in which corporate ideologies and discourses facilitate this by
co-opting and/or suppressing people’s active democratic participation.

The project also highlights alternatives to this mode of living and
organising, providing examples of real democracy in action and looking at
ways forward in opposing corporate rule. Some of the content might be
published in the future as a series of topical briefings. To find out more
about the project, please see

UKBA Border @ Gold.

BROADHEAD RHB 356 (domestic/EU students please come too!)


As most of you already know, the Goldsmiths senior management team is
treating international students in a dispicable way.

*SMT are co-operating with UK Border Agency, rather than guaranteeing the
safety and security of Goldsmiths students.

*International students are required to use a defunct, pointless online
registration, which will be a regular requirement. (Students at Queen Mary
are required to gather in a room and have their passports checked, a
likely next step for Goldsmiths).

*Many students don’t know about this requirement, and didn’t submit the

*SMT has made a list of these students, and is threatening to pass their
details on to UKBA this Friday 11th March.

*Previously, lecturers were requested to pass on the names of any
international students who missed 3 or more classes, and this information
would then have been passed onto UKBA who could then legally deport these
students (GUCU were successful in their non-compliance with this request).

WE WON’T COMPLY WITH THIS! It would really mean a lot for international
students to have support and for this issue to be brought into the wider
education movement.

Wages for Housework readings

Selma James and Dalla Costa (1972), The power of women and the subversion of the community (pdf)

Selma James et al. (1975), Sex, Race and Class

Ellen Malos (ed.) (1980), The Politics of Housework

Alice Kessler-Harris (1981), Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview

Selections from Leopoldina Fortunati (1995), The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital

Maria Mies (1998), Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour

Mariarosa Dalla Costa & Giovanna F. Dalla Costa (eds.) (1999), Women, Development and the Labor of Reproduction: Struggles and Movements

P. E. Perkins (2000), Feminist understandings of productivity (pdf)

Precarias a la Deriva (2006), A Very Careful Strike: Four hypotheses the commoner (pdf)

Kathi Weeks (2007), Life Within and Against Work: Affective Labor, Feminist Critique, and Post-Fordist Politics, ephemera (pdf)

P. Cunninghame (2009), Italian feminism, workerism and autonomy in the 1970s: The struggle against unpaid reproductive labour and violence, Mute Magazine

links kindly filched from our friends at Generation Online.


Wages for Housework G. W. F. Hegel Ludwig Feuerbach Karl Marx Alfred Sohn-Rethel Jean-Paul Sartre Antonio Gramsci Commodity Form Louis Althusser Nicos Poulantzas Georg Lukacs Uneven Development V. I. Lenin Productive/ Unproductive Labour Regis Debray C.L.R.James Lucio Colletti Immaterial Labour George Bataille Pierre Macherey Exodus Antonio Negri Dialectics Guy Debord Hasdai Crescas Andre Glucksmann Braudel - Annales School Saul Alinski Surrealism Aglietta - REGULATION SCHOOL POST MARXISM - Hindess  & Hirst Maurice Godelier Refusal (to work) I.I.Rubin International Situationists Roger Garaudy Resnick/Wolfe/ Rethinking Marxism Piero Sraffa Existentialism Alexandre Kojeve Etienne Balibar Maria Rosa Dalla Costa Silvia Federici


Internal Security

Meanwhile, in some countries, they even have a debate about Detention and the Internal Security Act (which has been mentioned before on this blog, here, and in the Weekly Worker, here).


Press Statement by SUARAM: 7th March 2011

Mission Report on Malaysia by Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

Implement Recommendations Now!

The findings and recommendations of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) from its visit to Malaysia from 7 to 18 June 2010 have added to the long list of recommendations and concerns pertaining to the Malaysian government’s legislations, policies and practices of arbitrary detention. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) has despatched Ms Temme Lee, SUARAM Secretariat member to make interventions at the UN Human Rights Council after the mission report presented by the WGAD[1].  SUARAM supports the recommendations made by the working group to the Malaysian government.

“Classic Cases of Arbitrary Detention” under the ISA, EO, DDA, RRA

In their mission report, the WGAD states that it is “seriously concerned” about the existence and enforcement of laws which provide for detention without trial in Malaysia, namely the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance (EO), the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act (DDA), and the Restricted Residence Act.

“(These laws) impede the detainee’s right to a fair trial, consecrated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by international human rights customary law. They also severely restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel.”

The working group has also stated its concern on the periodic review by the Advisory Board. The working group considers that an appearance before an Advisory Board does not fulfill minimal fair trial guarantees. Although detainees may appeal every six months to the Advisory Board on the preventive laws, the detainees are not notified of its recommendations, its recommendations are not binding and they are not made public. On the other, the defence lawyers may appear on behalf of the detainee, attend the hearing without access to all the documentation, including evidence, and have no right to call witnesses.

During the press conference held by the WGAD on 18 June 2010, its Chairperson-Rapporteur El Hadji Malick Sow stated that detentions under the ISA, the EO, and the DDA are “classic cases of arbitrary detention”. The WGAD also noted with concern that “thousands of people” are being detained under the EO and the DDA.

“Systematic” Detention of Refugees

Also of concern to the WGAD is the detention of refugees and asylum seekers. The WGAD’s Chairperson-Rapporteur has described the detention of refugees as “systematic”, noting that even refugees who are in possession of identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are not exempt from arrests and detentions.

Malaysia’s non-ratification of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and non-recognition of the status of refugees and asylum seekers have resulted in the detention of many refugees under immigration laws in Malaysia for their alleged “illegal presence” in Malaysian territory. The WGAD notes that detainees who have served prison sentences under Immigration laws are often held in immigration detention centres for an indefinite period while awaiting deportation to their countries of origin.

Police Force: Excessive Power leads to human rights violations

The working group has also expressed concern over the excessive power given to the police force in Malaysia particularly under the preventive laws. The working group is of the view that the excessive power given to the police has led to their eluding the normal penal procedure for common crimes and offences. This has given an opportunity to the police and the Home Minister to detain persons without the need to sustain evidence or to probe penal responsibility. The Working group also concludes that the police often fail to inform the detainees about their rights to contact family members and to consult a lawyer of their choice.

The working group also raises serious concern about the deaths that occur during the police detention and while in police custody; the ill treatment and torture in police stations and detention centres in order to obtain confessions and incriminatory evidence.

Repeal All Detention-without-Trial Laws

On detention-without-trial laws, the WGAD unambiguously recommends that the ISA, the EO, the DDA, and the RRA be repealed. In the interim period, while the laws are in force, the working group has urged that the decisions by the non-judicial Appeals Advisory Board should be binding on the Home Minister, and decisions with regard to the Act should be subject to judicial review.

SUARAM thus calls upon the government to re-think the proposed amendments to all the detention-without-trial laws in the light of the latest WGAD’s recommendations. The ISA, the EO, the DDA, and the RRA must be repealed forthwith; the government should immediately end all arrests under the detention-without-trial laws, and release all those currently detained under these laws or charge them in a fair and open court.

End Detention of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants

On the detention of immigrants, the WGAD states that:

“Detention of immigrants should be decided upon by a court of law, on a case by case basis, and pursuant to clearly and exhaustively defined criteria in legislation, under which detention may be resorted to.”

The WGAD stresses that immigrants should have an effective remedy to challenge the necessity and legality of their detention at any time; that immigration detention should not be applied to refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable groups of migrants, including unaccompanied minors, families with minor children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, or people with serious and/or chronic physical or mental health problems.

The WGAD has also urged the Malaysian government to ratify the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, a recommendation which has been made on numerous occasions by SUHAKAM as well as UN member states during the Universal Periodic Review of Malaysia in February 2009.

SUARAM strongly urges the government to immediately implement these recommendations and to   stop arresting refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups of migrants. The government should provide a concrete timeframe for the ratification of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

Invite UN Experts in Other Areas Too

While Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the UN Human Rights Council can only visit a country with the host government’s invitation, SUARAM would like to point out that the WGAD had in fact made a request for a country visit to Malaysia way back in 2008. It was only in early 2010 that the Malaysian government officially and publicly confirmed its acceptance of the WGAD’s request to visit Malaysia.

To date, the Malaysian government has still not responded to eight pending requests by other Special Procedures Mandate Holders, namely the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (request made in 2002); the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples (2005); the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion (2006); the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (2006); the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism (2005); the Independent Expert on Minority Issues (2007 and 2009); the Special Rapporteur on Racism (2008); and Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (2009).

SUARAM therefore strongly calls upon the Malaysian government to extend standing invitations to all Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the UN Human Rights Council which have made requests for country visits to Malaysia as soon as possible.

Implement WGAD’s Recommendations Now!

Today, WGAD’s final report is being submitted to the UN Human Rights Council. The recommendations of the Working Group are clear enough for the government to make immediate human rights reforms.  The working group has also urged the Malaysian government to become a party to the main international instruments on human rights, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, (CERD), the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol there to, the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Similar recommendations have already been made by other bodies such as the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the Royal Commission on the Police, and UN member states. As such, there is no justification for the government to delay implementing these recommendations immediately, especially when Malaysia currently has a seat in the Human Rights Council.

The Malaysian government’s attitude toward these recommendations of the WGAD will be an indication of either its commitment to human rights or otherwise, its sheer hypocrisy while sitting in UN Human Rights Council.

Released by, Nalini.E, SUARAM Coordinator

The Paper edition 0

…..start press… start…..start press… start…..

EDITION ZERO of The Paper is now available – to download the PDF 

In this issue:
– The Shoplifter’s Conundrum: Musings on a (non) scandal
– Post-fordist protest
– A retreat to be sure, but a retreat to the only possible victory
– Loveable and Capable
– We are political
– Dangerous Alliances: Class and the Student Movement
– Demonstrations and Diversions
– Libya’s Lost Promise
– Precariousness and the university
– DIY Guide No. 2: Police Guide To Facilitating Peaceful Protest

We have printed 2000 copies of Edition Zero – copies will be available in all good occupations, social centers, bookstores and a few universities too!

If you can help us distribute it please let us know 
If you want to contribute
to the next edition (with writing, editing or printing) send us an email on emailthepaper[at] – deadline for content is 16 March.
If you want a copy of The Paper sent to you and your friends for free – then please send us your address and how many copies you’d like.

[please forward this message to interested folks and networks]
in struggle
The Paper editorial collective

Download a copy of The Paper Edition Zero

Tracing a Line of Absence and Presence – ‘Cultural (De)Tourism’ with the University for Strategic Optimism

Friday 4/3/11,  5.00pm – 7.00pm, Meet at Goldsmiths RHB 300 and we’ll head to the station (probably get the train around half past)

Please bring an MP3 player with the tour pre-downloaded. MP3s are available at the UfSO blog here:

An audio-tour/seminar of, and on, the East London Line from New Cross to Dalston Junction and back. The audio tour seeks to explore the problematic relationships between academic research, cultural tourism and gentrification through a process of plagiarism, citation, performance & repetition.  How do aestheticised forms affect our pedagogical experience?

Our (de)tour tells stories, digs up old grievances, casts political aspersions and asks questions. It draws from folk history and psychogeography and draws attention to the processes of hegemony in a mass media of private property and privilege. In documenting or aestheticising a folklore are we always historicising it, alienating it from its origins? Or is our narrative merely the trace of an absence that is constantly being renegotiated through spheres of conflict, creativity, governance and iteration?

Come and listen, or else come and ignore or pull apart this narrative, shout it down and assert another.  Alternatively you can download and take the tour without the seminar discussion at any time.

(NOTE: the files are hosted on googledocs so hopefully they should be pretty easily accessible/downloadable, not sure if you need a google account to access things on googledocs but if you do and you don’t already have one I’ve created one you can use for this purpose:, password: de-tourism hopefully that should work).


Note to self – materials for talk on Education

Can’t cover everything, but here is a selection of stuff from the last year or more as a basis for a talk on education now:
General and preamble:
Sunbeams and Colonial Adjustments 

Dark Underbelly:
Soft underbelly:
(see also Guardian 2 March 2011 ed section – ideal school recipe by 7 year old kids)


Could someone elaborate on why this term jasmine revolution keeps coming up? I’m genuinely unsure what it means. It is near invisible in the UK, or at least to me, but comrades in Europe have been using it with regularity.. It refers also to China then? That is completely off screen here in the UK right now. Bahrain too has disappeared off radar. Is it that the revolutions only appeal when they smell of jasmine, and when its British weapons used to kill protesters etc, suddenly its all swept off screen (pruned, mulched, thrown in the compost bin of media history).
Appallingly, Stop the War coalition have only managed a statement on their website saying no to interference – the sort of calls for action, demonstrations, candle light vigils even that were held in the run up to the Iraq invasion are conspicuously absent for this one. Is it the smell of jasmine that makes this potential war sweet? A phony war if ever there was one – and with the ‘colonial machine’ (arms sales, oil, development agenda) ready to roll back into Egypt, Tunisia etc, all the more reason to take the stench of these rotting flowers to the doorsteps our own governments and television/journalists.
Comments welcome – these are questions, not answers.

Talk: The Teaching Factory, UEL 10.3.11

10 March 2011

The Teaching Factory

UEL Research in Anthropology Seminar Series

John Hutnyk, Goldsmiths, University of London

Room: WB 2.07
13:00 – 14.10

Series Convenor: Dr Narmala Halstead, Reader in Anthropology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Docklands Campus. email: n.halstead[at]


University of East London, Docklands Campus

[It would be useful to have read chapter 16 of Marx’s Capital beforehand]


Scattered Fragments

A Marx quote for the start of today’s lecture on Chapters 11-15.

In chapter 14 of Capital Marx offers an astonishing description of the co-operative work that must be assembled in making a timepiece, in this case a watch. I think it is significant that this is offered as an illustration of the division of labour, but that this is not yet industrial production. It is nevertheless worth reading in full (and aloud) for its alliterative rhetorical rhythm:

‘Formerly the individual work of a Nuremberg artificer, the watch has been transformed into the social product of an immense number of detail labourers, such as mainspring makers, dial makers, spiral spring makers, jewelled hole makers, ruby lever makers, hand makers, case makers, screw makers, gilders, with numerous subdivisions, such as wheel makers (brass and steel separate), pin makers, movement makers, acheveur de pignon (fixes the wheels on the axles, polishes the facets, &c.), pivot makers, planteur de finissage (puts the wheels and springs in the works), finisseur de barillet (cuts teeth in the wheels, makes the holes of the right size, &c.), escapement makers, cylinder makers for cylinder escapements, escapement wheel makers, balance wheel makers, raquette makers (apparatus for regulating the watch), the planteur d’échappement (escapement maker proper); then the repasseur de barillet (finishes the box for the spring, &c.), steel polishers, wheel polishers, screw polishers, figure painters, dial enamellers (melt the enamel on the copper), fabricant de pendants (makes the ring by which the case is hung), finisseur de charnière (puts the brass hinge in the cover, &c.), faiseur de secret (puts in the springs that open the case), graveur, ciseleur, polisseur de boîte, &c., &c., and last of all the repasseur, who fits together the whole watch and hands it over in a going state. Only a few parts of the watch pass through several hands; and all these membra disjecta come together for the first time in the hand that binds them into one mechanical whole (Marx Archive, compare Penguin:461, Deutsch:362 Progress Press:342)

Marx’s repetitions exceed to make the point. Tic Toc. There is something else to be found in the gears of the clock however. The wristwatch is an echo of the bracelet chain handcuff shackle that disciplines the slave and of the clock tower church bell that disciplines the agricultural worker in the field.

The question of discipline is strong in these pages. Ohh, look at the time – thanks to my Iphone alarm I shan’t be late. 4pm start BPLT.