The ONS released the rate of return for UK industry this week. This together with the ructions around the Prime Minister suggested this article.

Postscript. I should have added in this vein Bolsonaro is being investigated by a parliamentary committee in Brazil which is likely to indict him.


  1. barovsky says:

    Good one! Now all we need is genuine left to do something about this disaster called capitalism but as long as we have a ‘professional left’ leading a ‘left’ composed largely of the middle class, the future looks seriously grim.

    • You are right, we have to rebuild the revolutionary movement in a more developed way by avoiding the mistakes of the past. There is so much dead wood around. Have you read my Draft 21st Century Programme which can be found in the Pages section of this website?

      • barovsky says:

        No, not yet but I’ve downloaded it. I’ll get bsck to you.

      • Please do. My crowning achievement

      • barovsky says:

        You know what? I did read your treatise awhile back (I just forgot that I had) and I don’t have any fundamental problem with it at all, but it offers nothing to address our current predicament, or at least a way out of it, on the road to your ‘promised land’. The left, such as it is, is still fighting battles it lost years ago and what’s worse, using the same methods to fight new ones! And I know this, because I grew up with it, as did my parents, and my grandparents. All of them! There was a time when we had some idea what we were doing, the left were the ‘pros’, we had the most advanced ideas in pretty much every field of knowledge and activity.

      • You are referring to the why, the how and the what. The why, is objective conditions forcing change. The how, is the tactics that need to be employed to move the class struggle forward focusing on the burning issues, assessing the balance of class forces and seeking to minimize the role of the misleaders. The what, is the goal or the strategy of the struggle. You are highlighting the how – the tactics – and yes they are indispensable. They represent the art and science of revolution.

        My programme however was designed to address the strategic heights, the what, we are fighting for. Funnily enough, while objective conditions provide the kindling for revolution, the accelerator is always the strategy, the belief in, even knowledge of an alternative. The class struggle is paralyzed today because there appears to be no alternative to the market. That is what my programme seeks to address and there are major breakthroughs in it, for example clarifying the distinction between the social fund and planning, stripping the state of any economic role and the use of the pricing system to reward collective labour.

        I remember at the height of the Occupy movement on Wall Street when bankers jeered and sneered at the protestors telling them to go back to the USSR because they could not provide an alternative to the existing system. I wrote that programme to put an end to that vulnerability. This does not stop tactical struggles. Currently some of us are trying to launch a campaign for voters to spoil their ballots at the local elections in May to highlight the absence of local democracy which has been strangled by Westminster via cuts which councilors keep nodding through.

      • barovsky says:

        I broadly agree. However, without a clear understanding of the nature of our (that is the left’s) role, potential or otherwise, we are reduced to nothing more than sloganeering. But I’m glad you mentioned the May local elections as they illustrate the bankruptcy of what passes for a left. My council, Lambeth, is a bastion of neoliberalism, still spraying the sidewalks with Roundup and hoed up behind an electronic wall! Yet, I will be urged to vote Labour (over my dead body). So I look around for a progressive alternative and there isn’t one! Not one! Just a bunch of Trotskyists peddling the same old crap from the 1930s. So, I for one, will NOT be voting. Throwing away my franchise?

        And you mention the Occupy Movement, yet another Middle Class diversion, that didn’t even have a programme! That didn’t even present any kind of alternative and, as it transpired, it was ‘run’ by the usual suspects, more ‘professional lefties’. All the talk of grassroots democracy, was nothing more than crap.

        I like the idea of spoiling the ballot (I did this on the Brexit vote) but spoiled ballots don’t get counted so as a tactic, it’s useless. Moreover the ‘left’ will NEVER back such a tactic, the ‘left’ is so welded to the idea of the vote as an exemplar of democracy (remember the ‘Parliamentary Road to Democracy?), that once more, I must quote my hero, William Morris, speaking in 1890 for Christ’s sake!

        “There — it sickens one to have to wade through this grimy sea of opportunism. What a spectacle of shuffling, lies, vacillation and imbecility does this Game Political offer to us? I cannot conclude without an earnest appeal to those Socialists, of whatever section, who may be drawn towards the vortex of Parliamentarism, to think better of it while there is yet time.

        “If we ally ourselves to any of the presen[t] parties they will only use us as a cat’s-paw; and on the other hand, if by any chance a Socialist slips through into Parliament, he will do so at the expense of leaving his principles behind him; he will certainly not be returned as a Socialist, but as something else; what else is hard to say. As I have written before in these columns, Parliament is going just the way we would have it go. Our masters are feeling very uncomfortable under the awkward burden of GOVERNMENT, and do not know what to do, since their sole aim is to govern from above. Do not let us help them by taking part in their game. Whatever concessions may be necessary to the progress of the Revolution can be wrung out of them at least as easily by extra-Parliamentary pressure, which can be exercised without losing one particle of those principles which are the treasure and hope of Revolutionary Socialists.” — William Morris, the Commonweal, Volume 1, Number 10, November 1885, p. 93.[1]

      • Ah Lambeth I remember blocking the council chamber to prevent the first cuts being passed. Can’t remember if it was 1984 or 1985 with Councillor Webb who held out to the bitter end.

      • barovsky says:

        And they just demolished the council building named after the Black activist, Olive Morris, who died very young and was well known in Brixton. See:

      • Racism is like cancer in the working class

      • barovsky says:

        This comes from a rather odd site called True Publica, best described as Constitutionalist I suppose but they publish some really good stuff. This one, on the Times story on Bojo, is yet another nail in his coffin:

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  4. barovsky says:

    Errata: It should have been 1885 and it was the ‘Parliamentary Road to Socialism’. Apologies.

    • barovsky says:

      This from the essay on Morris, which I think is apposite to our times:

      Morris sympathised with Trinidadian activist Claudia Jones who was poorly treated by the Communist Party, which failed to acknowledge her far-reaching capabilities and consigned her to an administrative role, and Grunwick striker Jayaben Desai who was virtually abandoned by trade unions.

      She became disillusioned by institutions for the working class, which instinctively she would have had the most natural allegiance with.

      “We have used the great British tradition of trade unionism to try and further our cause for equality and justice, but on countless occasions we have found that the movement does one thing for white workers and another for black workers,” said Morris.

      “White workers have time and time again refused to give our unions recognition, they have crossed our picket lines for racist reasons, they have organised against our organisation in the trade unions.

      “Take for instance STC (Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd) where white trade unionists and union officials – with exception of a few – put skin colour before the overall interest of the proletariat and often resorted to physical violence against their black fellow workers.”

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