Thursday, February 27, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The ideas in Lenin's book are relevant to the modern world. They can also be shown to be a basic criticism of the Communist regimes which did not implement the fundamental ideas in "State and Revolution."
1) There should not be a standing army but an armed people - the idea of a militia is enshrined, for example, in the American constitution. This has been perverted to mean every Tom, Dick and Harry should wander around toting a gun. It is clear that in Lenin's view the state was an instrument for the oppression of one class by another and a workers' militia would be a transitional body for the suppression of the remnants of capitalism.
The standing army in China is evidently not under popular control.
2) All officials should be elected and subject to recall. In modern China there are indeed elections. Elections with one candidate for you to vote for!
3) No official should receive more than the average wage of a skilled worker. The monstrous privileges of the bureaucracy in China are an insult to Socialist ideas. Likewise in Australia the workers' organisations support a privileged bureaucracy which gets out of touch with the rank and file because they have a different lifestyle.
4) All bureaucratic tasks should be rotated. We have seen the problem of bureaucrats with "jobs for life" stifling workers' organisations and stifling the workers' states too.
This is what makes "The State and Revolution" relevant to the modern world.
Grab your kindle copy of The State and Revolution here
I am sure some patients "misunderstand" what centralising medical records will mean. Some understand only too well. The NHS plans to sell private medical data to drug companies and insurance companies, some of which are hell-bent on privatising the health service.
So you can see that patients might be a little suspicious of the government's plans.
And to add fuel to the flames, the government has appointed ATOS to oversee the extraction of GP records to the care.data system. You can, if you like, ask any disabled person what they think of ATOS in the context of "care". ATOS's brutal administration of the government's plan to cut the benefit bill has made their brand so "toxic" that they are seeking to ditch the contract ahead of time. Perhaps IDS has the clowns of G4S in mind for the job?
If you say anything to your doctor in confidence it is presumably not your intention that ATOS and whoever they sell the data to should also be privy to the information. It is possible to opt out of this scheme and many doctors are sympathetic to patients who want to do so.
The retreat of ATOS from the DWP's cruel schemes to attack the disabled is a victory for campaigners such as Brighton Benefits Campaign. To ditch this grubby little scam would be another one.
It seems the cost of liberty really is eternal vigilance :)
Monday, February 24, 2014
In one sense, Lenin's work is dated. A lot has happened in the last hundred years! On the other hand most of what has happened seems to confirm Lenin's analysis:
1) The concentration of production and capital developed to such a high stage that it created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life. Most of the economy of countries like Australia is dominated by giant corporations and "Free Enterprise" is a myth or a sick joke.
2) The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital," of a "financial oligarchy." The authors of the present financial disaster being the unrestrained and irresponsible bankers.
3) The export of capital, which has become extremely important, as distinguished from the export of commodities.
4) The formation of international capitalist monopolies which share the world among themselves. Many of them have turnovers greater than the GDP of nation states.
5) The territorial division of the whole world among the greatest capitalist powers is completed. You can count the number of imperial conquests taking place at the present time (Iraq and Afghanistan today - perhaps Syria and Iran tomorrow?)
Sunday, February 23, 2014
was born in Croydon in 1951, the youngest of seven children. In 1959 our world was devastated when my father died. Roland McMillan was a remarkable man and I get my interest in reading and poetry from him.I have always written. I was employed for three years by The Socialist newspaper and I still write book and TV reviews for them. A collection of them is published on Kindle.
My mother could recite poetry from memory and she spurred my ambition to become a teacher. For 33 years I was a teacher in East Grinstead and for 16 years I ran a helpline for stressed teachers in West Sussex. After retirement I turned to writing full time, mainly short stories, some of which have been published online by Alfiedog.com and everydaystories.com. In a short story “The Mirror of Eternity” I created the character of Xavier Hollands who was the main character in my novel “Salt Wars”
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
There is a Kindle Reader for iPad and iPhone. It is free. Don't feel bad about taking advantage of Amazon, after all we pay their taxes for them :)
There is also a free Kindle Reader for PC which I have downloaded.
I have read Kindle books on these devices. The iPhone is a bit awkward because it is too small for these old eyes but it is possible to use it. The iPad seems to be as easy as using a Kindle and the PC works adequately.
There is a Kindle Reader for Android devices as well. I have not had cause to use it.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Freedom of Speech 1
Iain Duncan Smith 0
Will be free to Socialists on 15 February
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Saturday, February 08, 2014
The UK Home Office is bribing its employees to send asylum-seekers back to potentially deadly situations.
For asylum-seekers, finding safe residence in Britain can literally be a matter of life and death. But for Home Office employees, it's a matter of a gift voucher for high street.
According to official documents, when Home Office employees win the fight to deport asylum-seekers, they're rewarded with gift vouchers, cash bonuses or extra holidays.
More than undermining confidence in the fairness of the system, the incentives program supports a policy of cruelty -- sending asylum-seekers back to countries where they can face persecution, torture, imprisonment or worse.
It also motivates UK Home Office to delay cases they think they might lose, wasting taxpayers' money and other employees' time.
Rewarding people for jeopardizing the lives of others must not be tolerated. Tell the Home Office to withdraw these cruel incentives at once.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Dear Prime Minister Teachers, writers and educational experts across the country are driven to distraction by the unstable behaviour of Education Secretary Michael Gove. He is single-handedly wreaking havoc on the morale and practice of school learning, apparently unchallenged by anyone within his own party. Quite simply we urge you to get this misguided man to step down from government office.
Why is this important?
Education is the practice of learning in which knowledge and skills are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Michael Gove refuses to abide by the wisdom of generations by ignoring research findings; by denying expert opinion; by deriding expertise in the field; and by deliberately demoralising our teachers. Any pupil or student similarly and willfully ignoring research, expertise and secure knowledge in the same way as Michael Gove would fail any examination. Any inspected school doing so would be found "Inadequate". To save the future of education in this country and to prevent further damage Michael Gove must be persuaded to resign.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
My resources on the Times Educational Supplement website
Weekly report on your shared resource(s):
All time views: 5465
All time downloads: 2246
Monday, February 03, 2014
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Report on UCU Conference "Defend Public Education from cradle to grave”
NUS President Tony Pearce
The cuts are preventing disadvantaged students from accessing higher
education. Much of what we want to defend in public education no
longer exists. We will need to build a public education system from
cradle to grave. The co-operation of UCU and the NUS is an example of
what the trade unions can do if they put their mind to it.
When Bonnie Greer was in first grade in her Catholic School, her
teacher was convinced that she could not understand the holy trinity
"because it is a mystery." She believed she could. Water exists as
ice, liquid and vapour - three different forms but it is still water.
She bases her work on the assumption that even the most disadvantaged
people can understand a sight more than they are given credit for.
She has worked using Shakespeare as a tool of basic literacy with
pupils who are at the bottom of the pecking order in society. She
mentioned a group of refugees from Somalia with whom she used Othello
as a way in to literacy. They understood what it was like to be an
Intelligence tests cannot tell us about people's intelligence, an MIT
physicist who was joint winner with Bonnie of a Horizon test of
potential intelligence, asserted that the tests were crap. "You really
need 4 billion different tests for intelligence!"
Education for democracy is about creating a human being "fit for
purpose" who can stand on their own two feet and help other people to
do the same.
Paul Gethyn member of the Welsh Assembly
Paul Gethyn was standing in for Hew Lewis and made a good job of it.
His speech was very good but he was not the most exciting of speakers.
Since 1999 Wales has diverged from England on educational policy.
Consequently they have, for example, retained the EMA and opposed the
privatisation of education. "We do not want a Darwinist education
system based on competition and "the devil take the hindmost". The
early years are critical and money will be weighted towards the early
years. In an atmosphere of cuts, this does mean other sectors will
They will be bringing in a Wales-only GCSE in English, Welsh and Maths
in September 2015.
Max Hyde NUT President
“Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.” according to Nelson Mandela. That is the reason the government is so concerned to impose their model of education. Further Education has been a test bed for many of the things which are taking place in schools. Turning schools into a cash cow for big business concerns makes the government the enemies of promise..
Max stressed the importance of early years education and the need to have qualified teachers so that pupils get a wide repertoire of skills and play. The government seem to idolise the South Korean system and the appalling pressures put on children. “Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window in time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child.”
Politicians believe they understand education because they once went to school. In most cases they went to public schools and have no idea what happens in real schools.
The unions have to fight to win as they did in the Stem 6 Free School where they gained union recognition against a vicious employer. The defeat of Michael Gove over the Ebacc was a result of the union working together with other campaigners. 'The more often the words “Humiliated Gove” appears in the newspaper, the happier teachers will be.'