Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Libertarian socialism: a practical outline - Gaston Leval |

Libertarian socialism: a practical outline - Gaston Leval |
Gaston Leval
In this pamphlet first published in Switzerland in 1959, Gaston Leval depicts a transitional society—largely modeled on the Spanish collectives of 1936-39—characterized by: a confederal structure of vertically and horizontally integrated enterprise committees and industrial federations; economic planning; the use of “symbolic money” wages “to facilitate and regulate distribution”; the crucial importance of agriculture and thus the persistence of a certain amount of private property in the agricultural sector; the vital role of cooperatives; and the primacy of consumption over production.
Our attempt to sketch the outlines of a transformed society, for the purpose of establishing libertarian socialism, runs up against some realities and difficulties that we cannot ignore. The improvement of the military techniques of the states and the new conservative forces, no longer allows us to expect that the people themselves will be capable of victory, by force of arms, against tanks, jet bombers, modern artillery, H-bombs and guided missiles. In other times, despite an almost total parity in armament, no social revolution was ever able to win by force of arms; such an outcome is even less likely now.1
Furthermore, the modern economy implies the interdependence of all nations. If a trade embargo were to be enforced against France, depriving that country of petroleum and its derivative products, as well as the fifteen million tons of coal annually purchased by France, and then of its Saharan gas supplies and the numerous raw materials imported from the four corners of the earth, this would lead to an unendurable economic situation, and all the more so as, for many proletarians, the revolution must entail an immediate improvement in their living conditions.
From numerous perspectives the problems we face therefore appear to be insoluble, since they are largely new problems or have acquired such dimensions that they can discourage us from addressing them. However, two historical reference points permit those of us who are trying to adapt to the new circumstances to entertain renewed hopes.
As we shall see, these reference points are only valid within the framework of our time and within that of the social and moral development that has been achieved by human societies.
The first reference point is the liberation of India. This liberation movement proved that it is possible to achieve in our time, and under favorable international political conditions, something that would have seemed absurd to even consider prior to the First World War: a population colonized by a powerful nation disposing of the means to impose its rule for a very long time, defeated the imperialism to which it was subject, without the use of armed force, violent struggle, or traditional combat. Gandhi’s tactics, which were the same as those of Tolstoy, who for his part appears to have been inspired by Proudhon, have demonstrated their practical value. If the moral power of the combatants, their tenacity, their identification with the public will, their civil courage, and even their heroism, are unhesitatingly mobilized, other no less significant victories are possible.
This is a great lesson that we must learn to profit from, by adapting this method to the specific conditions of the time and place in which the social struggles of the future will unfold.
We have therefore arrived at a stage of development of civilized humanity that, in the non-totalitarian countries, allows us to attempt to do things that have long been unthinkable.
One could imagine and elaborate, on the basis of active but nonviolent struggle, an entire battle strategy in which the truly syndicalist trade unions, the truly cooperative cooperatives, and the communities that boldly attempt to carry out integral projects can and must engage in the construction, both in the sphere of public spirit as well as that of the economy, the new world that has to be developed within the society of the present.
The second reference point is the occupation of the factories throughout a large part of France in June 1936. It is a fact of enormous importance that the workers were not evicted from the workplaces, by force, nor was any attempt made to evict them, as was also the case in Italy, during a similar experience that took place in 1920.
In both instances, there could have been many victims. In the most civilized countries the governments thought twice before repeating the massacres of 1848 or 1871, massacres that were publicized all over the world and are still linked with the names of the men and parties that ordered them. We shall not forget, however, that it was a Labour government that proclaimed India’s freedom—Churchill would not have done so—and that it was Blum who, at the request of the pro-capitalist parties, negotiated with the strikers of 1936. This is the essential function of politics.
We must point out that in the two cases of occupations of the factories, the workers did not rise to the occasion of their historical role. They neither knew how to operate the factories nor how to assure production, at least to the extent that the existing stocks of raw materials, energy and available means of transport would have allowed. Unlike the workers of Barcelona, Catalonia and the Levant in Spain, the French and Italian workers were incapable of replacing the boss and management, proof that the general strike is no panacea, and that it leads nowhere if it is not just expropriatory, but also organizational.
In the latter case, of course, it would no longer be a strike and would instead become a revolution transforming the social structures. But in order for it to accomplish this, preparations must be made. The Spanish libertarians did not improvise. Their achievements were the culmination of a long psychological and practical process, one that was always focused on the final goal.
When a favorable opportunity arose, they took advantage of it.

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