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Introduction – Christianity and Islam – a Marxist Analysis
The Blue Revolution is a political platform which aims to bring an end to the party political system by enabling as many like-minded people as possible from as wide a variety of backgrounds to stand for elections at every administrative level from Parish to Parliament. This is achieved by the simple means of authorising the use of the platforms emblems to those who endorse the Blue Revolution “core values” and five manifesto pledges.
As part of this process, a series of publications have been produced on important issue s which underpin our political attitudes and can be found on our Website www.ABlueRevolution.Org as well as in booklet form available from the address above.
This latest discussion paper has been produced because of the turmoil surrounding particularly in the Western world the effect of the two main religions and secularization .has on political thinking.
With increasing global interrelationships the issues of religious discord have become more strident and confused in the lives of people. Add to this mix political uncertainty and political response becomes more extreme and less than helpful to voters. Party politics seem irrelevant and voters become disillusioned.
This paper is part of an overall contribution attempting to come at the situation from a new perspective whilst drawing on past concepts.
Christianity and Islam – a Marxist Analysis
Marxism rejects the spiritual and adopts a materialist interpretation of history. Materialism is the study of economic and social reality not just the world of ideas. According to Classical Marxists the history of religion is simply the history of ideas that work in the economic interests of the powerful, but with the powerful claiming these ideas are sanctified by God. This sleight of hand, using God to justify material inequality, was a common feature of ideologies in the age of antiquity and is described by Plato as a ‘golden lie’ in his work known as ‘The Republic’.
Therefore, social progress according to Marxists does not happen because a God intervenes in human affairs. Marxists believe in progress arising from various active economic and scientific forces creating real-world conflicts which by getting resolved in the real-world, change society. This active process is called dialectics. Marxism is therefore based on dialectical materialism, the history of humanities social progress in terms of the conflict and resolution of various economic and scientific realities.
Furthermore, Marx argued that religion reflects various stages in the evolution of human consciousness as it is shaped by economic and scientific reality. Basically, the easier people find it to accept inequality and discrimination as ‘God’ given, the less evolved a person’s consciousness could be claimed to be. A troubling thought for everyone from the Salafists of Saudi Arabia to the Bourgeoisie of North America and Europe.
In the world of Classical Marxism, we have only two big world perspectives, the abstract ideas of religions and their Gods and the idea of Materialism. For Classical Marxists, it is all about economic, scientific and social facts, not faith.
To many ordinary western working people, Christianity and Islam have lost their relevance as neither reflects the material or spiritual needs of twenty-first-century humanity, both being stuck in a world of past inequality sanctified by ‘God’
As a result of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century revolutionary movements that created capitalism and which arose because protestant Christian doctrine was shaped by demands for greater social and economic mobility, the west created a society that eventually developed personal freedom and principles of legally enforced consent-based choice and contract, for all adults. Essentially freedom, but for most ordinary working people it amounted to little more than the freedom to starve! For capitalism to get established people had eventually to have this radical change forced on them. They did so because Protestantism needed to measure righteousness and virtue on earth and could not if religion were in favour of the poor in heaven as feudalism had been.
Roll forward three hundred years and the issue for the west is that this legal and economic consent-based framework now gives rise to an unbridled free for all, the ‘free market’ This leaves many impoverished whilst others, amass fortunes and the whole system has more than just a whiff of the immoral about it.
Without some widely understood and accepted rules of fair play this economic model has begun to consume society with what is seen by many as planet destroying greedy self-interest. A mass grab for consumables with little self-regulation. This has come about because the slow decline of Christianity, most marked in Western Europe, has eroded the application of Protestant Christian social values of hard work, sobriety, and thrift. At its simplest, Christianity based on ‘love thy neighbour’ eventually put some limits on the harsh economic indifference of the capitalist economy with workhouses, charities and prison reform. This was before Governments, yielding to outraged public opinion, became the nation’s moral arbiters, upholding choice-based consent, in a secular and therefore ‘rights’ based moral framework. Islamic sharia being a ‘political ideology’ offers humanity an alternative moral solution to both secularism’s rights and Christian morality.
Christianity having helped to create a dynamic social and economic society has now lost its role in shaping or constraining it, leaving it to a combination of personal self-interest constrained only by costly state intervention. This free-for-all offends people of faiths as well as those who believe in secular self-restraint imposed by the state. In the world of religion, Islam offers an alternative to all that the now secular once Christian west has created. Indeed, a non-violent form of ‘political Islam’ which extols the virtues of sharia and obedience to Allah within a peaceful Islam offers what seems to be considered by some Muslim scholars a path between Capitalism and Marxism. The writer George Bernard Shaw is often wrongly quoted as supporting this view. However because sharia is an ideology which pre dates capitalism and is based on submission to the revealed word of God and the human example set by Muhammed an example of man to be impersonated by others it lacks the consent based choice that is fundamental to any proper ‘Marxist’ revolution.
So, within the world of Christian and Islamic faith we have two views, self-restraint within Christianity, now largely ignored and a more rigid application of rules within Islam based on the Qur’an and Hadith. How can we understand this conflict in Marxist terms and therefore help to address it using a shared understanding of God to heal the difference between these two religions and assist both to an understanding of the secular community who feel threatened or baffled by religion?
To sort out the second part of this analysis therefore we need to ask some questions of religion. For example, how did Christianity create a dynamic social and economic model in the mid to late period of the last millennium, and why was Islam able to do the same prior to that, and then stop in or around the sixteenth century. And could Islam re discover its dynamic potential today?
Christianity’s first revolution was presenting in the first century a triune God. A God of three persons, father, son and holy spirit. Within Classical Marxism, it is possible to understand the significance of the Trinity in a way that explains its importance economically. Marx used the principles of dialectics to explain social evolution. The terms Marx used were thesis, antithesis and synthesis. So applying these terms to Christianity’s triune God, the Father is the originator of material and social reality, the creator, the Son becomes the opposite of this harsh world of brutality, exploitation, conquest and occupation, namely the ‘love’ of God, made man, Jesus, and the spirit is the process that combines them as they become collective Christian consciousness. This mirrors Marxist working-class consciousness. An awareness of the adverse consequences of earthly status, unfairness and inequality. Rich men and needles so to speak.
In Marxist theory thesis, antithesis and synthesis were used in the nineteenth century for an analysis of the politics of revolution. From the time of Christ onwards, the process of human material realities being established and then challenged, thus creating new economic and social systems eventually created the capitalist system. Capitalism based on extending basic legal principles of consent and choice within a free economy and to an expanding middle class, was, perhaps because of its somewhat anarchic nature, described by Adam Smith in the eighteenth century as being governed by an invisible hand. An abstracted concept used to describe the movement of resources in pursuit of economic goals, giving rise to both economic and social outcomes. Over-time by extending consent and choice to working men, women and minorities, Christian morality was undermined by secular rights.
Islam in the seventh century never accepted the trinity, adopting an implacable form of monotheism which is described as the doctrine of Tawhid which in its own way is as revolutionary as the Trinity was six hundred years earlier.
Tawhid holds that God is a singularity without characteristic, definition or form. God is abstracted to the point of being almost unknowable, except as revealed via the activity of humanity summed up in the Arabic term inshallah or God willing. This too is a revolutionary idea. Because of this unknowability and the revelation of God through human behaviour both good and bad, Islam has the potential to once again become a force for economic and social progress as it was in the fourteenth century. With Tawhid it is possible to see God as more akin to Adam Smith’s and the western world’s invisible hand, than a God who differentiates people and sanctions war, revenge, conquest, conversion and submission. These are human characteristics, which humanity has ascribed to God claiming they have Gods sanctification. It enables human actions to be classed as legitimate or profane all especially useful for imperfect humanity and for those who wish to use God to promote sectarian interests.
However, unlike the doctrine of Tawhid, God in much of the Islamic world is not abstracted. The God of Islam is, thanks to human intervention not without definition, character or form. This is the result of Gods singularity being revealed not through the transcendence of freely expressed collective human activity, directed by an “invisible hand” but through a revelation, delivered to Muhammed via the Angel Gabriel. The legacy of linking God to the moral requirements of one place at one time serves only to define God and therefore give Islamic justice as seventh-century man-made appearance. A morality of dress and hygiene practices and different roles and rights for women and men based on the limited understanding of seventh-century biology. It may also explain why for much of Islam’s history since the eighteen century the faithful were called Mohammedans. Followers of Mohammed and less obviously worshippers of a singular transcendent God.
So, in the twenty-first century, we have two powerful religions which are doctrinally at odds with each other and which both buffer against the west’s drive for a ‘secular’ world. A world without God. Christianity has given us the economic anarchy of the seventeenth to twenty-first century west and created the ‘invisible hand of capitalist free enterprise’ but has now left a moral vacuum, occupied by the secular state. Islam reflecting the unique and attractive idea of the singularity of God, a God revealing transcendence in a way like the western world’s invisible hand, has linked God to the moral and economic rites and realities of the seventh century Arab Peninsular.
The world has, therefore, two significant religions, neither able to progress humanity harmoniously, beset by opposing ideas of human freedom and set as they are in a secular western world of unlimited choice. Christianity had provided productive economic anarchy but today has declining moral influence. Islam has the capacity to once again be as revolutionary as Christianity once was because of Tawhid. However, by its doctrinal tie to the man-made seventh century, can do little more than encourage a return to past and now outdated certainties and religious dogma based on pre-enlightenment ideas of compulsion and coercion.
So, what is to be done? Maybe just accepting that for all faiths and no faith, human reality and science are Gods true revelation and they are compatible with both the doctrine of Tawhid and the western protestant and enlightenment notion of the invisible hand. The revelation of the God who is unknowable, with no definition or form revealed through the collective activity of humanity. So in conclusion within this understanding of God, both failure and success are of neutral importance as are good and evil all are God-ordained and reflect Gods love of human endeavour as we progress towards a greater understanding of Gods transcendence through the application of science and our material reality. If all faiths could accept this, it might help Christianity, Islam and secularism come to a common understanding of what God is, and moreover what God is not.
Mike Gilbert author Jane Robson proof-reader April 28th 2020
25th December 2019
I am from a small political group based in Boston Lincolnshire. Although we all hold slightly different political views, we are all united in the belief that the political system is undemocratic and is holding Britain back. I personally write about these issues from a Classical Marxist perspective usually for a centre-right audience. In view of the recent Tory Party General Election success, I thought you might like to consider our broad view on their success and Labour’s failure to connect with the electorate – particularly their traditional electoral strongholds in the Midlands and North.
To understand the Tory Party success in the 2019 General Election it is necessary to grasp the concept of voter consciousness and to view this through the prism of classical Marxism. At Blue Revolution, we offer a twenty-first-century Marxist analysis which we hope will inform debates across the whole political spectrum and which we hope will contribute to the development of radical and progressive policies. The aim of these policies would be the continued empowerment of ordinary working people; the modern working class.
Until the late twentieth century, working-class militancy was driven by fury at the perception of burning economic and social injustices. These injustices were linked by the British left-wing, to the illegitimate use of economic elitism, unfairness and class-based status. The Tory Party became to many on the left and remains for some, the enduring political symbol of these injustices. However, there is a growing awareness among working people that the situation is more complicated than this simple political trope suggests. Working people have enjoyed growing political sophistication explained in Marxist terms as raised consciousness. People can see through political simplicities.
The consciousness of the working class is, according to Marx, formed by a complex set of significant economic and social factors. There was the industrial reality of the nineteenth century that demanded worker co-operation in the production of goods and services, yet simultaneously alienated them from the working environment. Alienation is a feeling of being disconnected from the process of production – being in effect simply a cog in a wheel.
Another significant factor in the development of worker consciousness was ‘exploitation’. Whilst workers created wealth, they saw no benefit from having done so. Only the bourgeoisie aka capitalists got rich on the wealth created by workers’ labour-power. In Marx’s day ordinary workers worked long unregulated hours, they were ill-educated, unhealthy and poor with no political rights.
Capitalism in its creation had struggled out from under the ‘yoke’ of feudalism by developing revolutionary legal principles; most relevantly, contract, choice and consent. In the 1840s these principles, of course, were only enjoyed by the capitalists, but in theory, as opposed to eighteenth and nineteenth-century practice they could legally apply to the working class too. The fact they didn’t was due to the capitalists preventing working people from enjoying these principles to maintain their ‘class advantage’.
Whilst the capitalist system was good for capitalists and the political elite who maintained this ‘bourgeois’ political system and economy for them, it was bad for workers. In Marxist terms, it had within it the ‘the seeds of its own destruction’. These seeds were growing resentment at the poor treatment of workers, coupled to rising worker consciousness of the capitalist systems legal principles of contract, choice and consent. Over time workers become aware of how these legal principles were being used illegitimately to promote elitism and unfairness. The upshot according to Marx would be a revolution.
To overcome their enforced alienation, exploitation and denial of the rights to ‘freely’ contract, choose and consent, workers had to overcome false consciousness. Religion, the concept of a capitalist ‘fair wage’ and exclusion from political power, all helped to reinforced worker false consciousness or acceptance of the status quo. Having acquired collective raised consciousness i.e. being able to see disadvantage and being unwilling to accept it, a revolution would ensue.
After the revolution, the workers would acquire for themselves the rights associated with the bourgeoisie. Had an actual Marxist revolution ever taken place the working class would not only have assumed control of the means of production – thus ending alienation and exploitation – but they would take control of the state too, thus providing for themselves an education, welfare and healthcare. The Russian revolution failed to deliver ‘justice’ because the people were denied power by Lenin and then Stalin’s autocratic state.
As a result of progressive social policies in Britain, the circumstances for modern working people do not resemble those of the nineteenth-century proletariat. Working people have acquired many of the economic freedoms and social benefits denied to us in Marx’s mid-nineteenth century. We have thus had our collective demands fulfilled by evolution rather than revolution. This has removed the anger which fuelled the urge for revolution amongst our forebears. Our collective consciousness no longer demands, but now expects worker’s rights to be upheld, universal education, healthcare and a fair welfare system. The working class has moved on. Sadly, our political system hasn’t moved on with us.
Where the bourgeois system continues to alienate the working class is now not so much in economic as political terms. Parliament itself stands as a proud symbol of bourgeois status, class and elitism, denying the working class the political power a properly Marxist revolution would have delivered.
Working-class consciousness is now shaped by contract, choice and consent, the enlightenment principles underpinning the free market. People might not routinely articulate these principles, but as Marx would have said that’s because as principles they have taken on ‘social character’. People don’t need to articulate them, but they feel it when these principles are breached against their class interests. These principles more than the burning social and economic injustices of the nineteenth century define the collective consciousness of the twenty-first century working class.
That said ordinary people have a growing awareness that these principles remain gifts to be granted to working people by those in power. They do not belong to us by right. The Brexit debacle proved that. Our bourgeois parliament controls our nation and is not under any obligation to us. A referendum is only ever advisory. It advises our bourgeois parliament, which is quite within its rights to ignore our views.
Bourgeois political systems across the western world continue to maintain political power structures based on eighteenth-century elitism in the face of working-class demands for greater contract and consent. There is a growing recognition that elitist political structures don’t justify the existence of political elites. The reality for working people ‘buffering’ against the old elitist structures has created a fractious political climate that the personality of Boris Johnson and his apparent stance on Brexit has been able to temporarily overcome. Hence his landslide victory.
There are many policy areas where people have been denied a voice by the Westminster political class; the policy of greater EU integration or the war in Iraq are two. However, we will look at Brexit and the continuing influence of ‘religion’ in politics. The aim is to illustrate the point that a new twenty-first-century radicalism is needed which is relevant to working people’s expectations and brings an end to political structures that neither reflect modern working-class consciousness nor promote progressive values but reinforce political elitism.
In 2016 the British had Project Fear unleashed on them by a Brussels-obsessed political elite. The elite promoted unfairness by failing to listen to ordinary people and by promoting themselves as an entitled and informed political class. The narrowness of the leave victory was a success for Project Fear. The triumph of a white, middle-class and remote parliamentary elite offended the class consciousness of Britain’s working people. The British working class with no ‘skin’ in the EU game recognised that the EU project was bureaucratic, unfathomable and unnecessary for the business of trade and friendship. The upshot of parliament supporting the EU was a miserable failure of the bourgeois left to make headway on this issue in the 2019 General Election. The left had stopped listening to working people and had consolidated around their London elite. The EU issue was also a failure of the political system to reflect working people’s expectations and highlighted how little real power we have. The success of Boris Johnson will be used to justify the current political system, which for growing numbers of working people is simply not good enough.
Our next issue being more about modern values than policy reflects the absence of a confident political maturity on the part of the political class compared to the maturity of Britain’s working people.
Most people in Britain have no time for religion and fewer than half believe in God. This is an important and progressive part of working-class collective consciousness. Of those who do believe in God, their God if Judaeo Christian or Islamic comes packaged as an ideology that Karl Marx said reflected various stages in the development of humanity’s evolving consciousness.
We have a working class that is perhaps mildly interested in cultural symbolism but is basically disinterested in God or religion. A bit culturally Christian but possessing an enlightened consciousness based on choice and consent underpinned not by God but by science. This large class has been forced to witness uncritical support for the faith of Islam, a faith that reveals doctrinally no grasp of the importance of choice and consent but which is regularly promoted and protected from criticism by a culturally-illiterate and largely (but not exclusively) left-wing elite.
By failing to understand the basic fact that the history of God is a history of class exploitation and gender discrimination of one sort or another, the left is failing to connect with working-class values of the twenty-first century.
If the left continues to promote religious ideologies of all types which are seen by working people to promote sectarianism, as well as divinely sanctioned discrimination, particularly against gay people and women, it will never be considered progressive. Moreover, it goes against the grain of classical Marxism, being a failure on the part of the left to liberate people from the remnants of global exploitation and oppression, which continues to be justified on the basis that it’s divinely ordained. Think Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In the twenty-first century the challenge for western politics is to reform our elite political systems so working people have more influence over the state and those who operate it on our behalf. Currently, the only option open to working people is to seek out political heroes and give them landslide majorities. The Labour Party hoped Corbyn would do this in 2017 and 2019. The process of a personality like Thatcher, Blair, Corbyn, Johnson or Trump tapping into working-class consciousness isn’t new. When it happens, it is a symptom that the political system is unwilling or incapable of giving real power to working people. Under such a system working people only have hero-worship to fall back on and that has, in the past, gone badly wrong! Sadly, as was seen during the 2019 General Election campaign having ‘outspoken’ working-class candidates supposedly representing working-class people isn’t the same as giving working-class people real political power.
So, what are the radicals who are prepared to break the system from the left or indeed right going to do? Well, we have some ideas which are intended to empower local authority council members to scrutinise parliamentary policy and in time acquire the right to become part of the legislature. This would run alongside scrapping the House of Lords. We hope you will do your bit to shift the debate about democracy away from making the current system look like its working and argue for changing the current system – because frankly, it doesn’t work and never really has worked for the many, just the few.
Mike Gilbert part of a Blue Revolution
Dear Mr Goldsmith 17 August 2019
For several years there has been a debate about the use of ritual slaughter and how this can be reconciled with the grizzly business of slaughtering animals as humanely as possible. The UK is said to have a good reputation for animal welfare whilst ignoring the fact that in Halal and Kosher slaughter there is no pre-stunning and animals have their throats cut whilst fully conscious. We are a small group of people some of whom identify as Marxists and we wish to offer a contribution to this troubled debate based on the reality of ritual slaughter within the Qur’an
Arguments that are used to challenge ritual slaughter refer to the welfare of the animal. For those communities for whom an uncritical acceptance of divine authority is a cultural expectation, it is unlikely a welfare argument will be persuasive. Uncritical acceptance of religious doctrine is something that in the west we are no longer familiar with. The religious doctrines of the Qur’an (called into being by the Archangel Gabriel dictating the word of God to the prophet Mohammed) and a strong sense of religious identity are often contrasted with the lack of a coherent cultural identity in the west. What is perceived by western people as a strength, creating dynamic diverse communities, may be viewed as a threat to communities who wish to retain a distinct and doctrinal identity based on their understanding of the word of God.
The expectation that the west uncritically accepts halal slaughter, therefore, gets combined with westerner’s desire to have ‘diversity’ within their communities and the welfare of animals gets overlooked.
It is in our opinion possible to encourage diversity whilst also being cognizant of the need to protect the welfare of animals during slaughter. The hygiene obligations and rituals surrounding slaughter are clearly tailored for the realities of the seventh century, hence the need to ensure animals for slaughterer is healthy so the meat to be consumed is fresh and has not been contaminated by disease or after death by animals in the wild. Once these requirements have been addressed and an animal is fit for slaughter the offering of a prayer respects the dignity of the animal about to die. It is at this point that modern ‘halal’ slaughter seems to us to part company with the traditional expectations of Islam.
Islam requires excellence in all matters pertaining to the slaughter of animals *. Animals are a gift from Allah and their slaughter reflects rites other than just the use of prayer before slaughter and no pre-stunning. The animal must be calmed and must be slaughtered quickly and expertly with a sharp knife and without any awareness of what is likely to happen to it. It must not be slaughtered within the vicinity of other animals due for slaughter simply to avoid its own and their distress.
Such practices clearly reflect the Quranic expectation of small-scale ritual animal slaughter but are a requirement of Islam and therefore should be observed as halal. The industrial slaughter of cattle and sheep required today because of the greed of a consumer society is out of step with halal to such an extent, the non-use of stunning alone cannot qualify the slaughtered meat as halal and therefore the justification for no pre-stunning is totally without doctrinal foundation or justification. Indeed, pre-stunning may ‘calm’ the animal.
On the basis that the Qur’an requires animals to be at ease at the time of their slaughter and that industrial slaughtering is not and can never be halal within the requirements of Islam please can you consider supporting the abolition of halal slaughter except in circumstances where due to low volumes of animals being killed appropriate observance can be made of the strict rules that apply within the faith of Islam.
*Abu Ya’la Shaddad ibn Aws narrated the relevant hadith
The Marxian notion that economic resources should be allocated “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (1) has always caused confusion. Such a method of allocating resources is not typically associated with merit because of the prevailing twentieth-century view that Marxism is state social engineering, so merit cannot play a part.
Historically society has created meritocracies on the back of economic systems which exploit the labour-power of others, legitimising it with religious, legal and political structures which collectively define the parameters of consciousness.
Today we are governed by politicians who have run out of ways to improve society without the use of debt to maintain the political status quo and to prop up levels of consumption to maintain GDP. This badly distorts what we have come to accept as meritocracy however worthily it is viewed, our consciousness was and still is defined in terms of exploitation.
Having debt as a substitute for economic value with its burden falling to workers of future generations, whilst maintaining outmoded politics and supporting a global financial elite, suggests that we need to look at how we can create a more just system which better reflects a modern conception of merit.
Allocating resources based on ability and needs without state engineering requires us to look anew at the concept of merit and meritocracy. In doing so we must place it in a free market twenty-first-century economic context with opportunity and choice as central aims. “From each” “to each” within Marx’s definition suggests opportunity and choice is integral to the economic and political ‘settlement’. Rather than state engineering based on mere conscience that the system is ‘unjust’, modern collective consciousness may act as a worthy substitute for state interference.
In the twenty-first century “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”, must be expressed both economically and politically but reflect Marx’s vision of society with a modern collective consciousness that rejects the exploitation of others at every political and social level. Merit is not about status and wealth, both of which remain the benchmarks for measuring the success of a meritocratic system.
Marx’s vision of workers controlling capitalist production has little modern relevance. However, the principles that underpin capitalism and are enshrined within Marx’s analysis of capitalism can be used to formulate a new concept of merit that promotes opportunities for ordinary people within a free market society.
Capitalism was, in its earliest iterations, meritocratic but economically unfair relying on the appropriation of workers labour-power to create capital. It reflected principles of contract, choice and consent as the basis for delivering economic and political freedom, only open to the elite.
Socialism extended the principles of contract, choice and consent to all adults. We have become accustomed to the freedom this offers us. The state has probably moved as far as it can go in extending these principles socially and economically allowing same-sex couples to contract in marriage for example.
However, locked into their own eighteenth-century political bunker, parliament is unwilling to extend real political choice and consent to working people. “Meritocracy” remains defined by eighteenth-century ideals. Our political system is sadly a mausoleum to eighteenth-century capitalisms economic unfairness and therefore it is unable to address the economic inequality and unfairness it seeks to change. Its definition of meritocracy remains wealth and status based and is therefore inherently unfair and unequal.
Meritocracy must not be one based on an economic model that enshrines merit in terms of wealth-based status. We must define merit in terms of how well people deliver positive economic, social and political outcomes for themselves and others within a free market, based on contract, choice and consent. This must be done legitimately with mass support and without burdening the people of the nation with unrealistic financial expectations based on the economic principles and ‘successes’ of the past.
The meritocracy of the future should allow the ordinary person to achieve economic and political parity with those people who enjoy power and status today. Of course, given the role of debt, it does not mean ordinary people going up some national debt-based wealth or status ladder. It means those currently on the top of the existing ladder coming down. The economic framework, the free market, is already in place, what it lacks is a legitimate political expression. Meritocracy must now be about politically empowering ordinary people.
Reform of the political system must reflect the new economic reality of the free market. The power to reduce the cost and burden of the state on the ordinary worker and thus promote enterprise will never come from a state which refuses to move beyond a political environment set up in the eighteenth century to represent the interests of extinct economic and political elites. In much the same way as the left has lost its industrial working class the right has lost its British economic elite.
Achieving change must involve empowering elected representatives at every administrative level from parish council up. Making them functioning members of the legislature. Politics will become significantly more meritocratic and less party dominated. It will be possible for specialists, as councillors, to address parliament on areas of expertise i.e. farming or teaching.
It will mean that the costs of the state will be exposed to the scrutiny of ordinary workers and are more likely to come down than go up. Routes into politics will deliver more access to ordinary people thus empowering them. This will be meritocratic in two ways. It allows successful politicians a career ladder that requires paid employment in lower tiers. By reducing the cost of the state, taxes will be lower stimulating the economy. It will reduce feelings of “them and us” creating perceptions that fair resources are distributed based on abilities and needs. Politics needs to align with the meritocracy of the free market our twenty-first economic reality.
- Karl Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme. Progress Publishing. eighth edition 1988 p18
Dear Party Chairperson
We understand you have adopted the definition of Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. We are sure that you have been contacted by some groups criticizing this definition which the government has chosen not to adopt. We are an organisation that represents a small number of working people and some of us identify ourselves as classically Marxist in our approach to Politics. We too are concerned that you have adopted this definition and we will explain why.
Firstly, according to the views of Karl Marx all religion represents different stages in the development of human consciousness. Marx described this evolution of consciousness in terms of humanity casting off “snake skins” and different religions represent different stages in that process. As our consciousness matures over millennia, some groups gain power and come to recognise, ‘injustice’ and ‘unfairness’ within the context of their life experience and on the back of new material realities changes in thinking take place. Religion thus reflects past material circumstances and is therefore ideological, promoting a material reality which works to the advantage of some groups over others, men over women for example.
However, religion differs from mere ideology in that unlike an ideology (like socialism or communism for example) it is identified with the divine. In the case of Christianity, the divine is the personhood of Jesus the son of God, in the case of Islam, the divine is the Qur’an Gods word dictated to Muhammed by the Archangel Gabriel. By promoting Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness” you are at risk of protecting from criticism ideas that have little modern relevance and indeed may advance the cause of a consciousness which accepts different moral standards to many promoted in the twenty-first century West. In Marxist terms you are asking us or at least some of us to try and re-enter or remain within, a now discarded snakeskin, at least discarded in much of the liberal western world.
One final point and that relates to the frankly inaccurate claim that Islamophobia is a type of racism. By including this in your definition you essentially turn all criticism of Islam into racism and people who legitimately criticise Islam into racists. This may not be what you intend to do, we are sure your consciousness has evolved to the point where you wish to defend freedom of expression and freedom of speech. However, your definition will make it increasingly hard for those who wish to challenge Islam to do so.
We are fully in support of any definition of Islamophobia which is intended to protect the rights of individuals to speak their truth even if their ideas represent the views of an earlier age or period of collective consciousness and therefore may offend. However, it must be a definition which refers to protecting people rather than ideas, ideologies or faiths. This is the twenty-first century and all working people and those of all faiths and none need to speak their truth openly and without fear of persecution or indeed prosecution.
Marxism in the twenty-first century: should we all be Marxists now?
We are ordinary people who would like to express an opinion and hopefully tilt politics in favour of ordinary working individuals.
As a solution to the political and social difficulties faced by nations within the western free market system (we avoid the term capitalism because capitalism involves a form of exploitative economic self-regulation not seen since the early twentieth century) the so-called political Left have discovered an audience which includes old socialists, minority groups and some of the disgruntled and indebted young. Often this traditional Left self-refer to Karl Marx or Marxism which guilds their ideas with a radical legitimacy. We would like to encourage politicians and journalists to avoid giving this traditional Left the endorsement of ‘Marxism’. They are undeserving of it and equally, it serves to polarise debate around the socialism versus capitalism narrative. This narrative is not relevant anymore but the implications of imposing twentieth-century socialist economics would be as catastrophic on the nation as re-adopting the exploiting self-regulation of nineteenth-century capitalism.
Karl Marx was as we are sure you know a political philosopher. His economics has over the last one hundred and fifty years become largely irrelevant. That said the concept of justice enshrined in all his writing has never been properly understood by the Left leaving a legacy of murder, destroyed lives and economies at the hands of false prophets and egotists, as Marx himself might have put it.
Marx recognised that human beings have species essence, the ability to plan and co-operate in pursuit of the survival of our species. The energy used which he called labour power eventually becoming mastered by various elites enabling them to enrich themselves at the people’s expense. The combination of economic reality and concocted legitimacy in institutions like the Church enabled wealthy elites to maintain their privilege because economic reality formed the basis for people’s consciousness making certain values and expectations legitimate. Eventually, however, consciousness matures until in Marx’s words the power imbalances or contradictions finally burst the economic system asunder. This is Marx’s explanation for revolution. The word privilege has been erroneously adopted as a term of class derision by the traditional Left without them fully understanding its origin or their own Parliamentary Party based privilege today.
In the twenty-first century, we must view our consciousness as working people within the context of a new economic reality. The global free market. In Britain, this economic reality underpins an essentially eighteenth-century political and public sector built by capitalism to promote the interests of capitalists. The bourgeoisie as Marx called them. Applying Marx’s notion of contradictions, it is, we argue, possible to view the state and the political and legal system as trying to restrain the kind of changed consciousness (one of equality and fairness) that is emerging within western working communities and they are thus creating the very contradictions that if suppressed give rise to violent revolution. The political system is doing this, and it applies as much to the left as the right, to protect privilege and power, just as it was set up to do.
Because the political system and its legal and state-ordered elements like local authorities can’t seem to adapt to the pressure from working people for more political involvement and fairness, they adopt several approaches a couple of which in conclusion we will explore here. The most obvious result of the state feeling the power of the people but being unwilling to yield real power to us is to offer policies that appease. ‘If people want fairness, we will give them fairness….in fact, we will ram it down their throats’ you can hear politicians saying from Tony Blair to Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. But this fairness is not based on mass consciousness it is based simply on the guilty conscience of the elite. Delivered from the top by politicians in their party based political ivory tower and endorsed by celebrities and people with financial privilege, it is seen by the working people for what it is, patronising political correctness. Arrogant meddling in the realities of working people. It’s not a real desire to politically empower working people but an excuse to ram home concocted fairness out of a guilty conscience rather than yield to the class consciousness of working people and open political power to the many, not the few. The political class fear people power as we would restrict their power and bring fairness to tax-payed funded public bodies like Parliament and the BBC.
To differentiate consciousness from a guilty conscience we offer an example. Teresa May, Emma Thompson, Emily Thornberry or Seamus Milne might be concerned about the fact that there are poorer people than them and want the state to do something about it. That is a bourgeois guilty conscience. They will be unable to comprehend however that there is unfairness in a system that makes them so much richer and more powerful than us and that needs dealing with too. That is working class consciousness.
One final observation and that is that in the absence of systems that actually do empower people, people will have no option but to vote for the goofball who best enshrines their view that politicians need taking down a peg or two. The Farage phenomenon created by the BBC as a foil for serious politicians like Blair and Cameron backfired because people no longer need a Cameron or a Blair. People want more political power. Trump is a product of the same phenomenon in the U.S. People are stuck with a political system that excludes them from power. The same phenomenon afflicts France and the EU in general.
People don’t want the guilt-based conscience of the Left and celebs pushing political correctness or the goofball guilt free politics of the right promoting Trump and a variety of other populists. People who in a truly Marxist sense have a raised collective consciousness for fairness and equality now want to have power. Power to the people.
Politicians on the traditional left and on the right need to understand that political change is in the air. Working people have good humane values and don’t need to be hectored by an expensive state run by privileged political parties. Making global corporations pay their way and reducing personal debts, will also empower working people. We want the freedom and choice of the free market reflected in our politics. That isn’t happening because the bourgeoisie of the political left and right don’t want to give up their eighteenth-century class privilege.
Blue Revolution. For the People, not the Party
Have you heard of the expression: ‘when you need something to believe in, start with yourself?’ This is a comment often cited, and, at its very essence, is ‘truth’. Basically, if you want something badly enough, then you have to do it yourself; you cannot rely on others to accomplish what you want to achieve.
This mind-set transposes from day-to-day activities to the world of ‘politics’, be it at a national, regional or local level. The attitude amongst the majority of people on the electoral roll amounts to ‘Oh not again’, ‘just get on with it’, or ‘my vote doesn’t change a single thing, so why bother?’ Hence, low turn-outs at elections are an inevitability, which benefits those with a vested interest. It is that ‘elite’ who, through an assumed apathy and distrust of the existing political system shown by the voters, are able to be elected by default and thus become very comfortable as a democratically elected representative who does not have the support of the majority of voters but revels on those who did not turn out to vote, because of a total distrust in the current system.
Of course, under any democratic system, it is your right to vote as you choose. This is not under dispute. What is questionable, however, is this: if you vote for a traditional party under the English electoral system, is your voice really being heard? If you reflect on that question, are you satisfied that you are making an impact? Or, is there a doubt in your mind: a voice that says: ‘my opinion counts for nothing: my vote perpetuates the status quo where those with vested interests are able to pursue their personal interests behind the guise of a democratic election?
This is why the average person on the street; the office worker, the teacher, the shelf-stacker, the unemployed, the homeless, the nurse, the refuse disposal operatives, to give them the politically correct description, otherwise known as dustbin men guys, the student, in fact anyone, has no real faith in traditional politics, or even dare I say, in new politics. This needs to be corrected: quickly and without delay, because otherwise we, as a population, are prepared to be consumed by a system which does not care for us, does not appreciate our feeling and perceptions, but chooses to ignore them at their convenience. And do you know what: I accept that premise; ‘I get it’. I have often felt that living in a particular location, necessarily implies that however I vote won’t make a single jot of difference, so why bother voting: nothing will change despite my opinion, so quite frankly I can’t be bothered.
Are you correct in your assumptions? Once, I would have said ‘Yes’: now, I say ‘No’. Why has this shift come about? It is quite simple: I have become aware of The Blue Revolution.
It is important from the outset to state that this organisation is not a political party in the accepted understanding of the phrase. In essence, it is a political ‘movement’. My first concern was an incorrect implication I arrived that: ‘blue’ being the colour of the Conservative Party, which indeed it is, just as ‘Red’ is synonymous with the Labour Party and
‘yellow’ is the colour adopted by the Lib-Dems. In the instance of The Blue Revolution the colour refers to ‘blue collar people’: the anonymous person often quoted as being Mr or Mrs Average, who are disregarded as being not within the determinants of ‘need’ and also not within the realms of the ‘wealthy’ who, frankly, are not concerned with everyday issues anyway given their immense wealth.
The Blue Revolution is an entirely new concept in political thinking. Here is an approach to politics which welcomes political thought from any stance. Here is an approach which can totally restructure the accepted norms of political interaction. Here is an organisation which accepts and incorporates the input from the electorate without assumptions drawn. Here is a way of thinking which breaks through the traditional divide and welcomes views from any perspective and appreciates the contributions from a diversity of inputs, rather than disregarding them without any fear of retribution, since they are safely ensconced within the establishment that adopts a ‘laissez-faire’ conceptualisation.
The Blue Revolution has, at its essence, a goal of reconciliation: It accepts that people are disillusioned with politics at whatever level, be it national, regional or local. How many times have you heard expressions such as this with regard to Brexit: ‘please, just get on with it and stop arguing?’ We accept the premise that ‘from little acorns, great Oaks grow’. We are not going to take over the leadership of the UK parliament for the foreseeable future: probably never; most definitely never.
What we can do, however, is make a start. By that, we mean on the local level, here in Boston.
We can make certain promises. We cannot be ‘whipped’ into a traditional party political system. That is because we are apart from that ideology: we are free-thinking individuals who will take on board the opinions from any political viewpoint, in full acceptance of what has been divulged to us.
We can make a difference: a ‘real’ difference and here is the reason why. We will address the issues that affect you, as a resident of Boston, but without political confines. Whatever you think is a positive about our town which needs highlighting, or indeed a negative which needs investigation and relevant action, The Blue Revolution could be in a position to respond to you in a way that traditional party politics cannot do, especially in a Borough Council election, when one has to consider whether national party alliances have anything relevant to add to the local concerns and issues relating to our town.
We, as an organisation, rather than a pre-determined labelled political party, would very much appreciate your support in our journey to ‘question’ what is accepted. We will attempt to do this in the spirit of inclusion, as opposed to exclusion, which the existing system necessarily encapsulates and encourages.
Believe in yourself; question your opinions, and support your local Blue Revolution candidate. You know you want to, so here is your chance.
Annual General Meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on the 6th Day of March 2019 at 7.00 22 Tower Street PE21 8RX
- Attendance: Mark Baker, Chris Moore, Neil Hastie, Mark Rawlings, Richard Thornalley, Mike Gilbert (in the chair), Ros Parker-Lee, Gavin Lee.
- Apologies: Tom Gilbert, Toby Gilbert
- Minutes of the meeting held 30.03.18 Agreed.
- Accounts: Current account has £350 as of 31st December 2018. There was a donation of £25 by the treasurer to pay for the registration of the Party Name. The Accounts were prepared by Darron Abbot the outgoing treasurer. Accounts were accepted.
- Report by Monitoring Officer and Deputy Chairman Mike Gilbert. The Deputy Chairman commented that 2018-19 had been disappointing in respect of developing a local media profile. This was a result of the failure to develop opportunities offered by local facebook sites. A Twitter account called Boston Resident 2 was set up in 2018 and Richard was hoping to develop this. We now have a by-election under our belt. This was fought in February 2018. We ran Richard as a paper candidate and delivered leaflets to about half the Ward. The Conservatives won the by-election with about 70% of the turnout. Regrettably, the treasurer Darron Abbot resigned due to the Monitoring Officer having a meeting with a sitting councillor and member of the Boston Independent Group. He was replaced by Richard Thornalley. The Mentoring officer’s pamphlet ‘The History of Politics Simplified’ has now been printed and some copies have been sent out to businesses and individuals who may be interested in the Blue Revolution Project. General feedback is that it is ‘interesting’ and readable.
- Election of officers:
Chairman/Leader Tom Gilbert
Monitoring Officer Richard Thornalley (to take office after the 2019 elections)
Treasurer Ros Parker-Lee
Spokesman/Media for Blue Revolution Mike Gilbert
- Any Other Business
Election of 2019. Currently, four Wards are being fought, Station, Fenside, Skirbeck and West. Witham is being supported but has a non-Blue Revolution candidate.
Mark Baker showed the meeting a proposed leaflet for a town centre delivery. It was noted that the colour scheme had more of a red accent than blue.
It was agreed to purchase a pull-up banner.
Mike Gilbert stressed the need to door knock if we were to stand any chance of winning seats against main party candidates and in some wards other, unaligned, independents.
Election formalities were discussed and it was agreed to meet early next week to progress the campaign.
The meeting ended at 9.10
Next meeting March 2020 exact date and time to be confirmed.
The history of politics, simplified.
When it comes to politics, we all feel confused. ‘Left’, ‘Right’ or maybe ‘Centre’. Liberal or totalitarian, Socialist, Revolutionary Socialist. What all these political ideas lack is a broad understanding by ordinary people.
Political change has always involved a small group of sometimes angry people like some of those above taking control of the state in the name of ‘the people’. This has never been a good idea, but it continues to go on, even now. Politics is therefore about power, who has it, how they get it and what they do with it.
This pamphlet was written to help the curious. It adopts a modern theory based on peoples’ experience. We call it ‘lived reality’. Today it reflects the reality of living in a globalised ‘free market’, but ‘lived reality’ works just as well for the lives of people in the past.
Our lived reality, therefore, describes how we got to where we are economically, politically and socially.
According to the Blue Revolution, all political decisions should be grounded in the reality of all working people- not a small minority. The last time this happened was thousands of years ago when we lived in tribal communities.
Politics is confusing. Too many political ideas are in existence with many ideas conflicting. Politics is all about how politicians, be they kings, political party members or business leaders get power, or influence those who have it. But it is also about how ordinary people experience the power of politics.
Power in ‘tribal’ communities. A harsh equality starting in the Middle East.
The earliest type of organisation is the tribe: a community of people and basic rules and principles which ensured order.
Rules controlled every aspect of life. For example, ‘marriage’, which today is a legal ‘contract’ between two adults in tribal times was instead an arrangement between different males and females in a tribe. In a tribe, rules were just accepted. Broken rules were punishable by death in order to preserve the values necessary to protect all its members.
Things like child marriage were not considered strange, the average age of death was 33 years old. The tribes’ survival depended upon it. Child ‘marriage’ minimised problems of adjustment by putting children in different households at a very early age.
Religion evolved from economic necessity and reflected the need for survival. Religions were used to legitimate authority and control behaviour. Stability created economic and social value.
Tribal rules required a fair distribution to all. Generally, men hunted while women reared children and were homemakers. There was a strict division of labour, but men and women would have been equally as important to the maintenance of the tribe. This is the sort of world that Islam’s prophet Muhammed would have known and explains why Islamic ideas take the form they do and why some Muslims are outraged by modern criticism of what are essentially the social and economic values portrayed in the Qur’an. ‘Islamism’ is an attempt by some radicalised Muslims to promote these ideas and impose them on others by force. They unquestioningly accept as ‘truth’ the Muslim holy book the Qur’an.
Most but not all tribal societies evolved over many thousands of years. Australia and what became the USA before Europeans arrived, were cut off from the economic melting pot of the Mediterranean and Middle East, so it meant that economic and social evolution failed to happen.
These Australian and North American tribes remained completely intact until European settlers revolutionised their ‘reality’ and changed their society by changing their economy. These tribes went from simple hunting and gathering to overt control based on the top down authority of the imported Christian church and British and Dutch monarchy. Even today some individuals have not adjusted to this cultural change of pace and like many people in the twenty-first century, are culturally conflicted or confused.
Try and imagine being part of a tribe in the Middle East or Mediterranean as it evolved between 5000 to 500 BC. Life was harsh with continual fighting for resources between tribes, but generally within the tribe itself, things were harmonious. Everyone had a role and values were simple even though practices like child marriage, cruelty or banishment of those who broke ‘tribal custom’ may have been normal.
There would be little rule breaking as people would have been socialised to conform by repetition of rules. You can still see the repetition of rules practised in certain communities today. Think about a person’s reality if they live in the western world having migrated here from non-western communities where ‘traditional’ values are still important. They may have to come to terms with rules or behaviour, some of which might be incompatible with their own culture of origin.
Imagine what tribal communities would make of western culture; our freedom, absence of different roles based on our sex as well as our different sexual lifestyles, our apparent lack of care for the elderly and our unregulated sexual behaviour. Our modern lives may be classed as immoral. Tribes had to have all these things under some sort of control. There was no choice.
Those with a desire to maintain simple faith-based or tribal values and practices may struggle to adapt to the modern free market and reject our twenty-first-century values. This has led some liberal-minded western people to play down the impact of traditional cultural practices on those from non-western backgrounds even when those practices conflict with western values of free choice and consent. This ‘liberal’ approach promotes the interests of certain groups instead of the individuals within those groups.
Many modern westernised people would find it hard in a strict tribal society. For the modern westerner, our reality is based on personal and economic freedom underpinned by our experience of the free market. Today we desire individual choice!
Cultural ‘conflict’ therefore is caused by lived realities being based on different sets of economic and social expectations. Globalisation is responsible, but western governments are to blame for the problems this causes. They do this by failing to promote the rights of individuals in the face of demands for collective rights, which may discriminate against groups, for example women. The demand by some groups to protect religious practice is one such example where individual and collective rights conflict.
It isn’t possible to adopt, promote or impose one simple set of moral rules and maintain personal choice. The contradiction for militant Islamists is that whereas tribal values were coherent with the economics of tribal society militant Islamists want to impose simple religious values on non-tribal twenty-first-century societies….by force.
Once we all lived in tribes and accepted simple tribal values. There was economic equality within tribal communities but different roles for men and women. Today conflict comes if different sets of values based on different economic expectations clash.
Humanities first Revolution. Political power becomes normal as kings take control.
In the Middle East, around six thousand years ago, tribal society started to change due to technological improvements. These improvements created the first agricultural revolution and gave rise to power by a minority over the many, political power! This helped create the Middle Eastern faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All these faiths tried to deal with the unfairness of political power by turning simple values into a set of ‘moral’ behaviours for all people.
‘Top-down’ control (which is like feudalism, as well as other systems of top-down authority) came about because people were able to organise the economy so that surplus food was available (a bit like a profit). To begin with, it was not a money surplus, but as people created more food than was needed, it became possible to trade and eventually money and wealth became possible. Inequality was born! A few people who did not work themselves could acquire wealth from the work of others.
As a result, ‘immoral’ behaviours like prostitution and adultery became possible. These would be activities almost impossible in tribal society but with surplus food production, people were more than able to support women (or men) who provided sex. It was also possible for rich men to support ‘their’ women, so some women did not have to work as they had to do in tribes. Patriarchal society was born, and the control of women in society began.
In its latter stages this period was an era when art and beautiful artefacts could be created by artisans, who were paid to create beauty rather than to hunt for food.
This economic revolution obviously changed peoples lived realities. The Old and New Testament of the Jewish and Christian faith and the Qur’an plus other religious views expressed by the prophet Muhammad are all about trying to re-establish a virtuous society during this period of economic upheaval.
Over thousands of years, where surplus value was created the bonds of tribal society were permanently broken, allowing a minority of people, an elite, to take the surplus value from working people and slaves and make it their own. They used this economic advantage to create and maintain power structures, so they could dominate and control ordinary people. Once this authoritarian system was established, life would never be the same again for billions of ordinary people.
Can you imagine how the Reality of the majority was affected by this significant economic and social change? People had lost tribal loyalty, tribal equality and predictability and were now subject to authority from elite minorities. For ordinary people, life was a complex mix of submission to various authorities, observance of religious rules and working hard to create property and wealth for others.
Authoritarian societies were thus considered by many to be very bad indeed. With economies in the hands of greedy kings, this era became humanities ‘nation building’. It started in the Mediterranean and Middle East with the earliest power based authoritarian systems in Egypt and Iraq. These authoritarian systems existed when other people, even in the same area of the world were still living in simple tribal society.
The ‘top-down’ model created by feudalism and similar authoritarian systems was very efficient and is still used today in politics and public service and public administration. People at the top of organisations and their ‘leadership teams’ make ‘decisions’ and as a result, earn more than the people creating the value whether it be an economic surplus value (profit) or social value (e.g. caring for society). It is not the nature of the activity that is the problem but the difference in reward which should as in tribal society be proportionate to the overall needs of society and its ability to pay.
Growing feudal and authoritarian societies encouraged further economic and social development because they allowed risk. They gave the power to change society and takes risks, to a king (or in some nations a queen) and abolished permanent tribal rules imposed and upheld collectively. The creation of economic surplus set humanity on the march towards modern politics and modern society but also created the inequality we still experience today.
Early and successful Middle East authoritarian systems were conquered by Islam. Some of these then adopted and developed mainly Greek science and other modern ideas of the day.
Whilst Islam in the Middle East was able to conquer authoritarian systems, these sorts of economic systems were eventually willing to accommodate Christianity too.
With Christianity, authoritarian systems such as feudalism adopted a religion which was unconcerned with earthly power and so accepted the idea of inequality on earth. Whilst Islamic authoritarian societies were forced to accept economic inequality, within Islam itself economic inequality was haram or wrong. For some devout Muslims today, this remains a major cultural rubbing point with western economies and some Muslim states like Saudi Arabia. In Islamic law there are strict rules about profit and fairness.
Like everywhere else in Europe, and parts of the Middle East, Britain was finally wealthy enough to develop feudalism after the Romans left in the fifth century. It became fully established after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Its decline began after the Black Death in the fourteenth century when a shortage of labour forced wages up and drove economic innovation.
Feudalism was the theft of resources from the many by a small elite who set up power structures to maintain their authority. The ‘right’ to do this was at odds with tribal values but elite politics won the day. Britain developed feudalism after the Romans left in the fifth century.
Nothing lasts forever. Feudalisms decline and the rise of capitalists power. The action moves to Europe.
In Europe Feudalism endured for centuries and in various forms it still exists today in parts of the world that are not yet industrial but are no longer tribal. Its main characteristic is still its top-down, unaccountable authoritarianism.
In Britain we consider ourselves beyond feudalism, but traces of it appear in ceremonial form in ours and many other modern European States. These states maintain power based on status/property/income and have as a ‘democracy’ a system based on the representation of the people by an elected as opposed to hereditary elite. This is promoted by politicians and generally accepted by the people as the acceptable antidote to past unaccountable feudal power and authoritarianism.
Britain remains in some senses feudal with democracy grafted on, because we now elect and pay our elite. We are still subject to their rules and decisions, however much we disagree with them. Disagreement between the people and our elected elite seems to be getting more common as they no longer seem to ‘represent’ the people who pay them. Us!
In Britain, feudalism’s decline began due to increasing levels of prosperity generated by education, science, further agricultural advances, and the work of an intelligent emerging ‘middle class’. This change began to develop after the ravages of the Black Death in the fourteenth century when labour was in short supply and wages were going up.
The earliest challenge to the British feudal system came about because ordinary working people were trading and by their combined efforts and expertise were creating greater wealth than had been previously possible. The feudal aristocracy who ‘owned’ all wealth were, therefore, getting rich at the expense of ordinary hard-working people. The aristocracy was also wasting wealth on wars and personal vanity.
Kings who at one time broke society away from predictable tribal society were no longer promoting economic and social evolution but were holding back changes demanded by a working middle class who were not benefitting politically from their skill and enterprise.
This middle class made up of innovators, merchants and hard-working ‘entrepreneurs’ was getting restless, angry and their workforce hungry. There were riots in England from the fourteenth century onwards due to food shortages and abuses of feudal power.
In Germany, ideas were developing based on religious scripture that supported a new economic model based on hard work that challenged the idea that the church was entitled to the economic wealth created by ordinary people. These ideas also challenged the role of the church in supporting the poor.
As with the change from tribal society to top-down authoritarian power like feudalism, the reality of different groups of people was again coming into conflict. This gave rise to revolution. The final stage of this economic revolution began in Britain in the seventeenth century, France in the eighteenth century and wider Europe in the nineteenth century and Russia and China in the twentieth century.
These revolutions put capitalist ideas into what had become declining feudal societies. These revolutions broke the power of those born to rule and replaced it with power based on the economic or political interests of a new elite. The elites were landowners and capitalists and their group interests became political Parties. Much later ‘workers’ gained their own parties too.
By freeing people from feudalism and reforming religion so people had to work hard for wages or make a profit rather than live on ‘welfare’ from the Church, capitalism promoted the world of the economic rather than the religious or feudal elite. Capitalism like feudalism still relied on surplus value being created, but under capitalism it was created by workers free to contract with capitalists for work. The surplus value was then acquired by capitalists in the form of profit. To succeed as an economic model capitalism needed people to be free to think, speak, innovate and trade. The legal principles of contract, choice and consent were the basis of capitalist economics, not as had been the case under feudalism: compulsion, coercion and control.
Capitalisms values of contract, choice and consent have been and continue to be liberating for working people, which is something that many left-wing politicians struggled to accept. Before capitalism, as we have seen, the aristocracy controlled the nation’s wealth. It was revolutions that had to be used to dislodge them.
In Russia and China, one form of feudalism with kings was replaced by revolutionary socialism: a system based on control of the economy by one political party that believed it represent the working class. Any one-party state is called totalitarian. Revolutionary Russia and China therefore did not become capitalist instead they fused their one-party political system with industrialisation. This undermined the workers who, whilst still creating surplus value (as in capitalism proper), were subordinate to the one-party state.
All ‘modern’ political systems all over the world including within western democracy promote the importance of the political party, but in ‘democracy’ there is a choice of parties to support.
In the west, capitalism did liberate innovators, workers and people of science from what had become the menace of the European feudal system. Once the scientist and innovators had ‘industrialised’ there was no holding back this engine of economic and social progress. A combination of people and machines created more surplus value than the world had ever known.
The British Empire was financed by capitalism. Like all empires, it had many moral failings. Eventually it was based on trade, freedom within the law and the accumulation of capital (surplus value turned into property, wealth and bankable money). Whilst based on trade, it was still skewed in favour of the capitalist economic elite. By the eighteenth century, it was fully exploitative of the nations it had conquered but to function properly it was able to leave a legacy in some ex colonies of contract, choice and consent and British common law.
Societies that could not innovate within the capitalist model due to religious observance, for example, created growing poverty for their subject peoples. As a result, Islam’s Eastern empire had disappeared by 1928. Islam is now re-emerging as a moral force across the globe funded by Saudi oil money.
Whilst capitalism as a system did not discriminate, it impacted harder on poorer, predominantly black or religious majority nations who have historically been unable to build up the capital or wealth necessary to be part of the capitalist system. Today many poor countries have authoritarian heads of State who don’t believe in liberating their people using freedom based on contract, choice and consent.
By creating so much wealth industrial capitalism was widely viewed as a force for prosperity and liberation, particularly for those middle-class owners of capital who maintained the system. They disguised its unfairness with religion, parliamentary democracy and the law. This is what is known as right-wing thinking; promoting the interests of capitalism.
However, capitalism was experienced as very unfair by the workers or as they were called then the ‘working class’ They knew they worked hard to create the surplus value necessary to make others very wealthy.
From the nineteenth century onwards, within western democracies industrial capitalism reigned supreme until the turn of the twentieth century. But industrial capitalism was a system that had in built ‘contradictions’ such as too few winners and too many losers, so over time legislation and taxation had to be used to minimise the bad impact of capitalism on the working class.
Capitalists wealth came and went often within families and usually over several generations and when capitalists failed the capitalist system took workers down too, leading to unemployment.
Whilst capitalism might have been ‘just’ because anyone, man or woman of any ethnic background could in theory become a capitalist by employing workers and accumulating wealth, it was unfair because it exploited the workers (exploited means making them work harder for their wages, so they created surplus value or profit for the capitalist). The unfairness of the capitalist system created ‘left wing’ thinking.
Capitalism took over old feudal systems and created a form of democracy that promoted the interests of its wealthy capitalist elite. Workers were ‘free’ but had to contract for employment and were exploited by capitalists. The unfairness of this economic arrangement gave rise to left wing political ideas.
Change again: Socialism. The rise of the left wing political elite.
So, in summary by the late nineteenth century, the UK, USA and Europe were capitalist countries, using representative ‘democracy’ to legitimise the capitalist systems so called ‘exploitation’ of workers.
It is at this point we meet socialism for the first time. There exist two kinds of socialism. Democratic socialism is not to be confused with revolutionary or single party-based socialism (like early twentieth century Soviet Russia, China or Nazi Germany).
Whilst capitalism was based on contract and choice e.g. a worker had ‘choice’ of who to work for, it also meant working people toiled on low wages and in poor conditions to make a few people rich. The rich were rich because they employed millions of people and took the surplus value those people created banking it as their own.
As workers became more educated and organised (both expected within a ‘progressive’ capitalist system) they began to see the unfairness in what was happening and how the whole religious, political and legal system justified their exploitation, holding them back economically.
Left wing socialist ideas started to be promoted by an educated working and politically ambitious ‘middle class’. At first, they demanded capitalist industrialisation should be destroyed by violent revolution and replaced with socialist industrialisation. This was revolutionary socialism. It took hold as we have seen only in places like twentieth century Russia, China and North Korea
Concerned about possible revolution, democratic governments who wanted to improve capitalism used taxation to support those who fell out of the system and into unemployment. They also restricted the capitalist’s ability to take advantage of their workers.
In the free western world, over time, governments improved workers conditions and introduced clean air, education, housing and employment rights. Much of this is what revolutionary socialists had demanded. Similarly, rights like the right to vote or stand for parliament, rights that only capitalists enjoyed in the eighteenth century were extended to more and more people. It started with working-class men in the nineteenth century and then women in the twentieth.
This use of laws to support workers was the beginning of socialist ideas. Most would agree that this was the elite doing good. Revolutionary socialists disagreed they wanted economies taken over and run by socialist parties.
In the early twentieth century Russia and China experienced the revolutionary socialist elite taking control of the economy. For many decades after World War Two, this form of socialist state industrialisation became a political-bogeyman which western leaders called ‘communism’.
For working people in so called communist countries, the reality of industrial work was little different from the west. But with more freedom and innovation the west was more profitable and could offer a better lifestyle to its workers than communism, particularly in the USA.
All economic systems apart from tribal ones, need surplus value/profit to invest in maintaining the economy/society. Revolutionary socialist Russia never created enough surplus value/profit to pay for its bloated industrially inefficient state. Russia’s socialist experiment ended in the 1980’s. Arguably the EU is a similar bloated system today.
From the end of the second world war British capitalism was viewed as an economic model that had too many problems such as poverty amongst the working class, to be allowed to continue without some state involvement. Various means of re distributing wealth were introduced by the post war democratic Labour Party. These ranged from public ownership of some industries like Coal mining, Ship building and Railways (Nationalisation) to tax changes that put a high burden on the rich.
The welfare state and National Health Service also came into existence. It was also seen as desirable to control the economy by pumping in money when it began to stop employing people because demand for what they had produced was low and they were unemployed.
With a growing need for so much state control, the elite became ‘experts’ trained to manage the economy and society. The elite were now just as likely to be state employees like civil servants as capitalists. The term used at this time was the ‘mixed economy’. It was capitalism controlled by socialist ideas.
Capitalism was unfair to workers so ‘socialist’ ideas developed in Britain. After the second world war ‘democratic socialism’ regulated Britain’s economy. The idea behind democratic socialism is to take wealth off capitalists, wealth which workers have created and spend it on state provision like health care or welfare.
Government ‘experts’ and politicians become the new elite. Debt to the rescue!
The changes introduced by the socialist British Labour government after the Second World War led to a period of sustained prosperity. Inefficiency set in from about 1970 onwards. At this point the tax payer began paying for the nationalised industries that could not pay for themselves.
Because of changes in the global economy that have taken place since the 1980s capitalism in the west has had to evolve into what we now call the ‘free market’.
A free market is exactly what it says it is. Anyone can, in theory, become a producer or consumer. A process helped by the internet with ‘You Tubers’ making millions in sponsorship. People can produce almost anything and consume almost anything.
The free market relies on economic relationships which are negotiated by a global economic elite who, depending on how you see the free market, have either a monopoly over how this free market works or have no control over it what so ever. Those who influence the free market are amongst others the Multi-National companies, tech giants as well as national governments including the EU and global trade organisations.
The free market, unlike eighteen and nineteenth-century capitalism, is not concerned with personal morality it only needs ‘consumers’ with enough income to buy products. So, thanks to the free market’s need to have consumers, ‘lifestyles’ previously discriminated against by religious or cultural prejudice can be accommodated by economic freedom and the acceptance, for the time being, of the western political elite.
To enhance consumer choice some western businesses have sent their production to developing countries to save money on worker’s wages and thus maximise profit on their popular retail brands. This makes people in a few companies very rich but reduces the number of wage earners and taxpayers employed in the west.
Because of the way the free market operates it is seen by many as not just unfair but immoral. The free market is not capitalism. It is not an economic system based on a set of unfair but coherent economic principles reinforced by religion, politics and the law. It is essentially a global economic free-for-all. A religion of personal self-interest, desire and choice.
The free market has progressed around the world spreading the same values that gave rise to freedom in Britain, the United States and Europe, but in these economies its wealth-creating capacity has become weaker. So, to support its profitability money must be pumped into the economy by governments. Money based on debt and taxation.
To complicate things further, profit made by big western corporations is often taxed ‘offshore’ and therefore doesn’t contribute taxation to help pay for state the state bureaucracy we have inherited since the second world war. The government must therefore borrow money to pay for the services it provides. Services which many of us use.
The result is that powerful western elites and their parliaments, political systems and bureaucracies who in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries would have been paid for by capitalisms tax payments are now relying ordinary workers to pay for them via income tax and indebtedness. Workers are therefore sacrificing their power to consume, to pay for the state and government.
As we have said the ‘free market’ is a consumer market, therefore, the next revolution has its basis in spending power. It’s here we find the free market’s major problem. Expensive western governments reduce the ability of workers to consume. But to remain ‘free’ with values promoting personal freedom under pinning it, the free market needs consumers.
New consumers are also needed beyond the economically troubled European and American economies. Brexit should be about creating a greater global economic fairness by spreading consumer equality via spending power beyond the so called ‘rich’ but indebted nations of the west.
In addition to tax reducing consumer spending, consumer spending is worsened because the big corporations sit on mountains of profit and don’t put it back into the world economy as ‘spending power’ via wages. This economic model is unsustainable.
What was left of capitalism finally stopped working in the 1980’s. It became the market financed by debt and managed by global experts. It needs consumers, but governments take money from consumers. The global elite are making us pay for them and this limits our consumer spending. The free market protects our rights but is now debt dependent.
What future the free market as the elite go global. Power for the few, debt for the many.
Governments need money just as individuals do and the money needed is no longer available through the profitability of western capitalism. Today our state with its big employment bill relies on debt and tax to pay its way on our behalf.
No one questions the need for state employment (Dr’s, nurses, social workers, police etc) but the cost of paying the elite that manages them is no longer justified due to the nation’s lack of profitability and reliance on debt.
If free of the burden of too much government debt and tax the ordinary worker can become a more effective consumer, spending more of what they earn to enable other workers to be employed locally in businesses, shops, coffee houses and bars or in caring for their local community at large.
Above a certain wage level, payments do not add directly to local consumer spending but end up in the global economy. The power base of our wealthy political and economic elite.
To add to consumers woes much of our private debt which we are encouraged to take out to help with consumer demand, needs to be underpinned by some form of value. This value comes from land or property. In the case of land, an increase in land value works its way through the financial system as people raise money by mortgages. This gives us a contribution to national income based on asset value-based debt. This is what led to the 2007-2008 banking crisis when loans to customers were backed by land values and land values went down.
By basing much of a nation’s ability to pay its way on debt we are slowly gobbling up our food production capacity by selling land for debt backed development etc. This model provides well-paid work to service sector employees like bankers/lawyers/estate agents and land managers. It also provides taxation on profits for the state. Big corporations benefit too as tax income plus government debt pays for contracts to do work in NHS/defence/education and criminal justice or indeed build roads. All political parties in the UK must uncritically endorse this value backed debt model. What is the alternative?
More seriously, with all our debt we are slowly eroding the long-term viability of our planet as we in the west over consume its natural resources. The debt based free market system is damaging the planet to a far greater extent than any system before it. However, it has extended people’s rights and ended illegitimate abuse of those held back economically by low status or discrimination under earlier capitalist, feudal/authoritarian and tribal systems. As a culture our attitude to the free market is therefore ambiguous.
Some people believe the moral confusion of the free market requires a return to ‘faith’, Christian or Islamic. Others believe in taking whole national economies under government control.
A modern free market economy only works when people have almost complete economic freedom without fear or sanction. With state ownership, we might have jobs, but we give our economic freedom to the state and compromise our right to contract, choose and consent as we, rather than the state sees fit.
To see the impact of religion on a society look at Iran or Saudi Arabia. People crying out for the economic and social equality offered by the free-market, particularly women and the gay community. Lack of freedom affects prosperity and peoples happiness. It causes anger by supressing freedom and makes states oppressive.
Religion and traditional democratic socialism, therefore, fail the freedom for the worker test. They are solutions to a looming economic and ecological crisis that simply can’t reflect the expectations of a modern workforce enjoying lives based on choice, consent, freedom and limited democracy.
Blue Revolution is based on what is called ‘economic determinism’ or economic reality. In other words, the reality of working people. What working people experience should be instinctively more important than the views of people at the ‘top’ with their unconscious ‘global’ self-interest.
Ideas to improve society must come from the economic experience of working people and not from various political party conferences where policy is created by party members (a tiny minority of the people) then imposed on society (all the people) when parties get into government.
To preserve freedom ordinary people must now set the political and economic agenda just as the middle-class capitalist did in the eighteenth century. Political parties products of the eighteenth century have no significant role in influencing this process.
People should take more control in politics because having fought for the right to choose and consent and having gained our freedom and our limited democracy, it now seems like political parties and a global elite both paid for by our debt and taxes are taking our rights away and imposing their ‘global ideology’ on us. An ideology that accepts the abuse of people elsewhere in the world whilst undermining western national identities and the hard fought for rights that go with those national identities.
In Britain we need to reform our political system so for the first time ever it becomes a system that protects western values and our belief in the principles of choice and consent, freedom and democracy. Working western people would preserve and extend these rights to all the world’s working people. Every other class or powerful group restricts them as they always have done to preserve their power.
Look around you, most people you see would support all your freedoms unquestioningly as you would support theirs.
The free market creates our rights to choose and consent, but it relies on an economy which is dependent on debt. We need to preserve our free market to ensure we preserve our rights as working people because in much of the world people have few rights. If the debt dependent free market disappears our rights will go with it.
And finally, people power? Another Revolution where the people replace the elite!
We have been through this brief history of wealth and public power otherwise known as politics, explaining how working people have created wealth but have not held the power that wealth should grant. In the twentieth century the left wing had believed it was working in the interests of the people but once they had the power of the ‘state’ behind them they undermined economic rights with policies which increase the expense of the state, at a direct financial/social cost to the taxpayer.
Governments need to recognise that far from being an asset to the British economy, they are a pitiful hinderance to it by taking too much money in tax to pay for bits of their system that we no longer need, like their hierarchy and power structures in politics and in the public sector.
State costs reduce peoples spending power. Spending power is needed to preserve our free market economy and therefore our choice-based lifestyle.
So, what can we the nation’s working people do today to protect ourselves? Ordinary working people did not bring down feudalism (it was the capitalists that did that) and we did not bring down capitalism (it has been saved by corporate global economics and as the free market it is financed and threatened by debt). The next revolution is our revolution and we can’t afford to mess it up. Yet most people don’t even realise a revolution is needed.
Some things to consider
Firstly, Blue Revolution doesn’t need to have all the answers. We do not want to be like a political party promoting policy and selecting candidates in-house. We are simply a political ‘Brand’ anyone can use should they wish to.
We suggest that political policy must not be developed and implemented by a party elite. The most grotesque examples might be the Blair/Bush war on Iraq or the creeping power-based unification of the EU, but there are lots more examples besides, like the creation of the police and crime commissioners or The High-Speed Rail link (HS2) These policies never had the peoples approval.
Under our eighteenth-century parliaments political policies generally have nothing to do with the views of real working people. We, therefore, need to change the political system to make working people’s views more relevant. We need to stop our elite 650 British MP’s using their party’s membership to manipulate democracy in favour of their special interests, be those interests bankers, house builders, Trades Union Barons or militant identity groups.
Blue Revolution believes the only solution is to extend to the lowest legitimate political level, for example to parish councils, the power to contribute to debate and vote on national policy. Voting using technology would be very quick. A debate would be more interesting too, with a level of engagement that would be massive. It would be set up to ensure that where necessary every contributor had knowledge of their subject.
The effect would be that the elite Westminster bubble would burst because a parish councillor may advance the best challenge to an idea from a remote village in some-where-shire. The government would still be drawn from the largest group in Westminster but the people who debate their proposals and vote would come from a group of people considerably larger than the current 650 ‘handpicked’ party political MP’s.
The role of religion needs to be addressed too as traditional moral views are being promoted within a newly confident Islam. This poses a risk to equality in a way not seen since the seventeenth century. Religion has always been used by elites or those who would like to become elites. It does their mind controlling for them by promoting ‘spiritual’ compliance within the elite sanctioned faith.
To deal with ancient moral systems we need to dismantle all state authorised religious teaching and recognise faith as a personal choice that reflects a person’s spirituality but does not extend beyond that into the realm of politics or public life. Religion takes advantage of peoples innate spirituality and turns it into something that supports a political ideology. There should be no obligation on the nation or her people to accept any religion.
Today we see the consequences of religious morality as it violates twenty-first-century human rights, rights extended over centuries by progressive economic and social development in the west. This fact is lost on our culturally illiterate European elite who protect all religion, irrespective of that religion’s commitment to preserving the rights of the individual.
In addition to managing religious influence maybe working people should not have their opinions ‘informed’ by an over promoted media elite working to maintain a failing party based parliamentary political system.
The news department of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) should avoid bias and become a limited ‘public service’ news department paid for as now by taxation or licence fee, but which provides fact-based news or the attributable opinion of a wide variety of informed people. This would mean that the BBC or its employees would not be allowed to express their own opinions on air.
With News coverage based on facts and the shared reality of working people, workers could shape policy and make politics truly dynamic operating in the interests of the economy and working people and not the state or any elite.
Finally, unless change takes place the western economy will in the words of Karl Marx collapse under the weight of its economic contradictions. Today the most troubling contradiction is western government debt being used to enable consumers to buy goods made abroad. This does not generate sustainability for western workers or the free market system upon which people’s rights are dependent.
Reliance on this system will bankrupt the government first and then, the nation itself. Moreover, western companies like Amazon diminish jobs in retail and sit on a mountain of profit which doesn’t become via wages, more consumer spending. You can’t run an economy on this basis. It will eventually collapse. And then what? Religious authoritarianism, political totalitarianism, both?
Please support a Blue Revolution simply by thinking aloud and differently about your life and your needs. Think about your values and where your values and ideas come from and how you could become more outspoken to protect those values from the many challenges faced by working people in the twenty-first century.
If you want to you can donate even a very small amount to our group by going on our website ABlueRevoluton.Org.
Better still stand as an independently thinking and voting candidate for the independent brand Blue Revolution (read our website for details of how). You are totally free to promote your own political beliefs with Blue Revolution. We are not like other parties we have no bureaucracy and simply endorse you as a candidate if you share our values. You will be the people’s choice!
Alternatively, just contribute to the debate in your own way.
Remember peoples personal freedom is shaped by their economic and social life experiences and these are now under threat because we have a near-bankrupt western free market. We need to start the discussion. We can’t trust the elite anymore……if we ever could.
Thank you for reading.
The problem with the United Nations is that it has a perspective on the world shaped by two beliefs. The first is that western nations exploited black nations economically which is by and large true and secondly that it is now time to correct that by undermining western values. The problem for the UN and the culturally illiterate white elite is that they are being encouraged to undermine western values on the back of attacking past economic inequality. The worlds current inequality is not caused by western values which seek to liberate individuals but by religion, autocracy and ignorance. Characteristics we in the west are still fighting to remove in some places.
Firstly capitalism may have been a western ideology but it was only controlled by a minority of western people. Most white families at the height of the capitalist system, say around 1900 were exploited. There was no white privilege for them. Women didn’t have the vote and working-class men had only recently acquired it. Capitalism was an unfair system but it was capable of being made less unfair as workers became better educated and demanded rights that existed at first only for the capitalist class.
Thus the experience of workers improved as they were able to gain the vote, gain access to education, clean and safe working environments and could exercise the principles that underpinned capitalism namely contract, choice and consent.
Contract, choice and consent are the economic principles of capitalism that were slowly extended to more and more workers. It is these principles which are now under threat because the modern western elite and a growing number of nations in the developing world fail to see that whilst exploitation may have been unfair and wrong it reflected in economic terms rights we have now extended to more and more people. These economic rights have now assumed a social character and underpin ‘liberal’, personal and ‘human’ rights.
Being ignorant of the role of capitalism in creating individual rights is why rights are being undermined by an assault on what is seen as white western culture by the identity left-wing. Capitalism might have begun as ‘white’ culture but the economic and social rights it has created need to be extended to more communities and societies and not be undermined by crude racism based on ignorance of the role capitalism has played in liberating people of all races from cultures that enslave, discriminate and kill.