Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Introduce Yourself 001

5 comments:

stevemanc1 said...

Hi! I am Steven. I am in Manchester.

I am a Geoist- a type of capitalist sympathiser who despises neoliberalism because he beleives natural resource and land monopolies generate a serfdom that is fundamentally insignificantly different from slavery and that therefore neoliberalism is a form of closet financial fascism. Its almost the same thing as a Georgist, who is a person who follows Henry George, who beleived land reform tax can correct this oppression and resolve otherwise permanent systemic inequality.

a Darwinian- a person who beleives the universe provides survival to the meritous and ultimately death to the suboptimally meritworthy, whether we as human souls like it or not.

a Truther- a person who doesn't beleive Muslims did 9/11.

A puritan - someone who broadly beleives that drugs, music, alcohol, sport and luxuries generally pervert the complacent.

and

Corbynite - a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

I focus on negatives like a surgeon does.

I manage a forum called "momentumunofficial.freeforums.net", which is kinda primitive.feel free to say hello there. eventually i will choose a favorite forum on grounds of neutrality, technology, accountability, transparency and therefore:- functionality.

If you support Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Labour, or agree with at least 2 of my stances above, chances are I want to work with you.

David Pavett said...

I am David Pavett from London.

I am a child of WWII. I grew up in the era of the construction of the welfare state and now observe its cumulative erosion with horror. Laissez faire capitalism was constrained by the needs of the war economy, by the period of post-war reconstruction and by the existence of the Soviet Union. With all that well in the past capitalism is in a triumphant phase and is corroding everything from education to the enviroment. I believe need a different type of society more desperately than ever before.

The problem is that when Mrs Thatcher declared the death of socialism she was right, or very nearly so. John McDonnell's high-profile economics advisor Paul Krugman says the same thing. Very few people, including Labour Party members, have any confidence that anything beyond managed capitalism is possible. Even the minority who still claim to be socialist and to believe in an alternative society have nothing substantial to tell us about it. I believe that analysis of the nature of capitalism points to the necessity of superceding it but that few in the Labour left have any interest in that analysis. The is why Labour arguments and policies, including those coming from the left are so weak, and even all-too-often just nonsense. We are not in a good place intellectually.

I want to see the development of rigorous theoretically well-informed debate and that is why I paticipate in efforts like this. If we can't develop a culture of high-quality debate, and we are a long way from that, then we are stuffed.

I am interested in many things but have made special efforts regarding physics, maths, computing, education, psychology, philosophy and music. When I came across Marx I understood how incredibly ignorant I was and since then have been trying to fill in some of the many gaps in such things as history and economics. I am still working on this.

Chris MacMackin said...

I'm Chris MacMackin, originally from Atlantic Canada. I've been in Oxford since October working on a PhD in physics (related to climate change).

Unlike David Pavett, I was never alive when the welfare state was strong. I was born in the 90s just as a massive wave of cuts was being carried out by the federal government in Canada (contrary to the mandate they were elected on, incidentally). The 80s had already seen most of the federal nationalised industries privatised. I grew up in a decidedly non-socialist household. I remember my dad (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I think) saying how the NDP (our labour party) were "for unions and all that bad stuff". I came to socialism in high school studying the Russian revolution. I thought that the goals of the revolution were good ones, even if it went horribly wrong.

I floated on the ill-defined left (rather like a lot of Corbyn supporters, I think) for a year or two but reading and watching lectures online eventually led me to the conclusion that even if social democracy is an acceptable compromise (although I don't think it is because it doesn't extend democracy to the economy), it was an unstable compromise. It was the outcome of a specific set of circumstances which are unlikely arise again and thus, our only real options are socialism or neoliberalism (or, worse yet, potentially fascism).

I've yet to actually read any Marx beyond the Manifesto, although I've read plenty of work influenced by Marx. I like to say that I'm not a Marxist, but I am Marx-ish. My influences have included Noam Chomsky, Tony Benn, and (somewhat obscure) Leo Panitch. The last of these has probably had the greatest influence on me, due to his emphasis on the importance of democracy in our movements and the futility of social democracy (although I thoroughly disagree with his continued defense of Syriza). I've also been influenced by the essays I've read in Jacobin Magazine, which is a superb American leftist publication which does a great job of introducing socialist theory and informing on the state of politics around the world.

I agree with David Pavett that we definitely need more debate on theory and policy in this country. As I've mentioned, I have various IT skills which I hope to be able to contribute. In the past I've mostly applied them to scientific computing, but I've also designed some simple websites and feel I should be able to learn enough to help here.

Mervyn Hyde said...

I'm Mervyn Hyde, like David Pavett I was born a month after the Japanese war ended, I grew up in poverty although my father worked for my grandfather who trained him as a garage mechanic.

It was only when we moved from Hereford to Gloucestershire that I lived in a council built brick house, I had previously lived on old military camp sites due to the lack of housing and right wing Tory establishments that were slow to plan for people.

I joined the Labour Party in 1974 as I recognised that everything I believed in was coming under threat, having worked all my life in the private sector and witnessed the torment of my father who was a shop steward at our local Aero Engine manufacturer, and the pressures he was put under to give up his union work to the point of a breakdown, that I realised that what he had struggled through, was now being threatened.

Only since I have done my own research have I confirmed that my instincts from that time on had a basis in fact.

Having served a five year mechanical engineering apprenticeship I have worked for most of my life in engineering of one sort or another, fortunately working in some prestigious companies which threw light on both production techniques and management behaviour.

For approximately ten years I worked as Parts manger and chief storekeeper, which brought me into contact with major and minor companies throughout the UK and abroad, having also dealt with local government and the MOD.

In short I saw the vivid contrast in working with the public sector ethos and private chaos with a few exceptions.

I feel privileged to have had the experiences that I enjoyed throughout my working life, and have had insights that were not the kind the average person comes across, as with the principle company that supplied engines to us to distribute. Wisconsin engines, supplied engines to our RAF for bomb loaders, to cut a long story short, the RAF asked me to chase this company as we had a problem with a superseded starter motor, they prevaricated over this motor for over a year until the RAF informed me they were down to their last bomb loader in NATO Europe, As soon as mentioned that to my American counter part, he was immediately cut out and I found myself talking to the president of this large corporation, who was obviously listening in, in short this company did not care about the problems we had for our RAF, but mention NATO and it was a whole new ball game. The problem from then on was resolved in four days, something I had been chasing for about 12 months.

The moral of that story is clear, we mean nothing to the Americans.

I have worked for large multi-national companies retiring from Unilever, throughout the Eighties and onwards witnessed the meaning of full blown Neo-Liberalism, whilst trying to explain to work colleagues what we were witnessing, only to find that (as we were fairly well paid) they would ignore the warning signs and happily put up with the indignity imposed on them from above.

I of course did not realise until the crash what Neo-Liberalism was and merely addressed it as Thatcherism, since the crash and now retired have the time and energy to do my own research, and the gift of the internet to do it.

I would like to thank Tim for taking the bull by the horns and creating this facility which we can now build on, and look for new ways of communicating and forming policy.

My son is qualified in computer management and is a project manager for Cheltenham borough council, currently setting up integrated services between the Cotswold district, Forest of Dean, Cheltenham and above all Witney Cameron's parliamentary stomping ground.

Excellent start, looking forward to future developments and this has to be the way forward.

Tim Wilkinson said...

Welcome Mervyn, glad you've joined us & hope you can get involved in one way or another. All opinions relating to the project are welcome and potentially useful.

A bare minumum intro of my own: Brighton based, Philosophy graduate, drifted into data end of IT when people still did that. Interested in propaganda & opinion management methods, parapolitics, epistemology, law, politics & political phil. obviously, among other things. More recently, now we have a foothold, political science, psephology, polling, media analysis etc. Enthused by Corbyn's success, conscious we need to get Left thought up to date - and to secure the succession (whether before or after GE20).

Serious about this project - if we can keep, er, momentum going this could be a really worthwhile contribution to the cause, and maybe as it picks up support, matures, morphs and merges, even a major development. Not just for its direct output and influence but also for its ability to cement a leftish membership as an integral - maybe even one day indispensable - part of the party machinery. But for now, feet on the ground, learning to walk.

My bona fides - or very thorough legend! - can perhaps be verified, should anyone think it necessary, by looking at my contributions to Crooked Timber, Aaronovitch Watch, my own dormant blog Surely Some Mistake & the @SurelySmMistake Twitter account.

Labour supporter from age dot to about 23 when Blair took over; returned to fold under Miliband; joined in 2012.