Socialism and Stalinism: letter to Echo

Letter to media

Socialism has failed?

B W Hale accuses the advocates of socialism of living in a ‘dream world’ arguing that it has been tried and failed (Echo 15/11/14). Without doubting his sincerity, he falls into the trap carefully nurtured by the agencies of capitalism over decades that equated the monstrous Stalinist totalitarian soviet regime with Socialism. Nothing could be further from reality. Socialism is nothing if not democratic from top to bottom.

Socialism relies on releasing the energy of the mass of the working population in participating in the building of a society which doesn’t exist to enrich the few, but see as its objective the harnessing of the fabulous wealth and wonderful technology and technique at society’s disposal.

A socialist planned economy could eradicate want and poverty and, for instance, not regard old age as a ‘problem’ but to celebrate it with adequate pensions and care.

Hopefully B Hale will subscribe to this positive vision.

Tony Mulhearn

Is Ed’s looks the problem?

Letter to the Liverpool Echo

THEM & US
Marc Waddington with customary flair consigns Miliband’s US imported guru David Axelrod to the dustbin (Echo 13/11/14). Since his appointment as Ed’s senior strategic adviser last April it’s been all downhill.
But Labour’s problem is not that Ed doesn’t enjoy the good looks of George Clooney, or the charisma of the freshly-elected pre-drone Obama. No, it is the absence of a clear anti-austerity alternative to ConDem butchery.
I refer Marc to my letter of 10/11/14, when I wrote about Ed hitting the doorstep and what he would say. It would go like this ‘I’m more kind-hearted than the Bullingdon Boys, but vote for me and I’ll carry on with their policies.’
Marc, as many do, suggests replacing Ed with Andy Burnham. The problem is that Andy would also advocate the policies of austerity.
Good looks are always trumped by great policies. The greatest reforming Labour government in history was led by a short, baldy, bespectacled man whom Churchill described as ‘a modest little man who has got a lot to be modest about’.
He defeated Churchill and his record stands as a testimony to the strength, validity and electoral success of socialist policies.
His name was Clem Atlee.

Miliband’s would be political assassins

MILIBAND: THE SONG NOT THE SINGER?

The ConDems are the most unpopular government in living memory. Crushing the poor and force-feeding the rich. Suicides increase by people unable to cope with miserly benefits, yet Labour’s lead limps between 1% and 4%. Why?

The would-be political assassins of Ed Miliband are condemned by Labour worthies like Hain and Blunkett who argue that Ed should get on the doorstep to project Labour’s policies.

If he did it would go like this: ‘Vote for me and I’ll maintain the ConDem spending cap; vote for me and I’ll maintain the public sector wage freeze; vote for me and the privatised utilities will remain in private hands; vote for me and the Health Care Act will be repealed but there’s little I can do about the privatisation of the NHS; vote for me and I’ll be tougher with the unemployed than the ConDems; vote for me and I’ll maintain the most vicious anti-trade union laws in Western Europe.’

Ed’s problem is not that he looks silly eating a bacon sandwich, but that Labour offers a continuation of austerity not fundamentally different to the ConDems.

Those socialists who remain with Labour should realise now is the time to put their energies in to building a new mass party of the working class spearheaded by TUSC thus offering a clear Socialist alternative to the electorate.

 

WWI 100th Anniversary: letter to an Uncle

Letter to Uncle Joe

Joe Weston

Western Front

France

1917

 

Dear Uncle Joe

It was with great sadness that I heard about your death in France by a sniper’s bullet. You left some treasured memories and you were too young to have died under such terrible circumstances.

The whole family was devastated with grief at your passing, and they organised a wonderfully fitting memorial to remember and celebrate your life. Your fiancee Mary was beside herself with grief, but managed to maintain a brave face when in your dear mother’s company.

We have gradually learned about the horrors you and your comrades suffered in that terrible conflict. It can only be imagined the effect of the mud, filth and rats which was part of life in the trenches. The continual shelling and machine gun fire when you went over the top is too dreadful to contemplate.

Young Jim Carter, who was part of your company at the time of your death, came to see us. He wept as he told your family about your bravery and willingness to help your comrades, particulary those younger soldiers who joined up seeking adventure but instead found themselves subject to unspeakable horrors.

Tragically young Jim was killed at Passchendael.

We used to regard as just statistics the reports of the huge numbers of deaths and casualties issued by the War Office. We recognise now that each statistic represented terrible sorrow for the families of those young men sacrificed in what I believe now was a useless slaughter.

The so-called statesmen on all sides who blundered into this catastrophic war have a lot to answer for.

We will all continue to remember you with love and affection. If nothing else, your death served to remind future generations that war must be resisted by all sane people. Although the lust for profits from oil, and other valuable resources seems to fuel conflict which has made a lie of the claim that yours was the war to end all wars.

Well, there is little more I can say right now. I’ll probably think of a lot more to say as the years pass.

Rest easy Uncle Joe.

All my love

Your nephew Tony

Liverpool