A quiet life enables one to accomplish something lasting.
Or: tranquility yields transcendence
17 January, 2017
They all represent types of democracy.
Ancient Greek democracy (where it existed) worked as follows. A pubescent boy would stand naked in the middle of the assembly. If the other men could see evidence of puberty, then the boy was deemed to be a man and admitted to the assembly. Needless to say, such Greek democracy was limited to adult males who were not slaves or foreigners.
Donald Trump is an excellent example of liberal or bourgeois democracy. This type arose in Europe after the French revolution and it typically has a limited number of political parties that are much like one another. Occasional elections are held, while most of the actual governing is done by a parliament, which spends its time pandering to the rich and powerful. It is a system that can produce someone like Donald Trump, who embodies the truth of such a system.
Vladimir Putin represents illiberal democracy. It has many of the trappings of liberal democracy, with some political parties, elections and parliaments. But the system is geared to ensure one party stays in power.
14 January, 2017
Occasionally I come across the comment that the greatest offence of my Stalin project is that I assume that Stalin could actually think. It may be surprising to some, but many deny him the ability to think, let alone think dialectically. Was he not the one who was a novice at theory, mocked by his comrades for his faltering efforts? Was he not a cunning political operator at best, a woeful destroyer of Marxist theory at worst? Patient and careful attention to his works suggests otherwise. It is a shame so few people actually his written materials, dismissing them as hypocrisy or sophism.
And yes, the Stalin book is almost complete after too many delays. Final outline soon.
7 January, 2017
4 January, 2017
This course, ‘From Mao to Now’, will be kicking off some time in the new year. All the filming, on site in China and in the studio in Newcastle, has been completed, so now it is up the editing and production people. Here is an early version of the introductory trailer.
17 December, 2016
For some perverse reason, I am thoroughly enjoying the finger-pointing and angst over supposed Russian hacking during the recent US election campaign. The fact that the Democrats are sore losers is the least interesting item here. And ludicrous is the claim that it undermines the ‘integrity’ of the US version of bourgeois democracy, which is totally stuffed anyway. But somehow the most obvious point – our friend, the elephant – is that the United States has made it an almost daily routine to interfere in the internal politics of other countries for quite a while. About time they found out what it feels like.