Have I ensured that a world socialist revolution will never happen?
A book by Steve Wallis (www.socialiststeve.me.uk)
Draft (7 March 2009)
This book is mainly autobiographical, particularly highlighting my role in political events since I first started seriously participating in them in 1989. The book also presents my analysis of other major events in history (interspersed throughout the book apart from chapter 2 on the Russian Revolution because my views on that event strongly influence my positions on politics generally) and my analysis of how society (and individuals within society) works.
There have been four major phases in my life to date. The first such phase was the period up to 1989 before I became a political activist. The two most significant events during this phase, as far as the way my mind has operated is concerned, were going to a meeting of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the village of Eynsham where we were living during my childhood, at which the prospect of nuclear war eliminating life on the planet was raised, and me later considering that I was living at a crucial point in history in an important country and was fortunate enough to have a good education (with the help of two highly educated parents) and starting thinking about what I could do to make the world a better place. I believe my mind, in subconscious if not conscious thoughts, was thinking about both issues from then on – achieving a better society, which I saw as entailing a form of socialism, partly influenced by my father’s Communist views but tending to see change happening through Labour (particularly admiring then MP Tony Benn), but concerned about nuclear annihilation. Although I took an interest in political events, reading the Communist Party’s daily newspaper the Morning Star (until my father ceased buying it due to the party splitting) as well as receiving capitalist viewpoints through the TV and radio, I didn’t see the point of getting involved in political activism until the advent of the poll tax.
The second major phase in my life started when I first attended an anti-poll tax meeting in 1989, and the strategy of mass non-payment, uniting those who couldn’t afford to pay that unfair and unjust tax (the same for low-waged people as millionaires) with those who refused to pay in solidarity, was put forward. Whereas the Conservative government (Tories) under Margaret Thatcher had previously taken on different sections of working class people at a time, they were now taking on most of the working and middle classes at once. The Militant Tendency, then carrying out entrism (their word for infiltration) within the Labour Party, led that campaign and I joined it the following year when it was proving itself serious at leading it. Militant had a philosophy of world socialism being inevitable, and the point of struggle being to achieve it more quickly and with less suffering than would otherwise be the case. I think this philosophy was a major reason Militant took winning struggles seriously, rather than prioritising recruitment and flitting from campaign to campaign, as tended to be the attitude of the rival Socialist Workers Party (SWP), illustrated by their almost complete abandonment of the anti-poll tax campaign when Iraq invaded Kuwait, later in 1990, an attitude that tended to also be adopted by my organisation towards the end of my involvement. Militant had staked its reputation on defeating the poll tax and continued seriously with the campaign (defending non-payers with the threats of courts and bailiffs and having many members sent to jail for non-payment) to ensure the campaign’s victory, which was also the main factor in Thatcher’s downfall as prime minister. The Socialist Party (as Militant is now known) seems to have abandoned the above-mentioned philosophy due to the threat of global warming (which I am unconvinced is as serious as some scientists and politicians would have us believe, but I have advocated investment in renewable sources of energy due to fossil fuels running out and pollution as well as to be on the safe side as far as that threat is concerned). The conflict between confidence that things would work out (ingrained by my time in Militant) and the nightmare of annihilation of the human race (dating back from that CND meeting in Eynsham) became a major factor during the third phase of my life – switching to and fro between my general confidence and occasional periods of panic/desperation (sudden swings from one extreme to the other, rather than gradual mood swings, called “bi-polar” by psychiatrists but with a rational basis unlike many others given such diagnoses).
The second phase of my life ended with the 1998 European School of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI). The CWI linked the Socialist Party to similar parties/organisations in 30-40 countries of the world (and the same estimate of the size of the CWI is given today – one indication of its stagnation). A major debate took place that year about whether the Scottish Socialist Alliance, within which our organisation (known as Scottish Militant Labour north of the border) was uniting with other socialists, should transform itself into a party. There was overwhelming support for the proposal within Scotland and almost complete if not totally unanimous support in France (whose leader Murray Smith was the only member of the international leadership to visit Scotland during the debate); it was however opposed by the British and international leaderships and the only regions of England or Wales with majority support were Manchester/Lancashire (my region) and Merseyside (a shadow of its former self after the defeat of the Militant-led Liverpool City Council a year after that council inflicted Thatcher’s first significant defeat during the mid-1980s). I became a particularly important person in the world situation at that School, by being the only speaker in the debate from England or Wales to support the Scottish proposal, and I came under a lot of pressure not to make my speech or make a muck-up of it. I did make a number of very important points but, in the end, I ran out of time making my speech, had a tussle with the Chair over the microphone, appealed for a little more time which I didn’t get and stormed off the platform.
The CWI ultimately voted against the proposal, as did the British section (the Socialist Party and Scottish Militant Labour combined), but the Scots were allowed to go ahead and remain in the CWI, to avoid a split (which did actually happen later). The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) was therefore established, which won one seat to the newly-formed Scottish Parliament in 1999 and six seats four years later. The SSP later self-destructed in the wake of the Tommy Sheridan defamation trial (when the party’s former leader successfully sued Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World over allegations about his private life with many other leading members testifying against him), but this setback would have probably been much less significant from the point of view of achieving world socialism if the CWI had supported the Scottish proposal, leading to many other parties like the SSP (broad socialist parties led by revolutionaries) being established around the world.
The way my speech in that 1998 debate ended was therefore arguably the biggest mistake I ever made (but failing to get political songs my band Galaxia recorded in Manchester shortly before the 2005 G8 summit on-line in time for that summit could be regarded as more significant). This mistake and various subsequent ones detailed in this book raise a number of issues that I still cannot fully resolve contemplating them in 2009, now that I propose a very different form of socialism in which the government is elected by proportional representation. What would have happened if I had handled things differently? Would a Trotskyist form of socialism have come to power by now, somewhere or everywhere in the world? Would such an undemocratic form of socialism have led to capitalist counter-revolution or even the nightmare of nuclear war? Did my subconscious mind therefore deliberately sabotage what my conscious mind was trying to achieve? And what were the motivations and political allegiances of the other 200 or so dedicated (or supposedly dedicated) Trotskyists at that event?
When returning from that event, I came to the point of view that many within the CWI were infiltrators from MI5, or similar conspiratorial organisations based in other countries, and considered setting up a counter-network to those infiltrators. I was freaked out by a series of subsequent events, in my view caused by MI5 or similar forces, leading to me becoming a political prisoner in a hospital psychiatric ward for the first time – the start of the third phase of my life, during which I spent large periods of time in such wards, often went absent without leave (AWOL) to attend important political events, and had to put up with mind-altering drugs usually with problematic withdrawal symptoms.
This book details my changing analyses of how society works, including conspiracy theories that I have believed or rejected based on my experiences and the rational behaviour of individuals or groups of individuals under various circumstances (but sometimes less rationally than would have been the case if it hadn’t been for psychiatric medication). For example, I soon concluded that counter-networks to infiltrators in organisations like MI5 already exist, due to a large number of helpful interactions from others that I could not rationally dismiss as coincidences, and recognising that setting counter-networks up would have been the most rational act (apart from giving up) of socialists discovering such infiltration many decades previously. I also concluded that those in favour of the continued rule of big business had set up counter-counter-networks outside the realm of the state, and suspected a massively complex web of such organisations throughout society (which are particularly complicated due to there being many different agendas in society rather than just two).
I developed more sophisticated analyses involving a high degree of modelling of society by computers, which I knew is possible because it could be done (albeit with far less complexity and computing power than organisations like the CIA would have at their disposal) in an artificial intelligence/simulation language I developed (and was the main designer of) called SDML. I also considered the subconscious minds of individuals with similar agendas acting together effectively as super-organisms in a similar way to James Lovelock’s Gaia theory, but with multiple competing super-organisms rather than the world as a single one bound to ensure humanity’s survival (rejected later by Lovelock as global warming fears caused him to abandon his core beliefs and advocate nuclear power, with little justification). The latter analysis does not cope with people with multiple agendas or explain how people join or leave super-organisms without conscious decisions to do so, and it is more rational to consider such conspiring always taking place in conscious minds – people getting together in all sorts of informal groups which come to collective viewpoints (democratically or otherwise) with their members tending to put forward the views of the groups, with some members particularly loyal and others more independent-minded.
Strong evidence for a high degree of computer modelling of society, apart from the many supposed coincidences I have witnessed, is the British national lottery! The odds of winning a jackpot (predicting all six numbers) by pure chance are 14 million to one, and the early jackpot wins were of several million (if not tens of millions of) pounds as would be expected, with £1 per ticket and half the proceeds going to “good causes”. However, typically jackpots are now typically shared by several people, and a win of half a million pounds is regarded as good. The most rational explanation for this is that events in the world, even those with seemingly low importance for politics as a lottery outcome, are being modelled accurately by organisations like the CIA on super-computers, and that lottery results leak out to a small number of individuals. Such power effectively provides computers with the power to control many human minds by modelling people’s senses, the contents of their minds and what they say and do – even controlling some people completely, particularly those who are less rebellious and therefore more predictable but important enough to bother with, which can be done gradually by focusing on their minds, improving the models of the world and restricting their free will choices. Such complete control can sometimes be overcome by these people coming into contact with other individuals who are not being controlled and are exercising particularly strong free will.
There was brilliant evidence of such modelling going wrong when the early editions of all the main British newspapers claimed that a deal on a $700 billion bailout of the banks by the US government had been made – which George W Bush claimed had to be made within 24 hours to avoid complete financial meltdown – this prediction turned out to be false with later editions correcting this massive error (a modified deal was agreed the following week).
Of course some of the programmers/modellers responsible for the software that controls people have good motives, and my work on SDML has provided ordinary people with sophisticated software to be used for good or bad which would otherwise only be utilised by the likes of the CIA. Nevertheless, I don’t want my love life determined (at all and certainly not fully) by computer modellers, and I don’t think many other people would either! I strongly believe that a major factor that has slowed down the victory of good forces over bad ones in the world has been the unwillingness of good people to resort to the highly unethical methods that bad people have used, and controlling people’s sex lives would obviously be regarded by most well-intentioned people as unethical. It has been useful at times, from the point of view of helping bring about a better world, for me to cooperate to a large extent with good conspiratorial individuals, groups and programs, and having regular but fairly infrequent injections (called “depots”) made me relatively predictable. I switched in the spring of 2008 to oral medication, and my free will has consequently played more of a role since then. I am still a virgin, partly due to me being choosy about girlfriends and having always wanted to wait for somebody particularly special to lose my virginity, partly due to me or a potential partner putting the struggle for a better world ahead of personal happiness, but I am sure conspirators have deliberately allowed me to delay the choice of who I lose my virginity to until we reach a time when who I lose it to will solely depend on my free will and the free will of any potential partner(s).
Although I have been a member of various left-wing organisations since leaving the Socialist Party in 1998, my long periods of incarceration and limited periods of leave have meant that I have not been fully integrated in any such organisation since. This semi-detached role has had its disadvantages (particularly in restricting my influence on those organisations and in coming to some incorrect political positions due to ignorance) but I have been able to develop a coherent set of politics that I am very confident present a way forward for the left in these complex times, without the compromises that are inevitable in agreed positions of political parties.
Undoubtedly the most contentious aspect of my politics has been my analysis of society as a struggle between good and bad forces, or as between people with good or bad intentions, as outlined in various documents I have put on the internet, the most recent being the Good Intentions Manifesto. I found it impossible to decide whether it was a good idea to set up a Good Intentions Network in order to unite people with good intentions irrespective of political viewpoints and whether those intentions were likely to lead to positive outcomes for the future of the planet. In the end, I compromised by setting up a bulletin board for the Network at an existing web-based forum I had already set up, and the lack of interest in taking the idea further on that board persuaded me to abandon the idea. Although I think my Manifesto was basically correct, the obvious organisational conclusion that may be drawn from it (and which I applied for a while) of trying to pick out the well-intentioned members of a particular organisation to unite with and ostracise those who appear to have bad intentions can be very divisive and counter-productive. Besides, I came to the conclusion that nobody is completely well-intentioned, even myself (and nobody is completely poorly-intentioned either). I had also tended to be very divisive during my political activity by arguing for proportional representation-based socialism as an alternative to Marxist conceptions of socialism, in addition to basing my behaviour on perceived good or bad intentions, but I modified my strategy to uniting with Marxists in late 2008, placing an explanation of this change of strategy on key pages on my websites. The massive economic crisis was crying out for fairly broad organisations specifically opposed to capitalism, and I recognised the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France and the Convention of the Left (which I attended during Labour’s conference in Manchester in September that year as well as the recall conference in January 2009 that formally established an organisation, in addition to some local meetings) as very promising initiatives.
I have tended to regard a genuine smile as a sign that somebody has good intentions and a stern person who never smiles as a sign that somebody has bad intentions. I still think that this is a very good guide to someone’s intentions, but I am more wary of relying on it than I used to be. I also tend to give people the benefit of the doubt much more, which helps them empathise with me and become better people. My good/bad analysis is very much a religious viewpoint and I recognise that most active socialists are atheists (due to Marxism being based on the atheist theories of dialectical and historical materialism) and few will be won over to this point of view, quickly if ever. Part of my role is to unite good religious people with good atheists, and another part is to unite anti-capitalist religious people with anti-capitalist atheists; I do not regard atheists as the enemy or people who need to be converted, unlike many religious people, but I’m presenting my analysis as an alternative to Marxism that other socialists can take or leave as they wish.
One point I wish to make qualifying my religious views is that although I strongly believe the universe was originally created by some sort of god, or that things started off with some sort of living universe that conceptually was equivalent to God, I am unsure whether God still exists. God may have subdivided into lesser beings at some point, perhaps even the start of the universe, or ceased to exist at some point when he (or rather “she” since I believe such a caring being has female characteristics) became no longer necessary. If there is a devil, he was created by God as an evil being that is very powerful but not quite powerful enough to triumph. Whether or not the God and the Devil exist, or whether there are just good and bad conspiratorial forces conducted by human beings, the good forces would want the world’s problems solved, and the bad forces could want a world with problems like wars but deliberately restrain themselves from taking measures that would be so bad that we would all cease to exist (such as causing a US president to press the nuclear button. Until recently, I endeavoured to be as good as possible without endangering the future of the earth. However, meeting someone I loved who was (at least) a bit bad persuaded me to adopt the attitude that it is good to be a bit bad – which made decision-making so much easier and quite possibly saved my life in particularly recent months when more of my enemies concluded that their struggle was lost. I also met someone who said she knew what heaven was like (and adopted some weird conspiratorial views that she had become halfway between heaven and the earth) and heaven sounded so boring! I have sometimes put myself at conflict with other religious people, particularly my mother, by wanting a world where there are still problems to be solved. Nevertheless, I have a strong belief in some sort of afterlife and think that even if heaven is boring now, it will become much more interesting when I go there!
A Christian friend of a friend once talked about Jesus coming back to the Earth and said that you would know who he is by his actions, which led me to believe that Jesus would be the person who plays the biggest role in solving the world’s problems. As is obvious from the title of this autobiography, with justification for the importance of my role presented in chapter 3, I consider that this person is myself – unless I fail in this task I am attempting to undertake of course. Although I have never considered myself to be Jesus reincarnated, I have of course contemplated the possibility that I am another son of God (or perhaps daughter in a man’s body). If this is the case, which it probably isn’t, I strongly believe there are others like me on present day Earth, some of whom I have met and at least one who I haven’t (specifically Martine McCutcheon). I even considered that a woman I knew may have actually been a projection of God/Mother Earth. This all sounds utterly ridiculous of course, but considering such possibilities and publishing information and songs about them on the internet has played a big role in helping things work out so far, largely because there are so many religious people in the world! Actually, many people think I am betraying the cause I say I am fighting for, so there are undoubtedly Christians who see me as an offspring of the Devil rather than God, or a demon rather than an angel. If there is something supernatural about me, God may have had other offspring who played a key role in the past, probably including Mohammed who Muslims regard as the most important prophet ahead of Jesus, perhaps even all the Latter Day Saints of the Mormon religion, and maybe some particularly prolific and exceptional individuals from history like Karl Marx and the science fiction author Isaac Asimov.
Many of my religious views have been based on rational reasoning about how an ethical god would behave. When a Christian friend of mine (Julian Beard) raised the idea, during my childhood, that I should believe in God on the grounds that I would go to heaven if I was correct and have nothing to lose if I was wrong, I rejected it on the grounds that an ethical god would prefer people who thought for themselves and tried to do good things than people who had blind faith (who would end up doing bad things as a result of following human beings claiming to know what God wanted). The idea of worshipping God has never appealed to me, even when I later gained some religious views, because I could never understand the rationale of God wanting people to gather together in awe of her power, expecting God to solve their problems rather than doing it themselves. I have long found the terminology used in Christian worship, such as “Lord”, no doubt due to the Christianity’s feudal origins (or rather such origins of Catholicism with Protestantism coming about with the emergence of capitalism), particularly off-putting, because it tends to encourage obedience towards supposed human superiors. I seriously considered setting up some sort of completely different organisation to existing religions with completely different kinds of services, intending to unite people with a wide range of religious views, on the basis of thinking for oneself rather than blind faith and with policies decided democratically, in order to help the struggle for socialist change, called The Socialist Church (not intending the implied Christian allegiance of the word “Church” but I couldn’t think of anything better). However, I got no further than setting up mailing lists and a website address – drafts of material to put on the website and in a leaflet were of far too inferior quality for such an ambitious project.
According to a New Scientist article in late 2008, scientists are close to discovering a cure for ageing – although there is a concern that there may be a problem with the current technique causing cancer, there is no inherent reason to suppose that it will not soon be possible to halt ageing, perhaps indefinitely. Ageing may even be reversible; although the ethical concerns this raises would hopefully (in my view) prevent the implementation of such technology, the ability to halt ageing could massively help unity between religious people and atheists on the following basis – those who believe in an afterlife, particularly if someone they loved very much has died, would tend to choose to die naturally, while atheists would tend to want to prolong their lives forever, with the option of prolonging life for several years and then dying naturally (perhaps for those religious people who find a new love in their lives or atheists who finally come to the conclusion that there is nothing more to live for). [Of course people who choose not to continue ageing could still die naturally through accidents or lung cancer if they smoke, for example.] This dilemma would be a real test of faith, where you are actually risking something by believing in God or an afterlife, unlike the argument my friend Julian put forward which I suspect is a major reason for people adopting religious beliefs. Conversely, people who adopt certain beliefs in their childhood (due to their parents or religious education at school) would have a real incentive to question such beliefs when they are older and have greater understanding of the religion and alternative belief systems.
Perhaps a more significant cause of people smiling or being serious than whether they are good or bad is their self-confidence (with respect to whatever agendas they have) at that particular point in time. Nevertheless, although George W Bush sometimes smiles and can indeed be self-confident, he never comes across in my opinion as a very caring person. Conversely, both Tommy Sheridan and Rosie Kane (who, as I argue in this book, are both good despite being on opposite sides of the defamation trial divide) come across as good people even when they are not smiling and less confident.
An alternative to the good/bad intentions explanation is that there are a wide range of agendas in society, represented by an equally wide range of organisations, some of which are worth uniting with at particular points in time and some of which should be opposed. This is self-evident and would also be agreeable to Marxists, but whereas Marxists would generally look to somebody’s class as to whether they are on the same side, I would argue that somebody’s demeanour is a much better guide to this.
Where my good/bad analysis alternative to the class-based analysis of Marxism has become particularly important is in our differing attitudes to Barack Obama. Marxists in Britain have historically put forward the point of view that both the Democrats and Republicans in the USA are parties of big business. This has led to the bizarre situation where the SWP maintains this view of the Democrats but also categorises Labour in Britain as a “bourgeois workers’ party” (with a capitalist leadership but mainly working class membership) at a time when its policies are far to the right of the Democrats and when the level of control exercised by the trade unions over Labour has become minimal. Whereas I agreed with the Socialist Party’s changed analysis of Labour as a capitalist party due to the expulsion of socialists and abandonment of the commitment to nationalisation symbolised by Clause IV of its constitution, their attitude has also become too rigid and they have been unwilling to contemplate the opportunities for causing a split within that party on socialist/capitalist lines in these times of dire economic circumstances, by returning to the strategy of entrism – but I have suggested this to Paula Mitchell, a member of their leading party who I knew well in Manchester, so perhaps I am speaking too soon...
It would of course have been possible using a class-based analysis to recognise the contradictions in the US Democratic Party, with many small donations to Obama’s election campaign in addition to the very large contributions from sections of big business (with about half coming from each source). However, Marxists tended to take a neutral position that it didn’t matter whether Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain won, and supported no-hopers like Ralph Nader. US citizens certainly cared, as shown by the sizeable turnouts on election day and for his inauguration, particularly from black people who had been massively oppressed for so long (not that their oppression has magically ended with Obama’s election victory). I produced a newsletter, which I distributed in Manchester and put on the internet urging its distribution in the USA, with a headline “Support Barack Obama as a step towards achieving socialism”.
Obama’s approach of uniting races, religions, members of both mainstream parties and even classes is a problem for Marxists. I strongly welcomed Obama’s actions in the first few days after his inauguration – not only passing orders to close Guantánamo Bay but all the secret CIA detention centres around the world where torture has been carried out, and, showing his commitment to women’s rights, ending the refusal of the US administration to support any organisation working in the third world that provides any sort of support for women who want an abortion. Other socialists at the Convention of the Left recall conference that took place just after these first few days were so taken aback that nobody apart from me mentioned Obama and there was an overwhelmingly glum mood (presumably due to the poor prospects for the Marxist agenda of a world solely controlled by the working class) at that event. I felt that Obama took these steps because he genuinely wanted to take them, and did them so quickly before other members of his administration could force him to compromise, taking advantage of the momentum of an estimated two million people on the streets of Washington DC; in contrast, the attitude of the SWP according to a leading member was that Obama had to be pressured from below to force him to carry out his promises. The most extreme Marxist position appeared on the front page of the Weekly Worker newspaper, before he even made his inauguration speech indicating his break from the approach of the Bush presidency – a picture of Obama with the headline “World’s #1 terrorist”, merely on the basis that he was becoming Commander in Chief of the USA. This could be laughed off as an ultra-left irrelevance, but Obama was similarly accused of being a terrorist in chants led by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) at a pro-Gaza protest I attended, and MAB is an organisation that has frequently been promoted by the SWP as co-organisers of anti-war demonstrations (including the huge one in London before the start of the war on Iraq in 2003).
I have long regarded Islamic fundamentalists such as the Iranian regime, al-Qaeda and the Taleban as hostile organisations as far as achieving socialism is concerned, and indeed persuaded the Manchester-based Coalition Against Sanctions and War on Iraq which I was heavily involved in to oppose Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athist regime, so that we could argue that the only solution was for ordinary people to rise up and overthrow the regime. Fundamentalists of all religions, with Zionists being Jewish fundamentalists and the Bible Belt of the USA and many Catholics (including the Pope) being Christian fundamentalists, tend to be among the worst people in society while more moderate religious people tend to be among the best. I would argue that the Koran gives Muslims a more complete belief system than the Bible gives Christians (largely because it was written later), which tends to make Islamic fundamentalists more extreme (and willing to become suicide bombers for example) than those of other religions but moderate Muslims tend to be very good people indeed. The hostility they face in Western society, since George W Bush launched “the war on terror” after 9/11, exacerbates these tendencies, and female Muslims tend to be particularly good politically due to the discrimination they also face from the patriarchal societies in which they live controlled by big business and from male members of their own religion.
Whereas Obama has made some very positive moves as far as easing the tensions with Muslims is concerned, notably dispatching George Mitchell who helped achieve peace in Northern Ireland to Palestine, indicating his willingness to negotiate with Iran and setting out a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, his move in the opposite direction in sending more troops to Afghanistan gives ammunition to those who label Obama as a terrorist. It is also problematic for my analysis, when I label Obama as good and many of those fighting US and British troops in Afghanistan as bad. Surely it follows that I should want Western troops to win?
To this argument, I would ask those Marxists who act as cheerleaders for Islamic fundamentalists (the SWP in particular) – do you think the levels of democracy (however imperfect), relative peace and (albeit moderate) improvements to the Iraqi economy a bad thing? Do you take the traditional Leninist position that the main enemy is at home to an extreme and want these improvements to the situation in Iraq to be undone? Even though you were too scared to admit in your slogans what some tiny ultra-left sects were less reluctant to point out, that you wanted victory to Iraq, is that still your goal? Or isn’t it time to recognise that the US military is no longer the number one threat to progressive forces around the world, and that the change in the US administration is already doing much to improve the prospects for peace in the Middle East and throughout the world (and has indeed helped bring about a situation where withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is practicable in the near future without handing victory to Islamic fundamentalists).
I am not saying I support the surge in US troops in Afghanistan. This measure could undo a lot of the good that Obama has done already, and with hardly any trade but opium, there is little option for the Afghani people but to fight US and British forces. What I am saying is that the old Marxist analysis of US imperialism being the biggest enemy needs to be abandoned and political positions adopted based on what helps create a better world. [Militant was less dogmatic than the SWP and analysed what position to take on each issue based on what practically made socialism more likely, but I see little sign from afar that the Socialist Party today has drawn sufficient lessons from the new world situation.]
The most positive contribution I can make, and have already made in a letter to the Weekly Worker (in January 2009), is suggest that negotiation between the Obama administration and Iran would be the most positive proposal as far as improving relations between the West and Muslims and achieving peace throughout the Middle East. I pointed out that Obama is more left-wing than Tony Blair was, and even New Labour under Blair negotiated peace in Northern Ireland. No agreement between the Bush administration and the Iranian regime, even if they had been willing to reach one, could possibly have been in the interests of the ordinary Iranian people because neither side would have borne their interests in mind. Blair was able to reach an agreement with Sinn Féin (and other parties) that was reasonably satisfactory to ordinary Irish people that would have been impossible under the Tories. That agreement was denounced by Marxists due to it not resulting in a united Ireland, but few would regard it as a negative development today.
I now feel that, after Obama’s victory and a number of things I have done which I consider may have been crucial (including publishing the code of my artificial intelligence/simulation language SDML as open source software to guard against the danger of any conspirators becoming our new oppressors using computer modelling), I am in the fourth stage of my life where some sort of reasonably good solution to the world’s problems will happen, and that I no longer need to worry about some sort of catastrophe for the human race. Part of this optimism is due to confidence that I will do whatever is necessary; indeed, writing the introduction to this autobiography (and later the rest of it) has been part of my plan for ensuring things work out. I have been wary of publicising this optimism too widely, because a fatalistic attitude can hamper attempts to get people to take action (and I subconsciously sabotaged the prospects of socialists at the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections somewhat by emailing widely the fatalistic lyrics of the first version of my song “The World Is Planned” shortly before those elections), but I see little danger in being honest about these views at this point in this introduction. I am not arguing from a fatalistic viewpoint – I have adopted some religious views about the importance of free will, and I believe that free will is incompatible with what Marxists call “materialism” (that lies at the basis of their theory and which is known by philosophers as “determinism”), and the free will of all sentient beings will determine the sort of good society that comes about. In any case, many readers of this will disagree with some or most of my analysis and take action to help avoid a catastrophe – for instance through nuclear war, global warming, bird flu or a racial war based on genes (which I have specifically warned about with regard to the J Craig Venter Institute’s discovery of artificial bacteria and their suggestion that they could release such bacteria to stop global warming).
Despite my support for Obama, it is clear that he is desperately trying to rescue US capitalism from the massive crisis it is in, commonly referred to as “the credit crunch”. His bailout of the banks benefits ordinary people far more than Bush’s bailout, but it is necessary (just as Gordon Brown’s bailouts in Britain have been necessary) to avoid an imminent financial meltdown.
I will finish writing this introduction soon, in time for the G20 summit in London and demonstrations taking place in the run-up to and during that event, starting with a mass demonstration on Saturday the 28th of March supported by the TUC and many individual trade unions, plus a number of charities and campaigning organisations (see www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk for details). I plan to produce printed booklets of this introduction for sale at a cheap price (all proceeds to the Foundation for Proportional Representation-based Socialism) as well as updating the Revolution Destroyed? website and distributing the new introduction by email and putting it on various internet forums.
I need to develop a better understanding of capitalist economics and alternative economic strategies for the left to put forward in opposition to the G20 leaders. To aid that task, I plan to attend discussions on economic crisis at a Communist Students public meeting (Wed 11 March, 6.30pm, Meeting Room 1, Manchester University Student Union) and a Manchester Convention of the Left meeting with representatives invited from various organisations (Mon 16 March, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester) plus a Steady State Economics teach-in (Wed 18 March, 7pm, Meeting Room 1, basement of Manchester University Student Union).