Monday, November 27, 2006

The Militant tendency

There are some on the wild world of blogging who are very hostile to all things Trotskyist.

The best example of the most successful revolutionary group in the UK was the Ted Grant-led Militant tendency during the 1970's and the 1980's.
The Militant tendency grew from a few hundred supporters to almost 10,000 at one point. This organisation was more successful than any Stalinist, Maoist, or even Labourite organisation. They recruited raw working class yooff from the housing estates and trade unionits as well.
I shall be commenting on their rise and fall in the next few days and also on why I think a groiup that everyone commonly agrees had quite an austere image was able to do so well.
Coming from a working class rail and agricultural background, and also with a "Methodee" (methodist) slant, I have some views on this that many of the more middle class intellectuals and some working class pees may disagree with!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A story of a fabled land far far away... part X

Here is a scene from the meeting of the grand Counsel of Avalon--a number of noblemen and women listen attentively to speeches.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A story of a fabled land far far away... part IX

The day was a new day and so the gallant knights of the Oblong table assembled. They had as their main adviser Louise of the round table even as they sat around their oblong table in the halls of celestis.

Louise of the round table (left)

The knights of the oblong table sat in a side room with Louise of the Round table. There they would discuss the important issues of the days that affected the workers of Avalon.
They were very busy discussing the future and then they took advice from Gwendolen of Goswell. They sat round chewing the cud and came to the conclusion that there were many things that they needed to sell off to raise money to pay their counsellors allowances.
They decided that they would raise money by selling off three big buildings where children lived.
One of these was in the neighbouring burgh of Camelot. It was a very rich area with big houses that would fetch many millions when sold.

The knights decided that they would sell the homes and then decided that they would sell their homecare services to a private sector.
Gwendolen of Goswell sat with the others and said that: "the bottom line is that we need to sell the services to the private sector as cheaper is better!"

Gwendolen of Goswell and the other senior officers sat down together to discuss what to do. They were Andy of Manchester; Helen of Highbury; Paul of Barnsbury; Mike of the money; Richard of the hills and dales; and Kevin of the vale.
These learned folk were gathered in Helen's office around Louise's round table and decided that they would advise the knights of the oblong table that they should go ahead with cheaper but better. let us find the most crap companies and sell off the public services. let us fill the coffers full and sell off the buildings. let us upset the workers and who cares, they said.

So there will be more in the next instalment...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A story of a fabled land far far away... part VIII

On this page is Merylyn of the Lanes, facing both sides at the same time as always

A story of a fabled land far far away... part VII

So the battle was to be joined: the forces of light led by the Duchess of Dalston (left), and those like Mikey the doci and Andrew of the Black Berry. They were advised Laura of the Butter Fields.

There were also others in this battle like Gary Mandrake and Vaughan from the Shires. The workers and farmers of Avalon were ready for battle.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A story of a fabled land far far away... part VI

So the crystal chandeliers that lit up the halls of Celestis, in the central thoroughfare, Lower Street, of AVALON, were lit up for Xmas. But whilst it was xmas for Gwendolen of Goswell and the senior advisors to Prince James and the other senior knights who dwelt in the corridors of Celestis, for the workers and farmers who dwelled in the province of Avalon it was a different story.

Those who worked for Mike of the Parish on Avalonian contracts were to discover that they were about to recive a nice Christmas pressy of a huge pay cut.
Gwendolen of Goswell met her friends, the Goua'ld who had (pictured left) decided that Mr Parish needed hard cash to do with it as he wished. This was a good way to up his dividends for him and his fellow system lords. The system lords had constructed Atlantis out of pure titanium.
Such a nice present for the workers and farmers of have a pay cut of 50%.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A story of a fabled land far far away... part V

And so, here is part V.

And so the People gathered up their armies. The great massed ranks of the two armies got together, one led by Andrew of Blackberry, the other by Gary Mandrake.

They went to the local tribune, Mark of the Lock(pictured right) and said: there are terrible things going on in Avalon. Please help us. You are the local tribune, it is your job to trumpet the news to all who will hear.

Mark of the Tribune then went to the steps of Celestis and there he met Gwendolyn of Goswell.
He said to her: "Gwendolyn, how would you feel if John o'the east were to slash your salary in two".
Gwendolyn said that she found this inappropriate.

John o'the East then intervened and said that the tribune were wrong to try and speak with Gwendolyn. He pointed out that the questions from Mark of the Lock were emotive.

The people's armies were assembling their joint forces. Gary Mandrake and Andrew of the Blackberry and their minions were ready for the fight.

A story of a fabled land far far away... part IV

And so the System Lords set up their home and called it Atlantis.
It was a fabulous construction, worthy of any prince or regent.

It was light years ahead of any of its competitors and the big chief, King Tony of Sedgefield had agreed to allow public money be given for this construction.
Forsooth, said Michael of the Parish, leader of the System Lords based in ancient Camulodunum where they had their base. This is a bargain, a steal at half the price!
The leaders of the System Lords, said that had made a 12% profit on their investments in Atlantis and in the Burgh of Avalon.
But, three years after their construction at Atlantis was finished they said, By Gum, we must reduce our overheads. Let us go and see the new knights of the Oblong table, and Gwendolen of Goswell.

This they did. The Counsel's advisors were very receptive, poor Parish, they said. You are living in direst poverty: you are only on a salary of £360,000 per year. The titanium walls of your construction are falling down, and yet your profits are up, let us make you an offer you cannot refuse.
They gathered together all the most sacred and clever people--including the most able legal brains like Louise of the Round Table in all of Avalon and asked the question: how do we convince the villagers and the workers and farmers that the Goua'ld are in poverty?
The biggest brains worked on it and concluded: who cares! Let us give them a large sum of money and tell them to cut the wages of the workers and peasants!
John of the East and Gwendolyn were very unhappy but said, never mind, how much do you desire o mighty Parish?

The wizard who led the Goua'ld system lords concluded: a million quid will do me nicely.
So angry were the noble opponents of Prince James that they called a full meeting of all the noblepersons. This meeting was held in the halls of Celestis.
John of the East fiercely polemicised and jousted with Catherine of the West, leader of the opposition faction of noblepeople.
Paul of Barnsbury said nothing.

There was nothing left but for the workers and farmers to fight against the advisors and their decisions and to get Andrew of the Blackberry on their side.

More in part V...

A story of a fabled land far far away...part III

Where were we?

We were looking at the story of the fabled borough of Avalon...
So what happened earlier?
Many years ago, a small group of system lords wandered down the central streets of Avalon. They found themselves near the Fields and said: "Forsooth, let us maketh an offer that that Steve the Large (then the ruler) and his main advisor, 'Merlyln of the Lane' cannot refuse. Let us tie them up for 25 years!"
They recruited a senior advisor to the Counsel, "Peter of the Bone" and a member of the Praetorian Guard "John o' the Kitchen" in their enterprise.
One day, the advisors were all gathered around the great oblong table in the gilded chambers of Avalon. The chambers were known as Celestis, City of the Gods.
It was decided that many of the Borough's old folk were living in squalor. What to do? Asked Paul of Barnsbury? Ah, said Gwendolen of Goswell (then known as Gwendolen of the Fields), let us get together and sell off the needs of the old folk.
Forsooth, they all uttered, and Merlyln of the Lane agreed. She agreed wholeheartedly and said, let us tie it up for 25 years and sell to the lowest bidder.
The people's army, led by Gary Mandrake, and Andrew of the Blackberry were in total opposition.
Gadzooks they exclaimed, let us fight this. But ther concordat was signed with a quill pen by Peter o'the Bone and Merlyn.
Merlyln was a fabulous sorceress who had faced many ways simultaneously. The workers and peasants were very upset. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth all around the Provinces. But around the oblong table Merlyln and her pals decided that Gwendolen and her advisors were right.
They announced a fabulous plan and said, hey let us sell these buildings to the System Lords.
The System Lords had a name, that name struck fear and loathing in the workers and farmers, the old people and all in health and social care, for it was The Goua'ld.

A story of a fabled land (in many parts) part II

Here is the fabled town hall of Avalon. This is the ancient, yet rotten borough presided over by those forces we refered to yesterday.
We told you of how the people of the borough, fed up with not being able to park their horse and carts anywhere in Avalon rose up in revolt and overturned Steven the large and replaced him with Prince James.
We also spoke of the famous battle of St Peter's. This was where Gary Mandrake took on Steve the large in open combat, sword in hand, and defeated Steve the large.
The workers and peasants of Avalon were deeply thrilled.
They united as never before, but as was later discovered, although there had been an internal palace coup, still the advisors to the Great Counsel stayed the same.
When there was a meeting of the full counsel, despite a reduced number of noblepersons, Prince James had the same advisors.
The Oblong Table, around which sat seven knights :
Counsellor Terry of the East
Counsellor Lucy of the Cannons
Counsellor George of Clerkenwell
Counsellor Andrew, he of St George's
Counsellor John--also of the east
Counsellor Marisha--also of Clerkenwell
Counsellor Ursula from the Junction
These prepared to do battle with the barons of the opposition.
More later

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A story of a fabled land (in many parts)

Over the next few days we will publish in several parts the tale of AVALON.

Avalon is a fabled land ruled over by Prince James and his adviser, Helen of Highbury. It was once ruled by King Steve (aka the large one).
This is a story of Prince James advisors, including Gwendolen of Goswell and Paul of Barnsbury led him astray.

It tells the tale of how the people did do battle against King Steve the large and defeated him in the famous battle of St Peter's. This was where he was vanquished along with his ally, Princess Bridget of Mortonsville.

Steve was defeated and had to hand over the reins of power to Young Jimmy. Did Jimmy know what he was getting himself into?

part two tomorrow...

More on those Albanian Goatherders

Interrogation between CPB(M-L) leader and rank and file member
Here we see a typical confrontation between a leading member of the CPB(M-L), on the right, with her leader in hand, and a party member who has dared to question the will of the leadership.
I am convinced this organisation is from another planet!
The question in my mind, amd as I am sure that Micky will be reading this, is where do we know one another from? Also, the book about comrade Reg is something that I bought and actually read from cover to cover. It is actually interesting believe it or not. I don't want to offend my Maoist relatives here. I woke up the other morning to face a piccy of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. I am sad that comrade Micky was so nasty about Ted Grant though.

I gather that Micky H and I are acquainted with one another... I did get rid of all the anoraks and jackets by the way and kept the archive file of Labour News dear editor...

(all pictures taken from Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis are copyrighted to MGM Television)

Bannister Boo Cats

Here is Luci and my Lleucu. Taken when we first got our two young small furry people!!

Having a juice in Brighton

Here we have Luci reading over a fresh juice in a juice bar in Brighton.


Luci in the Boston snow

This fabulous picture is of my Luci in Boston a few years ago.
Why don't we have snow like this?


So, who are these "Albanian Goatherders"?

So, who are these "Albanian Goatherders"?
(The picture above shows two Albanian
goatherders interrogating a member of the UNISON United Left)

Many years ago in my dark and distant past, when I was a supporter of the trotskyist group, the Lambertists (see, there was an alliance with the Albanian Goatherders (the CPB/M-L). This was around Maastricht and a newspaper called Labour News.

The following sparked a debate in Bob Pitt's journal, What Next (

Towards an Assessment of Lambertism

WHILE BELIEVING that What Next? is a good journal with a valid contribution to make and a valuable role to play in the development of Marxism today, that does not mean that I do not have disagreements of a quite serious nature with it. One such disagreement is with the journal’s failure to deal adequately with the politics of the Lambertist current, a subject close to my heart as I spent several years of my political life around that current and think a reasoned debate on its faults might be quite fruitful.

My purpose is not to uncritically defend the politics of "Lambertism" (as it is commonly known, after the historical leader of this current, Pierre Lambert), but rather to offer an alternative perspective to the usual denunciations by Phil Hearse – now a political renegade in exile in Mexico – or Earl Gilman, as well as former members of Lambert’s own group such as André Langevin or Pierre Broué (who, though a noted Trotskyist historian, dumped the Fourth International years ago!).

Whilst there are millions of workers and militants in this country who have never heard of the Lambertists, there are nonetheless many so-called revolutionary socialists around who are out to smash them. One must ask the question "why?" Why do certain people in this country fear the Lambertist current so much? What is it that causes a problem for so many British left groups?

Although it is clear that the theoreticians of the Fourth International/International Centre of Reconstruction (FI/ICR) in Paris are quite capable of defending themselves, they are not in a position to argue with the left here, as their main theoreticians are based in France and in the USA. Sometimes they send their "emissaries from France" to meet with the trade unionists and MPs that they are engaged in "united front work" with, but their small numbers dictate that it is almost impossible to engage in debate with the British far left.

It is far more important to have an orientation to the labour movement than to the Diaspora of the fifty different tiny Trotskyist currents. However, this means that attacks against the Lambertists are allowed to go unanswered within the far left in Britain.
A recent "study" entitled This Strange Mister Blondel, published by Bartillat Editions and written in the name of one Christophe Bourseiller, purports to "dish the inside dope" on the Lambertists. The book, which is meant to be about Marc Blondel, the leader of the CGT-Force Ouvrière trade union, was reviewed in Workers’ Liberty by Martin Thomas, who used it to mount his own attack on the FI/ICR. In the same journal an anti-Maastricht rally organised by the Lambertists in London in 1997 was reported by Colin Foster under the sneering title "The Circus Is Coming to Town".

There also needs to be a response to the pieces carried previously in the pages of What Next? by Bob Pitt in issue No.4 ("Stalinophobia and the SLP"), by Martin Sullivan in No.5 ("In Defence of Al Richardson") and by Earl Gilman/Jack Davis in No.11 ("A Lambertist Conference in San Francisco"), all of which are heavily critical of the Lambertists.

If the FI/ICR ignores such attacks in the journals of the British far left, it is because it has more important opponents to deal with. In France the FI/ICR section has in recent years been savagely attacked on at least four occasions. The first was by Pierre Broué in 1987. Then Munir and Samir Mansour attacked it in 1993 over its positions in relation to Palestine – something with direct ramifications, as Munir was a prisoner in Ramlah jail and his family was financially supported by the FI/ICR at the time. The third recent attack was also in 1993, by a Morenoist faction within the FI/ICR led by Pedro Carrasquedo, who denounced Lambert quite savagely in the leftist press for his opposition to ETA’s bombing campaign in the Basque country. And the most recent attack was by Bourseiller in the book mentioned above. The French USec grouping, the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, which continually attacks the Lambertists, has a good 2,000 members. They and Lutte Ouvrière recently had 5 MEPs elected to the European Parliament.
The attacks on the FI/ICR in What Next? are quite problematic to deal with. They are based not a reasoned critique but on gossip and innuendo. If comrades wishing to engage were to criticise the Lambertists for their work with the supporters of the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), or for their lack of activity within the Campaign for a Fighting Democratic Unison, this would be helpful. Instead we get tales of rumours, and rumours of rumours.
According to people I know in the FI/ICR, there is a debate within its ranks over what the leadership mean by defence of "national sovereignty" in relation to the Maastricht issue. We should be engaging the Lambertists on these subjects. How is it they can ally with a Maoist group whose catch phrase is "Rebuilding Britain"? A group who have had members on the NEC of Unison (Moz Greenshields) and NATFHE (Geoff Woolf and Jacqui Johnson among others) but done nothing to build the left?

The one thing that should be said of the Lambertist international current is that they are growing. How can people criticise them for that? Especially small groups of two or three people! The French section of the FI/ICR has some 4,000 members, and the broad Workers Party (PT), of which it forms the core, has about 6,500 members. We are talking about an organisation that is considerably larger than anything currently existing in Britain. The Lambertists are not building a "cult of mystical influence" as Bourseiller and Martin Thomas claim they are. Thomas’s own group is stagnant – at what, 200 supporters maybe? – and split over the Labour Party. That is not exactly a prescription for us all to follow!

The International Liaison Committee, the body set up in 1991 by the First Open World Conference held in Barcelona, also seems to be growing and is possibly the largest regroupment of its kind since the Movement for Socialism (MAS) in Argentina. The 1991 Conference was attended by representatives of significant forces embarking on a process of wide regroupment at an international level. These forces included expelled leaders of the Brazilian Communist Party, representatives from the Soviet Union, Palestine, the USA, most European countries and other places where the FI/ICR had a presence. It included many forces not close to the FI/ICR. This process has broadened and deepened and a Fourth Open World Conference is taking place in San Francisco in March 2000.

There has been a significant growth in the last eight years in the numbers attracted to the projects of the Lambertist current. This is a fact – not an opinion! They have recruited a large number of militants and fractions that are breaking from the Stalinist and Social Democratic milieu – not least recently on the issue of opposition to Maastricht and around the welfare state strikes in 1996. Only in January 1999 there was a conference in the northern area of the Pais de Calais on this very issue.
The Lambertists have also recently begun to produce a regular newsletter or bulletin of the partisans of the Fourth International. This has begun with a number on the Labour Party and the 1997 general election, followed by one on the Northern Ireland Peace Accords and a third on the need for a working class solution in the Balkans.

The Fourth Internationalist Bulletin on the Labour Party contains a very reasoned defence of why militants should work within the Labour Party – a much more positive approach than that of many left groups in Britain today. The piece explains the position of the Lambertists in the aftermath of the election of the first Labour Government in 18 years. It analyses the rise of Blairism and goes as far as explaining how they see the development of a potential split in the British Labour Party. The document goes on to explain how such a split in the Labour Party can open up huge opportunities for worker militants but also what the role of Trotskyists should be in relation to it. It defends positions similar to the ones articulated by some people associated with What Next?, among others, in seeing the importance of the trade union-Labour Party link.
Although their analysis was written a year or so ago, it clearly stands in stark contradistinction to those who have jumped off the edge of the political world into the fantasy island of the so-called Socialist Alliances. It underlines the important point that comrades who are committed to building an open organisation and comrades inside the Labour Party organising to defeat Blairism should not put up artificial barriers against collaboration.

The Lambertists may or may not be all the things their critics in other organisations such as the USec say they are. It may be that they did or didn’t do all the things their enemies accuse them of! In any case, political currents can change – they are not set in stone. Like people, they develop with experience. Indeed, a number of healthy critiques of Lambertism have been written by their own supporters, such as François DeMassott and Jean-Jacques Marie.
There is a need to reassess the place of Marxism in today’s world – not in the contemptuous manner in which Blair speaks of the traditions of the Labour Party, but in a way that will take us all forward in the current period. One must assess what it is that the far left seeks to achieve in the conditions before us today.

Is our task to be one of abstract propagandism ... a la Militant circa the 1980s? When they were confronted with the realities of power on a local level they flunked it big time (just look at the debacle of Liverpool). Or, do we seek to construct a world-wide party based on the transitional method that is capable of helping the working class to resist the hammer blows being rained on it by the capitalist class? The recent war in the Balkans clearly illustrates for us that the choice facing humanity is one of socialism or barbarism. You can follow the new realist path of New Labour into the realm of barbarism or resist.

Those on the far left who continue to bury their heads in the political sand, quoting from the great texts but keeping their banners bright and sparkly clean, will achieve nothing. We cannot advance without trying our best, with our limited resources compared to the capitalists, to build mass socialist organisations in every country. No-one ever said this was going to be easy!
Whatever happens to the far left, and those who talk good socialism or write good theory, the working class always finds ways and means to resist. In this respect, organisations come and go, and in the last 60 years a lot have gone. Surely our role as Marxists is to try and orientate ourselves within the actually existing labour movement – as it is, not as we wish it to be – putting our politics on the basis of democracy and letting the working class movement decide: "The emancipation of the working class will be the task of the workers themselves."

Frank Wainwright

Who are the Ancients?

Who are the Ancients?

On the planet P3X-972 (also known as Ernest's Planet and later redesignated PB2-908), Daniel was shown a library room which had the writings of four alien races on its walls. In the center of the room was a device which projected a universal language written with pictoral depictions of the basic elements (of the periodic table). Daniel was so excited by the discovery of this language and database, calling it the "meaning of life stuff," that he was willing to risk being stranded on the planet for an indefinite period of time just to study its contents. He was pursuaded to leave, but the database and all it contained were lost when the building they were in collapsed, sending the Stargate into the ocean. (1.11 "The Torment Of Tantalus")

Daniel recognized the writings of one of the four races from P3X-972 as that which belonged to the Asgard, based on his experiences on Cimmeria with Thor's Hammer (1.10 "Thor's Hammer"). When a probe returned results from the planet P3R-272 which had images of writings which matched those of one of the four races, Daniel suggested that if the race were an ally to the Asgard, then it was possible they'd be helpful in Earth's war against the Goa'uld. Based on this proposal, SG-1 went to the planet and there, Jack inadvertently took a download from a Repository of Knowledge. Jack began to read the inscription in a form of Latin similar to Medieval Latin. He also input several new Stargate addresses into the SGC's dialing computer database (those not on the Abydos Cartouche discovered by Daniel in the episodes, 1.01 "Children Of The Gods Part 1", 1.02 "Children Of The Gods Part 2"). Jack helped Daniel translate more of the inscription which revealed the identity of the race: "We are the Ancients." Based on these clues, Daniel studied the Roman histories and made the assumption that it was the "ancient ones" who actually built the Stargate network: "See, the Romans were the first real road builders. They spoke Latin and they learned to build roads from the gods, known as the Ancient Ones. Roads. Stargates. The Gate builders. What if these Ancients were the alien race who invented the Stargate?" (2.16 "The Fifth Race")
Jack used the Ancient knowledge to build a power supply which would enable the SGC to connect to a Stargate in another galaxy. Using this device, he introduced the SGC to an eight-symbol Stargate address, the "extra" symbol adding a distance calculation to the standard seven-symbol address (six points in space and a point of origin). He dialed the homeworld of the Asgard, Othala in the Ida Galaxy, and the Asgard removed the knowledge of the Ancients from Jack's mind. This meeting with the Asgard, as well as the one with Thor on Cimmeria (2.06 "Thor's Chariot"), helped to solidify Earth's alliance with this highly advanced race. This alliance proved to be extremely beneficial in the saving of many lives in several galaxies. (2.16 "The Fifth Race")
Daniel's theory about the "ancient ones" being the builders of the Stargates, those spoken of in Roman histories who spoke a form of Latin, was proved by the Asgard when Jack met them on Othala. The Asgard said that the Ancients moved from "our region of space long ago." The alliance of four great races was created "millennia ago" and included the Ancients, the Asgard, the Furlings, and the Nox. (2.16 "The Fifth Race")
Several million years ago, the race of humans known as the Altera left their home galaxy because another group of humans of their society, called the Ori, were attempting to kill them. The Altera and Ori were on the evolutionary path toward ascension, the shedding of the physical body to live as a form of energy on a higher plane of existence, and a great philosophical rift concerning ascension developed between them. The Altera took a scientific approach toward ascension while the Ori attached a religious aspect to it, calling it the Path to Enlightenment, because ascension gave one greater knowledge and understanding of the universe. Eventually, the Ori grew so extreme in their beliefs that they sought to wipe out the Altera. Instead of engaging in a war, the Altera fled. They traveled thousands of years before they found a new home in the Milky Way Galaxy. They called their new home "Avalon" and built the Stargate network (they called them "Astria Porta"). The exact time that the Altera, known as the Ancients in this galaxy, left their home galaxy is not yet known, but they could have had a presence in this galaxy as long ago as 50 millions years. This was Carter's estimation of the lifespan of the power crystal technology used in the Dial Home Device (DHD) found with the second Stargate in the Antarctic. This DHD's power ran out not long after it was discovered. Her estimates, however, cannot be used to conclusively state that the Stargate and DHD found in Antarctica were original to that location—they could have been moved there at some later date. (1.18 "Solitudes", 6.04 "Frozen", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")
During their search for the Lost City of the Ancients and after Jack took a second download from the Repository of Knowledge on P3X-439, Jack led SG-1 to a planet called Praclarush Taonas. This planet had been buried in molten lava for at least a million years, according to Carter's estimates. Still, however, the Outpost remained, having been protected by a domed-shaped force field. Jack took the team to the Taonas Outpost to retrieve a Zero Point Module (ZPM), an advanced power source which would be used to activate powerful weapons in the Antarctic Outpost to destroy Anubis' attacking fleet. While sitting in the command chair at the Taonas Outpost, Jack displayed a map which showed the Ancients' domain in the Milky Way Galaxy, and then zoomed in on Earth to indicate the location of Terra Atlantis, the Lost City of the Ancients. The map which Jack projected, however, did not account for 30 million years of continental drift. It was not clear if this age was indicative of how long ago the database at the Taonas Outpost was abandoned or how old the Repository of Knowledge information was which Jack was using. It does hint, however, that Terra Atlantis, the city-ship Atlantis on the planet Terra, might have been located on Earth as long ago as 30 million years. (7.21 "Lost City Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City Part 2")
Also discovered in Antarctica was a frozen woman, Ayiana. She miraculously revived herself after being thawed out by the scientists assigned to study the location where the Antarctic Stargate was found. Based on their preliminary ice core sample readings, the scientists estimated that Ayiana had been frozen in the ice for at least three million years. Ayiana's discovery led them to conclude that she was an Ancient. They were surprised that she was nearly human, but she did possess abilities which humans currently do not have, one being the ability to heal through touch. Whenever Ayiana used this ability, she drained herself until, ultimately, she could not heal herself of the plague which she carried and spread to the SGC personnel at the research facility. Ayiana died at the SGC base. When Jack took the download from the Repository of Knowledge the second time, he carried it longer than he did from his first experience. He demonstrated the ability to heal by touch in the same manner as Ayiana. (6.04 "Frozen", 7.21 "Lost City Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City Part 2")
The plague which killed off many of the Ancients had been speculated about over the course of SG-1's first years of exploration, but wasn't a definite event until Daniel discovered a tablet on Abydos written in one of the oldest dialects of the Ancients' language. This tablet provided some additional information about the Ancients who lived in the Milky Way Galaxy: the Ancients were a race of humans who lived long before us; some of them learned to ascend to a higher plane of existence; those who did not ascend died of the plague. From this tablet, Daniel concluded that the collective of Ascended Beings known as The Others, were the ascended Ancients. (6.22 "Full Circle")
The tablet discovered on Abydos did not tell the story of a third group of Ancients who lived in the Milky Way Galaxy, those who lived in the city-ship known as Atlantis, but it did refer to their Lost City which had powerful weapons. When Daniel did research at the Antarctic Outpost, he estimated that these Ancients left Earth five to ten million years ago. Viewers are given the additional information that Ayiana was present when Atlantis left, watching her people leave from her station at the Antarctic Outpost. Since Ayiana was a carrier of the plague which killed off many of the Ancients, it can be assumed that the plague swept through the galaxy sometime between five and ten millions years ago as well. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1")
Daniel did not know the exact reasons why the Ancients left for the Pegasus Galaxy, but he suggested the following: to escape the plague, to start over, or to seek out new life in a new galaxy. Once the Atlantis Expedition Team entered Atlantis, they started to explore the great city-ship. They discovered a holographic recording made by a female Ancient who explained why they had come to the Pegasus Galaxy: to seed the galaxy with "new life where there appeared to be none." This seeding resulted in the creation of the Wraith, an insect-human hybrid which evolved from a life-sucking bug and the human DNA which the Ancients introduced into the galaxy. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1", 1.02 "Rising Part 2")
The Ancients who lived in the city-ship Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy returned to Earth 10,000 years ago. These Ancients were the last survivors of the city-dwellers and left because they were under siege by the Wraith who had grown into a powerful, technologically advanced race. They sank the city-ship in the ocean on the planet Lantia which they used as their homeworld in the Pegasus Galaxy and escaped through the Stargate back to Earth, never to return to Atlantis. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1", 1.15 "Before I Sleep")

The Ancients influenced the development of Earth both directly and indirectly through the use of their left-over technology.
After the plague swept throughout the Milky Way Galaxy, Jim/Anubis said that the Ancients used the weapon on Dakara to reseed life in the galaxy "some million odd years" ago. He did not elaborate further concerning which group of Ancients used this weapon, if at all (consider that the source of the information was an evil, deceptive, half-ascended Goa'uld). If this weapon was indeed used to reseed the galaxy with new life, then it can be reasonably concluded that the Stargate on Earth was used during that reseeding, since the weapon's energy wave was more effective when used through the Stargate and the human form has been considered to have evolved solely from Earth in this galaxy. (1.03 "The Enemy Within", 8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads")
The Ancients also did research on ascension which Anubis discovered and used to trick Oma Desala into helping him to ascend when he found her on the planet Kheb (8.18 "Threads"). Oma Desala, whose name means Mother Nature, might have influenced Earth religions and philosophies through her ability to control nature and her teachings concerning the worthiness of the soul of those who sought enlightenment through ascension (akin to Zen Buddhism) (3.20 "Maternal Instinct").
The Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago from the Pegasus Galaxy probably spread the legend of the Lost City of Atlantis to the Greeks and influenced the Romans with their language and knowledge. Some of these Ancients lived for thousands of years and built the underground caverns of "Avalon" in the Glastonbury Tor in the present-day United Kingdom. One of those Ancients, named Myrddin, influenced the King Arthur legends as the wizard Merlin. It was from a book stored with the treasures of Avalon that Daniel Jackson discovered the story of the Altera and of their finding a new home in the Milky Way Galaxy. These Altera were the progenators of the Ancients. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1")
Also, those who returned to Earth from the Pegasus Galaxy might be the reason that there are some humans of Earth today who have the Ancient gene which performs as a key to unlock most of the Ancients' technology. They never returned to Atlantis, but some of them most likely left Earth through the Stargate to other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. (2.16 "The Fifth Race", 8.13 "It's Good To Be King"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep")
In the thousands of years of Anubis' life (at least 10,000 years, if Ra's lifetime is taken under consideration), there existed an Ancient device discovered by the Goa'uld Telchak which had great healing abilities. Anubis went into battle with Telchak and defeated him, but he never discovered the location of this device which Telchak used to fashion the first sarcophagus. Telchak is thought to have been on Earth during the Mayan civilization (circa 900 B.C.-1000 A.D.) and impersonated Chac, the Mayan god of rain. It is believed that his use of the Telchak Device and the writings describing where the device was hidden (near a waterfall) were what spawned the Fountain of Youth myth. (7.11 "Evolution Part 1", 7.12 "Evolution Part 2")
The Goa'uld's use of Ancient technology, namely the Stargate network, enabled them to enslave humans from Earth all over the galaxy. These Goa'uld, in turn, influenced Earth's development when many of them took on the identities of the ancient gods from Egyptian, Canaanite, Celtic, Chinese, Hindu, Greek, Mayan, and Japanese cultures, among many others.
After discovering an Ancient intergalactic communications device in the treasures of Avalon, Daniel Jackson formed a psychic link with a villager of Ver Ager on the planet thought to be the original home of the Ancients (when they were known as the Altera). What he discovered was that the Alterans who had ascended to become The Others had kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy a secret from the Ori who had also ascended. The Ori have created a religion which dictates that they be worshipped as humanity's creators and gods and promise ascension to the faithful, although they never intend to help their devotees to ascend. If anyone rejects the Ori, the Ori will destroy them. Daniel thought that since the Ori manifest themselves in a wall of fire and fire is the icon of the religion, called Origin, that the Ancients might have influenced Earth's religions to associate fire with demonic aspects as a way to warn humanity of the Ori's evil intent. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")

Notable Characters

Ayiana - She was left behind when the city-ship Atlantis left Earth from the Antarctic five to ten million years ago. She stayed at the Antarctic Outpost, but somehow ended up near the Stargate and froze there. She was recovered and revived by research scientists, but she died soon thereafter. (6.04 "Frozen")
Janus - He was one of the Ancients who left Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy 10,000 years ago and returned to Earth. He built a timeship which was used by one version of the Atlantis Expedition Team to save the city and the Team when they first set foot on Atlantis. That timeship was destroyed 10,000 years ago in the Pegasus Galaxy, but it is possible that Janus built another timeship and used it in the Milky Way Galaxy since the timeship found on Harry Maybourne's planet looked identical in its design. (8.13 "It's Good To Be King", Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep")
Merlin - He was one of the Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago from the Pegasus Galaxy and built the underground caverns of Avalon in the Glastonbury Tor to store Ancient writings and technology. The writings, in the form of a storybook, revealed the name of the Ancients as the Altera when they left their home galaxy millions of years ago. The technology was used by Daniel Jackson to discover the existence of the Ancient's ascended rivals, the Ori. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")
Oma Desala - Her name means Mother Nature and she chose to help humans ascend through her teachings of worthiness. She helped Daniel Jackson ascend and gave him a second chance at ascension about two years after his return to human form. Oma helped the Goa'uld Anubis ascend and The Others punished her by forcing her to watch Anubis wreak havoc and destruction throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. The Others wished for her to take responsibility for helping to ascend an evil being such as Anubis, but she chose to try to make up for it by continuing to help "those beneath" whom she felt were worthy to ascend. Finally, Oma realized what she had to do and engaged herself in an eternal struggle against Anubis to occupy him and prevent him from destroying all life in the Milky Way Galaxy as part of his "grand design." (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 5.21 "Meridian", 8.18 "Threads")
Orlin - As one of the Ascended Ancients, he shared his knowledge with the people of Velona and they built a powerful weapon which they used to destroy the Goa'uld who was attacking their world. After that, the Velonans decided to use the weapon on other planets. At that point, The Others destroyed Velona and the weapon was rendered inoperable. Orlin was banished to the planet as punishment for his interference. He stayed alone there for about 400 years until he returned to Earth with SG-1. He made amends with The Others by sacrificing his newly-taken human form to prevent the SGC from powering up the weapon and he was accepted back into the collective by being permitted to ascend once more. Orlin retook human form for a second time in order to help humanity stop the Ori from gaining more power in the ascended planes, something which could result in cosmic chaos. (5.03 "Ascension", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")
Asgard, Furlings, Nox - At one point, the Ancients were joined in an alliance comprised of these four great races. This alliance was formed a very long time ago, but now it no longer exists. (1.11 "The Torment Of Tantalus", 2.16 "The Fifth Race")
The Others - Those Ancients who learned how to ascend joined a collective of other Ascended Beings to establish rules of how they interact with the corporeal plane. It was recently revealed that The Others are not all ascended Ancients. (5.03 "Ascension", 6.06 "Abyss", 6.22 "Full Circle", 7.20 "Inauguration", 8.03 "Lockdown", 8.16 "Threads")

Within the Milky Way Galaxy itself, there are no known enemies of the Ancients, but they did build powerful weapons long ago which must have been needed to defend against some other great military power.
Ori - The Ascended Beings known as the Ori are philosophical rivals of The Others who are the ascended Ancients (aka the Altera). The Alterans kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy a secret from the Ori, who live in the Alteran's home galaxy, as a form of protection because the Ori will destroy all those who reject them as their creators and gods. The Ori gain more power in the ascended planes through the surrender of man's free will. Unfortunately, humanity's existence in the Milky Way Galaxy has been revealed, ironically through the use of the very technology left behind by the Alterans, and the inevitable war avoided all of those millions of years ago has now been ignited in the corporeal plane. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")
Wraith - In the Pegasus Galaxy, the Ancients were overrun by the Wraith, a race that accidently evolved when they seeded that galaxy with life. (Stargate Atlantis)
Episodes of Stargate SG-1 that feature the Ancients


The City of Celestis

Daniel and Vala gaze on the City of Celestis

Deathly Diversions

It's time -- but then, it's always time -- for a poem by the great Denise Levertov. Of Welsh Anglican and Russian Jewish origin, she was brought up (like me) in Ilford. In fact, she is the only person I know to have written a poem about Valentines Park.

She emigrated to the USA in her early twenties, and became a leading feminist and anti-war poet. This example, written at the height of the Vietnam War, is still powerful and relevant.

Deathly Diversions

In dark slick as

plastic garbage bags,

spotlights play, color of

canned grapefruit juice . ..

Half-heroes totter

into the glare:


stalking its meat,


Each time

the same meal, monotony

of lead-tasting blood.

Catharsis blocked, America

chokes on its own

clotted tears. It is millions,

each a loner.


bellies keep swelling,

limbs dwindle

to bone, famine

drags its feet over continents.

And meanwhile,

screened from half-heroes' ritual mourners

by smoke of their little fires,

their beguiled attention fixed

on dead phantasmal presidents,

innocuous dead singers,

and unheard while they wail, ‘give peace a chance,’

vaster catastrophes

are planned.


Daniel Jackson (played by Michael Shanks) meets the amazing Doci of the Ori (played by guest star Julian Sands) in front of the flames of enlightenment.


The fabulous city of the god's: Celestis.
This is the home to the Ori, the ascended beings who have set themselves up as god's (sound familiar?).
As seen in season 9 of Stargate SG-1.

The Ashes

The Ashes about to start!

So, the winter is here and cricket is upon us!

We are in for another winter of discontent as England, full of old crocks, get smashed by the revamped Aussies.

Anyone want to have a bet on how badly they do? If only they had appointed Andrew Strauss as captain!


More Albanian Goathearders

Reg Birch founded the Association of British Goatherders, better known as the Communist party of Britain (Marxist Leninist).

The great worker-leader has a biographical hagiography out written by Will Podmore.
I enclose the blurb about the book. harold Wilson famously remarked he got half one down the first page of marx's Capital before falling asleep...I can assure you that the back page blurb will do it with this book...

New Book
June 2004 is the 10th anniversary of the death of Reg Birch, founding Chairman of the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
In commemoration of his life, Reg Birch: engineer, trade unionist, communist by Will Podmore has now been published.
Steeped in the industrial battleground of the Park Royal, the largest concentration of engineering workers in the country — for half a century Reg Birch led the struggles of the industrial working class and founded Britain's first genuine Communist Party.
The following is taken from the Introduction to the book:
This political life of Reg Birch, engineer, trade unionist and communist, written to mark the occasion of the 90th anniversary of his birth and the 10th anniversary of his death, is much more than the story of one individual, however great. The facts about when he lived, where he lived and how he lived, make this a story about the British industrial working class during its highest level of organisation so far. We see this through the thought and actions of man who was in the thick of the working class struggle as a fighter and leader, and who was able to see and analyse it clearly in all its progressiveness and backwardness.
This account of Reg's political life and unique record of his speeches and articles does more than describe the ebb and flow of the ongoing war between those who create value by their work, and those who create nothing themselves but live by exploiting the work of others. It is also a story of British communism in its context of radically changing Britain and the world, illustrating its roots and the soil it grew in, and its development in the 20th century.
As described in the book, Reg discouraged biographers. Nevertheless, an account of his life and thought is needed. He made a huge contribution that impacts still. This political life is written not to survey the past, but in our need to look forwards and consider where we are going. For the 21st-century reader, Reg's story provokes reflection about the tactics and strategy of struggle, about working class morality, about the place of communism in a modern Britain, and about the very future of our nation.
The book can be ordered now by printing out and completing this form and sending it with the required payment to the address shown on the form.

Gerry joins the Blogosphere

My old mate Gerry Downing has a new blog. he doesn't have much up on it yet, but good luck to him.
Please take a look at his site.



Trots in Space

Juan R Posadas was no ordinary Trotskyite; socialists from outer space, the benefits of nuclear war and communication with dolphins were all part of his revolutionary programme. Matt Salusbury tells the story of one of the World’s strangest political thinkers.

We think of UFO cults, typically, as being naïve, fancy-dress Californian affairs, scary religious Doomsday sects, or even neo-Nazi groups convinced that flying saucers operate from a secret Antarctic base. But there was one UFO cult at the opposite end of the political spectrum: a Trotskyite UFO cult.

They called themselves the Posadists after their founder Juan R Posadas and, like many UFO cults, they bore a fierce loyalty to their “dear master”.1 They believed that close encounters were evidence of superior socialist civilisations from Earth’s future. Their bizarre belief in flying saucers was not channelled to them by some tackily-named space entity but “theoretically informed” by Marx and Trotsky, and was for them a logical extension of Marxist dialectical materialism. Posadas wrote: “We will travel to planets millions of light years away under a Socialist society.”

Their founder was a leading light of Latin American Trotskyism, one of a select group running the Fourth International (see ‘Posadism for Beginners’ side bar) after Leon Trotsky’s death. Alongside their esoteric texts on “flying saucers, the process of matter and energy, science, the revolutionary class struggle and the Socialist future of humanity,” 2 they also preached more orthodox Marxism and strove tirelessly to bring about world revolution. Posadist Fourth International affiliates worked to organise trade unions, often operating clandestinely under dictatorships. Some ‘comrades’ even lost their lives in the struggle.

To be fair, the Posadist Fourth International did not start out as a UFO cult. Trotsky went into exile in Mexico in 1938 and worked closely with Latin American Marxists to set up the International. These contacts included Argentina’s Partido de la Revolución Socialista, which was affiliated to the Fourth International from 1941. Among its activists was Comrade Juan R Posadas.

Details of Posadas’ life outside the Party are now hard to come by. If he had a family, he kept quiet about it. Being a top Trotskyite was a life-threatening occupation at the time, so it was wise to be a bit coy about personal details. Pseudonyms were common in Posadas’ circles, and the Posadist Fourth International gave the venue of their congresses as ‘Europe’. The Posadists were understandably camera-shy too. We know that Juan Posadas was born Homero Cristalli in Argentina in 1912, and that he was of Italian origin. A labourer, a shoemaker and a professional footballer for La Plata Estudientes at various points of his life, he organised a shoemakers’ and leather workers’ union in Cordoba, Argentina, in the 1930s. 3

At some time in the 1930s, he stood as a Partido Socialista Obrero candidate in the elections for Buenos Aires Province, capitalising on his fame as a footballer 4 and quickly gained a reputation for long-winded discourse. The Argentinian Trotskyite Librorio Justo recalled attending a 1940s meeting in which Posadas tried to win over Justo’s faction with a sustained attack on him, lasting “for several hours”. 5

Posadas gathered Latin American affiliates to the Fourth International under the Montevideo-based Latin American Bureau. These Latin American Trotskyite parties had some clout among trade unions, especially Cuban railway workers, Bolivian tin miners and agricultural workers in Brazil. Latin American Posadist parties were accepted as part of the mainstream Trotskyite Fourth International until its Third World Congress – its final congress as a united body – in 1951. With splits already forming, Posadas was part of a commission attempting, without success, to reunite the International’s quarrelling factions.

A sizeable Pabloist section split from the Fourth International in 1953, taking with it Posadas’ still relatively mainstream Latin American Bureau. This splinter group styled itself the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, under the leadership of Michel Pablo. By 1959, Posadas was quarrelling with Pablo, denouncing his “lack of confidence”. But another factor led many top Trotskyites to dissociate themselves from Posadas’ “extreme behaviour”. In fact, many were alarmed at Posadas’ doctrine on nuclear war.

A combined “War–Revolution” to “settle the hash of Stalinism and capitalism” 6 was orthodox doctrine among the Pabloist Trotskyites. But in the hands of Posadas it became a full-blown Doomsday obsession, complete with its own Last Judgement – sinisterly referred to as “the final settlement of accounts of Socialism against the capitalist system.”
Posadist “atomic war” theory emerged at the first congress of the fully independent Fourth International (Posadist), held shortly after its definitive split with all other versions of the International in 1962. At this meeting – appropriately titled “Extraordinary Congress” – Posadas announced: “Atomic war is inevitable. It will destroy half of humanity: it is going to destroy immense human riches. It is very possible. The atomic war is going to provoke a true inferno on Earth. But it will not impede Communism.”

He later added that: “Nuclear war [equals] revolutionary war. It will damage humanity but it will not – it cannot – destroy the level of consciousness reached by it… Humanity will pass quickly through a nuclear war into a new human society – Socialism.” 7 Posadas predicted that atomic war was “the supreme opportunity for the forces of the world revolution”, which would come swiftly. “After the destruction commences, the masses are going to emerge in all countries – in a short time, in a few hours.”

The disciples were to be prepared for “the atomic quagmire that humanity will have to step over before it constructs Socialism.” The 8th World Congress had a ‘Cadre school’ with a curriculum which included “Analysis of the Atomic War, Its Consequences and the Tasks for the Post Atomic War”. 8

As time wore on, Posadist nuclear war doctrine became more impatient, demanding of the Soviets and Chinese that they hurry up and annihilate capitalism with a pre-emptive first strike right now. “Preventative war” was a doctrine briefly discussed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, but never with such urgent enthusiasm as by Posadas. China “should launch the war now… they call upon the masses of the world to take power now”, he declared in the European Marxist Review of 1968. He saw Soviet preparation for war as being “accompanied for support for the revolution. Thus, every button they press is part of the progress of history.” 9

Posadas also held the delusional view that his nuclear war doctrine had been adopted by China, declaring that: “If this intervention by fraternal solidarity unleashed war from the side of imperialism, imperialism will perish… these are our conclusions, which the Chinese also draw.” 10 By 1970, Posadists believed of China’s nuclear war strategy that “Until six months ago, the Chinese totally ignored this question. Today, they put this conclusion at the centre of their analysis, taking complete phrases from the articles of Posadas.” 11

Such appeals for pre-emptive nuclear strikes by the Communist superpowers were accompanied by a techie fanboy’s admiration for the latest Sino-Soviet nuclear hardware. The pages of the British Section’s paper Red Flag were filled with the praises of the Workers’ States’ newest nuclear weaponry: “WE SALUTE THE LAUNCHING OF THE CHINESE MISSILE WITH AN ATOMIC WARHEAD, AS A GREAT SCIENTIFIC ADVANCE OF THE WORKERS’ STATE AND A GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE WORLD MASSES.” 12

At the time of his death in 1981, Posadas was convinced that the USSR had nuclear weapons in space. The Posadists were great space travel enthusiasts, as long as the space travel achievements in question were either Soviet or Chinese. It was a short leap of the imagination from idolising the latest Soviet space vehicles to speculating about UFOs.

The pamphlet La ciencia espacial (Space Sciences) dealt with the glorious Soyuz space programme,13 while the Bolivian Section of the Posadists sent a telegram to the La Paz Soviet Embassy in October 1961: “We salute the Soviet masses. Hail the success of Soyuz and Intercosmos. Forms insoluble answer of USSR and other workers states to preparation counter-revolutionary war Yankee imperialism.”

The British Red Flag was full of over-capitalised praise for the latest flashy items of space kit: “WE SALUTE THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT OF THE USSR IN LANDING A SPACECRAFT ON VENUS,” 14 and “VIVA THE HISTORIC TRIUMPH OF THE SOVIET LUNARKHOD (sic).” 15 Such odes to space achievement are made all the more odd, appearing as they do alongside more down-to-earth concerns: “LONG LIVE THE CONTINUATION OF THE DUSTMAN’S STRIKE.” 16

It was in the heady summer of 1968 that Posadas’ stargazing tendencies finally led him to leave behind the earthbound World Revolution and turn his thoughts to “other galaxies and solar systems” where “they can eliminate the ruling class”. Posadas began to boldly go where no Marxist theory had gone before and announced that “dialectic concepts can permit the existence of UFOs and other life-forms.” 17

Just as Trotsky rejected “socialism in one country”, so Posada rejected socialism on one planet. Posada’s Les Soucoupes Volantes (Flying Saucers) opens in the baffling, tortured, long-winded style that became his hallmark: “A new ray has been discovered in the Soviet Union which is infinitely more rapid than light… This energy must have a property and strength infinitely superior to what we know.”

The pamphlet continues to lurch from cliché to cliché, bordering on incomprehensibility: “In the same way it is conceivable that a being who raises his hand and produces light, attracts, remakes and organises energy… And the forms of the social organisation could be infinitely superior,” and continues: “Even if these reports of flying saucers are fantasies, as is possible that the majority may be, many of them, their historical basis is correct… the scientific capacity of human beings is determined by their social organisation.” 18

And there is a Marxist explanation for why the UFOs visit but do not stay: “Capitalism doesn’t interest the UFO pilots, which is why they do not return. Similarly, the Soviet bureaucracy (doesn’t interest them) as they don’t have perspective.”

UFOs, predicts Posadas, will show a greater interest in us “at the moment of the collapse of the bourgeoisie and the General Strike.” Star Trek fans will recognise the similarity with the film First Contact, in which Vulcans passing Earth only show an interest in humans after they have developed warp drive.

“To draw conclusions from these problems… [it is] necessary to study attentively … The answers to these mysteries would lie in a study of Marxism,” advises Posadas. Presumably, it is necessary to study attentively in order to work out what the hell he means by other mind-boggling ideas expressed in Flying Saucers, including his conviction that elephants live for 260 years; that humans will disappear to be replaced by something else; that humans will ultimately reproduce asexually like amœbæ; 19 and the puzzling statement that the UFO phenomenon is “not an accidental, occasional concern which arises because a person two metres tall arrives, fair haired and with transparent clothes.” 20

Flying Saucers ends with a call to our extraterrestrial comrades: “We must call upon beings from other planets when they come to intervene, to collaborate with the inhabitants of the Earth to overcome misery. We must launch a call on them to use their resources to help us.”

Flying Saucers encountered instant derision from the rest of the Left. It would be easy to write it off as an aberration later ignored or ‘corrected’ by Posada’s followers, but that is simply not true. Flying Saucers appeared without comment in the British Red Flag in 1969, and was re-issued by the Posadist International’s French imprint in 1971, with an introduction which began: “We are reprinting this article by J Posadas… at a time when new social revolutions in Mozambique, Angola, Vietnam, Ethiopia, etc pass rapidly from tribalism to Socialism. On the other hand, the capitalist system is in total chaos.”

The introduction praises the far-sightedness of Posadas for anticipating, by many years, the importance of flying saucers, “that is to say external and superior civilisations.” The preface to the French edition emphasised “The irreplaceable function of Marxism… to predict the course of history and of life and to develop the capacity to organise all possible forces – including extraterrestrial ones if they exist – to achieve the objective of communism.”

One would have thought that Juan Posadas’ death, on 14 May 1981, in Italy, would have provided an opportunity to ditch all the UFO stuff from the Posadist canon. But no; a year later the disciples praised the depth of his vision and his ideas on UFOs, “if a little wild”. It was further noted that “All these problems met at the time, scepticism and irony on the part of the communist currents and the world proletarian movement, and also a certain incomprehension in the ranks of the Fourth International itself’.” A German version of Posada’s Flying Saucers appeared as late as 1987. 21

Not only did Posadas’ political heirs defend his UFO theories, they also took on board his increasingly New Age ideas on “the goal of the harmonisation of human relations together with nature and the cosmos” that followed in the wake of Flying Saucers.
Professor Igor Charkovsky’s experiments for the Soviet Academy of Sciences on ‘water birthing’ and his work on communicating with dolphins won the admiration of Posadas, as did unattributed “plans to conceive babies in space.” Charkovsky is today a celebrity of the New Age Californian bourgeois ‘water birthing’ circuit and his forays into human–dolphin communication interfaces are continued by Alexander Yushchencko at Kharkov Polytechnic, Ukraine.

In any event, Posadas’ disciples defended his most esoteric dolphin and water birthing ideas after his death, stating that: “Posadas highlighted the full significance of experiments the Soviets are making in communicating with animals (eg. dolphins) and in space exploration... this is the plane on which Comrade Posadas lived.” They also firmly believed that Posadas’ “radiant and living thought… laid down principles to see further into the future.”

While the disciples felt that the death of Comrade Posadas “left an enormous vacuum in history”, an obituary by his former mentor Michel Pablo called him “delirious” and described him as “a preacher of the ‘permanent revolution’ simultaneously and everywhere, to the point of giving itself an interplanetary dimension.” 22 Posadas may still have surprises in store for us – transcripts of his tape recordings, his ‘internal memoranda’ and his drawings are sealed in the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam and cannot be opened until 2010.

But the true strangeness of the phenomenon that was Posadism lies in the fact that much of the Posadists’ activity was of a ruthlessly rationalist character. Their British Section – the Revolutionary Workers’ Party – was a typical Trot organisation. Its members got into trouble in the Vauxhall and Austin car factories for their industrial militancy around the ‘United Car Worker’ group. They were as preoccupied as any other Trot group with sneaking members into the Labour Party and with a Monty Python’s Life of Brian Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea style feud with their near-identical rivals, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, with whom they had frequent scraps and fisticuffs.

While Posadist ‘interventions’ in Europe amounted to little more than leafleting demonstrations, in Latin America their work was more dangerous. In Brazil, Comrade Roberto Pinto was assassinated leading a rebellion of 5,000 peasants in August 1963. He was just one of a dozen or so Latin American Posadists executed or murdered up to 1977. 23

In Guatemala, Mexican Posadists collaborated with the ‘MR13th November’ guerrillas under Lieutenant Marco Antonio Yon Sosa – until the guerrillas realised that the money raised from a ‘tax’ on the bourgeoisie was going not to the armed struggle but towards producing European Marxist Review in many languages, including supplements in Greek and Arabic. Posadists were the first Trotskyite group to operate in Algeria after independence. At their peak in the late 1960s, they numbered perhaps a thousand worldwide.

Strangest of all was the Posadists’ relationship with the ‘Workers’ State’, Cuba. Posadist guerrillas fought alongside Castro and Guevara in the 1959 revolution, and Che Guevara flirted with support for Posadist groups. Posadas and his followers went as delegates to the First Conference of Latin American Youth in Punta de la Este, Uruguay, in August 1961, although they were allegedly held as virtual prisoners in their hotels. Cuban Posadists were soon jailed and, in 1967, Posadas unveiled his conspiracy theory of “the morbid farce of the so-called death of Guevara”; that Che wasn’t really dead, but imprisoned by the right wing of Castro’s government. Fidel Castro took the trouble to denounce Posadists by name as ‘pestilential’ at the Tricontinental Congress of January 1966. 24

Most Posadist parties collapsed shortly after the dear leader’s death in 1981. But in Germany, retired metalworker Paul Schulz keeps the Posadist flame alive. A communist fugitive from the Third Reich who settled in Argentina, he worked with Posadas and tried – unsuccessfully – to set up a German Posadist party on his return in 1991. He now runs an Internet-based one-man-band called Gesellschaftsreform jetzt (Social Reform Now!) which publishes post-Posadist analysis of UFO phenomena – including a book which he blessed with the inspirational title Official contact by an extraterrestrial civilisation with us earthlings is nigh. Let’s show ourselves worthy of this exceptionally joyful event of epochal significance. 25

The most prominent living post-Posadist is the Argentinean-born Adolfo Gilly, who was imprisoned for his involvement in the National Autonomous University of Mexico strike in 1966. On his release in April 1969, Gilly was still claimed by the Posadists as one of their own, but he later repudiated Trotskyism. Now regarded as one the foremost living thinkers of Marxism, Gilly writes for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada on issues including globalisation and, in 1999, was working as an advisor to the Mayor of Mexico City. 26

The word ‘bizarre’ does no justice to the Posadist belief system. While writing this article, I joked to a friend that the Posadists had everything except a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory. Then I came across the January 1964 edition of Red Flag with four pages of closely printed, incomprehensible rant on Why The Pentagon Killed Kennedy, by J Posadas.

Israel is really very sorry

Soon after the 1967 "Six-Day War", the self-serving hypocrite and alleged "peace-lover" Amos Oz published a propaganda work based on interviews with Israeli soldiers. Issued in Israel with the title Siah Lohamim (Fighters Talk), it was translated into English as The Seventh Day. This kitsch work (in which, it later transpired, Oz significantly rewrote the testimonies he was given, in order to cover up war crimes and prove his thesis) purported to show the moral dilemmas of the decent liberal Israeli soldiers, allegedly forced -- against their humanitarian nature -- to fight against bloodthirsty and immoral enemies. The book gave rise to the scornful description of Israeli forces as "Shooting and Crying", and has been a major factor in enabling liberal Israelis to distance themselves from the real effects on the victims of their actions.

To this description, suggest radio humourists Shai Goldstein and Dror Rafael, there should now be added the concept of "Bombing and Apologising". In a bitter comment in Israel's leading daily Ma'ariv, they ask "Why aren’t they forgiving us?"

We are sorry about the killing of women, children and all innocent civilians. The government of Israel really apologizes from the depth of its heart. We did not intend it. We never intend it. Also on the previous occasion that it happened we did not intend it. Also on the occasion before the previous occasion. And also the next time that we will do it, you can be sure that it will be done completely unintentionally. We will not intend it, and we will apologize. From the depth of our hearts.
The apologizing we do intentionally, completely intentionally.
So, we really apologize. We hope you will find in your heart the nobility to forgive us. Do you forgive us?
Why not? Really, why not? We really really apologize. We apologize for the killing of the children. And of the women. And for the dozens of wounded in the hospitals. And for those who will be left without arms or legs. And for the children left without parents and for the parents left without children. We apologize for all these things, from the depth of our hearts. Sorry, really sorry. What more do you want?
Do you forgive?
Oh, how difficult you are.
Sorry! Sorry! Well, we will not go on apologizing forever. Just forgive us, and that`s it. Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry.
Is this enough? Can we continue on our way?
Still not forgiving?
Well, you know what? So, you don`t want to forgive us - okay, we don`t really need it. We have done our part. We did the killing, we did the apology. Now the ball is in your court. You are stubborn. You don`t know how to forgive. You have no compassion, somebody makes a mistake and you just pounce and take advantage of it. And to publish these photos all over the world, to let everybody see out mistake? Is this nice, to shame us like this? And we did apologize, we did apologize. We were O.K.
Know what? Our conscience is clear. We have apologized. As far as we are concerned, the case is closed. Do you want to go on being stuck on the same point? That`s your problem. We are moving on.
The next artillery shell is already on its way, followed by the next apology. And then one more shell and one more apology. That`s the way we are. Moral and considerate, killing and apologizing. Thanks, sorry for the killing and see you next time.
(Thanks to Occupation Magazine and Adam Keller for the translation).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lleucu and the Rivigs

The Plains of Celestis


Labor and Class

The following was written by me and published in the Weekly Worker. It was reprinted by Nat Weinstein in the American journal, Socialist Viewpoint in their July/August 2005 edition

Labor and Class
By Mike Calvert

There can be no doubt that the recent election results in Great Britain have caused some interest. The victory of George Galloway in Bethnal Green and Bow against Blairite Oona King was an impressive result, although the result in Blaenau Gwent was actually far more impressive, with the overturning of a huge Labor majority at the expense of Dave Prentis’s apparatchik, Maggie Jones. Ms. Jones initiated the expulsion from the Labor Party of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport union). Her reward: the safest Labor seat in Britain, over the heads of the local membership who revolted en masse, as did the local people. But this was not a victory for the left, so much as the defeat of the Blairites.
Let me be absolutely clear: if the possibility of the conditions for the creation of a mass workers’ party to the left of Labor were to materialize, then it is my view that all socialists should participate. But these election results do not even remotely presage such a development.
RESPECT, the acronym for Galloway’s party, standing for: Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community and Trade Unionism) is at best an amalgam of particular sections of the community particularly animated by the war against Iraq in alliance with George Galloway and the Socialist Workers Party [UK].
This is no bad thing, but the anti-war movement was more than RESPECT. It was led by Galloway, CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), and the millions of ordinary folk, and other left-of-center Labor MPs like Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, Jeremy was as significant a leader of the movement as “gorgeous George” Galloway! Jeremy spoke several times at the large rallies in the USA.
In many ways George is as Laborite as “old Labor.” He is still in parliament and his victory was stunning, but his views on issues like abortion—well documented by other correspondents like Louise Whittle—show that he is anything but the “great leader” RESPECT portrays him as. Enver Hoxha, he is not!
There are still outstanding issues about his position in relation to the previous Ba’athist regime in Iraq, the one that committed genocide against the Kurds and put down internal dissent with mustard gas, etc. Just because he boldly helped to lead the anti-war movement doesn’t remove those issues overnight. With Jeremy Corbyn there has never been any doubt over things like that. Nobody can question that he is a principled and committed socialist and just because he didn’t get round to responding to the Weekly Workers’ questions does not make him any less a socialist than George Galloway or than he was before the election.
The left cannot replace Labor, because it is incapable of understanding that the Labor Party and the (British working) class have grown up together. The specificities of the conditions of the workers’ movement in this country preclude such a development outside of huge organic developments. There needs to be a movement into action by the class on the industrial front, as there was in the 1960s and 70s for this to happen. There was also a moment when a left group was in a position of incredible authority and was a household name.
Who has heard of the Communist Party of Great Britain? (CPGB, the group that publishes the Weekly Worker) Does its name appear on TV game shows? One group, the Militant Tendency, was so famous in the 1970s and 80s that that did happen and it is in fact this that makes what happened to them even more of a crime! In my view there has only been one group that was capable at a certain historical moment of forging that forward movement and they lost it: the Militant Tendency, which was, for all its programmatic inadequacies, in a position to change and influence events—it had almost 10,000 members (a number we can all today only fantasize about! )
They led real, actual struggles in Liverpool and against the poll tax, but even then these were at a time of defensive actions. The Militant had thousands of cadres. Its main leader, Peter Taaffe’s crime was especially harmful because he threw away it’s promise to play a major role in the leadership of a mass revolutionary workers’ party!
One last point: the conditions that are needed for the creation of a new mass party are ones where the trade unions (still the bedrock defense force of the working class) are in a position of advance and mass mobilization. There needs to be a wave of strike actions, and so on, in order for those conditions to materialize. We are a long way from that, as we are still fighting defensive struggles to stop the erosion of workers’ rights.
But this is why there needs to be a two-pronged approach, in my view—of communists and socialists working together within and without the Labor Party. While socialists continue to leave the Labor Party in pursuit of building something that material conditions predicate against, there will be little hope of anything changing.
The left on its own is hopelessly inept at understanding the axiomatic place of the Labor Party in the psyche of the British working class and labor movement. They have shown themselves over and again to be incapable of grasping that planting-your-flag, auto-proclamatory gestures are pointless and a waste of energy. RESPECT did well in a number of places, but that was largely based on an appeal to a specific audience on a non-socialist, non-radical ticket.