It will be one of the numbers I will keep in my mind, my vein, until I die.
Just like 623 2016, 118 2016.
For a long time, I have tried very hard, very hard, not to talk about politics. I have been so afraid of myself being full of myself, fool of myself, talking politics, since 623, 714, 118. I know I used to be like that before those numbers, those dates. Being egotistic, I know I used to sound like, smell like, a left-leaning hypocrite. I know I used to sound like, smell like, I know a lot of things about politics, about society, about economy, about class, about votes. There used to be a twitter mate who I guess studied sociology and philosophy. He told me, at the crest of my pomposity about left-leaning ideologue about 2 years ago, that he didn’t see left leaning ideas would come back to hit any time soon. Traditional industries are not here anymore. Traditional sectors that can create a large horde of workers to work together, get a drink together, form a club together, form a bondage to each other, together, are long gone. At the time, I just heard something, but couldn’t listen to anything. Just can’t, have anything that could be put into my brain, except what I thought was true. That used to be me, until the numbers, 623, 714, 118.
So, I felt I was completely defeated by those numbers. When I felt defeated, I reflected, oftener than not the words from the keyboard of that socio-philosophist. Since then have I always remind myself, don’t talk about it. Don’t ever talk about it. Avoid it. Foil it. Not because I finally got a sense of remorse, but I just don’t want to be my laughing stock. So I stop.
Until a couple of weeks ago, that snap poll called by Theresa May, that woman who now still clings on in her parliament, who always takes for granted that Westminster is nothing but HER OWN parliament. Out of something I still can’t explain fully, I called that bet again, that I will have a table for 12 for anyone who comes, if SHE can take a majority larger than 3. That means, I just know, 328 out of 650. I just don’t know. I still don’t know, how I figured that bet. Like Labour, I was not very good at counting and maths. It might be just a gambler’s intuition, always bet on riskier side, always bet on weak, because if I lose, just a bet, while if I win, I win big.
It seems I did win. But that I won doesn’t explain anything about myself. So I am not going to give you explanation about how Labour won big. And literally they didn’t. They have just got back to where they used to be in 2010 under Gordon Brown, a hung, a stalemate, a tell-tale that there are still about a million people who feel alienated by Labour. And, to be most humble, I still don’t know what has been through. I just want to share my feeling, a tinkle of being a little smart ass when the result is all clear.
- I actually think that Labour was smart not ever taking strong view about Brexit. Some people used to blame Labour on their anaemic, or retreating, stance about Anti-Brexit, about Article 50, about Second Referendum against Brexit. From what I have heard from British saying, in TV show interview, in Radio Show, I have a sense many of them don’t feel pain about what they decided on 623. They are conscious they will have a hard time leaving EU. But they haven’t winced or wailed. That’s just not what they are. They just want to get it on. If my sense was right, that Labour sounded retreating about Brexit/ Anti-Brexit might be viewed by people as honouring a majority of people who made that decision, while they won’t be so high and hard sounding about severing any tie to EU at all cost, thus alienating the young voters. After all, Brexit as an issue to Labour is just “Not My Problem". Brexit is in all sense a Frankenstein invented by Tories and Tories themselves.
- “For the many, Not the few" was the campaign motto/ tagline of Labour in this election. It sounded quite silly to me when I first heard of it. But the message turned out ringing so ear-poppingly clamorous to voters, esp. those who have suffered the most in the last 5 years of austerity, the disabled, the people working in National Health Service, the singled parents, the people who have had their benefits and allowances cut to bare minimum. To them, the message pierced right through their mind to create pictures, movies of what they’ve been through, and their future, to the brink of something like clairvoyance. The message was proven today so powerful, like cannon that was shot right through the heart of where Labour voters used to be, Wales, Glasgow, Northwest, Northeast, Islington, Haringey, Bromley, Liverpool Tooting, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull. I have to confess even I underestimated him, and this message of his. I have never, even a minute, thought that it could be so powerful, so majestic.
This passage from New Yorker I read today is the one I like most among all the opinions I read: http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/how-jeremy-corbyn-moved-past-the-politics-of-2016?intcid=mod-latest?reload
“Rise, like lions after slumber / In unvanquishable number! / Shake your chains to earth like dew / Which in sleep had fallen on you: / ye are many—they are few!”
“For the many, not the few.” “protect this, defend that, support this person.” “Tonight is different….We’re not defending. We’re not defending. We don’t need to. We are asserting. Asserting our view that a society that cares for all is better than a society that only cares for the few.”
2008 I cried like mad in MTR reading the victory speech of Barack Obama. The above speech is comparatively short. And I didn’t cry because of it. But it doesn’t mean it is anything less than Obama’s. At least it is what I think, at the moment. Comparatively, Corbyn’s is ridden of that academic snob of Obama’s, while adding a tint of Street smart. And, most of all, Corbyn’s is even more genuine. He has been standing in Islington, defending for whatever he thinks is worth a stand, a sit-in, for 30 years. Once again, his message pierced right through his supporters’ mind to create pictures, movies of what they’ve been through, what Corbyn’s been through, and their future, their common future, their calm and spirit even their future would be so uncertain (and it’s true), their not giving a shit of their lose come what may (as they’ve been losing for 30 years) to the brink of something like clairvoyance. How powerful, how majestic.
Irony is. He still hasn’t won.
So. I keep on what I have been doing, avoid it, eschew it. foil it. As I really don’t know much about politics, about society, about economy. And, above all, I did’t win.
Fight on, mate.
I just finish this piece of New Yorker about Professor Elizabeth Warren.
What attracts me is her speech about relationship between Government, businesses and people; and how the best, or better, relationship should be.
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.”
According to the article, this speech got over million views on Youtube. But it also got her a lot of opponents on her path to politics, to Senate. The article quoted his opponent candidate, Scot Brown, being asked what he thought about Warren’s speech, “the idea that success in business is nothing more than a by-product of government is to fundamentally misunderstand our free-enterprise system.”
My first response in my heart about her speech today was, “hers view was ideological rather than analytical." And, my second response was, “but businesses pay for the roads and education via tax as well." I then acknowledged that, smugly, I am getting ahead of my former self as a leftard already.
Used to be a self-declared Marxist, because I read three volumes of the Capital, I know how to counter-attack Professor Warren’s status boosting, iconic, speech. The main problem of her speech is that she ends her analysis of the relationship between Government, people and business at one point. And she arbitrarily, and ideologically, chose investment in roads and education as that point. While politico-economic system didn’t stop there. Or never stops at all. So if anyone wants to analyse this system, one has to analyse, and describe, the whole system. If the system sojourns at several points, like wage, revenue, credit, tax, investment, speculation, market, price, etc. one has to analyse all of them. That’s why Mr. Marx chose dialectics as a tool rather than analytics. There is no if-then in the system/model. Or, it’s equally right if we say there are too many if-thens in the system/model that nullify the if-then model.
I don’t want to make to too complex to describe the relationship between Government, businesses and people, which is already extremely complex. I try to give an analogy, Chinese Mahjong. If you think it’s too oriental, you would be equivalently fine imagining UNO the card game. They are quite similar. Four players have their own set of 13 Mahjong to manipulate, except one of them has a one more to take out to the court surrounded by 4 walls of Mahjong. Each player takes turn to pick one Mahjong from the 4 ‘walls’ on the table to arrange his/her own set of Mahjong, and then picks one Mahjong from his/her set and take it out to the court, to keep his set 13 Mahjong. By and by, players can pick a Mahjong from the court, rather than the ‘walls’, when the one they pick can form a specific pattern with the two Mahjong in their set. But the players still have to give one Mahjong back to the court to keep their sets at 13 Mahjong.
Ignoring the game will have a winner picking the golden 14th Mahjong to form a definite pattern of all the 14 Mahjong in one set, either he/she picks it him/herself from the walls or he/she picks it from the court the last player has just put in the court from his/her set. We ignore this. Still, we can see the relationship among the four players quite clearly, if too schematically. Every one picks something from either the pool, or from the player next to him/her. At the same time, every one takes something out of his set/wealth/possession, which either goes to the court as a wastage, or to the next player to form his/her set/wealth/possession. After several rounds of such process, it’s easy to sum up the game in one Chinese idiom, 你中有我，我中有你. Some of you form part of me, and some of me you. And the public goods/common possession deplete by players’ continuous picking. The relationship among politics, Government, businesses, workers, basically fits in the above Mahjong model. No player in this model can claim another player suck the hell out of me while giving out nothing back to me. It’s not true at all. Every player takes something from one another while gives something back to one another. If every one plays strictly by the rules, there would be no exploitation, no taking advantage of one another, every one has a chance to win according to one’s wit and technique. No one would be worse off from start, except the common possessions/public goods. Because it’s meant to be exploited in the game. It’s set in the rules.
So we come back to Professor Warren. What she has done after her iconic speech was right. Picking players who foul play and keep taking advantage of other players. Or picking players who collude with each other to fix the game at the expense of others. She has been absolutely right to do that, and fit in the above interdependency model fine. But her iconic speech was not right, and by no means based on sound analysis. It’s polemic, hyperbolic and rhetoric. It makes some working class tickling their skin hair and emotion. But it’s not true. Or it’s part of the truth that, when you present it separately, serves only to obscure the truth rather than clarifies it. It’s a populist tricks to set her path to politics.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to insinuate that she is hypocritical or sly politician. I really respect what she has been doing, esp. those she did and say since DJT inaugurated. And I really think criticising a politician as sly or hypocritical is anaemic and off the point. What I rather want to do, is smugly telling myself, or those who know her, one word.
“I know you are playing populist trick. And I’ve just got ahead of you Beth."
首先要道歉。說過要把Ernest Mandell 的 Intro翻譯。回去整理一下，重溫一次，接近九十頁。我怕這個Blog要變成連續劇熬大家。連續劇講資本主義解構，實在太重口味。想過捉字虱，只翻譯最後兩個章節，都很難。幾千字。只是把Toast on Marimite 降格為方包 on 腐乳。作罷。還是回老掉牙。把所看到的章節精粹講出來，再加入一些最近發生的新聞串聯成文。理應手到拿來。
We will see. And, journey set.
首先，去到volume III，講的是Profit。在馬生的模型下，Profit 的定義為剩餘價值／總資本投入。剩餘價值重溫，就是勞工撇除必要用來reproduce （做唔死，有野食，夠生兒育女＋供書教學＋老有所依及棺本）自己勞動力的薪水外額外提供給資本家生產的勞力價值。馬生認為是剝削的價值。在這模型下，他認為rate of profit必然隨資本主義生產發展發育而向下，儘管資本家以至政府會扭盡六壬去把這趨向轉向。
這個不難懂，按一個行業看，你當然可以不斷自動化而增加參與生產的勞工的生產力去提高剩餘價值的量。但因此你的總資本投入亦要相應增加。他只是長篇大論的講「只要你繼續自動化，提高生產力，每個勞工的marginal productivity會慢慢消減。Law of Diminishing Marginal Return。」這個都不懂你去問Ivan。難懂的是，在Vol III馬生預言，隨著資本主義生產的進化，為了增加剩餘價值在生產上的比率而增加自動化，減少勞工在生產上的參與，會到一點，當勞力過少而產生反餑，令剩餘價值產生不出來，產生資本主義社會的危機。
1.比你走先幾部去開發一些能產生比一般行業Profit Rate為高的生產。但這門很快就有行家照跟而Profit Rate Margin慢慢回到Average的水平。
2. 最好當然是有大片土地。因為在馬生的模型下，有大片土地的人租出作生產而所得的ground rent是一定先收。餘下的才是銀行家，廠商，售商自己拆鋹的所謂profit/interest。工字不出頭。土字才出頭。做人不要做李嘉誠。要做地主。
3. 要做monopoly。這可確保你的profit rate不受競爭而干擾。所以一定要騎劫政府，讓他們給你獨巿，或圍標。
所以我看不到馬生講資本主義經濟時，跟其他資本主義捍衛士有啥分別。大家都實事求事，只是他演時a tinge of blues而已。
這篇INTRO最令我難忘的，他提到一點。Ernest的觀察。因為在資本主義的生產奬勵／分配下，薪金WAGE和剩餘價值（因此產生的PROFIT，INTEREST）是互為對立的，所以資本家和資本家是絕對不能夠「奪取資產階級利益」的方法去補償勞工的。所以他得到的數據，大部分的扶貧政策都不能從資本家身上奪取分毫，大多只是打工仔階層自己左袋右袋間的分配。這不禁令我想起英國的tax credit+public sector cost+NHS+national living wage dilemma。你一係要加人工減福利，一係就減人工維持TAX CREDIT，冇得咁撚貪心兩樣都要的。 We aspire to a country with high income low welfare, rather than the Labour’s high welfare low income model. 嘿⋯⋯但那邊箱，Starbucks Amazon在英國開業，成行成巿，原來可以同政府傾好唔洗交稅的。冇得要人又製造就業，又交稅咁貪心的。人地好慘的。嘿。你看懂資本家的邏輯嗎？我老豆所講的，在上的你永遠逼不到他交稅的，所以你加福利，咪即係打劫我⋯⋯全民退休保障？你未比過錢我去養人老豆？屌你老母呀！（老豆，你唔屌我老母又點會有我呢？你有冇邏輯架）
還有就是Ernest提到，再次証實，馬生是沒有在這三本書提到資本主義完結後是怎樣的。更直指蘇聯產生後的共產膠的理論有多荒怪。他用另一個我很欣賞的左膠Roxa Luxumburg的Accummulation of Capital講出，比我更超前的。資本主義滅絕後，人類不一定就到達更高的文明。資本主義滅絕前，因為經濟大大大蕭條，資本家大大大大整固圖力挽狂瀾，勞工以至人類的文明以至生存可能都出現危機。文明可能再冇Base。人類回歸野蠻。我看香港，香港大學，以至澳大DETENTION CENTRE，以至美國見到是醫院照炸你老母，中國明明是珊瑚礁鑑粗填水泥然後插旗。沙地阿拉伯到二十一世紀仍玩砍首示眾，而夏韋立今天來考威威告知下個月一個因藏酒而要斬頭的英國國民可以回國，而不是眾文明大國行住個皇室叫佢收皮。我看到人類又變回史丹尼的猩猩。昨日的schedule怪獸媽即管拿去，你們是正常人，應該兩日就嫌悶。它卻是我用來保護自己的烏龜瞉，在野蠻下保一點自豪，保一點清醒，保一點文明。多謝。
當我問網友FFx關你X事時, 有個很聰明的網友問我, 咁Corbyn關你咩事?
是喎….關我咩事. 就咁, 話晒一個隔了七個鐘時差, 又冇俾LICENSE FEE的公民, 我有權知道在這條友的擾攘下我可以得到甚麼著數. 所以我多點留意下佢.
有幸在老婆關燈睡眠前看了大概七分鐘的Leader Speech. 他真的又裡到外都不像一個政治家. 更像一位左翼地理老師, 而比David Harvey這位地理老師口齒還要遜.
長話短說, 為何我用擾攘, 而不用執政這個詞彙. 因為, 我從他的講話我更清楚他不會, 不能, 亦不想做執政. 因為他說了一句很感染, 卻令黨羽很憂慮的心聲:
“我30年前, 一路以來, 亦跟在座各位曾經身處的位置一樣, 是一個社運份子. 即使我站在此處, 我都不會放棄社運份子這個身份, 去為國民, 為勞工, 爭取權益. RedSteel檔野, 是遲左少少, 但趁還有時間, 我們馬上就去幫助這幫兄弟."
即係….他清楚知道國民即使知道卡仔有多仆街, 但他覺得他可信任作為自己的領導, 因為他們公司的老闆都是咁仆街的. 他清楚知道國民"有得揀, 我都寧願有個老板". 他清楚知道英格蘭人比起中國人更不如, 個個擁抱成龍大哥的名句"XY人需要管的". 他清楚知道, 國民就是因為他個款似自己同事多一點, 所以唔信他領導國民 (你都不會喜歡你隔離個毒男同事突然變成你老闆).
但他仍堅持故我, 我展現出, 他根本不在乎, 他只想令工黨洽如其份的, 做一個有力量的國家最大在野黨. 去阻礙執政黨的施政. Brown Bear叫大家拿到權再講人權, 實在有道理. 但Corbyn先生講的, 我做人在野依然大權在握. 唔知又有幾多人能掌握, 又有幾多人認同. 但….佢依然故我…..嘿…..
昨日看了這個CLIP, 今天再看一次. 原因是: Peter Hitchens 成日含住粒珍寶珠咁…真是唔係好知佢UP乜.
但….謹剩聽到的的確有趣. 有趣的是他唔小心revealed what he thought, 而不是他說出口的. 工黨上次戰敗. 除了曾經在有幸被ALAN讚頌的小說/分析的那篇BLOG所講外, 更因為conservative已經唔再是conservative. 他formally講左句conservative已變成social democrats, 而往後打趣的講低能卡仔是whatever that keeps him in No.9 as a jolly gentleman. 偏偏呢句才是真實的. 用非常俗的雅言講出來就是: 條友是選民喜歡什麼他就是什麼的變色龍. 我今年上過一個university of new castle at tyneside的教授講的一個分享. 說, 卡仔和GO仔在規劃的改革是民粹的最好表現 – 把規劃交給人民, 他們想怎樣就怎樣. 這才是民主. 咦….想想下某非常有觸覺的環保圑體的"洗X你規劃, 我地有分數"跟卡仔的想法是不謀而合的. 而且更簡潔, 又有soundbite. 所以他應該停止參選區議員. 因為他跟港女/港媽一樣. deserve better. 應該直接選特首. 甚至國家主席.
這其實是民粹. 而在規劃的領域上, 民粹的結果就是, 如那教授所言, 乜撚都PLAN唔到. 因為我有我規劃, 你有你規劃, 規劃就自然變成室內設計, 那你為甚麼要打通我間屋呢? 屌你老母呀!!!!!!! 為甚麼你要在我附近起多間老人院? 你影響到我的室內設計的美感喎….屌你呀!!!!!
其他領域民粹的結果我不清楚, 看君自行找SOURCE. 但我想說的是, 卡仔和GO仔最利害的地方就是, 正式把保守黨原有的核心價值挖空, 再任由任何東西填滿. 你要同性婚姻, 保守黨就同性婚姻. 你要脫歐, 保守黨就脫歐. 但你突然唔想脫歐, 保守黨就可立即扭肽. 你要發展石油, 保守黨就抱緊FRACKING, 即使FRACKING的地方十居其九都是鄉郊, 保守黨原本的票源. 如果你有記憶, 保守黨上次公佈寛鬆財政緊縮是幾時? 就是opinion poll說財政緊縮令工黨的支持度節節上升之時. 只要你愛我, 或只要你應承同我上床, 我為你上刀山落油鑊, 就是如此這般. 所以你將會預計, 如果CORBYN冇變威爾殊隊的話, 不出幾個月, 保守黨就會宣佈五年拯救NHS和開設公共設施基金/銀行. 因為, 你想, 我就行, 誠懇為你服務就是保守黨的宗旨.
HITCHENS說卡仔和GO仔在左傾而不知道, 其實是他們唔理. 反正如TRUE BLUES這本書所說, 保守黨, 早就死左了. 隨MAGGIE下台死了. 現在的保守黨就如和記長實一樣, 是一間HOLDINGS, 你要乜, 我公司就會有乜, 慘得過我有錢. 在這樣的環境下, 其實工黨無論邊個做, 生存都會好困難. 莫講2020, 一日有卡仔同GO仔, 你2046都唔洗旨意執政. 因為……保守黨可隨時定義什麼是保守: 你呀媽是佢TARGET, 你呀媽就是保守主義. 如果羅琳同人玩3P是大眾意願, 那這意願就是保守主義了, 他們就會努力為你爭取.
彼岸的民仔, 其實都是咁. 你打正旗號是民主, 你就冇運行, 你能隨時改變民主的定義, 才是選舉的轉機.
PS. 有睇這BLOG的女讀者, OWEN JONES可能是你的理想對象, 又白人, 又白淨, 又牛津…但是他是基的.