[project2012] Fwd: Theory and Practice

Mark Barrett marknbarrett at googlemail.com
Tue Feb 8 14:14:38 GMT 2011

not either / or


On 8 February 2011 14:00, Chris Knight
<governmentofthedead at googlemail.com>wrote:

> It's not a question of 'pinning hopes' on the March 26 demonstration.
> It's a question of using hard facts on the ground -- the presence of
> perhaps a million of us in Central London -- precisely to set up
> Peoples' Assemblies as alternative organs of power.
> Philosophy is fine, but, in the spirit of Cairo, please nail it down
> to this earth, this time, this place.
> The moment isn't some time next month, next year or the year after
> that. The moment is now.
> http://battleofbritainmarch26.org/
> Chris Knight
> On 8 February 2011 11:52, Mark Barrett <marknbarrett at googlemail.com>
> wrote:
> > Uniting theory and practice
> >
> > At a recent meeting of students who had come together from a range of
> > occupations against the rise in tuition fees, a proposal about creating
> > People’s Assemblies (PAs) was described as a “deeply philosophical”
> > question. The remark, which was not made in a derogatory way, was spot
> on.
> >
> > Advancing a concept like PAs is both practical and theoretical at the
> same
> > time, which appears as a philosophical conundrum. That’s a good sign
> because
> > all revolutionary ideas – and PAs are just that – are rooted in both the
> > present as well as the future. They are, therefore, a real contradiction.
> >
> > But isn’t that bad? Aren’t contradictions harmful? Wouldn’t the world be
> > better off without them? Can’t we come up with a simpler proposal that
> > everyone can grasp immediately without further reflection and put into
> > practice?
> >
> > In the struggle against the Coalition’s draconian public spending cuts –
> > made in a bid to rescue capitalism from itself – “simpler” proposals and
> > plans have emerged spontaneously. Anti-cuts campaigns have spread
> throughout
> > the country. Protests and lobbies take place on a nightly basis. Students
> > and education workers reacted to the cuts with strikes, marches and
> > occupations.
> >
> > Now that movement is at a turning point. The cuts are going through town
> > halls – many of them Labour controlled. Tuition fees rises have passed
> > through Parliament along with the abolition of educational maintenance
> > allowances. Planned cuts in higher education spending will devastate the
> > universities.
> >
> > The weakness of the direction of the movement so far is that it is
> largely
> > restricted to the “present” situation. It is aimed at stopping, halting
> or
> > reversing the cuts made by a government that has staked its existence on
> > carrying through a massive reduction in the budget deficit. The deficit
> > itself is a product of the global crisis of capitalism and the
> devastating
> > way it has impacted on the British economy.
> >
> > The government has made it clear that it is not for turning. Indeed, were
> it
> > to collapse under the weight of events, a likely outcome would be a
> national
> > government rather than some mythical formation that would immediately
> start
> > on a programme of public spending. As we know, Labour is also committed
> to
> > reducing the deficit and is doing so with gusto at local government
> level.
> >
> > So where do we go from here? Putting all our hopes on the results of the
> > March 26 demonstration called by the Trades Union Congress would be a
> > mistake. One demonstration, however large, is not going to change the
> world.
> > Ask those who took part in the two-million strong march against plans for
> > the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
> >
> > That’s where PAs come in. They are connected to the present by presenting
> an
> > opportunity to all those with grievances that the Parliamentary system
> tied
> > to corporate and financial power is incapable of addressing. These
> include
> > trade unionists, service users, students, the unemployed, minorities and
> > climate change activists.
> >
> > They also build on the struggle for democracy and representation that
> dates
> > at least from the Levellers and Diggers of the English Revolution – and
> in
> > other ways is traced back to the Peasants Revolt of 1381 and the Magna
> Carta
> > of 1215. But PAs go further in proposing new forms of democracy beyond
> the
> > existing capitalist state framework, which can then begin to transform
> how
> > the economy is owned and run.
> >
> > They are a philosophical question in the sense that PAs require a leap in
> > thinking out of the present ideological framework which is dominated by
> > impressions and acceptance of the capitalist status quo. But they are
> also
> > deeply practical because they offer a way forward to an alternative,
> > progressive future.
> >
> > Paul Feldman
> > http://www.aworldtowin.net/blog/uniting-theory-and-practice.html
> >
> >
> > --
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> >
> --
> Chris Knight
> --
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"I am going to ask you something. Why are you being educated? Do you
understand my question? Your parents send you to school. You attend classes,
you learn mathematics, you learn geography, you learn history. Why? Have you
ever asked why you want to be educated, what is the point of being educated?
What is the point of your passing examinations and getting degrees? Is it to
get married, get a job and settle down in life as millions and millions of
people do? Is that what you are going to do, is that the meaning of
education? Do you understand what I am talking about? This is really a very
serious question. The whole world is questioning the basis of education. We
see what education has been used for. Human beings throughout the world -
whether in Russia or in China or in America or in Europe or in this country
- are being educated to conform, to fit into society and into their culture,
to fit into the stream of social and economic activity, to be sucked into
that vast stream that has been flowing for thousands of years. Is that
education, or is education something entirely different? Can education see
to it that the human mind is not drawn into that vast stream and so
destroyed; see that the mind is never sucked into that stream; so that, with
such a mind, you can be an entirely different human being with a different
quality to life? Are you going to be educated that way? Or are you going to
allow your parents, society, to dictate to you so that you become pad of the
stream of society? Real education means that a human mind, your mind, not
only is capable of being excellent in mathematics, geography and history,
but also can never, under any circumstances, be drawn into the stream of
society. Because that stream which we call living, is very corrupt, is
immoral, is violent, is greedy. That stream is our culture. So, the question
is how to bring about the right kind of education so that the mind can
withstand all temptations, all influences, the bestiality of this
civilization and this culture. We have come to a point in history where we
have to create a new culture, a totally different kind of existence, not
based on consumerism and industrialization."
J. Krishnamurti


"We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
man speaketh as we speak in the street.”
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