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Notes on Socialism [amateur]

April 17, 2014

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‘Everyone knows the distribution of wealth in most countries is unfair, but if you didn’t have rich people then you wouldn’t get any distributing being done at all.’

The above statement is the target, it must be destroyed.

I don’t write in a formal way, I don’t have any sources or evidence…I go by what I have stocked inside my head…which is still probably better than writing formal and having sources and evidence and then arguing that the rich are good for us, that ultimately nothing’s ever gonna change so we should sit back and accept it.

If things can’t change then how…why are we here? What is the point of us?

Basically, socialism is the default setting for humans…or it should be.

That’s what China Mieville said.

And the other side is nothing but the worst of us…overly-cautious, greedy, xenophobic, exclusive etc.

It seems biased, but it’s not. Everything on the right of the horseshoe is like this…they just use the phrase ‘tough love’ or ‘we’re helping them really, it just looks like we’re not.’

I don’t really understand it…that side of things, the warped level of conviction…

How can anyone sit there and attach themselves to any of those adjectives? Even some of the working class…even my Dad. Don’t they know they’re siding with the rich…the antagonists, the tyrant fuckers who don’t give a shit about anyone…why can’t they see this?

Divide and rule…materialism…it’s basic, but they’re warping our brains…half the working class vote for those fuckers just so they can protect what they have, which is only gonna become less and less until they’re protecting…what? A crumbling shed?

Where’s the left wing media in all this? Sold out?

Seems like zines are all we have left…I remember going into Housmann’s last year and reading all their anti-system zines and pamphlets and…all the anarchist literature, okay, that’s in the right place, but it wasn’t alone, the socialist lit was there too…left at the sides when it shouldn’t be…what the fuck’s going on here? Socialism is default, not in the margins…who did this? The tyrants? Boris Johnson?

I don’t understand why more people don’t care about this…what, compassion is only a word during war time…?

No point getting negative…they’re already there, they want us to get angry…and I know why there’s no compassion anymore, I said it a few lines above…divide and rule…they made us turn on each other, didn’t they?

Fuck it, positives…

I can think of five ways, four of them viable within the current system of things.

1] Increase Welfare support

Welfare support covers medical care, education, unemployment, housing, pensions etc. If you raise the level of financial assistance, you can help the people who really need it.

Tyrants’ argument: you raise it too high, people become dependent.

Is that right?

Can’t be, it’s their argument.

In the UK, unemployed people get about £75 a week to survive. I don’t know about other places…

The rich and the fuckers protecting them and the deluded middle class argue this is enough to live a life of…not luxury, but a decent living standard.

Or it might be a little different…can’t argue against an easy target, it’s fraudulent…they claim the working class/poor are working and picking up benefits at the same time…

It’s a lie.

1% of benefit claimants are fraudulent…that’s a socialist source, probably not completely accurate…I read it in one of the papers, but it seems close enough…maybe the other side, the right, would claim 5%…but they don’t do this kind of survey, they can’t, they know anything below 30% wouldn’t be enough to back up their bullshit…

It’s probably somewhere between 1% and 5%…no, it’s probably closer to the socialist guess, they don’t need to lie as much…which means…what?

98 or so % of benefit claimants are being grouped together with the 2% of fraudies who might even have a good reason for doing what they do…maybe they’re just trying to survive…isn’t that what people try to do when the Govt. isn’t doing anything for them?

Getting too caught up in this…focus on solutions…

Increased welfare would be better as…it’s too low as it is…£70 a week, it’s ridiculous…what can you buy with that? Fruit? A couple of yorkies? Does it cover rent as well? It can’t, that’d be…it’d be impossible for anyone to live…

But it has to be lower than minimum wage otherwise who would bother working…

Problem: minimum wage is too low.

Yes, that’s the real problem…especially in Hong Kong with the high rent and huge public housing waiting list…

Solution: before raising benefits, raise the minimum wage.

Problem: they’ll use the tax from working/middle class to pay for it, not the rich.

Solution:

Fuck, I don’t know.

Come back to it later.

What else?

2] The rich property moguls should contribute more as they are over-rewarded for their work.

This is mostly for Hong Kong, where I live, but it probably applies to most countries…if you don’t know anything about HK, there are four main families that control the city, each one of them the worst kind of vampire.

Actually, the richest one, Li Ka Shing is said to have risen up from a poor background…which is bullshit…he lived on a public housing estate, but wasn’t dirt poor…he had enough to get a loan to buy his first factory…

I don’t know if that’s a hundred per cent accurate…someone told me, it’s probably apocarphyl…apocraphyl…a rumour…but it doesn’t matter even if he was living in a shack before getting rich…the point is: people rising up this way are rare, you can’t point to them as examples and then point to all the others in the shit and say, he did it, why can’t you?

Another thing…

The rich say they deserve their money, they work hard for it…this is clearly bullshit. There’s no graph I can point to, but I know it’s true…

Okay, maybe I can try to explain it…

The minimum wage in Hong Kong is now HK$30 an hour. In one month, that adds up to around HK$5,000, I think…this is around US$625 or £400…

The lowest rent [for a cage flat] is around HK$2,000. That means the tenants literally live in a cage, fifty to a hundred square feet…google ‘Hong Kong cage flats’ and you’ll see…

Actually, the official name for them is ‘sub-divided flats’, but that’s just a way to allow people to ignore them and think it’s not so bad…cage flat is more apt, more dystopian…

Dystopia = reality for the poor, here, right now.

The financial secretary of HK famously said that he was middle class. His salary is around HK$300,000 a month.

To anyone else, this would be a rich person.

Remember that Richard Pryor film ‘Brewster’s Millions’? He had to spend $30,000,000 in one month in order to receive even more cash…he couldn’t give any away to charities or tramps, he had to spend it all, pure capitalism…

I think he just about managed it by the end of the month, but it was tough.

Why?

Because the price of things can only go so high.

And the average price of all things should be around halfway between the poorest and the richest person…no, it should be a lot nearer to the poorest as most things are not luxury goods…isn’t it?

No, that makes sense, I think…I’ve never studied economics, but I’ve seen the price of private jets and the salaries of the rich so…

Okay, it is implied, mostly…but it’s still true.

If we look at an example, analogy, whatever, it’s like this:

There’s a building with 100 floors.

The poorest live on the ground floor [or the basement], the rich are at the very top [or in the atmosphere].

The middle class should be around the 50th floor, but they’re not, they’re on the 5th floor.

The average price of things is between them and the poor at the very bottom. Luxury items, like mansions and airplanes are on the 15th floor. Might even be lower, I’m not sure.

The poor have no legs so they have to crawl up to the higher floors, which is very tough and sometimes they just can’t make it so they have to buy whatever shit is on the 1st floor.

The rich are still on the 100th floor.

Prices are meaningless to them because everything’s so fucking cheap.

This is literally being plucked out of my head, but the more I re-read it the more it seems to make sense…

Okay, analogies don’t usually stand up, I know this, but I really think this one comes close…it would be better if I could draw the thing out, but I can’t draw so…

What was I saying?

The rich work hard for their wealth, they deserve it…

Right, no, they don’t. The first million, if they’re starting from scratch, that’s hard work…everything after that is the simplest thing in the world…

If you can buy a flat in HK, a second flat in addition to the one you live in, you’re set.  Rent it out for a while then, when the price goes up as it always does in HK, sell it and make triple your investment. Then buy more property and do it again.

It’s not difficult, it’s not endeavour or perseverance…for fuck’s sake, it doesn’t even take imagination…a fucking goldfish could do it if it had the cash.

And there’s an even easier way…

If you have a spare million, put it in stocks, play it safe and you’ll still make another million.

If you lose, it’s only money.

The richer you are, the easier it is.

The richer you are, the more sealed off the universe you live in becomes.

The more sealed off you are, the more machine-like you become towards anyone not lucky enough to be living inside your universe.

The more machine-like you become towards others outside of your universe, the closer you get to being Dick Jones in ‘Robocop.’

Fuck, I hate the rich.

Solutions, what are they?

I’ve lost my place…only thing I can remember is Philip K Dick saying how impossible it is to overthrow Ferris Fremont…

Before that…

Fuck it, can’t remember. And who cares anyway? The rich can’t be a part of this, it’s impossible…they’re the antagonist, they’ll fight any shit flung at them and everyone knows it…tyrants don’t just stand down, they need to be kneecapped and forced down…even if they do live in a bubble, it doesn’t matter, they still built it, they made the thing…

At what point do people become the antagonist?

I don’t know.

Maybe it’s better to be inclusive…?

It’s weird…my girlfriend told me to buy a ticket for the Mark 6 yesterday as the jackpot was up to 40 million…that’s around…what, US$5 million or £3 million…I don’t know, I’m not good with exchange rates…but it was a lot of money and as soon as the idea was in my head it started growing…making its own fantasy script about me winning the cash and thinking of ways to give it away to people who needed it more than I did and…the idea my brain came up with was picking out six or seven of those families living in those cage flats in Hong Kong and buying a new, better flat for them, each one of them, and…I didn’t know how to put the details into it, the actual reality of buying a flat because I’ve never bought one myself, but as far as I could figure out it wouldn’t be any…it wouldn’t have any legal problems, they’re Hong Kong citizens so…they each got a flat and I still had HK$5 million for myself, which I felt a little guilty about…and I created a reporter to ask me what I thought would change after doing this, what would helping six or seven poor people out of hundreds of thousands really achieve, and I said to the reporter I had created…can’t remember the exact words, but the sentiment was…it won’t change much, but it’s like that foundation book…Isaac Asimov’s Foundation…one act, one foundation can inspire people to do the same…there’s a new jackpot every week, all it needs is for others to copy my example…and I knew even in my head that the reference didn’t hold up…the foundation in Asimov’s book was all about science and was constantly in danger, but…the idea behind it…that you don’t need to change everything by yourself…this is what I was trying to say…and maybe inspire wasn’t the right word…maybe force would be better…force via guilt…if I did it, others should do it, and if others do it then it’s not insane anymore, it’s normalised…the same way we should make middle class and rich kids do volunteer work when they’re young so they can’t hide in their bubble and they’ll know that these poor people their families are stepping on or ignoring or looking down on are real people who really do need not just help, but a fairer system, a system that doesn’t have people so far above because the only thing that’s gonna do is separate us and when we get separated the people at the top start to act on the saying ‘if there’s a tree in the forest and I’m not there to see it then what does it matter if it lives in shit and eats cup noodles every day, it’s none of my business’…and we can’t let that happen, even though it’s already happened…but we can’t let it continue, because it’s not right and deep down even those fuckers on the right of the horseshoe know it too…

I don’t know why I typed all that…I know it’s not rational, not realistic…people are selfish, to so many degrees…but still…

3] An online initiative could be set up to assist the poor.

This one could really work, I’m sure of it.

In fact, maybe someone’s already done it…

Basically, it would be similar to sites like ‘Kickstarter’, where artists and film-makers put up a proposal on the site and ask people to donate cash in return for certain rewards e.g. a free visit to the set of the film.

I guess people know about this already, but better to over-explain than to leave gaps, I think.

The kickstarter idea could be adapted for poor people. You could find out their aspirations, help them write out a proposal and then put it up. It wouldn’t be seen as a handout, more like a hand-up, so pride would not be an issue.

Tyrant’s argument: the poor don’t have ideas, that’s why they’re poor.

That’s probably a strawman…

Tyrant’s argument [revised]: most of the poor don’t have ideas, that’s why they’re poor. If they have the drive to escape, to level up…they will find a way.

Is that better?

I’m not sure.

The whole idea actually seems like a capitalist’s creation…to pluck out the ones in the shit who are most like them and forget the rest…the ones who just want to work for a living and do the things they like in their free time…

I’m not sure what to say about this…

Some of the biggest tyrants started out poor-ish, do we really want to make any more of them?

You start a business, it leads to a chain or franchise, leads to wealth and power and lying on yachts with Jack Nicholson and pairs and pairs of fake tits, and then suddenly you were only poor temporarily and it was your hard work that got you out, not luck, and anyone who can’t follow your tracks, it’s their own fault, they’re not doing enough, they don’t want it enough…

But that’s bullshit…what about environment, psychology, existential trauma etc…you just can’t compare/condemn people like that.

Okay, worst case example, harsh as it can possibly be:

Poor people have poor parents. They spend their first eighteen years with these people. The poor parents teach them how to be bitter, how to pick fights, how to stay poor.

Friends: their friends are in the same school, the same estate, the same shit. They pull each other down.

Estates: they look like shit. They are dominated by the colour grey. The colour grey is depressing. Seeing this colour every day of your life, coupled with the ‘pulling down’ engineered by parents/friends equals a life of poverty and zero achievement.

Zero achievement is too harsh. Zero aspirations?

A few break out and get somewhere. Hard work, scholarships, going to the local library and learning despite the parents/friends/colour grey.

Not many can do this. Why not?

Is it natural?

No way to tell. It’s probably a confluence of a million different details. But the concept of the rich, that ‘if one can do it, all can’ is bullshit.

They know it’s bullshit, don’t they?

They do. They must.

Solution?

Stop them becoming tyrants at the source i.e. when they join the crowdsourcing website. Train them to think of the creative part of having a business, not the money.

Point one: if one of the poor people on this imaginary site has a plan for a depressing business that serves a need and could make lots of cash, refuse it.

Example: Li Ka Shing started out mass-producing plastic flowers. Fuck that.

Problem: who decides what’s depressing and what’s acceptable?

Don’t know.

Problem: supply and demand – if there were no market for plastic flowers, they wouldn’t sell

No, people buy all kinds of shit they don’t need, doesn’t make it right. E.g. if plastic flowers disappeared tomorrow, would anyone really give a shit?

Point two: if someone has an idea for a creative, socialist-run business, support it.

Example: there are anarchist collectives all over the world that run on the same principle. Yeah, anarchy doesn’t mean ‘unorganised’, it means having smaller collectives having equal power/responsibility. At least I think it does.

It makes sense, to run things like this…especially for businesses…the smaller the company, the closer the staff…you have to look people in the eye if you screw them over, people you know…

Problem: who’s refusing and who’s supporting each idea on the site? Who’s the judge? What if someone loves the idea of plastic flowers? How can you govern people’s dreams like this?

It’s probably not viable.

Is it?

I’m not sure I can get this straight…

Kickstarter operates without judgment…the people donating decide if it’s worth their cash…this imaginary site should probably function the same way…

But…what if it just makes poor people rich and tyrannical?

There’s no change in values, it’s still too much within the system…within the antagonists’ system…isn’t it? It’s giving the poor a chance to make cash, which lacks moral value, but poor people need cash and what do they care about morals when they’re living in a fucking cage?

It’s the system that’s the problem…by its nature it can never be fair

4] No more monopolies

It might be too late for Hong Kong to initiate this one. There are already four families that control everything.

Fucking depressing.

Anyway, the idea is: Each company is given a limit as to how far it can expand. For example, Starbucks can only have 20 stores in HK. This would mean the rich would not become super rich, and therefore would not be over-rewarded for their work.

Tyrants’ argument: the rich should not be punished for their initiative and hard work, if they want to expand, it’s their human right.

My argument: once you reach a certain level of power and wealth it is no longer hard work or initiative, it is simply greed.

Problem: too many people would lose jobs from store closures.

Not much to say about this, really…it could only be used in a developing country or a country with zero history. The moon maybe? But even that would be monopolised eventually…Heinlein said so.

5] Revolution!!

The political system is no good. Even in democracies, it’s clearly not working as the rich control the politicians through lobbying and bribes. Only the most naïve person would argue this isn’t the case.

The only way to stop this is for the people to revolt and set up a new system. This time, they will instigate laws to stop the rich controlling the system and to expose the corrupt.

I don’t know.

Revolutions are run by people who crave power and even the best of them never stay good for long…

Remember Mo Jack Dong in China?

I met a guy today who told me an idea. He said the problem wasn’t the system, it was the people running the system, the politicians. The best of them never make it to the top, and if they do, they’re compromised. The worst of them have it easy. Politicians by nature aren’t the right people to govern, because they want to govern.

Actually, I didn’t meet a guy, I saw it on Star Trek…the only people I ever meet are capitalists and cynics, which is no good for anything except arguments that go nowhere…

Anyway, this episode of Trek…I don’t know the full context, but Worf killed the leader of the Klingons…or his stunt double at least…and then offered the robes to his friend, Martok…

MARTOK: Worf…I do not seek leadership.

WORF: Kahless himself said, great leaders do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them.

Okay, Martok wasn’t a saint, but he was decent…and the idea’s been said before, but never really been implemented…I don’t know why…

How about this?

Candidates for election are chosen by the public…there are no parties, no private financing of election campaigns…the candidates nominated must have experience of charity work, NGOs, social work, volunteering etc. No-one from a business background will be accepted, as they are all psychopathic, ha. Then the candidates with the required number of nominations can campaign for election, with each candidate getting the same public funding…then the people choose their leader.

Problems:

Running low on cash…need to write something flash and send it to…somewhere. Maybe re-work that zombie novel I did a few years back…make the main characters poorer, angrier…

It’s not great, but it’ll do.

 

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