Friday 22nd of September 2023

of henri weber and picasso...

The bourgeois always win. Under various guises, the bourgeois make sure you pay for services, go to war and pray to god. They control the mind of Western humanity with various innocuous subterfuges, while the rest of the planet is trying to achieve the same enviable status, using their own cultural bourgeois tricks… It seems we always fall for it.  

On average, you would have to get paid to go a local socialist branch meeting, unless you are deranged with deluded hope — while you are happy to pay to go to the movies — or watch Netflix. Thinking about ideals tends to give us headaches. Thinking about barbecuing on Sunday, we already smell the sizzling sausages on Tuesday. Watching a Rambo movie is "entertainment”. Hum… Ideals or entertainment? Hum… Jesus or Barrabas? Simple choice.

One cannot go pass the episode “The Honourable Man” of Dad’s Army. The discreet gamut of petty bourgeois levels is resonating like a drum. Yet there are, and were, some bright idealists pushing the concept of the human collective. Trotsky was one of them and many people followed in his path, striving to eradicate the horrid hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, until the communal ideal becomes once again taken over by despots and dictators who use the bourgeoisie as a universal tool.

Bourgeois do not hope. Not much anyway. Hope is never achieved otherwise it would be called something else. Well, bourgeois do hope of a better world, but not this one. They dream of a godly paradise where they won’t have to count their cash daily, as there would be the horn of plenty next to an old man disguised as a god. 

Here is a poem by Paul Eluard:

The power of hope

Let me speak about my fate :
I have nothing, all I had was stolen
And the pathways where I will end up dead
I walk them like a burdened slave
Only my sorrow is my own :
Tears, sweat and the hardest work.
I am only an object of pity
Of shame in a strengthened world only.

Envy is my food and drink
As any other man, I am going mad :
I am nostalgic about sleep :
In the heat, with no end, like a beast.
I hardly sleep, I do not celebrate,
I do never kiss a lovely lass :
Though my heart, empty, does not stop,
As despite my pain, my heart beats.

I could have laughed, drunk on my foolishness.
Daybreak inside me could hollow a nest
With beams of light, subtle and protecting,
On my already bloomed peers, shining.
Do not take pity on me, if you have chosen
To be think-headed and without justice :
One day will come when I’ll be amongst
The builders of a great living world at end,

The immense crowd where humanity will be my friend.

(Translation by JL.)

In this time of Covid19 and its derivative restrictions, one could not stop thinking that this was a lovely plot to reinforce the bourgeois in all of us “together”… There seemed to be a bit too much freedom growing about — and various efforts by the authorities to rally to go to war and fight terrorism were starting to loose traction. What a lovely situation now but to reanimate the bourgeois in all of us, by injecting fear through our veins and lungs. The time for ideals are gone, it’s time to fight our “common” enemy, a puny microbe, and revalue our restricted freedom like dogs begging to be on a leach — as this means "freedom to go and visit the trees in the park”. Yep, we have lost the wolf's spirit. So today we mourn the loss of a giant, who kept the ideals of his youth till the end. 

Henri Weber was a Trotskyist… He wrote, sadly but with great insight, about the problem of too many splintered groups on the left which as such cannot fight the bourgeois right. In France this splintering led to the election of Macron, as the disunited left got more votes than Le Pen, but in bits. Henri Weber was also seeing the same thing happening in Brussels...

With the announcement of Henri Weber's death, tributes from the leaders of the PS (Socialist Party) were many. “Henri Weber was a great and beautiful figure of the left. He added to his erudition, a clarity of analysis, a taste of the action, and a fresh activism with a sense of humour, a joy even appreciated by his rivals. A generous man and an intellectual light, disappeared today and also a dear friend” wrote the former president of the Republic, François Hollande, in a press release.

“Born in Tajikistan in a modest family of jewish heritage, Henri passionately loved the freedom, the controversial intellect, and France, to which he has devoted his life to the hilt. Henri has been for me a wonderful friend, a companion, a joyful, brave and precious", commented the president of the constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, in a press release.

As for the current mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, on Twitter, she wrote : “Henry Weber has passed away. I am very sad. Today disappears a large figure of the left, a bright and recognisable intellectual, an activist of the socialist Party, of which he was elected. (…). We think of his wife, Fabienne, and her children.

See also:

Translation by Jules Letambour.


In the spirit of Trotsky:

Luca Tavan for RedFlag:

Staying at home and washing your hands a lot is tough on everyone. But for left wing people, whose stock in trade is protests, mass meetings and political interaction, it is particularly hard. It is therefore timely to remember the contribution many great radicals have made from isolation, exile or imprisonment. 

Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, for example, spent five years imprisoned on Manus Island, during which time he produced one of the most important denunciations of Australia’s militarised border policy. No Friend but the Mountains was sent line by line as WhatsApp messages from a smuggled phone. 

Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, from a German prison cell in 1915, penned the Junius pamphlet, a polemic against World War One and the reformist socialist leaders who sided with their own governments to support it. Luxemburg declared that humanity was at a crossroads: “Either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism”. Her writing helped galvanise the anti-war movement at the time. 

Leon Trotsky was also forced to work from exile throughout the 1930s, chased from Russia and harassed across the world by Stalinist police agents and capitalist governments. He waged polemics against the atrocities and betrayals of Stalin’s regime, and attempted to build organisations that stood in the genuine, democratic tradition of the Russian Revolution. Trotsky was pushed to the margins of the socialist movement, but still he declared in 1935: “The work in which I am engaged now, despite its fragmentary nature, is the most important work of my life”. 

Our tasks today are more modest, but these heroes show how time in isolation can be used to learn, organise and agitate. Instead of surrendering to despair, it’s important to focus on what we can do to keep up the fight against capitalism and keep ourselves sane during the lockdown. Here are a few ideas.

Educate yourself

Trotsky once quipped that he enjoyed his first exile to Siberia as a young revolutionary because it gave him time to read and think. Lockdown gives us time to read and learn without the unpleasantness of Siberia.

As the world hurtles into recession, Chris Harman’s Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx is indispensable for understanding capitalist crises and how the 2008 financial crisis shaped the world we are living in today. 

The return of fascism has been recently overshadowed by a more corporeal pandemic. But far right leaders are now at the helm in some of the centres of world capitalism. Dave Renton’s The New Authoritarians – Convergence on the Right attempts to explain the rise of the far right in the wake of austerity and state-sanctioned racism. 

Subterranean Fire by Sharon Smith examines the history of working-class radicalism in the US. The chapters covering Depression era struggles for union rights and against unemployment are a particularly valuable resource for socialists today

Read more:


On the subject of “communism” Jules Letambour sent me a translation of a paragraph in Jacques Perret’s "Cheveux sur la Soupe” ([A] Hair in my Soup). Perret was a satirical anti-conformist but a reactionary by excellence. He was very suspicious of progress for progress’ sake.

Talking about paintings, there are no others but the Communists to ignore that Picasso was the best masterpiece organised by the bourgeoisie. I am not saying that the painter was entirely manufactured by the bourgeois, but he painted for the bourgeois under the preoccupation of the bourgeois opinion, and the older he got with more experience, the more he understood his mission of pandering to the bourgeois by paying homage to a pandered bourgeoisie. In a world without bourgeois, his art would have been useless, he was told in no uncertain terms that Picasso joining the communist party was a bourgeois event. His genius could only flourish with the complicity of the bourgeoisie and we see in him the most enticing flowers that one cultivates with a bourgeois compost. We shall say that on the opposite side, it’s the excuse, the reason and the core of the bourgeoisie to create and maintain phenomenon of this type. Far from the bourgeoisie, such acts are reduced and vanish, dedicated to do photo-retouching or decals, by conforming to the mould that has closed upon them like a trap.
It’s time thus to remind ourselves of George Bernard Shaw. His death was not as much as a tear-jerker or a massive news item as one would expect for the incontestable master of anti-conformism...

Next instalment on GBS...

of george bernard shaw...

George Bernard Shaw was not a communist, but a socialist and, not so strangely, he admired, we have been told, Stalin, but we don’t why he also liked Mussolini. Did GBS know Marinetti? We need to take a cold bath and try to see why… 

GBS was not an imbecile and he was very sharp at exposing the way bourgeois behaved in the West. He is often referred to as the second major playwright in England after Shakespeare, though he was born in Ireland of old British protestant stock. Not an Irish “republican”, he often sharpened his wit towards England for badly treating Ireland. 

He would have been astute enough to see that the hidden cost to achieve a lovely Western bourgeois peace was based on sweet social lies and a ruthless colonialism. After the Wall Street crash of 1929, everyone was preparing for biffo, and there was some unsavoury jockeying to minimise the damage. The Axis power was being concocted between Germany, Italy and Japan at first. Russia was aware of being a large piece of meat in the sandwich, having already fought Japan and Europe, a few times — and the Ottoman empire (Turkey) in Crimea.

Our Western world thus chastised Mussolini for aligning himself and his Italian government with Hitler. Meanwhile Stalin, as recently as yesterday, "has been blamed” for WW2, by making an agreement with Hitler in regard to Poland or such. This is bullshit of course, The starting dynamics of WW2 were anchored on dubious agreements that Hitler made with England and France. And no matter what Chamberlain's paper had been signed, summer of 1939 was going to be it. 

In September 1923, Mussolini offered German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann a common foreign policy. Mussolini sought German military support against potential French military intervention over Italy's diplomatic dispute with Yugoslavia over the Fiume territory, should an Italian seizure of Fiume result in a war between Italy and Yugoslavia. In 1924, the German ambassador to Italy said that Mussolini saw a nationalist Germany as an essential ally for Italy against France, and hoped to tap into the German army and political desire for a war of revenge against France. Italy thought the year 1935 was a crucial date for preparing for a war against France, as it was the year when Germany's obligations under the Treaty of Versailles were expiring. As well, Western colonialism was very important, hence the ensuing WW2 battles in North Africa, Libya, etc. 

The middle East still bears the scars of this post WW2 colonial history, now taken over by the Yanks with battles using proxies, to do regime change and so forth. The Russians have sort of meddled in these little US games to bring in some "annoying” peace, though the Yanks are still thieving the oil in Syria.

One thing to realise is that from Berlin to Moscow, the land is mostly flat, with only a few large rivers to cross. Napoleon even tried to invade Russia in his dream of a “unified  Europe”. Arriving too late, his campaign having been delayed a couple of months by some domestic affairs, on 7 September the French caught up with the Russian Army, which had dug itself in on hillsides before the small town of Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow. The following Battle of Borodino, the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars, with 72,000 casualties, resulted in a narrow French victory. The Russian Army withdrew the following day, leaving the French again without a decisive victory. A week later, Napoleon entered Moscow, only to find it abandoned. The city was soon ablaze, the French blaming Russian arsonists but we all know (we should) that this is a tactic of war.

The capture of Moscow did not force Alexander I to sign a peace treaty. Napoleon stayed in Moscow for a month, waiting for a surrender offer that never came. On 19 October 1812 Napoleon and his army left Moscow and marched toward Kaluga, where Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov was encamped with the Russian Army. After the inconclusive Battle of Maloyaroslavets, Napoleon began to retreat back to the Polish border. 

In the following weeks, Napoleon's Grande Armée suffered from the onset of the Russian Winter. Lack of food and fodder for the horses, hypothermia from the bitter cold and persistent guerrilla warfare from Russian peasants and Cossacks led to great losses in men, and a breakdown of discipline and cohesion in the Grande Armée. 

More fighting followed at the Battle of Vyazma and the Battle of Krasnoi which resulted in further losses for the French. When Napoleon's army crossed the Berezina River in late November, only 27,000 soldiers remained; his Grande Armée had lost about 380,000 men while 100,000 had been captured. Napoleon had to retreat like a glorious frozen rat.

Hitler decided to start Unternehmen Barbarossa, the name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, much earlier in the year than Napoleon — Sunday, 22 June 1941 — but his armies got stuck in front of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 to 2 February 1943). The city did not fall despite heavy losses on both sides. The Volga river making a natural moat, the city was also defended with fanatical courage, despite the Russian army being under-equipped and outnumbered.

On 10 November 1961, Nikita Khrushchev's administration changed the name of this glorious city back to Volgograd (so named from 1589 till 1925) as part of his programme of de-Stalinisation following Stalin's death, to reduce the "cult of personality". This action was controversial, because Stalingrad had been a symbol of resistance during World War II for Russia.

Khrushchev was born in 1894 in the village of Kalinovka, close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine. A metal worker during his youth, he became a political commissar during the 1917 Russian Civil War. He worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. In 1938, Stalin sent him to govern the Ukrainian SSR, and he continued the purges there. 

During the Great Patriotic War (Eastern Front, WW2), Khrushchev served as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin's close advisers.

The 1954 transfer of the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine has often been described as a "symbolic gesture", marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Tsardom of Russia. That "symbolic gesture" came out as a post factum, never discussed as one of the reasons prior to the transfer, which was attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, though the person who signed the document was Kliment Voroshilov.

But one has to remember that some Ukrainians NEVER liked the USSR, even before the Stalinist purges, and many joined the German troops against Russia during WW2 — and that there are still Nazis in Ukraine. When Ukraine decided to fall into the hands of the West (remember Obama and Biden, the funding the “Nazi” groups who supported the regime of Poroshenko), Russia (Putin) decided to take back Crimea as a Russian Oblast. There was a referendum, a quick political action, the building of a new bridge between Russia and Crimea and a special note reminding people that the gifting of Crimea to Ukraine had been unconstitutional under Russian law. So there.

So, apart from Crimea, the Russian war history which is still making the clocks tick, was a great part of George Bernard Shaw’s life. He died in 1950, age 94, with all his marbles. 

Hey, we still “remember” wars in the same way the Russian do. We just have had our own ANZAC celebrations — in isolation due a new yoke (not a joke, is it?), the coronavirus. 

To celebrate the end of WW2,Russia has thus just built one of the largest Orthodox Church with depiction of its heroes. We need to investigate:

Russia is planning to open a huge cathedral with mosaics depicting Vladimir Putin and Joseph Stalin, as well as the annexation of Crimea, on the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany next month.

The mammoth structure will be one of the world’s tallest Orthodox cathedrals when it opens in the military’s Patriot Park outside Moscow on 9 May.

Largely, the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral is a monument to the Soviet victory in the second world war. The diameter of the drum under the main cupola will measure 19.45 metres to signify the year the war ended, and a “road of memory” will have 1,418 steps, corresponding to the number of days the Soviet Union fought in the war. Its main steps are reportedly forged from metal salvaged from Nazi military hardware.

But special attention has been paid to several eye-catching mosaics that glorify Putin and other Russian officials during the annexation of Crimea in 2014, an operation led by unmarked Russian army units referred to as “little green men”.

Read more:

On this site we do not shame by suggesting that without Russia on the side of the allies, WW2 would have lasted quite longer — or until Hitler or the Yanks used an atom bomb in Europe, like the Americans did on Japan.

On the Crimean front we are told from a biased Western perspective ad nauseam:

There was confusion about the status of Sevastopol and whether it was a part of the transfer as it had a degree of independence from the Crimean Oblast and never formally ratified the transfer, although it was later mentioned as Ukrainian territory in the Soviet Constitution and the Belavezha Accordsbetween Ukraine and Russia.

In 1994, a Russian nationalist administration under Yuriy Meshkov took over in Crimea with the promise to return Crimea to Russia, although these plans were later shelved.

After the overthrow of President Victor Yanukovych during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution 
[financed by the USA, Obama, Biden, Nuland], the territories of Sevastopol and Crimea were seized by the Russian Federation; 
The annexation was formalized following an unconstitutional referendum in which 96% of the Crimean population purportedly voted "Yes." This move was denounced by the new Ukrainian government and disregarded by most UN states, which continue to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine. The Venice Commission (an advisory body of the Council of Europe in the field of constitutional law) issued an opinion in 2014, concluding that the referendum was illegal under the Ukrainian constitution and that "circumstances in Crimea did not allow the holding of a referendum in line with European democratic standards. 


Of course this Western view is bullshit. Russia did honourably what it had to do on this issue, considering that most of Crimeans are Russians — and we have to remember the West did not adhere to the verbal agreement of no Western push into the former USSR countries, made between Reagan and Gorbachev, thus worth the paper it was not printed upon. 

Oh... we’ve gone a long way away from George Bernard Shaw. 

"Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force."

This was GBS view of his cultural environment at the time. We often remember him as an old frail man… and we forget he had been a young vigorous man before…

Failing as a novelist, Shaw created himself in the 1880s. He became a vegetarian, a socialist, a powerful orator, a polemicist, and tried his hand at playwriting. He became an inspiration in the Fabian Society — a middle-class socialist group that vied for the transformation of the English society through “permeation” of the country’s intellectual and political life. Shaw became editor of one of the classics of British socialism, Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889), to which he contributed two major sections.

In 1885, Shaw found some journalistic work — book reviews in the Pall Mall Gazette (1885–88), became art critic for The World and musical columnist in the Star (writing under the name "Corno di Bassetto") from 1888 to 1890.

His mother, Bessie, had a fine mezzo-soprano voice and was much influenced by a lodger, George John Lee, who was a vocal music teacher. The Shaws' house thus had often filled with music, with frequent gatherings of singers and players. For whatever reason, Shaw believed that Lee was his natural father. When his mother moved to England to shack up with Lee, George followed them soon after. His “official" dad was a compete failure and an alcoholic... 

Thus George had a good understanding of the moires of life and of music, particularly opera. after a stint at writing columns for The World (as “G.B.S.”) from 1890 to 1894, Shaw wrote for the Saturday Review as a theatre critic (1895–98). He used all his wit as a polemicist to attack the hypocrisies of the Victorian theatres. He began writing his own plays.

The times he was living in were very different from those of Shakespeare. Less kingly-angst and more social argy-bargy. The Industrial Revolution had displaced people and reset the parameters of the sub-class of people from peasants to miners for coal. Bourgeois meanwhile created themselves by deviously bracketing their envy. George Bernard Shaw exposed this clearly.

More to come

Casual work, unions and contract work...


because of their own illusion...

During this Covid19 crisis, the “market” of ruthless capitalism has had to make room for socialist ideas of supporting the stay-at-home, the unemployed, and the "employed with no job to go to”. 

Even Ultra-CONservative governments had to come to term with a form of living wage. For years they had hammered the welfare recipients with work-for-the-dole, and made the unemployed go through hoops before getting a pittance. Now with "no job to go to" and compulsory isolation, and with the bourgeois class joining the queues at Centrelink, the Scomo government had to adopt rather quickly the Labor solutions to the problem, as written to Scott Morrison by Albo as early as late December 2019. Is the Scomo government going far enough? There are still a lot of people that have been forgotten in the scheme. Mostly casuals and people on contracts — a displaced large part of the workforce cultivated by CONservative government in order to minimise unionism. The concept of living wage is not new. In recent times, it was first mooted in the 18th century by Thomas Paine.

In America, the present health system being private, it found it difficult to deal with a national crisis, as decreed by the world health authorities, of isolation and distancing in order to minimise the number of deaths and prevent the hospitals from being swamped. Even in France the proud national public system — which was slowly being dismantled by the Macron government to suit a more economically minded European government — was barely coping.

At this stage, the problem is to balance death by Covid19 versus the destruction of the social settings — a destruction which can lead to more deaths. Keep calm and don’t worry… Is there a better way to deal with Covid19? Yes, but it would have to be targeted to social groups and boat loads of oldies on cruise ships...

The times George Bernard Shaw was living in were very different from those of Shakespeare or even from Sir Walter Scott’s. The Industrial Revolution had displaced people and reset the parameters of the sub-classes from peasants to miners for coal and other stuff. There was less grandiose kingly-angst and more sociable argy-bargy from shopkeepers and petty scrooges in the English society that made Dickens famous as well as his vigorous campaign for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.



In France and possibly Germany, the social structure was going to and fro between a form of pure socialism and conservative bourgeois socialism, while in France, the “church" got squarely dumped. Laicity and secularity were the ingredients of government, even if some people chose to go to church. Unions were powerful. Workers had rights. Marxism had to be considered for improving the working conditions. And of course, there is the “market” of who buys what. The government would buy stuff like defence and administrative skills, the bourgeois would buy comforts, everyone had to buy food. Happiness had to be based on the main bourgeois ideals, as stated by JJ Rousseau: good health, enough money, good relationships… JJ was not good at any of this himself but this is beside the point. His ideas stirred the poor populace that had enough of being enslaved and taken for mugs, into a revolution.

George Bernard Shaw himself was born (1854) before aeroplanes, in the days of horse and carts. Before he died, one major war between France and Germany, two massive world wars and several pandemics, a Wall Street crash plus massive technological advances, including the atom bomb, had happened. The shock of modernity, movies, new styles and social adjustments would have been either enthralling or annoying. 

The bourgeois survived well in general. They improved themselves by deviously bracketing their envy and bank accounts and sending others to war. George Bernard Shaw had exposed their petty affairs and machinations, but really it was like making mirrors for the bourgeois to laugh at the bourgeois next door, not themselves. It was mostly the bourgeois who bought the tickets to his plays.

Meanwhile the main operators, the super rich class — different from the Lords and the Royals — were psychopathically managing the whole system from behind the stage, making sure the illusions and pomp of the Royal family acted like a voodoo spell on the masses. The media was playing and still plays its part. Few writers dared to challenge. It’s the same about the present coronavirus situation. Without a system of privileges that is presented and sustained by the media as a god-given and necessary scale, the system could fall prey to socialism. This is the next stage as mentioned by Slavoj Zizek… Meanwhile the science is behind the eighth ball, as is it trying to do catch up and prevent the dissemination of “fake news”, while health expert themselves are doing “officials” trials, while others less official doctors with ideas that are not “approved" are doing lateral experiments with “less comparative studies” but saving lives nonetheless. Statistics are becoming a battleground for truth...

For example, quantum cryptography expert Danny Rogers, Ph.D., is working hard to fight COVID-19 disinformation and fake trends that are emerging from the internet. A co-founder on the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), he studies the dissemination of misinformation, including what is it, where is it coming from, and why. Designed to disrupt, defund and down-rank disinformation sites, the GDI was formed as people increasingly became concerned about the 2016 US elections fake news.

But what is fake news? That the royals have the rights to be royals? That Trump was sleeping with Putin or the reverse? That Hillary was fiddling with her emails? That the FBI used unsavoury tricks to frame people?

In England, the privileged class fought against the Enlightenment. It was a struggle to get some philosophical value out of ideas and sciences, despite the Darwin family and their evolution theory which would have annoyed the top monkeys. 

There were some exception in regard to enlightened atheism in England, though, but quite late in terms of European Enlightenment.

George Holyoake coined the word secularism in 1851. It offered the English-speaking world the clarification of the movement for separation of religion and state which had been the hallmark of the Enlightenment. Remember, Diderot, way before the French revolution, had been a fierce advocate to remove kings and priests from society. 

The Leicester Secular Society was founded in 1851. 

The National Secular Society was founded in 1866 by politician Charles Bradlaugh, spearheading advocacy for freeing citizens from government requirements of religious observances. Bradlaugh's 1880 election to Parliament brought on a long dispute over the right to affirm declarations of office rather than swear oaths, as he was denied his seat for five years with resolutions preventing him from swearing an oath. 

When Bradlaugh was ultimately admitted in 1886, he took up the issue and saw the Oaths Act 1888 passed, which confirmed the right to optionally affirm declarations for inaugurations to office and offering testimony to government bodies.

In 1881, The Freethinker began circulation as Britain's longest-running humanist periodical. In 1891, the Union of Ethical Societies was formed in the United Kingdom by Stanton Coit, an American, as a union of British Ethical movement societies. This group became known as the Ethical Union and the British Humanist Association. In 1899, the Rational Press Association was formed by a group of free-thinkers including Charles Albert Watts and George Holyoake.

The Freethinker is a British secular humanist magazine, founded by G.W. Foote in 1881. One of the world's oldest surviving free-thought publications, it moved to online only, in 2014.

The Freethinker is unapologetically atheist and anti-religious. In Issue 1 (May, 1881), Foote set out The Freethinker's purpose:

The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against superstition in general, and against Christian superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense.

Although closely linked with the National Secular Society for most of its history, The Freethinker is autonomous and is not published by the NSS.

In 2006, the magazine's front-page masthead was changed from "Secular humanist monthly" to "The Voice of Atheism since 1881”.

Barry Duke is the current editor:

"Until you let go of God and take hold of yourselves, of the innate powers of your own beings, there is no hope for you . . . stop praying and go to work.
— Lois Waisbrooker, c. 1896.

It’s simple logic. The Christian god promises to answer prayer. Prayers to this god are not answered. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

Right now, millions of Christians are asking their god to defeat the coronavirus and to heal the sick. Those prayers are having no effect.

It is not just the coronavirus, of course. We could take the example of the horrific 1755 Lisbon earthquake that Voltaire called a “
repellant dance of death” and which 19th-century orator Robert Ingersoll concluded had “denied the existence of God.” Or the 1918 “Spanish flu,” which killed my great-grandfather. Or the 2001 terrorist attacks that prompted Richard Dawkins to say: “My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th.

History is pockmarked with examples, but we only need one. SARS-CoV-2 is virulent enough to single-handedly kill the Christian god.


Born 1737, in Thetford, English county of Norfolk, Thomas Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving in time to participate in the American Revolution. Every (nearly) rebel read or listened to a reading of his pamphlet Common Sense (1776) which catalysed the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. The American Crisis was Paine's pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. 

Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said: "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”. 

Paine wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part as a defense of the French Revolution against its (mostly British) critics. His attacks on Anglo-Irish conservative writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in England in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel.

Worried that the French Revolution could spread to England, William Pitt the Younger and his government suppressed works that encouraged radical philosophies. 

Paine advocated the right of the people to overthrow their government. A writ for Paine’s arrest was issued in early 1792. Paine fled to France in September where, despite speaking no French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. The Montagnards, especially Maximilien Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy. As we should all known, The French revolution was a BLOODY divided affair, with more factions than a local Labor party branch...

In December 1793, Paine was arrested and was taken to the Luxembourg Prison in Paris. There, he continued to work on The Age of Reason (1793–1794). James Monroe, a future President of the United States, used his diplomatic connections to get Paine released in November 1794. The Age of Reason advocated (private) deism, while promoting reason and free thought. Paine argued against institutionalised religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He published the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1797), discussing the origins of property and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income through a one-time inheritance tax on landowners. In 1802, he returned to the US where he died on June 8, 1809, forgotten by all. Greed, god, guns were the new motivators of the great American inequality. Everything has a price. Slaves only got their freedom after the American Civil War.

In England, mass production of things, with workers re-tooled by the conservative bourgeois system into slaves, provided comfort improvements  but little philosophical change. This led to the “Arts and Craft” movement which was a euphemism for semi-industrialised decoration made in smaller quantities by "basket weavers". Against the perceived impoverishment of the decorative arts and the conditions in which they were produced, Arts and Crafts stood for traditional craftsmanship, using medieval, romantic and folk styles while advocating economic and social reform and was anti-industrial in its orientation. It had a limited influence on the arts in Europe until it was displaced by Modernism in the 1930s, when capitalism had to be relaunched on a grand scale after the 1929 crash of the stock market. We know the rest of history. The baby boomers (a new moniker for bourgeois) have been blamed for whatever. The bogans are forming the new wave of bourgeois with little intellectual value. Intellectualism never stood a chance.

We shall leave this essay to the view expressed in 1938 by the Marxists about George Bernard Shaw:

Shaw performed a useful function in exposing the weakness of the bourgeois class. He exposes the rottenness of its culture and at the same time commits the future to its hands, but neither he nor his readers can believe in the success of that; and so he represents symbolically bourgeois intelligence as it is to-day, shamefaced and losing confidence in itself. He plays this active part, that he is one of the forces of defeatism and despair which help the decay of a world that has had its day. This disintegration is no more than pathological without the active forces of revolution which can shatter the rotten structure and build it anew. This confidence Shaw has never achieved, nor the insight that is needed for it. He stands by the side of Wells, Lawrence, Proust, Huxley, Russell, Forster, Wassermann, Hemingway, and Galsworthy as typical of their age, men who proclaim the disillusionment of bourgeois culture with itself, men themselves disillusioned and yet not able to wish for anything better or gain any closer grasp of this bourgeois culture whose pursuit of liberty and individualism led men into the mire. Always it is their freedom they are defending. This makes them pathetic rather than tragic figures, for they are helpless, not because of overwhelming circumstances but because of their own illusion.

of integralism...

As a traditionalist political movement, integralism emerged during the 19th and early 20th century within the Catholic Church, especially in France, mostly to combat the thrust of Enlightenment — the laicity and secularisation which became associated with modernism. Integralism also opposes ideas such as godless socialism and communism. Thus Integralism is in opposition to god-less free-thinking "modernism", by reshaping the liberal philosophy of secular modernity into Christian theology. Not a new technique used by the church to maintain the control over the flocks. The Catholic church has been doing his caper since its inception, including absorbing Santa Claus as St Nicolas… In America, a revival in Integralism has led to a rediscovered reactionary attitude, especially amongst the young Catholics… Here James M. Patterson explains:

"Integralism is an internet aesthetic of mostly young men alienated from the public life and consumed with the libido dominandi.” 

The term libido dominandi shows how sexual liberation was from its inception a form of control. Those who wished to liberate human from the moral order needed to impose social controls as soon as they succeeded, because "liberated libido leads to anarchy". Apart from the young men, we also need to remember the young Catholic women, now aged in their 30s, still waiting for Mr Right and still being virgins. Mr Right ain’t going to turn up.

James M. Patterson continues:

Over the past few years, Catholic integralism has gone from a curious fringe of the American Right to a subject of some interest among more mainstream conservative publications. American Affairs published Adrian Vermeule’s integralist critique of Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed, and First Things published Gladden Pappin’s review of Helen Rosenblatt’s The Lost History of Liberalism, as well as Fr. Romanus Cessario’s defense of the Vatican kidnapping of the Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, in his review of Mortara’s memoir. Other integralists, like Patrick Smith and Pater Edmund Waldstein, have published for First Things, with them and others appearing in The PloughUniversity Bookman, Church Life Journal, and other such publications. William Borman and Matthew Walther successfully raised funds to start The Lamp, which promises to be a kind of Triumph redivivus, although its release is presently delayed. Publications like Providence and The Chronicle of Higher Education have written pieces observing the return of integralism, with City Journal even publishing a full-page portrait of Vermeule. As writers, academics and, in Waldstein’s case, a Cistersian monk, they have been formed not by republican associations but by the top-down administration that defines religious and academic life. So formed, they revolt against the constant, low-level disorder typical of constitutional democracies. Rather than enter the fray to persuade citizens, they instead wish to put their citizens under the control of a Catholic administrative state that degrades free association of citizens into the solemn submission of subjects to their spiritual and temporal superiors.


With success comes criticism. My response, “Why Integralism Is an Ideology of Despair,” was published here and received some notice, but others have since addressed the arguments of integralism. Before my piece was the long debate at Public Discourse, there was an essay by Richard Reinsch in National Review. Soon after, I chaired a packed roundtable on the subject at the 2019 meeting of the American Political Science Association. In National Affairs, Robert P. George and Ryan T. Anderson defended liberalism in the same issue with Dan Burns. These pieces illustrated liberalism as a practice or as separate from the kinds of liberalism that the Church had condemned during the nineteenth century. Timothy Troutner in Church Life Journal observed that the ideological nature of integralism is merely the mirror image of the liberalism to which Waldstein responded, oddly, that regimes should be constructed in the same manner as monasteries. The most comprehensive and most damning is also the most recent, Michael Hanby’s recent contribution in First Things. Hanby, no friend of liberalism, found integralism to be part of “the mystical disaster of modernity that reduces Christianity from a mystique to a politique,” that is, one that degrades Catholic social teaching, ironically, into Hobbesian project.

Modernity mixed with catholic teachings leading to unrestrained, selfish, and uncivilised competition among adherents a Hobbesian cutthroat environment? Here comes the Jesuits to regulate these loose feet, with a tiered structure of obedience...

Someone, Ian Bothur, is not happy about James M. Patterson’s view…


The discourse around integralism has proven that it is easy to define but surprisingly difficult to understand, and even harder to swallow. Integralism is not so much “left” or “right” as it is definitively illiberal. It bewilders the liberal mind, which tends to misidentify it as one of the rival philosophies which were conceived in reaction to liberalism. Hence, the integralist will often find himself accused at once of being a fascist and a socialist, a public menace with fantastical and unattainable ideals. 

Integralism, its critics say, is impossible to sell to the masses; and thankfully so, because it would destroy democracy. Such incoherence is due, no doubt, to the incoherence of the liberal mind. Fortunately, man is not born a liberal, but becomes one. Today, it is more likely that the unformed common mind is more receptive to truth than the malformed intellectual, and integralism would not seem nearly as bizarre as most people might suppose.

Integralism is a complete conflict of interest and beliefs:


In politics, integralism or integrism (French: intégrisme) is the set of theoretical concepts and practical policies that advocate a fully integrated social and political order, based on converging patrimonial (inherited) political, cultural, religious, and national traditions of a particular state, or some other political entity. Some forms of integralism are focused on achieving political and social integration, and also national or ethnic unity, while others were more focused on achieving religious and cultural uniformity. In the political and social history of the 19th and 20th centuries, integralism was often related to traditionalist conservatism and similar political movements on the right wing of a political spectrum, but it was also adopted by various centrist movements as a tool of political, national and cultural integration.


 It has become a way for the religious mob, especially the Catholics, to adapt to “modernity”. It does not wash. Noah’s Ark is still a fantasy. Indulging in Integralism is just a way for them to salvage the furniture that is on fire. The Islamics are quite worried that they will have to go the same path and they tighten freedoms of thoughts as much as possible, but for how long. It could take a couple of clever thinkers from within to dismantle the horrible Sharia law…


We shall see...