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As well as being politically spot on, this website also has awesome psychic powers.
How long would it take the head of a big company to earn your pay? Trick question - they don't earn their pay.
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Carlo Giuliani was a 23 year old anarchist, killed by Italian police at a protest in 2001.
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Free board game based on the 1999 anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations.
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Patriotism - the Virtue of the Vicious
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious ~ Oscar Wilde
These words of Oscar Wilde will pass over the heads of most people who claim to like Wilde, including most of the anti-war protestors, for the simple reason that most people consider patriotism a virtue, including most of the anti-war protestors and most, also, of those who like Wilde. These latter will not even dwell on these true and apt words of his, which they will consider merely as another example of Wilde`s "flippancy." They are nothing of the kind. Patriotism is promoted as a virtue by the vicious and is believed to be a virtue by the gullible.
While we applaud the anti-war protestors, we cannot help but remark some of the things we have heard said by them, as though they feel the need to justify their protests. Many will say, "We are patriotic, but the war is wrong", and we saw one banner carried in a Pittsburgh anti-war march reading, "Dissent is patriotic." We know full well that most of the marchers, while rightly opposing the war, would be alienated from us should we tell them that patriotism itself needs to be abolished; that it is a vice and a symptom of the immaturity of the human spirit and of its continued repression and enslavement by the capitalist system.
The word patriotism has, of course, its origin in the Latin language, as patria, or fatherland, and it is fitting that a society founded upon slavery gave the term its birth. Nevertheless, it would still be wrong to equate the Roman patria with the modern nation-state, since only free Roman citizens were expected to feel "patriotism" and only free Roman citizens were inducted into the Roman army. This was the reason why, in the latter days of the Roman Empire, the army was made up for the most part of foreign auxiliaries, since there were not enough Romans to induct. Even the Romans preferred foreigners and slaves, in the end, to be their "patriots" for them and the "heroic" military exploits of the founding fathers of Rome were understood by educated Romans to be so much piff and drivel. The continent of Europe then disintegrated, with the fall of the Roman Empire into a multitude of feudal principalities established by the migrant horsemen from the east and north, who made serfs of the former empire`s inhabitants. Serfdom was a protection racket by which you appealed to a warlord to protect you from the other warlords in exchange for becoming his property ~ his serf. The serf and the land could not be separated and went together.
Although wars between the barons (princes, warlords) were mostly fought by mercenaries, the serf could be trepanned into military service by his lord, which was one of his duties under the feudal agreement. In exchange for his service and for his work in growing food for his lord`s family to eat, etc., the serf received a portion of the estate on which to grow crops for himself and his extended family, who were all serfs. The baron could also claim "the right of first night" with the bride of any of his serfs and the serf needed his lord`s permission to marry, etc. In return, he was guaranteed ~ in theory ~ protection from any marauders not of his own lord`s entourage. Suffice it to say that under feudalism there was no patriotism. One village regarded the next as foreign and nations did not exist; only baronial fiefs paying homage to a greater fief (no pun intended) ~ that of the king, prince or emperor. Europe had a common language of administration ~ Latin ~ and scholars and even educated knights, and princes, communicated across the board using it. The common denominator which united them all into one European fraternity, if a martial one, was the Catholic Church. Christendom was the only "patriotism" known. So much so that, with the emergence of centralised autocracies in the sixteenth century aaccompanying the ascendancy o the bourgeoisie (capitalist class), Humanists such as Erasmus and Thomas More vehemently opposed the growth of the nation-state and the threat it posed to Christendom. The seizing of the old feudal estates by the capitalist class ~ in England with the connivance of the monarch ~ turned the former serfs off the land and drove them into the towns to provide the labour for the capitalists` urban industries. As supply exceeded demand, most became vagrants and the work-house was established from Elizabeth I`s time (reaching its heyday during the Industrial Revolution), with the intention of working those to death who would otherwise prove an embarrassment to the state.
The working class thus emerged, as more and more people were rendered propertyless and dependent on selling themselves for wages/salaries to the new masters of society, the capitalists.
Christendom, at first split between the warring princes who followed the reforming call of Luther and those who continued to adhere to the Roman Church, fell into the hands of the bourgeoisie, with which many princes chose to identify. The Tudor monarchs were among these princes who saw the argument of their merchant adventurers concerning the wealth to be had from both domestic exploitation for profit and colonial ventures.
The nation-state was born. The dispossessed, who now made up the new working class of town and country, would be called upon to do the nation`s (the capitalist class) fighting for it. They possessed no stake in the state, and do not to this day, yet it is they, the working class, who make up the armed forces of each and every state and the support of those armed forces. Nevertheless, it took a further three centuries in Britain to persuade the English worker, and a national revolution in France to persuade the French worker, that he and she had "a country" to fight and die for. In Britain this was accomplished only within the long period of Victoria`s reign~ the most vicious period of naked exploitation of the British worker ever seen ~ in which modern British patriotism was moulded.
As with patriotism everywhere it is constructed ~ with all its trappings of bunting and anthems ~ upon a downright lie : the lie that we all have a stake in common in the state, and hence in "the nation." In fact, the state, in every land, is the executive arm of the capitalist class (the means by which it retains power in its hands), and the nation belongs to that class, and that class alone, and not to the majority of the population ~ the working class ~ who are nonetheless expected to feel patriotism and support military force. The same process of the peasant`s dispossession by the capitalist class and his conversion into wage-slave was carried out across the globe as European capitalism was taken abroad. The capitalists of the American colonies wished to exploit their own workers without interference from the capitalists of Great Britain. They won military victory in 1776, using their wage-slaves to establish their independence from the British Crown. In Tsarist Russia, capitalism had been making hesitant inroads since the time of Peter the Great but was forever coming up against the bastion of Russian serfdom.
These barriers were finally overthrown in 1917 and the dispossession of the Russian peasant and his conversion into wage-slave was completed by Stalin. In Japan, the dispossession of the peasantry followed the uprising against the Shogun in 1868 and the Japanese wage-slave became available to the enrichment of that country`s new rulers, the capitalist class. In China the transforming of millions of peasants into wage-slaves followed Mao`s victory in 1949 and the victory of Chinese capitalism, only now emerging from its state-capitalist cocoon.
In all of these countries, and in the former colonies of Europe now under the rule of native capitalists, the call to patriotism goes out. Even anti-war protestors feel guilty in their pacifism as the capitalists of this or that nation-state call for war. They feel the need to plead patriotism, just as do the supporters of war. All consider patriotism a virtue! But patriotism is the dirty watchword of the capitalist adventurer and the militarist. There is no need to feel guilty about not being patriotic. IT IS YOUR DUTY NOT TO BE PATRIOTIC! IT IS YOUR DUTY TO ABOLISH PATRIOTISM, together with the vile system of exploitation which spawns it. Down with patriotism!
Flag, n.A coloured rag borne above troops and hoisted on forts and ships. It appears to serve the same purpose as certain signs that one sees on vacant lots in London ~ "Rubbish may be shot here."
~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil`s Dictionary.
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