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Michail Gorbachev - long live his legacy (31/08/22 17:09:14) Reply
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Gorbachev

    He was a true progressive who managed to do the right things (and some bad ones) in spite of being surrounded by a criminal political system.

    He underestimated the power of corruption,so his reforms were inadequately condolidated (if at all) and compromised by the overwhelming presence of corruption and crime in the ruling class,the mafia, most commonly known as the communist party. Those people grabbed all the money - and political and military power can be bought.

    It is a lesson to be remembered.

    Building democracy top-down is like lighting a candle. It's easy to see. A little wind, and it's out.

    The Norwegian democracy started as layman Christianity. Preaching was a state monopoly in Denmark (Norway was a Danish colony for 400 years), andpeople were forbidden to assemble except in churches,where they were under control. The lay Christians managed to erode that monopoly -and could build a popular movement bottom-up.

    We can hope that our Ukrainian sisters and brothers - with the help of their own stamina andexternalweapons -manage to build areal democracy. They certainly deserve it. So I vote for two new statues in Kyiv in a central square: Gorbachev and Zelensky. Putin could be the target in a public urinal.
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The crumbling of GULag (04/09/22 10:26:14) Reply
    I think it is time to refresh-reading the GULag book by Solzhenitsyn. For much of the duration of the slave camp system the non-criminal inmates were bullied by criminal inmates and criminal and corrupt guards.

    After WWII former prisoners-of-war who had been in contact with foreigners were mass-deported into the camps.

    These men were toughened through extreme hardships during the battle years and were not going to take bullying easily. There were rebellions. Guards were killed in unprecedented numbers. Finally Stalin's violence was met with determined and systematic counterviolence. So the GULag system became unsustainable and crumbled.

    British intelligence reports from the Russian side of the front lines in Ukraine tell us about soldiers whose wages are stolen by officers, of protests and desertions. Recruitment of new soldiers from prisons, poverty-stricken rural areas and pensioners is no winning strategy - and recruitment from the educated or educatable classes will not succeed because those people know what to expect. General mobilisation: If Putin tries that, there will be revolution within a few weeks.

    SO I don't think Ukraine needs to attack massively to win back territory. It is enough to go for winning time and letting the Russian army and Russian power system rot from within. Russia is lethally corrupt, and most Russians know it.

    The first thing to do when the putinist society collapses is arresting all of media, all military with grades (take them from the top and gradually), all oligarchs, all politicians -and put up screening tribunals to releasethe least tainted ones on condition that they agree to doing useful work to rehabilitate themselves.

    And then the preparation for split of Russia must start - in parallel.
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A piece to learn from - just reverse it (04/09/22 11:40:45) Reply
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/search/?query=ridley+plan

    or

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/thatcher-had-a-battle-plan-for-her-economic-revolution-now-the-left-needs-one-too/

    "The Ridley Plan prefigures almost all of the key moments in the long neoliberal assault on public ownership, from the open war against the miners to the privatisation “by stealth” (Ridley’s own words) of the NHS. It suggests that Thatcher pick her battles, provoking confrontations in “non-vulnerable industry, where we can win” such as the railways and the civil service, while taking steps to create the conditions for eventual victory against the more powerful trade unions. It outlines a plan to prepare the ground for privatisation by introducing market measures in the running of nationalised industries (such as changes of leadership, targets for return on capital, and new incentives for managers), and fragmenting the public sector into independent units that could later be sold off.

    Ridley explicitly describes this as a “long term strategy of fragmentation”, “a cautious ‘salami’ approach - one thin slice at a time, but by the end the whole lot has still gone”."

    "The questions it confronts – where the Thatcherites were strong and where they were weak; where they should pick battles and where they should proceed more cautiously; how to erode the power of their opponents to the point where they could win – are exactly the questions the left needs to answer today if it is serious about changing the system.

    What happens during a crisis may depend, as Milton Friedman put it, on “the ideas that are lying around”. But it would be naïve to think that ideas are enough. In the teeth of powerful and entrenched interests, we also need strategies for shifting power so that these ideas can become reality."
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Re: A piece to learn from - just reverse it (04/09/22 11:50:38) Reply
    One common problem is that tyrannies, dictatorships or whatever they are called, are mainly profit-driven. The useful idiots are not profit driven, but are essential as tools for gaining and keeping dictatorial powers. Political idealists with a real democratic mindset are not profit-driven and generally (in my experience) have disdain for money and economy. So they cannot buy loyalty from the politically disinterested, the useful idiots. So either they are defeated, or they turn their coats and become tyrants themselves.

    This is the reason why real grassroots movements must be built early.
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But (05/09/22 06:48:08) Reply
    A link in the article above

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/de-financialising-economy-what-be-done/

    The author seems to believe in a top-down approach, narrowly focussing on the financial sector.

    It will not be enough; it will not be adequate. People will need jobs; people will need earnings; people will need food and transportation and education and healthcare. All interrelated matters will have to be dealt with roughly at the same time. For that lots of good brains need to work and coordinate. It can only be done by democracy-like systems (how do I know? Because dictatotorial systems always fail owing to self-interest (or corruption, which ismy preferred term). So already-educated people will need to put self-interest aside and join a larger community of workers with knowledge, experience, connectedness, creativeness and money.

    The money must come first. Find a sponsor, an angel investor, who does it for the fun of it and does not expect return of investment.
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