Sutton: Privatising Bin Collections (2.4.2017)

1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Sutton Bin Changes

Why should we – local Council Tax payers – separate our household rubbish into ‘recyclable’ categories that benefit the ruthless ‘private’ firms the Local Council has ‘contracted-out’ the service of refuge disposal? If these ruthless private firms want to make money out of our rubbish, they should collect and sort the rubbish themselves, but they do not do this, because they would have to ‘pay’ employees to do it, and this would remove or diminish any available profit. Furthermore, what local residents are not told, is that the Local Council hires these ‘private’ firms to ‘reduce’ the amount of waste a household produces (an oppressive policy which I believe would be against the law if it were made public knowledge). This is achieved in two broad ways; a) reducing bin collections to every two-weeks instead of every week, and b) replacing large (wheelie) bins with small plastic ‘pots’ that clearly cannot hold anywhere near the volume of rubbish, of the bins they replace.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

In the late 1990’s, Sutton Council (in South London), decided that that every household would have (unrecyclable) rubbish (by far the bulk of household rubbish) collected ‘every two weeks’ instead of the usual every week. This was coupled with an EU Directive that stated ALL areas of the UK had to start ‘recycling’ the rubbish that could be used again (such as tins, paper, cartons, plastic bottles and glass, etc). This task was given to greed-orientated ‘private’ firms that only cared about ‘profit’ and not the environment, and implemented by Bin-men who refused to ‘take’ any rubbish they deemed ‘non-sorted’ or ‘not sorted to the required degree’. As plastic bin-bags were still in use then – the Bin-men would cut a slit in the bag to ‘look’ at the content as a means to make their decision. If the bag was left – the slit in its structure often meant the bag would ‘rip’ when moved – spilling the contents-out on the floor, or attracted wild animals (such as foxes and birds) to attack the rubbish for food, a scavenging process also spreading the rubbish across the ground. This change in policy co-coincided with the introduction of ‘wheelie’ bins designed to prevent the Bin-men from damaging their backs – a common occurrence in the old days after years of lifting heavy bin bags for decades. However, a battle of wills developed where Council Tax-paying citizens simply left piles of rubbish bags in the streets when the Bin-men refused to take them. This led to a terrible stink in the streets, and a public health scandal developed as swarms of rats and mice descended upon the area! Sutton Council responded by introducing ‘covert bin-runs’ that were never officially announced or acknowledged. I had a martial arts student in those days who worked on these ‘secret’ bin-runs, the objective of which, was to go around the streets late at night or early in the morning ‘collecting’ all the rubbish left by the ‘official’ bin-run in the week.  The important point about this deception (paid for by Council Tax contribution) was that the local people were to be kept in the dark about it, as the Council did not want to encourage ordinary people to put-out extra bags of rubbish!  Things got so bag that the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Councillors that run Sutton became afraid that they would lose their Council Seats in the upcoming elections, and so re-introduced ‘weekly’ collections of ordinary household waste (raising Council Tax rates in the process).

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

That was around 20 years ago, but under this current Tory national government, Local Councils have become thoroughly ‘unaccountable’ since the demise of the Audit Commission in 2010 (a government body empowered to investigate and hold Local Councils ‘legally’ accountable for their actions). Today, Local Councils implement vicious (and ‘illegal’) Benefit cuts and Housing policies that attack and persecute the poor and the vulnerable. This is part of a broader Tory policy of attempting to eradicate the ordinary working class from relatively ‘wealthy’ areas of London by literally ‘starving’ then out, or deliberately not assisting in re-housing, etc. Quite often, when Council houses or flats become ‘vacant’, Sutton Council guts the interior and replaces everything ‘anew’ (something the Council would not have done for the previous Council Tenant), and places the building on the market for a ‘private’ sale. However, refuge collections effects absolutely everyone equally across the borough, and it will be interesting to see how Sutton’s middle class will react this time around. If the middle class reacts badly (i.e. ‘hose that vote’) – then it will be interesting to see how a vast reduction in the collection of waste volume will be met. In the meantime, it can clearly be seen that the plastic tubs provided in no way ‘equal’ the ‘wheelie’ bins that will soon be taken away from us. Lastly, it seems that the Bin-men will now have to pick-up heavy objects again (thus risking their backs), but in this time of diminished workers’ rights, Sutton Council is well aware that there is little the individual worker can do about this regressive change in working conditions (falsely) packaged as ‘progress’. Living in a ruthless, capitalist and consumerist society, it is ridiculous to oppress local people by stating that they should ‘reduce’ their consumption! Capitalism demands continuous (and ‘mindless’ consumption for it to exist!  The rich, of course, can afford to ‘pay’ for refuge collection in a ‘private’ capacity, but ordinary people already ‘collectively’ pay for this service through Council Tax payment. Ending capitalism and building a Socialist society is the only means to truly ‘cut’ the excessive waste associated with ‘unbridled’ greed. As matters stand, it looks like flat dwellers may have their old-style bins taken away, as there is no mention in the literature that the bins will exist alongside the new containers (as is the case with some middle class houses). It looks as if privileged middle class people will keep their old-style bins as well as benefiting from the new ‘pots’ (a shrewd move) – whilst ordinary working class people living in flats (amounting to tens of thousands) are losing their old-style bins and having their refuge collection volume ‘cut’. Taking rubbish to the local Council-run dump will be of no use – as the private firm running the new ‘pots’ will be also running the dump and ‘charging’ for any rubbish brought-in. This has been clearly seen with the antics of ‘Tor2’ – a private firm operating in Torquay in the Council’s name.  Sutton Council states on its website (2.4.2017):

Flat

  • Food waste will be collected every week – new service with new container
  • Paper and card will be collected every week – new container
  • Plastics, glass, cans and cartons will be collected every week
  • Rubbish will be collected every week

When we deliver your new food waste kitchen caddy, look inside. You will find further information about how to use the new service. The service for flats will be tailored to individual blocks, to account for differences in amount of available space or to accommodate management agents’ routines.

Flat above a shop

  • Paper, card, plastics, glass, cans and cartons will be collected every week – new service with new bags
  • Rubbish will be collected every week – new bags

We will supply you with the bags you need to use the service. We will only collect materials if they are contained in these bags.

When we deliver your new recycling and rubbish bags, we will also provide you with further information about how to use the new service.

House with a kerbside collection

  • Food waste will be collected every week – new service with new container
  • Paper and card will be collected every two weeks
  • Plastics, glass, cans and cartons will be collected every two weeks – new container
  • Rubbish will be collected every two weeks
  • Garden waste will be collected every two weeks (subscription-based service)
  • Textiles will be collected every week when placed in an tied carrier or clear bag next to the recycling bin/box
  • Batteries will be collected every week when placed in a tied carrier or clear bag next to the recycling bag/box

When we deliver your new containers, look inside. You will find further information about how to use the new service.

House with a bagged collection

  • Plastics, glass, cans and cartons will be collected every two weeks – new bags
  • Paper and card will be collected every two weeks
  • Rubbish will be collected every two weeks – new bags
  • Textiles will be collected every week when placed in an tied carrier or clear bag next to the recycling bin/box
  • Batteries will be collected every week when placed in a open carrier or clear bag next to the recycling bag/box

We will supply you with all the recycling containers and rubbish bags you need to use the new service. From April 2017, we will only collect rubbish if it is contained in the red bags we provide you with.

When we deliver your new recycling containers and rubbish bags, we will also provide you with further information about how to use the new service.

The Sangha Kommune (僧伽公社) Defined

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Ch’an Master Caotang siad:

There is nothing special to leadership – essentially it is a matter of controlling the evils of biased information and autocracy. Do not just go by whatever is said to you first – then the obsequities of petty people seeking favour will not be able to confuse you.

After all, the feelings of a group of people are not one, and objective reason is hard to see. You should investigate something to see its benefit or harm, examine whether it is appropriate and suitable or not; then after that you may carry it out.

True Record of Sushan (Song Dynasty)

The Chinese Buddhist monastic community is referred to as a ‘Sangha’ (Sanskrit for ‘spiritual community’), whereby men and women form a voluntary association premised upon following a strict set of rules known as the ‘Vinaya Discipline’. Within this community, there is ‘equality’ between all members, with the leaders being those who have followed these rules for the longest times. This is because such people are thought to have more experience at adhering to the Vinaya Discipline (which includes celibacy and vegetarianism), and are therefore able to effectively advise all others through the difficult times they my face in their practice. As those with little experience have less to share, they are not considered leaders whilst more experienced practitioners live in the vicinity. Of course, this is a relative matter depending upon the size of population of a community, and the length of time it has existed, and the quality of the masters (male or female) that have led it. Those who cannot keep the Vinaya Discipline (of over 200 rules) generally choose to leave on their own accord, with those who confess breaking the major rules being asked to leave and expelled from the monastic community (due to the bad example they set). However, the term ‘Sangha’ is often more loosely applied to the devout or dedicated lay community, the members of which follow at least 5, 8 or 10 vows as a life routine, and who regularly visit the local temple and volunteer their time in worthwhile social or charitable activities. In this manner, the monastic Sangha teach and guide the lay Sangha, and the lay Sangha applies the Buddha’s teachings of compassion, loving kindness and wise action to the outside the temple, and thereby expand the Buddha-Dharma beyond the temple. As the Buddha originally taught that there is no ‘difference’ in enlightened essence between the monastic and lay community, the monastics do not consider themselves ‘superior’ and the lay community does not consider itself ‘inferior’ to one another. The principle of ‘Sangha, therefore, denotes a sacred space defined and maintained through the principles of psychological and physical self-discipline and learning, premised upon a general attitude of mutual respect. The Sangha, in both essence and function, is a model for a ‘commune’ operating through the vigorous principles of  equality’, ‘discipline’ and ‘wisdom’. These are the principles embodied within this blog – regardless of the scope of its subject matter.

994627_1

The term ‘Kommune’ is taken from the German word for ‘Commune’, and is directly related to the principles of Scientific Socialism, as formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Indeed, within German language editions of the works of Marx and Engels, the term ‘Kommune’ is often encountered. This type of ‘Kommune’ is also a voluntary association, albeit distinctly ‘modern’ in origination, and designed to serve the Revolutionary needs of the Proletariat – or the mass of peasants forced to work in the industrialised factories produced by the oppressive capitalist system. Working 12 to 16 hours a day, strictly by the clock, whilst being dictated to by brutal managers and the movement and operation of monotonous machines, these peasants were transformed into self-disciplined and highly exploited automatons of industry, waiting for the right historical epoch to free themselves from their endless toil for little reward. Just as the collective mind is ‘dulled’ by endless hours of repetitive toil, it is ‘freed’, ‘activated’ and ‘expanded’ when encountering the strictures of Scientific Socialism, and a non-resisting ‘false consciousness’ is replace by a resisting ‘true consciousness’. Generally, when the mind is freed from the straitjacket of oppression, the body soon follows, even though it is equally true that if the body is freed by a Revolution caused by others, then the mind soon follows! In these post-modem times, proletariat ‘true consciousness’ is much more amorphous in manifestation, particularly as factory work becomes ever less prevalent in the West. Although the modes of capitalist exploitation change with the epoch, the nature of capitalist exploitation (and class distinction) remains exactly the same. Striving for the establishment of a ‘Kommunistic’ society remains the duty of all right-minded working class people across the globe, with the Marxist principle of ‘Internationalism’ replacing nationalism and racism, etc. The point is that the ‘true consciousness’ of the working class is premised entirely upon non-hatred for one another, as this hatred has been imported into the working class by the very capitalists that exploit them! By rejecting capitalism, the working class is rejecting the greed, hatred and delusion that underlies all capitalist thought and action. This working class mission is no less ‘sacred’ than its Buddhist counter-part, and shares exactly the same essence. The author of this blog strives to agitate for the peaceful achievement of both inner and outer Revolution amongst by any means necessary (to quote Malcolm X).

0o0o

Having defined two interpretations of ‘Kommune’, it is important to also emphasis the pivotal notion of ‘education’ and the training of the human mind to discern a relevant ‘truth’ in any given situation or circumstance. Learning in a classroom, through a book, encounter groups, political meetings, protest marches, meditation sessions, or the internet, are all crucial aspects of ‘refining’ the memory and ‘honing’ the intellect. The thought processes (and emotionality) must be ‘calmed’ for the sake of ‘wise’ action and non-action when young, so that avoidable errors and mistakes are reduced to the minimum, and progressive activity increased to the maximum (to selflessly benefit humanity).  This is not always easy, and the ability to recognise non-efficient thought-patterns and behaviours should also be cultivated as a means toward achieving self-forgiveness, and the forgiveness of others. The important point is that the mind should be kept in a positive frame of operation, so that the body can be used for various types of ‘enlightened’ political, cultural and social action. The physical body must be clearly (and cleanly) directed by the mind (the seat of volition), and kept physically fit through appropriate activities. This psycho-physical training sets the stage for the refined individual to understand the frequency and quality of inner and outer energy, and immediately understand the best action (if any) to take, or instantly ‘know’ when others are ‘lying’, or presenting ‘untruth’ as ‘truth’. This ability can be further used to generate ‘correct’ work that counters the lies of a society motivated entirely by greed, racism and an indifference to the suffering of humanity and other life forms. Therefore, this ‘Sangha Kommune’ blog is a work in progress that covers a bewildering array of topics, opinions, and research data. By taking a step back away from its content – the general reader will begin to understand the underlying (and motivating) paradigm. This is essentially a ‘Kommunist’ zone where all beings are automatically ‘freed’ at the point of contact. The need for money is already ‘transcended’, and the energy frequency of the Sangha Kommune should be used by all to achieve a state of permanent ‘freedom’ in all circumstances. This is a space of permanent Cyber Kommunism, and ongoing Revolutionary activity in the form of ‘exposing’ and ‘dissolving’ the bourgeois system and its redundant mode of capitalist organisation.

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Ch’an Wuzu said:

The Ch’an community is a place for the moulding of Sages and ordinary people, and for nurturing and developing potential ability. It is a source of teaching,. Even though many people are living together, gathering in kind, they are guided and made equal. Each has a transmission from the teacher.

Now in many places they do not strive to maintain the standards of the Sages of the past. Biased feelings of like and dislike are many, with people bending others to what they personally think is right. How should later students take an example?

Records of Equanimity (Song Dynasty)

Sugar and Slavery: Museum of London (Docklands) (11.2.2017)

20170211_160432

London, Sugar and Slavery

Despite the manner in which a succession of rightwing UK national governments treat their people (through the ideologically led policies of ‘Austerity’), the UK as a nation is one of the richest countries in the world. This has happened over the last four hundred years primarily due to its trade in African slaves and sugar. The despicably named ‘Golden Triangle’ was as simple as it was barbaric. British ships would bring sugar to the UK from the West Indies, and swap the sugar for steel chains and iron collars manufactured in Sheffield. The ships full of chains would then sail for Africa where the chains were used to imprison untold millions of African men, women and children in the most brutal and barbaric of manners, who were loaded onto the ‘slave’ ships and kidnapped to the West Indies. Once at the West Indies, the ‘new’ slaves would be exchanged for sugar harvest already gathered by existing slaves – and the cycle of human abuse and capitalist accumulation began yet again. Not only were Africans stripped of their languages, religions and cultures, their bodies were also subject to various sadistic tortures and sexual abuse. Slaves either complied to the whims of their ‘White’ masters, or paid the price with life and limb. This historical experience of systematic and prolonged psychological, emotional and physical abuse still linger-on, and continue to effect the descendants of those slaves today, in populations spread throughout the world. What is sadly interesting to note is that ‘White’ racists are by and large the descendants of the original ‘White’ slavers that got rich on Black suffering, and who continue the slave tradition of psychologically and physically abusing Black people today (including racially motivated murder). Racism is a disease, and like a disease, White people should work together to stamp it out. This is a White problem that requires the White community to recognise it as a ‘disease’ and formulate an effective ‘treatment’. This exhibition at the Museum of London (Docklands) is superb and one of the best exposures of slavery and racism that I have ever seen. All school children in the UK should visit this exhibition as a means of ‘inoculating’ the next generation against the racism of past generations. If you do visit, be prepared to be over-whelmed by the suffering of Africans which is not disguised or obscured. Be over-whelmed by the ‘White’ callousness of nature that put profit before humanity, but also be over-whelmed by one more thing – the British people who designed this exhibition (some of whom may well be White) fully admitting and regretting the barbaric actions of their fore-fathers.

20170211_160429

000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

20170211_161034-2

20170211_161506-2

20170211_160904

20170211_160929

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

20170211_161352

20170211_161120

20170211_161949

20170211_162312

20170211_162344

Do Not Worship Cause and Effect

160501-Ottawa-MayDay-19

Our societies are full of bourgeois spiritualities that have no basis in logic and reason, and whilst purporting to offer a ‘higher’ path, are in fact an anchor weighing down on the heads of the working class, (and in the case of distorted Buddhism, quite literally),  These bourgeois entities mirror religious structure and spiritual instruction, but never (except in the case of radical or fringe practitioners) question the inequalities or injustices inherent within the capitalist, liberal democratic, bourgeois societies that have spawned them.  This is exactly the point of these bourgeois spiritualities, they claim to offer ‘freedom’ but freedom from what?  It certainly is not the injustices, war and famine perpetuated by the outer societies within which they exist, or the class oppression meted-out by the bourgeoisie itself upon the working class.  These ‘spiritual’ paths are follies for the wealthy, and those who already possess systemic political power and the means to guide culture along a non-threatening path, so as not to compromise the class privilege already amassed through the stolen profit of the labour of others.  In this sense, (and all others), bourgeois spirituality is nothing but a ‘muse’ to entertain the middle classes when they get momentarily bored of the opulence that surrounds them, but even then, opulence tends to dictate the inner and outer structures of the philosophy and theology that often offers a better tomorrow, but which as of yet, has never been proven to be true.  All these paths imply and infer that they possess a ‘higher’ knowledge as yet unknown by rational science, or the enquiring minds of humanity.  In other words, they peddle speculative and highly imaginative post-death scenarios, promising the living that when dead, they will carry-on living!  A question that everyone should be asking is this; does life mean so much now (with all its disasters, pain, suffering, and momentary pleasures), that anyone in their right minds would want to repeat the process again, albeit in somekind of disembodied format?

Although this generally goes unacknowledged, rational science has solved the meaning of existence, but not many people (accept for the Buddha in ancient India, and one or two others around the world) have realised this.  To build the picture, exactly the same thing happens before death, as it does after death, and our individual opinions about this natural process do not matter one iota, as the universe simply continues to do its ‘thing’ irrespective of how we might fell about it.  What is this ground-breaking realisation?  It is simplicity itself, as it is merely the observation that everything happens due to ‘cause and effect’, nothing more.  All the rest of the accumulated ‘junk’ of religiosity that has accrued over-time is simply an obscuration of this fact.  Such muddled religious teaching is like trying to formulate an echo, or define a shadow, none of it works, but instead forces humanity into religiously inspired ghettoes of the mind and body existence.  This type of limited religious thought creates the prisons it claims to possess the keys to.  Of course, ‘religion’ will not like hearing this insight because it directly ‘sees through’ Bourgeois obscuration and threatens its very existence by revealing its inherent redundancy.

Much of contrived religion is about keeping the masses looking in the wrong place for universal truth.  Universal truth does exist, and rational science has already de-mystified it and made it readily available, even if that science exists within bourgeois societies, and presents this truth though that political outlook.  The point is that science found universal truth by breaking away from the limitations of Judeo-Christian theology.  However, as it serves the class interests of the bourgeoisie to keep perpetuating the ignorance of theology, the toiling masses are kept from further and higher education, and encouraged to worship in a church rather than carry-out rational scientific research in a laboratory.  Why is this?  It is because rationality reveals the stupidity of capitalism as a defining economic system – as Albert Einstein pointed-out.  If the whole of society worked this out for itself, the capitalist system would collapse from within, washing away its rotting infrastructure of support.  Instead of middle class universities excluding the masses and compromising with the irrationality (i.e. read ‘greed’) of capitalism, they would have to throw all their academic weight behind actively participating in the revolutionary process of encouraging and guiding the evolutionary process for the betterment of humanity.

The churches need not be abolished – they must simply start telling the truth – and those who follow Buddhism should stop pretending it is Christianity, or a method for gaining money from the gullible and unsuspecting.  Islam should release that the modern and rational mind ‘worships’ Allah every time it creates a medicine that saves countless lives, and Brahmanism should let its natural beauty (as bright as the sun) shine through.  Science has existed in the past in all parts of the world, and this is a fact that must be understood.  Many ancient cultures had ‘science’ and used their collective minds to influence the world.  Modern science is, of course, a refinement of this process, but science within capitalist societies is currently dominated by a restrictive bourgeois straitjacket that prevents it from truly shining.  This is science polluted by the search for perpetual monetary gain and momentary advantage.  For science to truly fulfil its ‘emancipatory’ (i.e. ‘religious’) function, it must be ‘freed’ from this limited control.  Rational thought must be freed from inner psychological conditioning, and outer societal conditioning for humanity’s true potential to be unleashed for a better tomorrow.  The real mystery is how conventional religion has survived so long through delivery so little, but of course, it is no mystery at all.  That which is corrupt or of no rational use, is kept in place by a political class because it suits that class’s long-term purposes.  Religion as it currently exists (even its good manifestation) keeps humanity at a certain level of thought, and does not allow any progress beyond this point.  The working class, simply for evolutionary purposes, must progress beyond the limitations of theology for the betterment of the psychological and physical health of humanity.

Seeing Beyond Bourgeois Nationalism

aNationalism

Nationalism separates human-beings into the false mythic categories of nation states.  This illusion is set in place through the use of deliberately conflating differences in language and culture with perceived differences in physical appearance.  Once physical differences are inalienably linked with culture, the ground-work for racism is established.  Instead of acknowledging that distinct human populations are the product of diverse manifestations of adaptability within different climatic and geographical conditions, the myth is perpetuated that the ‘differences’ are in fact directly related to skin-colour.  Human groupings are then encouraged by an exploitative socio-economic system to perpetually conflict with one another to see which racial grouping is ‘superior’.  Of course, the real point of this is to prevent human groupings from coming together and over-throwing the exploitative socio-economic system that exploits them in this way.  The psychology of perpetual conflict prevents the human mind from ‘seeing’ beyond its limited conditioning and gaining insight into the true conditions surrounding its existence.  If this true knowledge is gained, then the old socio-economic model would be abandoned for one more in keeping with the actual needs of human existence.

Camelford Ch’an Week Retreat (North Cornwall)

The author & Daughter - Mei-An

The author & Daughter – Mei-A

Under my guidance (as the current Custodian) of the Richard Hunn Association for Ch’an Study (RHACS), which is headquartered in London, UK, many of our Ch’an Retreats have tended to favour the Cornish countryside.  This type of terrain – with its fresh air and unusually good day light – often serves as a tonic to those brave few who manage to find out about our retreats, and then manage to convince us that they are legitimate seekers of the Dao.  Many show an ‘egotistical’ interest, but if this is allowed into an intensive Ch’an Week, the effect of the intensive concentration will be destroyed to the detriment of everyone, and the benefit of none.  The sincerity of those who attend is touching in the extreme.  One young man – a Christian priest – said that he wanted to get beyond just talking to god, as god tended to listened to his words, and laughed at his pain!  This problem was solved by another participant – who hadn’t spoken a word all Retreat, who said that he thought these words were amongst some of the best lyrics Robbie Williams had ever produced!  At the time, I did not know what this referred to, but the ‘gong an’ nature of the exchange ‘freed’ the blocked energy and strengthened the inner potential in the good person in question.  As a consequence, this practitioner ‘punched through’ his limited notion of ‘god’, (which turned-out to be his ‘ego’ talking), and as a consequence, emerged into a whole new light of awareness.  For him, the god he used to worship was a mimicry of what he now found.  It may seem surprising, but Ch’an Week Retreats – particularly in the West – attract their fair share of Christians, and why not, we all seek together without discrimination.

Mei-An seeking herself in a Wardrobe

Mei-An seeking herself in a Wardrobe

Numbers vary dramatically, but as we are not a commercial enterprise, this is of no interest.  There is always a strong inner core that keeps the teachings of Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) alive in the UK.  We have been asked to Hong Kong and China in recent years, and these are invitations we intend to honour in the near future.  Our last Ch’an Week Retreat (in the Sai Kung area) of Hong Kong, attracted over 50 participants in 1999, and we had to abandon the building and sit in the beautiful countryside.  Richard Hunn (1949-2006) was still alive at that time, and despite being in Japan – was not able to attend on the dates we had arranged – but we did see him shortly afterwards.  He sent some of his Japanese students to sit with us, and of course, he spiritually authorised the entire event.  This was the first time that myself, and other members of the British Chinese, and Hong Kong communities worked together in the name of RHACS.  Part of the Ch’an practice at that time was a visit to the Po Lin Ch’an Temple (寶蓮禪寺 – Bao Lian Ch’an Si), situated on Lantau Island.  This involved climbing the hundreds of steps that led up to the Great Buddha situated on the Divine-Sky Altar (天壇大佛 – Tian Tab Da Fu).  The superstition is that if these steps are climbed, bad karma is dissolved.  This view maybe juxtaposed with the observation that the sheer strain of climbing so many steps without a place to sit, or any type of refreshment, could well finish-off the elderly, infirm, or the disabled, etc.  Young children also find this pilgrimage difficult, with older children and youths seeing no point in doing it at all.  In this regard – all viewpoints are equally valid.  Perhaps a lift would be just as ‘divine’ if the mind was right?  Whatever the case, this Ch’an experience was unusual as it involved two family clans, (the Chan and Yau) visiting Hong Kong (the place of their origination before migrating to live in the UK), who mustered, through family ties, probably around 30 people to attend.  This has never happened again, as the social dynamics in the UK, at least outside the Chinese community, is premised upon individualism and not Confucian family ties.

Why Cornwall?  Although it is a beautiful county situated on the southwest tip of the UK, it is socially and economically deprived, whilst being run by a rightwing local council.  A Cornish news report last , stated that many local five year olds when first going to school in the area, could not even say their names, (compare this with my youngest daughter who is now two and a half years old, and can already say her name and hold basic conversations).  The deprivation for the local people is palpable.  Due to the lack of money amongst local people, much of the property is bought-up and rented-out by people from outside Cornwall – thus depriving the local population of the benefit of the value of Cornish property – the profit of which is leaving the county.  Some time ago, the previous Labour government brought-in a free bus pass for the elderly and the disabled.  This pass allows free travel over England and Wales on all buses for all elderly and disabled people.  Scotland is excluded from this scheme as its government has refused to dismantle its socialist system of caring for al its citizens.  In England and Wales, the bus pass was an attempt at ‘gesture politics’ whereby ruthless and vicious cuts is social care and welfare provision were camouflaged by introducing a free pass.  Whilst care home and medical services for the elderly and disabled were cut, the then Labour government sweetened the pill, so to speak, by saying it was all OK as now the victims of the cuts could now ride on a bus for free.  Well, as matters transpired, rightwing (conservative) local authorities have been looking for ways out of honouring this scheme at the county level.  Cornwall County Council – as a staunch supporter of the current far-rightwing Conservative and Liberal Democratic Parties (i.e. the ‘ConDem Coalition), realised that they could penalise all those using these passes on Cornish buses by introducing an administration fee (approximately a third of the actual fare).  Although an illegal act, it has since been copied by local councils elsewhere in the UK.  These local councils understand that for their illegal policy to be stopped, the elderly or disabled bus travellers that use the pass would have to take the councils  to court – a costly process that could drag on for years.  Obviously this is unlikely to happen, as bus users generally do not possess the personal wealth to questions these matters legally.  Therefore the Cornish County Council’s policy toward the most vulnerable members of its society is a despicable example of class oppression in operation.  This policy of deliberate discrimination extends to making the disabled ‘pay’ for parking spots that their Blue Badge exempts them from having to do – for the same reasons cited above.

Another difficult equally perplexing issue is that of racism in Cornwall.  It is not an attitude that everyone holds – far from it – but the extent of its odious presence can be seen in the fact that the far-right movements of the British National Party (BNP) and more recently the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), are very popular.  At either local or national election times, many people in Cornwall (and in the adjacent county of Devon), unashamedly display campaign posters that are openly racist slogans.  As many members of the local council, judiciary, and law enforcement are either full members of these far-right movements, or secretly agree with their racist policies, no action is taken against this dangerous display of obvious fascism.  This idea that the Cornish constitute a separate and ‘mythical’ race was compounded earlier this year when the United Nations formally acknowledged that Cornish people constitute a distinct ethnicity.  This is a scientific absurdity that I have exposed in previous writings, that only encourages racism at a local level.  For our multicultural Ch’an gatherings we have experienced this racism a number of times – particularly from landlords whom we have rented property from, and from certain local shop-owners, as well as some people in the street.  It is the experience of raw race-hate.  I tell our students that is good for our training as it brings human ignorance out of the murky shadows and into broad daylight.  How can we fight ignorance if our lives are sanitised to the point of bland politeness?  Racism is ‘wrong’, of course, but the empty mind ground is correct.  Cornwall (and many of its people) is beautiful and poignant.  None of us can help the socio-economic conditions that have created us – these why we must forgive everything as we encounter it (even racism) – but we can use our combined intelligence to dig our way out of our own inherent predicaments.  Understanding and forgiving is not condoning or encouraging destructive ignorance, but is in fact a means to transcend it.  Let’s do it together!

 

 

Class Anatomy of an Inner-city Playground

aPlayground-01

Sutton is a bustling, multicultural borough in southwest London. Formerly a part of Surrey until the 1960’s, it retains a controlling streak of ardent conservatism bordering upon fascism, which is evident from the behaviour of its (unelected) local council bureaucrats, elected councillors and members of parliament. The class pretensions of these ruling elites are clearly evident by the fact that the recent and expensive renovations to Sutton high street are designed to make the city look more like Paris! Sutton used to be considered recession proof in the past, but since the coming to power of the far-rightwing ConDem national government in the UK, with its sweeping benefits cuts, dismantling of the welfare state and privatisation of the National Health Service, the local economy has rapidly deteriorated. Where there were once busy shopping centres thriving with eager crowds, there are now boarded-up premises, pawnbrokers, charity shops, and ‘cheque-clearance’ businesses, etc.

Despite being run by a conservative elite, Sutton still has an extensive working class population living in poorly maintained high rise flats built in the 1960’s. Many of these estates are clustered around the city centre of Sutton, where the council provides play areas for the local children in the numerous parks. During holiday times thousands of children visits these areas with their parents throughout the day. Watching for an hour it is evident that capitalist exploitation is already firmly implanted in the young working class children through conditioning received from parents and community. Children compete with one another over resources in the playground, which manifests as who controls what toy, and for how long. Stronger (and slightly older) children bully and intimidate the younger (or weaker) children for no other reason than to establish power and influence in the play area. A more dominant child has a greater choice of what toy to exploit, and when. A stronger child in this context is in fact the most ignorant of the group, who has not been taught proper social boundaries, or respect for others. A weaker child may not be ‘weaker’ at all, but in fact better mannered and more considerate – but in the fight for influence, good manners are eclipsed by the immediacy of an arbitrary show of strength. The capitalist inspired individualism that adults use to oppress one another through class antagonisms – is evident in young children as they interact in a playground that prepares them through social conditioning – for a life of being an exploiter, or of being exploited.

Blatant aggression is protected through the auspices of the conventions of bourgeois law and the prevailing fade that constitutes the preferred attitude toward children and their upbringing. To correct a badly behaving child in public, particularly a child that is not your own, could be construed as some kind of ‘abuse’, or ‘assault’, whilst the stupid actions of ignorant parents are view as ‘correct’ and ‘healthy’ due to the biological link. This is despite the fact that they are, as members of the working class, simply perpetuating patterns of behaviour toward their children that have been inflicted upon them through bourgeois oppression, and which have been passed on to them from their parents and community. The inner-city playground is a microcosm of life within the working class. It essentially represents a prison that everyone knows they are held within, but which no thinks of escaping from. Instead of fighting their out of the prison and turning their anger against their guards – the bourgeoisie – the working class turn their anger toward one another and a fight to dominate the prison (amongst the prisoners) ensues. The cycle of oppression remains unbroken and continues down through the generations. What children should be taught is how to communicate effectively with one another, and how to plan actions that best serve the group and make life more productive and happy for all concerned. The tragedy is that many working class parents and children are evolving out of this quagmire of unquestioned ignorance, but are being held back by isolated but dominating forces that always attempt to turn back progression to an earlier time of brutal hierarchy.

Catholic Church Formerly Demonises Mental Illness

aExorcism-01

Pope Francis, lauded by many religionists as ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’, nevertheless rules over an empire of mental illness comprised of theological Catholicism. This deviation from the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition makes most of its headway using the method of ‘forced conversion’ against the vulnerable and deprived, which live within the economically undeveloped areas of the world. As Western Europe recovers from over a thousand years of Christian oppression and developmental darkness, and is steadily evolving into a secular society, the Catholic Church, whilst losing its Western adherents, targets populations in Asia and South America. The fact that many of its celibate nuns and priests have been exposed as serial sexual abusers of children in the West, has assisted the demise of the reputation and popularity of the church in Europe, particularly in the light of the recent discovery of the bodily remains of over 800 children in the grounds of a former Catholic orphanage in Ireland.   As the rational mind begins to assert itself amongst the general population in the West, the Catholic Church must seek its converts elsewhere; despite having a minority of Europeans adherents who have not yet developed the dialectical ability to ‘see through’ the psychological inversion that the institution of the Catholic Church represents.

Popes come and go, and are routinely labelled ‘liberal’, ‘moderate’, or ‘conservative’, etc, but the essential delusion of religion they represent continues unabated through the generations. In reality, it makes no difference whether a pope is considered ‘liberal’ or not, as the church he represents is thoroughly conservative and corrupt from top to bottom, and is one of the main facets through which the bourgeoisie retain their grip upon society, and the continued oppression of the working class. This systematic bourgeois oppression is both physical and psychological in nature. Whilst ensuring the physical straitjacket of social oppression stays firmly in place, a mythology of pure imagination – referred to as ‘theology’ – is administered to the working class to prevent their logical mind from functioning correctly, and ‘seeing through’ the historical socio-economic conditioning of their existential circumstance. Irrational theology, through its many bizarre imaginations, serves as the foundation for the dysfunction of the human mind; a mind which is responding to the oppressive external circumstances it encounters through the senses. This in turn creates the conditions for psychological illnesses and psychiatric problems. The conditioned oppression imported into the mind and body of the working class, inevitably rebounds back into the world via the agencies of physical and mental illnesses. The Catholic Church, like the bourgeois class that creates it, causes these illnesses in its pious adherents, and then blames the individual sufferer for the symptoms they manifest. This is tantamount to blaming the victims of oppression for the oppression they suffer.

Pope Francis is probably the most dangerous and sinister of recent popes. The Catholic Church has used his appointment to embark upon a sophisticated and multifaceted public relations exercise that is made to look as if it is all the decision of the pope himself, when in reality the Catholic Church is actually run by hidden ecclesiastical groups that are ruthless and do nothing unless it serves their selfish purposes. It is no secret that the Catholic Church assisted Nazi Germany in its attempts to eradicate the existence of European Jewry, and its misogynistic attitudes toward women are so well known as to be almost common-place today, and something of a forgone conclusion. For the Catholic Church, women as a distinct category are assumed – a priori – to be naturally dominated by men, simply because of the theological lie that Eve betrayed Adam, and that god’s representative on earth – the pope – is a man, etc. The body of a woman belongs to the church, and every decision she makes about it must conform to the dogma of theology. This Catholic imperialism ensures that through its denial of the use and effectiveness of contraception, future generations of Catholics are sired.

Although it may be argued that the creation and belief in theology is itself a form of mental illness, it is also true that modern bourgeois society is the cause of many different forms of psychological and psychiatric distress within individuals. The real and long term answer to this is to change the externality of bourgeois society through revolution, so that the physical world is organised along the lines of that which is most conducive to humanity’s needs and wants. This removes the discord between the inner and outer experience of existence, as the psychological patterns of the mind are influenced by the new non-oppressive and progressive social structures. This state of Socialism (and subsequent transformation into Communism), ensures that psychological and psychiatric disturbances will be transcended through the establishment of an advanced civilisation, that does not deliberately create debilitating mental illnesses in the minds of its citizens, as a means to demean and control them. The apparently ‘wonderful’ new pope has acknowledged the validity of the highly backward and destructive practice of ‘exorcism’, and is known to believe that those suffering disabilities are possessed by the devil. In other words, the distorted psychology (and function of the mind), forced upon the working class by its bourgeois oppressors, is assisted in its inversion by the Catholic Church, who interpret its manifestation not as medical symptoms emerging from the mind and body, but rather as proof of the presence of ‘demons’ and ‘spirits’ as envisioned through their theology. Instead of encouraging this backward view of the world, it should be acknowledged that priests who believe in ‘exorcism’ are themselves suffering from mental illness – but it is a mental illness in the service of the church itself, that goes undiagnosed and untreated. Exorcism is just another way of controlling poorly educated communities through the use of ignorance and fear, which is a policy viciously supported by the bourgeois film industry. This type of religiosity is clearly a crime against humanity, and shares exactly the same predicates as that theology which has justified the mass and continuous sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests. What links all this strange and bizarre behaviour together is the reality that those who inflict this suffering on the oppressed and the vulnerable within society, justify it to themselves (and others), as a matter of ‘following god’s will’. This new pope is no different to all others and should be treated with contempt. As the evidence of dysfunctionality mounts, surely it is now time to abolish the Christian church in all its manifest dysfunctional manifestations.

Washington Naval Yard – Inequality On Trial

(This article first appeared in The New Worker – the weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain – Pages 6-7: No 1744 Week Commencing September 27 2013)

Victim of Capitalist America

Victim of Capitalist America

In a country that owns guns as a legal and cultural right, it is no surprise that those diagnosed as suffering from mental illness, will, on occasion, use these weapons to express outwardly the psychological confusion and anguish felt inwardly. Ironically the United States of America is built upon the efforts of the founding fathers, who initiated an armed rebellion against British rule in the colony. These former British citizens used terrorist tactics to usurp the legitimate bourgeois rule of the British Crown, and in so doing sort to justify their armed uprising by permanently entitling all citizens of the USA to ‘bear arms’, a law in direct contradiction to British law.

The recent murder of 12 US Naval personnel at the Washington Navy Yard is a direct result of the power of history to reproduce in the present, the consequences of actions past. It is a simple logic that if guns were not owned by US citizens, 12 people were not now being lying dead. The perpetrator of this act of murder was 34 year old Black American – Aaron Alexis. He was not a terrorist, or a foreigner residing in the US, but rather a man who had previously served in the US Navy, and assisted in the rescue operations following the Saudi Arabian-led terrorist attacks on New York in 2001.

He was known to have suffered from a diagnosed mental illness, and it is this that is believed to have been the cause of this senseless loss of life. The inherently rightwing US media are currently spinning this story as best they can, reproducing photographs to White America of a Blackman they are presenting as attacking ‘their’ country. The racism is palpable, hidden behind a veneer of assumed impartial reporting. The fact of the matter is that Aaron Alexis was as much a victim of an uncaring, capitalist system, as those he murdered, were the victims of his untreated mental illness. The truth is, regardless of the historical inequality and injustice Aaron Alexis suffered as a Blackman living in America, he was not a violent man, as the details of his ordinary life confirm.

Aaron Alexis was a practicing Buddhist, following the Theravada tradition found in Thailand. He had travelled to Thailand and learnt to speak the Thai language. In the US, he is known to have attended the local Thai Buddhist Temple (Wat Budsaya) in Fort Worth, and to have mastered the Pali sutra chanting sessions held during temple services. He recently stayed with Thais living in the USA and was described as a nice person. The inequalities within the capitalist system cause death and maiming everyday through warmongering, lack of medical care, lack of education, lack of employment, lack of housing, lack of welfare, and lack of basic humane social conditions. The ordinary people suffer these indignations everyday of their lives, and are informed by their bourgeois oppressors that everything heaped upon them is their own fault. Mental illness is not just a matter of dysfunctional psychological responses to external events, but is rather a product of unseen, but determining historical forces. In allotting blame to Aaron Alexis for the crime in undoubtedly committed, it is important not to view this event isolated from the historical forces that have led to it. We are all victims of an uncaring capitalist system that ignores its own extensive and ongoing crimes, and focuses instead on the illusion of individual responsibility.

Keep Racism Out of the UK

 

aukip1

The British work class and their allies, can follow the international idea of Karl Marx, and refuse to blame immigrants for the injustices they face everyday, injustices that are created and perpetuated by a succession of rightwing governments whose policies support the minority rich, the bigoted, and the racist.  Immigrants suffer from exactly the same injustices because they are of the working class.  Regardless of colour, language, religion, or country of origin, they are all our fellow comrades who seek escape from the continuous oppression that blights their lives.  Working class people should vote en mass for leftwing parties, and not stand by passively through not voting, and watch the achievements of the late 1940’s being taken away step by step.  If the working class does not vote, then the rightwing will always win, as has been the case since 1979 in the UK.

The working class is international movement and we are all brothers and sisters facing a common enemy.  Through rightwing movements such as New Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, BNP, and UKIP, the working class is being taught to hate itself and to hate others.  It is being destroyed from within by the infestation of greed and self-interest.  The working class rips itself apart due to the rightwing policies aimed at it, whilst the rightwing itself stands by and laughs.  Other working class people are not the enemy – the rightwing perpetuators, and the parties that spawn them are the true enemy.  The working class should rise-up, educate itself and develop a class consciousness that recognises its unique place in the world, and in history.  Despite the set-backs and the oppression, the future belongs to the international working class.

The working class should through off the yoke of bourgeois morality that has no relevance for its future, but only denotes the mechanism of hundreds of years of oppression, torture, and death.  Bourgeois morality is the basis of its oppression and hold over the working class.  The Working class is kept in a state of semi-ignorance so that it is easy to control and keep in its place.  Such ignorance turns the working class against itself, rather than against the bourgeois who are the true enemy.  UKIP is manned by misled members of the working class, (as is the BNP), but both parties are ultimately led by bourgeois individuals who that it is funny to fund and direct such anti-working class movements fuelled entirely through ignorance predicated upon racism.  Say NO to UKIP, say NO to the BNP by voting for political parties that extol policies of true justice and equality for all peoples of the world.

 

%d bloggers like this: