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The New Good Intentions Manifesto - an alternative socialist analysis to Marxism

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  • Steve Wallis
    I include below the contents of my most important document, that I ve just uploaded to my websites - a rewrite of an old Good Intentions Manifesto I wrote
    Message 1 of 3 , May 27, 2009
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      I include below the contents of my most important document, that I've just uploaded to my websites - a rewrite of an old Good Intentions Manifesto I wrote last year, as an alternative socialist analysis to Marxism. It explains my analysis of the struggle between good and bad forces in the world, conspiracies for control of the planet and the importance of free will. You can download the manifesto as a six-page document in Rich Text Format (from http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk/good-intentions-manifesto.rtf) or Micro$oft Word format (from http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk/good-intentions-manifesto.doc), suitable for printing out/distributing.
       
       
      The New Good Intentions Manifesto
      Written by Steve Wallis (www.socialiststeve.me.uk), 26th May 2009
       
       
      Purpose of the New Good Intentions Manifesto
       
      This manifesto contains an overview of my analysis of society, particularly highlighting the roles played by those who have predominantly good intentions (and are caring towards others) and those who have predominantly bad intentions (and are selfish). It presents an alternative worldview to Marxism with the aim of influencing political activists and politicians, and others yet to become politically active or influencing society in a different way, in our struggle for a better world. I regard genuine Marxists as allies in the struggle for socialism (most of the time anyway) even though their analysis is flawed as I will demonstrate. Let me start by explaining what sort of world I am fighting for.
       
      I have argued for some time for a form of socialism with a government elected by proportional representation (PR), and set up the Foundation for PR-based Socialism (www.PRsocialism.org). I would support some degree of workers' control, plus representatives of local communities, in addition to PR - this is sometimes called "participatory democracy" - preferable to nationalised industries completely controlled by government appointees, or indeed bosses dating back from when they were private entities as with the newly nationalised banks in the UK. To guard against politicians selling out (failing to honour manifesto commitments or defecting to other parties), I would also advocate annual elections and the ability for some proportion of the electorate to force a new general election via a petition.
       
      More important to me than the issue of whether we have socialism or capitalism, or indeed anarchy or communism, is the ability to choose between different forms of society via elections. Undemocratic forces such as fascists should also be allowed to stand and put out their propaganda, although I would strongly oppose them coming to power. I would strongly advocate PR irrespective of the form of society.
       
      Many Marxists, particularly Trotskyists, argue that world socialism is vital for it to work, because capitalist countries that remain in the world would otherwise invade socialist countries or perhaps drop nuclear bombs on them. It is my contention that such nightmare scenarios could be avoided if most people in power have (mainly) good intentions.
       
      Whereas I believe it is vital for some Western countries to become socialist in order to ease world poverty, and I think the UK could well be first in that regard, I would prefer a more varied interesting world to a communist utopia as envisaged by Marxists in which there is nothing left to struggle for. I am highly dubious about the possibility of eliminating all prejudices and crime (as Marx and Engels envisaged after years of socialism with the state "withering away") due to tensions over religion, love and homosexuality, plus environmental shortages. But I am prepared to be surprised, and if the world gets too boring, some could set up a different form of society elsewhere in the galaxy!
       
       
      Problems with a class analysis
       
      The role a particular person plays in political struggles within society is affected by many different factors, including his or her genes, upbringing, education and occupation, the other people he or she has known and interacted with and the organisations (including political parties, single issue campaigns, trade unions and conspiratorial organisations like MI5 and the CIA) he or she is a member of.
       
      Marxists believe that the main determining factor about a person's role in such struggles is his or her class and that the most important struggles to win are those for the domination of one class over others. They believe that the current ruling class is big business (the bourgeoisie) and want to overthrow it so that the working class (proletariat) is in control of society via hierarchies of committees based on workplaces (sometimes called "the dictatorship of the proletariat" although they rarely use this term nowadays for obvious reasons). Marxists also argue for "a workers' militia" which presumably would be used against those including middle class people who don't want a society just controlled by the working class, or by a party purporting to represent the working class (as with the Bolsheviks in Russia). Some Marxists keep quiet about these parts of their programme, but the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) mentions their desire for such "councils of workers' delegates" and a militia in the "What the SWP stands for" column in every issue of Socialist Worker.
       
      Part of the problem of winning people to the ideas of socialism with a class-based analysis is one of perception, with fewer people regarding themselves as working class than in the past. This is a particularly big problem in the USA, undoubtedly deliberately fostered by the big business-controlled media, resulting in politicians concentrating their rhetoric on what they will do for the middle class. Marxists are not particularly consistent in their interpretation of the middle class; they often call it "the petty bourgeoisie" which literally means owners of small businesses, but the term was also used in the Socialist Party (SP), when I was a member in the 1990s, for middle management, poor peasants and large landowners (in Russia in 1917 for example), and more privileged students. The above-mentioned Socialist Worker column bizarrely claims "The working class create all the wealth under capitalism", implying that even self-employed people and owners of small businesses are working class! My own class is a bit of an enigma, with both my parents having gone to Cambridge University and obtained PhDs, and with me having lived in quite middle class areas and attended good comprehensive schools (state schools for children of all abilities), having made a fair amount of money from royalties through writing computer games, but with my parents being poor enough for me to get a full university grant. Working as a university researcher was not the most working class job in the world, but I regarded myself as identifying with the working class when I was in the SP.
       
      Marxist arguments can weaken the struggle for socialism by perpetuating the selfish "I'm alright, Jack" attitude put forward by right-wing politicians. They argue for workers uniting together, going on strike, generating solidarity for each other, and striving for power via a socialist society on the basis that such acts are in their interests - that acting collectively benefits a working class person more than acting individualistically. This is true in some cases but in many it is not, and socialists should help the efforts of idealistic people who really care about others. It is no wonder that many former Marxists sell out, and act in their own selfish interests rather than those of other working class people or society as a whole, when they get into positions of power and/or acquire wealth.
       
      A further problem with a class analysis is that fascists as well as socialists consist of both working and middle class people, yet they are bigger enemies than big business (in situations where they stand a chance of coming to power at least).

       
      The Good Intentions Hypothesis
       
      I argue in this manifesto that whether somebody genuinely cares about other people and wants to help make the world a better place is a more important determining factor in what that person does than his or her class - which I call "The Good Intentions Hypothesis". Such people (with good intentions) tend to be better allies in the struggle for a better world than those (with bad intentions) who are predominantly selfish and want to make the world a worse place or deliberately hamper attempts to improve it.
       
      There are, of course, a lot of grey areas between good and bad intentions. Some people only care about a subset of the world's population, such as their friends and family or people of the same race, nationality, religion, gender or sexuality - I would tend to regard such people as having bad intentions; even if they are allies for a while, the use of divide-and-rule by the powers that be would tend to make them enemies or at best unreliable allies, and people of various bigotries tend to align themselves with each other or pretend to hate each other while really being allies. Even if they really do hate each other, it suits their purposes to use other bad people as "bogeymen" (supposed opponents) in their struggle against well-intentioned people who are the real threat to their control of the world.
       
      We have the free will to choose to be caring or selfish, and our brains can be wired to prioritise one or the other of these possibilities. Our mind can also change from being predominantly selfish to caring (having bad intentions to good ones) or vice versa, either by a variable that may take one of two values in the mind changing or by the mind reconfiguring itself. I think that such changes take place for most people as a result of significant events in their lives, although for some people they may take place frequently. Minds can be configured in an infinite number of different ways and many people have a mixture of good and bad intentions. Although I think there are some entirely selfish people, who pretend to care about others (particularly friends and family) as a means to an end, I don't think that anybody is entirely well-intentioned, because it is necessary to care about yourself to a certain extent in order to play a good role. I tried to be as good as possible (but couldn't always succeed, sometimes exasperating me) until early in 2008 when I adopted the philosophy that it is good to be a bit bad, welcoming a varied interesting world and the dominance of free will.
       
      Amongst people with both good and bad intentions, there are those who think entirely individualistically (having no concept of a future state of the world they are aiming for) and those who think entirely collectively (having a single-minded approach to achieving a certain kind of society). For the latter group of people, the effect on individuals is merely part of the means to a desired end; they may think they care about people but deep down in their minds they are driven solely by a desire to influence society in a particular way (and getting others to care about them may make that task easier). There are also people who think partly collectively and partly individually; such people may have some sort of preferred society but no clear idea of how to achieve it, but I am one such person who does have a clear idea but chooses to sometimes put individuals first (which I think is generally a female trait with women better at multi-tasking).
       
      A point frequently made about people who have entered a life of crime is that they have "got in with the wrong crowd". Associating with people with bad intentions tends to make you bad as well. Conversely, associating with people with good intentions can make somebody who was previously bad into a good person. However, a big group of people with good intentions, particularly if they act together in a political way, could pose a significant threat to the powers that be, and bad conspirators deliberately infiltrate such groups to try to reduce their threat. Similarly, a strong union of two well-intentioned people who are having a relationship can be effective and bad people sometimes attach themselves to good people for such cynical reasons. Women can be particularly vulnerable to this because many regard being bad (or perhaps a bit bad) as an attractive quality in a man. If conspirators use evil people (who cannot be converted no matter what), this strategy is particularly likely to be effective at undermining well-intentioned people. The best defence against this is to recognise bad behaviour and body language which suggests that someone is not genuine and ostracise such people.
       
      An important caveat is that loyalty to a party or organisation the person is a member of often overrides the wishes of that individual, particularly if he or she sees it as the main instrument to changing the world. Those who are disloyal tend to be members of a faction or infiltrators from a secret conspiratorial organisation rather than acting alone. Some organisations, including mainstream political parties, have a leader with considerable power to influence policy and appoint members to important positions. Such leaders often affect its policies and strategy, partly according to their intentions. In more democratic organisations, other members, particularly on its central committee, often do likewise.
       
       
      Scientific basis of free will and good or bad intentions
       
      Marxist and other atheist theories don't explain free will, and I believe this is the main reason why physicists have still not devised a "theory of everything" unifying quantum mechanics (describing the very small) with general relativity (describing the very large). My short document "Towards a Theory of Everything" (which you can read at www.socialiststeve.me.uk/theory-of-everything.htm) suggests how this dilemma can be resolved by incorporating free will of humans and animals (somewhere between the very small and very large). The document also suggests how the bizarre property of quantum mechanics that measuring something can affect it makes more sense if everybody's free will comprise a super-organism like in James Lovelock's Gaia theory, or perhaps different super-organisms for good and bad individuals competing with each other for control of the world.
       
      The field of quantum mechanics was actually devised after the time of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, the latter of whom was responsible for the theory of "dialectical materialism" (where "materialism" means everything is a result of material conditions), so Marxists' confidence that their theories are sound is misplaced. Indeed, Rosa Lichtenstein, who has perhaps studied it most, has used the term "alien-class" on her anti-dialectics website (with a hyphen to be less ambiguous than other Marxists who have used the same term including Engels himself) strongly implying that there is a class of aliens who do not adhere to materialism!
       
      Marxists argue that class society, and the consequent struggle between classes, originated when there was a surplus due to the cultivation of crops and domestication of animals to struggle over. They suggest that life was harmonious before this surplus arose, and therefore use the term "primitive communism" to describe the earliest human societies (for which the term "hunter-gatherer" is often used). Those who have visited or studied primitive tribes that still exist today recognise that some are peaceful and some are violent towards members of other tribes. Animals exhibit such properties too. It is my contention, therefore, that the struggle between those with good and bad intentions originated before the class struggle. [I will leave it to readers of this manifesto to come to their own conclusions whether such a struggle was devised by God, and perhaps the Devil (if there is one) who may always have existed or was created by God to make life interesting, or by evolutionary processes responsible for life.]

       
      Recognising good and bad intentions
       
      I find someone's demeanour a useful guide as to whether he or she has good or bad intentions. Somebody who comes across as pleasant is more likely to actually be good than somebody who comes across as unpleasant and unfriendly. This is self-reinforcing - if you come across as a pleasant person, you will be more likely to attract friends who are also pleasant and form genuine relationships in which both people really care about each other, which encourages you to be good. On the other hand, it is harder to genuinely care about people who come across as unpleasant and bad people tend to form false relationships where they have an ulterior selfish motive.
       
      People sometimes comment that there are two types of men: "rough-and-ready" and "sensitive". Rough-and-ready men tend to look tough and actually be bad whereas sensitive men tend to look considerate and be good. Your choice of hairstyle can massively influence which of these two types you come across as - men with shaven heads or short cropped hair tend to look tougher than those with longer hair (unless they appear to be gay). A man with particularly long hair may look like a hippie and appear to be good. The impression you give off is influenced by the society in which you live - shaven heads are particularly common among black men, and in some countries (including Russia and the UK still to some extent), having one is associated with fascism. Certain kinds of moustaches may make you appear like a dictator (Stalin, Hitler or Saddam Hussein) and I found when I had a big beard that I gave off a different impression to different people (I was compared with Jesus, Karl Marx and Osama bin Laden!)
       
      Some women can come across as tough too, particularly those with short hair, but in Western society nowadays, women most frequently affect their appearance by dying their hair, putting on make-up or wearing particular kinds of clothes. All these factors can give off a certain impression that may make them appear genuine or false, depending on the person who sees them and the context. Wearing fancy clothes and make-up may be appropriate on a night out, but may have a negative effect at a political meeting. There is quite a big correlation between women who dye their hair and them thinking individualistically (and sometimes but not always having bad intentions) - being more concerned about others finding them attractive than whether they come across as false. If they are false as far as their hair colour is concerned, people may suspect that they are false in other ways too. Some women have very bad dyed hair that looks terrible; this may be a temporary situation while letting the hair return to its natural colour, but not taking care of your appearance in this or other ways may indicate bad intentions.
       
      Showing your real emotions (rather than making a conscious effort to act in a particular way which people may see through and may be difficult to keep up) is a good way of appearing genuine. In many situations, smiling can give off a good impression, and somebody who never smiles (or appears to be faking a smile when he or she attempts it) is very likely to be bad. However, in some contexts such as at funerals, or when being forced to testify at court against somebody who is supposed to be an ally, smiling can be a very bad idea. Also, smiling at someone tends to give off the impression that you get on with him or her, to that person and others, so it may be better to refrain from smiling if you think he or she is bad.
       
       
      Strategic implications
       
      In earlier versions of the Good Intentions Manifesto, I tried to build a Good Intentions Network with a list of eight principles to guide other well-intentioned people in helping me change the world. You can find those principles at www.goodintentionsnetwork.org/principles.html, and follow a link from that page to read an old version of the manifesto in which they are justified. I now think it is better for different strategies to be adopted by different people (and perhaps by the same people at different times as I have done); this makes us less predictable and therefore harder to outwit by bad individuals and organisations. Someone once commented to me that the Network could start off with good intentions but we would end up like all the others, which I now recognise to be the key reason why setting up a network to link well-intentioned people together would be a very bad idea. Additionally, setting up a network on the internet where we can't see what our collaborators look and sound like makes it very difficult to detect whether they really have good intentions. I compromised by setting up a board on a different forum, but nobody expressed any interest in building a network on it and it has now been overrun by spam.
       
      There are many different strategies good people can use to try to make the world a better place, one of which is loving our enemies, as encouraged by Jesus and followed by many religious people today. At times, I have adopted that approach, recognising that the views of an individual are a result of his or her experiences, as well as their free will decisions. At other times, I have been more choosy about who I am friendly towards, which tends to polarise the situation more - it may be worth alienating some people to help others recognise who is on their side. I generally find now that it is better to give people the benefit of the doubt until they do something to warrant exposing them. Most people can be won over to become good given a bit of encouragement, even if they are initially bad, and few people have good enough models of the world to know what to do to act effectively against me even if they want to.
       
      On numerous occasions, I have tried to analyse politicians as to whether they are predominantly good or bad. This has sometimes been a useful strategy for analysing the world and deciding who to support but ultimately all politicians reflect compromises within their party, arising from their membership (and particularly their leadership). A party entirely composed of (or led by) well-intentioned people could ultimately be very powerful so hostile conspiratorial organisations would be particularly keen to infiltrate it, or interact with some of its key members in order to try to win them over (to their side of the struggle whether or not they become members of an infiltrating organisation). Similarly, parties entirely composed of poorly-intentioned people could also be strong and a bit of deliberate sabotage or spying could be very useful, but infiltrating some parties (particularly fascist ones) could obviously be very dangerous.
       
      I have supported one politician who is particularly important: Barack Obama. Supporting his election to the US presidency was undoubtedly worthwhile - ordinary people around the world are much happier about political developments than would have been in the case if he had lost (which could have led to a big upsurge in racism and terrorism). The arguments some atheists use that God wouldn't let so many bad things happen can be countered by arguing that Obama's victory shows things are working out for mankind after all, perhaps as part of God's plan. Sometimes Obama has let himself be influenced by ordinary people, helping him be a better person than would otherwise be the case - notably passing orders to close secret CIA prisons around the world (in which torture allegedly takes place) as well as Guantánamo Bay, straight after his inauguration which drew a massive crowd. He spoke to a huge crowd in Berlin before the election and to large numbers of people in France and Germany at the NATO anniversary too. However, he has appointed advisors wholly from the banking sector of US capitalism ("finance capital" as Marxists would say although the SP argued that finance capital already was in control of the world when previous presidents had a more varied set of advisors) who are largely members of three conspiratorial groups according to "The Obama Deception" - the Bilderberg Group linking capitalist leaders around the world, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations. I'm not particularly convinced about that video's claim they are plotting to create a world government, but I encourage readers to view it on YouTube and decide for yourselves. Irrespective of whether Obama is playing a positive or negative role overall, and socialists in the USA are more able to judge this than myself, he is committed to the continuation of capitalism one way or another!
       
      Some final advice: Think for yourselves and come to your own conclusions about what to do to help make the world a better place. I am very confident things will work out one way or another, but we can all shape the interesting future for the human race with our free will. I do still hold some conspiratorial views about organisations like the CIA using supercomputers with artificial intelligence (AI) software modelling human behaviour in order to effectively turn people into robots. After all, I developed and was the main designer of an AI/simulation language called SDML in which such modelling could have been possible (but some scaling up problems and a complex bug in a backtracking routine could have prevented this language from being too powerful). I also think some organisations with better intentions than the CIA have access to such software and computer models, but I wouldn't trust any organisation using unethical methods like mind control to hand over control of society to the masses if they do win the struggle for the world. Some conspirators are worth cooperating with from time to time, and I'm currently urging anti-capitalists to unite in networks or parties, but let our own free will decisions determine the future of the world!
       
       
      --
      Steve Wallis (Manchester, England)
      Preferred email address: revolutionarysocialiststeve@...
      Super-blog: http://www.twitter.com/socialiststeve
      Other blogs: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/steve-wallis-socialist-blog,
      http://blog.myspace.com/galaxiasteve
      My socialist website: http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk
      My pages at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1038291480, MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/galaxiasteve and Bebo:
      http://www.bebo.com/SteveW519
      Founder, Ethical Capitalism Network: http://www.ethicalcapitalism.net
      Founder, Foundation for Proportional Representation-based Socialism: http://www.PRsocialism.org
      Founder, Revolutionary Platform Network: http://www.revolutionaryplatform.net
      My revolutionary socialist band, Galaxia: http://www.galaxiamusic.net,http://www.myspace.com/galaxiamusic, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Galaxia-a-revolutionary-socialist-band/84310120180, http://www.bebo.com/galaxiamusic.
      My socialist band, Red Day: http://www.red-day.net, http://www.myspace.com/reddayband,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-Day/27468311341
      Author, "Revolution Destroyed? Have I ensured that a world socialist revolution will never happen?": http://www.revolutiondestroyed.net
      For discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, go to http://www.revolutionaryplatform.net/forum/index.php?board=89

    • Steven Wallis
      [Apologies if you ve received this already. I ve been encountering some censorship by Yahoo using my usual email address (revolutionarysocialiststeve),
      Message 2 of 3 , May 28, 2009
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        [Apologies if you've received this already. I've been encountering some censorship by Yahoo using my usual email address (revolutionarysocialiststeve), particularly when sending important messages like this one - with some groups, the messages appear in the spam folder, and some don't appear on the archives on the Yahoo Groups website. And I've been getting errors sending emails too. I suppose this proves you can't change the world merely by using the internet...]
         
        I include below the contents of my most important document, that I've just uploaded to my websites - a rewrite of an old Good Intentions Manifesto I wrote last year, as an alternative socialist analysis to Marxism. It explains my analysis of the struggle between good and bad forces in the world, conspiracies for control of the planet and the importance of free will. You can download the manifesto as a six-page document in Rich Text Format (from http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk/good-intentions-manifesto.rtf) or Micro$oft Word format (from http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk/good-intentions-manifesto.doc), suitable for printing out/distributing.

         

         

        The New Good Intentions Manifesto
        Written by Steve Wallis (www.socialiststeve.me.uk), 26th May 2009

         

         

        Purpose of the New Good Intentions Manifesto

         

        This manifesto contains an overview of my analysis of society, particularly highlighting the roles played by those who have predominantly good intentions (and are caring towards others) and those who have predominantly bad intentions (and are selfish). It presents an alternative worldview to Marxism with the aim of influencing political activists and politicians, and others yet to become politically active or influencing society in a different way, in our struggle for a better world. I regard genuine Marxists as allies in the struggle for socialism (most of the time anyway) even though their analysis is flawed as I will demonstrate. Let me start by explaining what sort of world I am fighting for.

         

        I have argued for some time for a form of socialism with a government elected by proportional representation (PR), and set up the Foundation for PR-based Socialism (www.PRsocialism.org). I would support some degree of workers' control, plus representatives of local communities, in addition to PR - this is sometimes called "participatory democracy" - preferable to nationalised industries completely controlled by government appointees, or indeed bosses dating back from when they were private entities as with the newly nationalised banks in the UK . To guard against politicians selling out (failing to honour manifesto commitments or defecting to other parties), I would also advocate annual elections and the ability for some proportion of the electorate to force a new general election via a petition.

         

        More important to me than the issue of whether we have socialism or capitalism, or indeed anarchy or communism, is the ability to choose between different forms of society via elections. Undemocratic forces such as fascists should also be allowed to stand and put out their propaganda, although I would strongly oppose them coming to power. I would strongly advocate PR irrespective of the form of society.

        Many Marxists, particularly Trotskyists, argue that world socialism is vital for it to work, because capitalist countries that remain in the world would otherwise invade socialist countries or perhaps drop nuclear bombs on them. It is my contention that such nightmare scenarios could be avoided if most people in power have (mainly) good intentions.

         

        Whereas I believe it is vital for some Western countries to become socialist in order to ease world poverty, and I think the UK could well be first in that regard, I would prefer a more varied interesting world to a communist utopia as envisaged by Marxists in which there is nothing left to struggle for. I am highly dubious about the possibility of eliminating all prejudices and crime (as Marx and Engels envisaged after years of socialism with the state "withering away") due to tensions over religion, love and homosexuality, plus environmental shortages. But I am prepared to be surprised, and if the world gets too boring, some could set up a different form of society elsewhere in the galaxy!

         

         

        Problems with a class analysis

         

        The role a particular person plays in political struggles within society is affected by many different factors, including his or her genes, upbringing, education and occupation, the other people he or she has known and interacted with and the organisations (including political parties, single issue campaigns, trade unions and conspiratorial organisations like MI5 and the CIA) he or she is a member of.

         

        Marxists believe that the main determining factor about a person's role in such struggles is his or her class and that the most important struggles to win are those for the domination of one class over others. They believe that the current ruling class is big business (the bourgeoisie) and want to overthrow it so that the working class (proletariat) is in control of society via hierarchies of committees based on workplaces (sometimes called "the dictatorship of the proletariat" although they rarely use this term nowadays for obvious reasons). Marxists also argue for "a workers' militia" which presumably would be used against those including middle class people who don't want a society just controlled by the working class, or by a party purporting to represent the working class (as with the Bolsheviks in Russia). Some Marxists keep quiet about these parts of their programme, but the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) mentions their desire for such "councils of workers' delegates" and a militia in the "What the SWP stands for" column in every issue of Socialist Worker.

         

        Part of the problem of winning people to the ideas of socialism with a class-based analysis is one of perception, with fewer people regarding themselves as working class than in the past. This is a particularly big problem in the USA , undoubtedly deliberately fostered by the big business-controlled media, resulting in politicians concentrating their rhetoric on what they will do for the middle class. Marxists are not particularly consistent in their interpretation of the middle class; they often call it "the petty bourgeoisie" which literally means owners of small businesses, but the term was also used in the Socialist Party (SP), when I was a member in the 1990s, for middle management, poor peasants and large landowners (in Russia in 1917 for example), and more privileged students. The above-mentioned Socialist Worker column bizarrely claims "The working class create all the wealth under capitalism", implying that even self-employed people and owners of small businesses are working class! My own class is a bit of an enigma, with both my parents having gone to Cambridge University and obtained PhDs, and with me having lived in quite middle class areas and attended good comprehensive schools (state schools for children of all abilities), having made a fair amount of money from royalties through writing computer games, but with my parents being poor enough for me to get a full university grant. Working as a university researcher was not the most working class job in the world, but I regarded myself as identifying with the working class when I was in the SP.

         

        Marxist arguments can weaken the struggle for socialism by perpetuating the selfish "I'm alright, Jack" attitude put forward by right-wing politicians. They argue for workers uniting together, going on strike, generating solidarity for each other, and striving for power via a socialist society on the basis that such acts are in their interests - that acting collectively benefits a working class person more than acting individualistically. This is true in some cases but in many it is not, and socialists should help the efforts of idealistic people who really care about others. It is no wonder that many former Marxists sell out, and act in their own selfish interests rather than those of other working class people or society as a whole, when they get into positions of power and/or acquire wealth.

         

        A further problem with a class analysis is that fascists as well as socialists consist of both working and middle class people, yet they are bigger enemies than big business (in situations where they stand a chance of coming to power at least).


         

        The Good Intentions Hypothesis

         

        I argue in this manifesto that whether somebody genuinely cares about other people and wants to help make the world a better place is a more important determining factor in what that person does than his or her class - which I call "The Good Intentions Hypothesis". Such people (with good intentions) tend to be better allies in the struggle for a better world than those (with bad intentions) who are predominantly selfish and want to make the world a worse place or deliberately hamper attempts to improve it.

         

        There are, of course, a lot of grey areas between good and bad intentions. Some people only care about a subset of the world's population, such as their friends and family or people of the same race, nationality, religion, gender or sexuality - I would tend to regard such people as having bad intentions; even if they are allies for a while, the use of divide-and-rule by the powers that be would tend to make them enemies or at best unreliable allies, and people of various bigotries tend to align themselves with each other or pretend to hate each other while really being allies. Even if they really do hate each other, it suits their purposes to use other bad people as "bogeymen" (supposed opponents) in their struggle against well-intentioned people who are the real threat to their control of the world.

         

        We have the free will to choose to be caring or selfish, and our brains can be wired to prioritise one or the other of these possibilities. Our mind can also change from being predominantly selfish to caring (having bad intentions to good ones) or vice versa, either by a variable that may take one of two values in the mind changing or by the mind reconfiguring itself. I think that such changes take place for most people as a result of significant events in their lives, although for some people they may take place frequently. Minds can be configured in an infinite number of different ways and many people have a mixture of good and bad intentions. Although I think there are some entirely selfish people, who pretend to care about others (particularly friends and family) as a means to an end, I don't think that anybody is entirely well-intentioned, because it is necessary to care about yourself to a certain extent in order to play a good role. I tried to be as good as possible (but couldn't always succeed, sometimes exasperating me) until early in 2008 when I adopted the philosophy that it is good to be a bit bad, welcoming a varied interesting world and the dominance of free will.

         

        Amongst people with both good and bad intentions, there are those who think entirely individualistically (having no concept of a future state of the world they are aiming for) and those who think entirely collectively (having a single-minded approach to achieving a certain kind of society). For the latter group of people, the effect on individuals is merely part of the means to a desired end; they may think they care about people but deep down in their minds they are driven solely by a desire to influence society in a particular way (and getting others to care about them may make that task easier). There are also people who think partly collectively and partly individually; such people may have some sort of preferred society but no clear idea of how to achieve it, but I am one such person who does have a clear idea but chooses to sometimes put individuals first (which I think is generally a female trait with women better at multi-tasking).

         

        A point frequently made about people who have entered a life of crime is that they have "got in with the wrong crowd". Associating with people with bad intentions tends to make you bad as well. Conversely, associating with people with good intentions can make somebody who was previously bad into a good person. However, a big group of people with good intentions, particularly if they act together in a political way, could pose a significant threat to the powers that be, and bad conspirators deliberately infiltrate such groups to try to reduce their threat. Similarly, a strong union of two well-intentioned people who are having a relationship can be effective and bad people sometimes attach themselves to good people for such cynical reasons. Women can be particularly vulnerable to this because many regard being bad (or perhaps a bit bad) as an attractive quality in a man. If conspirators use evil people (who cannot be converted no matter what), this strategy is particularly likely to be effective at undermining well-intentioned people. The best defence against this is to recognise bad behaviour and body language which suggests that someone is not genuine and ostracise such people.

         

        An important caveat is that loyalty to a party or organisation the person is a member of often overrides the wishes of that individual, particularly if he or she sees it as the main instrument to changing the world. Those who are disloyal tend to be members of a faction or infiltrators from a secret conspiratorial organisation rather than acting alone. Some organisations, including mainstream political parties, have a leader with considerable power to influence policy and appoint members to important positions. Such leaders often affect its policies and strategy, partly according to their intentions. In more democratic organisations, other members, particularly on its central committee, often do likewise.

         

         

        Scientific basis of free will and good or bad intentions

         

        Marxist and other atheist theories don't explain free will, and I believe this is the main reason why physicists have still not devised a "theory of everything" unifying quantum mechanics (describing the very small) with general relativity (describing the very large). My short document "Towards a Theory of Everything" (which you can read at www.socialiststeve.me.uk/theory-of-everything.htm) suggests how this dilemma can be resolved by incorporating free will of humans and animals (somewhere between the very small and very large). The document also suggests how the bizarre property of quantum mechanics that measuring something can affect it makes more sense if everybody's free will comprise a super-organism like in James Lovelock's Gaia theory, or perhaps different super-organisms for good and bad individuals competing with each other for control of the world.

         

        The field of quantum mechanics was actually devised after the time of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, the latter of whom was responsible for the theory of "dialectical materialism" (where "materialism" means everything is a result of material conditions), so Marxists' confidence that their theories are sound is misplaced. Indeed, Rosa Lichtenstein, who has perhaps studied it most, has used the term "alien-class" on her anti-dialectics website (with a hyphen to be less ambiguous than other Marxists who have used the same term including Engels himself) strongly implying that there is a class of aliens who do not adhere to materialism!

         

        Marxists argue that class society, and the consequent struggle between classes, originated when there was a surplus due to the cultivation of crops and domestication of animals to struggle over. They suggest that life was harmonious before this surplus arose, and therefore use the term "primitive communism" to describe the earliest human societies (for which the term "hunter-gatherer" is often used). Those who have visited or studied primitive tribes that still exist today recognise that some are peaceful and some are violent towards members of other tribes. Animals exhibit such properties too. It is my contention, therefore, that the struggle between those with good and bad intentions originated before the class struggle. [I will leave it to readers of this manifesto to come to their own conclusions whether such a struggle was devised by God, and perhaps the Devil (if there is one) who may always have existed or was created by God to make life interesting, or by evolutionary processes responsible for life.]


         

        Recognising good and bad intentions

         

        I find someone's demeanour a useful guide as to whether he or she has good or bad intentions. Somebody who comes across as pleasant is more likely to actually be good than somebody who comes across as unpleasant and unfriendly. This is self-reinforcing - if you come across as a pleasant person, you will be more likely to attract friends who are also pleasant and form genuine relationships in which both people really care about each other, which encourages you to be good. On the other hand, it is harder to genuinely care about people who come across as unpleasant and bad people tend to form false relationships where they have an ulterior selfish motive.

         

        People sometimes comment that there are two types of men: "rough-and-ready" and "sensitive". Rough-and-ready men tend to look tough and actually be bad whereas sensitive men tend to look considerate and be good. Your choice of hairstyle can massively influence which of these two types you come across as - men with shaven heads or short cropped hair tend to look tougher than those with longer hair (unless they appear to be gay). A man with particularly long hair may look like a hippie and appear to be good. The impression you give off is influenced by the society in which you live - shaven heads are particularly common among black men, and in some countries (including Russia and the UK still to some extent), having one is associated with fascism. Certain kinds of moustaches may make you appear like a dictator (Stalin, Hitler or Saddam Hussein) and I found when I had a big beard that I gave off a different impression to different people (I was compared with Jesus, Karl Marx and Osama bin Laden!)

         

        Some women can come across as tough too, particularly those with short hair, but in Western society nowadays, women most frequently affect their appearance by dying their hair, putting on make-up or wearing particular kinds of clothes. All these factors can give off a certain impression that may make them appear genuine or false, depending on the person who sees them and the context. Wearing fancy clothes and make-up may be appropriate on a night out, but may have a negative effect at a political meeting. There is quite a big correlation between women who dye their hair and them thinking individualistically (and sometimes but not always having bad intentions) - being more concerned about others finding them attractive than whether they come across as false. If they are false as far as their hair colour is concerned, people may suspect that they are false in other ways too. Some women have very bad dyed hair that looks terrible; this may be a temporary situation while letting the hair return to its natural colour, but not taking care of your appearance in this or other ways may indicate bad intentions.

         

        Showing your real emotions (rather than making a conscious effort to act in a particular way which people may see through and may be difficult to keep up) is a good way of appearing genuine. In many situations, smiling can give off a good impression, and somebody who never smiles (or appears to be faking a smile when he or she attempts it) is very likely to be bad. However, in some contexts such as at funerals, or when being forced to testify at court against somebody who is supposed to be an ally, smiling can be a very bad idea. Also, smiling at someone tends to give off the impression that you get on with him or her, to that person and others, so it may be better to refrain from smiling if you think he or she is bad.

         

         

        Strategic implications

         

        In earlier versions of the Good Intentions Manifesto, I tried to build a Good Intentions Network with a list of eight principles to guide other well-intentioned people in helping me change the world. You can find those principles at www.goodintentionsnetwork.org/principles.html, and follow a link from that page to read an old version of the manifesto in which they are justified. I now think it is better for different strategies to be adopted by different people (and perhaps by the same people at different times as I have done); this makes us less predictable and therefore harder to outwit by bad individuals and organisations. Someone once commented to me that the Network could start off with good intentions but we would end up like all the others, which I now recognise to be the key reason why setting up a network to link well-intentioned people together would be a very bad idea. Additionally, setting up a network on the internet where we can't see what our collaborators look and sound like makes it very difficult to detect whether they really have good intentions. I compromised by setting up a board on a different forum, but nobody expressed any interest in building a network on it and it has now been overrun by spam.

         

        There are many different strategies good people can use to try to make the world a better place, one of which is loving our enemies, as encouraged by Jesus and followed by many religious people today. At times, I have adopted that approach, recognising that the views of an individual are a result of his or her experiences, as well as their free will decisions. At other times, I have been more choosy about who I am friendly towards, which tends to polarise the situation more - it may be worth alienating some people to help others recognise who is on their side. I generally find now that it is better to give people the benefit of the doubt until they do something to warrant exposing them. Most people can be won over to become good given a bit of encouragement, even if they are initially bad, and few people have good enough models of the world to know what to do to act effectively against me even if they want to.

         

        On numerous occasions, I have tried to analyse politicians as to whether they are predominantly good or bad. This has sometimes been a useful strategy for analysing the world and deciding who to support but ultimately all politicians reflect compromises within their party, arising from their membership (and particularly their leadership). A party entirely composed of (or led by) well-intentioned people could ultimately be very powerful so hostile conspiratorial organisations would be particularly keen to infiltrate it, or interact with some of its key members in order to try to win them over (to their side of the struggle whether or not they become members of an infiltrating organisation). Similarly, parties entirely composed of poorly-intentioned people could also be strong and a bit of deliberate sabotage or spying could be very useful, but infiltrating some parties (particularly fascist ones) could obviously be very dangerous.

         

        I have supported one politician who is particularly important: Barack Obama. Supporting his election to the US presidency was undoubtedly worthwhile - ordinary people around the world are much happier about political developments than would have been in the case if he had lost (which could have led to a big upsurge in racism and terrorism). The arguments some atheists use that God wouldn't let so many bad things happen can be countered by arguing that Obama's victory shows things are working out for mankind after all, perhaps as part of God's plan. Sometimes Obama has let himself be influenced by ordinary people, helping him be a better person than would otherwise be the case - notably passing orders to close secret CIA prisons around the world (in which torture allegedly takes place) as well as Guantánamo Bay, straight after his inauguration which drew a massive crowd. He spoke to a huge crowd in Berlin before the election and to large numbers of people in France and Germany at the NATO anniversary too. However, he has appointed advisors wholly from the banking sector of US capitalism ("finance capital" as Marxists would say although the SP argued that finance capital already was in control of the world when previous presidents had a more varied set of advisors) who are largely members of three conspiratorial groups according to "The Obama Deception" - the Bilderberg Group linking capitalist leaders around the world, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations. I'm not particularly convinced about that video's claim they are plotting to create a world government, but I encourage readers to view it on YouTube and decide for yourselves. Irrespective of whether Obama is playing a positive or negative role overall, and socialists in the USA are more able to judge this than myself, he is committed to the continuation of capitalism one way or another!

         

        Some final advice: Think for yourselves and come to your own conclusions about what to do to help make the world a better place. I am very confident things will work out one way or another, but we can all shape the interesting future for the human race with our free will. I do still hold some conspiratorial views about organisations like the CIA using supercomputers with artificial intelligence (AI) software modelling human behaviour in order to effectively turn people into robots. After all, I developed and was the main designer of an AI/simulation language called SDML in which such modelling could have been possible (but some scaling up problems and a complex bug in a backtracking routine could have prevented this language from being too powerful). I also think some organisations with better intentions than the CIA have access to such software and computer models, but I wouldn't trust any organisation using unethical methods like mind control to hand over control of society to the masses if they do win the struggle for the world. Some conspirators are worth cooperating with from time to time, and I'm currently urging anti-capitalists to unite in networks or parties, but let our own free will decisions determine the future of the world!

         

         

        --
        Steve Wallis (Manchester, England)
        Preferred email address: revolutionarysocialiststeve@...
        Super-blog: http://www.twitter.com/socialiststeve
        Other blogs: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/steve-wallis-socialist-blog,
        http://blog.myspace.com/galaxiasteve
        My socialist website: http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk
        My pages at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1038291480, MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/galaxiasteve and Bebo:
        http://www.bebo.com/SteveW519
        Founder, Ethical Capitalism Network: http://www.ethicalcapitalism.net
        Founder, Foundation for Proportional Representation-based Socialism: http://www.PRsocialism.org
        Founder, Revolutionary Platform Network: http://www.revolutionaryplatform.net
        My revolutionary socialist band, Galaxia: http://www.galaxiamusic.net,http://www.myspace.com/galaxiamusic, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Galaxia-a-revolutionary-socialist-band/84310120180, http://www.bebo.com/galaxiamusic.
        My socialist band, Red Day: http://www.red-day.net, http://www.myspace.com/reddayband,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-Day/27468311341
        Author, "Revolution Destroyed? Have I ensured that a world socialist revolution will never happen?": http://www.revolutiondestroyed.net
        For discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, go to http://www.revolutionaryplatform.net/forum/index.php?board=89


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