CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'capitalism'

The right to choose death

The article below is an opinion piece written by a CPBG-ML member as part of a wider discussion. The party does not currently have an official policy on this issue.

As far as I am concerned the right to choose to die is on a par with the right to abortion. It should be there but nobody should be required to opt for it.

As someone fast approaching the infirmity of old age, I neither want to spend months in useless agony that can only end in my dying naturally anyway nor to sit around in some appalling nursing home that stinks of people’s unchanged soiled garments and costs £3,000 a month that should be going to the education of my grandchildren.

I don’t have the right to choose, but I jolly well should have. Which is not to say that it would be a choice I would exercise except in extremis.

We support the right to abortion because we recognise the reality that capitalism drives people to it. With abortion a young new life is being terminated. With voluntary euthanasia an old and no longer useful life is being terminated. No contest.

OF COURSE there would be attempts to use it as a cost saving measure and grasping relatives who try to pressurise people into it, but there is plenty of that surrounding abortion too. Were voluntary euthanasia to be legalised there would have to be serious safeguards built in.

But so long as capitalism is there to heap misery upon misery on the elderly, then I support the right to die.

For an alternative view on this topic, read Viva la vida.

Viva la vida

The article below is an opinion piece written by a CPBG-ML member as part of a wider discussion. The party does not currently have an official policy on this issue.

You may not have bothered with the item, but the News today is full of a terminally ill woman called Geraldine McClelland who went to Dignatas in Switzerland where she died by ‘assisted suicide’.

Before she “shuffled off this mortal coil”, Geraldine McClelland wrote an open letter demanding a law change so we can all commit suicide on the NHS. It would, after all, save the government a lot money if, when we got ill and unable to work, we all just killed ourselves.

Just think of the savings. Not only to the NHS, but dead people don’t get paid pensions (or DLA or ESA); they don’t need any of that expensive palliative care or home helps … the list of potential savings just goes on and on.

Geraldine didn’t put it in those terms; thinking only of her own situation she innocently talked about the right “to choose to take medication to end my life if my suffering becomes unbearable for me, at home, with my family and friends around me”.

It all sounds so very reasonable, so reasonable that a lot of otherwise apparently sensible and well-meaning people have been taken in by it. Who after all, wants anyone to suffer unbearably? Surely Geraldine McClelland is the only person who should decide if her life is unbearable?

No, she isn’t. Because Geraldine McClelland is not some fictitious Robinson Crusoe. She had, like we all do, responsibilities to other people as well as herself.

Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” (John Donne)

In our current bourgeois society it is no accident that Geraldine McClelland is paraded in the media; yet another in a long line of terminally and/or gruesomely ill demanding ‘the right to die with dignity’. It is part of a pincer movement with the ultimate aim of making the impoverished, no longer working, working class choose death.

On one side of the pincer, the ideological offensive to make suicide appear as a legitimate, even responsible ‘choice’. On the other, the steady erosion of benefits until poverty itself makes the old, weak, ill and vulnerable choose death because the alternative is hunger, cold and misery.

Geraldine McClelland would not recognise this scenario, as she was a middle-class woman with a good BBC job. To date, all the wannabe suicides coming forward on the media demanding the ‘right to die’ have also been middle-class and, to cut to the painful quick, too wrapped up in their own personal dramas to see beyond themselves to the wider social implications.

Harsh as it sounds when talking of the ill, middle-class wannabe suicides are the useful idiots of the bourgeoisie, and however sorry we may be at their individual physical plight, it must never blind us to the principle. Communists demand the right to live, not to die.

If I remember correctly, the cry Viva la meurte (Long live death) was one of the nasties screamed out by Franco’s troops in the Spanish Civil War. Our cry must always be Viva la vida (Long live life) and we must oppose all the arguments and moves to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide under capitalism, where it will always be open to abuse and where killing people off makes economic sense.

For an alternative view on this topic read The right to choose death.

Muammar Gaddafi: Recollections of my life

Muammar al Gaddafi

Muammar al Gaddafi

Via Information Clearing House. Translated by Professor Sam Hamod.

5 April 2011

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert.

I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan. When he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me; instead he killed that poor innocent child.

Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union, did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country.

But that was never enough, as some told me. Even people who had 10-room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied. As selfish as they were they wanted more, and they told Americans and other visitors, they needed ‘democracy’, and ‘freedom’, never realising it was a cut-throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest.

They were enchanted with those words, never realising that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some. But for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and muslim leader we’ve had since Salah ad-Din. When Nasser claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya for my people, it was in his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us …

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history. My little African son Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country: to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American-style thievery, called ‘capitalism’.

But all of us in the Third World know what that means. It means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer.

So there is no alternative for me; I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following his path - the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world: that I stood up to crusader attacks of Nato, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up the West and its colonialist ambitions. And that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and muslim brothers, as a beacon of light.

When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte. I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah ad-Din, our great muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself …

In the West, some have called me ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. They know the truth but continue to lie. They know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip; that my vision, my path, is and has been clear and for my people, and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free. May Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

US progressives meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Via Fightback News

On 21 September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with 100 leaders and representatives of anti-war, labour, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organisations in New York.

Among the participants were Sarah Martin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Margaret Sarfehjooy, board member of the Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders from the International Action Center, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.

The meeting was called by the president of Iran with the hope that a frank and honest exchange of views will help activists further the cause of peace between the people of Iran and the US.

Specific demands raised include to oppose war, occupation and hostility worldwide; oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support the right to nuclear energy for all, but nuclear weapons for none; and to support dialogue, justice and equality among all countries in the UN.

After listening intently to the statements of 22 of the participants, President Ahmadinejad said, “We have a treasure chest full of views. I agree with everything you have said and therefore you have spoken from my heart also. Now I will speak in my own way.”

He said that the source of war, capitalism, must be identified and pointed out. “Violent capitalism is based on superiority, hegemony and violation of rights.”

He went on to say that one reason capitalists start wars is to fill up their pockets. They must empty their arsenals so they can build more weapons. As he said at a UN meeting earlier in the day, “Capitalism has come to an end. It has reached a deadlock. Its historical moment has ended and efforts to restore it won’t go very far.”

Ahmadinejad spoke of the US wars in Iraq and deaths of over 1 million people for oil. He pointed out that in an Afghan village over 100 innocent people were killed just to get a few terrorists. He expressed anger that even with the floods in Pakistan, the US continues to bomb Pakistani villages.

He said it is hard to sleep at night after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza with no medicines, no clean water and not enough food. He expressed solidarity with the activists’ goals of struggling for peace and justice at home and abroad and he pledged that Iran will stand strong to the end.

“Speaking with Mrs Ahmadinejad and hearing the president reinforced the importance of struggling against the US campaign to isolate and demonise Iran,” said Sarah Martin.

Margaret Sarfehjooy reported, “I think the meeting was important because we had the opportunity to meet with so many dedicated grassroots activists from all over the country and share our hopes for peace and justice with the Iranian people through their president and his wife.”