LEFT IS R IGHT! OjijoYes! What Am I? When people give their ideological econo-political orientations, what do I say I am?PoliticsDo I associate myself albeit in varying degrees, with social (as opposed to classical) liberalism? Do I associate with social democracy, socialism, communism, communalism, communitarianism, some forms of populism, anti-colonialism, green politics and most forms of progressivism? Do I advocate for individual sovereignty and the recall provisions of the constitution? Do I believe in racial and gender equality and cultural tolerance? Am I opposed to imperialism, colonialism and war? Do I support movements for national self-determination? Do I believe in compulsory voting for all adults (above 16 years old)?WarAll wars are fought over the markets, trade routes and sources of raw materials of rival capitalist groups. Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz , clearly stated on his great military classic, On War, that,‘War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.’Indeed, during the First World War, English people would say how immensely British trade would benefit from the destruction of German trade, which was to be one of the principal fruits of their victory. As Chairman Mao taught, ‘we must not love war, but we must be ready to wage just war, wars for limiting, and ultimately eliminating the imperialist aggressions’.Am I inspired by a strict adherence to pacifism, and do I believe that war arises from capitalist or imperialist and only the asset owning capitalists will benefit from a war. Do I believe that workers the world over share common interests and we do not need war to advance our interests? Indeed, the Great Lenin opposed the war as imperialist, and part of the driving force of the Russian Revolution was revolt by soldiers against the First World War, epitomized in the slogan taken up by the Bolsheviks: ‘bread, land and peace’. Indeed, we ought to only support war when it seeks to defeat fascism and entrench democracy and populism; this was the case with World War II, and Spanish civil war, and African revolutionary and anti-colonialist wars that have over the years advanced the interests of the workers. Ojijo is a bunch of solutions from Homa-Bay County, Kenya.Ojijo is AHA Volunteer; public speaker & trainer on financial literacy, personal (talent & career) development & political leadership; lawyer &lecturer on legal rhetoric, e-commerce & e-governance law; performance poet; social entrepreneur & investor; socialist party member;and author of 19 books on religion, sexuality, poetry, politics, economics, medicine, law, history, entrepreneurship, network marketing,retirement planning, languages (Swahili & Luo), financial literacy, investing and personal (talent & career) development. Ojijo is the boardchairman of Ojijo Foundation, which supports volunteerism (www.ahainitiative.net); financial literacy & personal (talent & career)development (www.informedinvestors. biz); public speaking & political leadership training (www.allpublicspeakers.com); open religion(www.openreligion.org); and indigenous cultures (www.kycf.org).
Do I believe that to this extent hence, Vietnam War was a counter culture war, preventing Vietnamese from determining their own political ideology (communism), and seeking to advance the interests of one culture (western), over other cultures (cultureless). Do I believe that the American led war in Iraq and Afghanistan is imperialist, that oil and control of the Middle East were the goals? Do I believe that the invasion of Libya was based on business rather than the social justice of Libyans? And that the white capitalists, just found wannabe Arab capitalists to represent the voice of ‘democracy’ and overrun Ghadhafi?ReligionAm I generally secular? As a catholic, do I focus upon ‘social justice’, and as a protestant, do I practice a tradition of Christian Socialism. Would I rather that my religious movement embraces, like they did in the U.S., civil rights movement. Fr. Kaiser, Martin Luther and Malcolm X, do I believe in engaging in emancipation and human rights work; advocating for the poor and trodden? Do I believe that all human beings are driven by ambition of freedom from want, and social justice , through solidarity? To the extent that a religion preaches these, there is no objection in joining it, and to the extent that it does not, there is no objection in limiting my participation. To this end, we should be of open religion, accepting any religion, all over the world, for the purpose of achieving freedom from want, solidarity and social justice, and not for use by ruler to divide and classify the society.Social Class, Gender & SexDo I believe that differences in social class are determined the rulers, and that the different dispensation of justice to the members of different class is based on personal and group (capitalist) gains, at the expense of the majority? Do I think that the differences in the social class determined the nature (in access to and control of means of production) of the society (economic determinism)? Do I like participating in a broad spectrum of cultural politics advocating for such issues as: anti-racism; affirmative action; feminism; environmentalism; and, ultimately, support for the civil rights movement? Do I believe in secular and progressive social policy, allowing gay marriage and abortion rights? Do I appreciate the truism that racism, religion, tribe and ethnicity are a weapon used by big business to divide the w orking class? Do I believe that ‘the people ’are‘ the working classes and that this should be the basis of classification, if at all there were to be any classification? Do I believe that tribe, race and gender have nothing to do with what I can be? After all, I can do NOTHING about these things, and so debating about them is circular, meaningless? They are a fact, and as Ojijo writes in his Book The Gift of E11even Moves to Make Me Wealthy ’, ‘what is a fact is not a problem: a problem is something I can do something about.’ Do I believe that the working class has no need for religious sectarianism, tribal conflicts, ethnic jingoism, or class stratifications? In 1965, Malcolm X, after his break with the Black Muslims said, ‘ the system in this country cannot produce freedom for an African-American. I cannot have capitalism without racism.’ In the last years of his life, Martin Luther King began to move more clearly to seeing the struggle in terms of a struggle of classes. In 1966 he said, ‘The movement to date has done much for the middle class but little for the black underclass. We are dealing with class issues. Something is wrong with capitalism ... maybe America must move towards democratic socialism.’ In August 1967, he said ‘the movement must change itself from a reform movement to a revolutionary movement. We must see the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are tied together and I cannot get rid of one without getting rid of the other.’ Do I believe that legalized abortion plays a bigger role in reducing crime, contrasted with the policies of illegalization and
criminalization, which have failed since the rimes of Roman dictator Nicolae Ceausescu? And finally, do I believe that prostitution is an affront against the dignity of women, and that its legalization is an institutionalization of the oppression of women? Indeed, as Chairman Mao taught, ‘The multiple burdens which women must shoulder are to be eased.’ And Thomas Sankara, the African Che Guevarra, was right, ‘the liberation movement must go hand in hand with liberation of women.’EconomicsEconomically, do I support a liberal democracy, representative democracy, private property rights and some degree of free market, as well as high social spending, universal provision of social welfare, some state regulation of the economy and often public ownership of specific means of production (mixed economy)? Do I support workers ownership of the production process, through cooperatives and unions? Do I believe that government social intervention in economics is necessary, ranging from Keynesian economics and the welfare state through industrial democracy or the social market to nationalization of the economy and central planning? Do I believe that central planning is for the benefit of the masses, and not state capitalism, as in Russia or China today? Do I believe that the means of production should belong in common to mankind and be controlled by them for their own benefit? When this happens, then the principle, ‘from each his ability, to each his need’ will operate. As the Communist Manifesto clearly states, ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles… the working class would be the ‘grave digger’ of the capitalist class …!’ Do I believe in egalitarian distribution of wealth and the transformation of society into small communities (collectivist lines)? Do I believe that government bodies should regulate private enterprise in the ‘interests’ of workers, consumers and ‘fair competition’ and fair trade as opposed to free trade? Do I believe in massive public works programs to confront the great evil of idleness? Do I support social reform and wealth redistribution through state welfare and taxation policy? Do I support nationalization of major utilities such as mines, gas, coal, electricity, rail, water and sewerage services, iron and steel, and the National Banks? The electoral politicians of the ex-communist, ex-colonialist states sold, at bargain prices, all major industries to foreign or local monopolies, fostering monstrous inequalities and ignoring workers’ health and employment interests. This is not in the interest of workers. We need programs in the interest of workers, and the citizens. The Chinese call this market socialism or ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’, while Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and his friend, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and call this ‘21st century socialism’. Do I believe, like V. Lenin, Stalin, Che, Castro Fidel Ruz, Thomas Sankara, and Mao Tse Tung, to name but a few revolutionaries, that social control over distribution of wealth and private property can be achieved without reduced prosperity for the gene ral populace and a loss of political and economic freedoms? In essence, do I believe there is enough to go around the world for everyone, rather then the classical economics belief propounded by Milton Friedman, Keynes, Adam Smith and Marshall, and other capitalist economists and think tanks, that there is not enough for everyone? Do I believe, as Wallace D. Wattles writes in his classical thesis, The Law Of Opulence, ‘I do not have to wear shack cloths, so that you may wear purple linen, I do not have to be poor, so that you may be rich, there is enough to go around.’ Indeed, do I believe in extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan? Do I believe in centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State?
GovernanceDo I believe in the lowest level of devolution, delegation and representation possible? Through counties, councils, and parishes? Do I support decentralization over centralization of power, decision making and resources? Do I believe in public private partnerships? Émile Durkheim was right, a system of social justice, solidarity and freedom from want, in essence, a fairer system, a socialist system, would bring the state closer to the realm of individual activity as a response to the growing anomie of capitalist society. Syndicalism is against centralization. Small self-running units, in cooperatives, will give the workers greater democratic control over their works, and will decrease alienation. The units are owned by the workers as a cooperative, and all decisions are made by worker -councils. The units will cooperate with each others by means of networks -- no centralized authoritarian control.Political ViolenceDo I believe that people should never use violent means to achieve political ends? Do I agree with Leon Trotsky, who during the ‘propaganda of the deed (strategy by some political group-Narodniks-in Russia to systematically attack the Tsar and his ministers), wrote:In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their own powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes toward a great avenger and liberator who someday will come and accomplish his mission.After all, the capitalists have more guns, and when we defeat the local capitalists, their white brothers who are already docking near the ports, will come in and help. In the 1970s, various left-wing groups sprang up from the social movements of the time, such as Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army in the U.S., the Angry Brigade in the UK, the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy and so on. These groups were impatient with the pace of progress the social movements had achieved. They turned to acts of terrorism in order to either hasten what they deemed progress or in order to shock the populace into dissatisfaction with the status quo. They also considered armed struggle to be necessary from an anti-imperialist view point, targeting in some cases NATO bases or United States military bases in an attempt to oppose the Vietnam War. The actual result of their activities was to divide the left and they failed to inflict serious damage on the ruling classes. Lacking political support, they were eventually dismantled by the state, which enacted for the occasion anti - terrorism legislation to provide it with ‘extraordinary means.’ And the white American, French, Canadian and British bosses have their own ships and troops ready to step in, if the local capitalist failed to contain the rebellious workers, giving ample proof of the willingness of the Capitalist Class to unite when it comes to a showdown. Black workers, take notice, when it is a question of exploitation we are in the same position as our white brothers. Colour is no safeguard. Do I believe that Black Capitalists are just as brutal as White ones?Social Security & ChildcareDo I believe that the government should provide social services, including education, basic healthcare, shelter, child care and related services for all citizens? Do I believe that there should be a mandatory pension scheme for all adults, (anyone 16 years and above of age)? Do I believe that everyone should
receive free basic and emergency medical service, irrespective of nature of disease? Do I believe in an extensive system of social security, with the stated goal of counteracting the effects of poverty and insuring the citizens against loss of income following illness, unemployment or retirement? Do I believe in compulsory health, pension, and life schemes for all adults? Womens rights would be truly defended. A free national childcare plan would relieve an enormous stress from families. Do I believe that by stopping this gravy train for the rich, all workplaces, community centers and education centers could have child care facilities available free of use?ShelterDo I believe that the government should build massive public housing schemes, for central housing, and for ease of provision of related utility services (water, electricity, garbage collection, security, etc)? Do I believe that the rural lifestyle should progressively change into rural-townships, and leave the vast rural tracks of land for large scale agriculture? The South Africa ANC abandoned its partial socialist allegiances on taking power and followed a standard neo-liberal route, and this has led to thousands of calling for popular peoples planning and against the marketization of land and housing. Do I believe that countries need massive public works program to rebuild the cities, and provide decent housing and education in the poor rural areas that would pay decent living wages and full benefits? Do I believe this will have slums replaced by decent integrated housing available to all workers, beginning with those with most need? Do I believe that roads, schools, hospitals and community centers could be built, and hence conditions in the inner cities would be transformed? As part of this would be a comprehensive program of training to provide all workers with the necessary skills. Jobs would be provided to those living in the neighborhoods, on a first-come-first-serve basis with employment decided by representatives of the unions and the community to put an end to racist hiring practices. At the same time a national review would take place of the productive resources available to the incoming Labor government. This would lead to policies to reallocate economic resources to provide for the needs of workers in all areas of their lives. The first priority would be to provide food, housing, decent clothing, subsidized fuel, furniture, medical help and other important needs. At the same time resources would be put into making education, retraining, culture, music, sports and other important cultural activity available to everyone. Also, by sharing out work, the workweek could be reduced to 30 hours a week and less. Do I believe in 6 hour work day? Wallace D. Wattles, in his acclaimed Law of Opulence, writes that, ‘six hours work BY ALL OF US WHO CAN WORK, will produce all that we need, including luxuries.’ Do I believe that everyone needs to work, so long as they are above 12 years old, if not for income, then for experience; but preferably, for both?EducationDo I believe that education system should be based on the natural abilities of the children, and not preconceived notions of culture and pop? Do I believe that children should study for 12 years, from four years, to eight years, and by sixteen years, should be working in their careers? Do I believe that talent identification and professionalization should be the central pillar of education? Do I believe that quality education should be freely available to all who want to study, from the talent identification phase to the specialization phase in colleges and universities? Do I believe that education cures most societal ills? Do I believe that education is the great equalizer, leveling oppor tunities for all, male and
female alike, white and black alike, believers and non-believers alike? Do I believe in educational and training programs for unemployed youth, paying them salaries to learn a skill and providing job placement? And do I believe in continuing, compulsory training on the job of employees and staff? In 1989, the 18th Congress of the Socialist International at Stockholm adopted a Declaration of Principles which stated that, ‘socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice and solidarity, whose goal it is to achieve a peaceful world where each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework.’ The ideas of socialism have nothing to do with the former regimes in Eastern Europe and new independent state sin Africa, the pacific islands (Caribbean) and Latin America, which were not socialist. These were planned economies run by a bureaucracy who developed for themselves the lifestyles of millionaires, and destroyed the workers democracy which began to develop after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Do I believe that because of the planned economy, production in the Soviet Union grew six and a half times between 1918 and 1965. As Albert Einstein noted in his Defense of Socialism, ‘educational system should be oriented toward social goals’. Do I believe that the education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, should attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society? Do I believe in free education for all children in public schools? Do I believe in combination of education with i ndustrial production?Nationalis mAm I opposed to nationalism? Do I believe that human beings do not need countries, save on paper. Do I believe that we are the same all over the world, and we have a common interest in achieving freedom from want, and social justice? Nationalism is a device used to get workers to support their masters in peace and war. Nationalism is a device used to promote racism, class stratification, and label ‘them’ as against ‘us’. The Frankfurt Declaration 1951 correctly noted that from the nineteenth century onwards, capitalism has developed immense productive forces, at the cost of excluding the great majority of citizens from influence over production.Foreign PolicyDo I believe that the world is actually one place, with different cultures, but which was divided by some ‘white men and women’, representing capitalist interests, into ‘countries’ in paper? Do I believe that human being should focus on forming unions, cooperatives, and advancing interests of internationalism, and multi-culturalism, and not universalism, and one culture? Do I believe in a multi-polar world, with several world powers, so that there is not a universal, central control of all resources, but there is a check and balance on the actions of superpowers? Do I believe in the doctrine of non-interference in other countries affairs? Do I believe in militarization for effective defense against rogue states and non- state actors attacks? Do I support immigration and multiculturalism? Do I support the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and effective multilateralism? Do I believe that globalization is a form of ‘neo-colonialism’ through the IMF, World Bank and other ‘western’ institutions, backed up by the threat of invasion, destabilization or actual invasion from allied powers, mainly the United States, Britain and France, and whose main effect, is to impoverish the people? This was the case in Libya, and in Ivory Coast, and soon. As Chairman Mao taught all who care to listen, ‘The patriotism of a
communist nation and an internationalist sympathy for just struggles in other countries are in no way exclusive; on the contrary, they are linked deeply, as communism spreads throughout the world. At the same time, it is important for a country to retain modesty, and shun arrogance.’TaxationDo I believe that the moderate to high levels of taxation (through a value-added and/or progressive taxation system) to fund government expenditure. Do I prefer a heavy progressive and graduated income tax?Environment & Exploitation of Natural ResourcesDo I believe in environmental protection laws, such as combating global warming and increasing alternative energy funding? Do I believe in prompting nuclear energy, green energy and electric cars over petroleum fuels? Do I believe in maintaining a 10% forest cover of the country, and of every urban area? Do I believe in application of advanced technologies to sustainably and efficiently exploit natural resources?AgricultureDo I believe in promoting large scale agriculture, and application of advanced technologies to enhance output and reduce costs? Do I believe in organic farming and organic farm inputs? Do I believe in reducing subsidies and promoting comparative advantage-based agriculture? Do I support cooperative based agriculture, for equality of opportunity and maximum gain in returns? Robert Owen was right; ‘the transformation of society into small, local collectives without such elaborate systems of social organization ought to be the dream of all men?’ Do I believe that both tariffs which penalize, and subsidies which encourage foreign trade, and moves by capitalists, to support non-competitive industries, and hence ‘imperfect’ competition, against the biblical doctrines of comparative advantage as set out by the great Adam Smith. Do I believe in the Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country?HealthThe health a nation’s economy depends on the health of the nation’s people. Do I believe in a national health care program? Do I believe that there should be enhanced scientific infrastructure with research resources to promote scientific advances in biotechnology and medicine? Do I believe in advancement of traditional medicine?
VoluntarismVolunteers are the greatest asset a nation can have. Do I believe in the establishment of national volunteer program? Do I believe in the support for creation and operationalisation of a national volunteer corp.? Do I believe in the human philosophy of humanism, and the African philosophy of ubuntu, that I am because we are? Do I believe that the youth of a nation, between 12 to 35 years old, should voluntarily offer their services to serve in their nation’s armed forces, education programs, infrastructure services, and public affairs?Social NetworksSocial networks, whether professional or for adventure, are important tools for societal progress, and tempering of ill behaviours. Do I believe that creating social capital (i.e. creating networks) will strengthen civil society? Do I believe that social networks will be a bridging for the deepening social divisions? Do I believe that social networks are the fastest avenue for individual growth through group developmental initiatives and sharing of industry news, in a cooperative and non-competitive fashion? Do I believe that social networks will shift the public policy, from social order, to social justice? The greatest and most productive social network is the cooperative movement. Do I believe that producers, workers, generally, should form cooperatives? The basis of socialist ideas is that profit is the unpaid labor of the working class. All the products of society are produced by the labor of workers. Workers produce the wealth. However, ownership of the factories and workplaces is in the hands of big business. The capitalist laws say that because they own the factories, then they can set the rules at the workplace and take the profits. Workers are forced to work for a set wage. However, during each workday, workers produce more value than contained in the wages that are paid them by the bosses. This unpaid labor by workers is called profit, and is expropriated by the capitalist class. This leaves workers producing goods of more value than they receive in wages. Workers are unable to buy back all the goods they produce. Since workers buy over two thirds of all goods in the economy, this inevitably leads to economic recessions and slumps. It was Karl Marx who first understood this and put forward an alternative in his great work, Das Kapital, thus; ‘the alternative is socialism. Since workers produce the wealth, then the workers can run the economy without the capitalist class. ’ This would include the rights of students, parents and school workers to participate in running the schools and colleges. It would also extend workers democratic control of the workplaces. It would also take the newspapers, TV and radio stations, etc. out of the hands of the tiny minority who presently control them. All areas of media would be open to all groups in society that can prove they have support in society. With todays and tomorrows technology, the population could easily gain access to all, the information they need to participate in decision-making at all levels of society. Bobby Seale, leader of the Black Panther Party said in 1968, ‘We do not fight racism with racism. We fight racism with solidarity. We do not fight capitalism with black capitalism; we fight capitalism with socialism...’ We should be reminded of Rothschild, the great Jewish banker, who currently controls a sizeable section of the European, and world economy, when he muttered that, ‘give me the control of the nations money, and I do not care who makes its laws.’ The nation’s money is controlled by the workers and the capitalist controls the workers, hence the nations’ wealth is controlled by capitalists; they also control the politicians; and so, the laws are made in their fav our. When the worker controls the process of making money, the production process, then the laws will reflect the ideals of the worker, namely, freedom from want, social justice and ultimate human
development. Do I believe that such expanded social networks, through worker organsiations, will ensure there is work for all, and hence create and expand the working class, and ultimately productivity and production? The Message of the Gita should be reminded to us all, ‘No work stains a man who is pure, who is in harmony, who is master of his life, whose soul is one with the soul of all.’Social Justice‘All human beings seek to develop’, so said Armatya Kumar Sen, the Nobel Prize Winner Indian Professor of Economics. Do I believe in a society, where ‘justice’ refers to economic status rather than to the administration of laws? Do I believe in a society which gives individuals and groups fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society? Do I believe that philanthropy, and charity, is not as effective in promoting social justice, as provision of equal opportunities for all? Do I believe that historical inequities insofar as they affect current injustices should be corrected until the actual inequities no longer exist or have been perceptively ‘negated’? Do I believe in the redistribution of wealth, power and status for the individual, community and societal good? Do I believe that it is governments (or those who hold significant power) responsibility to ensure a basic quality of life for all its citizens? By the working class coming to power and creating a democratic plan of production, the economy can be taken out of the blind and destructive forces of the market and profit, and directed in a way that best meets the needs of the majority. Karl Marx rightly noted that, ‘Global unionism is the answer to global capitalism.’ He went on to say, ‘We were meant for a higher destiny, we were never meant to be the lieutenants of capitalism.’ Do I believe that only a planned economy can deliver social justice? In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.If I Answer Yes, Then I Am A Socialist!