from May 6, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
Today may be slightly different from other days simply
because Karl Marx
was born 200 years ago on May 5, 1818, and I get the sites for May 5
only the next day. Four out of five bits today are about Marx,
or indirectly. And I pay attention to him because I did have a
real Marxist education by really Marxist parents
(for 45 years, both),
although I gave up Marx
and Marxism in
1970, for what still seem to be quite sound reasons (though I
am still a - real - leftist).
Also, I am a bit sorry that the articles I selected today are poor
in intellectual content. It could have been somewhat
different, but this is the best that I found today.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 6, 2018
1. A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses
The items 1 - 5
are today's selections from the 35
sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link
is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. Marx's Hometown Unveils Huge Statue on His 200th Birthday
3. Some Say the Gig Economy is Capitalism's Final Victory —
Spirit of 1968 Is Inextinguishable —Even 50 Years Later
5. Marx's Relevance in
Today's World: A Reflection on His 200th Birthday
Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses
article is by Andrew Jacobs in The New York Times. This is from near
the beginning of the article:
I say, and I do so because
I had no idea. Then again, I have glasses since I was 10 (nearly 60
years now) and this worked OK for me since 57 years, but lately got totally
out of hand, as I will briefly explain after the last bit I quote from
More than a billion people around the
world need eyeglasses but don’t have them, researchers
say, an affliction long overlooked on lists of public health
priorities. Some estimates put that figure closer to
2.5 billion people. They include thousands of nearsighted Nigerian
truck drivers who strain to see pedestrians darting across the road and
middle-aged coffee farmers in Bolivia whose inability to see objects up
close makes it hard to spot ripe beans for harvest.
there are the tens of millions of children like Shivam across the world
whose families cannot afford an eye exam or the prescription eyeglasses
that would help them excel in school.
of these kids are classified as poor learners or just dumb and
therefore don’t progress at school,” said Kovin Naidoo, global director
of Our Children’s Vision, an organization
that provides free or inexpensive eyeglasses across Africa. “That just
adds another hurdle to countries struggling to break the cycle of
In fact, I am quite
willing to believe this, but I should add that I have been suffering
from what has been declared to be ¨a
serious chronic disease¨
for nearly 40 years now, just as my ex did and does, but that ¨serious chronic disease¨ has been
declared NOT to exist by 99.9%
of all Dutch ¨medical
doctors¨, of whom 90% (27 out of the 30 ¨medical doctors¨
my ex and I saw since 1979) declared we were ¨psychosomatizers¨
(living on study loans, trying to become psychologists, in which both
of us succeeded but NOT thanks to the help of any Dutch
medical person, but simply because we were both considerably
more intelligent, with IQs above 140, than the average Dutch university
student, that had an IQ of 115 in 1984, since when it seems not to
have been measured again. It probably is around 105 now.)
an era when millions of people still perish from preventable or
treatable illness, many major donors devote their largess to combating
killers like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. In 2015, only $37 million was spent on delivering
eyeglasses to people in the developing world, less than one percent of
resources devoted to global health issues, according to EYElliance, a nonprofit group trying to raise
money and bring attention to the problem of uncorrected vision.
So far, the group’s own
fund-raising has yielded only a few million dollars, according to its
From the above I see that medical doctors, worldwide, are not even
capable of providing people who need glasses - some 2 billion of them,
indeed - with glasses.
Well... if my ex and I had NOT been ill and discriminated for
nearly 40 years because we were supposed to be crazy liars by 9 out of
10 of the Dutch medical doctors, I would probably have been very angry.
Now I am not, and remark instead the following:
I have been wearing the very same model of glasses since
were always completely free for those who had medical
insurance, as I did all my life - until some years ago, and half a year
ago I found that for the very same glasses I have worn for
free for 43 years now should be paid.... 800 euros
(over 1700 guilders), which is 4/5th of my monthly income.
The explanation seems to be that the Mafia -
yes: the Mafia -
has taken over all frames for glasses in all of Europe,
asks 800 euros for three bits of metal weighing 3 grams, and 2
plastic. Also, for 800 euros I can buy two second-hand computers, and
can feed myself for 3 to 4 months.
With that sick and greedy utter degeneracy, I do not
there is much hope for those who live on onetenth of what I get each
month (which is less than anybody else gets in Holland).
Hometown Unveils Huge Statue on His 200th Birthday
article is by Kristen Grieshaber on Truthdig and originally on The
Associated Press. It starts as follows:
A larger than life
statue of communist philosopher Karl Marx was unveiled Saturday on the
200th anniversary of his birth in the western German town of Trier.
The celebratory uncovering
of the 4.4-meter (14-foot) bronze statue of Marx, donated by China,
sparked criticism by some who blame Marx for crimes committed by social
revolutionaries in Russia, China and elsewhere in the name of communism.
About 200 guests, including
a delegation from China, applauded during the anniversary celebrations,
when a bright red cover was lifted from the statue which depicts Marx
with a frock and his signature bushy beard.
Marx laid the philosophical
foundations for communism, an ideology that aims for shared ownership
of the means of production and the absence of social classes. He
explained his thoughts in two famous works, the “Communist Manifesto”
and “Das Kapital.”
The ceremony and speeches
in Trier were at times disturbed by the shouting and whistling of
different groups of nearby protesters.
I say. This is probably
correct. Speaking for myself - as a formerly Marxist son of
parents - I am neither strongly for Marx, which also
putting up statues for him, nor strongly against Marx, and my
reasons are that I have really read him.
And I also believed
since I was 20 (in 1970) that he was mistaken but quite
he was a serious social philosopher; and that it is quite
blame Marx for what diverse followers of Marx made out of his
teachings, long after he died.
Here is the second and
last bit that I quote from this article:
When Germany was divided
after the end of World War II, the eastern part was under Communist
rule from 1949 until the country’s reunification in 1990. Some East
Germans say they still suffer from the long-term effects of the
Communist regime’s suppression and violence against its critics.
In China, on the other
hand, President Xi Jinping hailed Karl Marx as “the greatest thinker of
Well... this (like the
previous quoted bit) is again more or less correct. I add that in case
the East Germans blame Karl Marx (who died in 1883) they are mistaken.
I do not know from the above whether they did (and they would
correct if they blamed Ulbricht, Honecker and other leaders of East
Say the Gig Economy is Capitalism's Final Victory — But Maybe It's Not
article is by Carlo Morelli on AlterNet, and originally on The
Conversation. It starts as follows:
It is remarkable for an
economic thinker and political activist that 200 years after their
birth, millions are still avidly discussing their work. Yet Karl Marx’s
continues to influence every new generation.
In an era of
anti-globalisation protests and the movement against
the 1%, Marx’s analysis continues to be relevant – he explains how the
capitalist system goes hand in hand with aggressive competition and
innovation, and why this leads to poverty, crisis and eventually
revolution. He brilliantly describes growing wealth, the worsening
conditions of labour and the necessity for a different society.
These insights apply as
much to the 21st century as the 19th. We see the same capitalist
landscape of old incumbents constantly under pressure from new
challengers – and also the same destructiveness.
No, I am sorry: This is mostly
misleading, at least for Western Europe and the USA: ¨We¨ do
NOT ¨see the same capitalist landscape of old
incumbents constantly under pressure from new challengers¨ as ¨we¨ did
in - say - the 1870ies.
children had to work at age 6 or 8; adults had to work 12, 14 or 16
hours a day; and most who worked got barely enough to eat and
buy a shirt, every two years. (In case you happen to read Dutch, read this
idea by the Dutch writer Multatuli, which does sketch the life
of over 90% of the Dutch in the 1860ies and 1870ies: It really
was very different from what the
lives of socially similar
people were like in the 1970ies in Holland.)
I will not criticize more in
the above bit, and turn to the next:
Well... probably this is
correct. But while I do not believe myself strongly in
¨classes¨ or ¨class solidarity¨, I totally fail to see why the
poor should not protest against the rich, if only because close
to 90% of the non-rich have been growing poorer since 1980,
while the 1% of the rich have been growing a whole lot
richer. (I know this is probably not Marxistic in a classical
sense, but even so.)
Some political scientists argue
that the internet and particularly the gig
economy have fundamentally changed the nature of work. Capitalism
has become so dominant over labour, they argue, that old bonds between
workers such as class and solidarity are increasingly meaningless.
On this analysis, worker
action and revolution are off the agenda.
Then there is this:
the classic economists of his time, Marx believed in a labour theory of
value – the idea that the value of a product should be based on the
amount of labour that has gone into it. The more the capitalists sought
to protect their profitability, the more they undermined the value of
the products they were creating with labour power.
I disagree with the second statement, and I insist
about the first statement that the best economical
reinterpretation of Marx was by Piero Sraffa,
which also is explained by
Steedman in his ¨Marx
Sraffa¨, which I recommend (to all intelligent
persons with some mathematics).
Finally, I quote this bit from this article:
I would argue that the
lasting legacy of Marx 200 years after his birth comes from the
conclusion he and Friedrich Engels drew in their 1848 publication The
The proletarians have
nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of
all countries unite.
No, I am sorry: At
least in Western Europe and in the USA the ¨proletarians¨ have (or
until recently had: it changes for the poorest in the USA) a lot
more to lose than their chains. If you want to know more, see here.
Spirit of 1968 Is Inextinguishable —Even 50 Years Later
article is by Hilary Wainwright on Common Dreams, and originally on
OpenDemocracy.net. This starts as follows:
I am sorry, but for me
much of the above, and nearly all of the whole article, is straight
bullshit by someone who was not in Paris in 1968 and does not
Richard Branson and cultural and political rebel Tariq Ali were both
shaped by the experiences of 1968 – and, significantly, the years that
preceded and followed it. These rebellious years shaped a generation
but produced ways of thinking that, in retrospect, have turned out to
be complex and ambivalent.
Out of this period came
women’s liberation movements; politicised, grassroots workers’
organisations; the convergence of ‘single issue’ campaigns to address
systemic issues such as military power, imperialism and the nature of
the state. But this era also paved the way for capitalism’s renewal –
with a new, flexible, decentralised, unregulated spirit.
Generational changes may
produce a circulation of elites – the young coming to the rescue of the
Here is more nonsense:
liberation movement upset fundamental social relations, established
cultural and material orders, including one of their pillars: the
idealised ‘nuclear family,’ dominated by the male breadwinner and
serviced by the dependent woman, bringing up children in the isolation
of her home.
This movement did not come
from nowhere or from some essential moral female force. Feminist
historian Sheila Rowbotham, for example, is clear that many of its
ideas grew out of “the left movements and culture of the time,”
including the “heady utopianism” of ‘68, which she describes as a “springboard for
Some directly rejected the
paternalism of the welfare state and state-defined socialism. They
advocated and initiated participatory alternatives, including
autonomous education projects, squats, communes and cooperative housing
initiatives, women-centred health care, community-controlled nurseries
and independent media.
Many of these alternatives
were more practical than theoretical, with an unfinished, experimental
character. Rather than systematic and ‘complete,’ they were scattered
seeds of what had the potential to become a democracy-driven process of
Women’s shared experiences
of subordination inspired further challenges to the dominant
mentalities of the time – of individuals as atomised and separated from
each other, and the collective as above the individual, solid and
thing-like, as if social relations between individuals were of no
They challenged both
bureaucratic collectivism and the hyped-up individualism of the
consumer boom, with a ‘relational’ view of society that assumed
relatively enduring but transformable relations between individuals.
I am sorry: I listed it
and said what it is in my eyes, but I have read FAR too much of
this level of bullshit in the last 50 years to be willing to criticize
it seriously. All I say is this is bullshit.
Relevance in Today's World: A Reflection on His 200th Birthday
article is by Jean Batou on Truthout and originally on Le Courier. It
starts as follows:
Yes, this is correct: Marx did
insist - rather late in his life - that he was ¨not a Marxist¨. And in fact I do agree with Engels´s complaints
materialism (and I did not know this quotation from Engels).
Several months before his
death, Karl Marx is said to have declared: "All I know is that I am not
a Marxist." Friedrich Engels gave his interpretation of this in a
letter to Conrad Schmidt on August 2, 1890. Whereas Engels called for
"restudying all history," an "imminently vast domain," he deplored that
"the empty sentences about historic materialism … serve only to produce
… relatively thin historical knowledge … an artificial systematic
construction, and to allow people to believe themselves endowed with
Out of deference toward his
deceased companion, in a letter on August 27 to Paul Lafargue, Engels
returned to the surprising disdain of the elderly Marx for "Marxism,"
recalling the disabused remark of the German writer Heinrich Heine: "I
sowed dragons and reaped fleas."
Then again, I never thought this was something to criticize
if only because Marx´s ideas were far more complicated than
Marxists of Marx´s own time realized. In fact, there is also this bit
in this article:
constantly raised objections to which he proposed provisional
responses. To grasp the scope of them, one must move beyond his early
drafts and work plans. For example, the second edition of the Complete
Works of Marx-Engels contains the preparatory work, the outlines
and the successive versions of Capital: they fill 15 volumes
comprising some 24,000 pages! Volume I represents only a small fraction
of this corpus. On this basis, can one consider it, with its companion
Volumes II and III, published by Engels on the basis of unfinished
manuscripts, a final work?
No, one clearly cannot -
but then I have seen very many ¨Marxists¨ (of many
different kinds) in
my life, but I absolutely never met anyone who has read
the three volumes of Capital, and indeed, while I still have
them, neither did I (although I read more of Marx than
anyone I´ve met).
And I would not know who would plough through 15 volumes, though there
may be a few.
Then again, having read more of Marx than most, and
indeed having found
myself the difficulties in Marx´s economics that were also -
and better - exposed by Ian Steedman in
Sraffa¨, I can recommend people with a serious
interest in economics
and in Marx, and with sufficient linear algebra, to check out
book (which is not thick): It is decent economics, and
it is, to my
knowledge at least, the best reinterpretation of Marx that has
devised since Marx died, and it is by a very capable and
have now been
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).