The Guardian

The Guardian January 26, 2000


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Reds under the Christmas tree

The New York Times revealed to its readers a few days before 
Christmas that the city's reactionary mayor, Rudolph Giuliani is "darkly 
wary of Marxist influence in the nooks and crannies of the city".

The accompanying story in fact revealed Mayor Rudi's class allegiance in 
stark clarity.

"The mayor's latest encounter with the Red Menace came as he faced down the 
threatened strike from the Transport Workers Union and its dissident 
faction, the New Directions Caucus", wrote the NY Times.

"Mr Giuliani's vigilance in this matter has sometimes been overlooked in 
the hurly-burly of daily governance, but a review of his public statements 
shows that he has discerned a sinister Marxist tinge to a wide variety of 
enemies, from the paradoxically well-organised anarchists who sacked a 
Starbucks in Seattle to the gardeners who plant flowers in the city's 
vacant lots."

The paper then quoted the Mayor: "The remarks of one of the leaders of New 
Directions is a perfect example of what I'm talking about, where he 
advocated taking away profits from business as being one of the really good 
side benefits of having a strike.

"I think he said he would take away the profit orgy of Christmas from 
businesses."

* * *
Stalin remembered The 120th anniversary of the birth of Stalin was commemorated last month in his birthplace, Gori, in Georgia, and in Moscow where he is buried by the Kremlin wall. Between one and two thousand people gathered in Gori, many carrying flowers and pictures of the Soviet leader, at the 10-foot statue of Stalin outside the colonnaded museum erected in his honour which encloses the house in which he was born in 1879. Reuters reported that "wreaths carpeted the square in front of the monument" and grudgingly acknowledged that "the celebrations were marked by glowing tributes and are indicative of a changing mood and a positive reassessment of some aspects of the defunct Soviet state". A few days before the anniversary, Andrew Murray, whose Eyes Left column is a weekly feature of the British socialist daily Morning Star, made this observation about it: "This column normally eschews gratuitous controversy. Nevertheless, recent correspondence in the Morning Star compels me to point out that next Tuesday is the 120th anniversary of the birth of Josef Stalin. "His career is the subject of a vast and ever-expanding literature. Read it all and, at the end, you are still left paying your money and taking your choice. "A socialist system embracing a third of the world and the defeat of Nazi Germany on the one hand. On the other, all accompanied by harsh measures imposed by a one-party regime. "Nevertheless, if you believe that the worst crimes visited on humanity this century, from colonialism to Hiroshima and from concentration camps to mass poverty and unemployment have been caused by imperialism, then [Stalin's birthday] might at least be a moment to ponder why the authors of those crimes and their hack propagandists abominate the name of Stalin beyond all others. "It was, after all, Stalin's best-known critic, Nikita Kruschov, who remarked in 1956 that `against imperialists, we are all Stalinists'."
* * *
Virtual voting Here's a trick question? How do you privatise voting in elections? Can't imagine? The answer's easy: you hire an Internet company to organise the poll. That's how this year's Democratic Primary in Arizona will be done. According to the British capitalist paper The Guardian, "Arizona Democrats, if they want to, will sign on digitally and each acquire a personalised coded digital certificate. "This will allow each voter to enter code, name and date of birth, and cast a ballot on screen. They can do this either on their own PC or at one of 40 PC-equipped polling stations around the state, at any time of day or night. "The former Irish Prime Minister, Dr Garret Fitzgerald, a director of Votation.com, which has the Arizona contract, says that online voting could `revolutionise the elections process and significantly improve voter turn- out round the world'." And make Dr Fitzgerald and other commercial operators a bundle of money. As for voter security, what's to worry? A capitalist corporation, driven by profit, will give you a personal code and promise to never ever reveal it - - or how you voted to anybody no matter how much they offer. Who could possibly have a problem with that?

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