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Inspiration from the anonymous revolutionary, aged 16

Cd6mbSwW4AADy30If you need inspiration, try this. The words of published author (of The Anonymous Revolutionary) and blogger (on the themes of Marxism, communism, their significance and their relevance today) and Tweeter, Max Edwards, diagnosed with terminal cancer 5 months ago, aged 16, published yesterday in the Guardian.

Readers of this blog won’t necessarily agree with every word Max says. His views are described in his own words as follows:

I am a Marxist, Leninist, Bolshevist and internationalist. I’d consider myself a Marxist in the orthodox sense, which is to say that I uphold the traditional view that the tyrannies of capitalism shall only be quashed through class struggle. In that sense, I’m also an anti-revisionist and am opposed to tendencies like Post-Marxism.

They are set out in weekly postings on his blog. But beware, as he admits, they change over time: “For example, I once referred to myself as a Trotskyist. No longer the case.

He is pretty sceptical about Jeremy Corbyn, whom he met last week along with Ed Miliband:

I’d say he’s more of an in-the-middle leftist, a political island between social-democracy and communism; a radical moderate. And as a result, I believe he’ll do more harm than good.

He goes on to explain why he is sceptical of the political forces which elected Jeremy:

their ideas aren’t scientific, they don’t stand on concrete principles, aren’t guided by a clear motive of socialism, and are, in a way, directionless. Devoid of a clear plan, these movements criticise, attack, threaten and whine about the way things are, and they do so marvellously, but what do they contribute? As far as I’m concerned, not a great deal. OK, minor alterations have been made to the economy as a result of their existance, yet, as these movements are still intertwined within the capitalist system, I’d still see their role as a counterproductive.

Corbyn falls in this camp, as do those who elected him, for they attack capitalism yet won’t commit to a communist alternative. It’s a bit like igniting a revolution but refusing to build a solution to the society you destroyed, which begs the question ‘why revolt?’ True, Labour will likely plan to transform the economy in certain ways, such as the re-nationalisation of industry, yet firstly, simply because an institution exists under state control doesn’t necessarily make it any less exploitive, and secondly, any attempts they does make could easily be undone by whoever replaces them.

In many a 16 year old, such widespread attention might go to your head but Max keeps things well in prespective. In the profound conclusion to his piece in the Guardian:

It helps to remind myself that even if I’m dying, it’s not all about me. At the end of the day I’m one in seven billion, a number that – like my cancer – will continue to grow and multiply over the coming months and years. While my life may be all I know, I’m nothing more than a dot on this planet. When you take into account the dozens of people I know, the billions I don’t, the thousands of miles that separate us, and the ever running river of time on which we all finitely float, you may come to the inevitable and strangely comforting realisation that we are all going to die: me, you and everyone else. Get over it.


  1. David Ellis says:

    Doesn’t say why he is no longer a Trotskyist but looking at his blog it would appear to be because he has adopted a form of neo-Stalinism i.e. my Western imperailist’s enemy is my friend. Would like to hear his explanation. Is there anything in the book about it?

  2. David Pavett says:

    It is impossible not to empathise with the situation in which Max Edwards finds himself. The way in which he is reacting to it is also something of an object lesson in reacting appalling circumstances that are beyond one’s own control.

    Having said that I am not clear about the purpose of this article.

    What is the value of the judgement that Jeremy Corbyn is a “radical moderate” and as such likely to do “more harm than good”?

    This sort of simplistic judgement is understandable at an early stage of coming to terms with the complexity of politics but it is not particularly helpful in terms of current debates and tensions in the Labour Party. In fact I suggest that such views themselves do more harm than good.

    The long quote on the limitations of those who supported, and support, the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn won’t bare a lot of examination and I don’t intend to examine it.

    I appreciate very much that Max E is devoting the time he has to discussing the issues he deals with. Perhaps it is intended that this should be a lesson to those on the left who love to criticise existing society but make not effort to either analyse those problems or to contribute to what an alternative society might look like. If that is the purpose of this article then I can see a purpose in it. But if it is anything more than that then I am not so sure.

    P.S. David Ellis’ sectarian response shows, in my view, the need for a moderate level of moderation on Left Futures to remove idiotic name-calling from discussion of serious problems. We need some basic standards of reasonable debate to be established. I will try to propose some.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Here come the radical censors. I’ve been banned from more important forums than this. Far more.

      You may think that. But it hasn’t stopped you being banned from this site for continuous breaches of the comments policy. [Ed – the email informing you of this bounced back, suggesting that you may be using a false email address]

    2. James Kemp says:

      So David you want us in with the Ukippers and mad tories you did remember what happened last time in Scotland? Were playing the Tory game here there is no win only lose. If we stay out were be anti euro and nutters like the ukippers if we vote to stay and join the Tory campaign were doomed to lose votes the only way of keeping face is what he is doing a soft campaign.

      Do you like many radical left people want us to goven this country ever again?

      All this Jeremey is no sticking to principles talk will be mined by tories and relayed by a joyous tory press this blog has been used for that before maybe you whould like to think of that. I am all for debate when it whould achieve something but giving gifts to Tories no way.

      So how whould you campaign if in his place?

    3. John Penney says:

      I agree with you about the difficulty in trying to determine the purpose of this article . The background is unbearably sad , but the politics are simply naïve.

      On your second point – the constant, all too predictable , almost comical, “Dave Spart” style abusive posting of David Ellis. I agree – we certainly need a certain ongoing level of moderation to enforce some minimal discussion boundaries (surely there must be some already – or the site surely would be knee deep in Stormfront type conspiracy racist nonsense ?) – but more specifically what does the likes of David Ellis’s incessant ultraleft , personalised (recently potentially libellous) often vulgarly abusive, sloganizing , add to this “Left Futures” site ? In fact his incessant highly formulaic ultraleft negativity simply discredits the site with our target market , ie, actual and potential Labour members and supporters, and a wider market open minded Left leaning people who might be won to Left politics and campaigning more generally.

      1. Matty says:

        I agree you with John. As soon as i see the words David Ellis I just skip over.

      2. John Penney says:

        Dearie me. This bilious post from David Ellis , as with so many other, foul language-filled posts, suggests a “coprolalia” (spontaneous swearing) subset of Tourette’s Syndrome type problem. Whilst this is sad, should Left Futures really be allowing such foul discourse in what should be a civilised debating forum ?

    4. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      “Reasonable;e standards,” being dictated by people like you to the rest of us on some spurious and unconvincing premise of, what exactly, some kind of supposed moral or intellectual superiority?

      Dictated to us by the likes of you and of Jon Ladsman, (whose crass and heavy handed censorship of comments about antisemitism in the Labor party still annoys me hugely.)

      The merits of free speech, of open honest debate and of self expression far outweigh benefits of the kind of censorship and bowdlerization that seems increasingly to thwart and frustrate most sensible discussion everywhere.

      I seem to recall Orwell, in 1984 conceived of a world where language had become so debased and meaning so compromised that nearest that his protagonist could come to concept of political criticism was covered by the blanket term, “Though Crime.”

      So lets have more, “Thought Crime,” not less and lets have it here and if offends a few old women’s sensibilities, (“I’m not going to talk to you if you’re going to swear etc…”) all the better as far as I’m concerned.

      As for this young mans views on JC, “I believe he’ll do more harm than good,” I find myself in complete agreement with him. .

      1. John Penney says:

        Why do you waste all of our time on this site with your unceasing bilious anti Labour Trolling Craig-Weston. ? It obviously keeps you amused – but is utterly pointless – other than to disrupt a forum for sensible Left-oriented debate with your endless pessimism and abuse of all things Labour.

        1. John Penney says:

          Thank you for making my point , David.

    5. David Pavett says:

      I wrote that

      David Ellis’ sectarian response shows … the need for a moderate level of moderation on Left Futures to remove idiotic name-calling from discussion of serious problems. We need some basic standards of reasonable debate to be established.

      J.P. Craig-Weston responded with

      “Reasonable;e standards,” being dictated by people like you to the rest of us on some spurious and unconvincing premise of, what exactly, some kind of supposed moral or intellectual superiority?

      This showed that he rather missed my point. I have no wish to dictate anything to anyone. My concern is that a left-wing blog like this should confirm to norms which would easily be agreed by the overwhelming majority of people. We need debate which is be open and comradely, which invites different views and is welcoming to all. The sort of abuse we get from David Ellis clearly is way outside any such norms.

      Leaving low-level abuse (of the you don’t know what you are talking about variety) aside he has responded in the thread following my suggestion with

      You deluded cunt.

      So you would ban people with Toursette’s? Arse cunt shitface.

      you rancid anal wart what the fuck does potentially libellous mean? Some crap you made up yeah.

      Shut your face twat.

      He further informs us, apparently with pride

      I’ve been banned from more important forums than this.

      I think this is a question of Q.E.D. What more proof is needed of the need for some agreed standards and a mild level of moderation? Someone who contributed to a public meeting in this way would be asked to leave …

      James Kemp responded with

      So David you want us in with the Ukippers and mad tories

      All this Jeremey is no sticking to principles talk will be mined by tories and relayed by a joyous tory press this blog

      I have no idea how this connects with anything I wrote.

      And finally, out of 23 posts (at the time of writing) only 4 have anything to do with the original article (5 if you include David Ellis’ passing reference leading immediately to accusations of “neo-Stalinism”).

      1. Jim Dye says:

        You are well out of order Ellis, you clearly have no clue know trade union and labour movement standards of comradely behaviour which says everything about your own divorced sectarian position from the movement, and your bullying sexist language is just nasty and unacceptable.

  3. Giles Wynne says:

    To the Max, I say well done, but Communism is but a distant dream, before that we must tread the Road to Socialism. Which “road” that will be depends on there being a mass Socialist movement. Not the Pinkies, not only out and out hatred of Capitalist inequality and it’s indifference to the common man,and the determination to be rid of it, but a change in man’s attitude to the selfishness and greed, People before Profit – Education Education Education !

  4. Bazza says:

    At least Max has a dream.
    I have read so much over the years but I think Rosa Luxemburg still stands out for me.
    I think the early communist/socialist leaders were bourgeois socialists – top downers, elite undemocratic central committes (secret police etc) delivering socialism FOR the working class.
    And my perspective is the opposite approach – grassroots, bottom up, participatory, peaceful, democratic left wing socialism with leaders who are facilitators of grassroots power; left wing democratic socialism WITH the working class/working people.
    So I support Jeremy et al but want state-led public investment but with windfall taxes on big business, a redistribution of wealth, the elimination of poverty, more democratic public ownership with the workers electing the boards and communities having a say.
    And left wing demcratic socialist parties in all countries following a similar approach (unlike Syriza & Podemos) so we are all fighting for similar things.
    And when we have sorted the global economy out it is as a transition.
    We then consult working humanity to devise a greener, fairer, non-explorative economic system and it is quite exciting to build this from below and not having all the answers.
    And we may all decide we only need to work 20 hours a week with good pay and humanity would be free (and I think Max would recognise that Marx would have agreed we only need to work 20 hours a week to meet our needs).
    One final thought on Marx, I was always surprised that with Engels they came up with the term ‘Communism’ with their journalistic flair. It always seemed to offer negative imagery (a forced living together) and perhaps ‘Communityism’ may have been much better?
    But I love what Rosa argued that the best thing we can all bring to the table is independent critical thinking.

  5. Bazza says:

    Ooops! Non – exploitative economic system.

  6. Doug says:

    ‘The Labour Left has ditched forty years of opposition to the EU and its predecessors in a move analogous to the German Social Democrats voting for war credits in 1914.’

    The crassness of this comparison beggars belief. There’s absolutely no need to censor David Ellis, not while he gives us a few laughs like that.

  7. rod says:

    David Ellis: “I’ve been banned from more important forums than this. Far more.”

    Bazza (above) can help you out with that: “the best thing we can all bring to the table is independent critical thinking,”

  8. John Penney says:

    No David, you have account after account closed because you cannot debate in a civilised manner for very long, before degenerating into ludicrous invective and grossly foul language as soon as your ” my political positions are holy writ” ultraleftism is challenged.

    Maybe you need to think a bit more about why you are banned from site after site.

    I stand well back for the inevitable torrent of foul abuse .

    1. rod says:

      Well said.

      I followed Ellis’s post on SocialistUnity and his contributions were mostly of the ” my political positions are holy writ and everyone else is wrong” variety.

      Importantly, his foul language-filled abuse will deter many from posting here simply because they don’t want to be dragged into the sewer by Ellis.

      Best to ban him and, as consolation, he can brag about being excluded from Leftfutures elsewhere.

      1. David Ellis says:

        Unfortunately Rod the Plod due to its refusal to debate the EU referendum and the left’s historic betrayal for the purposes of radical socialist politics this site is now as dead as Corbyn’s leadership.

        As for the neo-Stalinist Socialist Unity the only thing that blows through that site any more is a load of tumbleweed and a tiny clique of self-congratulating Putin lovers talking to themselves.

    2. David Ellis says:

      As soon as the Troll Penney turns up on any site you know you are dealing with a dead forum.

      1. Danny Nicol says:

        Surely what would attract contributors to this blog would actually be more CONTROVERSY. Instead of posts like “IDS Not Very Nice, Shock Horror” and “Boris Johnson Rather Unpleasant, Scoop Sensation” why not have posts on CONTENTIOUS pressing issues such as the EU and the disagreement between Keynesians and socialists.

    3. John Penney says:

      Surely that should be ” Stalinist, Blairite, Zionist, Putin-loving , shit sipping mollusc ” David ?

      Note to site managers: How long will you allow this zealot with his foul language to stain this site, and, as Rod says – undoubtedly drive away more rational potential contributors ?

    4. David Ellis says:

      Yes you are right. It should be.

    5. David Ellis says:

      John Penney is a sect builder. All dissent must be ignored, then ganged up on, then expelled. The supreme leader cannot be questioned. Absolute loyalty is required. His sectarian approach is however merely a cover for the rank opportunism of his shriveled and conservative politics. He is also an accomplished troll. He will never tackle the substance of an argument. He simply slings epithets like ultra-left at his opponent then states his own pathetic approach as if he’s actually said something of note. If anybody needs blocking from this site it’s this wannabe cult leader.

  9. David Ellis says:

    Farewell young comrade.

  10. Jon Lansman says:

    There are a number of offensive comments which have been deleted from this comments stream.

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