Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Democratic Socialism

 File:Karl Marx.jpg
 Marx, photo from Wikipedia

Ever wonder about all those socialists in Europe and South America? Democratic socialism is a philosophy that  evolved from Marx, who wrote in the 19th Century about the gross indecency of capitalist excesses at the time, of dire conditions for workers and the lack of worker protections. Today, it has become a political and humanistic philosophy that supports the peaceful, non-revolutionary move to a more perfect world of equality, diversity, and liberty.
In my view, the Soviet Union was never  socialist in any humanistic sense. The film "Reds"  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reds_%28film%29)  shows how things went horribly wrong in Russia. So much idealism smashed to pieces by the warring factions and the string of dictatorships. It's good old English Socialism I like. Just keep the greedy capitalists on a leash. A short one.
Here is the Ethical Charter of the Socialist International. It is a noble document.


About Us

Adopted at the XXII Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo

We, member parties of the Socialist International, reaffirm our total commitment to the values of equality, freedom, justice, solidarity and peace which are the foundation of democratic socialism. We solemnly undertake to respect, defend and promote those values in the spirit of the fundamental declarations and campaigns of the Socialist International.

Our support to these values implies that we apply in the strictest way possible, the following code of conduct :

1. To carry through progressive politics that favour well-being of individuals, economic expansion, equitable trade, social justice, the protection of the environment in the spirit of sustainable development.To oppose all social and economic politics to the advantage of privileged groups, and promote the creation of a global economic system which will lead to more equitable and fair North-South relations.
To combat corruption in all its forms and the obstacles to good governance.

2. To defend pluralistic democracy. This implies :

• the freedom of citizens to choose between political options in the framework of free, frequent and transparent elections;

• the possibility of a change of government through peaceful means and the free expression of citizens;

• respect of the rights of minorities and individuals;

• an independent and impartial judicial system based on the law;

• a free and pluralistic press;

• democratic running of political parties.

3. To guarantee, under all circumstances, the respect of human dignity and to act in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the other important conventions adopted by the United Nations and its institutions.

To ban the death penalty.

To respect and reinforce the fundamental human rights, be they individual rights (respect of private life, freedom of thought, belief, education, sexual orientation and right to equal treatment etc.), social rights (freedom of trade unions, right to strike, social protection etc.) or political rights (freedom of association, universal vote).

To foster gender equality in every area of private and public life, including within our parties, in decision-making positions in all fields and at all levels.

To fight against all forms of discrimination based on gender, race, ethnical origin, sexual orientation, language, religion, philosophical or political beliefs.

To fight against all ultra nationalist, fundamentalist, xenophobic and racist trends and to refrain from all forms of political alliance or co-operation, at any level, with any political party inciting or trying to inflame prejudices, ethnic or racial hatred.

To reject and resolutely oppose any drift to authoritarianism as well as any political system which allows or practises the violation of human rights to conquer or impose its power (political assassination, torture, arbitrary detention, press censorship, banning or repression of peaceful demonstrations, etc).

4. To support international action in favour of peace, tolerance, dialogue, understanding and cooperation among peoples.

To abstain from using military force to gain power or to lead a foreign policy, beyond the framework authorised by the relevant international organisations,

To strive to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to facilitate disarmement.

Strengthen the role of the United Nations and regional institutions which work towards achieving peaceful solutions to conflicts.

5. An ethics committee is in charge of monitoring the respect of the present code of conduct by all the member parties and it is empowered to formulate recommendations or even proposals of sanctions to the leading organs of the Socialist International.


Socialist International

Thursday, March 18, 2010



Jack  (Silenus/ Socrates of the Tropics)
Photo by Dar

As the Vernal Equinox

approaches, there are transformations happening. On the national scene, Health Care reform is finally on the verge of becoming law.  Though it is burdened with compromise and concessions to special interests in the corporate world, insurance companies in particular, and the powers of capitalism, just as Michael Moore tells and shows us, it is nonetheless a crossroads turn to the left. Make no mistake, the new law opens the doors to social reform this nation needs-- desperately.

Personally, my life has been immersed in Hawaiian and pagan culture. With my consort living in an aesthetic A-frame at Kalani Honua, I have had the joy of swimming naked daily in the healing waters of the Olympic size pool, hiking along the lava coast of the Pacific, partaking of the healthy feasts, comingling with the high spirits that inhabit that enchanted garden.
In a world where we all wear our daily masks, Kalani is that rare community where one can just be. No masks necessary. In Kalani's festivals, dance, art parties, we reveal ourselves by wearing physical masks that reveal our true spirits. And at times by wearing nothing at all.

For the happy few who have lived at Kalani, whether for weeks, years, or decades, it has been, as I wrote for the Kalani Blog, Zen nights and Dharma days, from the dazzling full moon through the coconut palms to the sunrise over the molten red lava flowing into the Pacific from Pele.


Full Moon, By Dar



Friday, March 05, 2010

Men In Love

D.H. Lawrence's Women In Love is as much about men in love as it is about heterosexual love. The latter is a given, and Lawrence's portrayal of the two primary relationships between Birkin and Ursula, Gerald and Gudrun, are the extremes that remind us of Lawrence's own marriage with Frida. Yet the tragedy of the novel, and the sad ending with Birkin and Ursula in disagreement, can only be understood as the inability of Birkin and Gerald to form a lasting, mutually supportive relationship. 

Lawrence wrote about male bonding in all of his novels. In Women In Love, he uses the term "implicit," to describe the sort of love he had in mind. Yet, the nude wrestling scene in the novel, so beautifully rendered in film by Ken Russell and screen writer Larry Kramer, with Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, reveals a physical need that goes to the heart. The description of the embrace of the two men in chapter XX, Gladiatorial, is about penetration, about entering one another's being, about being physically intimate, if not explicitly sexual. Lawrence conjures nothing short of orgasm, however, as the two men fall back, unconscious, in exhaustion after the wrestling match.

What I think Lawrence got right is that we all need both  sexes intimately in our lives. Straights need same sex intimacy and gays need opposite sex intimacy--not just casual friends but something much deeper, a genuine, life-long commitment. In a world where people form couples and are shuttled into box size homes with their ever needy 2.5 children, such intimacy is hard to find. Yet the lack of it may well explain the sad disillusionment of so many divorces.

Jack Miller

BBC plans a new rendition of Lawrence's masterpiece soon:

BBC4 to adapt DH Lawrence's Women in Love

Drama joins TV version of John Braine's Room at the Top in season exploring love and sexuality in 20th century literature

Women in Love: Oliver Reed and Alan Bates
Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestle in the 1969 film version of Women in Love. Photograph: MGM
It was responsible for one of the most memorable fight scenes ever committed to celluloid. Now DH Lawrence's Women in Love, turned into a film by Ken Russell starring Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, is to be adapted as a TV drama for BBC4.

Women in Love and John Braine's novel Room at the Top will lead a season of programmes on the BBC digital arts and culture channel exploring love and sexuality in 20th century literature.
Russell's 1969 adaptation, for which Glenda Jackson won a best actress Oscar, made cinema history with the controversial naked wrestling contest between Reed and Bates. It remains to be seen how the BBC4 version will tackle the scene.
The new adaptation will also draw on Lawrence's The Rainbow, to which Women in Love was written as a sequel. Lawrence had originally intended to publish them together as The Sisters.
Richard Klein, the BBC4 controller, said: "Modern adaptations are a new direction for drama on the channel and I'm delighted to bring alive for viewers these iconic, but sometimes overlooked, classic novels. They will form the backbone of a season exploring how relationships between men and women, including sexual relations, were written about and conducted.
"The 20th century has seen an enormous change in the way that men and women behave towards each other and how they conduct relationships between each other. This season aims to explore and contextualise those changes, as well as give viewers an opportunity to see how Lawrence and Braine approached the same subject in different ways."
Women in Love and The Rainbow chart the loves and lives of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, viewed chiefly through their relationships with friends Rupert Birkin and Gerald Crich. They will be turned into a two-part drama by writer Billy Ivory, whose credits include the BBC's binmen drama Common as Muck.
Mark Pybus, a producer at Company Pictures, which will make the Lawrence adaptation, said the two novels had never been combined for a TV drama before.
"Taking the two books together will allow Billy to tell a larger story, covering not just the relationships between men and women, but also the brutal impact of the first world war in transforming a rural community into 20th century modernity," he said.
"The whole area of sex and sexual relations is at the root of both novels: what we do, with whom, and why ... that was what Lawrence was trying to fathom; questions (and answers) which are as valid today as ever."
Room at the Top, a triangular love story set in 1940s Yorkshire, is being adapted by Amanda Coe, whose TV credits include episodes of Shameless and BBC4's dramatisation of the life of Mary Whitehouse, Filth: the Mary Whitehouse Story. The BBC said it would be the first screen version of the book since 1959.
Ben Stephenson, the BBC controller of drama commissioning, said: "I am thrilled that two of our most exciting screenwriters, Billy Ivory and Amanda Coe, are reinterpreting the works of two of the 20th century's most daring and honest voices – DH Lawrence and John Braine – and bringing them back into the spotlight."