Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Power

On email today I received a brilliant essay quoted below.

In his groundbreaking book “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State,” Frederick Engels explained the evolution of the state this way: “The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms, these classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of ‘order’; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state.”

The role of the state as a repressive apparatus that includes the police, the prisons, the courts, the big business media and more should be studied and understood by every activist and revolutionary not only theoretically but practically.'

I think about for how many years I would not ever consider reading anything by Engels, or even worse, his buddy Marx. Communists, Marxists. My brain was washed to firmly believe that we were the goodies and they the baddies. I guess it was a gradual change. For one thing it was more hip to be liberal, but eventually it was the glaring inequity of our system and my forced-by-my-addiction return to God and then to a very progressive church, that really changed my thinking.

I look at Engels quoted paragraph above and realize how devastatingly accurate it is in his description of a power that is necessary as well as necessarily abusive; I think of another quote.

'Lack of power that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live and it had to be a power greater than ourselves.'

The quote is from the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous known as the Big Book. And the power the alcoholics would eventually find and that would deliver them from the oppression of their addiction to alcohol; was a Higher one - that would usually end up being God.

Even now though as the protests are going on all over the world against the repressive and unfair system and state, I wonder exactly what they are asking for….just as I always wondered what was the solution for Engels and Marx and Marxism. The end of the so-illuminating essay regarding the whole breakdown of our system provides it.

'Besides deepening this solidarity, the next important lessons are that the capitalist state stands above the people, cannot be reformed, and must ultimately be smashed and replaced with a state that represents the interests of the majority of humanity based on the socialist reorganization
of society.'

Smashed. There’s going to be a revolution hey, hey.

Below is an excerpt from a poem I wrote about a brilliant Marxist author and playwright, Bertolt Brecht

But if you had lived you would have seen your dreams go up in smoke
For folk whether Red, White, Green or Blue will always horde their own
You rightly scoffed at righteous lords who used God as their tool
But with the filthy bathwater of their man-made faiths you also tossed the Babe
And perhaps it is right there where you erred For such brotherhood as you espoused
is perhaps beyond the grasp of mere flesh
To take only what's needed and nothing more is something the soul-less simply won't do

The 'socialist reorganization of society' will not hold up if it is a function of purely secular altruism. My brother, who must not starve so that another can join an even-better county club next year, is bound to me via a soul that will last forever. His and mine are parts of this Higher Power that is the only force strong enough to guide us to truly, and beatifically, even things out.

Inside the walls on Wall Street, the god of greed remains supreme. On the streets outside; God waits patiently and longingly to guide us in the non-violent charge that must be coming soon… '

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Let me introduce you to a new approach encapsulated in the acronym, RKRTS

I’ve been asked how recovery from drug and alcohol and other addictive behaviours can be instigated and maintained. Well, one way is captured in the acronym, RKRTS:

R - is for Recognising our need of help. That's where suffering comes in - possibly the greatest creative force in Nature. Quite often it's the only thing that will get us to change our ways. (Targeted, specific counselling interventions can also augment and help gently unveil the truth to us about our need of help.) This R also stands for Realising that we can't do it on our own. We need the ongoing help and support of others if we are to recover. Additionally, R means that we take Responsibility for the consequences of our actions and for Repairing the damage resulting from our behaviour.

K – is for Knowledge - in particular self-Knowledge. We discover how we became psychologically and physically dependent once we'd found, through our alcohol, drug or behaviour of choice, a short cut to feeling good - a short cut that bypassed the normal cognitive process of thinking ourselves into a good mood. Addiction is an illness of ignorance, one of a few that tells us there’s nothing wrong with us. This Knowledge helps reveal the truth to us about how we’ve used denial, delusion and compulsion to try to preserve some kind of equilibrium in our lives and within our families.

R – is for Risk. The juiciest, ripest fruits are always to be had on the highest, most difficult branches to reach. In order to get to them we have to Risk. Recovery from drug and alcohol and other harmful behaviours is the same; in order to recover we have to Risk. And the biggest Risk for people in recovery is to become vulnerable – to be authentic, to be real, to be true to Nature. To lower the mask and remove the fa├žade we’ve been hiding behind for so many years - to accept our humanness. And being human is acknowledging that we don’t always know the answers to questions; sometimes we don’t even understand the questions; sometimes we feel lonely; sometimes we feel shy; sometimes we fall flat on my faces and make fools of ourselves. And it’s OK to be all these things. It’s OK to be human. It’s OK to be perfectly imperfect! We don’t have to pretend to be something we’re not any longer.

T – is for Toughening up. On the one hand we have to become vulnerably but, paradoxically, we also have to Toughen up. And Toughening up means accepting that we’re survivors and not victims - that we have the wherewithal, the ability, the guts, the wisdom, and the stick-to-itiveness to overcome our problems and emerge victorious. It’s like throwing a switch from the “can’t do” to the “can do”. We CAN recover. There’s hope for us - we need never drink, take drugs, or engage in harmful behaviours ever again. This Toughening up places the responsibility on us to train ourselves to adopt a positive attitude towards life. No matter how dark, bleak or hopeless a situation or condition is there’s always something positive lurking underneath. If you look for the positive you’ll ALWAYS find it. And once you’ve found it you’ve discovered the solution to your problem. Thenceforth, you’re living in the solution. This T also gives us Time to consider whether we want to remain “bitter” or get “better”.

S – is for Sharing with others. It’s about becoming “givers” instead if “takers”. It’s about putting a face and a voice to recovery and being attractive advocates for the reality of recovery. It’s about engaging in the Recovery Movement and playing whatever parts we’re meant to play. Now that the genius in us has been unleashed we get to contribute our uniqueness to life’s rich tapestry. S also stands for Staying connected – to like-minded people and to our support networks.

Many will no doubt ask, where’s the spiritual component of recovery in all this?

It inevitably follows, as night follows day, the first R (Realising our need of help) and the K (self-Knowledge). By recognising our need of help we’re basically saying “I can’t do this on my own. Please help me.” Unwittingly, therefore, we’re accessing the spiritual realm irrespective of whether we’re agnostic or atheistic. And the prerequisite to forming healthy relationships with ourselves, our fellow men and with the Source, is a knowledge and acceptance of ourselves (warts and all). Thus spiritual progress is achieved - and without our being aware of it almost - as we engage in the K stage of recovery.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bike Ride in support of Stafell Fyw Caerdydd/Living Room Cardiff

There's a bike ride from North Wales to Cardiff on 20th - 23rd October to support Stafell Fyw Caerdydd/Living Room Cardiff, the new recovery centre at 58 Richmind Road. Why not join us? Call for more info: 02920 493895

If you wish to donate (a Just Giving page should be up and running soon) please make cheques payable to Living Room, Cardiff .

Registration date has now been extended to: 6th October :)