Some thoughts on John Rawls’ A THEORY OF JUSTICE by Stuart Christie (Book review)

TheoryofJusticeSince its publication in 1971 the political ideas expounded by philosopher John Rawls in A Theory of Justice have provided the justifiers and apologists (i.e., the informers and the regulators who, respectively, mould opinion and behaviour within the bourgeois state) for a ‘just’ capitalist democracy — the currently prevailing form of class society — with an alternative to utilitarianism. It also provides, to quote Burns*, “…the oppressor’s cruel smile / Amid his hapless victim’s spoil” with an ideological mask of ethical legitimacy for the predatory values — and practices — of nakedly amoral neo-liberal capitalism. The question remains: how can bourgeois rule be defeated without putting something worse in its place — and without having to plough through the deliberately mystifying lexicon of neo-liberal gobbledygook (e.g. “dialectic” and “contradiction”, for conflict and division, respectively), with which they seek to cover their own self-serving bureaucratic agenda?

* Lines Written on a Banknote

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

Rawls’ stated aim is to develop a theory of justice that is a viable alternative to the classical utilitarian and ‘intuitionist’ concepts of justice and morality. In contrast with classic utilitarian thought he argues that each person ‘possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society cannot override.’ Policies that lead to the loss of freedom for some or the imposition of sacrifices on the few in return for the benefit of the majority are not, therefore, compatible with a ‘just’ society.

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NIKOLA TESLA — A name on a light bulb by Nigel Pennick (Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review (No. 4 1978)

Nikola Tesla, towards the end of his life, fell in love with a white female pigeon and spent over $2000 USD building a device that could support/heal her broken leg and wing.

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Early in 1977, after a year or more of abnormal weather throughout the northern hemisphere, it was revealed that Canada, since July 1976, had been receiving almost daily a series of strange and immensely powerful signals which were emanating from the USSR. These abnormal transmissions, it was suggested, were of such gargantuan intensity that they were disrupting the whole weather pattern of North America. What could be the purpose of such extravagant transmissions? They interfered considerably with marine communications to such an extent that both the British and the United States governments sent protests to the Soviet authorities. Using three monitoring stations, the government of Canada attempted to locate the source of the transmissions. Finally they tracked down the source to Riga, the former capital of Latvia, and a formal protest was made. Some time later, the USSR admitted that experiments with high-frequency radio bands had been conducted. Shortly afterwards, the massive ‘blanket’ transmissions ceased, and they were replaced by short bursts lasting only 20 to 30 seconds a day. But that was not the end of the affair. At ten o‘clock in the morning of December 24th Montreal time, the receiving station on Prince Edward Island suddenly received a powerful signal originating several thousand miles to the east. Then, about an hour later, the same signal, but at a higher intensity, was detected, from the opposite direction.

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A HANDBOOK ON HANGING — by Charles Duff (Part 1) eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

HHCoverMaster Being a short Introduction to the fine art of Execution, and containing much useful information on Neck-Breaking, Throttling, Strangling, Asphyxiation, Decapitation and Electrocution, as well as Data and Wrinkles for Hangmen, an account of the late Mr. Berry’s method of Killing and his working list of Drops; to which is added a Hangman’: Ready Reckoner and certain other items of interest

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“Dislocation of the Neck is the ideal to be aimed at.”

Published originally by Grant Richards and Philip Sainsbury at


21 Soho Square MCMXXVIII (1928)

Fashions in Execution

IT has been and still is a matter of opinion whether, if you wish to kill your undesirable, it is better to hurl him over a precipice, or flay him until he dies, or burn him or drown him or suffocate him; or entomb him alive and leave him to perish slowly in the silence of his grave; or asphyxiate him in a lethal chamber, or press him to death or cut off his head; or break his neck in strangulation by hanging as we English do; or produce a sort of coma by means of an electric current and then, in the name of autopsy, permit the doctors to finish him off, as they do in certain of the United States of North America. It is all a matter of taste, temperament, and fashion. But one fact emerges: man has not grown less cruel with the passage of that illusory thing called time; though in most parts of the world he has become a far greater hypocrite than he used to be. In the Ts’in dynasty in China the heads of undesirables were expeditiously removed by a stroke of the official sword, whereas In the same country only the other day men an women had their ears and strips of flesh cut off, fried, and eaten before their eyes before execution; and children were ordered to behead their parents. *

* Observer, February 12th, 1928.

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HIGH TREASON The Plot Against the People Albert E. Kahn — BOOK 3 — THE WAR WITHIN: X Inside Ford’s Empire — 5: Boring From Within and 6: Final Drive. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

HIGH TREASON The Plot Against the People by Albert E. Kahn 

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Father Charles Edward Coughlin (October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979)

Notwithstanding the virtual impunity with which Ford continued to violate the Wagner Labor Act, a serious challenge had arisen to the auto magnate’s despotic rule over the workers in his factories. The challenge came from the United Automobile Workers Union.

Following the victorious sit-down strikes of 1937, the UAW had grown with phenomenal rapidity. As some 400,000 auto workers poured into its ranks within a matter of months, the UAW became the third largest union in the CIO.

Aware of the wage increases and improved working conditions won in auto plants organized by the UAW, Ford workers began growing increasingly restive . . .

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WE WERE THE REBELS, WE WERE THE MARAUDERS. Fragments of an Outlaw Autobiography by Belgrado Pedrini (Translated by Paul Sharkey). eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

BelgradoCoverWe were the Rebels, We were the Marauders. Fragments of an Outlaw Autobiography. Translated by Paul Sharkey. 

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This is the story of Belgrado Pedrini, a self-educated 18-year-old who, in the early 1930s, threw himself into the revolutionary struggle at the height of Italian fascism’s hold on the state. It is about an anarchist who took up arms against fascism long before 1943, the year of the Anglo-American landings in Sicily, of Mussolini’s brief fall from power and of the official beginnings of the Resistance. Well before the end of the truce between brown and red fascism; the red fascism that prompted the Italian Communist Party, the fiefdom of Togliatti, to urge its militants to infiltrate the vital mass structures set up by the fascists so that they might some day use them for their own purposes.

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