A new freely downloadable book
I would like to announce the publication of a new book, which discusses the question of how oligarchs maintain their grasp on an excessive share of wealth and power when, as Shelley pointed out, the have-nots are many, while the power-holders are few.
The Peterloo Massacre
Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many, they are few!
Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote his poem “The Masque of Anarchy”, from which the above quotation is taken, in response to the Peterloo Massacre, which took place at St. Peter’s field in Manchester on the 16th of August 1819.
Cavalry soldiers of the government charged a crowd of 60,000 citizens who were peacefully assembled to ask for better representation in Parliament. They were suffering from unemployment and from famine produced by the Corn Laws.
The cavalry slashed down hundreds of the protesters with their sabres, including women and children. Shelley’s poem – advocating nonviolent resistance to tyranny – was an inspiration to Thoreau, Tolstoy and Gandhi.
How do elites keep their monopoly on wealth and power?
This book tries to address the question of how oligarchs maintain their grasp on an excessive share of wealth and power when, as Shelley points out, the have-nots are many, while the powerholders are few.
In trying to answer this question, it is interesting to look at the lives of some of the heroic figures who sympathized with the suffering of the poor and who have tried to make the world more equal.
Out of the many possible choices, I have focused on Voltaire, Rousseau, John Locke, Joseph Johnson, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, the Marquis de Condorcet, William Blake, Thomas Paine, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Owen, Henry David Thoreau, Count Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why did British aristocrats support Hitler?
One of the chapters in this book examines the question of why so many members of the British “establishment” supported Hitler’s rise to power. The evidence presented in the chapter points to the conclusion that they did so out of fear that the Russian revolution, or a similar socialist movement, would be repeated in the west, and that it would lead to a more equal society, thus robbing them of their power and wealth.
The recent worldwide protests following the murder of George Floyd have focused attention on the injustice of racism. Chapter 11 examines some horrifying historical examples.
Secrecy versus democracy
Can a government, many of whose operations are secret, be a democracy? Obviously this is impossible.
In a democracy, the power of judging and controlling governmental policy is supposed to be in the hands of the people. It is completely clear that if the people do not know what their government is doing, then they cannot judge or control governmental policy, and democracy has been abolished.
The recent extradition trial of Julian Assange for publishing government secrets has focused attention on this question. It is not only the freedom of Assange that is at stake, but the freedom of all journalists. These questions are discussed in Chapter 12 of the book.
Other books and articles about global problems are on this link:
I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.
John Scales Avery was born in 1933 in Lebanon, where his father was Professor of Anatomy at the American University of Beirut. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.
He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969 he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and he served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and as Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs between 1990 and the present.
In 1995 Pugwash Conferences, as an organization, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with its president, Sir Joseph Rotblat.
Between 2004 and 2014, Dr. Avery served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy.
Dr. Avery is noted for his books and research papers in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory.
Avery is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and recipient of the Heyrovsky Medal of the Czech Academy of Science. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
He is a Fellow of the Learning Development Institute, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Nuclear Abolition Forum, the Advisory Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
He is a Member of the Transcend Network for Peace and Development and Associate of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Finally, he is the author of more than 30 books and 200 articles.