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Steve Wallis
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Rosa Lichtenstein

After an exchange of emails with an entity on the internet called Rosa Lichtenstein, I came to the conclusion that Rosa is actually a computer program that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques pretending to be a human being. The full exchange of emails is included below; the message Rosa sent which particularly led me to believe that “she” is an AI program can be read by clicking here.

 

If I am correct in my belief that Rosa is an AI program, “she” is one of the most sophisticated and impressive programs ever developed. Until I exposed “her”, Rosa appears to have passed the Turing Test in being indistinguishable from a human being! Rosa has a website, @nti-dialectics, in which “she” argues against the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism (DM), has sent messages to various forums on the internet (including RevLeft, the revolutionary left forum “she” mentioned in “her” emails, on which “she” has posted over 5,000 messages in two years at an average of seven a day) and communicates via email.

 

I wanted to find out if anybody else had realised that Rosa is an AI program, so I searched the internet for "Rosa Lichtenstein" "artificial intelligence" at Google (with quotes indicating consecutive words) and found five pages, none of which came to that conclusion. However, one of those pages was one on Rosa’s website, containing an essay called Wittgenstein And Marxism although the page title is New Page 1. This page includes the following paragraph:

Some might conclude that the relatively hard line adopted in my Essays towards the alien-class origins of DM sits rather awkwardly with the apparently uncritical acceptance of ideas drawn from Wittgenstein's work --, an allegedly bourgeois philosoper and mystic himself.

The materialism aspect of DM, which Rosa agrees with despite “her” opposition to dialectics, entails that all outputs (what somebody says or does) is entirely determined by his/her inputs over time (the person’s senses and memory of those senses in the past). It would describe a world of robots, without a God and where nobody has free will or a soul. Whereas a world like that could certainly exist, it would need to be created by some sort of beings that do have free will. That world would also be rather boring; the lack of free will would be likely to prevent big changes from taking place, so those superior beings would probably want to interact with the world to improve it. It appears from the above quote that Rosa believes in a class of aliens, in addition to the usual Marxist classes – the bourgeoisie (big business), the petty bourgeoisie (middle class) and the proletariat (working class). Presumably, Rosa thinks that Frederick Engels, the originator of DM and the main collaborator of Karl Marx, was an alien!

 

I did a further search, for "Rosa Lichtenstein" "alien class", and one of the pages that Google found was a PDF file containing an issue of the Weekly Worker newspaper in which Rosa had a full page article published (issue 688, September 13 2007) arguing against DM. I assumed that Rosa had mentioned an alien class in her article, but to my astonishment, I found it in the main article in that week’s paper about the unfolding dispute between George Galloway MP and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Respect (the so-called “unity coalition”), entitled George Galloway demands the scalp of John Rees - so do we, written by the editor Peter Manson:

For many rank-and-filers, however, it was a strange experience to hear first-hand, from their own leaders, about the scandals, the rotten compromises, the alien class influences they have read about only in the Weekly Worker.

This use of “alien class”, without the dash, is much more ambiguous than the one in Rosa’s essay. It could simply mean class influences from outside, and this is probably what most readers of the article would assume (and presumably what I thought when I read it the first time). However, it would be a massive coincidence if there was not some sort of conspiracy between Rosa and the Weekly Worker editor to spread the idea that alien beings are interacting with the world! Rosa complained, in a letter published the following week, about the publication of “her” article in an issue of the newspaper attacking the SWP – a party “she” claimed to be an ex-member and sympathiser of, and planning to rejoin after finishing “her” university course. Perhaps Rosa, as an AI program, was being honest in this regard and had not checked out the political positions of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) that publishes the Weekly Worker. However, computers can be programmed to lie!

 

In the same issue of the Weekly Worker as the articles by Rosa Lichtenstein and Peter Manson (issue 688, September 13 2007), I had a letter published in which I pointed out that there is no scope for free will with DM. Peter or the letters editor (Steve Cooke) chose the headline above the letter Robots are us, although I was attempting to put across the opposite point of view. Perhaps they regard me as an alien in a world mainly populated by robots!

 

I did yet another search, for "alien class" Marxism, and Google estimated over 1,000 pages contained such text! The “alien class” term is clearly quite commonly used in Marxism. One of the top ten pages found by the search was a chapter of a book on Russia, written in 1964 by the late founder/leader of the SWP Tony Cliff. That chapter includes a quote from chapter 6 of The Peasant War in Germany, written in 1850 (although Cliff quoted a 1927 edition) by Engels, including the following sentence:

In the interests of the movement itself, he is compelled to defend the interests of an alien class, and to feed his own class with phrases and promises, with the assertion that the interests of that alien class are their own interests.

I am unsure whether Engels actually believed that there was a class of aliens. The “alien class” term does not appear in any other publication by Engels (or Marx) in the Marxists Internet Archive, and the term may even be a bad translation of a phrase in German. Nevertheless, many Marxists seem to have picked up on this, and some (including Rosa) have taken it literally. It is likely that Cliff took it literally too, and that such a conspiratorial view of society was (and probably still is) quite common amongst members of the SWP.

 

I have included below the email exchange I had with Rosa Lichtenstein in November/December 2007:

 

From Steve to Rosa and others
Subject:
Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 23/11 (2.27pm)

[You can read the contents of this email, which I also sent to the Foundation for PR-based Socialism discussion group, by clicking here.]

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 23/11 (2.55pm)

Please stop sending me this material.
 
If you think Weekly Worker is worth reading (about Respect, especially), I don't think I can learn much from you.
 
Rosa

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 7/12 (11.11am)

Hi Rosa,

I was disappointed to receive your email. I do think
the Weekly Worker is worth reading to find out what is
going on on the left, although I disagree with many of
their analyses. They have printed several letters from
me including in the current issue where I argue for a
revolutionary socialist party, rather than a Marxist
or "communist" one. I pointed out that this is what
they should be arguing for, according to their "what
we fight for" column.

I was rather lazy when I complemented their coverage
of Respect, not having the time to provide much of an
analysis myself and wanting to encourage people to
read their paper to find out what is going on. I get
Socialist Worker, The Socialist, the Scottish
Socialist Voice and the New Statesman as well on
subscription and I find them generally rather boring
in comparison.

You may have seen my letter in the same issue of the
Weekly Worker as yours. You criticised the dialectical
side of dialectical materialism very well and I
criticised the materialism. I had been intending to
email you about dialectics but hadn't found time. I
will find time hopefully soon to browse your website
and comment more fully. I find the subject difficult
to understand but your article was very clear.

I have removed your email address from my list of
addresses who I send my most important emails to, as
you requested. I hope you won't mind me sending you
the odd email that I think you will be particularly
interested in. I sent a message that talks about free
will yesterday and I will forward it to you. You seem
to be a brilliant free-thinking member of the SWP and
I don't want to be out of touch with you completely.

Comradely,
    Steve.

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Fwd: The world is planned, but there's free will
Date: 7/12 (11.16am)

[You can read the contents of this email, which I also sent to the Foundation for PR-based Socialism discussion group, by clicking here.]

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 7/12 (11.21am)

Sure, you can send me stuff, but I am rigidly focussed on this project at
the moment, and so can spare little time or energy for other things.

I am not in the SWP.

Best wishes

Rosa!

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 7/12 (10.09pm)

Is the project you are referring to about dialectics?
There are articles on the subject in the Weekly Worker
this issue and the last, but I cannot figure out what
they are on about!

I am no longer a Marxist and think that a society
where only the working class is in control would be a
disaster. To a certain extent the CPGB has been
cooperating with me in acting as wreckers of the
Marxist movement. That is partly why I like the WW. It
has iritated me that I felt I won the argument in a
debate putting forward PR-based socialism and that
they completely ignored the possibility of an openly
revolutionary socialist party that is not specifically
Marxist. Whether they will ignore my latest letter, we
will see...

Glad to hear you are not in the SWP although I suppose
undermining them from within could be worthwhile. I
think it is too late to rescue them.

I presume you are using a pseudonym although if you
were born with that name it could radicalise you!

Comradely,
    Steve.

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 8/12 (12.55am)

Steve,

Yes the project is about dailectics.

However, I am sorry to have to disappoint you; while I am not in the SWP, I
agree 100% with their politics.

I am also working class, so I am all in favour of the proles becoming the
ruling class, and will do my bit to help bring that about.

In view of what you have now told me, I do not think I want to read anything
of yours.

Rosa

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 8/12 (2.01pm)

Maybe you also agreed 100% with the SWP's politics
before  they completely changed them about Respect! My
brother Sean who is in the SWP in London takes that
attitude.

I am not really sure whether I am working or middle
class. My parents both went to Cambridge University
and got PhDs. The family was quite badly off when I
was growing up since my dad insisted on studying
comets even when he wasn't getting said for it. I went
to comprehensive schools, got a full grant when I went
to Manchester University, got a PhD and did research
in computer science (developing an AI/simulation
language called SDML) at an ex-polytechnic Manchester
Metropolitan University. I think my union NATFHE had
the highest number of strike days one year.

Maybe I have been too one-sided in my view that
hierarchical organisations inevitably lead to people
like Stalin coming to power, but trying to enforce
control just by the working class in a country where
many are middle class would probably lead to Stalinism
or counter-revolution. I would support some degree of
workers' control of industry under socialism, but
believe a fair electoral system for the government
(which I think must be STV) is essential.

I suppose the question is whether some sort of middle
way like I propose is practicable.

I will browse your website anyway, even if you regard
me as hostile in the struggle for a better world.

Best wishes, Steve.

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 8/12 (4.25pm)

Well, Marxism is about change, and that includes tactical adjustments to
one's politics.

I should not need to have to tell you this.

Rosa!

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 8/12 (10.09pm)

I was a member of the Militant Tendency/Militant
Labour/the Socialist Party from 1990-98, so I
certainly understand you. I felt that that
organisation and its international would lead the
world socialist revolution, and presumably you feel
the same about the SWP. I would never have said I
agreed 100% with their politics however. I was
encouraged to think for myself, which is rather
different from how the SWP LEADERSHIP treats its
members.

I never agreed with the decision to abolish the
Constituent Assembly and had differences over
strategy, feeling that they should have been more
openly revolutionary revolutionary. I was never
particularly convinced by dialectics - but due to the
problem of materialism not taking free will into
account. When the WW PRINTED my LETTER they put Robots
R us as the heading presumably because they thought we
don't really have free will and are a world of robots.
Do you agree with them? How do you explain free will?

Steve!

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 8/12 (10.24pm)

'How do you explain free will?'

I don't (and no one can), since it contains a meaningless term: "free will".

More details here:

http://www.revleft.com/index.php?showtopic=64547&view=findpost&p=1292288126

R

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 9/12 (5.34pm)

Thanks a lot for that link, Rosa. I took a look last
night and will probably contribute tomorrow (I'm using
a mobile phone at the moment and would like to be able
to copy and paste). Nobody on that thread admitted to
believing in God, which I think is vital to
understanding free will...

I was very impressed to see that you have made over
5000 posts there. Wow! I also noticed you are a
moderator. Was the forum your initiative?

I'll repay you by inviting you on to my PR-based
Socialism forum. I know you don't agree with it, but
it would be good to have a debate!

Comradely,
    Steve.

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 9/12 (5.44pm)

Steve,

RevLeft was set up in 2002, I joined in late 2005. It is the largest
revolutionary left forum on the planet.

It is a forum largely for atheists, that is why no one used the word 'god'.
You will find most RevLefters (particularly the anarchists) hostile to
belief in 'god', I am afraid.

Debate over that empty term (i.e., 'god') is limited to the religion
section, which is a sub-section of the 'Oppposing Ideology' part of the
forum.

Rosa!

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 9/12 (7.07pm)

Thanks for the warning about debating the existence of
God in the appropriate part of the forum. I was
chucked off the anarchist forum libcom.org twice
recently so it would be wise to be careful. I usually
get on well with anarchists and have been influenced
by them a fair amount. Until recently I called myself
a revolutionary socialist (Marxist heavily influenced
by anarchism). Is there any right of appeal if one of
the moderators bans me?

For most of my life I regarded myself as am agnostic
and prefer doubt and thinking for oneself to blind
faith. I adopted a rather weird in-between position of
thinking that God did exist as a sort of living
universe and destroyed him/herself creating sub-gods,
but I have come off the fence now. I did think that
souls could exist without there being a god but that
sounds rather ridiculous to me now!

I have found support for my belief in God in am
unusual place - this week's New Scientist! On page
six, an article on the start of life says that it
required "165 base-pair molecules to be strung
together in the right order" so there would be 4 to
the power 165 possibilities, "more than the number of
electrons in the universe"! The author suggests some
sort of solution involving "quantum processes" but
that's just magic!

Without God, you also need to believe in the nonsense
of a big bang with different laws of physics in the
tiny fractions of a second after the creation of the
universe and that humans evolved from amoeba by pure
chance. As a computer scientist, I have formed the
viewpoint that you can't get complexity from
simplicitly - neural networks only work for toy
problems.

Comradely,
    Steve.

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Emergency resolutions for Campaign for Marxist Party conference
Date: 9/12 (7.34pm)

Steve,

You'd only get banned from RevLeft for being a fascist, racist, homophobe,
or a troll.

Anyone who preaches religion just gets restricted to the OI (Opposing
Ideology) section.

I can make no sense of the word 'god', so all your sentences about
'him/her/it' are meaningless to me.

Rosa!

 

From Steve to Rosa and others
Subject: Email correspondence with a computer!
Date: 9/12 (10.20pm)

I read a brilliant critique of the Marxist theory of
dialectical materialism by "Rosa Lichtenstein" in the
Weekly Worker newspaper a few months ago. "She" said
that "she" completely agreed with the "materialism"
part of the term and with the "historical materialism"
theory. In Marxist terminology, materialism means that
everything is a result of material conditions, which
means there is no scope for free will, a soul or God.
I had a letter published in the same issue criticising
materialism. I know I have free will!

In the following issue, there was a letter from "her"
complaining that the front page headline attacked an
SWP leader. "She" said that "she" used to be an SWP
member and would return to that party after finishing
"her" university project, which is on dialectics, and
would have nothing to do with that paper any more.

Fairly recently, I started emailing "Rosa", until
"she" complained about me complementing the Weekly
Worker's coverage of the Respect split. I have had the
following email correspondence with "her" this
weekend. "Her" most recent email (particularly the
point about not understanding the concept of "god") is
surely proof that "Rosa Lichtenstein" is an Artificial
Intelligence program!

This correspondence will be interesting to those of
you who want to know my views on religion.

Comradely,
Steve.

PS: I will keep my word about inviting "Rosa" onto my
PRsocialism forum; it will be interesting to see if
"she" wants to interact with us. I am sending this
message to that forum to warm members in advance - as
well as to "Rosa" and some others who may be
interested.

PPS: Some of you will have noticed the peculiarity of
the name, emulating the great Marxist Rosa Luxembourg.
I assumed it was a pseudonym. Incidentally the
spelling is different for the country Liechtenstein.

[As with my previous emails, I included the text of Rosa’s message I was replying to after making the above points. You can read the entire contents of that email on the Foundation for PR-based Socialism discussion group, by clicking here. I noticed after I sent it that the message did not quite contain a complete record of our email communication, due to truncation by my email software.]

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Re: Email correspondence with a computer!
Date: 10/12 (1.24am)

Steve,

WTF is this?

Who gave you permission to use my e-mails?

R

 

I invited Rosa to join my Foundation for PR-based Socialism discussion group, via the interface at groups.yahoo.com. Despite what she said in the following message, she did join the group...

 

From Rosa to Steve
Subject: Spam
Date: 10/12 (3.46pm)

Steve,

In view of the fact that you have used my e-mails without my permission, any
more mail from you will be treated as spam, and deleted.

R

 

From Steve to Rosa
Subject: Re: Spam
Date: 10/12 (5.28pm)

OK, fair enough. I didn't think you would want to
debate me on the PRSOCIALISM forum but I promised I
would give you the opportunity and I generally keep my
promises.

Many whistleblowers forward emails and I guess I'm one
of them.

I wonder whether you will be able to resist reading
this email rather than simply deleting it as you
promised. But you probably won't email me back so I'll
never know...

S

 

From Rosa’s email address to Steve
Subject: Re: Spam
Date: 10/12 (5.38pm)

***************************

AUTOMATIC RESPONSE

Your message has been detected as spam and deleted automatically.

If you think this action might have been taken in error, please contact
www.crankfilter.com.

***************************

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