Archives for posts with tag: neoliberalism

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Since the days of Margaret Thatcher what has become abundantly clear is that at the very heart of neoliberalism, the financial markets, the ‘free market’ ideology and right wing ideologues like the Tories, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy is not just a lack of human values, but absolute scorn for them and arrogant contempt for the lives of ordinary people.

Right now it looks as though the human tragedy in north Kensington might have the power to galvanise people to bring to an end a contempt for common people which stretches at least as far back as the Norman conquest of England which saw England carved up for the benefit of the invaders and home grown sycophants. Time passed and the Industrial Revolution saw the rise of another brand of brutal elites, the Industrialists who amassed enormous wealth on the backs of common people. Britain became the richest country in the world and amassed an empire, yet, then as now, that wealth was concentrated in the hands of the elite few, whilst the many lived as paupers, struggling for a daily crust.

In the last half of the previous century ordinary people saw many advances and improvements in life on the back of WWII which led Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to say in 1957, “most of our people have never had it so good.” There was much talk of the growth of technology, shorter working weeks, shared wealth from the machines which would do the work for our universal benefit. It never happened in the way it was imagined and fast forward to today, Tory policy is that ‘work makes you well’ and if you are not working you will not have support for even the basic necessities of life whether you are just unemployed for whatever reason, sick, disabled, young, middle aged or old and sanctions are routine and rife, depriving people of the means of survival. Whilst Britain is said to be in the top ten of the richest nations, ordinary people have no access to that wealth, it is exclusively in the hands of a very small elite from whom nothing trickles down to ease the age old burdens of ordinary people no matter how ‘hard working’ we are.

Grenfell Tower wasn’t a tragedy waiting to happen, Grenfell Tower was a killing field brought about by policy and wilful neglect and official malfeasance, by people who should have had a duty to make it fit for human habitation, to ensure that all reasonable safety measures were in place, to make provision for front line services which were fit for purpose and adequately manned, to legislate for health and safety, instead of tearing up the rule book for profit and private gain.

This is not, as they say, rocket science, it is ‘common’ sense.

So what do we want?

In the words of Jeremy Corbyn, ‘a fair, more equal and just society’. These are not difficult words to understand, they are kindergarten concepts made complex by adults. They are not weasel words uttered with malicious intent to deceive and anyone who does speak them with intent to deceive is a criminal, because that is what gave rise to the killing fields of Grenfell.

Grenfell carries the sympathy and the love of anyone with a heart for lives shattered by tragedy. The response has been overwhelming, donations are already in million of pounds, the community is overwhelmed with aid. That is what ordinary people do in times of trouble when they are free to do so and not beaten down by politics and a media more intent on spreading lies, hate and division than caring, mutual trust and support.

It can surely be no great mystery that people just want to live and get on with their lives in peace, security and in reasonable prosperity so that they have enough to live on and enough for a rainy day and a holiday, if they so choose. How hard is that to understand, and yet how hard it is to achieve in a country run by those who do not mean us well and who legislate against us?

We are standing on the doorstep of change, a change we must demand and keep on demanding until we, the people, get our way. We need a government that is on our side, with policies that can rebuild our beleaguered nation after years of right wing neoliberal oppression, neglect and destruction.

The time for that is now, the country is in disarray, the Conservatives are a failed party, this must be the end of their world and the start of ours. Nothing else will suffice and nothing else will work. We must have a country for the well being of the many and not just the elite few.

KOG. 16 June 2017

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/05/jeremy-corbyn-launches-labours-election-campaign-full-text/#

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/over-2m-raised-by-evening-standard-appeal-for-grenfell-tower-victims-a3566571.html

https://www.gofundme.com/GRENFELL-BLOCK-LATIMER-FIRE-APPEAL

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/14/community-centres-churches-overwhelmed-donations-grenfell-tower/

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I’ve just come across an AlterNet article entitled ‘5 Ways Trump Is Mentally Torturing Us Now’.

UK readers might struggle a bit with this as this is America wearing its heart on its sleeve, something which in Britain is culturally alien to us. But before dismissing this with any of the usual cynical, and frankly smug, hauteur with which many this side of the Atlantic view America, this is a very serious matter and one that, not only should we pay attention to, is something we are also grappling with, albeit in a less overt way, but at the cost of thousands of lives.

The western world and significant developed countries across the world have been privileged to enjoy a relatively peaceful existence since WWII, and we have also been fortunate enough, in the process, to take that for granted, despite living in a world in which less privileged nations have suffered dictatorships, warfare and invasion ever since the second world war, much of that at the hands of the greedy west.

The rise of economic colonialism, which we call Neoliberalism, has seen the rapacious corporate greed which has torn so many countries apart turn inwards on those countries which have reaped the most benefit from advancing technology and capitalism. In the UK this began with Thatcherism, but which, on the back of the bankers criminal global crisis and financial robbery, has seen, since 2010, a gloves off attack on our entire way of life. They began with poor, sick and disabled people and have been ramping it up ever since to cover more and more social groups; those who live less fragile and precarious lives, one such group being junior doctors.

It remains, though, that we are not yet experiencing anything like the terror of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the genocide in East Timor, the horror of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, to name but a few in which there has been and is untold suffering which westerners generally have quite comfortably ignored, including the many wars of aggression for which the west is entirely responsible for prosecuting in the name of democracy.

David Cameron said in 2013, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” Of course he did not tell us what plans he had in place to attack us and our way of life, we had to wait for their imposition and at every stage people have been driven to despair, poverty, deprived of the means of survival, causing death and countless suicides and we were entirely unprepared for the onslaught.

To be clear, although so many other nations have, and are, experiencing very much worse, the situation we are in is no less serious and, as so many are discovering to their great cost, we ignore it at our own peril.

What we are having to learn in the UK is that we are, in the current climate, in this for the long haul. Despite the many cries that we should, ought or must do something, what those cries ignore is that right now there are no ready solutions available, and we all need to learn to toughen up and go the distance, to fight and never give up fighting and, frankly, we are unprepared and out of practice. Relatively speaking, we’ve had it easy, notwithstanding that those who have suffered the violence of poverty over the years are a little better prepared for the war on the poor and the escalation of right wing oppression.

We are, perhaps, just slightly ahead of America in this, again, not withstanding the millions in poverty, without health care, living in tents, abandoned by capitalism, but still America was not prepared for Trump and many in middle class America are shocked and traumatised newcomers to the internal war of neoliberalism and last gasp vulture capitalism.

This is not the time to gloat, this is the time when we need to find common cause across the globe, this is the time to stop segregating people by nationality, race, colour or creed, and finally accept that we are neighbours, sisters and brothers.

We have a common enemy, the corporatised world of global greed in which our governments are fully complicit and it is, in fact, time to grow up, if we can, if we are willing, if we are able and if we have the courage to go the distance. Every death and every suicide is a tragedy and many of us have already lost friends and family and our grief is yet more of the burden that we must carry. Whatever happens, the solution is not going to come from above and there are no pills that will cure this, if people need therapy and can get it, so much the better, but this is the fight of our lives and for our children’s lives and our common future.

KOG. 25 March 2017

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/5-ways-trump-mentally-torturing-us-now?akid=15356.21655.er0pjT&rd=1&src=newsletter1074416&t=1003

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-is-too-tolerant-and-should-interfere-more-in-peoples-lives-says-david-cameron-10246517.html

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We are in the middle of a revolution that isn’t receiving the attention it not only deserves but which is growing exponentially and which has taken over the world.

It’s not that it hasn’t been noticed or acted upon, it’s just that it needs more attention paid to it for its own sake, because it is a huge deal and we’re all part of it.

Information technology has given us the ability not only to share knowledge, insights, understanding, commentary and debate but has made it both free and interactive in a way that has never been possible before.

We are no longer locked into teaching spaces or conference spaces, we are no longer isolated in learning and whilst I hope that books will never die out, whatever we read we need not grapple with the information books contain alone. If we don’t understand something we can interact with others and ask for help and that help is, by and large, freely available, be it on a forum, chat room, social media or whatever and in which we are also intimately located in the frame of learning, in that we can share the personal highs and lows of our experience and even seek help for, say, our frustration, in the process.

But there is another facet to this revolution. Capitalism in founded on exclusivity, the control of products for profit. So far as information is concerned capitalism is on the back foot and is struggling because it is unable to do anything about this revolution because it cannot contain it or control the supply. Any attempt to do so would create a swift response because the majority want it and as such it is a the greatest mass movement ever known on Earth.

In the light of this, the governments Snoopers Charter can be seen as a desperate attempt to control the fearsome masses in a retrogressive way in order to maintain the historic imbalance of power in favour of the ruling elites. Anyone who is paying attention knows full well that the Snoopers Charter has nothing to do with containing violent extremism, indeed, as we also well know, the most violent extremists on Earth are those who have the exclusive power to make war and kill millions of innocent people, governments. The Snoopers Charter is aimed at us, ordinary people, because we are (and always have been) a force to be reckoned with and they want to contain us, just as they always have.

Today the main stream media is struggling, the news empires are trying to maintain their exclusivity, because they are essentially money making outfits first and purveyors of news second. Pop up messages for funding are now a regular occurrence, users of ad-blockers are asked to white list web sites and papers like the Guardian ask for subscriptions as do most alternative media sites by way of subscription or donations. Many of us are happy to self fund with occasional help from kindly donations, but essentially we are free of the constraints of having to conform to a business model in which money is the master.

I am not for one moment suggesting that money isn’t an issue, but it is the issue of money that needs examining because the old paradigms of money are being challenged as a means of control. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but the historic role of money as a means of control is looking decidedly flaky and desperate. What else are benefit sanctions if not the abuse of money and power as a means of control? They are still doing what governments do best, killing people, a (self given) right and the might exclusive to them which they also insist we pay for.

Globally right wing politics is on the rise and I dare to suggest it is at least in part due to the rise and rise of information technology and the empowering of ordinary people. I would also suggest that the dumbing down of mainstream education, and making it prohibitively expensive and debt ridden, is an attempt to control and suppress our natural inclination to learn because knowledge is power.

Back in 2015 David Cameron said, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.” He said a lot of creepy things, but that has to be the creepiest. A fearful populace is a controlled populace and it might have worked were we still locked down in our individual pre-internet worlds, but shared on the interweb of all things it just made him look what he is, creepy and ridiculous, as a million interconnected jaws dropped in outraged disbelief at his effrontery.

The pedestals of power are no longer unassailable, they are doing their best to maintain the old paradigms of power but they are being chipped away by an informed world. We may be frustrated by their machinations to maintain their power, but it is being eroded daily through shared information, thoughts and feelings. We are no longer alone if we choose not to be, the online world has many faults, but it is a vibrant place and very much alive and well, used or abused.

If you are reading this, you have access to a world of information right at your fingertips. How you use it is your choice, you can choose to watch porn all day or entertain yourself on YouTube or just buy stuff, but if you want to engage and be informed (with all your critical faculties fully engaged) then it’s all out there, freely available to you, you may be on your own but you are not alone.

The choice is yours and that alone is remarkable. In this you have absolute freedom of choice, if you want to be informed, you can be, and, indeed, probably are. They can try and blind side us with fake news and ‘post-truth’ bullshit, and is it any wonder? Information is truly a fearsome thing if your life is predicated on using and abusing others, as so many politicians and corporations do. But it is no longer a one way street in which we are given little choice but to comply not knowing what else we can do. We can seek help and support and much of that is entirely free from those so inclined to give it. We can share our individual expertise and develop our skills as we go as never before. And it is happening right now. It’s revolutionary and it is amazing and the technology of access is right here at our fingertips.

There is much that is wrong with the world, neoliberalism is driving disastrous poverty and the transfer of wealth from ordinary people into the hands of a few and indiscriminately killing on the way. Social safety nets are being destroyed at an alarming rate and we’re in the midst of the biggest global heist in history, but not silently, nor unremarked. If we want to be informed, though many have not yet woken up or realised that there is anything to be informed about, we can be and are and we can grow and develop and share and foster that in others. Welcome to the revolution, it ain’t being televised. We’re it.

It may seem that progress is slow and that it is an uphill struggle (it is), those in power still have it. None of us know what the future holds, in fact no one knows what the future holds and there are no certainties as to what may unfold. But we do not have to be ignorant or ill informed.

I look back at my own school days with sadness, school was awful and I loathed it and came out intensely learning phobic. I am now better educated in ways that school could never have given me. If I can thank school for anything it is the ability to read and write, I left with little else. I could wish they’d left it at that, that was enough for a lifetime of voracious enquiry which is alive and well to this day. Education is now free for the price of an internet connection and a device to access it and we can follow any interest we desire from the political to the utterly puerile (which are all too often the same thing).

It really is down to us to call it as we see it and to sift information with intelligence and discernment. We owe it to ourselves and each other and to the next generation who will inherit whatever we are able to leave them, above all, information.

KOG. 06 January 2017

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-is-too-tolerant-and-should-interfere-more-in-peoples-lives-says-david-cameron-10246517.html

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If there is one thing I have learnt over a long lifetime it is that ordinary people are the donkey engine, the powerhouse, that drives the nation in war and peace and that for those in power, our lives are entirely expendable. In war it is we who are sacrificed and in peace we are (or were) the industrial heart of the nation, and in both war and peace, we pay.

It was ever thus, but we are now in the era of neoliberalism, capitalism with the gloves off, and they are wringing us dry for ever greater profits that they neither need nor care about the harm they cause.

Ordinary people are both the sacrificial lambs for rampant greed and also the cash cow that feeds their greed.

Inequality is raging across the world, last year it was reported that just 62 people had more wealth than half the rest of the world and the top 1% had more wealth than the all rest of the world put together.

In her 2016 Christmas speech the Queen said, “My ministers will continue to bring the public finances under control so that Britain lives within its means.” To which I can only say, ‘Then fix your own house love,’ as the government prepares to give her £369 million of public money to fix up Buck House, not to mention doing up Houses of Parliament at a cost to us of up to £5.7 billion.

Britain is not broke, there is enough money to do everything that is required for stable and prosperous public services, including the social safety nets and our NHS.

Only the other day someone asked me what we are supposed to do if we don’t privatise the NHS because we cannot afford it?

The problem is one of perspective and most people simply have no idea how much wealth there is, which very much includes me. I measure money in terms of tens and hundreds of pounds, I simply have no real perspective beyond that and think of a thousand pounds as a lot of money, even whilst knowing that several grand over a year goes nowhere.

Start talking about millions, billions and trillions and I am basically ga ga because these are meaningless numbers to me.

According to an Oxfam study, $7.6 trillion is sitting in offshore accounts and that is just 8% of individual financial wealth, which puts the total amount of global individual wealth at $95 trillion. That’s $12,838 for everyone on Earth. That may not sound like a lot in a first world nation like Britain, but of the 7.4 billion people on Earth, 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day or less than $730 a year.

What does all that mean? I don’t know in terms of social justice and inequality except to say this, clearly a very small percentage of people are not only living within their means they are so far within their means that the mere concept is meaningless to them. I can only suggest that it’s like an elephant walking up to an ant and saying, ‘I’m bigger than you,’ and the ant wondering, ‘Did that mountain just speak to me?’ How can an ant make sense of an elephant? I know the feeling.

According to Noam Chomsky it used to be that some 90% of wealth was created by producers, traders and investors in the real economy, that is ordinary working people, today that is reversed with 95% of wealth being in financial markets and financial speculation and just 5% in the real world economy.

That being the case it is not hard to see why the powerful elites might think that ordinary people are now superfluous to requirements. Production is no longer labour intensive and most of the stuff we need is turned out by machines.

Our labour is no longer a necessity, but instead of everyone sharing in the abundance of wealth in the world with more spare time and fewer working hours, and for many, if not most, maybe none, wealth has polarised and ordinary people are not just abandoned, we are being robbed at every turn and hounded to death.

The world is at permanent war, and war has always been an excellent way to keep the population down and, of course, grab even more resources for the few at the expense of the many. But it seems even that is now no longer enough. In the search for endless profits, they have turned on the national pots of public taxation and public services, built and paid for by the people, and people are literally being sanctioned and financially penalised through poverty pay and shutting down the social safety nets (the same as turning off life support).

I hear a lot about Agenda 21 and population reduction, whatever your take on that, the fact is that we are being exterminated. In my first letter to Number 10 I wrote, “Clearly your contempt for the people of Britain can have only one logical end, so why not begin the cull now?”

I was, of course, being tongue in cheek because they had already started. Can anyone seriously deny it now?

Ordinary, decent, human beings have trouble with words like exterminate at any time, and quite rightly so. Words like extermination and genocide are horrific in their meaning, taking life knowingly and wilfully, which no decent person would ever consider even for a moment. But these things go on in the real world and it is always ordinary people who are the victims of such inhuman barbarity.

As recently as last November the government was slammed by the UN for abusing the human rights of disabled people, the government response? It strongly disagreed with the UN findings and Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said the findings demonstrated ‘an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive’. He went on, ‘The UN measures success as the amount of money poured into the system, rather than the work and health outcomes for disabled people’. So there we have it, if you can’t work in some bullshit job scrabbling for pennies, you might as well fuck off and die.

KOG 02 January 2017

http://www.globalresearch.ca/economy-for-the-one-percent-unprecedented-global-wealth-disparity-the-richest-1-have-more-wealth-than-the-rest-of-the-world-combined/5502320

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2016

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-18/369-million-makeover-for-buckingham-palace/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33184160

http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/01/wealth-inequality-tax-havens-oxfam-poverty/424659/

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/25/122.html

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/11/08/uk-government-just-slammed-violating-human-rights-theresa-may-doesnt-care/

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has announced its 2016 word of the year – “Post-truth”: “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” apparently first used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation.

Speaking to the Guardian the OED said, “Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time.”

I think activists, investigative journalists and all of us who are very much in the business of challenging the mainstream dialogue and propaganda need to be very wary of its re-emergence at this time and take steps to repudiate it.

To put it bluntly, it is a propagandists’ wet dream and in an era of Tory Britain, Trump, global neoliberalism etc. it’s unsurprising that it’s arisen.

It is a long step up from, ‘everyone has a right to their opinion’ and if it is allowed to take hold without comment then it has mind warping (Orwellian) possibilities. I think it behoves us to be very wary of its usage because, firstly, what’s the point of writing anything offering insight into the machinations of power and politics if it can merely be lumped altogether with a post-truth narrative which can simply dismiss it as irrelevant? Secondly, it falls into the trap of the propagandist which treats the public like dumb animals to be herded like sheep.

The more it is used, the harder the task for any of us to be purveyors of truth, so the Tories can say they are making work pay and there is no argument into the tactics they are using to create the twisted logic which means driving anyone not working into penury and not, in fact and in truth, making work pay well and not brutally forcing people to accept poverty pay. Right now there are more people in poverty who are working than there are those out of work, so work, in reality and in truth, is not paying for millions of people, the very people who the ‘making work pay’ propaganda is aimed at.

As a writer I am deeply angered by the rise of such an expression into the mainstream, it is an insult to intelligence and individually demeans and belittles us, as such it can be seen as an attack on individual thought and endeavour in seeking to promote a truthful narrative, especially politically. It seeks to discredit us merely by its existence in political and social narratives.

Public opinion should be treated with the deepest suspicion as we are all subjected to intense propaganda, the global Public Relations industry being worth some $14 billion in 2016. Holding an opinion entirely absent of thought is nothing new individually or collectively, hence the horrible term ‘sheeple’. It serves no one to reinforce it by accepting the term ‘post-truth’. Bullshit is bullshit, non sense is nonsense, ignorance is ignorance, prejudice is prejudice and bigotry is bigotry. Nothing has changed apart from a lot of nonsense being heralded and lent credence as post-truth. It’s bollocks.

The reported rise in fake news needs no reinforcement by granting it any substance in a ‘post-truth era’, it should be called for what it is, fake.

I would prefer not to be writing about this and am driven to do so only because this process of dumbing down truth must be challenged and dissent must be expressed. We can’t afford to let ‘them’ get away with it.

Michael Gove said this year, prior to the EU referendum, “People in this country have had enough of experts”. As the Guardian reported, ‘a recent Ipsos Mori survey showed that academics come behind only “friends and family” (57%, compared to 72%) in terms of whom people trust on issues related to the referendum. Politicians, such as Gove, came in at 11%.’ What’s surprising is that those who attended the Gove interview dignified it with their presence, unless, of course, they were Tories, in which case they are perfectly happy to be deceived and to watch the Tories tear the UK apart whilst declaring the opposite.

If they want to hound us with bullshit, and they do, than we must be wolves. And that’s the truth.

KOG. 01 January 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/15/post-truth-named-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionaries

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/15/full-time-work-is-no-bar-to-poverty-in-uk-report-says

http://www.holmesreport.com/research/article/global-pr-industry-hits-$14bn-in-2016-as-growth-slows-to-5

http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/30/14128508/facebook-fake-news-2016-top-50-articles

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/02/fake-news-facebook-us-election-around-the-world

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/09/michael-gove-experts-academics-vote

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Some years ago I likened anarchy to a forest glade, each form of life flourishing in its own sovereign way as it is able, calling no ‘other’ master. Of course nature has no use for democracy and yet in the glade is democracy in its purest form. It is exercised subject only to the laws of nature which gave rise to it and sustain and support it and without which the glade would not exist. Plants and animals use the natural resources present in the system for their survival, even predators, and all without deception or guile nor wilful exploitation. Nature never lies and is always true to itself.

The common misconception of anarchy is that it is lawless and chaotic and the dominance of that misconception is no accident, it’s roots lie in the propaganda of those who exercise control over human lives and who will protect that dominance by any means, including brutal armed suppression.

Curiously the responses I received to my analogy were amongst some of the most brutal I have ever received. Hardly surprising. Of all sociopolitical ideas, anarchy is the greatest threat to the dominant elites whether that is government or corporatism and the markets. Noam Chomsky a self declared anarcho-syndicalist describes it as a “conception of a very organized society, but organized from below by direct participation at every level, with as little control and domination as is feasible, maybe none.”

At the heart of anarchy is self determination, free of coercion and oppression. Chomsky talks about ‘the third and last emancipatory phase of history, the first having made serfs out of slaves, the second having made wage earners out of serfs, and the third which abolishes the proletariat in a final act of liberation that places control over the economy in the hands of free and voluntary associations of producers.’

Anarchy, then, is the purest form of democracy as informed, participative, dignified and liberated. Currently, in the west, we have a form of democracy without substance. The only thing decided at the polling booth is who will be our next masters and who will exercise control over us. Yes we are free to vote, but what we vote for is tightly and rigidly controlled by those already in power. If they gave the vote to turkeys, it would not be about Christmas itself, but whether to be broiled or roasted.

Private ownership and private enterprise give rise to what we colloquially call ‘wage slavery’. What workers submit to and devote the bulk of their lives to is a system in which democracy is entirely absent. The so called ‘free markets’ belong to and are run by the owning classes to whom workers merely rent their bodies and who have no say at all in the level of rent they are paid. For example, who sets the minimum wage, a wage below a level required to sustain life, the workers or the owners (via government)? Owners of property also rent out properties but with none of the restraints imposed on workers. Reasonable housing rents, that are sustainable for all concerned, are (almost) exclusive to publicly owned social housing. If the same rules for the minimum rents paid to workers for their bodies were applied to private housing rents, private housing rents would still be going through the roof. If there were both minimum and maximum rules, most workers would still be given the minimum, whilst most property owners would exploit the maximum.

Anarchy has at its core individual self determination yet responsive to their environment and others. As such, anarchy is the finest expression of democracy it is currently possible to imagine, although given time, endeavour and experience, it would, without doubt, evolve for the better. Anarchy is not a utopia because it is not a fixed idea, but a lived experience.

Right now it is nigh on impossible to imagine living without the ‘state’: that is, government control (whether Communism, Neoliberalism or any other ideological state ‘ism’). For anarchy to exist it requires people to participate in a democratic way, informed, educated and fully engaged. It is not a fanciful ideal, it is a living progression, sustainable, fair and, above all, liberating.

Any movement towards anarchy would be subject to immense opposition from the beneficiaries of the current system. Any chaos or bloodshed would not be instigated by anarchists but from the terrorism of the state which would at all times seek to suppress anarchy in any way it could and with all the power at its disposal. There are similarities to war: it is not the people who make war, that power is exclusive to the state, and yet those who must shed their blood in war and, indeed, pay for it in every way are common, ordinary, people.

Of course, as in war, the people would be the ones demonised, hence it is not the makers of war who suffer infantile names like Jerry, Kraut, Argie, Tommy, Nips, Gooks and so on, the trick being, via propaganda (an exclusive tool of state), to blame and demonise the victims. The same demonising is true in economic warfare including the current, infamous, war on the poor and in the use of ‘othering’, such as ‘immigrants’ (a historic favourite). We call it ‘smoke and mirrors’. The fault always lies anywhere other than where it belongs, with the ruling elites. Those who have the power to end oppression, are the very people who exploit it for their own benefit and the reason why poverty is systemic and why the poor will never be masters of their own destiny until and unless they begin to think in terms of anarchy.

Any ‘state of anarchy’ is to be applauded, it means the people demanding and creating change for the better. Under the current system anarchy is, by definition, revolutionary, but only in the sense of co-operative action, informed and educated to better ourselves to support and sustain life for the many in better conditions than anything that the current systems of domination by existing elites offer. Currently, we all know what ‘making work pay’ means, with thousands already dead, if we really want work to pay, then anarchy is the answer, not something to be sneered at and dismissed as some kind of destructive political extremism.

This is the end of this piece of anarchistic writing, as such it is, I hope, informative, helpful and progressive. Not a single life was harmed in the process of thought or writing, nor is it an incitement to riot, nor does it contain any thoughts or ideas that would bring harm to others, although the ruling elites might take exception to it simply because they want everything their own way and I oppose that because what I want is a more equal and just society and an end to exploitation for greed and profit.

KOG 29 December 2016

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/noam-chomsky-kind-anarchism-i-believe-and-whats-wrong-libertarians

https://chomsky.info/state01/

goldilocks-zone

In a speech to students at DePauw University in Indiana (December 2016), David Cameron apparently said that western leaders must take steps to help those who feel left behind by globalisation and address the “movement of unhappiness” about the state of the world. He called for leaders to change course, ‘So you will see a greater emphasis on trying to help those who are left behind,’ through, ‘a higher minimum wage and tax cuts for low-income workers as measures aimed at helping address such concerns’.

Just as a reminder, the minimum wage is a wage below that which people actually need to live on. The minimum wage drives poverty, over half the people in poverty in the UK are working. No cut in income tax will change the lot of the dispossessed other than, perhaps, marginally slowing their descent into penury, poor health and a shorter life span.

No UK government has done more than the government under Cameron to escalate poverty and despair in the UK, he even set (via Osborne) the ‘New Living Wage’ below an actual living wage.

Cutting taxes for the poor is meaningless tokenism, it’s rather like offering people who are freezing in their homes a bigger fire grate. It does not address the fundamental problem.

A company that cannot make enough to pay for plant, resources and labour is not a viable company. If such companies declare a profit, they have done so by robbing staff. The government could pass a law that no company may declare a profit until every member of staff is paid a living wage, that no government has done so tells us all we need to know about whether poverty is systemic or not. Poverty is good for profits and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

Capitalism, and the free market ideology that you can leave it to the markets to regulate themselves for the common good, has failed. It is written in the lives it has destroyed and continues to destroy. The myth of trickle down economics is just that, a myth, it has no bearing in reality in which the exact opposite is true.

If there is a “movement of unhappiness”, which I would contest, then Cameron is responsible for driving it in the UK. In reality it is not a movement, it is the brutality of lived experience and it is driven by policy in what is now commonly called and acknowledged as ‘the war on the poor’.

This is not a new problem, however, poor bashing and blaming is also systemic, the following is from a speech called ‘Acres of Diamonds’ (delivered over 5000 times at various times and places from 1900-1925), by Russell Conwell, in which he claims that the only thing preventing everyone from becoming millionaires is personal failing:

“I say that you ought to get rich, and it is your duty to get rich… The men who get rich may be the most honest men you find in the community. Let me say here clearly… ninety-eight out of one hundred of the rich men of America are honest. That is why they are rich. That is why they are trusted with money. That is why they carry on great enterprises and find plenty of people to work for them. It is because they are honest men…

“I sympathize with the poor, but the number of the poor who are to be sympathised with is very small. To sympathize with a man whom God has punished for his sins… is to do wrong… let us remember there is not a poor person in the United States who was not made poor by his own shortcomings.”

No one can doubt the sincerity of Conwell’s belief, but that’s all it is and like many beliefs it has no basis in reality, but it neatly sums up an ideological belief that drives government policy to this day. It was precisely such fraudulent conviction on which (Lord) David Freud based his interference in Britain’s social security system, turning it into a secret penal system to punish the poor.

I despise no one’s beliefs, everyone is free to believe anything they want so long as they do not presume to inflict those beliefs on others to their detriment and cost, in which case they are to be opposed and resisted as the criminals they are no matter what high office they may hold in life.

That they know their policies and beliefs are fundamentally fraudulent is proven by the amount they spend on PR and spin doctors who are charged with making the indefensible palatable through lies and deception. The Tory mantra of ‘Making work pay’ by taking away the means of survival from those out of work, for whatever reason, is one of the most deceitful and vicious attacks on the lives of millions of ordinary people in the UK.

People are fond of adding a corollary on benefits, an acknowledgement that some do defraud the benefit system and the government even has a National Benefit Fraud hotline, but benefit fraud is so tiny as to be irrelevant and compared to the systemic fraud being perpetrated by government and corporations it’s meaningless other than as a further attempt to demonise the poor.

Deception aimed at divisiveness must be resisted. Benefit fraud is just smoke and mirrors, it isn’t worth the effort expended in even naming it as an issue of any significance. According to Forbes it is estimated that there is something like $21 Trillion sitting in offshore tax havens and if all that $21 trillion earned 3% a year and were taxed at 30%, it would raise $188 billion in revenues. Now that is something worth doing something about, instead it is the poor who are hounded to death.

Bearing in mind that driving poverty is wealth producing, it is clear where the real crime lies. It’s built into the system.

All of which will come as no surprise to regular readers, but it is important to say it and keep on saying it every which way we can. Capitalism has failed, but they are doing everything they can to shore up this failed system. It is a system that will devour itself because those who drive it and benefit most from it are too greedy to do anything about it. It is a system that must change, but that change will never come from the inside.

There can never be endless growth in a closed system. Neoliberalism is predicated on eliminating anything that stands in the way of profit, which includes those they regard and treat as useless eaters. Eliminating the poor is a heinous global crime which all people with any social conscience must fight in whatever way they can. Bearing in mind that for many the awakening is yet to happen, but it serves no one to mock, we’ve all had to learn at our own pace, many driven by the dire circumstances of our own brutalised lives. We need to win people not mock them or shun them and empower them through knowledge and understanding.

Having said that, there are those who will back the system and attack us to the bitter end with extreme prejudice. They are really not worth bothering with, they are just energy sucking vampires and really not worth a moment of our time. There are far better things to do with our time and our lives in our brief sojourn here on this little jewel of a planet in the goldilocks zone of our solar system, where the conditions for life are ‘just right’, other than in those who for whatever reason want to remove from us our right, by birth, to be here. It really is incredible that having given rise to life, there are those born on this Earth who despise it in others. They must be opposed to protect life itself which is the most incredible and beautiful gift the universe has to bestow.

KOG 09 December 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/09/david-cameron-brexit-vote-trump-movement-of-unhappiness-us-speech

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2016/07/22/in-work-poverty-is-the-real-crisis-facing-theresa-may

https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/43670/Stop+the+war+on+the+poor

http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/07/23/super-rich-hide-21-trillion-offshore-study-says/#62fcc75a73d3

27_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,535

Saturday 27 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Since 2010 we have seen the rise and rise of state cruelty. This isn’t about injustice, that’s normal, built into the system and has been from time immemorial.

In days of yore, brutal men would just grab any land they fancied, whether it was occupied or not, declare ownership of everything they’d possessed by force or were granted by yet other brutes, call themselves lords and barons, charge the people on the land for the privilege of being owned and expect their fealty and deferential servitude. Chivalry did not extend to ordinary people. So much, so history.

This modern cruelty started with Thatcher, she was bold, brutally breaking the miners and industry and setting the stage for neoliberalism and the cult of competitive individualism. She broke the workers but she dared not touch our NHS and the welfare state remained a safety net for those in need of a helping hand, although she presided over the end of the post war consensus of the universal provision of care.

The coalition under Cameron with the imposition of austerity saw the beginning of the end of the state as any sort of benign force for the good of the people and the speed of the implementation of the wanton destruction of the state spoke of plans long in the making and now the gloves were off.

The re-writing of social security as ‘benefits’ and the escalation of punitive policies and benefits denial against the most vulnerable, the development of Universal Credit as a system of scarcity and punishment, the rebranding of sickness and disability as ‘malingering’ and wholesale attacks on disabled people and the introduction of forced labour were driven by vindictive cruelty and contempt for the lives of ordinary people.

This is where we stand today and stand we must. There is no possible excuse for this cruelty in one of the worlds richest nations. The Telegraph reports that in 2014 ‘Blue chip bosses in the UK earnt an average of £4.96m’: obscene inequality is no accident of nature it is callously wilful. In your ‘coronation’ speech you said, “The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.” The time to prove that is passing swiftly and there is no evidence that any such change is likely or ever will be as Liz Truss announces that she will be scrapping the Human Rights Act.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/thatcherism_01.shtml

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/04/12/who-are-the-highest-paid-chief-executives-in-the-ftse-100/

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/statement-from-the-new-prime-minister-theresa-may

We’re still scrapping the Human Rights Act, says Liz Truss

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8a2yDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=chivalry+did+not+belong+to+ordinary+people&source=bl&ots=neBcKi1abY&sig=sCYaI6TlrluoyG6-B5zSI3884V0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis9IGEy9_OAhXiBcAKHTVpCo4Q6AEIKDAD#v=onepage&q=chivalry%20did%20not%20belong%20to%20ordinary%20people&f=false

12_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,491

Tuesday 12 July 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I do not expect anything democratic from the Tory party, no one in their right mind would, but to see members of the Parliamentary Labour Party showing contempt for democracy is a sign of just how far down the rotten worm hole of neoliberalism politics has gone.

It is to be hoped that so far as the labour leadership challenge goes democracy will assert itself… robustly.

The breaking news as I type is that you’ll be gone by Wednesday afternoon and Theresa May will apparently be PM by teatime, not by election but rather coronation as Andrea Leadsom has dropped out of the leadership contest. I am sure the Queen will be able to give her some tips on unelected leadership and show her how to wave in a regal way. I wonder whether she’ll do a Thatcher and use the royal ‘We’, she looks the type.

I guess this is the parting of the ways and I’d like to thank you for not replying to a single one of these letters and the issues I have raised, but I do appreciate that dismantling our nation, legally abolishing and privatising our NHS and trashing poor, sick and disabled people and everything else takes priority over anyone protesting against such heinous acts.

I have little hope that Theresa May will do anything but more of the same, if not worse, her expressed intent to use EU residents in the UK as bargaining chips in the negotiations with the EU says much about her care for the lives of ordinary people.

I can but hope that May will call a general election as soon as possible, as she urged Gordon Brown to do when she accused him of “running scared of the people’s verdict”. We are still awaiting the outcome of the investigations into Tory election fraud, assuming that has not been buried, politics needs some fresh air at least and a damned good flush would be welcome.

Do I wish you well, Mr Cameron? Yes, I wish you as well as anyone afflicted by your war on the poor which you have overseen in your time as leader of the Tory party.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/andrea-leadsom-theresa-may-conservative-leadership-election-live-tory-latest-updates-next-prime-a7130671.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-prime-minister-conservative-leader-angela-leadsom-withdraws-immediate-general-election-a7131081.html

https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/oct/02/nhs-one-way-road-privatisation

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/03/theresa-may-eu-migrants-pawn-brexit-talks-tory-leadership-race

http://www.channel4.com/news/election-expenses-exposed

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-prime-minister-conservative-leader-angela-leadsom-withdraws-immediate-general-election-a7131081.html