It’s time to rise up

I suppose I;m too old not to remember better protest songs; yet we have seen peoples in the old Soviet Block run towards the bullets.  There is no talking economics to the current lot who have seized our democracies.  They are religious in protecting their own interests and treat all criticism as from the rabble as surely as any despot.

Tune in and protest.  With current productivity people’s lives can be assured in comfort through around 5 years work,  We choose instead to let people live in poverty in order to oppress.  Our morality has been bought off with trinkets.  Wise up – we only need banks as utilities.  Rise up and stop your involvement in criminality and crimes against humanity through apathy and mortgage serfdom.  Pity the music ain’t spot on, but maybe a New Orleans’ jazz band will lead the march?

Radical Bent

My father’s first job was as a bookie’s runner at 13.  Then the war, some piss poor but quick teacher training and eventually he was headmaster of a secondary school.  I was largely educated by such people, though not Dad who was academically as thick as mud.  I still have as copy of a radical text one of his socialist mates gave me. it’s Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire.  There’s a brilliant analysis of the reactionary behaviour of the French peasantry during the Bourbon and July monarchies in it.  The 1789 Revolution and Napoleon had liberated the peasants from their landlords, but the next generation of peasants was left to confront the agricultural market from small private holdings that could not sustain them. They no longer had to pay their feudal dues, but instead had to pay their mortgages and taxes to a state that did sweet FA for them. Under Napoleon III they got imperial spectacle. Marx noted that in and through the army the peasants were ‘transformed into heroes, defending their new possessions against the outer world, glorifying their recently won nationality, plundering and revolutionising the world. The uniform was their own state dress; war was their poetry.’ This Marx called ‘the imperialism of the peasant class’.  My dad and his mates viewed war as a con in cruder terms of ‘press gangs’, marching bands and their discovery of just how well off the rich were and just how dangerously stupid the officer class was.

In Marx’s analysis we see the populist underbelly of the debt crisis in America. Essentially, 40 years of right-wing tax revolt, from Howard Jarvis’s Proposition 13 of 1978, which destroyed California’s finances by putting strict limits on property tax increases, to the Tea Party.  In the UK we might see this as the ‘Thatcherism’ since 1967 of IMF bail out we didn’t need, the hard-hat, often ex-pat management that destroyed our industrial base and the over-individual crap of the Iron Lady herself.  Social democrats in the US don’t see how little the American state directly provides to its citizens, relative to their economic circumstances.  In the UK it’s more likely they miss how demeaning the benefits system is. Since the early 1970s, with a few brief exceptions, workers’ wages have stagnated. What has the state offered in response? Even with Obama’s reforms, the US does not provide healthcare or insurance to most people. Outside wealthy communities, state schools often fail to deliver a real education here and there.  In such circumstances, is it any wonder ordinary citizens want their taxes cut? That at least is change they can believe in.

To change this, we need to change attitudes ground in, soaked up and propagandized by the rich machine.  The way this plays our emotions is as sickening as that of any call to imperialist war.  We learn to hate our ‘evil poor’, to consider ourselves as superior through our ‘hard work’ (often farcically in mundane, useless jobs) and imagining ‘our soldiers, police and emergency services’ do the fine job politicians always tell us they do.  We have no idea what our troops really do in Iraq or Afghanistan or did in more secret wars in Indonesia (28,000 of them dead – our losses 128).  Whilst we have been thinking in these dumb terms, the rich have had it off with nearly all the money we used to have.  Not a bunch of poor scumbags – the idle do as they care on whim rich.

I people were numerate, they could see at a glance that it’s the rich who’ve had the money that made our societies tick.  They gave it and much of our advantage in management and technology to the Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, Indonesians and anyone where they saw a buck.  They put Leslie Ames and the Cambridge spies to shame in treason.  Make no mistake they did this with our money and organisational learning, the latter advantage lost forever.  They even conned us into borrowing the money they used.

If you could wake up and smell the coffee and learn to count you’d find that what’s happened in our countries is that the rich gave up on our societies for their own gain – effectively as agents for another government of their invention.They are traitors against democracy.  In the process they have armed potential enemies with the means to manufacture war against us.  The banksters, CEOs and others drawing huge pay are the real scum.  The answer is international solidarity against them and a demand for reparation.  But seriously, remember I’m leaving.  I don’t believe in you.  It’s your mindless beliefs, against your own interests, that prevent international democracy.  Some of you still justify the Royals, as clear a bunch of posing slackers as one could imagine.  You have no honour and would happily spend your 30 pieces of silver rather than hang yourself from a tree in shame.  That’s how you were broken – they taught you to displace your shame on to others actually too dumb to know any.  You are the new imperialist peasantry,  Our world is so surreal we vote for no government in a world so broken we should put it down and start again.  No one fails A levels anymore, despite thicker people taking them in droves, and employers find people don’t have the skills they need, which always was their finding.  We have unprecedented riots with so many precedents I’d need a page to list books and papers I know about them.

In 1883, London police were armed for the first time amid fears of a crimewave by armed burglars, a step seen as “un-English” by the press. The great “garotting” panic of 1862 centred on lurid reports of a new form of mugging involving strangulation, and led to the restoration of flogging as a punishment, shortly after it had been abolished. The Times sadly concluded that England now resembled a foreign land:
Our streets are actually not as safe as they were in the days of our grandfathers. We have slipped back to a state of affairs that would be intolerable even in Naples

In London, 1815 sees the foundation of the Society for Investigating the Causes of the Alarming Increase in Juvenile Delinquency in the Metropolis. 1751 sees Henry Fielding’s “Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers” (Fielding fingered “too frequent and expensive diversions among the lower kind of people”). The seventeenth century saw moral panics about violent and rowdy apprentices, as well as about organised fighting among gangs (wearing coloured ribbons to identify their troops). Professor Pearson ends with the sixteenth century and puritan fears about, if not gangsta rap, popular songs that treated criminals as heroes.
“Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears” is Pearson’s out of print book. Such riotous assembly has been taking place forever – the rich turn it to their advantage in covering up their quieter yet more destructive crimes.  You are being mugged because they know you have no memory of real history.

Many of our media-wallahs studied useless subjects like history.  They forget more readily than a part-timer like me and repeat horrific glorification of our warring nobles and imperialism so tame you can listen and come out believing the Royal Navy was on prevention duty in the Opium Wars!

The riots are our bloody stupid conservatives’ fault.  We let the rich steal our countries from underneath our children.  We don’t know history and we can’t take argument that we should allow to win in reason – we backfire like the worst old fart gone senile and hate anyone delivering the real evidence.  Our madness shows in sending some dork just out of Strangeways back there for 16 months for eating a stolen doughnut (my vile ex-neighbour got 8 months for arson with intent and affray - nearly killing a whole family – in non-riot times).  Yet there is no demand to lock up the rich and their thieving lackeys for the massive theft of 14% of the nation’s cash that once lay with the poorest 50% and is now in their hoards.  We are barking.

Historically, debt crises resulting from wars have catalysed politically progressive advances and even precipitated revolutions. Both Charles I and Louis XVI found themselves entangled in military conflicts their tax systems couldn’t fund. Debts eventually forced both into fatal confrontations: Charles with Parliament in 1640 and Louis with the Estates General in 1789. Beyond financial exigency, the revolutions that overthrew these sovereigns drew on arguments the kings themselves had to make in order to raise taxes and fund their wars. As Richard Tuck has suggested, it may have been Charles himself who opened the door to democracy in England. Levying an ancient tax on coastal towns (ship money) to fund a naval expedition against the Dutch, the Crown made the claim that the people’s safety was the highest ground for political action – an axiom of republicans through the ages – superseding any law or constitution. Though used to justify absolutism, Charles’s rhetoric about the ‘interests of the people’ carried a subversive democratic implication: these are not my wars, they’re yours, and you ought to do everything you can to see that they are won.

How do we get from thisd radical bent from the mouth of a king to the current piss poor business of not being able to do anything constructive for most of our population because the rich will ‘take their ball home’ if we try and recover what they have stolen.  No one surely believes any of the trickle down crap anymore – unless it’s all been trickling into the begging bowl of the rich (because it all ends up there stupid).

Rooney isn’t worth what he gets paid and there are obvious ways to control wages (everyone else’s other than the rich is subject to control).  Salary caps are not rocket science and so-called whizz-kids are not rocket scientists either – even Rooney and his mates rely on very flat track pitches, drainage and tough referees to stay ahead of the best amateurs.  There is no known link between the vast payments and any moral ground or innovation – and rather a lot to suggest what there is may be negative.  I know of no reason for any person not to have a decent life that has anything to do with an economic system per se, but i do know of many techniques in nature through which plants and animals restrain others – this is even true of bacteria and humans.  I believe we are stuck in a history that will repeat itself if we continue to act more or less without substantial memory and knowledge.  The ignorant spontaneity of the riots this country has seen regularly for hundreds of years may tell us we the ‘good’ have been educated too much and been tranced by it all to the extent we can’t see what is really going on despite obvious results on what has happened to the money.  The daft old lag with a cream doughnut in his gob gets 16 months, but the hedge fund maestro making money from selling African land on which tenant farmers have been killed to clear it for profit is lauded.  Much as we can’t have riots, my sense is the moral wuckfits were tucked up safe and not on the streets.

We have as much reason to be on our streets as any country.  Protest needs to be across nations.  But in England we don’t give a damn and leave it to hapless youth, thieves, arsonists and chancers.  We have no soul – or rather you have no soul – I’m off.  I read Marx under the dim interior light of my Panda car.  I got little from this, but noticed many dismiss the bloke with no clue on what he said.  It took me a long time to realise this is what people do on nearly everything and that all my years at school had been wasted.  In the irony of life, it was at this point I was disabled and had to find work in academe!

To discover that the most insidious Politburo was working away in western capitalism, perhaps run by a shadow group of oligarchs has not really surprised me.  It’s you.  You don’t know what our GDP is and certainly not what shares anyone gets – utterly simple information, widely available, and yet you have opinion of all sorts that must be useless without the basic facts.  What motivates you to live blind when you could see without those bandages over your eyes?  Not that ‘you’ will be reading this.

We Don’t Understand The Big Lies

The video points out something I’ve known about politics and economics for many years.  They are not what they claim to be. A number of claims are made here that are true, including that if China grows to become more or less as ‘wealthy’ as the US – the two countries will then be consuming 125% of the world.

We are going to war – make no mistake on this. Each of us is taking 20 times our share of the world.  We are buying land out from under people who need it to feed themselves.  The complex answers needed are beyond the goons who run the show and most of us can’t even see the problem.  War will become the preferred solution because we are idiots.  They are grooming us for it now.  Yet we could go another way.  We just won’t.  We could have another economics, but then, you didn’t get the last lot, did you?

The Democratic Republic of Congo sits on about $27 trillion of assets.  It’s currently kept in perpetual war.  Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa, as Ukraine was in Europe.  They are all being bought up by foreign interests.  This is just stage one, which has also involved the curtailment of any independent war reporting from Falklands to Afghanistan.  I seem to remember George Orwell wrote the book.

Learning Fear

The arguments in science usually produce effective theories and more work to be done in the direction of a research programme core.  In the process, we usually discover that our previous views were drongo of some sort.  Our best theories lag behind the evidence.  Physics, as it stands at the moment, is pretty sure our notions of ‘what is real’ focus on only 4% of ‘what is there’ – hardly a full deck.

As a kid, with my mate Frog, I watched the night sky.  He was into astronomy.  We knew from his dad that patient observations were necessary and heard great stories about Tycho Brahe.  I remember the silver nose.  We had a telescope (borrowed from his dad’s work), a red notebook, sandwiches, a flask and determination.  It was England’s Northwest, so our results were largely disappointment and friendship.  The heavens were grey and we got cold.  It was like waiting for a slip catch in cricket – all the concentration just for a tiny percentage moment.  One day, in an art class more boring than the last hour of any going-nowhere cricket game in the rain, Frog started jumping about in a eureka dance.    He generally reserved these for the times he emerged from the scorebox to celebrate a particularly vicious over from me, or inspire one if he thought I was slacking.

He’d painted Jupiter and a couple of its moons, low in the sky.  Several times, against a graph, showing it move across the heavens.  The red notebook was whipped out.  Our teacher, stirred from the depression of her recent failed affair with Dobba (he other art teacher), came to quell the fuss.  A bad decision, as every time she moved her gorgeous body, all the male students, including limp-wristed Chris, our token not-yet-gay, could not contain themselves.  Furore ensued.  Frog was explaining how he’d plotted his chart from the numbers in our booklet.  We found ourselves hugging.

Teacher could not understand.  She never did get why we didn’t give a flying fuck about delicate shades of poster paint.  She was threatening to send us to the headmaster for the cane.  She didn’t mean it, but we went anyway, plotting our next observations.  The Beak, a really decent cove, invited himself along.  Grey as the sky was that weekend night, our headmaster played his role in encouraging us to university to study science.  We thought Frog’s dad invited the art teacher out of hospitality and apology, until our wandering telescope found her with the head at the bottom of the long garden.  We had a joke about the moons of Venus for a long time afterwards.

Sometime after this, our headmaster allowed a few of us (with parental notes) to be excused religious education and formed a group doing general studies with him.  He was interesting, something we weren’t used to; yet the key thing was that he let us wander off together to report back in discussion.

My learning started in this.  Our society, of course, has time all wrong.  A few dominate our time through enforced work for their profit.  The ‘mechanisms’ of this involve classrooms, as surely as dumping kids in front of television or video games.  We fear free time, for the devil has work for idle hands to do.  This is because we live in drongo and our systems are built in its fear.  Rationality is all rationalisation of this.  What we are scared of.

Free-love style eduction is not what I’m on about.  There needs to be something that stops us doing what we want with art teachers.  Mine is not the villain of this piece, much as I would love to pin my lack of representation on someone!

Time To End Representation?

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.  There’s a brilliant joke on this theme in Peter Cook’s film The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (a couple of quid for the DVD – it’s genius from about 1968).  Rimmer gets to the top by ruthless tricks.  He then has us all make decisions on everything, leading to sacks of work being delivered to us all by post everyday,  Appalled at the work we are all burdened with, he becomes President in order to take all this work off us.

These days we have the technology to make representation unnecessary.  All current ‘democracies’ are representative.  We thus cede administrative power to a very few and to election processes involving a few parties.  This may have been the best we could manage in history and did not prevent Hitler coming to power in what was the most cultured and scientific nation then on Earth.  It did not stop the British or American Empires either.  These may be seen as ‘holding positions’ for freedom if there is future history, though may be seen as considerably more vile than those of us bred to their propaganda currently believe.

Those in power have always been reluctant to accept that power can really be given to the people.  It’s clear we could now organise reliable referendums that involved us very directly in decision-making.  Questions around this are the ones we should be considering in our politics, not piss like AV.

Of course, power to the people on this scale can be ridiculed.  25% of our populations, even where there is education, remain functionally innumerate and illiterate.  Critical reasoning capability is in very short supply – I doubt more than 5% can really do this (in terms, say, of the current ‘A’ level) – and I doubt we can ‘educate’ people up to it in academic terms.  The resources Plato outlined for his Guardians were immense.  Trying to equip everyone for the kind of citizenship apparently needed for genuine self-rule seem daunting.

Politics everywhere is a form of dictatorship of a rendered-docile proletariat.  Rule is enforced through hierarchy of one form or another.  We still give up to an absolute much as Hobbes described.  I prefer what we do in the West to what goes on in Syria or Saudi, though this may well be ‘our doing’ too.  I don’t want to give up government to half-wits who watch soap operas.

Yet surely, we should have dialogue on what we could do with new technology and the obvious abuses of representative and judicial power.  Blair was Thatcher in drag and Cameron uses the ‘Blair touch’ as well as the war criminal himself.  We are always at war, employers can always use the threat of moving to cheap labour and tax, or move the labour in.  We are destroying the planet and … enough said.  Harwood hasn’t been arrested and the DPP, really making a decision on himself, will try to quietly not have a trial, hoping time will kill off any fuss.  We can do better than this.

That we can’t move instantly to voting on everything is obvious.  What is so sad is that we don’t understand the importance of thought experiments and what they can reveal.  We are rightly scared of countries with more or less no government where piracy and banditry prevail.  Yet we are not aware of what is really going on in our own system, or whether this is remotely the best we can manage.  In this ignorance we have moved from the potential of bildung to bulldung.  We do not know there is something very rotten in the State of Denmark.