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.

New Deal Money

There is a crisis in capitalism.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that slogan from some Marxist posturing with no clue why.  We can be pretty sure we know what the problem is now.  It’s about debt rising about 4% faster than GDP since the 1960′s and a service burden of debt in our economies of above 12% – this is all worse than in previous depressions.  This has been happening whatever shade of government we’ve had, across all OECD nations.  France may be an exception, but I’m looking into that.

What we have been resisting is letting crooked banks and speculators take the hits and forming a democratic alternative to casino capitalism.  Strangely, the very system we once thought could save us from the road to serfdom is trying to force us down it now.  The rich have accumulated nearly all the money and now want to buy up our public sectors on the cheap in fire-sales as economies crash. In trying to do this, they have replaced the Politburo as public enemy number one, though we are too dumb to see this yet.

What we should do is let the banks fail and start over with a new system of economics and a new world currency replacing the USD.  This would be a big change and bring about the end of American military supremacy, so it would require some thinking through.  The most obvious thing we need is to promote a more innovative economy and stop believing that is all about vast riches and super-brains.  It’s really much more ordinary.

My own belief is the crisis is ideological in the sense we can cure it if we change our thinking.  We can grow food, find new energy sources, find ways to stop bandits and mad, religious people doing terrorism, build decent housing and get on with fairly idle lives and stop ourselves breeding too much.  Only ignorance prevents us now.  So how can we get round to believing this?  You don’t need much brainpower to work it out.

What many of us have not worked out has little to do with advanced economics theories.  It’s to do with how little work has to be done to provide the things many of us struggled to “achieve” – a roof over our head, food, clean water and a family.  I’m guessing, but I’m pretty convinced 10 -20% of the work we do between 20 and 50 is needed to provide that for all in the absence of corruption. It’s amazing we don’t know this, assuming it is true.

My contention is first that we don’t know.  I’ve asked a lot of people and no one can tell me just how much work would provide a good basic standard for all. On reflection most people can tell me that much of the time they have spent at work has not been very productive.  We do not develop facts on these matters, let alone teach them.  Agriculture, which is basically what we live on is 4% of world GDP.  What we soak up is ideology.

We are told hard work leads to rewards and somewhere down the line this turns to justification of sports star wages and bankster bonuses as an inevitable part of meritocracy.  It’s more likely they are part of the widespread prevention of democracies that can turn capital on where it is needed.

We have been lied to wholesale.  Much of the rhetoric continues – the need to get highly skilled as a worker in the new knowledge economy sounds convincing, but we have poured money into education only for students not to do science and maths and “qualify” in equine management.  The education industry burgeoned yet employers sound the same now as they did 30 years ago when moaning about the skills kids leaving schools and universities don’t have.

I would still recruit for management on the basis of fairly simple maths and English tests rather than on ‘graduate status’ and the size of that pool has not increased because intelligence hasn’t.  Many people need to be in work to learn, not classrooms – and in education we gave up on non-bookish teaching because it was too expensive in our business model and many teachers and lecturers couldn’t hack other methods.  People we teach after work experience are way ahead of most leaving school – because work and growing up has taught them.  They may well find people teaching them from books that make no sense after work experience, full of drivel written 60 years ago on personal development, excellence, kwality and human resource management that all failed in practice.  They have all been written in new colours, but smell exactly the same.  These lecturers completely discount mature students’ experience and often don’t know the ‘excellence’ they teach was discounted 30 years ago, within 6 months of the publication of ‘In Search of Excellence’.

Courses are now organised to provide as little class contact as possible and assessments are entirely dubious.  An HNC from 20 years back is probably worth more than a degree now.  We have a serious problem because so many of our organisations are now run by hierarchies that learned to lie about what was going on.  The model is widespread and based on false-accounting that gives CEOs fat salaries and bonuses throughout the system.  Often the false-accounting provides well-paid work for armies of bureaucrats from the ratings agencies grading junk at AAA+, through the performance management teams creating beacon councils, drops in crime, increases in schooling excellence, favourable audits of Enrons and banks hiding massive losses and the rest.

All this is the ‘reason’ we have no money to create the jobs that people need to grow as far as they can as workers.  It’s so endemic I doubt we can get to a cure unless there is public disorder.  The people who need to listen to the real arguments are the ones with the interests in not admitting what has been going on.  These are the ‘Screwtape bureaucrats’ in an England gone to the Devil.

The answer is political and therefore impossible in England.  It’s to go ‘New Deal’ on money by cancelling debt, returning to primitive banking and bringing in modern National-International Service across the EU funded by a transaction tax and new taxes across society with an understanding we are building a new social contract.

This won’t happen, so my guess is this is a good time to re-brand yourself if you are a cop or invest in protective gear if your force won’t and prepare for overtime and more riots.  The good news is that European peasantry has more often been quiescent than revolutionary, but the bad is that it is more aware on the Continent of what has been happening to it than here – this news may start to spread.

We grew up not wanting to be consumed by the Sino-Soviet experiments and it’s weird that capitalism is what has sold us down a river not far from that.  The Chinese have been very astute in the deals that took our money into its enterprise zones, gave it manufacturing capacity and techniques, and leaves us with austerity and an underclass.  The debt is not of money we took and pissed up the wall, but of a speculative system that allowed big time looting.  That we have not set our criminal justice system into punishing these looters may seep through to our ‘lower orders’ and make them restless again.  Would that they march on Parliament instead of JD Sports!

Leftbanker’s alternative to the current economic clowning is:

A collective agreement by global governments on a debt default programme that minimises the damage done to the financial and economic system; Rather than own the banks but not control them and give them vast amounts of money to cover losses and lend to speculators (quantitative easing), take control of them and make direct investment through them to finance huge social projects that would benefit the public and private sectors creating jobs;Taxing the world’s wealthy who have seen a huge transfer of wealth to them over the last 30 years from the bottom 50% of society; and Collectively as society provide for people’s retirement instated of letting public pension funds and individuals bear the risk and cost of failing stock markets. This is the rationale alternative to the boom, bust, crash and burn that currently lies in store for all of us.

I think we have to do more on the behavioural side too and find ways to be more transparent in our organisational dealings.  Our Screwtapes are as bad as the nomenclatura in the Warsaw Pact countries and we need to do something to undo the damage they have caused and will continue to inflict.  We somehow need to leave them behind.  It’s not for nothing that Bratton insisted on getting rid of the whole NYPD hierarchy when he took over.

We hear much on Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal – but in terms of overall debt Japan and the UK are first and second at more than 460% of GDP.  Russia is very low in comparison at 71%.  Sleep tight!

Big Answers To Social Problems

Big answers are not things like Marxism that allow one to carp knowledgeably as crap continues.  If we’d had a better grasp of how humans tick we’d never have had anything like the feudal structures of today’s economics in the first place.  We need to re-address this level of the crap through what we know now through science.

In the meantime, we need big answers of another kind, and first to recognise we need them.  We shouldn’t have to work out high-level theory.

Look at cases that keep cropping up.

Do they get fixed or keep cropping up?  Victoria Climbie – Baby P sort of thing.  Do teenage toe-rags ever go away, or evil poor families.  I suggest not.  I’ve seen no sign in academic literature or official statistics that things are getting better, though we are living longer and stuff like that.  ‘Progress’ still needs scare quotations.

Once we establish problems that aren’t going away, we should try to think big on them.  This is a political act, because you come up against all kinds of vested interests and small thinking that protects them.  We should really have our politicians thinking big and public dialogue; but vested interests are so powerful we do not.

Big answers of the kind I mean may be ridiculous.  One of my favourites involves curing crime by chaining persistent offenders to senior police officers, magistrates, judges, politicians and other stuffed-shirts.  This, sadly, is not meant as a real answer, but questions the size and nature of the problem.  If we can’t afford to jail the crap forced on us Mr. Clarke, how about putting it in a trailer outside your house?

Most people can’t  really get into problem-definition of this kind, anymore than they could connect Relativity and jumping off a cliff.  Some are so stupid they take it as a serious practical suggestion.  We should perhaps let me teach them Relativity through the view from having jumped off a cliff, and let me set a practical experiment!

Teenage scumbags don’t go away because we always get one year older and they don’t.  If it was any better when we were kids, I suspect this was because some of them:

ran away to sea

joined our large armed services

did National Service

could work in factories at decent rates of pay

shaped up and got training in factories very different from skewl

got clobbered by a local “warden” or house-holder with no police action

worked on construction sites

somehow understood not thieving, fouling others’ space and so on and that angry guy’s fist-size

You may be able to add more.  What is thrown up today, by politicians who must know they are lying (if not they would be so brainless to make it statistically impossible for them to have survived crossing streets), is more skewelling and university for everyone, despite it clearly being useless to a quarter of kids in Manchester and at least a fifth in all areas of the UK.

One can see that they didn’t think this crap through because we’ve now got tuition fees, meaning “graduates” have debts of about £50K after subsistence is included, or may be £120K down from where they might be if they’d worked and lived with mum and dad.  These latter kids would also be more employable as employers value experience not skewl.  And anyway, “graduates” often cant write, spell, add up or act sensibly (universities don’t teach these, primary school should have).  So we couldn’t afford all these kids going to uni after all!

Instead of this baloney (which claims to make silk purses out of sows’ ears – yet really takes resources from the ‘worst’ kids), we should look to let those who can’t-won’t do skewl into disciplined work and a new form of National Service from 14 to 21.  Genuinely non-academic forms of learning and assessment would be encouraged in this format.  There would be no dole for drop outs, immigrant children would be opted in. {psst! amazingly enough, non-academic learning with teachers about is nearly always really academic learning without exams – they think you don’t know – keep it to yourself}

I would expect our major companies to go along with this and provide places, though just think of what your average 14 year old is like these days!  They are weedy, clumsy and indolent.  My guess is we’d have to create a lot of places in shipping and other transport and low skill areas.  Much less cruel to do this than force them to sit in classrooms where any learning that happens is so short-term it can’t be tested.  This way, they’d at least be learning to get by.

I would expect the demand for university places to drop like a stone if there were opportunities other than dole available.  My argument in full is that skewl is responsible for many social ills.

Those who just can’t get over ejukation being a “good” should examine their self-interests.  It is a cruel imposition on the many for the benefit of a few – and most of these evade what the rest get through Public School and Russell Group University.

My system would be much cheaper and without the massive social costs of the current system of ‘real education (which means to make like a Duke) only for the rich’.  If your kid is bright enough in academic areas (which is about 5% of what you can be intelligent in), hesheorit can make it from the back-streets like me, if we stop the current nonsense, which makes it less possible (check the figures on social mobility).

When Newton popped-off to Cambridge at 18, he was older than most of his peers, many packed-off away from home to debauch at 14 (parents have always known about teenagers).  Most of us would benefit from university if we went as adults because we wanted to.  The current herding is nonsensical and it leaves behind the very children who need most help.

I must say I believe we don’t address work properly in terms of decisions we can now take rationally about our societies, and that we have it all wrong on wealth.  You can get monkeys to work for peanuts, but not when they can see other monkeys working for grapes, or for grapes when they can see others working for bananas.  It’s not for nothing that who is getting what for doing what is so hidden from our view.  Our society is actually being de-skilled in all this ejukation, which also makes us less smart than monkeys.

The slogans of our political parties should be stuff like ‘send your kid to a third-rate university while the thicker ones learn to steal with local Romanians’ – even the politicians know enough not to say this and can rely on no one really making the links.  You see, ejukation has made you think small.  Me?  They’ve had me working on ideas of how to to get monkeys used to peanuts to eat boiled grass …

Currently, employers create jobs like serving coffee (not long ago 40% of UK ‘entrepreneurs’ wanted to open a coffee shop) for graduates – though since we went into recession and drink less coffee it seems this wasn’t so creative after all.  They might have to work harder to attract staff from my scheme.

Most of the ejukation done at undergraduate level has been (OU) or should be put on television with Internet links, not gobbed out through death-by-Powerpoint harpies.  You shouldn’t be learning about Hamlet at university, but how to act and produce plays through doing it.  The idea of ejukation as an aim in itself was a fucked dead donkey long ago.  That would only apply in a sorted society which we’ll have to challenge the real rich to get.  Most of our students don’t know who Groucho was now and I have to teach some of mine what is funny in The Simpsons, let alone what ‘cun’ tends to mean in the Bard.  The worst have clearly been exhausted carrying worthless skewl qualifications about – that sound like the ones I had to work hard for.

I’m not some elitist get, sneering.  I still cry and drink myself to sleep in the vault from time to time.  My grandson has ‘discalcula’ and autism-related problems.  If I could really help 24/7 I would – just give up to help him.  He’s due what I can do in the next few months.  I’m dumb enough to do it for anyone’s kid in principle and used to run such a class with some success.  I know what I can do is limited, not like some Government-connected jerk claiming she could raise every kid to university level (this is utter lying cruelty).  I value the bloke who serves my beer, fishes the seas and myself alike (all women are now necessarily superior of course!).  The dolt and dullard the same – and I don’t avoid them all the time either.

They have us crapping on our own.  The biggest rise I’ve noticed in the last 20 years is in sneering from all sectors.  Try working for a living, not being given one extends to far more than any idle unemployed.  We’ve been ejukated out of work and into false notions of what we are.  Soylent Green?  Too expensive, if you’re interested … I’m being told to use it raw!