At least since the end of the second world war we have had a neoliberal system – probably since we had universal suffrage, now ordinary people are paying for this compromise. Neoliberalism allowed for public political parlour games in the West. Over regular periods (usually 4 or 5 years) we went through a sham of electoral democracy in which politicians stood up for marginally different versions of the same deal, neoliberalism, with the parties (usually two in each country) offering different levels of token support for ordinary people whilst carrying out 1% policies.
And the left has now paid for their own compromise with this neoliberalism.
Here is an example that happened to me. I don’t know what the current CP tactics are but back in the 80s the CP asked its members to compromise with the neoliberal system in order not to split working-class or union support. Typically this involved extremely distasteful actions. In my own case I attended the NUT conference, and at this conference I was asked to support the Broad Left which included the mainstream leadership. I attended their disco (I attended discos then) and watched a degree of sycophanticism that was so distasteful I walked out. It was undoubtedly true that the Trots, known as the Socialist Teachers’ Alliance then, were adopting policies that would have split the union if their conference motions had been passed. So I understood why the CP asked me to do what I did, but it was distasteful. More attempts at building bridges on the left against the neoliberalism could have been made but they weren’t, and there was an impasse with built-in stagnation. Such analysis concerning these bridges was not around then, so all of the left needs to accept responsibility for this. I think it significant that there was no recognition at the time concerning neoliberalism. The analysis was simply bourgeois and proletarian, and working within the labour movement, either in the unions or the labour party, to remove the impact of the opportunists. The weakness of this analysis, lacking any emphasis on the neoliberal system, was significant in the lack of bridge-building. Because the emphasis was on mass movement unity, battles existed on the left (typified by Trots vs Commies), and the direction of the discourse was always towards unity within the mass movement. However that unity, supposedly considered as unity of the proletariat, effectively meant unity on the left, and there was never any real efforts to unify with the right wing – whether in the union or the labour party. In the minds of the left the populist right, because of their politics lacking compassion for liberal issues were being identified with the 1% when in fact they were populist right and needed to be included within the mass movement against the 1%. To me this weak position was the early causes of the separation of the populist right and move to fascism that is indicated by votes for Brexit and Trump.
Soon after this NUT conference I left the UK so I don’t know how the CP and others on the left have dealt with neoliberalism since then, but I do feel this stagnation continued. Supporting the 1%-Labour, Blair Labour and Blair unions, might well have been CP strategy in order not to split the Labour movement. How awful – supporting war.
As a result populism, those on the right against the 1%, has taken the stage. Now we have a far harder battle, how to unite with this populist right, against the 1%. If we don’t accept that this is the way forward, then fighting against the 1% will be self-evidently impossible when the 99% are so divided. How many of the 99% could now be described as on the left and against the 1%?
I suggest that the left in the 99% have dissociated themselves from the populist right, primarily because of the platforms that I have assessed as being part of the populist right:-
1) Work against the 1%, its influence, the lobbyists that Trump described as the swamp.
Whilst the first two are clearly unifying the third is intended to be divisive by the 1%.
However if the power of the 1% is to be minimised, both the populist right and the liberal left need to compromise against the real enemy – the 1%. In the US such a compromise seems almost impossible but it has now become necessary otherwise people are in for a very difficult time with the increasing rise of fascism. This is a compromise that is far more distasteful than the compromise I had at the NUT disco but without it fascism will increasingly take centre stage.
It is my understanding that Trump supporters actually believe he will support them against the 1%. Undoubtedly he has strategic plans for buying off his supporters such as providing jobs in Trumpland, and it is conceivable that whilst adopting 1% and anti-liberal policies (racist, sexist and against LGBT) he will maintain his vote-base.
This division of the 99% between the liberal left and populist right can be laid straightforwardly at the hands of neoliberalism, what has neoliberalism done for these hard-working white people on the right – in Trumpland? Nothing, why would they? The 1% seeks only to exploit for their own profit. But what is far worse, what has the left done for these people? Nothing. The left has fought other legitimate battles, often involving identity politics, and as a result these working people whose personal politics have not been compassionate – such as racist, sexist and anti-LGBT – have lost their incomes and become attracted to the populist right. Yet our interests are the same, and it is self-defeating to turn around and demand that because they are part of the 99% they should change their views and join us. They haven’t, and in the US they have chosen Trump – been conned by Trump – been conned by the 1%.
Because the liberals have supported neoliberalism, have been myopic in the politics they have been involved in, and ignored a significant proportion of the 99% – a proportion that Trump has strategically manipulated, the US now has a 1%-government that will move the US towards fascism.
There is an aspect of US media that I have not seen discussed but is the practise. I watch US comedy progs such as John Oliver, Daily Show, Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live – these are the only US comedies I find funny. When I am watching them I see nothing but pro-Democrat party propaganda. I see attacks on Trump – OK I agree he is preposterously funny, not attacks on the 1%, and I see the progs increasing divisions within the 99%. These progs add to the problem because they perpetuate and increase the divisions with the rest of the 99%. I can enjoy the humour without being sucked into the division, but can most of the watchers? Can they see that the intended divisions are also part of the 1% mainstream media strategy of dividing the 99%? Without discernment liberals and the left will continue to be part of the problem.
Similarly left-wing media in the UK are attacking and ridiculing Trump, they are perpetuating the situation. The populist white right who are inclined towards UKIP are being ignored by this left-wing, and the 1% are agitating against the 99% using similar tactics to the US. This situation is different to the US because the government is right-wing. However it is functionally the same. Divide the 99% – left against right. Identify the media as left wing, identify the mass movement – labour party and unions – as not being interested in white people. Not being interested in protecting the jobs of white people. Similarly there are attacks on PC in general thus the populist right are ignoring much truth that is spoken by professionals such as teachers, social workers and care-workers. Underlying the rhetoric of this populist right will be blame – blaming the left (liberals in general although the use of that term is not as common in the UK because of the Liberal party and their alliance with Cameron). Neither right nor left are sufficiently focussed on the impact of the 1% in the UK.
Because liberals have supported neoliberalism, the 1% has divided the 99% by financing the populist right. Because liberals have failed to persuade more white people that what liberals are doing is right, we now have a situation where the populist right has grown significantly; liberals and the left do not put forward uniting policies such as fighting the 1% and maybe morality and compassion, they simply promote their own dogma and expect the populist right to accept it. We now have a situation where the liberals, left-wing and populist right need to court each other in order to provide a united front against the 1%. For years the liberals and left have ignored this populist right, and the 1% have managed to cleave apart the 99%. The populist right have peddled preposterous statements such as left-wing mainstream media, and because the left has previously ignored this populism such statements now have significant traction. The 1% have financed this populism with their main purpose being to divide the 99%, and there is such a strength of rhetoric against the left-wing, much of it built on lies and propaganda such as the anti-PC movement, creating unity will be hard. Not all of the populist right can be won over as there is a significant proportion of deplorables, but amongst the rest are compassionate, moral people, who, because of the propaganda, in the US manage to support a horrendous man (Trump) who is immoral and lacking in compassion – being racist sexist and anti-LGBT. In the UK the pattern similarly shows support for the Tories and UKIP, both of which are parties for the 1%. These moral people, quiet white people, need to feel ashamed for supporting Trump and Brexit (and UKIP) but that also means that liberals need to eschew their neoliberalism, and show the non-deplorable on the populist right that there is a unity of interest against the 1%. Both populists and liberals need to change their focus away from each other and towards the real enemy – the 1%.
I have looked a little into the mindset of this moral populist right, and I do not understand it. Yet we must understand each other. Through unity of purpose against the 1% communication needs to be built between the left, liberals and the populist right. This will be difficult because of the years of antagonism, but if we don’t do this Trumps, and to a lesser extent Farages, will continue to arrive on the scene as fascism increases.
To my mind the onus of communicating lies with the liberal left. For all of last century the left has recognised the need to build the mass movement, yet after a century of such building in the US a member of the 1% standing for president has managed to divide the 95% in only one campaign. Not only is the candidate a member of the 1% he is an overt racist and sexist, yet he still split the vote. Why?
1) He promoted racism and sexism and other forms of bigotry. Voicing such enabled the deplorables. But those that should be ashamed also voted for him because they have been convinced that within the propaganda their compassion does not have to recognise racism and sexism.
2) Trump has managed to convince many on the populist right that he is the person to vote for in fighting the 1%. To people on the left this seems ludicrous but this is because the left has failed to see how they have been compromised by neoliberalism. Below I discuss Obama as an example of neoliberal failure. Because of this neoliberal failure leaders on the populist right have been able to convince members of the 99% that mainstream government and media is controlled by the left. How can the liberal left have been so remiss? Because they failed to identify and attack neoliberalism, even with Occupy opening the territory the left within the Democrats failed to take advantage. The Democrats did not identify themselves with Occupy, and so they lost the high ground with regards to attacking the 1%. Left-wing press clearly do such 1%-attacks, the Democrats don’t as a whole, and the populist right have identified the 1%-Democrats as the Left enabling a right-wing vote for the Deplorable.
3) And of course the main failure of the left has been its failure to embrace all in the 99% including those on the right. White racists and white disguised racists have lost their jobs as a result of 1% accumulation. Despite their lack of this compassion many of these people are hard-working trying to look after their families, and the left-wing have not represented them. This is shamefully ignorant as they have had years of analysis, understood that it is only through unity that the 99% can win yet such people have been ostracised because they lack liberal values – and compassion. If you genuinely believe in mass movement politics then you have to embrace white racism with all its faults. By being inclusive these people will hopefully see beyond the racism into recognising their interests are the same as all working people including liberals. At present they don’t and that has been as a consequence of the neoliberal system – a system that too many on the left have accepted.
4) The liberal left have become pre-occupied with identity politics. Rather than attacking the 1% the liberal left have focussed on legitimate issues such as gender equality, racial equality, LGBT equality etc Because they also failed to dissociate themselves from the neoliberalism, much of this focus worked on getting these identity groups better pay. From the perspective of the populist right all that appears is that the left agenda is to increase the pay of these identity groups at their own expense. Identity politics needs to fit into the struggle against the 1%, and this is clearly not the case. This is again a failure of the left to struggle against neoliberalism.
Voting a black man as president in the US alienated this populist right. This could have been alleviated if Obama had adopted policies that included the white right. When you consider the rise of Black Lives Matter, he didn’t even promote the interests of black people. When you examine with discernment, what he has done he has mostly acted as a puppet for the 1%. Prior to the elections and soon after mainstream left-wing media, what little I know of it, were fawning over Obama. But what has he done in the struggle against the 1%?
To conclude, the blame for the rise of the populist right and their manipulation by the 1% into accepting Trump and Brexit can be laid very clearly at the hands of the liberal left. They failed to focus on the real problem – the 1%, and the majority of them have colluded with the neoliberal system. The left have focussed their energies on identity politics thus alienating the populist right who have started to identify with neo-fascist groups. Even moral compassionate white people have thus identified because they have become alienated from the left part of the 99%. It is time for the left to change, re-orient their dominant strategies into fighting the 1%, and work towards including the populist right even though there is divisive racism and sexism within the right.
I would like to see a change in the use of the term neoliberalism – new liberals? How can the populist right recognise the difference between left liberal and neoliberalism? Without such a recognition how can there be a united 99%? A long blog!
Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
I have begun revising the Treatise (Treatise of Zandtao). Whilst these small revisions are not going to be online for a while I should note that HHSR has been removed together with references to reincarnation. I have been studying Nagarjuna a bit– as being a link between what is Theravada (supposedly the original Buddha’s teachings and Zen/Tibetan). Reincarnation is really a Hindu belief that has become part of Buddhism according to Buddhadasa – I like that for the reasons that it explains the origin (Hindu India) of the belief and that proving reincarnation seems not to be possible. It is usually assigned to one of the Buddha’s unanswered questions. I was unsure of a lot of the references to unanswered questions, here is a summary that is from one of the Theravada suttas SN 44 explaining why the questions are not answered.
I am more concerned about Nagarjuna’s dependence on faith, I noticed this in the letter to the king in “The Good-hearted Letter” Section Two. Let me start by saying that faith is something I do not have. But before I get into that I want to surmise why Nagarjuna needed faith, and that is his belief in reincarnation. How can you accept reincarnation unless through faith because there is no way you can assert it through experience; having said that I cannot explain stories such as these without finding some disguised way of saying they are lies; the stories are not sufficient evidence to support reincarnation – just sufficient to create doubts. But for me the world is paradoxical enough to accept “exceptions to the rule”. But it matters not, I have not experienced it so I don’t accept it for myself.
Faith is a requirement for reincarnation yet it my view that the Buddha never asked us to have faith in him – or anything. Based on the Kalama Sutta, AN3, it is my contention that the Buddha asked us not to believe him but to come to some kind of personal conviction through experience that what he said is true. I often think of this as internalising an idea by deeply knowing it as a truth – or even experiencing the idea as an insight. Faith says here is a dogma, believe it – in other words here is a mindset, believe it. Are holy books factual? Or are they allegorical to bring home certain spiritual truths? My own view is the second, you must decide for yourself what is important.
This issue of “holding to a mindset” has been alluded to throughout the treatise, and is central to a perspective on conditioning. In an earlier chapter of the Treatise I looked at the book “The Four Agreements” demonstrating that we grow up with mindsets which we agree with because they are custom and practise for our societies, in effect this mindset of agreements could be seen more sinisterly as conditioning. The way we grow up could be seen as making agreements with our parents and society, or it could be seen in a more passive way as conforming to that conditioning that our upbringing requires of us.
The dogmas of a faith are a mindset, the agency of accepting that mindset separates a faith from a set of ideas, and I question that agency. I don’t dismiss the agency, I have used the term “internalising” as an acceptable agency, and I would also see insight as legitimate – although I find it difficult to see how a whole faith could be determined through insight. Debating the agency of one’s faith is an individual journey for each person to undergo, but without a suitable agency one’s faith is simply a set of ideas – a dogma – a mindset. Accepting a mindset without appropriate deep enquiry is for me a mistake that many make. It happens as we start to unravel conditioning especially amongst the young who reject conditioning but then seek to replace it. There is a charismatic figure, David Icke, who has politically dissected much that is wrong with our society. There is a strong body of younger people who follow him. There are two issue that I contend with him. The first concerns the Illuminati. I have never investigated the Illuminati because I don’t know them so how can I ascertain the truth about them. Throughout this book I have discussed the 1%, and I have no doubt that these bourgeoisie control our corporatocracy through finance and influence. But I have no experience to suggest that these people are masons – they may well be. I do however believe that groups such as Bilderberg meet and exert influence on our society. However the control of the 1% is in my view through convergence of interest and influence based on their own conditioning rather than a concrete plan or planning meeting. Second are the lizards. The only lizards I have come across are the ones that scuttle across my living room leaving small shit everywhere. If there are aliens as lizards I can accept correction but it has to be verifiable by direct personal experience. Icke-ists accept and feel they have to accept the full mindset. This is based on our miseducation in which indoctrination through accepting mindsets, ideas and facts stuffed in our minds to pass exams, leads to one mindset being replaced by another once we start to see through our conditioning – discussed throughout in Matriellez.
However this aspect of our conditioning, our mindset-replacing tendency, needs to be seen for what it is – another part of our conditioning (education methods), and it is only when this additional aspect is replaced by complete enquiry can we say that we have overcome conditioning.
Isms are a good way to begin examining conditioning. Consider nationalism. Is this a good thing? Many education systems foster nationalism as this produces stability within a society. By saying your own society is better than others you are immediately creating a lesser society, a group of inferiors. Once you have people seen as less than you, it is very easy for manipulative groups to misuse media to create a war for profit – can we kill our own? If we are all seen as equal, all societies seen as equal, then such excuses for war disappear – we do not make war on ourselves. This of course is a fundamental democratic principle that all people have equal democratic rights.
Racism is another ism well worth examining. I was brought up a white middle-class racist, and was fortunate enough to learn about my racism by good black people being willing to teach me and tolerate the racism I grew up with. When I reflect on things that I have thought and even said, I am somewhat ashamed despite knowing they are sourced in conditioning – conforming to the custom and practise of the white middle-class I grew up with. I would recommend all people of privilege such as white privilege to seriously examine themselves. In my professional biography as part of my M Ed I included a discussion of anti-racist training (ART), and would encourage people to examine themselves through such training approaches.
As a male chauvinism is another ism that I was born with, and therefore grew up being sexist. As an adult I intellectually accepted equality but I am not sure I always practised it because of my desires. Society is undoubtedly chauvinist, and we are therefore continually bombarded with media that promotes sexism. As males, especially younger males in whom the desires are stronger, constant re-evaluation is required. For example, what is anorexia and bulimia? Are these psychological conditions that a few women suffer from? Or are they natural consequences of a sexist society that portrays women as sex objects based on a body image that it is almost impossible to maintain – a situation made far worse by the way Big Food manipulates our foods for profit so that maintaining our health is so difficult. Should women have equal rights in the workplace? Or just in workplaces that do not affect my promotion?
Antisemitism is a particularly interesting ism for those on the left. When you consider history there is no doubt that Jews have been persecuted culminating in the atrocity of the Nazi Holocaust. Following the situation that has happened in Palestine where the homeland of Israel was created, on the left there has been much support for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, oPt. Often that support has been vocal against Jews, is that antisemitic? At the same time there are wealthy Jews who could be called 1%, some such Jews have power in media. Is that then a Jewish conspiracy? I recommend a deep enquiry into one’s own antisemitism, and a suitable place to start are these 7 tenets of antisemitism.
Considering the ongoing barrage of media conditioning, enquiry is so important, it is integral that we continually re-evaluate our own conditioning because it is so easy to accept negative mindsets. When we add to this the dangers of attaching to mindsets once developed as insights the need for constant enquiry is a matter of ever-vigilance.
But we need to consider what is the purpose of this conditioning. It is conformity to what end. Certainly conformity is useful for providing a stable society but it does not begin to give a reason until we look at the 1%. They require a compliant and consuming workforce, they need consuming wage-slaves who can accept the various consequences of the current system such as climate change and wars for profits. Now the conditioning has a meaning because across the world we have people who accept working for money to pay the bills and consuming extras.
And where is the danger to this system? If for some reason the workforce refuses to be wage-slaves and discerningly decides not to waste money on consumerism. This is why so much effort is made to attack unions because when workers band together they demand the profits for themselves.
But more than unions they fear a unity of purpose, a unity of purpose that sees 99% working together for the interest of the Gaia – climate change, renewable energy, Dakota pipeline – and for the interests of all the people in the world – no wars for profits. Such division of peoples comes from nationalism – dividing nation against nation, racism diving white from black, sexism – dividing women from men, and antisemitism – dividing gentile from Jew.
Political unity in the interest of all peoples and for the interest of our planet is the way we can overcome the 1% manipulation of ourselves as consuming wage-slaves.
And unity or Oneness is what is sought through spiritual awareness. We are not separate people with individual interests, but we are One people with the interest of the One planet, our home. Even the very religions which are the systemic way of understanding this Oneness are used to separate. Wars have been fought with religion as an excuse yet religions when understood in depth seek only Oneness.
But what happens to people who seek Oneness, they become aware that we are not separate but One people. They transcend the separation and understand there is Unity. They overcome the conditioning that creates separation, they see through the delusion where we are conditioned as separate and accept the Unity.
This acceptance of Unity is usually associated with forms of bliss, and the transcendental process is often confused with the joy that people have during transcendence but the truth is that this transcendence happens when people end separation, when they end division, when they don’t accept the agreements their society and upbringing require of them, when they work to end their conditioning on all levels. Transcending conditioning is what brings Unity – anatta.
And this transcendence brings understanding on all levels. Once we throw off the shackles of our conditioning, by rejecting separation, by going beyond dogma and intellect, by fighting the hatred that comes with all the isms – often bringing wars with profits, by accepting Unity as Gaia where destroying the environment by climate change and industrial exploitation is understood as destroying ourselves. This is all transcendence. From the moment any part of our conditioning is questioned we begin transcendence. For some it remains political where the bliss is never experienced because new mindsets are clung to. For the spiritual the transcendental experience can bring with it bliss but instead of a mindset they cling to bliss and don’t move forward. But the process is the same – enquiry, removing the shackles that ignorance of our conditioning places on us bringing with it open minds that question, that naturally reject injustice, that reject climate exploitation, that want genuine peace, a peace that comes with the Unity of all peoples in Gaia.
This transcendence is what the three tenets of the Treatise of Zandtao are working towards. Healing the body so we do not become attached to the diseases that are a consequence of toxic intake whilst at the same time working with Gaia through whole foods that enable us to survive in harmony with nature. And the energy is the energy of Gaia of One planet. Once we open our minds and bodies to that energy that is Gaia then we begin to feel through that energy that this is not separation but Unity, the energy of the One planet that sustains us, making us feel vital when we accept the Path that is Gaia. We work together in Gaia, we transcend the conditioning that seeks division, and we accept Unity for what it is – the natural way.
In the Treatise I have looked at many ways that work towards this transcendence, this removal of conditioning. One way just mentioned are the three tenets, but much more importantly there are the 4 Agreements, and there is magga – the 8-Fold Path. All seek one thing – the removal of conditioning – the removal of agreements, the removal of the attachment to I and mine, the removal of attachment to the 5 khandas, the Unity that comes with the understanding once the conditioning has been removed.
There are many levels of this transcendence. When we see black people justifiably angry in “Black Lives Matter”, we might well see people who have transcended this political aspect but need more. When we see Momentum supporting Corbyn in his struggle against the 1% we see people who have transcended this aspect of conditioning but who seek more. When we see the monk who devotes their lives to meditation we see a transcendence that has overcome the conditioning of wage-slavery and consumerism, but needs more. On this diverse world there is much transcendence to varying degrees, it can only be hoped that these people do not rest on their laurels and that they work to seek a complete transcendence, a transcendence that comes from permanent enquiry, a transcendence that lacks conditioning on any level, a transcendence that brings with it a complete freedom from any shackles. Unity that is anatta.
Yet another Guardian headline has annoyed me. Owen Smith warns Corbyn that Labour “could bust and disappear”. Why should the Guardian focus on this when Corbyn is introducing policies of a National Investment Bank? Quite simple, the Guardian supports the Veil, the delusion of the two party electoral system.
There is so much at fault with this particular headline. First of all the Labour party can never disappear as it could always be the political wing of the mass movement. At present it is not. At present Blair more than anyone has created a party of opportunists who represent themselves and not the mass movement. The damage Blair caused would have taken a long time to heal but the opportunists have forced that healing now by engineering this leadership contest over Brexit. What we have in this leadership context is a leftward-leaning opportunist in Smith representing the parliamentary incumbents and Corbyn representing the mass movement. This is a genuine battle for democracy. Smith represents the Blair cronies who manipulated the membership apathy to put in opportunist clones from the ward on up through the party. Corbyn through Momentum seeks a genuine mass movement vote – more like genuine democracy.
I mentioned before the NEC meeting in which subterfuge led to a reduction in the number of new members being eligible to vote. This is being challenged in a court of law. Firstly the opportunists got a business stooge to bring a legal case to block Corbyn’s candidacy, and Corbyn’s people have now been forced to go to the courts to attempt to make the new membership eligible. Democracy is forced to use an undemocratic structure to fight its battles.
Smith is fighting the democratic vote for Corbyn. The mass movement want Corbyn, Smith has to win these voters. He cannot win on policy because Corbyn’s policies are genuinely democratic, they are peoples’ policies – this is why he got in. He has to appeal another way – through fear, the fear that the party will divide.
I remember another divide back in the 80s. This was not such a principled divide as the one that is happening now, I believe, although I didn’t follow it too much at the time. This was the formation of the SDP. A group of senior right-wing Labour politicians, known as the Gang of Four, were unhappy with the Labour party at the time and formed the SDP. To begin with they had some democratic support, but soon this dissolved into a Liberal-SDP alliance, disappeared into the Liberals and now the Liberals are disappearing. Such parties of Social Democrats, opportunists, cannot survive as they have no power base. The power base of the Labour party is the mass movement, opportunists are not candidates of that mass movement.
In other words, if these opportunists engineer a split in the long term they will disappear. In the short term they might affect an election or two, but in the long term the links between the parliamentary Labour party and the mass movement that were severed under Blair will be solidified under Corbyn. Of course by the time that happens Corbyn might be past it, and an opportunist could come in and replace him severing the links again.
The VBC continues as Smith representing the Wainwrights, the Blair clones, tries to undermine Perkins’ (Corbyn’s) links with the voters.
In the last blog I described 2 right views of the socio-political arena:- the Guardian view and the Occupy view. I described it as “The first view I will call the Guardian view. This view is leftward leaning but does not require a major change in outlook. We live in a trading society in which a few extreme individuals are exploiting others and if we continue to promote good works society can change for the better. This view looks at our neo-liberal system with its Veiled electoral democracy, and works within that system.” I did not explain the use of the word Veiled. It arises from the film “Lifting the Veil” in which the delusion of electoral democracy is exposed. Our two-party system is a manipulated system in which there is a delusion that these parties are two poles of a political spectrum, and that we are voting for alternatives. In practise they are different shades of the same colour, specifically Labour does not offer a socialist alternative. Reflect on the policy towards Ireland when there was the war in the North. Policies were the same, some would argue that to call it a war and ask for its end was electoral suicide but that was a fait accompli of the system whose Veil did not offer an alternative.
That is until Corbyn (and Sanders, Syriza and the Occupy movement). I want to discuss the alternative that Corbyn offers. But first I want to look at the Guardian view. Any reading of most Guardian articles about Labour and Corbyn shows a clear bias towards the parliamentary Labour MP’s, first Angela Eagle and now Owen Smith. They accuse Corbyn of dividing the party. Previously I have discussed this but it is worth repeating:-
Corbyn is trying to unite the party with the mass movement, it was Blair playing opportunist politics who divided the parliamentary from the mass membership. Let me explain how that worked. The mass movement was alienated from its supposed political wing by right wing policies such as the war in Iraq. With low attendance at ward meetings it was easy for Blair supporters to be elected as candidates. At the same time Blair made a point of giving clones posts in his cabinet, so by the end of his tenure those that wanted political office were Blairite and the mass movement had been divided from the party. The Guardian clearly shows its support of the parliamentary process, and therefore being part of the media that supports the Veil.
This Blair manipulation was evidenced in the leadership election that Corbyn won. He was a late addition on the ballot primarily as offering an alternative to the clones (including Angela Eagle), and he offered the only alternative to the party’s mass movement and was at the time surprisingly voted in. This ignited hope amongst the left, and opposition (from Hilary Benn and others) right from the start. When the feeble Brexit excuse came along the Blair clones were quick to unite behind the no-confidence vote leading to the current vote on his leadership.
This article from the Guardian is more objective. Owen Jones says “But who can have predicted Labour’s re-emergence as a mass party? In 2014, Labour had only 190,000 members; it now boasts over half a million.” His view is that the leadership election is a foregone conclusion in Corbyn’s favour.
It would be very interesting to know what the discussions of my erstwhile comrades in the NCP have been having. As previously discussed Corbyn was around when I was politically active. He ran a community centre in Islington and was responsive to his ward – his electorate. At the same time he was one of the leading lights in socialist politics along with Tony Benn, Red Ken etc. I have never been a supporter of Red Ken, and even though he developed a personal popularity amongst the wider electorate he was always one of the leaders amongst those who “shot themselves in the foot” – his recent statements on Israel being typical. I associate my work on anti-racism with Red Ken’s time as leader of the GLC but I have no details but that time was Thatcher-time and such good work soon ended. In the late 80s the activity of these socialists focussed on Socialist Conference, and when you consider Labour’s new half million membership I have to ask “how many of this half million would be typical of such a socialist conference?” And also whether the old guard of the NCP supports Corbyn and Momentum?
This is an important question, and requires consideration. What is the working-class now? We have the Marxist terms – bourgeoisie and proletariat. Since my activism times I have always considered myself as a member of the proletariat, and consider the terms proletariat and working-class synonymous. And middle-class an academic red herring. Why? We are the 1% or not, it is as simple as that. The 1% needs us to be divided, and so the academic obfuscations of class suits the 1%. The NCP had a cloth cap approach to the working-class. It is from the cloth cap working-class that the revolution will come, and despite the academics who led revolutions in Russia and Latin America such academics as myself (a teacher) were almost second-class proletarians. I suspect the majority of Labour’s half million are second-class proletarians. In one respect it is important to be derogatory of academics, they hold to theory and idea sets and because of this divide the mass movement – the Trots. And Trots made up the Socialist Conference.
25 years on from this we have Corbyn, we have Momentum, and we have half a million Labour membership. But how many cloth caps are there? Maybe the cloth caps of the occasional Militant?
But a more important question is how many of the proletariat are now cloth cap members? Since Thatcher there has been an intended reduction of the manufacturing base, there has been a concerted attack on trade unionism and movement to service industry, and more recently an increase of cheap migrant labour (non-unionised). The proletariat has changed. Academics such as me are an increasing proportion of the proletariat, so allusions to Corbyn’s half million members as intellectuals as opposed to working-class is perhaps misleading (“One challenge is that the Labour party membership is simply unrepresentative of the population. That has always been the case: it’s the trade union link that grants Labour any right to self-describe as a workers’ party. According to ESRC-funded research by the academics Tim Bale, Monica Poletti and Paul Webb, around half of Labour party members belong to the social group AB: that is, middle-class professionals. Yet only 22% of Britain’s population belong to this group. Those deemed to be working-class represent 47% of the population, but they make up just 21% of the Labour party membership. Nearly half of members live in London or southern England, and a large majority have university degrees.” same Guardian artcile.)
I do not use the term “cloth cap” as derogatory, they are fellow comrades. However these cloth caps would see their proletarian credentials as more “Marxist” than mine. In terms of the nature of their labour this is probably true as few could say that they chose their career in the way that I chose teaching. Who would choose to bottle beetruit – a Summer job of mine? This battle for Corbyn leadership is also a battle for the claims of uniting the proletariat again, but uniting amidst a diversity in which intellectuals are also considered wage-slaves as well as the more obvious “cloth caps”.
What Corbyn is doing is battling against the Veil http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/lifting-the-veil-obama-and-the-failure-of-capitalist-democracy-2011/ , he is battling the neo-colonial system from within. I see it as forlorn in the same way as Harry Perkins never stood a chance but let us hope there is some substance to the Momentum. How can we have our representatives taking us into Wars for Profits?
Much of the early talk in the Bell Hooks discussion focussed on body-image. I have not paid attention to my own image, and I want to consider why that is before considering what the panel said.
First and foremost when considering body image it is necessary to look into one of Buddhadasa’s maxims. He described all of Buddhism as “removing attachment to the 5 khandas”, despite apparent differences he claimed that fundamentally all Buddhisms tried to do this. Whether that is true or not, in this discussion it is important to note that one of the khandas is “body” – not being attached to the body or body-image.
In terms of society I was born fortunate although I have not always taken advantage of that good fortune. I was born a white heterosexual male, and in terms of the system this is an advantage. I do not subscribe to the manosphere, and whilst there is sometimes advantages to being in a minority these are small by comparison. At the same time I am just six foot, have no disabilities, in terms of mainstream it is all easy for me. In terms of appearance there is nothing lacking that would make me feel the need to focus on image despite others doing so.
At university I was shameful. My hair was long. To begin with I never kept myself clean, and I can’t remember about washing clothes – nor can I remember buying them. I drank all my grant so maybe that was why. After leaving uni the suit was a requirement so I got one, I somehow had shirts and ties, and washing them was never a priority. I suppose I only began to easily manage this when a maid became a requirement with my overseas teaching jobs; it was something that was not important and I was able to get someone else to do it within my budget.
I remember ties. As a teacher one is always expected to be “smart”, trousers shirt and jumper was enough for me to begin with. In my first job I taught in a working-class mixed race school and the students were always talking about clothes, I can remember feeling some pressure and did respond a bit. In the second school came the ties. I moved out of London, and the school had a tie policy although I was not told that in interview. It was common-place to wear a tie for interview so they never said …. until afterwards. I had an ongoing battle with the head who was a bully. I was the union rep and he misused his power not to promote me. At one stage he gave the excuse to my HOD that I did not follow school policies – the tie. I gave way in the end, but then there developed other excuses not to promote me. In the end he gave me a bonus when I was forced to resign from the union. In my leaving speech I gave him a present – my ties, and when I went over to him everyone said he looked petrified presumably he thought I would give him the smack he deserved (that had never crossed my mind – seriously). After that I taught in Africa and wore safari suits, and fellow teachers in shirt and tie thought I was overdressed. Nearly 7 years later I changed jobs and never gave a thought to shirt and ties, I became comfortable with matching shirt, tie and tie-clip. Now I wear shirts and shorts, black tie at funeral, and wonder why I got dragged into the tie issue. I have sometimes bought clothes for fashion – but rarely.
My image does not matter but 10 years ago I had a health issue – GERD. Over the years I was always overweight sometimes more than 20kg. This started with booze but didn’t stop when I gave it up. A natural health doctor suggested macrobiotics, and I follow a version of that to this day. For the first time my body matters because it is the product of fitness and healthy eating, and I watch my weight accordingly. At the moment I am 8kg over BMI, and not fit because my swimming has tailed off. This observation is not attachment to body, one religion describes it as “taking care of the body of the householder”. When I evaluate my body image I don’t see it as important, and wonder why it is important to others.
In Bell Hooks’ panel discussion I have a great deal of difficulty relating to Janet Mock and her glam. First and foremost society should respect her decision, and this ludicrous US toilet situation that led to the Fani interview discussed in Gender and Genitalia is crazy. She has the right to be who she wants to be without infringing on others. Ladyboys are readily tolerated in Thailand, they are relatively common-place (in each village). I remember a conversation with a gay friend. I had just visited Penang and stayed in a hotel near a tourist street – Julia Street. In the evening I walked past prostitutes – not unusual to see prostitutes on Asian streets near tourist hotels, and mentioned this to the friend. He advised me to be careful as they were ladyboys and had a reputation for luring clients and robbing them; he was not critical of this practise as if their crime could be tolerated.
But I do not understand the fixation with clothes. Janet wishes to portray herself in the image of a beautiful woman, but to me such stereotypes appear to be part of the patriarchy. Tell me why I am wrong but it seems to me that she is even more conditioned. I celebrate her desire to be Janet but as Bell Hooks asked would she be celebrated as a writer if she were not discussing the fashionable trans? Janet is beautiful, Beyonce is beautiful, Muslims can be beautiful, why the need for the glam?
Body-image is an integral part of patriarchal conditioning of women. The conditioning fashions women to appeal to male desire whilst at the same time filling the coffers of BigFashion. Within the conditioned framework such statements of intent as Beyonce’s and Janet’s show an element of control but in terms of conditioning they appear to me not to show detachment. I am unsure where they would stand in the mature model, whether awakening can be considered to have occurred – awakening from conditioning.
It reminded me of the womanism article that was in the Youth Centre magazine I edited in the early 80s. Womanism was a term that was used by Alice Walker amongst others because they considered the conditioning for a black woman was significantly different for that of white.
I note the discussion on Beyonce. As far as I understand it Beyonce is considered in some way feminist because she owns the image she portrays and makes a profit from it. This is her choice and she has the right to make it. But the patriarchy would not complain as her image satisfies their desires, the 1% are happy as the performer only makes a small percentage of the revenue – however large in total, and the image-making side of the patriarchy would also be happy – women whose image they are objectifying can now accept this image as their own because people like Beyonce have owned it. I remember a similar discussion around Madonna owning her image but I am not sure about that. I did hear that Madonna is macrobiotic, that is health and much more than an image.
When there is talk of black people the word colonial must come up. Initially colonialism subjugated through military. When black people fought against the military it became cheaper to ensure their requirements – raw materials market and cheap labour – were maintained through controlled self-rule – neo-colonialism. These puppets of neo-colonialism ensure the continued exploitation of the African cake, and the only cost is buying off the puppets. It suits the colonial mentality to have Beyonce own her image because what she does is what they would like her to do.
I also note that Bell continually uses the words “imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy”. Consider the issue of slavery in a modern day context. The “naked” slavery of the plantations had the owner, then white taskmasters and pecking order amongst black slaves. This slavery had one person the owner making most of the money and using that money to ensure that all who worked for him were subjugated including the white people who enforced his power. This is 1%-strategy – owners with varying degrees of wage-slavery underneath with black people, esp black women, at the bottom. Bell’s awareness has been a response to the patriarchy so naturally that word is emphasised. For me patriarchy is an effective, divisive system the 1% employ in line with their aims of profit; it is a pecking order as on the plantations with black women at the bottom of the ladder.
I note this quote [41.00] from Bell Hooks. “There is a price for the decolonisation. You’re not going to have the wealth, you’re not going to be getting your genius award funded by the militarist, imperialist, Macarthur people …. It is the cost of liberation. People will remain enslaved because it is simply easier, more well paid.”
And compare it with a description of the mature model in my blog Culture:- “Because mature people must live somewhere, they live amidst culture but they “float” around these cultures as outsiders, some socially accepted and others not.” Beyonce accepting her image and exploiting it has maintained that social status, that acclaim and wealth, what financial cost has Bell Hooks paid for what she calls decolonisation? Not being colonised only exploited I would use her other word – liberation, what is the price of liberation?
I know one thing, liberation brings greater happiness even if sometimes financially-challenged!!!!
I thought caste was an archaic system in India that was almost dying out but there are still 100,000,000 million people who are Dalit – “untouchables” – in India.
As a Buddhist I have an issue because Buddhism started in India, and for many Hinduism and Buddhism are considered much-of-a-muchness. Previously I didn’t like the sweeping reincarnation that is part of Hinduism but that was kind of that. Until a couple of Dalit on a Buddhist list made Hinduism clear to me.
First of all listen to Arundhati Roy, someone whose analysis is regularly correct, talking about caste and Dr Ambedkar.
Much more about this can be found in the book “Annihilation of Caste – annotated edition” by Dr Ambedkar with the introduction by Arundhati Roy – the clip is promoting the book.
What really got to me was how I had been conned by the myths surrounding Gandhi, Arundhati’s saint (irony). It is always good to know that no matter how much you try the media can still get one over you, and how it is always necessary to be vigilant. Gandhi, the man who used the word “kaffir”.
Religious institutions do not have a good track record but I can never see Hinduism as a source of knowledge, as moral, whilst caste continues.
I have just spent a few days watching pulp TV as I have been down with the flu. I can remember movies like 1984 in which the media is totally controlled, and is used to maintain the establishment position. This is the way I feel about what I have just watched. I remember reading somewhere that the only way you can get a balanced view of life is by swithcing off the TV.
There is a TV series called “Covert Affairs”, it is quite pleasant. An all-American female heroine joins the CIA to defend American interests. Now there is potential for exposing some of the illicit actions of CIA history but it promotes the CIA as a family that cares for its own and cares for America. There’s a cute little sideline, she befriends a Mossad agent who drops in lines aboout Israeli retaliatory strikes and so on.
I watched Stargate Atlantis. So this is in another galaxy, but it still presents images and models that would encourage young men to support the US – the West. One of the heroes is a “cute” guy, not a big macho guy, but macho. He fights, wins, stand up for what is right. This series even has a storyline in which there is an overbearing governmental committee who are basically ignored by the action heroes. Good-minded young people might take this action model to imitate.
Growing up in this entertainment environment, what do young people nowadays receive? I have no idea, but it would be so hard to see the truth. I grew up when the control of the entertainment media was much less established, and people of my age rejected all that went before. Thatcher and after have never allowed that to happen, and media control is much more integrated into the establishment. In the 80s there was “A Very Britsh Coup“, not much chance of that happening again. Occasionally movies do question the establishment “Enemy of the State” but there are few that give complete “1%” pictures – some truth there though.
Overall the distance from TV to the truth is phenomenal as is the majority’s perception and reality. This is of course intentional, genuine insightful truth is the only way through this 1% maze. At no stage in my flu-state did I see the 1% represented as bad guys, and certainly at no stage was there any attempt to take action against these bad guys. But to be quite honest why should I expect there to be?
It is when I receive the brunt of establishment pressure do I start to consider how we who have some insight into their machinations behave. I remember the pointless intellectual arguments with the liberationist whose sole purpose in discussion was to get everybody working together his way. I look at others who have gained some insight often ending up fighting each other or equally often failing to pursue their understanding to their rightful conclusion, such conclusions being inimical to many lifestyles, some relationships, bad food and so much more. And yet most demand of people a perception that in truth people cannot possibly develop due to this intense media pressure.
Then we get Buddhists who have some understanding, argue points of dogma, and distance themselves from engagement; I am sure other religions develop similar distractions. In some ways they are right because happiness is closer to their priority but no matter who we are we cannot gain happiness by ignoring the harm that our system does. But then embroiling oneself in a battle with the 1% cannot produce personal harmony or happiness, there has to be a balance between insight and compassion that will lead to happiness. Listening to how to defeat bad guys is never such a way.
Read this article on yet another Nigerian plane crash:-
Now the article is written as reporting, and in my view this bit of reporting appears unbiassed – similar to this BBC report. Here is my analysis concerning the crashes, I am no expert but I lived in Nigeria for two years. Nigeria has for a long time been fighting corruption, and this corruption often takes the form of moneys being allocated for particular needs disappearing into private bank accounts – a bit like bailout money disappearing into the accounts of bankers but in Nigeria all the rich appear to be doing it. Corruption is an endemic problem that good Nigerians have been trying to fight for years – sadly failing. In the case of plane crashes that happen regularly there is a corruption reason for this, the money provided for maintenance is being pocketed. Nigeria is a big country and plane travel is essential to get around. When I was there 2004-05 I remember a plane crash killing schoolchildren.
As I said in this case you cannot fault the reporting, if you read this BBC article it has more detail but its tone is similar. Now I would like you to look at the comments. Now I have no idea whether those comments were made by Iranians, in which case I consider seeing US plots everywhere is a reasonable response to the US “attacks” on Iran. But what if these people were from elsewhere? In my view they are fostering anti-US feeling based on false facts. When in Nigeria I lived in Lagos, the Christian centre of Nigeria. There was an uneasy harmony between Christian and Muslim, in my department of 3 the head was a Buddhist, one was Muslim and the other Christian. On the ground religion is a dominant factor in Nigerian daily life, many are devout. But to see the US in this?
In some ways it is legit to see US tentacles, but as neocolonialism. The country is corrupt because of the money and oil, but to say that there is direct US involvement in these crashes? Whilst US interests are in keeping the country unstable there is no need for the US to create the crashes, they happen regularly.
There is no opinion in this PRESS-tv report, but if there were it might well lean towards that of the readership – the comments. That would be so dangerous. The truth needs to win the hearts and minds of the 99% to stamp out the heinous crimes of the 1%. Presenting bias as news presents the 1% media with an opportunity to create further divisions of the 99%, and as such I always implore activists to check their truth. Not enough do. What is actually true is enough to expose the 1% for the harm they do, there is no need for lies. Whilst I understand the Iranian government-sponsored tactics of this propoganda tv and in truth I sympathise, in the long term it doesn’t help. Only the truth helps.