Saturday, 30 April 2011

The escalation of the class war being waged against the working classes.

Well there we have it; one Royal Wedding appropriated and carried off without any real problems for the authorities and the powers that be. Nothing really seriously occurred or was it ever planed in the first place, as it was indeed propagated and generally fanned-up by both the police and their friends in the media. However Police made 43 arrests during the royal wedding, as they battled to make sure Prince William and Catherine Middleton's big day went to plan.

A massive £20 million security operation swung into action in the capital in the hours before the prince and his bride exchanged vows at Westminster Abbey.

Police chiefs have confirmed 43 arrests were made as specialist teams cracked down on disruption. The detentions came for a number of alleged petty crimes, including three for being drunk in public and three for theft. Cops had expected a number of protests during the ceremony, but apart from several small peaceful demonstrations in Soho and Trafalgar Square, the wedding ceremony passed without incident. Today’s papers will be full of dribble about how lovely the bride was, and how fortunate the young Prince and his Bride were, not to have had a single drop of rain. There will be many photographs of the crowds of flag waving people, and whether they were tourists or not is another thing, but the crowds that lined the streets were not the usual working classes of old. It’s fair to say that the monarchy is in decline amongst the British people, and has been for the best part of the last 20 years.

Walking home on Thursday night I stopped to ask an elderly neighbour if he would be celebrating this wedding, and he promptly told me that he had given up on the royal’s years ago. However many others fall for all this buncombe about a young prince (blue blood knot aristocrat) and his commoner bride.

Alfie Meadows, 20, faces a charge of violent disorder.  

I could go on and on about my detestation for royalty but this event has now passed and thankfully glided us by. But there is something which is now emerging and that’s the steps taken and the lengths that the authorities have gone too, to prevent decent appearing on the London streets. The day before the wedding the Metropolitan Police announced they had made arrests and charged 16 students in regard to last Decembers student protests, amongst those charged and unbelievably was young Alfie Meadows. You may remember that Alfie was the student who had to have brain surgery after he was hit by a truncheon during the tuition fees protests in central London on 9 December is among 11 males aged between 15 and 25 charged in connection with violence at the event. Alfie fell unconscious on the way to hospital after being struck as he tried to leave an area outside Westminster Abbey (same venue as the royal wedding) during the protests. The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Police Officers it is being reported made at least three raids on Thursday morning at squatter sites connected with anarchist and environmental protest groups.  The latest step towards a police state that we seem to find ourselves living in, the police have used the occasion of this parasitical royal wedding as a kind of ‘combat’ and ‘covert’ military surgical operation to take into custody those that have the bottle and the gall to stand up and fight back. Special powers granted for the day meant that any pro-democracy activists attempting to demonstrate would be arrested and removed immediately.  Not only that, but the preceding week has seen police conducting raids on social centres and housing up and down the country, with “stolen goods” being cited as one of the reasons.

These developments are indeed worrying and should be seen as an escalation of the class war being waged against the working classes.   

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Royal Wedding Street Parties A Thing of the Past

Now I wouldn't like to worry anyone, but I been considering and wondering about Royal Street Parties. That’s not to say that I am planning holding or organising such an event - far, far and far from it comrades.
But, rather what can we learn this time, from such displays from monarchists and right-wingers who take charge and slobber at the feet of these parasites, spongers and in general bloodsucking aquatic, terrestrial worms better known as leeches.

With the Royal Wedding just a few days (Friday) away and I was wondering what displays of support we could expect on this great day.”

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), the Government and Her Majesty’s Ministers have been “disingenuous”. Well I never – and is this a modern reflection of the not so high esteem that our (not mine) royalty is now held in?”

Apparently Ministers have been joined by David Cameron in attacking excessively bureaucratic councils making it harder for ordinary people to host street parties for this week's royal wedding. In an article for the Sun newspaper earlier this month, the prime minister ordered councils not to "get in the way" or "make problems where there are none; such caviller loyalty must be reassuring to the old Queen then.

He penned in the Rupert Murdoch owned Scum Sun:  

"My message to everyone who wants to have a street party is: I'm having one and I want you to go ahead and have one too."

And of course as you can imagine led by the BBC the media have been falling all over trying to appeal to patriotism and nationalism the blind wave that politicians would like the docile masses of an enslaved nation to follow; and further if it wasn’t David Cameron put your giro on Big Ed Miliband doing the same; all part of the job they do.

The residents apparently of Albert Square (East Enders), will celebrate the Royal Wedding with a street party in which they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most marital infidelities committed within an east London postcode, but then again the members of the House of Windsor will take some beating, overcoming or outdoing if recent form is anything to go by a long shot.

Described as Britain's biggest ever media event - hundreds of millions of people around the world will be watching the royal wedding.

To bring events to the global audience, thousands of journalists have arrived in London, where temporary studios which they have forked-out thousands for all manner of vantage points that have been constructed.

So what about the street party then – well by the look of things here in East London once a hotbed of support for royalty interest has waned, riding up and down the streets of Canning Town on my bicycle I can only see a few houses decked out in bunting and have got word of no local street parties being organised, this is indeed afar cry from the day’s when the late Queen Mother could or could not look the East End in the eye. I have been told that in Scotland there are only 7 such events and with electioneering under way for a new Assembly will this be an indication that the SNP will hold on to power or even secure a working majority this time around who knows.

I came across these interesting articles in the Guardian and thought it a good idea to reproduce some of the content in this post as they are relevant to my argument. The first by Patrick Barkham asks have Royal Wedding Street Parties become – an endangered species:

“Every time there was a royal wedding or a jubilee, the residents of Llanmaes Street would throw a party. Bunting was strung between the tight Victorian terraces, flags fluttered and trestle tables were laden with homecooked food. There were egg-and-spoon races, face-painting and fancy dress. A piano would be heaved on to the road for a good old sing-song. One time, the men built an open-air bar and called it the Elizabeth Inn to honour the new queen. Another year residents sat guard in their cars all night because of a rumour that their bunting was going to be stolen”. 
Rita Spinola and her friends Dolly King and Shirley Burnet organised the last 13 parties on this close-knit Cardiff street. This year, however, the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton will pass unmarked by public festivities on Llanmaes Street. "You just can't have one because there's nothing here any more," says Spinola, who is 71 and still works as a dinner lady at the local school. "The street is not the same. When I was a little girl every house had families so there was always children. Now they aren't family houses any more. It will be sad to see the street without any flags up, the first time in all these years." 
And you can continue to read this article in full

Paul Heaton then writes that Hull is no king's town - It makes me proud that Hull is the only English city not having a street party for the royal wedding:

“When in April 1642 Charles I moved to secure the port of Hull, he found the gates firmly shut. Having considered it his divine right to gain access to Hull's extensive arsenal (the largest weapons cache outside the Tower of London, no less), Charles discovered that the MP, Sir John Hotham, refused to follow royal orders. After a siege, the citizens drove away the royalists under gunfire – and Hull witnessed the first military action of the English civil war.

I was reminded of this anecdote a couple of days ago, when I heard that Hull's was the only council in the country that hadn't had a single application for a street party for the royal wedding. Nearby East Riding of Yorkshire council has received 12. Lots of my old friends sent me texts that day: "Good ol' Hull. Fuck the royals!" My city is too often in the headlines for the wrong reason; it was nice to hear news that made me feel genuinely proud.
Some politicians blame the lack of applications on "uncertain weather", but Hull's anti-royalism is embedded deep in its history. When I lived in Hull in the 1980s and 90s, me and my bandmates in the Housemartins used to drink in one of the city's oldest pubs on Silver Street, Ye Olde White Harte, in whose "Plotting Parlour" Sir Thomas Fairfax had allegedly planned the civil war. There is a reason no local calls the city by the name Edward I had given it in 1299 – "King's town upon Hull" (which became Kingston upon Hull): it's a term many Hullensians consider a slave name, a tattoo on the city's face”. 
And you can continue to read the full article here

Well just to end this post by saying that what we have is an extra day off from the drudgery of work slavery, that’s of course if you're fortunate to be in work, and if you're not then why should anyone in their right mind want to celebrate the knot-tying of two rich and very privileged individuals who will never have to lift a finger, struggle or do a proper days work in their entire lives.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

It's all Smog'

It’s Saturday night on the first Easter holiday weekend under the Con/Dems, and here’s hoping that they are not in office come Whitsun’. Oh, and do you remember that Whitsun’ it was a bank holiday in the United Kingdom until 1967. It was formally replaced by the fixed Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday in May in 1971.

The name "Whitsunday" is generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by those newly baptized on this feast and I have no idea if this Christian ceremony is still performed in an especially solemn elaborate or formal way?”

Next weekend of course it’s the royal wedding bank holiday – well aren’t we the lucky ones.

These bank holidays come thick and fast at this time of the year, and many people have told me that when they were working they would look forward to them and the time off from work. However if you're unemployed or retired then they seem to be an unavoidable inconvenience, and no different to any other day of the week, especially if you don’t have much in the way of disposable income.

One or two things that I have noticed this holiday weekend – Smog and no planes taking off from the city airport across the other side of the A13 where I live in Canning Town. The airport which I may or may not have mentioned in previous posts is the gateway to Europe for the executive business type who it principally serves, the financial district of London.

The airport has produced apparently a master plan outlining their vision for growth up to 2030. The plan shows an expansion of the airport to a maximum capacity of 8 million passengers per annum, without the addition of a second runway, or significant expansion of the airport boundaries, this is all the more remarkable when you consider it is a single-runway STOLport, an airport for use by STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) airliners.

The size and layout of the airport and overall complexity caused by the lack of taxiways mean that the airport gets very busy during peak hours. The air traffic controllers have to deal with over 38 flights an hour.  I have a real birds-eye view of planes taking off and coming into land, and luckily for me the noise and disturbance of planes taking off is quite minimal on my side of the track that is, but on the other side of Canning Town it’s horrendous, although I must say that in recent years many have moved out of Canning Town South as the local Labour Council and property developers decant and re-mould, as if from clay this old artery of London’s East End.

I suppose it is true to say that nothing stays the same, places change, people come and people go. But there are some things that do after all stay the same, for instance I don’t imagine that many of the thousands that live locally and underneath the flight-path have the resources or can even afford to take a flight out of Canning Town, such is the poverty of the area which I know I have spoken about on this blog many times.

And that brings me conveniently to ‘Smog’ which over the last week or so has hit the news and of course during this really exceptional weather which is far beyond what is usual in magnificent magnitude and degree for this time of the year, what ever happened to the April showers then.  It really has been great and uplifting, but it's not spring as we know it. We are now in the fourth week of what may well be the warmest April on record. The days have been almost endlessly sunny since 6 April; temperatures have, in these here southern parts, reached 26.5 C; and our gardens and countryside look more like mid-May than late April.

The British spring of 2011, and we are warmer than Los Angeles, drier than Madrid; although bringing to an end a particularly nasty winter. However there is a down side to this tale and that’s the ‘Smog’.  

Potentially dangerous levels of smog across the country are being currently evaluated and measured by health officials. High levels of pollution are expected to affect much of Britain, according to officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with London, Yorkshire, and the east, south-east and north-west of England all forecast to be badly hit.

The latest smog means that the UK could face a penalty as punishment for breaking EU air-pollution regulations. Recent smog alerts have put Britain over its annual limit for daily pollution. As the guidelines become legally binding in Britain in June, experts believe the UK could soon face court action.

Professor Frank Kelly, a professor of environmental health at King's College London, has said:

"We've now had seven consecutive days of high or very high pollution in London, which we haven't seen since the heat-wave of 2003”.

Britain was given an extension to meet EU limits for air pollution but it runs out on 11 June, leaving the UK vulnerable to being taken through the European courts.

Every morning I sit as this desk surfing and browsing the Internet with a brew in hand looking out occasionally into the early morning, witnessing the distant haze hanging around buildings as the Sun begins to turn up its heat. Make no mistake this smog is a real killer, man made, showing no mercy. Comrade Mark Write, fellow blogger puts it this way:

“The mad rush to work everyday during summer months in London is unbearable as it is but despite London’s attempts to ease traffic off with their congestion charge the smog and fumes keep on coming”.

And he continues by saying:

“I lay the blame for the pollution of our cities and towns firmly at the feet of capitalism who have no care in the world for the world, and this will end up in us destroying our planet unless we change the way society is run”.

I must say I second that comrade; you can read Marks post in full here: the way I see things 

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The capitalist world ‘bit bulls’ selectively bred for their fighting prowess

Now as I do recall, we were discussing violence on this here blog, just before I disappeared and got involved with otherwise different and perplexing things, but not at all disconnected with the subject matter in hand. They do say that experience is really life’s teacher; and I can vouch for that (as indeed we all can) as I personally consider the last few weeks.

About a week back the fifth youngster to die in a horrendous attack on our London streets was Negus McLean 15-year-old who was fatally stabbed in Edmonton.
Negus, was knifed in a frenzied attack after a group of about 13 youths on bikes spotted him and his 13-year-old brother Elijah in Westminster Road, Edmonton, on Sunday evening. The reported bandana-wearing gang are believed to have been targeting Elijah in a row over a BlackBerry mobile phone, although one seed of press information has said that the attack was down to gang rivalry.  

Knife crime and gun killings have risen sharply in London despite (or so the Metropolitan police figures lay claim too) an overall drop in crime across the capital in the past year.

There were 25 gun killings in the year to last month, up nine on the previous year's total, and a 5.7 per cent increase in knife crimes, amounting to an extra 723 incident and taking the total number of offences with a blade to 13,341.

There were an extra 81 victims of serious youth violence, taking the total for the year to nearly 7,000, while robberies rose by more than seven per cent.

The number of killings stood at 135 compared with the previous annual total of 120, and rape rose by 16.7 per cent - an extra 473 victims.

These statistics talk for themselves, but what they should and are indeed saying as far as I am concerned; is that there is something very seriously wrong with our society. But is anybody out there really bothered; somehow I don’t think so. It’s as if such violence has become commonplace, that’s completely ordinary and unremarkable, an almost everyday upshot of modern life here in Britain.   

All this violence, and which if anything is steadily getting worst, is a direct consequence and bloodily exposé; the by-product and an intersection of capitalism.  

At the heart of my argument is a simple and convincing proposition: people know how to live their own lives (they really don’t have or need to be told) and organise themselves better than any expert could. Others cynically claim that people do not know what is in their best interests, that they need a government to protect them that the ascension upward of some political party or other could somehow secure the interests of all members of society. Socialists should counter that argument and say that that decision-making should not be centralized in the hands of any government, but instead power should be decentralized: that is to say, each person should be the centre of society, and all should be free to build the networks and associations they need to meet their needs in common with others.

So if people know how to live their lives, then it must pose the question, why do we live the lives we do in the world as it is currently set out?” A gravelling and possibly baffling question for too many even for those on the so-called left of politics.

How in all of this do we assert our own control? Workers in the 1800’s and at the turn of the 20th century didn’t vote, make an ethical consumer choice, or take part in a public opinion poll to shorten their working hours or assemble in the streets, they got together and did it, without asking for permission from anyone. One of the major things it has to be said, that stopped them from taking it any further and ending their exploitation was when they decided to rely on representatives, whether from a union, or political party.

Control the Operative Word

And control is the operative word here; we are controlled whether we like it or not, from the time when something begins (especially all life), through education, work and until departure and the life sentence has been served. If we’re lucky, then just maybe, by some miraculous miracle we don’t face the threat and danger of violence, in whatever shape or form it comes. However it does touch us all one way or the other, don’t we see read and hear about it in the news and from all around the world.

Just pausing for a moment and taking a detour in my argument, even the police are controlled, kept in line by their gaffers, and I thought it was very amusing that an effort to get sick or injured Hampshire police officers back to frontline work has been described as an “embarrassment” after it was named Operation Retsaw – that’s “waster” spelt backwards. But The Police Federation representing Hampshire’s rank and file officers say the name given to the programme is “tasteless” and has been created out of someone’s “poorly placed humour”.  Assistant Chief Constable Steve Dann has launched an investigation into what happened and has issued an email to all staff affected and in which he said:

“This is an unfortunate and regrettable action which falls short of the standards of behaviour I expect of my staff. I am extremely disappointed by this and the impact it may have.

Tesco Wages War – Class War

Now Tesco the supermarket has been in the news recently; firstly it has a new chief executive, Philip Clark a whiz-kid (although he is 50) who has moved into the hot seat 36 years after he did his first shift shelf stacking for the retail giant as a schoolboy, but then his dad was a Tesco store manager in the Wirral, and I suppose that and the free education he received studying economics at Liverpool University was all the hand up he needed, which of course is no longer available to youngsters from that great city of Liverpool.

It appears that Tesco is experiencing a little turbulence at this present moment, with general merchandise sales down, and profit loss only offset by its operations in Asia, the supermarket has decided to take on the British banks by building on its growing financial services. The capitalist world is very much run by and like a load of ‘bit bulls’ selectively bred for their fighting prowess. Philip Clark presenting his groups annual results on Tuesday he said he would like Tesco to provide “the kind of bank that we all used to love”. Well I don’t know what he’s talking about – do you?”

But what I do know is that the people of Bristol, that’s the Stokes Croft area of the city, the people there don’t seem to like Tesco full stop. Some of the worst scenes of rioting in Bristol in a generation have been reported in the press, and some eye-witnesses have accused police of over-reaction and contributing to the pitched battles that erupted in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The Tesco supermarket opened a week ago despite some opposition in the local Stokes Croft neighbourhood, which includes a number of squats and a few chain stores. But the underlying feeling is that many locals didn’t want a Tesco supermarket, the question is why?”

I would suggest that there now exists in Britain a real mistrust and general abominating loathing of corporate elitism and all forms of local and national government, whom lay the feather beds in our communities, seeking profits here there and everywhere and in spite of much hardship now being exerted on the great unwashed. As we run into summer will we see more unrest?”  

Friday, 22 April 2011

The rich and powerful should be required by law to spend time every year helping the poor and needy.

Well, there was something that I was missing recently – and then as if by magic, and just like that narrative of the Mr Benn character created by David McKee who appears in several children's books, and an animated television series of the same name transmitted by the BBC in the 1970s, you may remember, but if you don’t here is a minuscule reminder.

Mr Benn, a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat, leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the, fez-wearing shopkeeper to try on a particular outfit. He leaves the shop through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a world appropriate to his costume and suitable for a particular person or place or condition, where he has an adventure (which usually contains a moral) before the shopkeeper reappears to lead him back to the changing room, and the story comes to an end. Mr Benn returns to his normal life, but is left with a small souvenir of his magical adventure.

Well what I remember of Mr Benn came to mind whist I was reading a story into today’s news, and I do suppose that the Easter weekend has a little to do with it.

Apparently the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the rich and powerful should be required by law to spend time every year helping the poor and needy.

Well such a suggestion and from the top vicar, a man of the cloth and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church, well, Church of England as created by a British male monarch who had more than a roaming eye, well that’s quite something else really and so is the daft ludicrous and cockeyed statement from Rowan Williams on this Good Friday, and now all we are waiting for is an equally sanitized and counterfeit sermon from the pontiff.

It’s the statements and pronouncements, dictums, say-so’s and the authoritative declaration of the likes of ‘Williams’ which really gets my goat’.

Now, am I missing something – or is it, that the very existence of a rich and powerful in society is ‘simply’ our real problem; or what?”

Mr Benn as I remember was able by magic to escape into a fantasy world with imagination, unrestricted by reality until the shopkeeper reappears!”   

I don’t know really think that whatever Williams has to say will be listened too, although his statement has attracted and pulled in some disapprobation from the usual quarters. However I think that we should consider the statement made by Rowan Williams in this context that there are jitters amongst the ruling class, and they are worried.

And so a pillow of the establishment sends out a mixed message, and of course the church state owned and run with the Queen at its head will play its part in quelling and quenching any discontent from below, just last night in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, an area that has a long-standing reputation for alternative living and a stand against corporate consumerism. Scuffles broke out on Thursday night when officers forced their way into a property being used by squatters on virtually opposite a Tesco shop. A fuller report can be read here

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The fragility of the world economy

Two years into a ‘reckoned’ recovery, not only have none of the inherent contradictions that triggered off the deepest economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression been resolved, but it’s fairish to say new problems are emerging.

Two of Britain’s biggest banks admitted they’ve already taken multi-million pounds hit on their exposure to Greek debt, amid mounting fears that the crisis-hit nation will default on its loans.
Taxpayer-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland said it has taken a £400m provision against its £1.5bn holding in Greek bonds. HSBC said it has marked down the value of its £1.3bn exposure, but described it as a ‘dent rather than a crash’.
RBS chief executive Stephen Hester believes the sovereign debt crisis gripping markets is an ‘uncomfortable reminder’ of the fragility of the global economic recovery.

‘The world has not yet dealt with the economic imbalances that lay behind the crisis and, indeed, has created new ones in the form of budget deficits around the world’
The headline on the latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) reads: “Despite New Risks Global Recovery Seen Gaining Strength.” Notwithstanding its forecast of world growth reaching 4.5 percent for both 2011 and 2012, a reading of the report reveals that the headline was aimed at putting the best face on a bad, and in some cases, worsening situation.

While financial markets have been stabilised over the past two years due to the massive inflows of government funds—some estimates put the total global bailout as high as $14 trillion—the threat of another meltdown is ever-present, possibly beginning in Europe, either because of a sovereign debt default or a bank failure.

According to the report: “In the near term, continued strains in more vulnerable euro area sovereigns and banks pose a significant threat to financial stability ... This is mainly due to continuing weakness among financial institutions in many of the region’s advanced economies and a lack of transparency about their exposures.” In other words, no one really knows the state of the European banks and how much they could lose out of the hundreds of billions of dollars they have lent. Their “asset quality” is “uncertain” while they “face a wall of maturing debt” as well as “significant capital shortfalls.”

Summarising conditions in the United States, for which it cut forecast growth for 2011 from 3 percent to 2.8 percent, the IMF report points to a “pick-up” in the economy. It notes that, as a result of “unconventional monetary easing” (the supply of ultra-cheap credit to the banks by the US Federal Reserve) equity markets have recovered about two-thirds of their losses in the financial crisis. However, it acknowledges there is little recovery in the labour market. “After shedding more than 8.5 million jobs in 2008 and 2009, the labour market has added just under 1.5 million jobs since the trough, barely sufficient to keep up with the growth of the working-age population,” the report states.

According to traditional economic wisdom, an economic recovery should bring an improvement in employment, Nowadays however, the causal relationship that used to operate works in the opposite direction. The recovery in profits and equity prices has resulted from record high levels of unemployment and the consequent increased pressure on workers. The profits recovery is, in other words, the result of a human recession.
And those pressures are now going to be intensified. The IMF has added its voice to the clamour in ruling financial and political circles for an assault on what remains of the social welfare system in the US and of course what we are experiencing here in the UK.

The major areas of growth are Asia and Latin America. However, far from these regions providing the basis for an uplift of the world economy, their expansion is still highly dependent on the US and European economies. As the report notes: “Despite a substantial increase in interregional trade, two-thirds of the final demand for Asian exports still comes from outside the region, and renewed turbulence in the euro area would affect Asia primarily through trade linkages.”

Moreover, the growth in Asian and Latin American economies is creating new sources of instability. The IMF notes that in both China and Hong Kong, monetary authorities have taken action to rein in credit expansion and are ready to do more. “Nonetheless, in both economies credit growth remains high compared with the run-ups to previous credit booms and busts, and there are mounting concerns about the potential for steep corrections in property prices and their implications.”

Notwithstanding the efforts of monetary authorities, the IMF continues, “there is rising concern that management of credit aggregates’, used to exercise macroeconomic control, is being undermined by banks’ financial innovation and off-balance-sheet activities.” In other words, the kind of activities that led to the sub-prime crisis in the US is being repeated, albeit in a different form, in China.

Latin American economies grew about 6 percent last year—after contracting 1.75 percent in 2009—as a result of strong demand from China and rising commodity prices. But the IMF has warned that both these “favourable conditions” could be triggers for credit booms in a number of countries that “could lead to an eventual bust.” And growth could be rapidly reversed if there were a downturn in Brazil, on which much of the region is dependent, or a “hard landing” in China, which would see a drop in commodity exports.

The fragility of the world economy, which not even the customary upbeat gloss of the IMF can obscure, points to the fact that the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 was not a passing storm, but the opening of a new period in the history of world capitalism, marked by ongoing economic upheaval, growing international tensions and deepening class conflict.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Capitalism the perpetrator of world violence.

Now have you ever noticed that whenever there is a really big and large demonstration; and it passes off relatively peacefully; the press and media in general convey very little by way of coverage; over the years there have been some quite biggish demonstrations and yet the coverage has been minimal, and the least possible said. Well maybe a photograph and a small report tucked away in the inside page of a daily, usually recounting how many attended with the organisers claiming one figure and the police another.

The recent march organised by the TUC received much attention, some may, and will say for all the wrong reasons; the highlighted aspects portrayed that day by our combined journalistic fraternity. The so-called violence of alleged ‘anarchists’ hit the front pages of almost all of our newspapers the next morning, as well as the reality television like journalism of broadcasting organisations such as Sky News, which if I’m right is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire.

So you're sitting at home and watching the coverage, dramatic pictures of young people attacking and taking their pent-up emotions out of the windows of tax dodging business and of well known banks, whom and let us not forget brought the economy and the world almost to it’s knees two and more years ago, but saved only and as I do believe temporarily by government intervention; bailed out by thrusting so-called public money into and holding up a rotten system of capitalism, which in turn has led to austerity (as if refraining from worldly pleasures) and the package of government cuts being implemented without a mandate. Job’s lost, with plans to sack many more workers, services and benefits cut affecting the lives of all of us in time, and dashing the aspirations of the young and possibly generations to come. And what you’re seeing on your television is the reaction of anger, an anger forged and contrived by those who say that the poorest must be made to pay for the world crisis of capitalism, except the reporter constantly tells you that ‘anarchists’ are doing this that and the other, but fails (unwillingly or deliberately) to explain why people are so angry in the first place, well I suppose that’s the freedom of the press for you.         

Kit Malthouse, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, is reported in the press to have said: "I counted these anarchists myself.

“They were a nasty bunch of black-shirted thugs on Piccadilly and it was pretty obvious that they were intent on rampaging around and would be very difficult to control.”

It is because of this portrayal and characterization of protesters angry, and it has to be said at a system that fails many, denying and traversing like a bulldozer, destroying people’s lives, robbing them of the security, breaking up families and so on. I have therefore resolved to take a closer look into our violent society, the next few post and following on from my last will examine this violent society that we live in. I hope to breakdown and expose capitalism as the perpetrator of world violence.

In the contemporary world violence has become an inescapable part of modern life and beside its coercive character and brutality, it also troubles us with its two major characteristics which obstruct any clear and theoretical analysis: violence often seems to be random and irrational and its motives seem incomprehensible. Violence is often described as the exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse, and the word usually stands for forceful human destruction of property or injury to persons, usually intentional, and forceful verbal and emotional abuse that harms others. In this post and those that follow I would like to tackle the notion of violence in contemporary philosophical discussion, having in mind that violent acts cannot be fully grasped neither by scholarly empirical analysis (e.g. sociological, psychological or political) nor by media coverage of violence. That is to say, there are very few possible theoretical standpoints that can fully address this problem today, going much deeper below the surface which is, almost without exemption, always focused on violence undertaken by some easily identifiable agents (such as state terrorism, assaults, riots, ethnic cleansing, murders, wars, etc.). I would argue that, in order to analyze that problem we have to assume completely opposite approach, i.e. to start to think about violence in terms of its symbolic and systemic character instead of focusing on clearly visible acts. I hope that you are able not only to stay the course but please feel free to contribute to the discussion.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

' society drunk with the fascination of bloodshed."

When you think about it we will all have had some experience of violence; no doubt some personalised accumulation or knowledge in regard to violence, we may read about violent crime and hear about in the news, and possibly every other day as it seems, or we may have (and havens above) been on the receiving end.

It has always intrigued and interested me, curiosity killed the cat they say, but for years I have often wondered why it was and still is that the media and the entertainment industry promote violence and gave it a covering of honourableness and in a great many respects, well not just a covering but a grate big dollop of honorificabilitudinitatibus (there is nothing like a big word).  

The debate over media violence has circumvented definitive answers for more than three decades. At first, the debate is dominated by one call into question —whether or not media violence in reality causes real-life violence. But closer examination reveals a political battle. On the one hand, there are those who blame media violence for social violence and want to censor violent content to protect children. On the other hand there are those who see regulation as the slippery slope to censorship or a smokescreen hiding the root causes of violence in society.  

One thing is certain: the issue of media violence is not going away. Increasingly the debate is focusing on the "culture of violence," and on the normalization of aggression and lack of empathy in our society.

This is a subject that should really be tackled not only by society but by socialists and in the progressive tense. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on domestic violence. However I don’t think, and for weeks after felt that I was not able to convey what I really felt about this matter, which is I believe still a gray area in which many, especially men who would rather not visit it and for all the obvious reasons, men just don’t like the general inference and the finger pointed at them, that’s not to say that all men are women-beaters far from it, but a great many still are, that’s a simple fact sustained by statistics in equilibrium and without any doubt.

So let me come back to that in time, but for now let’s explore media violence, and by the way I intend to cover this whole subject in two or possibly three posts.

The ancient Egyptians entertained themselves with plays re-enacting the murder of their god Osiris -- and the spectacle, history tells us, led to a number of copycat killings. The ancient Romans were given to lethal spectator sports as well, and in 380 B.C. Saint Augustine lamented that his society was addicted to gladiator games and "drunk with the fascination of bloodshed."

Violence has always played a role in entertainment. But there's a growing consensus that, in recent years, something about media violence has changed.

For one thing, there's more of it. A study found that between 1993 and 2001, incidents of physical violence increased by 378 per cent. TV shows in 2001 averaged 40 acts of violence per hour.

Other research indicates that media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become much more graphic, much more sexual, and much more sadistic.
Explicit and leaving nothing to the imagination, pictures of slow-motion bullets exploding from people's chests, dead bodies surrounded by pools of blood, are now commonplace fare. Millions of viewers worldwide, many of them children, watch female World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers try to tear out each other's hair and rip off each other's clothing. And one of the top-selling video games in the world, Grand Theft Auto, is programmed so players can beat prostitutes to death with baseball bats after having sex with them.

Whether or not exposure to media violence causes increased levels of aggression and violence in young people is the perennial question. Some experts argue that fifty years of evidence show "that exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively and affects them as adult’s years later." Others maintain that "the scientific evidence simply does not show that watching violence either produces violence in people, or desensitizes them to it."

What is however evident is that violent crime has not only intensified but has become more awful and ghastly this blog will argue that capitalism the system that we are all forced to live under, has sole responsibility – what do you think?”

To Be Continued…  

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