It's at this time, and during this wait and break for Christmas and the new year, that I have the time to think about the last year about to end and, whilst that light starts to to lose it’s dim, and we start to stare into the year that lies ahead for all. For me it is a reminder that 2014, well it will be my fortieth year as an active socialist, and now for some years and, thankfully and happily non-aligned to any political party or sect.
This last year about to end, has been for many of us, a real test one way or the other. The hardness of austerity, even the brutality of coalition cuts have left many scarred or even much worse; there are many no longer with us.
The laughter of Tories on the governments own backbenches towards those thousands that use a food bank, tells me that that this party is not only nasty but a butcher to our class, and its ministers have blood on their hands, look no further than to the Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
It’s Iain Duncan Smith that I have in mind when I consider what the late Ronnie Briggs had to say about criminals and crooks :
“There's a difference between criminals and crooks. Crooks steal. Criminals blow some guy's brains out. I'm a crook.”
It is obvious that Iain Duncan Smith is a Criminal then!”
With Each Passing Year
With each passing year, I become firmly bedded in to the idea that there is no such thing as democracy, that it is nothing but a lie and at best an illusion that a great many fall for still. Russell Brand was invited to guest edit the New Statesman at the end of October, and he took the opportunity to write a long feature article on a subject which he deemed important enough to devote his whole piece to. He did not choose to write about his work as a comedian or actor, not that I’m a fan of any of his work, that’s probably because I have chosen not to install a box of mass distraction in my home a television set. He did not write about his sexual reputation as a ladies’ man, or about which toothpaste he uses. He wrote with passion about how the world is organised and how all main stream politics serves the same global economic elite. He made a great number of insightful, thought-provoking observations.
It has taken some time to digest much of what Brand had to say, but as a whole I do find agreement with him:
“‘I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.”
I found that this quote underneath from brand to be both true and powerful, and about time someone said it - well he did:
“those who ‘fought in two world wars’ to protect the right to vote ‘were conned”.
But it was something else that resonated the most with me, that Brand mentioned in his very public outburst that turned a few heads at the top. He acknowledged the Occupy Movement, and the global movement against capitalism that is still emerging around the world.
As someone very much involved in the London Occupy Movement, that support from Brand is important as it is significant and welcoming. I can tell you that Occupy made its mistakes, it was never going to be perfect, and it did not pretend to be. But it did bring together a new challenge and from down on the street aiming at the rotten system of capitalism.
I have always felt that Occupy is part of that new movement, the old has long lost its gloss and many like me have been looking for more effective ways in which to win mass support amongst working people. Occupy did start to do that, I was amazed at just how much the British working people gave not only support but the money to sustain that camp at St. Pauls.
The truth is that if experience is to be teacher then the old ways, no longer work as once they did, the trade unions are not a challenge to capitalism, as if they ever were, possibly in the beginning but not now. Workers don’t have the same power (if that’s the right description) as once they did and not so long ago. To withdraw Labour from the workplace throws up many new problems these days, like who will pay the rent or the lone off on the house, just who puts food on the table when every other day there is a story in news of how many are being forced to turn to the food bank.
I think that Iain Duncan Smith really likes a food bank, just like that old saying; ‘treat them mean, keep them keen!”
I must admit and like a great many others, of that I am sure, that it is very disappointing that this coalition government of the rich is still in office, that The People’s Assembly Against Austerity a political initiative launched in 2013 and backed by major trade unions such as Unite, UNISON, NUT, NUJ, PCS, the Green Party, Labour MPs, Coalition of Resistance and numerous campaigning groups turned out to be so useless and ineffective, but not a complete surprise.
I don’t know what next year coming holds for any of us, the one thing that I can predict with a degree of certainty, is the attacks on our class, the erosion of living standards will continue. That there will be local and european elections the outcome of which will make no difference to the vast majority, they are a complete waste of time and it could be that abstention from the process could be more of a political act than participation?
I have found this last year, to be very demanding personally, trying to survive has been hard stressful work, but my forty years tell me never to give up, that dam of discontent cannot be held back for ever, it will burst back onto to the streets at sometime, and that’s where you will find me, with the 99%
Have a peaceful christmas comrades all.