Sunday, 29 January 2012

"Total policing"





Like outside of Winston Smith's bedroom window, helicopters will hover above the heads of crowds even fairly disparate in number on the streets of London. As in the United States, or the BAE Systems-supported Kingdom of Bahrain, police forces across Britain have surely developed a normalcy of violence towards peaceful demonstrations that challenge established powers. Make no mistake of the corporate-sponsored militarization of our police force. As evident from "anti-terrorism" operations for the 2012 Olympics, the state security forces and military are merged against the threat of democratic protest movements. The riot police in Oakland, California are known to have received training and equipment from the Bahrani security forces.  Police speedboats filled with armed officers practice the takeover of a hypothetically hijacked boat like something from a William Gibson novel. And this doesn't just include public governments. Police officers have acted as de facto security forces for private corporations in UK Uncut protests, ignoring the violence against protesters when inflicted by hired thugs who only differentiate themselves by absence of uniform. Freedom is guided along. Freedom is facilitated. Freedom is granted a permit within boundaries, herded with riot shields and makeshift metal walls. Freedom is "domestic terrorism". Freedom is suspiciously filmed. Freedom is intercepted with surveillance and agent provocateurs. Freedom is a liability. Freedom is rubber bullets, flashbangs, tear gas and kettling. The only distinction (as of yet) is the use of live ammunition (though it has been threatened). Air-to-surface missiles and drones are aimed at the mainland. Brace yourselves for it.

Friday, 20 January 2012

My article for the Occupied Times: For Revolution

I am profoundly honoured to contribute to the ninth edition of the Occupy London newspaper, which includes an article by Alan Moore.

REVOLUTION OR REFORM? 

With Luke Shore, I argue in favour of the former:


Societal and economic reform is inherently revolutionary. The applies to whatever the Occupy movement may argue for, and however the movement may seek to see it realized. Being revolutionary does not merely indicate a wish for drastic action for its own sake. The principle of standing for revolutionary reform can be a response to to political, social and economic hierarchies. And the coalition government under David Cameron seems intent on causing further destruction to the welfare state until at least 2015. It will pursue an irreversiable institutionalisation of neoliberal ideology. Like Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution or Ukraine’s (unsuccessful) Orange Revolution, we have reached a clear consensus that our political establishment is almost wholly corrupt and illegitimate. This is not mere populism: More than fifty per cent  of the population voted with their feet in the last election and did not even bother turning up to cast their vote. Contrast the general apathy with the democratic appeal that has been expressed through the Occupy movement in the past months. A revolution is a matter of immediacy.  If we rely upon electoral “democracy”, how privatised will our National Health Service be before real change occurs? How many more children will be forced into poverty? How many more elderly or disabled people will die as a consequence of welfare cuts? How many more young people will be condemned to the status of debtor wage slavery? How much more untenable damage and endangerment to the natural environment will occur? How much more corporatism will implement its domination of our communities and lives? These inhuman injustices are happening right now. The choice we have is to either tolerate them while looking forward to a slightly less worse “Labour” government, or to call for fundamental and therefore radical political reform. A revolutionary movement would coordinate itself in the same way the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions did: Through mutual cooperation between trade unions and dissidents, through direct action, through citizen journalism and general strikes. Consider the metaphor of someone drowning: Should we dive straight in to rescue them from death, or should we wait until we can take a poll to decide which ineffective lifeguard can rescue them? It would be the same lifeguards who attached chains to their limbs. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Racism and class

On a basic moral level, we obviously identify the injustice of racism as based upon the dehumanizing collectivization of human beings based upon superficial characteristics. As Dr. King phrased it perfectly, on the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character.  Why any sort of collectivization of individual human beings is immoral should be just as understood in a greater moral context. Much racial discrimination in history has been imbued with the oppressed racial group being condemned to poverty. Division based upon wealth and indoctrinated purpose within the economic system inherently amounts to segregation defined. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and other civil rights were dangerous "domestic terrorists" for seeking to challenge them, like today's Occupiers, "battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality" for their efforts. Consider the modern United States. Though it includes all ethnic backgrounds, the overwhelming majority of the prison population comprises of young African-American males; in prisons run for profit, they are forced into slave labour on mass production lines, with the punishment of non-compliance being solitary confinement. Slavery in the United States by any definition or measure exists to a greater extent than it ever did in the 18th century, at least in a more industrialized and covert form.


The fundamental question we should ask ourselves is this: how do modern hierarchies of control differentiate from racial prejudice other than basing themselves upon stratification of economic control rather than ethnicity?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Rejecting the austerity narrative

Credit agency Standards & Poor's  have affirmed the already obvious economic illiteracy of public spending cuts. No irony is lost on those understanding that the inflated borrowing it causes increases deficits in the longterm. I'm a progressive deficit hawk. Though there is no moral justification for the suffering and injustice it causes, it does rhetorically provide very convenient justification for governments to implement neoliberal  privatisation programs and systematic reductions in social equality and mobility. On the very same day, the Labour Party leadership, a fatuous Ed Balls and a careerist Ed Miliband, accepts the austerity propaganda narrative, absolutely disgracing the basic principle of the party of Attlee and Bevan. The message is clear: nobody should be delusional enough to believe in or depend on the one party corporate-controlled political establishment for any social justice or civil freedom. We should take heed from Egypt and Czechoslovakia in fundamental opposition to its illegitimate and crooked nepotism.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Ron Paul's hypocrisy

Texan Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, though more a desirable candidate than Christian fascists such as Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, is in my opinion is one of the most overrated people in the world, is adored by many across the political spectrum. He is upheld as a general bastion of "liberty", and indeed holds many reasonable positions compared to the majority of those within the political establishment. He opposes the "war on drugs", the destructive and oppressive modern day prohibition policy. He stands against corporate corruption and monopolism in central government, the power of the military-industrial complex, and defends civil liberties from Orwellian legislation such as the Patriot Act and the NDAA. But there does exist a clamoring and even facile idolization of Dr. Paul's existence that reaches numerous heights of unaccountability. He upholds the "rights of states" to oppress the rights of women who choose to have abortions, and the civil right of same-sex couples to enter civil marriages (recognized by numerous religious denominations even if bigoted politicians refuse to do the same). This is my main objection to Ron Paul's agenda: I don't believe the federal government should be entitled to oppress individual liberty, and nor do I believe more decentralized state powers should be able to. This is equally as illegitimate if supposedly upheld in "libertarian" principle. Slavery and racial segregation in the United States was justified by the notion of the "rights of states". It is a notion as absurd as corporate personhood. Most extraordinarily of all, he humanely opposes the death penalty, but opposes its prohibition by the federal government, as outlawing the barbarism violates "state sovereignty". Authoritarianism triumphs over basic human rights in Ron Paul's world view, so as long as it's localized rather than national.



I will give the benefit of the doubt and not claim that the bizarre paranoia and prejudices in Dr. Paul's controversial newsletters are his own. If anything, it was surely a severe lapse of judgement on his part to allow their publication without any sort of critical review. But their sentiments speak volumes on the kind of company he keeps, and the what base of opinion he opportunistically seeks to appeal to.  One of the first endorsements given to the Ron Paul campaign was by Pastor Chuck Baldwin, posted above. 2008 nominee for the Christian fundamentalist Constitution Party, Baldwin himself, a Calvinist associate of Jerry Falwell, adheres to far-right views: homophobic, anti-immigration and isolationist. He has given open support to 9/11 conspiracy theories and Christian terrorist militia movements, and is an outspoken apologist for the Confederacy. A significant cultural segment of the Ron Paul phenomena is much more sinsterly imbued with such extremism.  More McCarthyist than progressive. John Birch Society-style "liberty" rather than conventional U.S. statism. The "freedom" for the fanatical to brandish guns and indoctrinate their children, and for zealots to institutionalize their unsubtle hatred for gays, women and ethic minorities. This hysterical and sycophantic intellectual cretinism must end, and those profiteering and electorally benefiting from it must be apprehended for their double standards.