Corbyn: the cloud over reality

Over the past few weeks, since Theresa May decided to call an unexpected general election, I have been watching the political activity very closely, as many of us most likely have been doing too. This is certainly a remarkable election with political movements and opinions moving in ways experts had never anticipated (alas, we live in unpredictable times). One of these is the supposed ‘rise’ of Jeremy Corbyn’s national popularity in the electorate. I shall not pretend for a moment that Jeremy Corbyn has not fought valiantly against an unfair and biased right wing press and achieved surprising results in the national opinion polls. He has revitalized and enthused the young voters that have been disaffected by the political parties for decades. I would also agree on the fact that Corbyn has given an alternative in terms of personality and policy, something people feel that when they support him, they are supporting real change. This I do not doubt for a second. This post after all is not a simple ad hominem attack on Jeremy Corbyn or a vituperative rant on the illogical hopes and dreams of the Corbynista. No, this is only an alternative look on the so-called fightback of the Corbyn campaign, a reality check if you will.

Numerous national studies found that despite Theresa May’s disastrous campaign and rather mechanical media performances during this election, it is still widely believed that she will succeed with a decent majority. While it is true in Labour safe seats, the vote has hardened significantly, in swing seats that were won by the conservatives in 2015, there is still reluctant support for Theresa May. The ambivalence of the Labour Party with its position on Brexit, Corbyn’s controversial opinions on nuclear weapons and counter-terrorism methods, and other shadow cabinet’s abysmal performances still rings strong for voters in those seats. The problem is Corbyn has not visited those seats in order to change those unchanged views. So let’s have some numbers; Corbyn has been to 63 seats during this campaign and 20 of them were safe and secure Labour seats, and another 10 slightly less secure Labour seats. May, on the other hand, visited 62 seats and 41 of them were Labour seats in 2015, while another 10 were seats of the SNP and Lib Dems. She has not visited one strong Tory seat. May is playing the offensive here and no matter about her terrible campaign, such tactics matter. What’s more, you can say what you want about the indisputably huge crowds that Corbyn has conjured up during his rallies, yet it speaks little to actual voting behaviour when these rallies are held in safe seats. Furthermore, one only needs to look at history to know that however enthused young people become in politics, they do unfortunately vote a lot less than the older generations for a number of reasons, and this age group is Corbyn’s core support. To win an election in the UK, A diverse range age groups must be enthused. Of course, this election could prove history wrong and change the power of the electorate indefinitely, and it would be only disingenuous of me to pretend that such an outcome is impossible. But it is important to note that throughout history, political upheaval and anti-Establishment populism has happened before and only tragic failure has followed such movements. What makes this one so different?

What saddens me is that the enthused young voters we are seeing across the UK is fantastic. It is so great to see these people getting involved in politics and finding a voice. After all, the youth voice and our needs must be heard and addressed after being ignored for so long. What is sad is the fact that I think the enthusiasm and passion for change has fallen into false hope and Labour supporters are putting their political chips down before thinking clearly. There is a conscious consensus across the left that we must somehow, in any way possible, get the Tories out of power. But the denial of there being alternative options for voting apart from Labour and Conservative is only counterproductive to such a desire. First Past the Post means we as progressives should vote tactically, and not according to partisan alignment or personal beliefs. There are countless seats, for example, where the Liberal Democrats has come second in the last election, but Labour is simply non-existent there (Such as in parts of Wales and Southern England); if many in that constituency were to vote for the Liberal Democrats, the Tories could be ousted from a supposed easy winning seat. This could lead the Tories to lose their majority and therefore create less precariousness for the UK as a whole since there would be a real progressive opposition to hold them to account. However, the wholly emotive and, unfortunately, irrational behaviour of Labour supporters in their awe and obstinate loyalty to the Leader means they simply cannot see reason in voting tactically. This, I fear, will lead the UK to a Tory majority and a dark, dark day for a once powerful nation.

The Necessity of Anarchism

Anarchism is a movement that has been tarnished by hundreds of years of propagandist rhetoric and connotative language from the both sides of the political spectrum, an ideology feared and loathed by the governments and institutions of the nation-state. Many people associate anarchism and anarchists to petrol-bomb-throwing loons that believe in a society with no order or control. In fact, the ideas of anarchism are anything but loony. The sole intentions of anarchist philosophy is a bold defense of the raw ideas of enlightenment. It is a belief in a collective socialism and classical liberalism, a true freedom where the individual can live without any authoritarian institution perpetuating the isolating experience of bureaucratic rationalization and the demoralizing affects of division of labour.

Today, we live in a percunocracy; a state entirely controlled and determined by the flows and fluxes of money. Within this percunocracy, the populations are conditioned in responding to certain incentives irrevocably linked to the production of goods and services, and where all the capital is owned by a small group. ‘Incentive’, a term lovingly used by both traditional and contemporary economists, is a vague term that can essentially be used in any context, and is chosen for exactly that reason. According to the dictionary, incentive is defined as “ a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something”. From this definition, one has to ask oneself what this means to one. We are taught to believe that a person would have absolutely no incentive to function in society’s systems without a wage and authority. For many, it is hard to distinguish incentive from those two. This is the power of capitalist conditioning and is entirely false. One shouldn’t be driven to produce things that have no internal meaning to them and still believe that that is ‘growing’ or ‘advancing’ society. Yes, society may grow under capitalism, but this growth only means anything to the people who care for unit production and export growth, not to the overworked individual in the office of factory who do the same things day in day out for the same wage. Furthermore, this aggregate growth in capitalism is dispersed in incredibly unequal terms, as has been shown with the emergence of the super elite across the world.

People’s internal drives are naturally set to explore and create, homo sapiens are animals of ponder and wander. We did not evolve to be a simplistic cog in a line of repetitive work that turns the brain to unused mush. We shouldn’t be working our whole lives in order to survive, or to experience any form of happiness (holidays), on the basis of obtaining a made up value (money) as if we were oil-dependent machines made for a singular use. Capitalist societies then are dictatorial in this way because it forces individuals to work not of their own choosing. They must do what they’re told to survive and any resistance may lead to disciplinary meeting and even suspension. If that is not wage slavery then I do not know what wage slavery is.

Anarchist philosophy believes human beings should discover and develop their own imagined projects without the constraints of capitalism limiting their choices. If an individual cannot think of a project of some sort then they can help develop others and learn from their ideas (dissemination of knowledge), this in turn advances society on an equilibrium. I won’t pretend to know what these projects would be, and of course certain individuals will be more influential and creative than others, in no system would people be equal in that sense. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that society can advance without the need for wage incentive and authority. The e only way to see this society in reality is to apply these ideas and then experiment with it, as every other form of system has done. The changes should be done gradually because society is complex and issues multifaceted. Nonetheless, this is the sort of society we should be aiming for.

Authority, of any form, should have to justify is position and the power it has over others. The existence of this overly- rationalized bureaucracy means that in order to change things and truly hold authority to account means getting through a never-ending stream of red tape while at the same time somehow managing to get all the different ranks within the hierarchical structure of our institutions to agree unanimously on such changes. in fact, it would be close to impossible due to the isolating effects of bureaucracy on its workers. Why would someone care for another who has no effect on their own personal life or career? Why would the view or condition of an underling matter when a senior is the asses of the organisation and that underling is easily replaceable? If we don’t see the effects our choices have on other people due to the rank and file of bureaucracy, how can we ever care about another person?Ultimately, if society gets to a point whereby the powers of authority exists simply to preserve the old order, and/or benefit a few, then it must be brought to its knees. The questions you have to ask yourself now is: have we not got to this point already? I think it has been so for a long time and, for me, anarchism intends to dismantle the corrupt world order in this contemporary world, and bring forward a more communicative one.


The problems of the past orders

Liberal capitalism, a system that the first world is structured around, is an oxymoron. In fact, the two concepts are antithetical to one another; the former believes one must be in control of what they do, even if that is not cost effective, while the latter upholds a power system comprising of industrial, political, and financial elites that own the superstructure, thus controlling the consciousness of the masses and the choices available to them. It is simply an illusion, a bourgeois fantasy that cunningly maintains old forms of ruling class dominance. Notions of “equality of opportunity”, human rights, and open borders only benefit the first world countries that spend countless millions of dollars promoting it across the world knowing all along that the real reason they wish to promote such ideas is because of the cheap imports and outsourcing opportunities for cheap labour. This is not liberalism, it is exploitation, period.

Equality of opportunity is a classic term spouted out by politicians across the political spectrum. Theoretically, it is something that would give every citizen, no matter who they are or where they come from, an equal chance in life from the get go. in fact, it just gives the individuals who were better off before the introduction of such policies the same situations as before. The privileged will be able to exploit the opportunities in their favor due to the capitalist model of how our institutions work and the liberal ideal of opportunity goes right out the window. Under liberal capitalism any social movement, protest or attempts at social change is thwarted out by political narratives characterizing such things as naive, counterproductive, and irrational (as a panic or a craze). These terms are prominently used by Western media and complacent politicians to condemn any from of movement that aims to create social change.

When traditional, state socialism takes control of the system (both economy and state) one form of authoritarianism simply replaces another and freedom of expression becomes even under more of a threat than the capitalist, fascist, or aristocratic regime it replaced. This is highly evident throughout history, whether you take the Soviet Union under Stalin, Mao’s China, or the massacre of anarchists after the Spanish civil war by Stalinist oppressors, these are just a small handful of examples showing traditional state socialism’s tendencies towards censoring or extinguishing opposing views, with the outcome being the horrors of totalitarianism. Of course, socialist policies such the welfare state and a national health service are revolutionary ideas that are rightly widely supported. But these are easily applicable to a future society that compromises of collective power without a centralized government, a society that priorities freedom of the individual and embraces the diversity of ideas and expressions that truly liberated people would bring to the table.

The hard left have often passionately come to the defense of state socialism. This is a dangerous position to take and it is a position held only if one has not learnt the lessons of history. Of course, their are deep connections between anarchists and socialists (anarchists should be known as libertarian socialists) but the ideas of state socialism goes against everything that a free society would be, thus it goes against the anarchist movement. Mikhail Bakunin wrote that the ideal anarchist is a socialist of a sort, one that not only opposes division of labour and state bureaucracy, but also opposes the appropriation of capital done by an elite force, thus resisting communist dictatorships. State socialism is the greatest lie ever told, one that many thinkers such as Rosa Luxemburg have suffered for pointing out, and will always turn mass movement and social change into a new enslaved class of people controlled by a central elite. Therefore, Leninism, Stalinism, and other alike them must be resisted at all costs.

The Wheat Whispered

I once dreamt behind fluttering eyelids,

Standing over a vast field of golden wheat,

Caught in a light breeze,

The wheat spoke to me in the wind,

It was a croon, an utterance of a spirit,

One that had died many ages before,

The spirit spoke in a language I did not recognise,

Yet I understood perfectly when it told me,

About the gasping of a dying kingdom,

The disintegration of a vibrant essence,

That had thrived at one time,

Where plates had been covered in succulent green,

The colour of existence,

Before sentient beings stood with feet and toes,

The wheat swayed and rocked more harshly,

As a monster of machine approached,

It greedily devoured the wheat as it went,

And the spirit screamed to stop the machine,

from its vicious cycle of conscious life and death,

But the machine continued,

Making the trees beside the field burst into flames,

And the sky to turn a deathly grey,

A piercing shrill penetrated the sound of the dream,

It was the spirit that cried the field had become diseased,

From the monster of machine,

Battered from incessant greed,

A torment from the harvest of wheat,

“This will spell the end of it all,” it said,

“When the cycle has to stop and man falls.”

Then it said the plates would crumble to dust,

Where it would float in shattered pieces,

Surrounded by an alien atmosphere of liquid blue.

Poem- Insanity’s Rippling Puddle

The eerie ripple of laughing cries,

Slowly expands in shivering confusion,

Under a horde of feeding flies,

Lies a carcass of childhood’s illusion,

 

Forever being changed by a pendant’s swing,

Hosting dimension to dimension,

Feeling energy’s melancholia sting,

After a bad taste of insanity’s retention,

 

This is where existing takes its toll,

With jitters of the final straw,

Making a heart as black as coal,

A finality in Nature’s law,

 

The beating of muffled drums,

Is like a breath of a dying wind,

Sensing of a monotonous numb,

That halts the pendant’s swing,

 

Inside branches clack,

within a mind cracking like brittle bones

Hunched over and deranged as a monstrous sack, 

A reflection quivering in addled moans.

 

Now bound in white suckling sedates, 

As my mother sobs her goodbyes, 

The fear of the whispers escalates, 

From the echoes of laughing cries. 

Louis Theroux- Transgender Kids TV review

Talented TV documentary filmmaker, Louis Theroux, has taken on some serious topics throughout his career, and now he turns his attention to gender dysphoria. This programme takes a slightly different and more serious approach, as opposed to Weird Weekends which aimed at making viewers chuckle.

See more at- http://www.thegryphon.co.uk/2015/04/louis-theroux-transgender-kids/

Youth Man – Hill of Knives music review

Bursting with meaningful rage that the light-hearted listener with specific musical taste may find obtuse, Birmingham trio Youth Man are releasing their new, absorbing and intense EP ‘Hill of Knives’ on 27th of April. As with their debut EP, Bad Weather, the band have put in five tracks spanning themes from Western hypocrisy, isolation and tyranny. For so few tracks, this large variety of topics is pleasantly surprising and kept my close attention from start to finish. Thoroughly exciting, Kaila Whyte’s fierce vocals and smack-in-the-face lyrics will drill into your mind and lay there for quite some while after listening.

– See more at: http://glasswerk.co.uk/magazine/review/11046/Youth+Man/#sthash.xqHjpMA2.dpuf

Channel 4’s Coalition- political drama or satirical comedy?

Preview:

Channel 4’s Coalition was, of course, entertaining in its own right, presenting the head scratching and tragically funny last days of the 2010 formation of our coalition government. Although entertaining, the programme failed to be precise about the process, just so it could be made more enjoyable. It also produced exaggerated the characters of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, which confused the seriousness of the show. It is a drama which, at times, slides into a satirical comedy…

See more at- http://www.thegryphon.co.uk/2015/04/coalition-political-drama-or-satirical-comedy/