Month: September 2014

Want to thank a War Veteran?

Most politicians in the established parties are merely the outward looking face of the 0.1% or, as Professor of Sociology Graham Scambler calls them, the “Capitalist Class Executive”. I prefer his other term for them: the “Greedy Bastards”. Politicians who currently support the activities of the GBs form part of the ‘Political Power Elite’ and are the public facing wing of the GBs. Obama et al in the US; Cameron, Clegg and Miliband in the UK; Abbott in Australia.  In the UK they form part of the ‘Establishment’ while the other parts of the Establishment merely acquiesce  and squabble among themselves about the size of the crumbs falling from the GBs’ table.

The real people to punch are the self satisfied, smug, post imperialist, authoritarian, narrowly educated but often from ‘elite’ universities, usually white and overwhelmingly male plutocrats and oligarchs, the ‘focused autonomous reflexives’ , embedded in globalised corporate networks who believe in their own propaganda about their innate superiority, achievements and right to rule over the underclasses, women, inferior ‘races’ and of course nature.

Their comic, and not so funny, face in the UK is Boris Johnson.

These men usually share an ‘autocratic father metaphor’ and base their politics around core beliefs:

1. The world is a dangerous place and always will be, because evil exists.

2. The world is hard and difficult because it is competitive.

3. There will always be winners and losers.

4. There are absolute right and wrongs.

5. Children are born bad, in that they only want to do that which feels good rather than that which is right.

6. Children therefore have to be made to do the right thing.

7. This world therefore needs a strong strict father who can: protect the family in a dangerous world; support the family in a dangerous world and teach children right from wrong.

Their wealth, they believe, gives them a superior position because they ‘earned’ it based on their own hard work and innate cleverness drawing often unconsciously from the assumptions above.  They are ready to defend it with other people’s lives and the desecration and destruction of the ecosystems on which the rest of us rely. Chapter 1 of Naomi Klein’s latest book is a chilling read and fleshes out some detail on the attitudes of many US CCE’s and their apologists, to climate change. Polly Toynbee and David Walker also illustrates their attitudes in a UK context.

These are the boys to make us think again. Their defence of their wealth and power is wrapped up in words about freedom and democracy and the “American way of life”. This acts as a smokescreen because in reality, as Klein shows, those who inhabit ‘Richistan’ are only concerned about themselves, their class, their privileges and are now actively protecting themselves against climate change, social unrest based in inequality and global jihad. They do so with the blood of others.

The soldiers you see above have been dragooned into this unholy class war.

Veterans are often the saps who, through necessity or through unexamined ideological traps, are the tools of the GB’s. Believing in higher motives such as camaraderie, or poorly thought through notions of democracy, they engage now in fighting the GB’s battles, suffering the costs at hourly pay rates the GB’s would not bother to raise their bloated carcasses out of bed to receive.

To add injury now to insult, we now have to face a medieval Caliphate, largely of our own making.

A young man near you may be sent to die for a cause he knows nothing about other than lies, distortions and false premises. Joining the British military always had its dark side, and apart from fighting Hitler has always been about establishing imperial power to allow extractive capital to freely go about its business. The UK now has a long established military culture, it’s loftier manifestation being the ‘heroes’ trope, and a more base manifestation is our infantile clinging to nuclear weapons.

I met two young boys on the Dover-Calais ferry who had just joined the army, what else is there for them? Without privileged networks, or education, or wealth, their chances of getting ahead in civilian occupations are greatly reduced as they metaphorically jostle with sharper elbowed upper middle classes and the children of the elite who have a stranglehold on plum careers. They also compete with the Precariat, ‘Gringo’s and ‘Endies’ who fill the employment figures making the recession seem better than it actually is.

These two had been sent on a tour of the WW1 battle fields and cemeteries. They were learning military history as part of their basic training. Writing up their notes, one commented on the virtues of discipline in the trenches. I don’t think he’d seen ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’. So, with the best of motives and the least of opportunities, we are preparing two very young men to face lunatics with scimitars, or “ten thousand Watutsi warriors armed to the teeth with kiwi fruit and dry guava halves at Umboto gorge”. Fresh faced and poorly educated they might become veterans relying on a non existent mental health service to sort out their PTSD while their Etonian educated ‘superiors’ worry about the stock market and the price of a bottle of Chateau Lafitte.

Want to thank a veteran? Give, not ‘loan’,  an education, provide some proper mental health services and an economy orientated to the needs of the many not the few.

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