Loaded and the Spirit of ’45.

When I was a lot younger, my boyfriend read Loaded. It was a new magazine, lots of interesting articles, stuff about interesting writers, places, lifestyle stuff, I read it when he’d finished with it. He stopped buying it in the first year, because it turned into something else and he didn’t like it. I read this quite frank interview by one of the longest serving editors of Loaded and I thought it was quite interesting.

I don’t recognise half of what is passed off as being represented as this mythical ‘white working class male’. I realised quite recently that quite a lot of politics is based on what this mythical racist, sexist, god knows what else ist excuse for the lowest common denominator wants or the risk he poses. The need to appease the hatred of those who fall outside the contributory principle of Beveridge’s welfare system, comes from the need to appease this man.

 

I read this today, by Louise Whittle, about Ken Loach’s film ‘Spirit of ’45, and I don’t need to add anything. But what I will say is this. This mythical white working class culture they all had to preserve in aspic to generate nostalgia, went for a reason. We evolved past it, chavvy or not, and the men I grew up with knew why we were growing past it and wanted to. Working class women have always worked and grown men were not emasculated by something that had always been the case. Working class Britain has never been dulux white and homogenous. The people manufacturing these white working class male ghosts to guide future political action, don’t want you to notice it is their prejudices they are projecting on to something that doesn’t come close to looking like that. The country would not function if everyone thought like that.

The manufacture of the EDL depends on this group of rag tag casuals who can’t afford the football, being treated as representative of this figure, failure to please this figure loses elections don’t you know?  This man hates everyone. We are the true political will of this man.

Beware the populist threat because they will represent this nasty racist motherfucker who can’t be educated into reason. When I read that article about the very posh boys projecting their nasty and juvenile wants and desires onto men they would never really meet for market share(you don’t want to write ‘come across’ when discussing Loaded) it clicked.

The fight against the EDL is generated and inadequately fought by those whose entire political ambition is imagined round this figure and the need to liberate him while protecting everyone from him. They whip up the risk that generates the threat they pose.  I thought it was interesting that the boys at Loaded had no idea that they were manufacturing the perception of culture. I thought the assumption that the response they generated was validation of their projection, the lengths they would go to to protect that, was also interesting.

For our political and media culture, the white working class male has been something to adapt according to their own needs and which of their nastiest traits they want to justify. They are going to get a shock now that meeting his many variations is unavoidable, because white working class men moved past that shit by necessity, because they wanted to, and the ones that wanted to preserve that in aspic had to tolerate the left or drink in the type of pubs where people who agree with the EDL congregate. I never saw racism and misogyny bare naked before I started talking to those who sell it as representative of everyone’s secret feelings.

I’ll tell you something else, the people hit by austerity were hit by the blindness of the Spirit of ’45. This is a cumulation of the failures of the systems that evolved from that blindness, and that is why people were hit along intersecting lines of race, gender, illness, disability. The intersection of race, class, and economic inequality happens there and they know they are bound by debt, welfare, low wages, and the mismanagement over generations by an entire political class. The bureaucracies that turned labrynthine from that blindness are doing the damage.

It’s the distaste of the nasty white misogynist culture the unions carried through generations where they claimed guardianship of working class political influence. Pillocks like Dave Prentis and Len McCluskey got to emerge from the cesspit in which it had to be preserved, at the expense of everyone. It’s not a blue print for political action, it’s a piece of nostalgia that demonstrates what went wrong and stayed wrong. But that’s why they need a film like the Spirit of ’45. The complexity of reality is beyond them and implicates them.

The white working class male is a euphemism for the sacrifices which were made for our current system to function, and the industries that gave legitimacy to that culture. The culture nostalgic for ’45 was preserved to mask discussions of the changes our credit based economy and political culture required. Just admitting those changes happened makes this lot irrelevant. The only masculinity crisis on the horizon is the delayed reaction of our political class/

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Damaging Brands on Twitter

Twitter is more useful than Reddit, or any other online place for political discussion. It is useful for who is watching and it is useful because brands are built there. It is also useful for undermining or damaging brands.

It is no good transposing outdated ideologies on power structures which do not correspond, old notions of class on a society that has moved past such facile distinctions.

THere is a political media class. There is a class above them and our main interaction with this class is through brands.

One of the benefits of being part of a post no logo generation is that this sunk in while domestic politics became a pass-time for rich boys and girl,s and the effect of their policies and words became political education for those outside their class.

Westminster Dominatrix

I am considering becoming a dominatrix in Westminster. I hear there is a demand for it. They are beating shit out of the country’s women. They are paying women to beat the shit out of them at the same time.

A friend suggested phone dominatrix. You can’t batter someone with a great big stick down the phone though.

I think this country might be suffering the effects of a culture wide deliberate creation of attachment disorders. If they stayed at home with their mothers at 6 instead of heading off to boarding school, I’m sure politics would be a nicer place.

Twittertalitarianism as a safety valve for the rest of us

At school we had World War Two drilled into us, in Scotland(Higher History- Charlie Rigg you were a fucking legend) it was how the social, political and economic came together and we studied Hitler’s use of propaganda. I went on to look at how those techniques were adapted post war. I assume that was what defined us moving into that period and the post war settlement beyond. Power held by transmission of message to populations who consumed that message communally.

I remember reading about Hitler in his prison cell, the book I was reading described a prison cell stocked with gifts and tokens give by those who adored him. A true fanboy to be idolised.

One of the things that is defining the crumbling post war settlement is that basically people are too smart for the way we have been governing ourselves, and once the sealed walls of media cultures used to transmitting with no feedback were broken, the limits of simplistic ideology when faced with the reality of people were seen.

I read back the blog I wrote in that first year of the anti-cuts movement, when Labour orbiting left wing structures started attaching themselves to people’s hardship, and I realised today that what I had been given was a tiny fishbowl through which to see how totalitarianism is delivered.

I remember the early days being stunned that Labour politicos truly expected those they came across to erase their own understanding of their own lives, to tally with the narrow and ridiculous frameworks of Labours non policy contortions, and I remember watching how these people woudl write what they clearly knew to be lies with no shame that the next week they would be writing something different. As if we couldn’t read it. I remember watching people like Owen Jones and Sunny Hundal when faced with people on benefits, or ex trade union members, and the way they would abuse them. When those people’s reality didn’t fit, resorting to abusive techniques like gaslighting. Yesterday watching Owen accuse Boycott workfare of passive aggression. The blocking then claiming victim so people will attack from the stuctures that back them up. I was so frightening I ended up being smeared in a tactic our political press think is normal behaviour. These people oblivious to the violence of what they were selling and to those who feel that violence daily.

I naiively thought  this could not possibly be sustained, but had not understood the structures behind these people that uphold it. The well trodden paths of party politics, from elite universities, trade unions and media organisations. Cultures who had just expected to be entitled to attach themselves to our hardship because they had that right. Three years later it is only just about to end. The power held by social network.

People like Sunny Hundal and Ellie Mae O Hagan believed they had an absolute right to smear benefit claimants, to discuss whether a death was enough to make them cover issues they were not interested in. It was absolutely fine to lie and to support bullying behaviour. because they were the left. That those behaviours are an anathema to what most people see as grown up and decent, never mind left wing, had not occurred to people for whom this was an identity assumed for career that is supposed to exist away from the people they hurt. As things have developed and groups have formed to fight for the same things I was fighting for, I have had the privilege of watching the same cultural response to that threat. Boycott workfare, DPAC, even Jonny Void.

Yesterday I watched as an intelligent women was attacked for pointing out that Ken Loach’s film ‘Spirit of 45’ was an all white piece of male nostalgia about a Britain that never existed. I have grown used to being described as mental for my use of twitter to undermine the brands of the left. These people have no idea how distinctive and abusive their culture is.

I realised these people have no idea what they are doing or how harmful it is. They truly believe they have the right to use political capital from people who are genuinely suffering, not eating, finding their lives squashed as they struggle to stay upright during austerity, they truly believe those people should be grateful as they attach their political structures to hardship. And they truly believe that dissent from their very narrow and disturbingly childlike perspective deserves attack even if what they are doing is removing all chance of fighting what is happening. Even when they are disenfranchising those they attack and bully while complaining about hurt feelings. A professional culture built on social network, that holds up fanboys so they can be aggrieved should the effect of what they do be challenged. A culture who take offence at the idea they are not a force to be reckoned with while denying they hold any power at all while they abuse it. An abusive culture  to keep debate within the parameters neo liberalism requires and to discredit anyone who thinks outside them.

I thought back to the post about fascism that I wrote, and I was trying to consider why it was that even though this culture have turned austerity into technical fascism, I was still optimistic and knew it would gain no traction. Then I realised it was twitter.

Had those techniques ever gained traction in the real world, the left would have been dangerous. Truly dangerous. The culture at the Labour Party now, makes them a much bigger and darker threat than the Conservatives(if we are honest) but twitter was our safety valve. We got to see them there first. Their culture revealed itself on a screen where we could ignore and laugh at them and let their behaviour educate us about what had gone wrong and why they would not help solve it. This is a crisis beyond a financial crisis, this is a crisis because we have all moved past those techniques.

Turkey, Brazi, everywhere, people have evolved past those techniques.

We are not in a financial crisis, and as each wave of protest comes, that becomes clearer. This is the end of the post war settlement. Those techniques don’t work any more and you can’t fake an assembly at a time when they spring up apparently at random as a sign change is coming and inevitable.

The British left are a teeny weeny metal lid, on a cola bottle being shook, and they are only held on by twitter. Assemblies that exclude those they claim to fight for, after decidin they are disposable, charge to get in and exclude by providing no childcare have siphoned off those people, into a harmless arena where they can draw pictures and talk to themselves, and in doing so have provided demonstrations of why things need to change. The only thing you need to avoid them is avoid twitter and the only thing you need to undermine them is twitter.

The adoration and fanboyism of the so called progressives willing to attack viciously should their idols be criticised, or should the clear imposition of white, male political structures on something that has nothing to do with them be questioned, has provided a real time education and demonstration which neutralised that threat in the outside world.

Bulgaria= Protests

My darlings, I do believe it is kicking off everywhere. This via friend’s who also deserve congratulations on a new baby girl. One of them was at an occupation in Bulgaria about a year or so before the Berlin Wall came down. His experiences of those who play the function of our left were very similar to what I experienced here. He came away ultimately disillusioned with them but change had been indicated as inevitable at that point. People gather in political vacuums when systems reach their limits. Radical politics should always be noted as should the changes in radical politics as crisis deepen.  https://medium.com/better-humans/c48a55c30e29

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Porn and Internet Control

We have ourselves a few generations of digital natives by now. We have the entire political media jumping up and down at the suggestion that information we give freely to companies who are dodgy as Facebook and Google, is being monitored, with the deification of Snowden and tin hats flying we are supposed to be awake at night with the idea a nation loosing it’s reach can somehow control you with the information you share willingly. You mention the word porn and everyone is demanding the government step in to control the internet.

Porn and filmed abuse are different first. In order to protect our children from either we are going to have to educate them honestly for the world they live in. You don’t stumble across images of children being abused, you seek them out. And we are going to have to address the culture that creates our nasty porn, the stuff taht is little to do with healthy sex, because that is the problem. Telling your computer to avoid images of people having sex, is not really the best way to address that. and the government are not based placed to do it.

Unite For Workfare, Atos and the Bedroom Tax

I didn’t find out about this from Jonny Void, it’s the thing I have been watching for ages. Since this appeared I have seen which groups are operating for Unite and who are interested in fighting austerity. I am watching the smears and the pattern of behaviour I experienced carried out with others, because what I experienced was the culture who’s job it is to prevent change and squash any chance of it. Jonny Void(who I am not a fan of personally, but whose blog is very good) is now being smeared by Unite. Boycott Workfare are beginning to experience it. And we ALL think it’s brilliant. It’s always good when someone bares their teeth, because only then are you clear on the situation and who your problem is. The most pressing problem we have right now is not the system but those preventing any challenge to it. That is definitely the first thing that needs to be addressed.

THis is a great Tumblr that should be read along with.

the void

atos_david_millibandThe head of the UK’s largest union, Unite, has issued a gushing statement praising Ed Miliband’s recent ‘worklessness’ diatribe in which he announced mass workfare should the Labour Party ever claw their way back into power.

According to Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite: “Ed Miliband’s speech offers hope that there is an alternative to George Osborne’s punishing experiment with the national economy.”

During the speech Miliband announced the party will bring in a “a compulsory jobs guarantee, young people will have an obligation to take a job after a year or lose their benefits”.

Those over 25 who have been unemployed over one year will also be subject to the same rules.  These jobs will temporary and paid at the minimum wage, which will be funded by the tax payer.  Employers will be required to provide  an additional ten hours training – although whether those on the scheme will…

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Intersectionality

When the word popped up, I accepted it almost without reading a thing. Because I already knew this. I knew how social policy and our economic system came together in the lives of people, economic inequality and the consequences, intersecting with race, gender, class, current political narrative, economic climate, society,  institutions, and how that came down within family structures and communities, on the lives of children and the families squashed underneath it. How bureaucracy and marketisation and managerialism interacted with that. How marginalisation and violence come together with all these things in the lives of those where these things intersected with everything else. I knew how children were shaped by those things, and I knew how they came together because that is what social work is. Navigating the cracks. Wherever they may be. If you are going to navigate those cracks, you need to understand em and know how to prevent yourself making them worse and know how to cover em if possible. That means being aware of the consequences of what you do. Your place within it. How you affect it, how your actions shape it.

Your first inkling that you are going to learn about this, is from books by women like Lena Dominelli. Books with titles like anti-oppressive practice. You dismiss some of it, and while it all makes sense reading it, it’s very difficult to really grasp it or its relevance.  But because everything you do is assessed against this you don’t drop it, you make it part of what you learn. In a discipline where the watchword is theory into practice, you are assessed always on whether you can see if a theory relates to practice, and again you don’t quite understand why this is what you are being taught and hammered in. You get social policy modules that teach you about  the role of ideology in social policy, and the history of our welfare state and the battles that brought it, and how it has changed over time. You are taught critical race and gender studies and you hear cries of oh look PC gone mad. This alongside law, alongside practice placements. This is outside the things you thought you would be looking at.

Then you find out how it will become part of your thinking.

You go to work or placement. Placements where you are not marked on what you have done, but how well you have reflected on it in that context.

As times goes on and you run into the same walls, in the same ways, and you have not only reflected of the situation but begun to despair of it. This is the terrain you navigate. You see the same consequences come down on the lives of people brutally, repeatedly, like clockwork. You need to reject the theory that’s bullshit because it does harm and harm that has consequences. The same mundane things coming together without any chance of ever stopping for some poeple.

Once you get past that first cohort of children you work with, they seem to pass in very short generations where you get to see the same thing repeat in the same age group repeatedly. You learn it’s not an intersection, it’s a pile up.

And it’s a pile up you have to navigate so that other people can navigate themselves and so these echildren are less harmed by it while they or their parents, are blamed for it. While the press pretends it knows about child protection when someon requires your resources be scaled back, or a scalp is required. Instead of getting to debate whether an shitty system is doing this, you get to mitigate the consequences and you learn to understand the system.  While you watch the news daily to see what’s coming your way and how it will be dressed  up that week.

Lessons are consolidated with every wall, and every time you butt against it what you learned is reinforced and your thinking about everything is changed by your understanding of this terrain. You see the same consequences for the same kids,  every one of them more unique than you’d have space to describe. You begin to learn to work with what is there and not what you would like to be there. You learn to accept the unpalatable and know that a dilemma really is being on the horns of two equally unwelcome alternatives, knowing you cannot do the best, only the least worst and sometimes you know you are doing the worst thing and you just don’t have a choice.

You’ll only get the tools pretending to be what you need, if you understand how to ask those whose responsibility is to the politicians who require this. You have to learn to understand the limits of your responsibility within that system and when not to take responsibility for someone else and how to make sure they have to take responsibility. You learn to reflect on the system you are in so you can check it’s not doing too much damage to you.

The intersection of gender, race, inequality, the system, we understand it quite well. We plan our public services and political priorities around it, and our political system requires it and is willing to fight for it in the dirtiest ways.

When austerity came, those lessons consolidated for all of us. Whether we called it intersectionality or not.

With some social work jobs there comes a point, where you realise that there is nothing you could possibly do to mitigate the consequences of this system,  with some kids, like the over 11’s who aren’t in care you are only mopping up the consequences of departmental and political failure  so they don’t bleed through to the newspapers too visibly. You are trying to work with kids who are trying to get through adolescence. That there is nothing you could do to offset the harm that was being done to them, only watch them navigate behaviour agreements telling them it is their fault.

When I heard people discussing intersectionality, I thought they were discussing that. And they were. When something is right, it’s right and it clicks. My friend Carol suggested I was ignoring the work of black feminists(time to own up apart from women I know, am largely not interesting in any feminists right now- but I probably was). It occurred to me that women like Lena Dominelli would be very influenced by black feminists and it was possible intersectionality was something that only really needed to bleed through into our Westminster bubble. That it may have bled through in the part of the system invisible to it a long time ago, because that is where those things intersect.

And I thought that was an interesting thought.

The facile left wing, white, labour movement peddled nonsense which exists to prevent this discussion entering our political sphere, is what hides intersectionality from the political debate that requires that oppression. If we are talking about special interest group against special interest group competing for the attention of a left, there is no opportunity to discuss what that facile lefty nonsense is masking. That is how the wheel is kept turning and how austerity is delivered.