Dear Guardian. Why poverty porn sells austerity.

The politics of deficit reduction. Mortgage rates are kept so low people can sleep at night. You show them suffering without analysis and they get the message that as long as it is hurting someone it is working. This is largely because as yet we don’t have an economic consensus, or political discourse, that can provide new certainties.

It’s going to get worse as our financial crisis deepens and targeting and demonising people, and causing noticeable suffering will validate the politics of deficit reduction even though it’s nonsense.

If you could provide coherent analysis about financialisation of our economy as a response to the financial instability inherent in our system demonstrated by the banking crisis, that would be better. To do this you need comment and journalism from people who understand the institutions being transformed, people who exist within the economy and society and to stop using posh kids who present poverty porn as evidence of the political identity. All those kids are doing is providing the validation that the politics of deficit reduction is successful.

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You cannot privatise hope for a reason

Financial instability is inherent to our system. Our economy is cyclical. Keynes knew this, and like the other men whose thoughts defined a century, he knew because he learned fromthe last incarnation of this multifaceted crisis. From the polemic of Economic Consequences of the Peace, to the roughly drawn out Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, the lessons he learned as the last incarnation of this crisis led to two global conflicts defined generations. Hayek learned from watching the same crisis from a different perspective, and the thinkers we turn to to understand what is happening, from Orwell to Polanyi. saw the same dynamics.

Each of these men was a finite being in an infinite universe trying to learn from a crisis which has been repeating since the Bronze Age when our first experiments with a de facto currency brought us to the limits of our civilisation and left scars so deep that when the iron age emerged centuries later, we didn’t use iron as currency, we used grain.

When the last period of laissez faire capitalism run amok led to world changing devastation that ended with Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the birth of the post war settlement, we had to theorise and romanticise the society we were in, to create a new political economic settlement that would see us through several generations.

As as always been the case, the cumulative flaws at the birth of that settlement at the root of the crisis which will lead to the next one. The institutions shaped by the tribes who took Hayek and Keynes names, are at the root of the system failure we are in the midst of. Our benefits system showing most clearly how tribalism and the symbiosis of central planning and the free market ideology which would harness it, can bring an institution to toxic limits.

The blindness of Keynes to inequality and his failure to articulate his belief in instability, and the unhinged misinterpretation of Hayek, gave birth to policy created by tribes who could never meet, and has led us to the newest incarnation of this crisis. Hyman Minsky, who clarified Keynes thoughts on instability realised long ago that private debt was at the root of why stability creates instability. One of the drivers of this endless cycle, that appetite for risk increases during periods of stability, bringing on new crisis. Keynes did not understand inequality. but the institutions concerned with social reproduction he created, failing as they are, mean we will never again have to romanticise or theorise how a financial crisis translates to a social and political crisis. When these crisis have played out, the information we need will be there for us to use as we come to a new settlement.

The ‘death of the liberal class’ who act as a barrier to change is slow this time, but the media cultures who benefitted from a transition to world where power was held by the projection of an idealised political self through media, so everyone outside that perfect self image could be exploited, have provided more information with which we can learn next time.

There is no way to tell how the rest of our debt crisis will play out. With the BBC playing Hunger Games, and no democratic brakes available to stop what is developing, the next few years will be ugly. Many of us will pay a heavy price for the failure of our financial institutions and hope seems foolish to grasp.

But there were things wrong with that post war settlement. The only democratic representation we ever had, saw us as Labour and only that, and the inequality that defined the 20th century could not be addressed without the crisis that are opening up. It was a system for white men in one place, created and designed using the lessons of posh white men in that place, designed for a world they could not imagine would change. The blindness that gave them, creating the crisis which reveal what needs to change next time.

There is no need to change a system that is dying, it cannot be done, but for the first time since 1945 a situation is opening up which guarantes that the changes which seemed unobtainable are there for the taking.

The mechanics of a political economy dying as a new one comes to birth, that inspired Marx, Hayek, Keynes, Orwell, Polanyi and many others, are revealed again. Not only can we revisit their words but we can see what they saw and learn from their failure. The next ten years will define a century and change is not only achievable but it is certain, and for the first time since the post war settlement was born, the kind of change that will define generations is within our grasp.

It won’t be given freely, but for this period, as our political economy crumbles, the rules are all gone and we can rewrite them ourselves. The rules of a left who believe we should audition to them for patronage as they use our crisis to further their own aims, irrelevant to all of us. The rules of a right who believe everything should be liquidated to inflate a private debt bubble unsustainable as this crisis reaches its peak.

Their tribalism no longer binds us and the rules are ours to write. A future where those whose power is that of the intermediary, dissolving in real time. The means of production, the money supply and the control of information, being thrown into our hands and at the root of why this system is crumbling.

There is no end and no beginning to evolving world systems, and the process you can trace back to warring kings and tribes, will continue long after the next political settlement has expired. Each age is a dream that is dying, or a new one coming to birth, and even as people give up hope in the face of a cruel hegemony that cant be opposed right now, that hardship is what will cause our understanding of power to reconstruct.

A system that relied on shocks, now educating us with every jolt. Our failures now will be at the root of the expiry of the political and economic settlement we create in generations time, but for now change is not only possible but guaranteed and we don’t need blind hope to know it is in our hands. If all you can do is crawl keep crawling, but remember history is now being written by the participants on the same platform as the winners and that is new. Each and every perspective is important and the information recorded now, will be what defines generations to come.

Hunger Games BBC style

The reason am up this late is that I am watching Hunger Games. I hadn’t seen it. A dystopian nightmare set in the not too distant future. The BBC are developing their own Hunger Games to provide a circus to distract from there being no bread. The hungry are to prove themselves with the prize of temporary financial relief to the lucky winner.

I am glad I don’t pay the license fee any more. I want every penny back and from now on will be happy to watch Aunty Beeb descend into a crisis of her own irrelevance.

I might apply to take part. If they give me a crossbow…

Song of the moment. Pulp. Mis-Shapes.

Mis-shapes, mistakes, misfits.
Raised on a diet of broken biscuits, oh we don’t look the same as you
We don’t do the things you do, but we live around here too.
Oh really.
Mis-shapes, mistakes, misfits, we’d like to go to town but we can’t risk it
Oh ’cause they just want to keep us out.
You could end up with a smash in the mouth just for standing out.
Oh really. Brothers, sisters, can’t you see?
The future’s owned by you and me.
There won’t be fighting in the street.
They think they’ve got us beat, but revenge is going to be so sweet.
We’re making a move, we’re making it now, we’re coming out of the side-lines.
Just put your hands up – it’s a raid yeah:
We want your homes, we want your lives,
we want the things you won’t allow us.
We won’t use guns, we won’t use bombs
We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of – that’s our minds.
Check your lucky numbers, how much money could drag you under, oh.
What’s the point of being rich if you can’t think what to do with it?
‘Cause you’re so very thick.
Oh we weren’t supposed to be, we learnt too much at school now
we can’t help but see.
That the future that you’ve got mapped out is nothing much to shout about.
We’re making a move, we’re making it now,
We’re coming out of the side-lines.
Just put your hands up – it’s a raid.
We want your homes, we want your lives,
we want the things you won’t allow us.
We won’t use guns, we won’t use bombs
We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of – that’s our minds.
Brothers, sisters, can’t you see?
The future’s owned by you and me.
There won’t be fighting in the street.
They think they’ve got us beat but revenge is going to be so sweet.
We’re making a move. We’re making it now.
We’re coming out of the sidelines.
Just put your hands up – it’s a raid.
We want your homes, we want your lives,
we want the things you won’t allow us.
We won’t use guns, we won’t use bombs
We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of – that’sour minds.
And that’s our minds. Yeah.

Protesting austerity or protesting at the Tories?

Austerity is not held up by one party, it is a product of consensus by all Westminster parties. It is a consensus across Europe that has only been half way broken by two parties, Podemos and Syriza, so far. When you go out on the streets and you scream it is a protest at the Tories you say that anti-austerity is anti-democracy and the opposite is true. You are then exploited by a centre left culture who are also selling austerity. They neutralise your anger and pain and sell it so they can sell more austerity.

Protesting austerity and protesting against the party delivering it are not the same. Left and right are the shell game that has encased the financialisation of our economy for nearly two generations, and the left right tribalism perpetuates it.

Anger and pain and protest are justified, but don’t let that anger be used to perpetuate the thing you need to end.

‘We need to change our language to reach the simpleton working class’

In 2010, I met ‘the left’ at Oxford University. It’s fair to say that the half a dozen people I met there define themselves as ‘the left’ and the rest of that bedraggled sub culture nationwide are there to decorate that political identity. It is fair to say that that is the first time I had EVER encountered the left and in the year that followed I was astonished to find that the absorption of democracy into media had created a massive entry ground to media and politics, largely closed to anyone outside a Russell Group university.

That culture use the smoke that is left of a long dead left wing culture the British public rejected so vehemently that Margaret Thatcher was able to ride to a generation of Conservative hegemony. They recite versions of that long gone history, to bind a social network entirely disconnected from modern Britain.

Neo liberalism with an elite lefty seal.

In 2010 they moved into a chatroom and declared it their future and tried to mix with the population they disenfranchised and they exposed the toxicity of their culture. They are now engaged in an endless conversation about how to speak and reach out to us simpleton working classes.

I have the answer to that question. You dont need to change your language, its your culture that is the problem and we need it to move aside. We need coherent discussion of our economic system, social policy, inequality, debt, and financial instability. We are already having that conversation everywhere. You do not have anything to contribute to that conversation and we do not wish to audtion to you for patronage because you serve no purpose. You are irrelevant to us by your own admission. Now wither and die like obsolete political forces are supposed to. Do it quietly.

We need you to shut up. We need you to stop looking for poverty porn to reinforce the politics of deficit reduction, and we need to address how a feudal house has emerged trading on fantasy stories about who we are.

The problem is not your language. Its your culture. The way you behave. And its the complete ignorance you are required to maintain to sincerely prevent discussion of consensus on the financialisation of our lives.

Maybe instead of new words, you could try shutting up, and listening. If you want to help, move aside. Your nonsense kideologies are there to bind your culture at our expense and the reason there is no British Syriza or Podemos, is that our hardship hasn’t grown enough that you have been forced to shut the fuck up and allow us to move past you.

The conversation we need

If you stuck a dozen random people in a room, they would eventually be talking about financialisation of our political economy. Their world. Whether it be the small business person discussing the joint onslaught from banks and government, social workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, and university professors, discussing the reshaping of their institutions. The onslaught of managerialism and privatisation on their profession. The person laying awake at night because their 300k mortgage takes so much of their dual income that they have the same disposable income of someone on benefits, even if their credit is better. The benefit claimant without money or control over their time, the mother who daren’t leave abuse, or the mother who has lost her child because child protection has been financialised to punish her for existing.

Thatcherism began before Thatcher, with the restructuring of our economy post IMF bailout in the mid seventies, and by now the pattern of financialisation is no shock to us. We all know what happened with the banking crisis and remember the sequence of events, even if our political media do not. The likelihood is that none in that conversation would identify as a ‘lefty’. Most would be alienated by that toxic culture or unaware of the existence of a very fertile media and politics entry ground, sustained by the fumes of an archaic left most assumed had died long ago, so little connection does it have to their life.

That conversation would soon build understanding and the common threads of the labour market, the debt based economy, and the dying political system, would bind them even if social norms made them wary of each other. It wouldn’t take long for that conversation to build knowledge, understanding, and cause their understanding of power and their society to reconstruct.

Most know instinctively that financialisation of the economy as a response to financial instability inherent in our system and caused by malfunctioning financial institutions is stupid and escalating the crisis we are in. That conversation would benefit from the perspectives and knowledge each participant had, and the analysis possible when that knowledge built would make the output of the dead tree press look laughable. And yet that conversation can’t happen.

We know why the right can’t have it. Trolling as political debate, as a privileged few decide who to demonise is not new as political debate. Its the oldest. That conversation could happen and is happening outside our political media in many many places, but there is a barrier to it impacting on media narratives. An elite seal around policy making, to keep democracy in the hands of finance so that every failure on the part of our financial institutions is projected out onto us, and financial crisis are turned into social, political, and ecological crisis. Shaping our world.

When democracy was subsumed by media, a class who behave like feudal houses emerged and the left got the biggest boost they had ever had. Their fertile entry ground could wantonly confuse the difference between useless and having no effect,. because being useless was their purpose and the only effect they were supposed to have was to provide a hermetic seal around the primary institutions of our political economy. The radical fringes, there to provide an dangerous electric fence so that anyone wishing to object found themselves in a game of auditioning to Oxbridge brats as marginalised groups needing pity and attention and was discredited by association.

The discussion about the relationship between social policy, the economy, inequality, debt, and financial instability, is happening everywhere. Austerity followed the same patterns all over Europe.

One wonders how long that seal can hold, now they have blown their transition to a digital landscape. How long can people educated to be useless discuss the complex, educated and intelligent electorate, like Hogwarts students discussing Muggles. How long can they demonstrate how viciously they will protect their right to disenfranchise, while engaged in an endless discussion about how to modify their language so they are reaching out to the simpleton working class they disenfranchise…

The politics of deficit reduction works like this. The mortgage holders experience the kind of low interest rates that mean they can sleep at night, while the poverty porn sold by the elite left, the rising body count, reassures them if its hurting it must be working. The elite left vocally discredit any opposition the way they always have and demand discussion only happens if it can benefit them.

This is while our political economy, democracy itself, and society, is liquidated and handed to finance so our private debt bubble can be inflated. This can’t go on forever, our debt crisis is nearing its denouement. The seal created by this elite left bubble, everyone was oblivious to existence of, cannot hold once that crisis is done.

Miss Ellie Mae O Hagan. A note about social democracy

Hi Ellie Mae.

Apparently you think most people don’t know what social democracy is, so I thought I would educate you. You certainly are someone in desperate need of education.

In the post war period, a political economy was established which was fairly new. In World War 1 many of those fighting didn’t even have the right to vote, by the time World War 2 was complete the British public demanded something new. Something most of us believed existed, until 2010 educated us differently. Some of us may not have named it as social democracy, but we understood the social contract within which we existed. We understood we were enfranchised and that we have a political economy made up of institutions, which most of us populate. Not just state run institutions, like our health, education, and local authority services, but businesses. In fact, we are the most educated British population in history. The complex world you glide through in complete ignorance, we make it run. We populate it, our skills, our knowledge.

I tell you what we didn’t know until 2010. We didn’t know that the absorption of democracy into media by the Labour Party, had created a fertile media and politics entry ground that disenfranchised us. We didn’t know that the think tanks, media organisations big and small, and the culture around the Labour Party had replcaed all links between the institutions we worked with and the government who devised policy. We didn’t know that a dumb as fuck media class, the class you are an ambitious little guppy for had usurped us. When we paid trade union dues for institutions to our collective voice, we didn’t know that the best way to the top of those trade unions was via Oxford University(the way Owen Jones got his time at PCS), we didn’t know the best way to be at the heart of those trade unions was to be mates with people like Owen Jones(your job at UNITE for instance). When the Community Membership for UNITE started, the people UNITE took money off didnt know the hard earned pennies from their JSA were paying for you to take a cush job, and then attempt to outsource case work to unemployed activists because a trade union with millions of pounds had no intention of representing them. Those people didn’t know that Len McCluskey and the coterie around him would go on Newsnight validating Labours war on them with rhetoric about ‘working people’, nor did the members of that trade union know the union leadership would all but abandon representing them to become an election machine for Labour.

We didn’t know when austerity threatened to financialise our entire political economy, starting with essential institutions which had already been subject to years of financialisation under Labour, that a media culture existed, sustained solely by the fumes of a long dead left, would use the machinery of the TUC, Left Wing press and Labour Party itself, to prevent discussion of that financialisation for five years, while equality was being rolled back. They don’t know that an elite media culture drunk on the fumes of Thatchers corpse and a long dead archaic left usurp them with think tanks and newspaper columns pretending they are dumb.

As a woman in this political economy, I had not realised that basic equality was held together by such fragile institutional arrangements until 2010. I didnt know there was no link between those institutions, until I was invited to speak at Netroots in 2010. Or that when I discussed the consensus on rolling equality back for women, that I would be smeared by the organisers of that event. A smear you placed in the New Left Project. I didn’t know that feminists like yourself would assist in the biggest assault on equality British women had ever seen. I didn’t know that social democracy was dead already.

You are right, in that many people are not aware of the democratic problems in this country, most of us whether we articulate it that way or not fully believe social democracy is still what underpins our social contract. Your culture have assisted in destroying it and most people are not fully aware of the implications yet.

A lesson for you silly little girl, you need to educate yourself about the complex nation you are part of. We have the most educated and skilled population in this nations history, and while your(I am assuming not that healthy) living is made off the disenfranchisement of those people, the election result should have taught you that the British public are not as stupid as you. Your belief they are is projection and I would be careful in uttering such nonsense given the part you are desperate to play in the end of social democracy. The complex world you enjoy without contributing anything relies on the skills and knowledge of those people you believe are too dumb to understand social democracy. And they only do that because they believe social democracy exists.

2 posts written for LabourUncut in 2011- Could have been written last week

Labour- Sleepwalking to Irrelevance Part 1 and Part 2.

Could have been written last week. These were the last things I wrote for the labour orbiting circles. The culture too toxic, too much of a risk to me and my daughter, to ever associate with. Such is the price of being right.

I don’t know why I wrote the posts after the election results this May, I wouldn’t have done if I had remembered these 2.

inequality and the Family Courts

I forgot to blog this here when it went out,. A piece on how inequality manifests in family courts, post austerity, post legal aid loss. WHat it looks like to turn equality back for women.

There is a follow up coming which looks at the spike in adoption rates, and looks at the child protection crisis in context of equality being rlled back austerity.