Rich White Men’s elitism: A how to spot guide

waldo1- When assessing grassroots movements check where the roots are. If the roots are in Trump Towers, or on the front bench of the House of Commons ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

2- Check how it is funded. If it is funded by an exiting member of the financial or political elite, or an existing political party, ie Jon Lansman, Donald Trump, the Labour Party, ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

3- If their aim is only one person, one personality, and that personality is part of existing political machinery. IE Leader of an existing political party, a billionaire…ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

4- If the ‘grassroots’ movement requires all members to wrap their political identity around this person and they are required to abuse anyone who questions that person. ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

5- If the people in the decision making centre of your ‘grassroots’ movement are white men who all went to Russell Group and Ivy League colleges, and started at Winchester, ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

6- If the people orchestrating this movement have no ability to reflect on power dynamics they are embedded in and tell you there is a shadowy elite only they can challenge…ITS NOT GRASSROOTS.

If you meet people telling you a ‘movement’ which fulfils these conditions is a grassroots movement, these are very bad people. When these people tell you their movement should take precedence over democracy they are VERY VERY dangerous people. They are very unlikely to be anything but elite white men.

The confusing part

Britain has a long history of successful direct democracy and grassroots movements(don’t tell the left). Our social care, child protection systems, mental health services, domestic violence services and even our benefits system are shaped and moulded by grassroots activists. It can be easy to forget that. Those services have no voice or connection to policy makers outside trade unions because of their nature, because that is how they evolved. In spite of policy maker intentions and not because of.

In 2010 when policy makers demonstrated they didn’t know what those services did, and austerity hit them and their service users hard, those trade unions were supposed to represent them. Those trade unions were supposed to be able to offer a critique of the erosion of those services, explain exactly why cuts to those services could never be completed, and would fail, and they should have been able to advocate for the service users and staff who were impacted.

Instead UNISON said some cuts are ok because Labour, and PCS followed the Labour line because it turned out they thought their primary purpose was to preserve Militant and line Mark and Ruth Serwotka’s pockets.

People trying to identify what a grassroots movement is could get confused by those trade unions, because their job is to represent the consequences of decades of grassroots activism. So when those trade unions explain that Jeremy Corbyn is a grassroots movement they are paying for, it can be difficult to recognise this is trade union power stolen from vulnerable people and women, being used to prevent challenge to attacks on vulnerable people and women, supporting rich white men’s astroturf that is entirely reliant on abuse of women and vulnerable people.

So Rule 7- If the ‘movement’ is funded by trade unions who say that their job is now to ensure that a political party leader is removed from democratic accountability and reach, ITS STILL NOT GRASSROOTS.

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A new development to the Labour focused anti-cuts movement.

The astroturf generated will be used to support fascist soundbites, and to prevent opposition to fascism instead of austerity. The Labour left will be acting as a research and development lab for fascist astroturf, and ensuring we have no parliamentary opposition before fighting an election on the mandate that authority now comes from twitter. Well done Mr.Corbyn. You used brexit and you think this is your moment. The Dickhead Spring. Made in the UK by a symbiosis of right and left of a media culture who moved into a chatroom.

Surreal Remembrance Sunday

Watching a pretty BBC morning presenter with shiny hair, joshing about how silly it would be to predict whether fascism will take power in France. An interview with Marie Le Pen conducted as if she was well…

I found out Biff from Back to the Future is based on Donald Trump, am fairly sure this is a new attempt at a sequel and we are just waiting for rescue from this dystopian alternative future. The pictures of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump in a gold elevator are just marketing material.

I found out Steve Irwin owned Charles Darwin’s pet tortoise. A tortoise who outlived them both.

Relections on Trump

It’s 1.25am. Donald Trump is the President Elect. There is nothing else to talk about. I want to remind future me that we knew this was important. We knew Donald Trump was only a symptom of a problem we could see growing and we couldn’t do anything because media and politics turned into a playground for a stupid elite. That it was too late to do anything a good two years before Trump was elected. That by the time he was elected we understood how inequality led to populism.

There is a lot of speculation about which policy he has announced he will implement. Lots of it well meaning. It doesn’t matter. Most of the nonsense he spouted isn’t possible, but whipping up hate will  distract from that. More debt, tax cuts, selling off public assets to private hands, and whipping up hatred while lining the his pockets and those of his peers. Will he be able to build camps? He doesn’t need to, he already has a massive prison industrial complex. He has a police state ready on that score and he is Chief of Staff itching to use his armed forces. We might get a return of McArthyism, we might get lots of things. Rudy Guillani, Sarah Palin, and whole host of far right morons and nutcases are being lined up for jobs as we speak. Nigel Farage wants to the EU/US ambassador. Ultimately we know we are getting what was sold. What he said. Him. A narcissist, a compulsive liar, self confessed abuser of women, outright racist with a disregard for reality when it interrupts his ego. Reality might impede him, the machinery that all but stopped Barack Obama being President certainly won’t but hush, we mustn’t talk about White Supremacy. US women are trying to obtain birth control before their insurers make it more expensive or deny it altogether, or so am told.

We have commentators saying ignore the campaign, it was just schtick. It wasn’t just schtick that a racist, misogynist psychopath threatening to mirror Hitler got elected. That happened. Always take a psychopath at face value when they show you who they are. The ‘he was just joking’ schtick is about people acclimatising the way they do when entering into a deeply abusive situation they have to rationalise. We are about to see what people stand for. We will see who will stand their ground and we will see how power bends to accommodate men like Trump. That will be more damaging than anything Trump does in the long term.

Any semblence of a sane brexit just went out of the window, and the three Brexiteers just became a smaller part of the Dickhead Spring. Fascism looks set to rise year on year, nation by nation, and the EU may have just found itself at odds with the US. Which renders the position of a long defunct Atlantic Bridge precarious and useful only during the chaos. Vladimir Putin now has a populist in the Whitehouse, and populists on the front bench of the House of Commons, the combination pushes the unchallenged Conservatives to the far right, and ensures the British people are locked in.

The elite left think Trump is their opportunity because they are brats and think everything is their opportunity and if they just disenfranchise us long enough and the consequences are harmful enough we will understand they are our only solution. Years after sacrificing journalism to political comment our well paid commentariat are alarmed that their internet successors have done away with truth altogether. A protective seal around a dead neo liberal consensus now delivering us to what looks like a rising tide of fascism, and assisting in development of astroturf to shut down democracy full stop.  Trump economics will lead ours, while our own part in the dickhead spring takes our economy and democracy over a cliff wrapped in a Union Jack. Fuelled by reckless self regard, we will aid the birth of a economic and social policy synthesis akin to that of the post war settlement, but our contribution may not be what we imagine.

ISIS will use his narcissism, Putin will use his weakness, and the power balance of the world will be permanently shaped this and eventually he will burn out in a pit of his own making.

Inequality is a euphemism. Whenever the word is mentioned, it is a description of power dynamics, dynamics between groups, even nations. An inequality crisis is one where power dynamics are changing and that only happens one way. History tells us this is not good.

So for the future me, this was my reflections at 1.38am, 5 hours after telling my daughter that the man in the White House won an election and its fine and all politicians are twats so this one hardly matters. The financial crisis happened when she was 2. The Tories got in when she was nearly 4. She’ll have voted in one maybe two elections before she ever sees political stability.We are all about to find out who we are, and even if like me you spent the last 6 years following the unravelling of the post war settlement, its still shocking. It’s still frightening.  I don’t want to be part of a generation who have to relearn the lessons of the early 20th century. I don’t want my daughter shaped that way. We are not in Kansas any more and no amount of clicking your heels together will take you home to a safer time.

Still, the Brit in me takes solace in Trump as a colloquialism for fart.

 

What to tell your children..

What do you tell your children about Donald Trump? Well, outside exploring the way in which inequality leads to populism and then scaring the shit out of your kids, try telling them someone won an election, this is what happens with democracy, he is only one man in a very big system and you let them sleep at night and stop projecting your shit onto them.

Trumped

This blog has never been for readers. The point, for a long time has been to document my changing perspective as the post war settlement unravels. I knew by 2013 that the unravelling had fully begun, and I think history will remember 2016 as significant.  History tells us these kind of changes lead to events which eclipse those changes in the collective psyche.

Inequality leads to populism, financial to social to political crises. Since the financial crisis destroyed the credibility of an already waning economic orthodoxy, we have seen how this happens. In the UK social policy institutions used like a whip and causing a reconstruction in people’s understanding of power, and you can trace financial crisis, to social crisis, to populism. The economic orthodoxy that died has been hollowing out our institutions for thirty years. This blog documents the way in which lefty aristocracy exploited austerity to develop astroturf, and the front bench of House of Commons is occupied by populists. We now have President Trump and the same brand of populism, albeit with different stripe has just taken the White House.

Its not really a time to say what could happen, because so many things could. The election campaign was vicious and was notable as the election where Russia used their social media and media presence to impact the outcome. And succeeded. The election campaign saw an alignment of the British left and the euphemistically called ‘Alt-Right’ who have always worked in symbiosis anyway. My belief that political media had moved into a chatroom to die is challenged by the fact that power moved into a digital world and morphed. People’s Movement now means millionaire who can generate astroturf and wind down democracy completely if so wished.

This is not the most reflective post. Contains no insight really but if you are going to keep a blog of your changing perspective while something happens, seems odd not to mark the day your worst fears were confirmed.

Each age is a dream that is dying, or a new one coming to birth. Birth is messy and we all like to forget the pain and the blood as we watch a new child grow. There are some lessons every generation has to learn for themselves.