Jack and the Beanstalk as a metaphor for Western Imperialism…

Well, I’ve always known some random sh&% occurs to me during the working day, but this is a particularly weird example from my wandering mind.  Yesterday, I found myself musing about how the story of Jack and the beanstalk has many parallels with that of Western Imperial history.  Here you go!

  • Jack (a western nation) and his mother (a western population) have a reliable and sustainable resource – a cow (sustainable economy). The cow provides them with all the milk they need for a simple, secure life.
  • Living off the cow may be simple, secure and safe, but it is boring. Jack’s Mum gets greedy, and demands more than she needs.  The cow is taken to market with the aim of trading a long-term, sustainable resource model for a quick buck. (free trade capitalism).
  • At the market, Jack becomes entranced by some suave sales patter, and gets ripped off with a bunch of useless but shiny magic beans (consumerism)
  • However, despite appearing useless and being quickly cast aside (disposable culture), overnight, these magic beans produce a massive beanstalk (rapid economic growth)
  • However, this growth is unsustainable and cannot be contained within Jack’s land. It is also damaging the environment around Jack’s home. (environmental depletion resulting from consumerism and growth)
  • So Jack uses the beanstalk to explore a mysterious new world. (Western countries expanding into Africa, Asia, and Australasia – Imperialism)
  • However, Jack finds that somebody already lives in the new area, a giant (Indigenous populations)
  • The giant has a singing harp (cultural wealth) and a goose that lays golden eggs (material wealth)
  • Because Jack assumes the giant is backwards, strange and dangerous, he feels completely justified in stealing the harp and the goose. (Imperial plundering of indigenous resources and appropriation of indigenous culture.)
  • Jack then retreats back to his home with his plunder. (Retreat of empire, consolidation of resources)
  • The giant now has nothing, and so chases Jack, trying to get his rightful property back (Immigration from third world to first world.)
  • Jack, upon returning home, tells everybody about how dangerous and scary the giant is, and that he is on the way (demonization of migrants in the press)
  • Maybe the giant does intend to hurt Jack (terrorism), but if Jack would simply return the giant’s rightful property, the giant would cease to pose a threat to him.
  • The giant is killed as the beanstalk comes crashing down (Western tendency towards war during economic crashes)
  • Jack is celebrated as a hero, despite the fact he is actually nothing more than a chancer, a thief, and a murderer! (Western nations playing the hero and the victim, when all they did was steal and murder!)

The Rise of Privileged Victimhood. The Privelictims have spoken.

In recent decades, we have seen the emergence of a new class of people.  A class which transcends the old working/middle/upper class divisions.  This new class consists of those who have actually had a very good deal from life, but who now consider themselves some kind of victim of oppression.  A new demographic who have become, for want of a better word, spoiled.  A demographic who were given everything they ever could desire, but who never stop complaining!

A new class of people, people who come from all walks of life, has emerged.  A class which is the equivalent of the wrapped-in-cotton-wool child – in receipt of considerable social and material advantage, considerable political and media representation, yet constantly complaining that the world is biased against them.

These are the Privileged Victims, Privelictims – collectively, the Privelictorate.  This new class transcends the old systems.  A Privelictim can come from the working, middle, or upper classes.

In listing these examples, I in no way intend to denigrate any class, merely the spoilt members present in each class – the Privelictims exist alongside another growing group of people who have genuinely been oppressed and marginalised.* 

In short, a Privelictim is the epitome of the grumpy old man or woman.  They have comfortable, spacious homes, have (or had, pre-retirement) well-paid, secure jobs, disposable incomes, new cars, freedom to move, socialise, vote and travel as they please. . . yet constantly complain that immigrants, refugees, the EU, hippies, luvvies, muslims etc.etc.etc are ruining their secure, pampered lives.

Working class Privelictim

A typical working class Privelictim is the sort of person who gets up in the morning, eats a fry up (bacon, sausages), goes to work, comes back, goes to the pub, goes clubbing, has a kebab, goes to sleep, wakes up, goes to the pub, goes to the football, goes to the pub again, then comes home and trolls the internet about how British culture is being undermined by Sharia law and the Islamic invasion!  He spends the whole day doing exactly what he wants, including drinking alcohol and consuming pork, then claims he is being oppressed and marginalised by Muslims?!  This type of Privelictim blame the closing of local churches on the opening of local mosques.  It never occurs to them that churches might be closing because pisshead nationalists like him are always too hungover on a Sunday morning to actually attend church!

Middle Class Privelictim

A middle class Privelictim is the sort who owns a nice home; big front garden, big back garden, several cars on the drive.  They live a life of quiet comfort, doing mostly whatever they please – eating out in nice restaurants, going on frequent holidays, stocking their cupboards full of the nicest organic quinoa. . . yet still believe the world is out to get them! 

This type of Privelictim will consider stagnating house prices an indication of the grossest ‘unfairness’.  That’s right, they will consider it supremely unjust that they ‘only’ gained £15,000 of real wealth last year for doing no work whatsoever! 

A middle class Privelictim may be urban, or, at the upper end, rural.  They have a nice, secure home, own two cars and a campervan outright, have a nice garden, read the Daily Mail – and bitch and complain non-stop about how awful life is!  If its not the refugees, it’s the EU, migrants, Muslims, lefties, luvvies, hippies, protesters etc.etc.etc. – the list of people they have to blame for the problems they don’t have never seems to end!

A middle-class Privelictim leads a life of comfort, growing rich off nothing more than the climbing price of their house, yet they never stop moaning!   A rural middle-class Privelictim may own a lovely cottage, rambling 50-foot back garden leading down to a river, SUV, hatchback and sports car (all in grey!) on the drive, and a sense of blissful peace and quiet noon till night.  They will then froth at the mouth in rage at scream oppression at even the suggestion that someone builds anything within fifty miles of their blissful isolation.  If the government or some evil corporation wants to build a wind- or solar farm (or, heaven forfend, houses for young people?!) within ten miles of their idyllic, isolated abode, they will consider it the ultimate indication of state-sponsored repression! 

“The squeezed middle” the Privelictim will cry, from one of their spare rooms as they quaff their second bottle of w(h)ine, throw away half a plateful of Waitrose’s finest, and recline into a sofa which cost more than most people’s rent, blissfully ignorant of the climbing levels of homelessness and debt amongst others.  These people will gripe and whinge endlessly about how a fortnightly, (rather than a weekly) bin collection is an unfair and obscene betrayal by ‘the government’.  They will complain about rubbish collections and recycling, bitching that the state is unable to hoover up the mountains of filth and waste they produce quick enough, whilst more and more less fortunate people are forced into food banks.

Upper Class Privelictim

The upper class Privelictim is perhaps harder to track down.  The clearest example, however, would be the stubborn foxhunter.  He may own half of Dorset, he may spend his weekends at banquets and gala dinners, he may enjoy an obscene level of largely inherited personal wealth, property and land – but the fact that he is no longer allowed to tear a terrified animal to shreds with a pack of slavering hounds is simply unfair!  Of course, he will continue to do so in a clandestine manner anyway – after all, laws are only for paupers!  There are other types of upper class Privelictim – permanently pissed-up golf club bores (farage), portfolio landlords, city bankers and arch-corporatists who prey on and exploit whoever they please with deceptive business deals, crappy employment contracts, and dodgy tenancy agreements – then complain about how “the country’s going to the dogs!”.  Ukip, despite their entirely false claims to speak to the common man, are actually the ultimate realisation of upper class victimhood – the Earl of Dartmouth is part of this party, a real ‘man of the people’.

Baby Boomer Privelictim

Perhaps the main source of Privelictims from all classes, however, is the baby-boomer generation.  Again, not all of them.  I do not blame this generation for taking the advantages offered to them.  I do not begrudge or envy the baby-boomer’s educations, homes, opportunities or jobs.  All I begrudge is those boomers who received these benefits, yet still somehow grew up to become bitter, paranoid, angry, and obsessed with how unfair the world is to them. 

These were a demographic who enjoyed quality, affordable housing, free university education, good quality training and apprenticeship schemes, secure, well-paid jobs for life, guaranteed generous and early pensions, a properly funded NHS, and who voted in favour of, and took advantage of, the EEC and the free movement it brought.  They then complain that the youth of today are overprivileged and the EU is taking away all their rights!

This is the demographic which voted for free university education – including support grants for living costs – for themselves, but voted for my generation to have to pay 50 grand

This is the demographic that voted for affordable housing for themselves, but voted for a cartel of greedy landlords for us.

This is the demographic which voted for secure jobs and early retirement for themselves, but voted for zero-hours contracts and retirement at 80 for us

And last of all, never forget, that this is the demographic which voted themselves into Europe, and have now voted us out of it!

How dare they try to imply that they have been marginalised and ignored by politicians and a “liberal, cosmopolitan media elite” – the opposite is true!  This country’s media is as conservative and parochial as it could possibly get!  The Bitching Privelictims have had politicians and newspapers waiting on their every word for decades!  Express, Sun, Mail, Star, Telegraph, Spectator – these newspapers have pandered to every gripe of these moaning middle agers and retirees for nigh-on forty years!  It is we, the disenfranchised, debt-ridden and downtrodden millennials who have been ignored and sidelined, we who have no voice and little political representation, and it is we who are now striving to support a pampered and unappreciative aging population, and we will have to strive even harder once they have ‘sent back’ all the immigrants who help us wait on maligned malcontents hand and foot! 

Scare-story generation, the mainstream Privelictorate, and the alt-Privelictorate.

But, deep down, the Privelictims know they don’t really have it so bad.  Which is why they need a constant stream of scare-stories and conspiracies theories from various media to justify and maintain their entirely imagined sense of persecution.  The ‘Mainstream Privelictorate’ get this bullshit from the Express, the Sun, the Star etc., however, a group which we could loosely call the ‘alt-privelictorate’, download their Persecution Complexes from a different source – any one of the numerous conspiracy theory websites out there.

These online idiots speak of things such as ‘white genocide’, whilst apparently ignorant of the fact that every leader of a political party in the entire uk is white.  Between them, the ‘alt’ and ‘mainstream’ Privlectorate media have created some ‘Narratives of Oppression’ which almost constitute works of creative genius.  Some of the stories the Privelictorate write to justify their sense of victimhood are truly imaginative masterpieces.  The ‘anti-vax’ movement is one – the basic premise of this horseshit is this: “We have the technology to cure disease but I, as an entirely untrained person, am going to instead claim, without evidence, that the government is trying to kill us” (ignoring the life expectancy and infant mortality improvements seen after every major inoculation program!).  Climate change denial is another of these mad narratives of phoney oppression.  Even if we go full tinfoil-bodysuit and say climate change is a myth, I still cannot see narrative of oppression – what is it that these people fear? “The evil government is trying to oppress me by encouraging me. . . but not forcing me. . . to save money by spending slightly less on fuel!  The monsters!  Is there no end to their tyranny?!  If we continue to be enslaved by these psychopaths, one day I may consider improving my loft insulation!  The humanity!”

The alt-right constantly talk about Political Correctness being the equivalent of fascism, yet, whilst they may sometimes be met with gasps and people telling them they ‘shouldn’t say that’, this very rarely translates into a censorship that actually prevents them speaking.  If you call someone a n****r on a facebook post, it doesn’t matter if I then say ‘you shouldn’t say that, you nasty person’ – your freedom of speech has not actually been curtailed unless I physically stop you speaking!  I could rant and rave all day about how you “shouldn’t be allowed to say x, y, z” but unless the cops are breaking down your door and stuffing a rag in your mouth, I haven’t actually stopped you saying anything!  This combined with the fact that facebook – and most other internet forums – are private enterprises and, thus, perfectly within their rights to decide who is and is not permitted to make use of its service.  Even if facebook systematically deleted every comment you ever made, this would not be censorship – facebook is a free service provided by a private company and no person has any automatic right to use it.  If you don’t like it, go elsewhere!

However, there is one single cause which unites these disparate groups, one rallying cry which unites the working, middle, upper class, mainstream, boomer and alt Privelictim – one thing they all agree on.

 UKIP

  • Disclaimers!

In saying all this, I do not deny that there are genuine victims amongst the working class, middle class, baby-boomers and pensioners.  Unskilled manual labourers (such as yours truly!) have seen their wages stagnate and their opportunities for longer-term, meaningful employment fade.  There are also plenty of middle class couples desperate to get on the property ladder, who will never be able to afford a deposit (possibly because their Privelictim parents would rather go on another all-expenses holiday than lend them the money – “It’ll teach them to be self-sufficient, Margaret, just like we weren’t!”).   There is also the fact that many traditionally white-collar, middle class roles are actually paid less than many working class roles since the financial crash.  Many less well-off boomers have also been conned in regards to their pensions and, in deprived areas, genuinely seen their local communities and property values degraded.  However, the fact of the matter remains that the people (baby boomers, working class, and middle class) who are genuinely victims of the austerity agenda in this country are usually much more humble and kind than those who simply ascribe victimhood status to themselves without really warranting it.

In this entry, I attack specific members of the working, middle, and upper classes, and members of the baby-boomer generation.  There are individuals and communities from all these groups which genuinely have been screwed over by neoliberalism.  I do not attack any one of these demographics as a whole, merely those individuals from each, who have received Privilege, but express Victimhood.

Defining ‘The liberal elite’ and the ‘anti-establishment’

A couple more new dictionary definitions, stemming from ‘post-truth’

‘Anti-establishment’/’anti-elite’ = This group mainly consists of lords, earls, aristocrats, the landed gentry, bankers, stockbrokers, commodities traders, country-club owners, billionaire media moguls, and people who have spent a lifetime in politics, provided they don’t like foreigners.
In America, the ‘anti-establishment’ is headed by a real-estate tycoon who inherited a vast amount of wealth, and used it to buy influence with both main political parties, and build giant towers with golden lifts to penthouse suites where he can look down upon his ‘salt of the earth brethren’!
In short, most self-proclaimed ‘anti-establishment’ types have spent a lifetime moving in the exclusive, elite circles of business, politics, the aristocracy and private finance, but if they are hateful, rather than kind, they can now excuse it by playing the ‘anti-establishment’ card. ‘Anti-establishment’ = anyone who agrees with farage.

‘The liberal elite’ = Any person who has ever demonstrated empathy or compassion for someone other than themselves, regardless of their wealth and/or social status. This ‘elite’ mostly consists of young people struggling under a mountain of education debt, on zero-hours contracts, paying unaffordable rents at the hands of ‘anti-establishment’ landlords, politicians and employers. ‘Liberal elite’ = anyone who disagrees with farage.

It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, no matter what your social standing is, no matter how empowered or disenfranchised you are, no matter which circles you move in, if you demonstrate kindness, you are part of the elite, and if you demonstrate mean-spirited hatefulness, you are a member of the ‘anti-establishment’!

A people-powered solution to hate-spreading newspapers

Below is a draft for a leaflet which can be printed by anyone with a printer, a leaflet which can then be blu-tacked, paper-clipped, stapled or selotaped inside or on the front page of a certain hate-spreading, fear-mongering newspaper.  This is a way for the people to answer back to the Fleet-Street elite on equal terms.  This is not a restriction of freedom of speech, it is an expansion of it.

This below leaflet is a draft, so I welcome suggestions on how to make it better.  It is also about a specific newspaper (I will not explicitly say which one, for obvious reasons!)

 

Dear reader, this newspaper is lying to you.

This newspaper is owned by a tax-dodging, corrupt, foreign billionaire.  This man is a member of the global elite, and uses this newspaper to distract people from the crimes of the British elites, by printing headlines which attack the vulnerable in society.

This newspaper has consistently taken the side of the rich, powerful and dangerous, against the vulnerable and working class.  This newspaper prints stories which defend or distract from the crimes of the elite, whilst creating fear, hatred, division and scapegoating.

  • This newspaper sided with greedy developers and exploitative landlords, whilst attacking their vulnerable tenants. When Russel Brand joined a group of working families protesting against being kicked and priced out of their homes at the New Era estate, this newspaper immediately leapt to the defence of the loaded landlords by attacking Russel Brand as a hypocrite!  This newspaper chose to side with rich and powerful property tycoons over British families trying to protect their homes and communities – This newspaper is an enemy of renters and working families
  • This newspaper lied about the victims of Hillsborough, siding with corrupt cops and politicians over fans and their grieving families. This newspaper is an enemy of football fans
  • This newspaper sided with lying government officials and brutal cops against Orgreave protesters and miners – siding with politicians and brutal cops over working people trying to protect their jobs and communities. This newspaper is an enemy of workers and working class communities
  • This newspaper hacked the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler, giving false hope to her parents and letting Levi Belfield, her killer, escape justice for longer. This newspaper is an enemy of justice, and an enemy of individual privacy.
  • This newspaper edited a WW2 veteran out of a photograph on Remembrance Sunday. This newspaper is an enemy of war veterans
  • This newspaper argued against the introduction of the minimum wage back in 1997 –This newspaper is an enemy of low paid workers
  • A ‘journalist’ for this newspaper has actually been imprisoned for setting up innocent people – This newspaper is an enemy of truth and justice
  • This newspaper has campaigned against the rights of British workers and citizens. – This newspaper is an enemy of every working person in this country.
  • This newspaper was one of the loudest cheerleaders for the Iraq War, parroting Blair’s lies and attacking the 1 million people who protested against it. This newspaper is an enemy of peace
  • This newspaper protected both Thatcher’s government and Jimmy Saville when allegations first emerged of paedophile crimes by Westminster politicians and Saville – This newspaper is an enemy of the victims of crime
  • The reason this newspaper prints so many angry, hateful and paranoid lies about poor and vulnerable groups such as migrants, refugees, minority religions, and benefit claimants (watch the film “I Daniel Blake”), is because it wants to protect the greedy portfolio landlords, extortionate property developers, exploitative employers, and tax-dodging multinational companies who are really draining the country dry and forcing the working people into poverty.

When you buy this paper, you are supporting a media empire (owned by someone who doesn’t even live in this country!) which spreads anger, hatred and lies to keep people divided and fighting amongst themselves.

Take a chance, ditch this nasty rag once and for all – we Brits are better than this elitist, establishment, Fleet Street nonsense!   Believe in a future for Britain which has hope, not hate, at its heart.  Stop reading this hateful rag, you will feel better, and this country will become a happier, more hopeful place to live!

Brexit, Trump, rising nationalism, and what you can do.

What can I do?

So, Brexit happened*, Trump happened, and we are now seeing nationalist bigotry, hatred and division rising up again in the West.  Language we thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history is foaming to the surface – fascistic attitudes legitimised by psychopathic, billionaire media moguls are breaking through into the mainstream.  In our newspapers, online, in our workplaces and communities, we are seeing hate and division being stoked by establishment Fleet Street barons and politicians desperate to deflect blame away from the elite – the elite they belong to.

Many among us, especially the millennials who were once so hopeful, now look to the future with despair.  What can we do?  We see the seeds of full-blown fascism beginning to sprout, and feel powerless to stop it.  Venomous, intolerant language is becoming normalised, people from overseas are being attacked in the street, and the political discourse coming from the tory front bench (via ukip) is becoming ever more nationalist, divisive and spiteful.   The vulnerable are still being blamed for the sins of the powerful.   Many people are terrified of what is coming, what has been legitimised by Trump and Brexit – we see the logical conclusion of these narratives, but feel powerless to stop it.

But we are not powerless.  Together, we are stronger than the prejudiced and intolerant.  Millions of citizens are frustrated and appalled by the horrendous, bigoted narratives which every day seem to become more and more mainstream.  Act, and despair vanishes – just try it!

Here is a list if things you can do every day to counteract the hateful narratives being pushed by far-right politicians and newspapers.  Print this list off and pin it to your fridge.  Commit to doing at least one act in each section every single week.  Carry a notepad, set yourself goals, and aim to complete as many as you can, or even go for completing the whole list!  There’s probably an app for this sort of thing too!?  Keep it up and keep going.  If enough people do a little bit for long enough, we can kill this beast with a million tiny cuts.  Any other ideas, please send them to me and I’ll add them to the list!  This entry is split into a shortlist, a longer list, and an explanation/justification at the end.

Before all of the above, remember smile, be kind, and talk to everyone, those who are vulnerable, those who you disagree with, all family, friends, and every member of your community!

Shortlist

  1. Show solidarity with refugees
    1. Donate food, clothes and funds to refugee charities
    2. Volunteer rooms in your house for refugee children to stay in
    3. Spread a message of inclusion in your local community
    4. Talk to immigrants and minority individuals and businesses in your area
  2. Show solidarity with your local community
    1. Donate to your local food bank
    2. Give money to the homeless and the charity Shelter
    3. Volunteer in your local food bank or homeless shelter
  3. Block out the hatred coming from our newspapers
    1. Hide the hateful papers behind the nice ones
    2. Distribute a counter-narrative by stapling rebuttals inside the Daily Mail etc.
    3. Boycott hateful newspapers, and the companies which advertise with them
    4. Join the campaign group ‘Stop Funding Hate’
    5. Talk to friends/relatives who read these nasty papers
    6. Take and bin any free copies of these papers you see
    7. Sharing on social media is ok, but it will never be enough on its own
  4. Push for a Progressive Alliance – engage with local politics and force progressive voices to unite.
    1. Support the candidate which is strongest against tories/ukip in your area.
    2. Write to local progressive candidates who can’t win, and ask them not to stand, so as not to split the vote
    3. Join and donate to whichever party out of Labour, Lib-dems, Greens, SNP or Plaid Cymru you prefer, but vote for whichever local candidate is strongest!
  5. Join a specifically anti-fascist group. There are many, with many varied approaches.
    1. SUTR
    2. UAF
    3. Your local Antifa
    4. Start your own anti-fascist group!
  6. Retain your anger.

Long list

1) Show solidarity with refugees, migrants, and any other group who is currently under threat

  • Donate to organisations collecting for refugees – food, clothes, etc. [http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/refugee-crisis-find-your-nearest-collection], or simply google “[your area] + refugee solidarity”
  • If you have a spare room, write to your mp and volunteer it for a refugee family or orphan [https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/what_we_do/refugee_services/access_to_housing/rooms_for_refugees]
  • Print off the attached image, as either letter or sticker, and post it to a nearby business or home owned by someone from overseas, as a show of solidarity. [ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157793711500370&set=a.10154183360970370.1073741846.694670369&type=3&theater ]
  • Talk to your local migrant and minority neighbours and business owners, let them know you are on their side.

2) Show Solidarity with your local community

[http://england.shelter.org.uk/donate]

3) Counter the bigoted narratives being pushed by far-right newspapers like the Sun, Star, Daily Mail and Express**

  • Cover up the poison-spreading newspapers.  When you go to your local shop and see the daily mail, express, star or sun spouting hate, pick up a copy of the I, the Guardian, the Mirror, the New European, the Morning Star etc. and place it on top of the pile of offending newspapers, obscuring them.  This is a simple act you can do every day to blot out, just slightly, the panorama of hate which assaults the eyes of decent people every time they enter a shop.
    • Staple a counter-narrative inside the hateful papers. If you are feeling more adventurous, print off a sheet of A4 (templates to follow!) explaining why the narrative of these papers is so dangerous, take it to your local shop, and staple it to the front or second page or those newspapers which peddle such hatred and fear.  This is not impeding ‘freedom of speech’ it is exercising it – a democratic way of allowing the man on the street to answer back to billionaire non-dom media moguls without having to increase the click-count on their websites.
    • Boycott companies who advertise in hateful newspapers. If you see a product advertised on the front page of (or anywhere within) the Express, Star, Mail or Sun write to the company concerned and tell them you will boycott their product as long as they continue to advertise in publications which spread fear, hatred and division.  Advertisers want their products associated with a positive message, and if they think people see their advertising partners as hateful, they will pull their funding.  You can either do this independently or through the campaign Stop Funding Hate [ https://www.facebook.com/stopfundinghate/ ]
    • If you know a friend/relative/co-worker who reads these papers, talk to them. Get up the guts to talk to them about how dangerous their message is.  This may be awkward or uncomfortable, and may lead to strained relationships, but you have to try.  Do not insult your friend/relative/co-worker, instead insult the paper itself, explain why reading these hateful narratives is doing nothing to improve their livelihoods, and never will.
    • If you ever see free copies of these papers being handed out, you are well within your rights to take the entire stack and bin it!

4) The time has now come for the people to force a progressive political alliance between the many disparate parties on the left, centre left, centre and even centre right – we all need to be united in order to overcome this menace.  We may disagree on many issues, and we can return to campaigning against one another once the threat is countered, but for now, this is the biggest enemy.  The reason I call for this is not out of general anti-conservative sentiment, but a fear of the increasingly nationalist narrative coming from this particular conservative front bench, in their battle to reclaim ukip votes.

  • In elections, vote for whichever candidate is strongest against the tories and ukip – and let all the other candidates know you are doing so, be they lib-dem, Labour, Plaid Cymru, SNP, Green. Also talk to moderate conservative voters and politicians. If enough people commit to this act of people power, the people can pretty much force a Progressive Alliance even if the parties themselves cannot agree to one!
    • I realise many voters don’t agree with Corbyn or the detail of his policies
    • I realise many voters have not forgiven the lib-dems for the coalition and enabling tuition fee increases,
    • I realise that SNP and Plaid Cymru voters may be mistrusting of all establishment Westminster parties
    • I recognise that Green voters see major issues with lib-dem, labour, snp and Plaid Cymru policies

But there are bigger enemies now, far greater dangers.  We can go back to these comparatively minor differences once the nationalist/fascist threat has been countered.

  • If you are in an area where certain progressive candidates have no chance of winning, write to them and ask them not to stand, to avoid the vote being split. Sometimes it can be hard to work out which candidates ‘have no chance’, but the last election result is a good clue, and her eis how you find it;
    • Type your postcode in here. This will tell you your constituency [http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/newseatlookup.html]
    • Type “[Your constituency] + 2015 result” into google. This will probably lead you to a Wikipedia page where you can see the result and thus decide which candidate to vote for next time – whichever was strongest vs ukip & the tories
  • If you are a moderate (or, as I like to call them, true) conservative, write to your MP threatening to vote against them if they do not counter the divisive nationalism coming from the tory front bench via ukip. Nationalism is the enemy of conservatism just as much as it is any other philosophy – conservatism’s core values are family and hard work – if an immigrant cares for their family and works hard, a true Conservative should be on their side.   Churchill fought fascists, remember.
  • Join and donate to one of these parties; Labour, Lib-Dem, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru, but vote for the strongest in your area!

5) Join a group which opposes the rise in racism and fascism – show your support on social media, turn up to meetings and rallies and, if you can afford to, donate.  There are many different groups and many different approaches;

  • Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) are a friendly and entirely above-board pressure group campaigning against the growing racism and fascism in the uk. [ http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/support-us/ ]
  • Unite Against Fascism (UAF) not only opposes fascist ideology, but is also affiliated with movements protecting worker’s rights. These are slightly more vociferous and numerous than SUTR, holding counter-demonstrations to fascist rallies. [ https://www.facebook.com/UAFpage/?fref=ts ]
  • Local ‘Antifa’ movements share the same goals, but are much more anarchic and militant. These groups directly and physically obstruct and oppose marches by the EDL, Britain First and many other proto-fascist groups.  Their approach is tough, and not for everyone, but they are an option.  Search out the local Antifascist (Antifa) groups in your area, or Anti Fascist Action nationwide. Type [your area] + ‘antifascists/antifa’ into google. . . or even set up your own!  [ https://antifascistnetwork.org/how-to-set-up-an-anti-fascist-group/ ]

Hold onto your rage – Many young people in America and Britain feel a profound sense of betrayal at their parent’s generation voting against their interests for Brexit and Trump.  I say to you now – feel that anger, feel that resentment, hold it tight and keep it inside yourself.  Hold onto it as a weapon, but never let it drag you down.  This will be your secret.  Your vengeance.  One day, the boomers will need our help, and they will not receive it.  When they try to bring in National Service, the Tory Youth, or some other such phony attempt to bring the young people back into the fold after spitting in their faces, throw it back in theirs.  Dodge the draft, or whatever ‘lets strong-arm the young into respecting people who hate them’ project these f&#@ers come up with!

Details, explanations, justifications

*  In attacking Brexit, I am neither questioning nor attempting to subvert the result of the referendum.  Even though I voted Remain, I concede we should leave the EU – and it is still possible to do so without becoming a nation of hate.   I also am not attacking all Brexiters, some of whom came from the left.

Instead, I would like to make a distinction between a ‘Brexiter’ and a ‘Brextremist’.  A Brexiter weighed up all the pros and cons of EU membership and came to a different decision to me, a Brextremist simply obeyed the rabid rantings of the right wing press.

A Brexiter is calm, sober, and willing to debate exactly what ‘leaving the EU’ will look like.  A Brextremist screams that anyone who disagrees with them should be silenced, and that our judiciary are ‘enemies of the people’.

I am not talking about the Brexit vote itself, I am talking about the far-right narrative which hijacked it, the wave of xenophobic bile that saw itself as legitimised by the result. Not every Brexiter was a racist, but every racist was a Brexiter… It is now your responsibility as reasonable Brexit voters to take your vote back from the hands of the neo-nazis who have tried to claim ownership of it.   I doubt many Lexit voters were pleased to see the National Front, and every other neo-nazi group under the sun, so happy with the result.

** It is easy to accept the simple narrative that ‘free speech’ allows these papers to write whatever they want.   However,  their fearmongering front pages are usually utterly misleading and sometimes entirely untrue – but any lies they get caught out on end up being apologised for in a tiny column on page 32 three weeks later, after the damage has been done.  Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie and manipulate people’s thoughts to spread hatred.  If people had boycotted and attacked the nazi magazine “Die Sturmer” with enough force in the 1920s and 30s, the Second world war might have been averted – is ‘free speech for media moguls’ really worth genocide?!

‘Free Speech’ does not mean we should all have to walk past a panorama of hateful opinion masquerading as news every time we set foot in a shop.  “Just don’t buy it then”, “Ignore it” come the apologist’s excuses – but these loaded Fleet Street psychopaths are using their distribution networks, buying power and influence to fill every corner of our society with an endless stream of spite and paranoia.  This is poisoning our local communities and our individual psycho-spiritual wellbeing from the ground up, and we do not have to sit by and watch it happen in the name of ‘free speech’ for the likes of Rupert Murdoch and all the other right wing media non-doms – most of whom don’t even live in this country, let alone form part of our communities.

The words in these headlines are deeply harmful to society, our communities, and our individual wellbeing – yet these simplistic narratives and their easy ‘solutions’ are also dangerously addictive for the bitter, the uneducated, and the desperate.  Society regulates and prohibits the individual freedom to purchase heroin because of the wider social harm the drug does – the same could be said of newspapers which spread hatred.  We are not obliged and should not have to tolerate being assaulted by a barrage of hate from billionaire newspaper owners every time we enter a shop.

Porn mags have to be covered up and put on a high shelf in newsagents, and the hatred coming from these ‘newspapers’ carries far more social harm.  If society demands we hide pornography, there is no moral reason for people not to take their own direct action to hide hatred.  I do not accept that we need to hide nipples because of the damage they can cause but it is perfectly acceptable to sit back and allow hatred of society’s most vulnerable to dominate our daily news stands – which is more dangerous, fanny or fascism?!   If the ‘readers’ of these ‘newspapers’ so desire their daily dose of fear and hate, they will surely have no problem digging for it!

Introduction to Vanrants!

Vanrants!

Welcome to the Vanrants blog!  A blog documenting the political thoughts, ideas and rages which go through the mind of a Van Man from Bristol whilst out delivering.   These entries won’t be about ‘van driving stuff’, but instead the hopes, fears and other ideas which come into my head whilst out driving, especially those about the social and political state of the modern world.

In here, I will share some of the mad, manic, mediocre and hopefully sometimes insightful ideas that enter my head whilst on a delivery run.   Being a  Van Man can often be quiet and lonely, especially on long-distance night runs, but 10 hour shifts alone in the cab give the brain time to breathe, time to think, and this blog documents some of the extended musings which have emerged over the years.

Most of the Van Rants will be about the political and social stuff which infuriates and terrifies me – but don’t make any assumptions about this blog based on stereotypes of the ‘White Van Man’s’ politics.  This White Van Man is broadly left wing, and in favour of open borders, public ownership, power to the workers, investment, Remain, diversity, liberalism, tolerance and solidarity.  I am republican (as in ‘anti monarchy’ not the American type, obviously!) anti-austerity, anti-fascist, anti-nationalist, and against pretty much everything the bigoted, hateful, distracting and elitist right-wing press stands for.
However, my political ‘mind-map’ takes elements from across the spectrum; anarchist, communist, socialist, capitalist, liberal, progressive, green and even occasionally conservative!  The only ideologies I believe have zero role to play in humanity’s future are fascism, and fascism’s little brother nationalism – human beings should succeed based on merit, not on where they were born and to whom.

This blog will also be the work of a completely amateur political thinker.  I have zero formal education in politics, though I have read and thought about it a lot.  I write not from a position of academic strength, but from one which has had the time to observe, dwell on, and make its own mind up about certain political trends in the world.  In this sense, I am no different from the right-wing press, although unlike them, I am not a hack paid by overseas, non-domicile aristocrats (Murdoch, Dacre etc.) to tell the people of this country what to think, who to fear, and how to be patriotic!

Some of these entries are fueled by their own poetic neatness, but most fueled by anger at the growing intolerance and mean-spirited attitudes I see emerging in this country.

So that’s what these blog entries will be – a tidied up version of the diatribes of wonder and rage and bafflement that flow through my mind alone in the van!  These are my White Van Rants!  I am not saying I have any special insight, I am just curious to see what other people think of the ideas that run through my mind, and I welcome this blog to scrutiny and criticism from all!

As a person with no political education, I am also prepared for the fact that many of the ideas in here may already have been paraphrased by much more politically academic individuals and theorists – please point this out if you see it!   I have no intention to claim any kind of special political insight or instinct, I am only publishing as I feel a need to express the patterns, ideas and principles I have seen, and to see what other people think of them.

So, read my entries, criticise, question and respond.  I am going to aim for one entry per week, and am interested in voices which both and support and oppose my ideas!

Bristol Antifascists resist Bristol United Patriots

On Saturday 17 October, two very different protest groups clashed in Bristol.
Bristol United Patriots, a splinter group of the BNP, operating on a platform very similar to the EDL and Britain First, stated that they were to hold a rally, protesting against homelessness among veterans.
This alone, seemed interesting – a far-right demonstration with a positive message? A neo-fascist (I later found out that members of BUP have swastika tattoos – fairly damning, I feel!) group actually promoting the idea of protecting society’s vulnerable? This I had to see!
Another group, the mysterious Antifa, in this case, the offshoot Bristol Anti-fascists, said they would resist BUP’s march, form a counter-demonstration. Bristol Antifascists had said they could see through the smokescreen – that BUP’s were not planning to march against homelessness, but to spread a message of hatred towards some of the world’s most vulnerable people – the refugees from Syria’s civil war.
I wanted to give both sides a fair hearing, so decided to scope them both out.
I began by investigating Bedminster, this district was where internet sources stated both demonstration and counter-demonstration were due to occur.
On bike and on foot, I scoured Bedminster. Strangely, I could neither see nor hear either group, though there was a heavy police presence in the area; swat vans, bobbies on the beat, even a couple of police dogs, but no demonstrators – was I too late? Too early?
Eventually, after an hour of seeing no activity, I decided to leave – maybe the cops had broken up both demos before they’d even got started. Taking a circuitous exit route, in order to have one last search for either group, I hopped back on the motorbike.
Then, just as I was leaving the area, on the way out along Coronation Road, I saw police horses and vans gathered outside the Little Grosvenor pub, behind them, England flags and Knights Templar livery jutted out over the garden fence – I may have found the right wingers!
I parked up the bike on Bedminster Parade, but no sooner had I taken my lid off, than the gathering seemed to stir into motion.
Now, Bristol United Patriots had stated, in advance, that their march was going to be in protest against homeless veterans – a (half-way) noble cause. (Although, with 1 million empty homes in Britain – 1/3 of them empty long-term – there should be more than enough for veterans AND refugees).

So, although BUP’s facebook page is littered with the sort of anti-Muslim, anti-refugee guff you expect from a group with the word ‘patriot’ in its title, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they were caring people, who just wanted homes to be provided for injured soldiers? What would their first chant be? I wondered;
“Homes. For. Ve-ter-ans”, maybe?
“No. Home. Less-he-roes” perhaps?
Well, of course it wasn’t, although it followed the same time-signature! The first – in fact, almost the only – chant I heard from BUP was, of course;
“No. More. Re-fu-gees!”
(“No more?” I found myself thinking – we haven’t taken ANY yet, have we?!)
And so, the rabble was escorted by police horse, over Bedminster Roundabout Bridge. I followed on the bike, filtering to get up close, to see as much as I could – but I lost them as they were escorted past the Louisiana and I was, politely but firmly, prevented from biking after them by the fuzz.
So, I pulled a u-ey and sped off up round to Queens Square, eventually managing to park the bike on the South Bank of the Waterfront. All seemed to have gone momentarily silent – again, no sign of either faction.
But not for long; Still escorted by the fuzz, I heard BUP’s slurred chanting coming up the Waterfront heading over Pero’s Bridge. I decided not to follow them anymore, but to try and intercept them – head BUP off at the pass, see where they were going.
I broke into a half sprint and headed past the fountains and up Park Street. Looking down towards @ Bristol, I saw BUP being funnelled across the road. I made it up to College Green – the council buildings; that had to be where they were heading.
Up on College Green, I sat on the benches among the skaters, waiting, as another eerie silence fell – Movement and noise gradually began to emanate from the alleyway between the Marriot and the Cathedral – BUP were coming!
Where were the Antifascists? I thought desperately. So far, I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of them, despite searching, and here was a fascist group about to spread their poisonous message right in the cultural heart of my vibrant, diverse city!
Then, they appeared, as if out of nowhere! Like some deus-ex-machina moment in a Middle Earth story, they erupted up Park Street at the last moment – saving the day in the nick of time!
A battalion of antifascists, clad in black hoodies and masks, stormed up the street past the entrance to the hotel – All was noisy and chaotic for a moment, before everything settled into place.
A row of black clad Antifascists now blocked the top of the stairs – Black flags, with the Triple arrow motif, fluttered as four police horses, and many officers, inserted themselves in a line between the two groups. BUP were blocked off on the stairs, stopped in their tracks – the antifascist slogan “No Pasaran” (they will not pass) came to mind.
So what now? This was a standoff – the police protecting. . . sorry ‘separating’ . . . the fascists from the antifascists.
This seemed to me to be almost a perfect result for the antifascists – BUP were now cocooned down an alleyway, unseen and unheard to the growing crowd of bystanders, their poisonous message prevented from being spread.
Bristol Antifascists, whom I have never actually seen in the flesh before, stood resolute. Many wore black masks, but many more, surrounding the group, had their faces shown. These antifascist ambassadors talked to and interacted with the crowd, while their surlier, masked, foot-soldiers kept up their vigil on the cops and the fascists.
A banner was unfurled – “Migrants Welcome, Nazis Not”, and a wonderful moment occurred when the local skater kids posed for photos and threw some shapes in front of the banner.
So who were these antifascists? These strange, stealthy people who come out of the shadows, whenever fascism rears its ugly head?
It was hard to tell, behind the masks, who exactly they were, but I saw dreadlocks, Mohawks, flesh tunnels – in truth, they seemed like a group of alt. kids and adults – goths, punks etc.
As I see it, this would make perfect sense. After all, at its core, fascism is a severe form of conformity – it would seem to make sense that those who would oppose it, would be an unconventional lot!
Something else I noticed about them was that, by and large, they seemed a scrawny bunch, (apart from one heavy set bloke with a chain around his neck!) – how would these skinny folks face off against a bull-necked, beer-gutted, red-faced rabble of pissed-up, angry nationalists?
I stayed close, watching as chants erupted from Antifa towards BUP.
“Follow your leader – shoot yourself, in the head!” was shouted towards BUP, a reference to Hitler’s ignoble end. As I stood on a bench, attempting to get a better view of the crowd behind the police cordon, a brief scuffle and clash erupted between the antifascists and the mounted cops – I did not see exactly what triggered this, but a police horse charge into the largely stationary antifascists resulted in split lips and bruising amongst some members of the crowd, instigating another chant;
“Get that animal, off that horse”
Antifascists are not known to get on with the police, often seeing them as unofficial bodyguards to the far-right. As the scuffle seemed to die down, one cop knelt on one protester, I suddenly heard a voice shout from behind me;
“He’s one of them!”
In an instant, a group of antifascist protesters broke off from the main group and ran at a skinhead bloke behind who had been filming – a BUP infiltrator, a known face on the far-right scene, apparently – who was promptly chased off while the rest held the line.
I thought I’d best be careful – I was filming and taking pics too, and though I had chatted to a couple of bystanders and ‘friendly face’ antifascists, I had not been introduced to the masked lot and, though I support their ideals, I did not want to get on their wrong side!
Again I stood on the bench to see if I could see BUP, hidden behind a police cordon down the alley.
One actually managed to break free and run through the Marriot, presumably getting in through a fire escape or side entrance, but as he burst through, he was promptly sent back into the hotel by an antifascist charge, before being sheltered inside by the police.
Aside from these one or two scuffles, fronting between the antifascists and the cops seemed to punctuate a stalemate at the entrance to College Green – so I thought I’d try and get a view from the BUP side.
Running round the Marriot to the bottom of the steps, I encountered a further police cordon which prevented me from seeing much of BUP from this angle either – if Antifa’s aim was to ensure ‘no platform’ for fascists, they had succeeded – in this place, I could neither hear nor see BUP, even though I was trying to – I was witnessing a message of hatred and division being stymied by community action on the part of local antifascists, honestly, it was quite inspirational!
However, the fact that BUP remained hidden to all also meant that, to the average bystander, it looked as if the antifascist’s primary beef was with the cops, not the fascists cowering behind them. I had to explain to several people that there actually was a second group of protesters – fascists – behind the police cordon, as BUP could not be seen at all.
After another period of tension and inertia back up on the College Green end, a group of antifascists began moving off down Park Street – I did not know if this was a decision to try and outmanoeuvre BUP, or if they were being lead away by the cops, but followed as close as I dared. The voice of a female antifascist cried out;
“Don’t get kettled!”
And the group moving down the street seemed to spread out, to keep themselves from being surrounded by cops.
But before this smaller group could get down Park Street and around, the road – traffic and all – was blocked by cops. Obviously, counter to the police’s plans, the group went back up the hill, unkettled, and re-joined the main barricade.
Inertia once more.
Suddenly, there was movement – a large group – almost the entire gathering – of antifascists sprinted off towards the west end of College Green and down the steps West of the cathedral.
I had no idea what had caused this sudden movement, and felt caught between two stalls – do I stay here, in case BUP – who I still could not see – tried to make a break for it up the stairs, or do I follow the runners to see what they were up to?
I, and the skater kids, opted to follow the runners. I could not keep up, but did manage to get down the stairs and across towards millennium square – BUP were crossing the road, momentarily poorly protected.
The two groups clashed, scuffles erupting across the road and into the square. I winced – many BUP members, who I had only just seen – were exactly what I had expected – bullish, angry, red men with thick necks and arms, being set upon by a bunch of scrawny alt. types. I Was worried this would end badly for Antifa, but I was in for a surprise…
The fascists ran! Though there were one or two scuffles, the odd punch and furious scream hurled both ways, the overwhelming momentum of the encounter was the fascists running back across Milennium Square, back towards Pero’s bridge. A group of burly, brawler types had been sent packing – running for their lives, by a skinny group of alt. types.
I looked back up and saw the steps were clear. By the time I got to Pero’s Bridge, the fighting had died down but a crowd had gathered. I picked up what I could from bystanders and cops radio chatter.
A group of BUP were now trapped in Vshed behind a cordon of cops, Bristol Antifascists having chased them inside. Glasses and chairs had apparently been thrown by both sides.
On the south side of the Waterfront, was another small group, waving England flags and military insignia. Overheard police radio chatter reporting ‘about 20 right-wing left, coupla clashes around.’
Though the fascists been chased into their holes here, I did not know if anything was happening or had happened on College Green. I ran back to the bike, rode back up and checked – the place was deserted – quieter than it usually is.
I rode round the perimeter of the whole area, but things seemed to have quietened down. BUP had been moved back, away from College Green, held back by the antifascists. They were now on south side of the river.
And that seemed to be the end.
Today had been a demonstration of the logic of the playground, played out on an adult scale in the city. A group of bullies (BUP) had decided to pick on the vulnerable members (Refugees) and had been full of strut and bluster, proudly shouting down those who have less power than themselves. . . until someone stood up to them, at which point, they ran.
It is a tale as old as time itself – if an aggressive, power hungry, hateful person decides they are going to blame someone for their problems, it won’t be the powerful, it will be the disempowered.

School bullies will pick on the minorities – attacking hating, blaming and intimidating them, but a fascist, or a bully, would never stand up to a dominant, mainstream authority. Fascists and playground bullies expect everyone else to just back down and accept that they will bully the different, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised with impunity.

But when someone actually stands up to them, fascists and bullies will back down – because that is what their ideology worships – power, strength – so when someone resists them forcefully, they run.
Put simply, fascism is a seductive, corruptive ideology – one which appeals to the animal – the pack hunter in all of us (you will never see a lone fascist – the pack, the group, the nation, the race, is their binding philosophy).
Fascism speaks to something sub-human yet still seductive inside of all of us. However, like all animal instincts, it is pragmatic, and will recognise that if it encounters something stronger than it, it will retreat. Like hyena, fascists will only attack those which are weaker than it, and, as demonstrated in Bristol last Saturday, a fascist will run from that which is stronger.
This is the only language the animalistic fascist understands – and all the more reason why, I believe, militant anti-fascism, even that involving violence, is justified. We have all seen what happens when this ideology infects people’s minds on a large scale – it is a virulent, corruptive ideology and, if given free rein to spread its message, can infect the minds of others, turning the compassionate into the cruel, the decent into the decrepit.
If Bristol Antifascists had not opposed this group with force, then they would have walked unchallenged into the centre of my city, and been free to spread their hatred into the minds of the young and vulnerable, the shoppers on Park Street, the teens hanging out on College.
If just one person was prevented from being corrupted by BUP’s divisive, hate-filled message, then I applaud the forceful resistance of Antifa.
The only thing which will stop fascism from ever reaching its crux – its activation energy – the moment it becomes mainstream, is if it is resisted wherever it occurs.
Don’t get me wrong, despite their alternative, in some ways even hippyish appearance, Bristol Antifascists, and their parent affiliation, Antifa, are not soft-touch liberals – they are prepared to use violence on the streets to oppose fascism.
What you think on this stance is your decision, but it was certainly an effective tactic in stymying BUP’s message of hatred and bigotry. While I normally abhor violence in any form, and support right of even the bigoted and hateful to freedom of speech, I would, perhaps surprisingly, end by quoting Adolph Hitler;
“Only one thing could have stopped our movement – if our adversaries had understood its principle and from the first day smashed with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement.”
Imagine if Germany in the 1930’s, had had a movement with the strength, passion, and, yes, the violent capacities of Antifa, how different – how much less horrific – the history of the last century could have been.