It’s been a long, long while since I’ve published anything on here. Like many, it’s been hard to deal with the enormity of the changes that are being imposed on us, and most of the abundant verbiage that has been written seems to be like the ‘gnashing and wailing’ mentioned in Revelations in the Bible. Though such behaviour is perhaps aposite given that the times through which we are currently living could be seen as analagous to the nightmare described in that book. We’d have little difficulty ascribing IDS as the beast with 666 inscribed on his forehead, or maybe he’s just one of the legions of demons?
Much comment is understandably reactive, but I read a recent post by Kate Belgrave, where she describes herself as not replying to people, seemingly unable to suggest a way forward to people who are in desperate need of help. I can understand that, being apparently immobilised due to not knowing what to suggest and thus feeling utterly powerless in the face of a juggernaught that is swallowing people up as we watch. Even though I am not in yet anywhere near Kate’s situation, I know what it’s like to feel powerless to do anything: you still feel that you should be able to so something, even though you know that you can’t.
How do we help, how do we start to fight back in the face of such seemingly impossible odds? Getting sad and a little down is an understandable reaction in the face of such an enormous challenge, but that plays into the hands of our oppressors, as we are infinitely easier to control if we are down. If we are angry, on the other hand, we become much harder to control. I don’t mean hot blooded rage that engenders acts of pure rashness, but the cold, hard anger that stays deep in our being, that strengthens our resolve to fight back using our shared intellect, our shared resources and solidarity, to join together in spite of the differences that that certainly exist. Broad lines need to be drawn, focussing on the fundamentals that even Daily Mail reading morons can understand, maybe with the help of a little, (metaphorical) bashing over the head. We need to develop simple arguments to counter the moronic arguments presented by the Sun reading idiots who hace swallowed wholesale the bilge printed in it’s pages. A non-response, or silence is not sufficient, as that will be taken as confirmation that the rubbish they believe is the whole truth. Our reponses need to be as well rehearsed as the bilge pumped forth by the yellow press hacks that write it – formulaic, like a Mills & Boon novel, and keep punching out our message, time and time again, meet cliched taunts and assertions with cliched responses of our own. Maybe the message will sink in.
Sometimes it’s worth causing doubt in people’s minds, it unsettles them a bit. And that should be our aim, to unsettle just a little bit, to cause some doubts to be raised as to the verity of the numbskull rhetoric, the drip, drip, drip of what the government wants us to believe and what too many do believe, and not just the idiots that believe everything they read in the gutter press. Too many people who should know better spout the party line when they talk about the need for Austerity, and the constantly regurgitated lies about Labour’s profligacy that ‘got us into this mess in the first place’ when it should be clear to a blind person that these things just aren’t true. We should challenge every Labour supporter, member, politician to justify their claim for the need for Austerity. On Tories we should just (metaphorically) spit. Nye Bevan was correct, they are lower than vermin.
At the same time we have to come together and try to find ways of helping the completly lost find themselves again. The scale of the problem is immense. Again, we will never achieve this as fragmented individuals adrift and alone. We need to come together and support each other, work out strategies, build bridges between groups of people. Finance is a big issue, but imagination is the key here, there are sources of finance, there simply has to be in a society literally afloat on money. There has never been a time in history when there has been such an abundance of cash. The trouble, as always, is getting hold of some of it. Perhaps we should start by approaching those Labour politicians who voted against the party whip on the recent Welfare Bill. They may well know of ways of helping, especially if we show that we aren’t afraid of helping ourselves.
Ulitmately we will have to help ourselves, as it should be abundantly clear that we have to recreate those very institutions that provided social security before the state monoplised it. Many have seen the state monopolising of the social security system as a benign, even humane act, but though it has undoubtedly brought huge improvements in all spheres of where it was needed, there is another, very plausible reason, in my opinion. When the state started thinking about social security it had already been pipped to the post by popular institutions that were owned by the people. Think of the myriad friendly societies, co-operative societies, burial clubs, building societies, both permamant and terminating, societies like the working mens’ clubs, the miners’ institutes, medical aid societies like the one that existed in Tredegar in South Wales that influenced Aneurin Bevan when he came up with the idea for the National Health Service, the cottage hospitals often largely funded by ordinary people themselves. And there, in my opnion, lies the reason the state monopolised the commanding heights of the embryonic and rapidly developing system of social security that the people themselves were creating. A people who can build something like that can also run society, without the need for parasitic politicians, monarchs, clergy or even bosses.
But this time lets not allow the state hijack the institutions we create for ourselves. Maybe the founders of the Welfare State acted with good intentions, but eventually as we now see, what the state giveth, the state can take away. Let’s not allow ourselves to be tempted by offers of financial support from those outside of the instutions we create; he who pays the fiddler calls the tune.
But, I am getting ahead of things here. Right now we need to think of how we deal with the present crises we face, at one and the same time our own, and those of those around us who are less able to navigate their way around the system, ending up sanctioned, without money and homeless simply because they were ignorant of their rights. This is where the anger I mentioned earlier comes in. I will energise us, constantly remind us of why we are doing what we are doing, and most importantly sustain us. It is a positive anger that nourishes. More than anything we need to try and help people to help themselves – there is an abundance of information available to those who know how to search for it, and understand it, as much of it is presented in ways that are sometimes even quite obscure to many of us, and must often appear completely bewildering to many who have never had to deal with these kinds of things before.
Where do we start? With ourselves acknowledging that the enormity of the task ahead of us is too much for us as individuals, and that we need to start to build bridges to each other as a start. Then we can start to discuss what needs to be done.