Create ripples, one day they’ll become tidal waves.

The biggest threat to our way of life is not the government or the terrorists they claim to be chasing across the globe. Its is our apathy.

The Royal Mail, educational system, NHS and emergency services have been built by the blood, sweat and tears of you and you grandparents going back 100 years. Today they are seen as cash cows for corrupt politicians and their privateer friends to siphon off billions in public money to line their private pockets and they are using the veil of austerity to do so. They have managed, somewhat convincingly, to persuade a large section of society that austerity is both real and necessary.

Alessio Rastani told us that a recession is not bad for everyone, it is an opportunity to make money; This is not a recession, it is a robbery.

Worryingly this agenda is something that is pursued by both Labour and Conservatives, one hard and fast and the other a kind of “I can’t believe it’s not austerity”, or “austerity-lite” approach. Either way the end result is the same. Working people are forced to bear the brunt of paying for a crisis created by corrupt politicians, rogue bankers and immoral (if not illegal) banking practices with their banking and economic terrorism.

The leaders of both these parties are no longer interested in popularity contests at election time because there are common themes, goals and aims amongst them. They are ultimately all gorging themselves at the same trough of public money and broadly speaking, their sole interest is themselves.

The NHS as I mentioned is already paid for by our parents and grandparents, the problem we have is that far too few of us dare old enough to remember a time when you would have to pay for a doctor call out and all the associated care that goes with it and even less have stopped to think about the danger we face because of privatisation. Some may think that they will see no real problem because they already have some form of private medical care, paid for either by their employer or privately but the key point here is that these private firms are backed up by the publicly funded NHS. Even the Royal spawn, despite all its top private care, was delivered in a private hospital, ably supported by the resources of the NHS should anything have gone wrong.

Where will the support network be once the entire lot has been sold of to the great bearded one, Richard Branson?

In the case of the NHS the politicians have gone to great lengths to show us how badly the NHS is failing and have been duly assisted by a complicit media, none more so than our publicly funded BBC who reel off story after story about “nurses on safari” looking for patients or failing trusts. As bad as some of these stories may be on the face of it, these are an infinitesimally small percentage of the millions of people treated by wonderful doctors and nurses every day of the year, any time we call on them.

Where are our survivor stories?

Along with the horrors show run by the mainstream media, the government also repeatedly tell us that the immigrants (who are not even here yet) are to blame for the failure and over capacity of our A&E departments etc. These are blatant lies, used to prey on people’s fears and prejudice that is manufactured by a corrupt elite intent on walking away with billions in profit at the cost of our health. The process to privatisation is a simple but effective one; first the government go through a period of defunding which creates an environment for failure, the failures are reported and the cost to make improvements is amplified and then the privateers swoop in with the answer to take an ever-increasing cost off of the tax payers hands. All the while feeding you distraction stories of immigrants, bad nurses and creating apathy to convince you that a nice guy like Branson will make a good job of it.

Really? He is a businessman about making money. Would you really want someone in charge of something that makes money solely off of the death and illness of people? The only way they will make profit is by charging us for treatments, reducing wages of the nurses providing the majority of the care (not the execs, they get paid off to push through change) and generally hanging us out to dry. See how cheap health insurance will be then when they know you cannot rely on the NHS. These firms will have cornered the market and will drive up prices. Just look at what the energy firms are preparing to do this winter, nearly 10% increase in price’s!

The apathy they are trying to foster enables them to impose these changes because we feel we cannot make a difference and that we cannot make a change. We have given up our power and we have to take it back. One person can make a difference and everyone should do so, if we do not start offering a resistance to these attacks now and come to realise we have more in common with each other than with these merciless privateers and criminals running the country, then we will quite literally be cut adrift and priced out of even a base level of living.

We can do this by winning the hearts and minds of the people around us, taking interest in each other’s causes and not waiting for people to come to us and ours, we can withdraw economically from certain corporations to redistribute the pain, we can write music, draw, sing and create art – the true way of protesting and engaging the hearts and minds of others. If we create ripples they can one day become tidal waves.

We inherited a world of opportunity from our parents, we have a duty to hand it on to the next generation in a better state and not sell it from under them for a dollar.

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Marxism and all that other stuff we are discouraged from learning

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” ~ Vladimir Lenin

After three years trying I finally made it this week to Marxism, the International festival held in london where people gather from across the globe to debate, learn and discuss the socioeconomic ills of the world today.

As a student of history I had a brief introduction to the teachings of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, whom I first came across when we covered Russia and it’s revolution back in 1917. I went on to read a great deal more about fascism, communism and the many other ‘isms’ that exist following this brief encounter to learn more about the world we live in today and how our history has shaped it. This week is an extension of that education and somewhere where I hope I will get to debate many of the topics being raised. Without debate information is only half the story.

Some of the issues being covered this year are:

  • the power of the media
  • fracking and the future of energy
  • apartheid
  • fascism
  • Palestine
  • Egypt
  • Brazil
  • Syria
  • human rights
  • Labour
  • and the issue of class

My first session was on the subject of the media and the question ‘Is it all powerful’ taken by Xanthe Whittaker. In a nut shell Whittaker argued that the answer was dependant on the presence of an alternative, a choice and the variation of the information they received. In the fast paced society we live in, the social media as an alternative, although it has its place, will struggle to compete with the established mainstream media (MSM) to break the cycle of those who are not already disenfranchised with the system and already disengaged from it. The problem with the social media as an alternative is the need to have to search through endless reams of it on the Internet. When you know you can suckle on the BBC news at six o’clock everyday, what would be your incentive to hear the views of someone not considered to be legitimate or an authority? We will not get into the semantics of whether the MSM repeats or reports news at this point.

As you may expect, ownership dictates content and with the MSM being monopolised by a small number of families and groups it is easy to see why certain views are overtly and sometimes covertly implied  by MSM. The Marx and Englels ‘The ideas of the ruling class’ explain this very well. Whittaker suggests that although people’s ideas are shaped by media, another key influence is their environment and this is something I have argued for quite some time now. When voting tendencies are looked at for say readers of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Sun, it suggests that when compared to the population as a whole, Sun readers are a bit more Labour and a little bit less Tory or Lib Dem, yet this should not underestimate the power of influence Murdoch has over the views of the world’s population when you multiply the content of news with his other interests. Whittaker explained the paradox of people who vote Conservative but that will still take the decision to vote for industrial action on an issue that affects them, highlighting the fickle nature of the human species. Why for example would someone complain about Murdoch’s influence via papers such as The Sun or The Times in the UK but still subscribe to Sky?

MSM does not just include the newspapers and the comedy sketches over at FOX and Sky News or the impartiality of the BBC, but also the movie and television industry and of course the music industry. When these elements are combined it makes for a large source of global influence, manipulation, coercion and we get what is called manufactured consent. This has been discussed by Noam Chomsky by both a book and a documentary and makes for a fascinating learning. The media may not be telling you what to think but they are telling you what to think about and a lie when told often enough becomes the truth.

After the session I questioned Whittaker personally about the view that if you can kill the artist you can kill the protest, which is for a whole other debate. Hopefully over the next few days I will be able to sit down and get her view on this issue in more detail but as you know there are some of us who believe that part of the problem with the apathy in society today is the lack of advocates and protest music which dominated so much of our history. The protest music that does exist today is very much underground and not in any way likely to reach Radio 1 anytime soon.

My first ever workshop at Marxism was a storming one on media, manipulation, manufactured consent and how to break the cycle and was up there with the very best seminars I have been to. Another session on this subject is scheduled for Saturday morning, at 10am with Simon Assaf at the Institute for Education, London. Nearest tube station is found at Russell Square on the Piccadilly line.

Food for thought:

neil kinnock Sun sun won it

blair SunLabour lost it Sun Cameron Hope Sun