Embrace humanity, we might be all we have

Racism isn’t real. Racism a social construct designed to divide and rule us. Racism is a myth perpetuated by an outdated ideology that we are different purely because of the colour of our skin. If it wasn’t Darwin, someone else would have proposed the origin of the species. It was gaining momentum in the scientific community elsewhere. We are one species divided by culture and language.

Fascism, however, does exist. Fascist ideologies exist, it is what they use when they perpetuate myths about Islam and terror, when they perpetuate myths about immigrants and job security and crime. It is what they use when they say Adam Goodes is wrong for doing a war dance when scoring a goal, the people who accuse him of ‘crying wolf’ are the type of people who buy into or perpetuate fascist ideology. It is Goodes that I want to talk about specifically.

This past week the social media has been alight with comments regarding Sydney Swans AFL player, Adam Goodes, for his celebration after scoring a goal against Carlton last week. Commentators called it aggressive and provocative stating that it has no place in the sport. This is Australia, right? The sport is called Australian Football League, right? Then what is more Australian than a proud Aborigine man doing a dance, in a moment of pure joy that inspires? Reaction to Adam Goodes celebration extended from the ridiculous (Andrew Bolt’s piece for the Hearld Sun) to the outrageous such as Goodes’ Wikipedia page being edited with pictures of monkeys. The Andrew Bolt rant accused Goodes of being overly aggressive and race baiting with his celebration, comparing him to the boy who cried wolf, yet the New Zealand All Blacks perform the most famous war dance before a sporting event in the world and people love them for it. So mythical and popular is the haka, ka mate, that they now arrange for mics to amplify the cry throughout stadiums. And it’s not just New Zealand with a proud war dance to perform, many of the Polynesian island rugby teams perform war dances, a challenge, before a game starts. It is a challenge they call on the opposition to take and has seen some spectacular results in a pre-match build up.

Bolt talked of context but failed to add any real substance to his principled position, other than  to continue his one man crusade against Aboriginal rights and constitutional parity in Australia. Bolt has a history of questionable articles, he was found to be in breach of section 18 (c) of the Racial Discrimination Act over two articles that he wrote in 2009.

It is people like Bolt that I allude to, when I say fascist ideology exists but not racism, the people like Bolt who believe that everything is okay and that some communities should just shut up moaning because they have never had it so good. These people accuse proud Aboriginals, like Goodes, of being race baiters, of hating white Australia and exacerbating the divide. This could not be further from the truth. Holding on to traditional customs and values, the history of your culture, is something that white privilege demands, British values, Australian way of life, American freedom, but when it comes to someone of colour doing the same, they are expected to assimilate. Resistance is futile.

Underpinning this outrage at the Goodes ‘war dance’ is irony in its highest form. Virtually every other single sporting event on the globe is entwined with military spectacles, but that is okay. America, in particular, love to roll out their military personnel during pre-match ceremonies for any and all of their sports. As for Australia, I like the formula one and wouldn’t you know it, we had a display throughout the weekend at the Melbourne Grand Prix earlier this year of one of their fighter jets, terrorising the people in the streets of St Kilda, whilst the fans screamed and cheered at a vehicle whose sole purpose is to kill people they have never met. Often these machines of mass destruction kill innocent people, women and children mostly, but we cannot let that get in the way of a chance to explode into a manufactured, patriotic frenzy. In the interest of entertainment and distractionism, we forget those inconvenient truths of war, to celebrate our heroes. The United Kingdom too is victim to this worship culture of murder machines. Help for Heroes is the prime example, interwoven into the sporting events and now a mainstream of our psyche. I too have been complicit in supporting this, taking part in a sporting event to raise money for injured soldiers, our government lies and get them maimed, we the people are left to help put them and their lives back together. Afterwards I told my boss that some sections of our communities (and that includes our sport fans) may not view these people as heroes but as murderers who hide behind an excuse long ruled as unjustifiable – that they were just “following orders“. Yet, if any of these fans or observers dare to question the official line at these sporting events, that the military personnel and the weaponry that they display are anything other than honourable or heroic, they are vilified, labelled unpatriotic and probably end up on a domestic extremist list somewhere.

I guess the moral of the story surrounding Adam Goodes is don’t get slaughtered by someone with superior fire power or if you do, don’t complain about it.

Terence McKenna said that culture is not our friend because it divides us. I believe it only divides us because we allow ourselves to give into fear based politics and rhetoric from the media and state, via the bewitchment of language. We have more in common between us than the sum of our differences. Through respect, admiration and a touch of philosophy we can overcome our subtle differences and combat the divisive language in the media; starting with the word and idea of racism, it doesn’t exist, just fascism and its ideology. If you don’t want to be labelled a fascist, embrace humanity, we are one species living on space station earth. We might want to learn how to get along and to embrace our cultural differences as being just that – different. It’s a big universe out there and we might be all we have.

Reza Aslan and Bill Maher

 

Kapa O Pango

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