Voice From The Back

Members of the working class are taught in schools from a very early age that the country they were born in is somehow special. We are taught to be proud of the country wherein for generations our family has been exploited. We wave flags, sing patriotic songs and are taught to mistrust workers from other countries. The owning class suffer from no such xenophobia. They are prepared to exploit workers of any nationality, creed or so-called race. To them profit is much more important than patriotism. Here is a recent example from the Brighton College newspaper. “Workers at a Sussex-based electronics firm were today left “devastated” after being told in a video message that manufacturing at their factories is to end and 220 jobs moved to Korea and the Czech Republic. Unite said Edwards planned to cease all manufacturing at its Burgess Hill and Shoreham factories. The announcement was made to employees via a video message, which the union said was “tactless”.” (The Argus, 13 January)

Capitalist nations are continually in conflict with their rivals and inside capitalism economic rivalry leads to military action. During these actions the press praise “our boys” in uniform and regale us with tales of heroism. Nothing is too good for “our boys” they claim, but the reality is far different. “Britain’s military veterans are too often descending into alcoholism, criminality or suicide because of a lack of support from the Government according to the Mental Health Foundation. Veterans under 24 are two to three times more likely to kill themselves than civilians of the same age. An estimated one in five veterans and Service personnel is said to have a drinking problem. The charity said: “More needs to be done to help veterans stay well.” (Times, 28 January) Having risked life and limb in pursuing the interests of their masters in these hellish conflicts the heroes of yesterday are thrown on the social scrapheap.

Socialists are often pilloried because we look at the world from a class perspective. We are accused of being outdated, old fashioned and living in the 19th Century. All that Marxists stuff about class division has been outdated by the new dynamic capitalism of the 21st Century we are told by our critics. A recent government sponsored health review seems to give the lie to that notion. ” Healthy living is cut short by 17 years for poorest in Britain. The poor not only die sooner, they also spend more of their lives with a disability, an “avoidable difference which is unacceptable and unfair”, a government-ordered review into Britain’s widening health inequalities said yesterday. … Not only is life expectancy linked to social standing, but so is the time spent in good health: the average difference in “disability-free life expectancy” is now 17 years between those at the top and those at the bottom of the economic ladder, the report says.” (Guardian, 11 February)

At the last night of the Proms exploited members of the working class like nothing better than to bawl out the words of Land of Hope and Glory. Poor, deluded workers image that there is something superior about being born on a piece of dirt thrown up on the Atlantic Ocean. They never realise that it is an accident where you happen to be born, and indeed that it was probably an accident that they were born at all. This misguided nationalism is fostered by governments and the media. Britain is superior to Johnny Foreigner with his deceitful regimes. No underhanded politics in dear old Britain says the patriot critical of foreign powers, but what is the reality? “MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis last night after one of the country’s most senior judges found that the Security Service failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a “culture of suspicion” that undermined government assurances about its conduct. The condemnation by Lord Neuberger, the master of rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.” (Guardian, 11 February) Yet another example of how the quest for markets soon overcomes any ethical scruples. Not so much a case of Britain Rules The Waves as Britain Waives The Rules.

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