Voice From The Back
Behind the rherotic
Politicians’ stock in trade is pretending to represent the whole of society when in fact only representing the owning class. Thus we have Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats claiming that he is concerned about the poor and exploited at election time, but in power forced to declare his real aims. “Poor must accept benefit cuts: Clegg on collision course with own party by backing welfare axe. Nick Clegg has waded into the row over welfare reform by warning that benefits should not be there ‘to compensate the poor for their predicament’. On the eve of the Liberal Democrat conference, the Deputy Prime Minister backed the Coalition’s programme of welfare cuts and dramatically shifted his party’s policy on the subject” (Daily Mail, 16 September). If you represent the owning class, despite your glamour TV image, you sometimes have to tell the truth. You are poor? So what, we are not here to “compensate” you, declares this politician once in power.
The madness of capitalism
Capitalism is an insane society. Millions die with easily prevented or curable diseases whilst millions of dollars, pounds, euros and yens are spent on new ways to destroy human beings with ingenious methods of military mayhem, but surely capitalism has reached the epitome of madness when some children are trying to exist on less than £1 a day and we can read of the following insanity. “It’s simple, but no less appealing for that. Celine’s classic box bag may cost a pretty penny but its sleek lines make it among the most wanted bags of the season. Price: £2,150″ (The Independent, 20 September). Yes, the equivalent of years of nourishment for a child spent by some parasite as a gift of a handbag to his latest girlfriend. Mad, mad, mad.
Pay cheque to pay cheque
The media constantly reminds us how lucky we are to live in an advanced capitalist economy. We should be grateful to our masters that we don’t live in a backward third-world economy. The United Kingdom, the USA and Canada must surely be free from the poverty of those third-world nations according to the media – but what is the reality? “The recession may be officially over, but six in 10 Canadians are still surviving from paycheque to paycheque, a national survey showed Monday. Fifty-nine per cent of Canadian workers say they would be in financial trouble if their paycheque was delayed by just a week – the same proportion as last year when the economy was still mired in a downturn, according to a poll of 2,766 people by the Canadian Payroll Association. The survey comes as the OECD today warned that record high debt levels have left many Canadians vulnerable to any future adverse shocks” (Globe and Mail, 13 September). Like our fellow workers in Canada and the USA we in the UK live from pay day to pay day. That is how capitalism operates.
Dollars and democracy
One of the illusions that supporters of capitalism like to boast of is the notion that whatever the failings of the profit system at least it is thoroughly democratic. This is a complete fabrication as by the expenditure of million of dollars, euros and yen the owning class completely distort any pretence to democracy that capitalism may possess. A recent example of this manipulation by the power of money has emerged in the USA. “It likes to present itself as a grassroots insurgency made up of hundreds of local groups intent on toppling the Washington elite. But the Tea Party movement, which is threatening to cause an upset in next month’s midterm elections, would not be where it is today without the backing of that most traditional of US political supporters – Big Oil. The billionaire brothers who own Koch Industries, a private company with 70,000 employees and annual revenues of $100bn (£62bn), used to joke that they controlled the biggest company nobody had ever heard of. Not any more. After decades during which their fortune grew exponentially and they channelled millions of dollars to rightwing causes, Charles and David Koch are finally getting noticed for their part in the extraordinary growth of the Tea Party movement. The two, 74-year-old Charles and David, 70, have invested widely in the outcome of the 2 November elections. One Koch subsidiary has pumped $1m into the campaign to repeal California’s global warming law, according to state records” (Guardian, 14 October). Like Bob Dylan once wrote “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”