Saturday, 19 January 2013

Trying to understand

I really want to understand what is going on in the world re the economy and politics.  I don't think you can separate politics and economics but it is really complicated now, I dont know if it always was.

One problem I find, is where to look for impartial information.  Everyone seems to have an angle, an ideological agenda.  I have my own Ideology, I will admit that, but am always willing to be proved wrong.

My instincts are anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, they have always been that way; and it is definitely an instinctive thing, even when I was serving in the army which was really Torie led.  I eventually had to discharge myself because of my political leanings.  I couldn't take the 'jobs for the boys' war mongering and scare mongering by the time I had grown up and started to think for myself.  I always thought it was obvious that the Russians were never going to invade and the Falklands was about money not people.  Its all about money in the end and soldiers are cannon fodder to preserve the interests of the ruling class. That's what I think and it makes me sad.

I did an art degree which finished about 12 years ago.  When I was doing that I could not help but to be political.  At first I felt guilty for my beliefs/leanings because of the indoctrination I had received in the army.  I kept expecting a big foot to come out of the sky and stamp on me.  My tutor was great though and helped me to see that I was not alone and there were lots of people who thought the same way as me.

Then I got ill and have stayed ill.  I  am probably more ill now or maybe I am just more aware of how ill I am as I acknowledge that I have mental health issues as well as chronic physical health issues.  Or I have become more and more depressed as my life has shrunk down to that of a shut in ,curtain twitching, spoonie.  

So the zeitgeist got me lately and as I have already said I am one of many feeling threatened and attacked by the government and media of today and have had to look outside my own small life.

Which leaves me needing to learn more about what is going on now.

Questions:
Why should we care about money markets? 
Why did tax payers bail out bankers? 
Why do bankers get bonuses and we get austerity? 
Are the bankers going to pay the tax payers back?
Why do politicians want to make the poor poorer and give themselves pay rises, second homes, subsidised food, moats and paddocks? 
Why do we put up with double standards?
Does the treasury get the money back when second homes are sold?
Do normal people get any equity that is in their home if it is reposessed?
What is all this about national debt? 
Why do countries sell debt? 
Why do the markets buy debt?
Who owns the debt?
What about the IMF, World bank, Federal Reserve etc where are they in all of this?
Why cant the world just all write off all national debt and start again?
If countries need money to pay to run them why do they allow laws to support so much legal tax avoidance? 
Is it true that nowadays it's the corporations that are ruling the world, pulling the strings of governments and it really is all about capitalism for the benefit of the 1%? 
Is that the truth?  If it is, then is there anything we can do about it or is resistance futile? 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What is wrong with this picture?


I am No 1, I live on square A, so do No's 2-20. Everyone lives equally on sugar that grows in square A but I save up some sugar and I go to Square B and set up a sweet factory.

Then I tell No's 2 - 20 that I have now 'enclosed' Square A, it belongs to me, and all the sugar that grows there belongs to me and they cant have any. 

I tell them if they want to work in my new sweet factory on Square B that would be ok and I will 'pay' them with a  few red sweets for their time and effort. 

Then they can use the  few red sweets that I 'pay' them to buy sugar and yellow or blue sweets.  Then I tell them that as I also own Square B they will have to pay me some of their sweets, (that I already paid them), back for the honour of being allowed to live on square B.

Because I have all the sugar on Square A and  No's 2-20 make me lots of sweets in my factory, much more than I pay to them, I start to put on a bit of weight, I think this growth is good and I become addicted to it, and I am glad that No's 2 -20 will give me back the sweets I paid to them in the first place.  I have hit on the secret to success and it feels good.  I go up a dress size.

One day I went exploring and discovered Square C, it was great, it was full of Chocolate but it was also occupied by No's 21- 50.  They were living happily with the chocolate but they did not realise how many smarties I could make with all that chocolate. 

So I showed them some of my sweets and convinced them that I could give them a couple of sweets for tons of chocolate and they thought this was good, sweets were modern after all.

Then I tell them that I could set up a smartie factory right there on Square C and they could pay me back in smarties over many years for my efforts of building the factory for them. And what is more I could buy the rest of the smarties that were made in the factory for some sugar which was just enough to keep them alive so that they could  keep working in the smartie factory.

I congratulate myself on another great idea and I go up another dress size.

I go back to square B but I find that No's 2-20 are demanding more sweets for their time and effort, at first I give them a few more, but I demand more back in rent and taxes and start selling them chocolate and sugar.  They like the sugar and chocolate but they want more and more sweets to pay for them.  I ;put up the price of eveything and introduce them to smarties.

 I go to Square D to find more people to sell my confectionery to.  At first the people on Square D don't want my confectionery; they have managed without it for as long as they can remember.   I bombard them with images of other people enjoying the confectionery so that eventually I convince them that they need it. 

I tell them that I will take all the ice cream that is lying around on Square D, as they have so much of it and I will exchange it for a few smarties, sugar, sweets and chocolate.  They are happy with this and I am even happier, I go up another dress size, growth is good.

I go back to Square B to sell them some ice cream but they are saying they want or need more sweets,  I say no , I can set up a sweet factory on square D for a lot less than I already pay them.  They decide to go on strike, now no one on Square B is making or earning sweets so they cant buy any of my goods.. No's 2 - 20 are threatening to get ugly so I decide to give them each a couple of sweets so that they dont shoot me and can buy just enough of my goods to keep them alive..

I go back to square C to convince them that they need ice cream I am constantly busy, constantly buying and selling, making more and more profit and I get larger and larger.  Now the chocolate and ice cream is starting to run out, but thats ok because I am fit to burst.

I decide that I dont want or need No's 2 -20 on square B anymore so I  cut down on the sweets that I give them and I tell them it's their own fault for being lazy and greedy. Eventually  they become weaker and weaker and start fighting amongst themselves until they die out.  I plant more sugar on Square B.

I am fat, I am happy.


Capitalism: A Structural Genocide by Garry Leech

Quoting from the book above:

'experiences in Latin America led to me delve (his typo) into the causes of such widespread human suffering. Ultimately, the conclusion I reached was that the structures of global capitalism, while providing impressive opportunities for wealth generation, also ensure that the wealth generated remains in the hands of a small minority.  I also came to realize that these structures contribute to the deaths of millions of people around the world annually.'

'to effectively argue that capitalism constitutes genocide it is crucial to show that  violence is inherent in the internal logic of capital and, therefore, that it is a permanent feature of the capitalist system.'

'the form the violence takes is structural.' ....'it results in death on a genocidal scale, thereby constituting a class-based structural genocide that targets the poor, particularly in the global south.'

Me:
Mr Leech then cites Johan Galtung ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_violence) who originated the phrase 'Structual Violence' and in the previous link :James Gilligan defines structural violence as "the increased rates of death and disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society, as contrasted with the relatively lower death rates experienced by those who are above them."

Mr Leech again:

'Therefore social structures that cause human suffering and death constitute structural violence. '

'Capital's internal logic forces it to expand to every corner of the globe, and the resulting inequality and deprivation of basic needs for billions of people are inherent components of capitalism.'

 'structural violence not only makes people increasingly vulnerable to direct physical violence - either at the hands of others or at their own hands - but actually kills people directly.'

'the logic of capital............fails to see value in human beings whose labour power is not required and who are too poor to be consumers.'

Me:
The reason I started to read this book is because that last part is how I see the way things are going in the United Kingdom now.  In fact I believe that the condem nation is committing 'structural violence' on it's most vulnerable citizens, the so called 'underclass' and the working class.
I realize and accept that Mr Leech is mainly talking about countries much poorer than ours and that we have it cushy in comparison, I really do accept that but I think that whereas a few years ago we could keep our heads in the sand as long as we were alright jack, now we are not and we need to get our heads out of the sand or our arses pretty damned quick.

Back to Mr Leech:

'Social injustice and inequality are inherent in capitalism.....therefore capitalism constitutes a class-based structural genocide that targets the poor....'

'it is not enough to conclude that capitalism constitutes structural genocide and therefore should be viewed as an illegitimate social system; it is crucial that we also look at what a radical social transformation to a more democratic, egalitarian, and sustainable alternative might look like.'

'Ultimately, a revolutionary transformation is essential if we are to bring an end to capitalism's structural genocide.'

Me again:
I will continue reading the book and am looking forward to the revolution, I will probably go on to quote more, if Mr Leech says that is ok. I have written to him for his permission. If he says no I will have to amend this page.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Where is Old Labour?

Another day, another dollar, another load of disgusting tosh in this countries politics.

http://www.alecshelbrooke.co.uk/index.php/home

What a pocket billiard player.

What two faced, double talking. snaked tongued. illegitimates they are.  I have heard so many contradictory comments from them in the past few days.  It reminds me of being married to an abusive so and so who would say one thing and do another to the point of making me question my own sanity.  It is, apparently, a particular strategy of control freaks.

Alec Shelbrooke proposes the introduction of a welfare cash card.  That would be a bit like an identity card then, one that marks you out as being on benefits - nice one , a bit like having a number tattooed on your arm.

Now they want to monitor the unemployed's internet useage whilst saying foodbanks are a good thing, libraries are for luvvies darling and lets starve labour councils of funds so they get the blame.  The whole situation is a nightmare for working class people.  What happened to Old Labour?

Have a Proper Gander

Well I had my Grand Idea the other day about the 21st but I think I was pipped to the post by the WOW campaign (not that I mind of course) :

www.facebook.com/WoWpetition  http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154
which started on the 18th December 2012:  calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions.


It is shocking what is going on in this county's politics at the moment, one thing after another.  Of course anything I write here is just me rambling and musing on my own observations.  Just because I feel as though there is a war on, doesn't mean there is one.  Just because I liken the way the Tories are behaving to the way of the Nazis before they hoiked Jews off to the concentration camps doesn't mean it is true.
Its just looking that way to me.

prop·a·gan·da

[prop-uh-gan-duh] 
noun
1.
information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
2.
the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
3.
the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/propaganda
a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. 
As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda. 
Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare. and acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples (e.g. Nazi Propaganda used to justify the Holocaust)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propagandist

Friday, 14 December 2012

Where is that sand?

Well after just a couple days of watching politics and reading politics, twittering and blogging I have become stressed and have knackered myself out. So I remember now just why my head was in the sand in the first place. This isn't going to be a frequent blog I suspect.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Joe Bloggs, Lord Freud and the Global Economy


One of my 'problems' is that I get agitated nights where my brain will not shut up sometimes even taking a sleeping pill will not work. 

One of the things that crossed my mind last night was , 'whatever happened to the 'Buy British' campaign?'
Anybody know the answer? Is it that we don't make anything anymore or we don't make things cheaply enough anymore? 

If Lord Freud wants us to get creative and start being entrepreneurs what does he suggest we do?  I was thinking about that last night too.  I have been making bits of jewellery when I have felt up to it, so that I could do craft fairs with a friend of mine who is a silver smith.  My stuff is only costume jewellery, not up to her wonderful standard but we did some craft fairs and at one she sold nothing at all and was out of pocket and at another I only sold one item and did not even cover the table costs, lots of compliments but no sales.

Times are hard and even though we had good stuff at reasonable prices people were not buying.  Also the craft fair scene is flooded with people making jewellery and there are many people attending and selling things they have obviously bought en mass from china or similar on ebay and have not made themselves. I thought jewellery would be a good idea as it is lightweight and easy to cart about but it seems many other people have had the same idea. 

So I put my stock up on Etsy but that is also fit to burst with jewellery sellers.  So that is not such a good idea after all.  I did get carried away modelling little statues in clay and casting them in concrete before I realised that I would never have the energy to hoik them around to boot sales.  Well I did say I get mad ideas that seem good at the time. 

Boot sales are flooded with people trying all sorts too, they have become the same as the old fashioned markets we used to have when I was a child.  But what can you buy to sell that someone else is not already doing?  There must be a million ladies industriously making their own greetings cards.  People do try, but maybe now there are so many of us trying that we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

So I come back to my question, what is there that we little people can do that the big corporations, high street stores, supermarkets are not doing.  If we don't have a farm or small holding we can't really create food.  Years ago I used to take part in a Womens Institute market, (I did crafts) where ladies were baking and selling cakes and raising plants to sell and there were local farmers selling their goods too.  But the market eventually had to close down. 

If the nation as a whole is not able to compete in a global economy how is Joe Bloggs trying to entrepreneur himself off of benefits supposed to?  Mr Lord Freud.