The totalitarian agenda of the identarian left: The war against free speech and democracy.

The goal of identity politics is simply to force a specific agenda on to society. It has no tangible structures in place to improve the lives of the very people it proclaims to champion. Worse still, it uses members of those groups to propel a deeply flawed theory upon the world, regardless of whether the vast amount of people agree with it or not. It also alleges to fight the establishment, however, it is the establishment. Evidence for this lies in numerous of hurriedly written ‘hate crime’ laws, the capture of mainstream media, countless diversity training sessions hastily organised by corporations and the narrowing of acceptable thought on academic campuses. Furthermore, there is a growing epidemic of cancel culture reserved for those who commit the cardinal sin of ‘wrong think’. Let’s be clear, advocating for free speech (and thought) has nothing to do with agreeing with the content, the aim is to defend the rights of people to express their views.

In order to amplify the constant white noise emanating from the mouths of the ‘woke’, key mechanisms have been captured in order to create the façade that ‘woke’ ideology is the only clear moral lens in which to critique life. Mainstream media has succumbed to this ‘way of knowing’ possibly out of fear of reprisals and the acknowledgement that many of these institutions have been hijacked by disciples of Critical Social Justice theory (CSJ), which predominantly underpins identity politics. Notable captures with regards to media are the New York Times, MSNBC, Channel 4, the Guardian, while in NZ both online sites Stuff and Spinoff are the distributors all things woke, with the NZ Herald catching up quickly. To be clear, this is not a lefty narrative but one based purely around identity and supposed group power dynamics.

It’s important to acknowledge that the key players within this movement possess zero interest in enhancing the lives of the general population. On the contrary, supporters of this cult aim to implement a radical moral and societal shift predicated on group versus group oppression. In effect, constructing a new hierarchical system, this time formulated by using the ranking of groups allocated on certain immutable traits. Of course, such a pecking order is arbitrary and readily changeable, but currently the two groups that contain the most fervent activists are black and trans people. However, to claim the victim badge individuals must pledge allegiance to the ‘woke’ doctrine. Simply being black or trans is not considered enough, members are expected to agree politically verbatim.

To make sure this ideology sticks, devotees of this uprising have been required to create a convincing narrative in which to garner corporate and organisational approval, while silencing any criticism Thus on the surface appearing infinitely more popular than the reality. The story generally centres around the notion that society is more bigoted than ever before and if anyone has the audacity to question this they are part of the problem and need to educate themselves. Many of these dubious opinions have been developed within academic arenas mainly in the US, where science, logic and facts scarcely play a part in this new world order. Moreover, the enlightenment is now viewed in these circles with deep skepticism, with virtues such as evidence and objectivity giving way to emotional reasoning and subjectivity. Unsurprisingly, among the prophets of Critical Social Justice, words and the control of language play a sizeable role in regulating public opinion.

So why would I equate Critical Social Justice to totalitarianism? Historically, it’s true to say neither the extreme left or the right have ‘enjoyed’ a monopoly over oppressive regimes. Tyrannical ruling factions such as Hitler’s Nazis, Stalin’s Soviet empire, Pinochet’s regime in Chile or Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia have spanned much of the ideological spectrum. However, autocratic systems fiercely enforce repressive ideologies that demand to be obeyed and unopposed, with severe consequences for any traitors. Which is exactly what identarian activists are currently trying to impose throughout society. Granted, Critical Social Justice activists may not have resorted to exterminating millions of people (yet), however, they have taken to destroying the careers and reputations of countless people, all to maintain their myopic world view.

CSJ proponents repeatedly claim that there is no such thing as truth or facts, only lived experience and something suspiciously termed ‘my truths’. Effectively, this renders meta-narratives such as science redundant. Knowledge suddenly adopts the form of an opaque, malleable, vagueness that could alter within a blink of an eye. With no tangible foundations to cling to, this unearths a problem for anyone daring to grapple with the slippery subject of identity politics. Further to this, CSJ disciples truly believe that the identity of the speaker and listener are of more importance than the content, context, validity and intention of what is being communicated. This fundamental disagreement regarding basic rules surrounding discourse or how truth is obtained ensures that any sensible debate with this cult is practically impossible and often futile.

To further confuse what we thought we once knew, in true Orwellian style, meanings of many words have been doctored. Racism has morphed from being a conscious physical, psychological, or emotional attack, to the equation prejudice+power=racism (institutional racism). A notion which declares we live in all encompassing systems of power often subtle and generally difficult to detect. It is surmised that this status quo is manipulated to maintain white superiority. Using this reconfigured meaning, CSJ adherents argue that racism can only flow one way, from people with power to those without. Looking through the lens of group oppression, this essentially implies that only white people can be racist, further stifling any meaningful and thoughtful discussion that may be had.

In reality, being connected to a vague often unconscious system of power based on skin colour is vastly different to engaging in bigoted actions and attitudes driven by prejudicial views towards someone with differing racial, ethnic, cultural or national origins. Utilising this new approach, it turns out that racism is not something that can be ultimately resolved or reduced. Furthermore, to disagree with this twisted perception of racism allegedly proves the existence of it. Alternatively, you could simply embrace this ideology by accepting that you are a racist scumbag. Either way, if you are white according to the woke, you are inherently racist.

This is a concept akin to original sin, only there is no forgiveness or redemption to be found within this secular religion. What transpires is nothing less than a morality trap, aimed to keep generally well meaning people in turmoil as they endeavour to do what they think or have been told is the right thing. Ultimately, this path will have no positive effect on reducing racism, chiefly because actual racists do not care what middle class, pseudo academics from elite universities have to say about perceived acceptable moral parameters in polite society.

Unsurprisingly, in places where people are compelled to care about how they are viewed, such as their workplace or in educational institutions, further tools of coercion are in situ. One such restraining device commonly employed is the use of the term microaggression. To appreciate the impact Critical Social Justice has had on society, we have to recognise that the term microaggression is now outlined in mainstream dictionaries. Merriam Webster describe it as, “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously expresses a prejudice attitude towards a member of a marginalised group (such as a racial minority)”. As with many things connected with identity politics, subjectivity plays a key role in enforcing this mechanism of power and self censorship. Disturbingly, as the victim’s perception is the only authority required, any accusation of a microaggression will never be withdrawn once it is labelled as such, regardless of how tenuous the claim may be

Meanwhile, the ‘woke’ persistently wage war against free speech by creating a set of alarmingly bogus allegations around this linchpin of a liberal democracy. One such assertion the identarian ‘left’ have promoted is the idea that “words are violence”. Let me make this clear, this does not refer to verbal threats of violence which are used to bully potential supporters or intimidate opponents. What this phrase alludes to are words that upset, disagree with, or are critical of these particular groups and its members beliefs. This questionable logic goes something like this, if words can cause stress, and stress can cause physical harm, then certain types of speech can cause violence. This implies that all physical harm is violence, which is quite a leap. In the real world, all violence can be categorised as physical harm, but not all physical harm is necessarily due to violence.

This kind of madness is what ensues if society is evaluated solely through the lens of group identity and oppression. Add this to the tragic death of George Floyd and the whole of the west is suddenly considered by some as systemically racist. Of course, this aforementioned event couldn’t possibly be a combination of poor policing procedures, inadequate training, a sub standard officer and the possibility of personal racism. No, it obviously must be systemic racism. This is despite the fact that people of all races regrettably are shot by the police much too often in the US each year. In 2020, 457 white, 241 black people and 169 Hispanic people were shot dead by police. This is clearly a tragedy, but is it exclusively racism, or are there many factors of which racism may be a component that lead to some of these dreadful events?

Movements such as BLM state that incidents like these are evidently a manifestation of racism and anyone who disagrees with this opinion are of course racist. This kind of political and moral pressure on society leads to a lack of serious discussion around this complex matter, forcing compliance, resentment and self censorship. Critical Social Justice may claim words are violence, but up and down the US and to a lesser extent the UK, aggressive and at times violent protests have occurred in universities and colleges. In cities such as Portland, Oregon actual tangible violence took place for months aimed at the police. But apparently, these events are vindicated due to a relatively rare tragic incident on the other side of the country, whereby a police officer killed a black man, so therefore, all police (including black officers) are fair game. For supporters of BLM and Antifa, this justified actions that were far more damaging than what any words can muster.

Normalising ideas such as “words are violence” or microaggressions create the conditions for the establishment and ‘woke’ academia to employ the concept of hate speech, which is purported to protect us but results in the silencing of dissenting opinions. If words are violence and people can supposedly use them in harmful ways without even knowing (microaggressions), while a member of a certain group has the power to determine what equates to hate speech, effectively we may all be silenced at some point. Furthermore, groups who support this lunacy are now pressurising governments to act on these manufactured transgressions, as hate speech laws are being implemented around the western world at an alarming rate.

Supporters of this identarian cult are not just content with controlling what people do, say, write and think, but also what is not said. This is evident by the often repeated slogan “silence is violence”. Individuals are now vilified and persecuted for saying nothing. Critical Social Justice activists have clearly taken note of Orwell’s fictional dystopian world and added a dictatorial cherry on top. Not supporting a political movement akin to a religion or even displaying ambivalence has suddenly becomes less of an option. Any words uttered without the approval of the self designated new moral police could be instantly labelled racist, however, if that person exercises their right to silence this may also deemed as racist. All this strongly suggests compliance and blind obedience is the only way out. Welcome to your new life citizen and you will like it.

Many people are now frightened of making a false move or saying something innocuous that could be potentially construed as ‘problematic’, maybe years after the initial event. Moreover, refusing to agree with current Critical Social Justice ideas could prove damaging, especially if these views are adopted by an institution that an individual may be associated with. It would seem society is in serious trouble, identarians along with the power hungry hold positions of influence and authority, while creating a moral universe based on the logic of a 4 year old, for which they are willing to enforce to the detriment of the people. The Scottish National Party’s proposed Hate Crime Bill is a prime example of what is yet to come, with New Zealand soon to follow, along with harsher penalties for ‘hate crimes’.

Critical Social Justice ideology is not about eradicating racism, it is simply a vehicle for so-called academics, figures of authority, the logically deficient and useful idiots to force an irreparable reconstruction of society. Undoubtedly, these changes will have enormous repercussions for humanity. Even people who are technically within these groups have been attacked and ridiculed once they are judged to have strayed from the CSJ path. Recently the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities head Tony Sewell, was bombarded with criticism when his report declared that, although the UK still had racism, there was no evidence that the foundations of society within education, work and public life were institutionally racist. The paper unsurprisingly, highlighted the notion that these issues on the whole are complex for example, in schools black children from a West African background perform very well at school, while kids with black Caribbean heritage generally struggle.

For this, Sewell has been labelled a token black man and an uncle Tom, while identarian extremists have sought to discredit his academic credentials. The fact that he and his team had the audacity to question the concept of an all pervasive institutionally racist country has angered people who depend on the identity politics racket for their pursuit of academic and political power. The so called empathic identarian ‘left’ in the face of being challenged simply resorted to overt racism in order to defend their carefully constructed system of control. Sewell and his colleagues concluded that class played much more of a factor than race concerning negative societal outcomes, thus directly challenging the CSJ dogma.

Regarding the other sacred group, that of being trans, a former trans icon has now been declared a heretic for veering from the approved identarian rhetoric. That person is of course Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner committed her cardinal of sin of not agreeing with the trans activists stance, by stating she didn’t think biological boys who are trans girls should compete in girl’s sports. For this transgression, she has been labelled a “traitor”, a MAGA lover and more insanely anti-trans. Alleged comedian Sarah Silverman jumped on the bandwagon accusing Jenner of transphobia. This recent display of outrage further adds to the evidence that identarian extremists have no interest in protecting actual people within the group, rather the ideology itself.

As a long time ex professional strength and conditioning coach, I know that no amount of hormone blockers and surgery can alter some physiological and bio-mechanical advantages trans women have over their biological female competitors. From a physiological perspective lung capacity, cardiac output and the number of type 2b muscle fibres plus the size of these fibres between the two sexes are obvious areas of disparity. These genetic differences are particularly apparent in muscle, where there are said to be 3000 genes that are differently expressed between men and women in skeletal muscle alone. Regarding bio-mechanical advantages, we can simply look to average limb length, where these comparatively longer levers instantly put biological women on the back foot. More than just advocating for fairness, we need to acknowledge the more important issue of safety, particularly when we are considering combat sports and the inclusion of trans women into these sports.

Amidst this current cultural frenzy, to even mention these obvious biological facts, leads to no end of abuse from trans extremists. It is opinions that run counter to the trans activist tide that has led to Caitlyn Jenner’s demise as the shining beacon of the trans activist community. What is deeply disturbing and similar to the race debate is, many of these identarian crazies do not speak for all trans people, nor are the majority of them trans themselves. What is striking, is an exceptionally arrogant and dismissive attitude, particularly towards those who have taken the huge step of actually transitioning. Of course contrary views regarding sport, does not mean trans people should not be treated with dignity and have access to all the rights that everybody else enjoys. However, allowing those who were born as biological men to compete in women’s sport is not progressive, but detrimental to survival of biological women in competitive sport.

These two recent examples mentioned above further show that this cult of identity politics has no desire to defend the individuals within the very groups they proclaim to support. Rather they are driven to preserve and promote an extreme ideology at all costs, while imposing their beliefs on the opposing majority. More disturbingly, this ‘woke’ cult is not afraid to destroy institutions and individuals who dare to object to their logic free dogma. It is totalitarian, principally because it opposes free speech, offering no redemption, while savaging people with differing views. Furthermore, it is intent on hijacking language in order to control the narrative, while flagging up any hint of dissent, particularly on social media. Often this results in a virtual pile on, leading invariably to the destruction of a skeptic’s entire reputation.

In conclusion, I suggest the left should focus on the welfare of all people. Identity politics aims to protect a specific extreme ideology and it’s generally middle class supporters, while caring very little about the poor and the working class. Therefore, I suggest it has no place on the left. I’ll leave you with this quote, which can be applied to all woke academics.

Why Critical Social Justice is a Jedi mind trick.

Critical Social Justice underpins the Black Live Matter movement, Antifa and ideas such as intersectionality. It aims at changing the moral landscape and has evolved from ‘illiberal’ elite academics, principally utilising postmodernism as its bedrock. In their enlightening article of 2018 Lindsay, Pluckrose and Boghossian coins the phrase “grievance studies” as an umbrella term to describe these theories. Previously, politicians, CEO’s and establishment members for decades have attempted to quell the masses by controlling the narrative regarding how the world works, using bogus theories such as trickle down economics or by suggesting the world is a meritocracy. Now, we have professors in elite universities pushing the idea of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) in an effort to regulate what we say, how we think and how we behave in society.

The rich have been repeating the fable that humans are inherently selfish since the late 70’s early 80’s, adding to the myth of greed being good, while claiming poverty is due to a lack of a strong work ethic and moral principles. In a similarly simplistic vein, academics in grievance studies have in recent times been announcing that all white people are inherently racist and complicit in maintaining a system of ‘whiteness‘. Everyday law abiding citizens are suddenly labelled oppressors due to immutable traits they cannot change, such as skin colour. Like the neoliberals, the identarian left are using a particular lens in which to view and explain human nature, as a justification for their radical actions and demands. This is nothing more than a calculated attempt to control society, in order to remake it in accordance with their deeply flawed worldview.

Kimberle Crenshaw

Kimberle Crenshaw is one of these inferred academics and major contributor towards Critical Social Justice Theory, creating an idea called intersectionality. Her seminal 1989 paper is titled; “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” is still considered a vitally important paper within this ideology. The main argument presented by this black feminist is that an experience of a black woman cannot be totally understood simply in terms of being black, or a woman, but must be include interactions of the two.

Ms Crenshaw began academia at Cornell University obtaining her bachelors degree in Government and Africana studies. From there she attended Harvard Law School receiving her JD (Juris Doctor) and finally the University of Wisconsin Law School where she gained her LL.M (Master of Laws). While at Harvard Law she originated the term Critical Race Theory. Over her career she has taught at UCLA Law School and Columbia Law School, attending what are generally considered some of the best universities in America. Interestingly, her academic baby, intersectionality came from an idea called ‘invisible privilege’.

But what about Ms Crenshaw’s academic privilege? Ideas that constitute Critical Social Justice Theory state that privilege is not simply about finances. Indeed not, but with this in mind it’s worth pointing out that only a very small percentage of people would ever get the opportunity to attend one of these aforementioned prestigious academic institutions in any form, student or teacher. Yet, many leading proponents of Critical Social Justice Theory have had a similar privileged academic journeys and are now lecturing others who are less fortunate than themselves, that they are the oppressors and possess power purely due to skin colour.

Beliefs such as these have not only gained massive traction in western elite academic institutions, but are the backbone of societal movements such as BLM, while these egregious ideas are also permeating into the workplace. Young, middle class, university educated people, predominantly women have found Critical Social Justice Theory hugely appealing. It seems that this has created a major shift in the political debate for many people who see themselves on the left, a movement which once challenged issues concerning economic inequality, now almost exclusively concentrates on identity politics, particularly in the US.

I find this distraction technique fascinating, although adherents to this group claim they are pro equality, their focus is undeniably identity based. This has the effect of removing any moral responsibility from this group in relation to economic privileges which many may well have benefitted from, onto a group who can do nothing about their predicament. Under this particular lens the biggest transgressors in society are not the rich and powerful anymore, but generally people who are white and male. By effectively manipulating these ideas, a white working class man with limited education, power or money could be considered more privileged than Kimberle Crenshaw. That my friends is one clever mind trick.

Critical Social Justice Theory is especially pernicious, as it seeks to control language, not only changing the meaning of words such as racism, but also who can say what and when. A hierarchy of importance has been developed deciding whose ‘truths’ are of greater value, based not on reason or science, but identity and ‘lived experience‘. This is an important mechanism as it serves to silence dissenters, critics and free speech, creating an echo chamber of self congratulatory confirmation. Hate speech is now considered anything that challenges this moral orthodoxy and perpetrators are often on the receiving end of vicious attacks on their character, while losing forums in which to speak up.

Objectivity, logic and facts have now given way to subjectivity, lived experience and ‘my truths’ aka opinions. CSJ is inherently anti-science, thus cultivating a place whereby, lived experiences of a person deemed the most oppressed using this arbitrary hierarchy carries the most weight. Expertise in a certain area of study, objective evidence and the scientific method, are all considered irrelevant. Furthermore, science is generally thought of as construct of whiteness or colonialism. It’s of no surprise, therefore, how fake news and bipartisanism has grown exponentially in recent times. In a post truth world all that is required is a convincing story, conveyed to a receptive audience, et voila, “my truth” is born.

In the age of the internet and the creation of echo chambers complete with disciples willing to agree with any shaky narrative that appeals to them, the truth is suddenly whatever you chose it to be. It doesn’t require, knowledge, research, statistics, peer reviews or objective confirmation, all that is needed are feelings; “I feel this way, therefore, it must be true”. These significant changes in how we interpret the world can be witnessed in all political corners, such as; Trump denying the realities of an election result, through to BLM claiming all white people are racist.

Identity politics is marinated in this peculiar belief system and has proven to be a powerful weapon. An example of this would be the use of anti-Semitism to discredit and ultimately remove Jeremy Corbyn not only as the leader of the Labour Party but from the Labour Party entirely. However, the idea that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semitism is based on no objective evidence as found in the Chakrabarti Inquiry. Of course this is not to suggest racism as a whole which includes anti-Semitism is absent from the party, but that the extent to which it exists and the damage it causes has been highly exaggerated. Needless to say, this narrative has benefitted many powerful people who saw Corbyn as an existential threat to their ambitions and their way of life. Furthermore, it was also in the interest of the billionaire owned press and the Tory Party to wholeheartedly back this fairy-tale.

Shami Chakrabarti

What Critical Social Justice Theory which includes Critical Race Theory serves to change is any current definition of a word that does not fit with their myopic radical viewpoint. Critical Social Justice Theory pressurises society to change language until it suits their narrative, thus, presenting as a worryingly Orwellian concept akin to Newspeak in the book 1984. In recent times Critical Race Theory has endeavoured to alter the definition of racism dramatically, shifting it from, conscious abuse that an individual or group inflicts on another party, to a system of power and oppression that has nothing to do with intent. In fact, by simply not admitting to your sins of being born white, you are perpetuating this proposed system of oppression and are therefore, racist.

To a large extent these ideas have been mirrored by the right side of the UK Labour Party throughout the anti-Semitism debate. By simply stating that anti-Semitism is not as prevalent as repeatedly claimed by those who oppose Corbyn, this is often more than enough to be labelled anti-Semitic. The CSJ strategy of redefining words has also been heavily utilised by the right of the Labour Party, in order to suit their agenda of purging the left. It appears anti-Semitism is not about hating Jews anymore, but now includes being opposed to Zionism and the Israeli government, particularly when discussing the treatment of Palestinians.

With this relatively recent arrival of fluid meanings, the absence of objectivity, the dismissal of rigorous enquiry, the rejection of science and the ascendancy of feelings over critical thinking will undoubtedly lead us to a very dangerous place. When everything or nothing is the truth, plus the only accepted social currency is your identity and the corresponding ranking within an arbitrary league table of oppression, chaos will ensue. What will occur, is that the truly rich and powerful within society will harness this destructive weapon to maintain the status quo. In the end poor people and the working class will continue to suffer, as the middle classes are hoodwinked into buying into the allure of identity politics in a vain effort to remain on the right side of history. For the sake of a cohesive functioning society, we need to reject Critical Social Justice as soon as possible.

Time to leave the abuser: The left needs to break free from Labour.

In a relationship the abused often defends the abuser by making excuses for them. Claiming, “they’ve changed”, “they didn’t mean it” or maybe “I deserved it”. All this sounds eerily like the left when it comes to their precarious position within the Labour Party. Lets be honest, socialists have not been welcome in the party for decades. Usually resigned to warming the back benches in parliament, while the neoliberal Tory reserve team lead the way. However, for four hopeful years Jeremy Corbyn was the leader and that man was a socialist.

I fall short of declaring that Jeremy was in control, as the Labour Party bureaucratic leadership made sure that wouldn’t occur. A fact that was clearly documented in the now conveniently forgotten 800 page plus report, explaining the lengths the party HQ would go to in order to keep him out of number 10. Furthermore, parliamentary MP’s and the media also contributed to the fate of Corbyn by weaponising anti-Semitism, while wildly overestimating the prevalence of this within the Labour Party, eventually leading to Corbyn’s demise as the leader.

Shami Chakrabarti

It’s sad that we have to rake over old coals, but in an effort to make it abundantly clear, I will state anti-Semitism as with other forms racism is certainly not acceptable in the Labour Party or any other group. However, within Labour as stated in the Chakrabarti report the number of incidences are very small. Unfortunately, in the age of perpetual outrage, identity politics and fake news, non of this matters as Jeremy Corbyn was put to the “purity sword” in a desperate attempt to return the Labour Party back to the path of neoliberalism.

This latest instalment of “get Corbyn” centres around his suspension from the Labour Party by current leader Sir Keir “Mr Forensic” Starmer. The debacle was based around comments Corbyn made in the wake of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which investigated Labour and claims of anti-Semitism. Corbyn rightly announced that anti-Semitism was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”. Cunningly (or not), Starmer forensically (of course) used this to oust Jeremy Corbyn, further utilising anti-Semitism as a political tool, while simultaneously devaluing the seriousness of racism.

Following Starmer’s banishing of leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey to the political wilderness without so much as a whimper, I suspect at that point he felt emboldened to pursue Corbyn. Starmer rose to the position of party leader claiming to be a leader for unity. If by unity he means muting and purging the left, then I guess he’s well on his way. The idea that Labour is a broad church and that it needs to stand together against the Tories, is comparable to an abuser claiming they “won’t do it again” after an incident, or suggesting, “it will be better from now on”. The left need to be aware of the power imbalance in this relationship, recognise it as abuse and move on.

It has been suggested that there is a need to stay within the Labour Party in order to set it back on the path to socialism, but this is delusional. Do you really think the Labour right is going to relinquish the reins of power, when their recent nightmare of Corbyn becoming Prime Minister nearly came true in 2017? Sometimes in life you need to know when to walk away, confident that you did everything you could to make it work. It has been said on numerous occasions that a split will mean endless Tory governments. This may well be true, but sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can make changes.

Exchanging the colour of rosette for another while colluding in maintaining neoliberalism is totally pointless. A Government that tinkers around the edges is not what the UK or the world currently needs. A protest party attacking the status quo using socialist core beliefs, has greater moral value than pandering to a failed system and indeed party. The illusion of any political progression within the status quo is exemplified every time the UK has a change of government. There are feelings of optimism and hope quickly followed by emptiness, despair and abject disappointment.

Frankly, the right of the Labour Party have more in common with moderate Conservatives than the party’s left. This stance, therefore, ideologically prevents any radical ideas from gaining traction. Labour are beholden to the establishment as are the Tories, while the left unsuccessfully continue to push for systemic change. One thing most people on the left agree on is economic inequality is a major issue, negatively affecting our health, education, crime rates and societal cohesion. In contrast, issues concerning massive economic inequality as witnessed in the UK is a pressing matter the ruling elite would rather people forget about. However, for any left leaning party to be worth its salt, addressing this area has to be a priority.

While the Tories are unabashed capitalists, who rule for the rich and powerful, Labour claim to be for everyday people. Regrettably, Labour’s adherence to slow incremental change very much underpinned by a Fabian 3rd way ideology will barely keep people a float during these challenging times. Fifteen members of the shadow cabinet are Fabian’s including Keir Starmer. This is a group that’s more concerned with appeasing their corporate masters than making life better for the most amount of people.

Lets be honest, this an internal struggle the left cannot win. Staying will just result in more compromise and deep regret. Encouragingly, pro Corbyn members made their thoughts and feelings apparent at the recent NEC conference by walking out. It has been strongly suggested that the Labour Party leadership “lobbied” for the establishment sweetheart Dame Margaret Beckett as Chair of the NEC (Labour’s guiding body), while current Vice-Chair Ian Murray was ignored, a role which generally goes to the Vice-Chair.

Margaret Beckett

It has been proposed that Mr Murray, a senior member of the Fire Brigades Union has been bypassed primarily because he criticised Keir Starmer’s decision not to re-admit Mr Corbyn to the parliamentary party. An action effectively rendering Jeremy an as independent MP. However, Labour Party officials have predictably claimed that this was democracy in action. I would suggest the NeoLabouralism Party has used this moment to further marginalise what’s remains of the left, in their bid for pro establishment dominance.

It’s time to leave folks, the games up, the Labour party appears a dead duck and even if it wins the next election no discernible change will occur. As Neil Sedaka sang ” breaking up is hard to do”, but this is now a must for the left to flourish and influence society without ideological roadblocks. We must be mindful that politics extends beyond Westminster and the bickering elites that reside there. Outside of this bubble is surely now where many of the battles must be fought and victories gained if the left are to have any influence on the fate of society.

Joe Biden: America’s lesser of two evils?

It uncovers much about the many issues affecting the US and indeed Donald Trump’s tenure when the bulk of the population are collectively comforted by the appointment of a centre-right corporatist as the President of the United States. It’s has been interesting to witness many desperate people relishing the idea of a return to normalcy, albeit a massively unequal and destructive one. The nation has spoken, therefore, we should notice a sharp return to business as usual, with all it’s dirty dealings, disdain for the poor and arrogance on the world stage soon back securely behind closed doors. No more inane Twitter ramblings of a cartoonish, narcissistic man-child in the guise of the POTUS. “Ahh great”, you may declare, but who has the US just voted for?

Is America about to embark on a period of transformative systematic change, improving the lives of the impoverished, defeating climate change, ushering in universal healthcare, reducing US led wars around the globe, all while beating COVID? Errr no, not really, not if Joe’s political track record is anything to go by. “Hey, but at least he won’t be a dick on Twitter like the orange psychopath”, you may utter. Sadly, if you are awaiting discernible change in the 21st century, you’ve definitely got the wrong guy. Biden signals a return to centre-right governance at a time when the US and the rest of the world need so much more.

Joe Biden is political lifer, having joined the senate in 1973 he has been a strong proponent of big business and corporate America his entire career. Biden has unwaveringly served Wall Street over his many decades, voting for much of the legislation which paved the way to the Great Recession of 2008. This includes; the 1994 Reagle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act and the 1999 Financial Services Modernisation Act, which led to the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act. Interestingly one of Biden’s biggest donors MBNA lobbied extensively for the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act and Biden did not fail them. This important Act signed by FDR effectively kept commercial banks and investment banks separate. Thus, preventing them transferring federally guaranteed deposits to their investment banking operations, which dealt in high risk and speculative investments. The scrapping of this Act contributed to the banking industry’s creative gambling addiction, providing some of the groundwork for the 2008 financial disaster.

FDR signing the Glass-Steagall Act

In 2005, Biden supported the Bankruptcy Act, which again championed corporate America over the people. It was legislation designed to make it notably more difficult for individuals and businesses to eliminate part or all of their debt and a chance to start again. This bill effectively eliminated the option of bankruptcy for many families as a way to wipe the slate clean(ish). This was heartily supported by the new POTUS and his MBNA backers, with only 3 other Democrat Party Senators voting in favour of this. Moreover, Joe Biden made it easier for students to acquire more student loans, while the previously mentioned legislation made it harder to declare bankruptcy. The combination of the two unsurprisingly led to a surge in student loans and defaults.

Of course, these are merely examples of Joe Biden’s commitment to Wall Street and his backers, alongside his support of NAFTA and TPP. Let’s be clear, Uncle Joe does not have your back as a citizen. In fact, over his 40 plus years he has repeatedly sought to reduce social security and government social services in an effort to decrease federal debt. This reaches as far back as the 1980’s by supporting Reagan’s Tax cuts, while proposing limiting social spending and Social Security to reduce deficits. More recently in 2007 during the 2008 presidential campaign, he stated that he considered cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age. All this, therefore, makes it laughable when people within the media describe Joe Biden as “left leaning”.

Has he changed over the years? Well, Biden’s recent presidential campaign has been heavily backed by lobbyists from the weapons industry, private healthcare and of course financial institutions. It would surely be naïve to suggest businesses wouldn’t want a return on their big investments. So OK, you may concede that he is obviously no lefty, but what about foreign policy? Is the US going take part in less systematic destruction of other sovereign nations either via covert or overt means? The short answer is, probably not.

Biden prides himself on his foreign policy acumen as the former chair of the United States Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to good decision making. Republican and Democrats have generally pursued a similar ideology with regards to foreign policy, which can be defined as the “liberal international order“. An ideology which encompasses a selection of economic and political views, plus a set of values that major ‘democratic’ countries believe benefit the world. This has never been an altruistic endeavour for the US, rather it provided a market in which to sell goods and allies to help stave off potential adversaries. Subsequently, this strategy maintained the US as the predominant power in the world.

No doubt, Biden and the US will continue with an interventionist foreign policy which has contributed to major destruction all over the world in order to maintain control. A strategy which has involved; US supported coups, economic sanctions, corporate espionage, war from the comfort of an office chair (via drones) or indeed a “boots on the ground” type of war. The problem being, despite Biden’s experience in this area, he often backs the wrong horse. Of course, Biden may choose different allies and opponents than his predecessor, such as becoming more confrontational with China and less punitive regarding Iran, but the general theme will undoubtedly remain the same.

OK, so he’s backed by big business, he supports corporations over people, he will continue with an interventionist foreign policy strategy, but what about domestic policy? Well, the President Elect has a seriously questionable political history such as; opposing school busing for desegregation in 1970, voting against gay marriage in the 1990’s and the infamous 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which he drafted. Although some these issues go back decades, I think it’s fair to say his record doesn’t age well. Of course, we have to put this into some sort of historical context, but his views although mainstream ideas for the Democrats at the time were hardly progressive.

The good news is, Biden will likely reinsert the US into the Iran nuclear treaty and the Global Climate Agreement. Furthermore, there is more chance of a cohesive strategy towards subduing COVID, undoubtedly these would be a positive moves. We should also expect to witness a distinct lack of incoherent messages on Twitter by one of the world’s most powerful people, also a plus. But, what citizens are generally celebrating is a return to a pre Trump era, that under Obama continued to bomb 7 countries around the world. A rich country that still couldn’t muster the political will to create universal healthcare and a nation that possesses obscene income inequality. This is simply back to the future for America.

Now, for the growing amount of people out there who seem to struggle with grey areas, nuance, complex ideas and independent thought, this is for you. Just because I have criticised Biden, doesn’t mean I’m a Trump supporter. I shouldn’t have to spell this out, but in the age of the internet it would appear a large group of people fail to process political information adequately and would rather pick a side that encompasses a whole bolus of ideas, which is easy to digest and prevents one from having to think too much. So, to summarise for these people in particular; Uncle Joe is not very good, but the orange man is worse. Hope that helps.

Greed is good, and all that bollocks: Why we are more egalitarian than we think.

Since the advent of capitalism on steroids in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, we have been force fed a narrative that human beings are inherently competitive. This conveniently fits with the neoliberal economical and political ideology that dominates western civilisation. Thatcher and Reagan in particular, painted a bleak one dimensional picture, that life is the “survival of the fittest”, that there was no such thing as society, just winners and losers. Scientists wrote about “selfish genes” and popular culture suggested “greed is good” in an effort to normalise this behaviour. The question is, are we no better than primates who battle for dominance or is this fiction simply packaged as fact in an effort to justify political decisions and cement capitalism as the only feasible system.

Contrary to these views, it is worth pointing out that of the 200,000 years or so our species has existed, it is estimated that only 5-10,000 of these have included a society arranged in a top down manner. A hierarchical structure driven by dominance is not the default setting we are often led to believe. For tens of thousands of years, anthropological research highlights, that groups known as egalitarian hunter gatherers were the norm. Although this is well known by academics in this field, rarely does this information seep into the mainstream media. On the contrary, people are still very much inclined to believe that humans are competitive and self serving.

In an anthropological study reviewing 24 relatively recent, hunter-gatherer communities, it was found that food was shared, not just as a reciprocal action but in order to support those in need. This is distinct from primates, where the dominant individuals often eat first, with subordinates generally only consuming what’s left. It’s important to recognise that this equality highlighted does not depend on a set of genetic features, rather it is held in check by ‘counter’ or ‘reverse’ dominance strategies. Any individual seeking dominance and control was opposed by the group in order to protect themselves and their personal autonomy. Groups were generally united against anyone who appeared too domineering.

Anthropologists such as Professor Christopher Boehm studied these factors, examining data from 48 egalitarian societies investigating how they maintained their particular society. It was discovered that the motivation for egalitarian societies was a basic dislike to being dominated. Selfish and Alpha male behaviour was strongly opposed by the group using mild to moderate methods such as; criticism, ridicule and open expression of disapproval through ostracism, exclusion and death at the opposite end of the spectrum. It was thought that egalitarianism was considered a moral principle, therefore, this type of society consciously, purposefully and assertively maintained it.

Due to these communities actively subscribing to these principles most decisions were made by consensus. Individuals who were unselfish and helpful, were chosen more often as sexual partners or were generally valued in cooperative activities, as opposed to the less social who were regularly shunned. This is thought to have led to a selection of people who were genetically predisposed to pro social and public spirited behaviour. Reasons for this pro-social behaviour are simple, organisms that work together tend to survive. Not only this but inequality leads to instability within a group, leading to conflict.

Decision making was decentralised with no chiefs and organised violence between groups. There were no pervasive ideas of private property, therefore, no need for territorial protection. This way of life was also chronicled by the first European colonists in the early 17th century. It is now considered by some anthropologists that egalitarian communities are not constructed necessarily out of some form of inherent moral purity, but more likely a social choice. One that was utilised for thousands of years in a method to increase their chances of flourishing. So what changed?

It is proposed that humans have lived in a hierarchical society led by the privileged few for about 5000 years. One plausible view by anthropologists; Julian Steward, Leslie White and Robert Carneiro suggests that major changes occurred when society turned to agriculture in order to provide more food for an ever expanding population. It is surmised that this culminated in a surplus, with a need for managers and specialised roles. In turn, this led to stratified social classes.

This idea has been expanded upon, offering that certain self-aggrandising individuals exploited this surplus in an effort to ascend the social ranking system. In relation to groups, it is thought that improved coordination plus division allowed complex societies to out compete more egalitarian ones. This eventual uneven distribution of resources benefitted some more than others, becoming an ingrained feature of society. The arrival of agriculture and trade resulted in private property, inheritance and larger trade networks, only compounding any economic advantages a small number had attained over others.

Despite this, these views still fail to explain fully our deeply stratified modern society. There are numerous theories abound implying that inequality is in some way a favourable trait that cultivates efficiencies, inspires innovation and increases chances of survival. In contrast, a Stanford University study found that unequal access to resources is a destabilising force which increases the chance of group extinction. Two models were used, one using wage inequality, while the other utilised wealth distribution, but the results turned out similarly. In this study and as chronicled in historical events, unequal groups spread in search of further resources. In history this has been documented in the form of colonisation or the invasion of other nations.

All this indicates that, far from inequality spreading because it is conducive to survival, the demographic instability it creates leads to migration, conflict, cultural extinction and physical extinction. In the late 19th century the term homo economicus arose as a criticism to the underlying concepts of self interest, a theory proposed by among others John Stuart Mill. Mill characterised humans as primarily self interested with traits including;

  • Flawless rationality – making decisions in a perfectly rational manner without the influence of bias.
  • Unlimited cognitive capacity – ability to process any amount of information, regardless of quantity, quality or the complexity.
  • Access to perfect information – access to all information needed to make a required decision.
  • Narrow self interests – only interested in helping themselves.
  • Focuses on maximising utility and profits – primarly the goal is to maximise utility as a consumer, or profit as a producer
  • Preference consistency – preference and goals remain relatively consistent over time.

Although now heavily criticised, the narrative underpinning homo economicus is still pushed by governments, corporations, the media, as well as the ruling elite, but often more surreptitiously than previous decades. In the UK during the late 70’s and early 80’s Margaret Thatcher relentlessly and blatantly espoused the idea of individualism, while Reagan pushed a practically identical dire ideological agenda in the US.

In an article published on the website Evonomics, Blair Fix claims that free market ideology, which neoliberalism is based around, consists of a double lie. The first lie offers that the central tenet which postulates acting selfishly maximises the wellbeing of the group, an idea Multilevel Selection Theory disputes. Suggesting, there is always a disconnect between the interest of a group and the interest of the individual within the group. However, for groups to be successful, they must temper the selfish behaviour of individuals, often in the form of punishment.

Secondly there is the age old neoliberal untruth that free market ideology leads to freedom and autonomy, this is often espoused by US libertarians. On the contrary, the evidence declares that it actually cultivates greater obedience and subordination. Free market ideology which promotes individualism is not about freedom and liberty at all, but the accumulation of power. Power according to the author can be split into two; freedom from and freedom to. The former focuses on restrictions such as; freedom from discrimination. This prevents someone from discriminating against you. Secondly, freedom to centres around power, suggesting freedom is a ruse to command people. For example Jeff Bezos is free to run Amazon.

If free market ideology and imbedded individualism really amounts to the accumulation of power, this must surely be linked to an increase in hierarchal structures. What has been noted in the US at both the governmental level and within corporations is hierarchies have expanded. Free market idealists claim to be mortal enemies of the government and yet as regulations have loosened government has grown. One theory is that the free market is not as effective as claimed, needing more and more regulations to keep it viable. Libertarians would probably claim the opposite, offering that increased governmental interference has led to such inefficiencies.

What can’t be denied is the growth of hierarchies in private businesses. Here corporations do not use free market ideology, but multi layered stratified structures, with the complexities of these often proportional to the power accumulated. At this point we can ask ourselves a question; does free market ideology do the opposite of what it claims? Rather than freedom and autonomy, it appears to promote the accumulation of power and an increase in hierarchy.

We must also think about who promotes and attempts to normalise free market ideas? It’s certainly not the small business person. On the contrary, it tends to be owners of huge corporations, like the Koch’s or Jeff Bezos, all in an effort to consolidate money and power. These people are not promoting freedom for all, but rather a way in which they have freedom to command and control others. Along with the bogus notion of ” trickle down economic”, “freedom and liberty” is one of the biggest lies told by ruling elite in order to control the masses, thus promoting unabashed greed while normalising individualism.

Given current worldwide issues including; a pandemic, global warming, a rapidly expanding population, decreasing natural resources and perpetual wars it’s worth considering what Gandhi said.

If ever there was a time to work together, discovering better ways of doing things, unearthing our innate hunter gatherer within ourselves, now is the time. As a society we need to prevent our more narcissistic, selfish, greedy and individualistic members from dictating the terms of our existence, while fighting back in an effort to create a society that works best for as many people as possible.

Corbyn’s suspension and the death of Labour as credible opposition.

Yesterdays suspension of Jeremy Corbyn in the aftermath of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report, signals a culmination of a 5 year witch-hunt in order to remove the former Labour leader. Mr Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party following comments in relation to the EHRC report stating “anyone claiming there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is wrong”, but “the scale of the problem was overstated for political reasons by our opponents”. By “opponents” he primarily means adversaries within his own party.

This tireless campaign to oust Corbyn, resulting in the suspension of him from the party has lasted half a decade and has been thoroughly documented on numerous occasions. Furthermore, this hasn’t just centred around anti-Semitism, with further accusations of him being an IRA sympathiser, a Russian stooge and even a Czech spy. However, it’s the anti-Semitic narrative that has stuck and caused the most damage.

Attacks on Corbyn have come from multiple directions, but mainly from the media, the UK establishment and opposing factions within the Labour Party. Without doubt, Jeremy Corbyn threatened a sizeable shift towards left wing policies, proposing the biggest shake-up in decades, thus, the establishment coalesced in a desperate effort to defeat him. Ultimately, anti-Semitism was chosen as the vehicle to derail Corbyn eventually leading to his political demise. Despite a distinct lack of evidence confirming that the Labour Party is inherently anti-Semitic, this tactic gained traction and in the end produced the desired effect.

Jeremy Corbyn is without doubt the most maligned Labour MP of recent times and was the most targeted party leader in history. Major players within the party bureaucracy made it their mission to destroy Corbyn from the inside, while business elites, Tories and the media pursued the same goal externally. Insider treachery and betrayal was highlighted in a leaked report, documenting that senior members of the party HQ repeatedly sabotaged Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to become Prime Minister in 2017.

However, looking at the bigger picture regarding this recent suspension, undoubtedly this is another blatant attack on the left from the Labour Party’s right wing. At a time when the UK’s patently cruel and vicious government is systematically destroying peoples lives, the Starmer led Labour Party is using this to purge the left from their ranks. This is clearly actions of a controlled opposition, a party which is more intent on waging an ideological war within the Labour Party than holding Johnson and company to account during a pandemic.

I mention controlled opposition simply because Labour’s continued infighting, it’s reluctance to challenge the Tory government, to fight for discernible systematic change is a definite victory for the seemingly permanent neoliberal state the UK inhabits. The ruling elite hold all the cards in order to maintain the status quo; money, power, government and the media, while all the left can possibly hope to achieve is obtaining support from the masses.

The game of the elite has always been to divide and conquer. So, while we are fragmented; the homeless will multiply, the poor will go hungry, worthwhile well paying jobs will become scarcer, the working class will become poorer and more people will die. Meanwhile, the 1% will accrue ever more riches and power, leaving the rest to fight over the scraps off the table, while being told to be happy with it.

Class warfare: Crusher’s obesity slur, an attack on our poorest citizens.

In her latest bout of verbal diarrhoea, National Party leader Judith Collins appears to be playing to her support base, claiming obesity is a “personal choice”. Furthermore, she announced that there will be no government plan to tackle obesity in New Zealand if she becomes Prime Minister. Crusher emphatically declared that people needed to take personal responsibility for a situation that she considers entirely of their own making.

This callous rhetoric will be music to the ears of the affluent, self-obsessed big business types, supporters of small government and those who think the ‘free’ market has all the answers to our problems. These are the kind of people who boldly claim that any economic successes are due to their ability and hard work. All the while, conveniently ignoring that most financially successful people are often recipients of an excellent education, have good societal connections and receive a large chunk of luck (or cash) along the way.

What’s more disgusting about this recent tirade is, I strongly suspect Collins knows very well that obesity is a complex mix of biological, psychological and social issues. Alas, facts are presently of no concern to Collins as she continues in her attempt to awaken an vocal angry section of middle New Zealand, sick of both Jacinda Ardern’s compassion and perceived high taxes. An irate group who want Queen Judith at the helm, delivering ever vanishing taxes, miniscule public services, the ability to buy their 50th rental property without any financial penalties and the freedom to exploit others all in the name of profit.

Make no mistake, Judith’s outburst was directed at the poor and our most precarious in society. What’s undeniable is obesity has strong links to economic inequality, something which Collins would be sure to increase if ever elected. It has consistently been documented that countries with reduced economic inequality have less obesity. A factor that has been replicated in the US, between more and less equal states. When comparing nations using BMI as a measure in adults and income inequality, the US obesity rates are above 30%, while Japan a more economically egalitarian society sit around 2.5%. Sadly, similar patterns have been observed in children both internationally and between states of the US.

During Crusher’s ill informed rant, she simplistically boiled the whole issue down to calorie intake and personal responsibility. Although, it’s well worth acknowledging that calorie intake is notably higher in more unequal societies. However, calorie intake and exercise are only a part of the story, people with a long history of stress respond to food differently from people who are non-stressed. Stressed people deposit food around their body differently, primarily around the middle and lower abdomen, with those people being particularly vulnerable to obesity associated illnesses. Moreover, stress can contribute to an increase in food intake, while altering food choices, often consuming more fats and sugar. Collectively we know this as comfort eating, which we utilise as a way of coping with changes in our physiology when stressed.

Neoliberal parties such as National in New Zealand have helped to create a society that fosters uncertainty at the very basic level for many people. This includes, job insecurity, unaffordable housing or rent, unsustainable wages and a society where levels of participation are strongly linked to income. Life is undeniably more stressful for the poor, a view documented through Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. A person who is unable to meet the very basic requirements is unlikely to flourish. Not only has the prevailing ideology of neoliberalism cultivated this type of society, National are hell bent on sustaining it, while sticking the boot in to the most vulnerable for their questionable coping strategies.

Judith Collins has made it abundantly clear in the run up to the election who her policies will benefit the most, which unsurprisingly is the rich and big business. ‘Profit over people’ is an often used slogan, but in this case it is a perfect fit. She is willing to sacrifice Labour’s reserve COVID fund to give temporary tax cuts that will mainly benefit the rich. Collins is also claiming to be on the side of farmers by scrapping regulations designed to protect the environment. This she offers will allow farmers to achieve better outcomes, most likely at the expense of the environment for future generations.

As the campaign has progressed Crusher has become ever more desperate, this week suggesting that Labour would implement the Green’s proposed wealth tax policy. As much as I would welcome such a plan, the idea here is to strike fear into the hearts of middle New Zealand. Her dog whistle allegations are devoid of any truth, but will have likely pricked up the ears of right wing, economically stable boomers, by calling it the “wealth envy tax”.

The choice is obvious, if you are a narcissistic, well off, self absorbed type, who believes all your success is the product of your own skill and hard work, crack on vote for Collins. If you have a fetish for stern matronly figures who have all the compassion of stage 4 bone cancer go ahead, put two ticks for National. Furthermore, if you believe that the more impoverished end of society have nothing but themselves to blame and that this is just a natural order of things, firstly you may be a psychopath and secondly Judith probably has everything you are looking for in a leader. However, if you are none of the above and have even the slightest regard for other people please stay away from National, they’re seriously bad for your health.

Socialist ideas in a post identity politics world: A road less travelled?

The left has a major problem. Currently it has two main paths; one that is based on traditional socialist values viewing economic inequality as the major problem facing society, the other, demands that inequality of identity is our most pressing concern. Although there is some crossover, most people will regard one narrative as more important than the other. Those who have read my previous articles will be aware that I regard economic disparity as one of the biggest problems the western world faces. Generally, because this has negative effects on health, education, crime and also how we treat one another. In a capitalist world where we primarily pay to play, members of the public who have less monetary resources simply cannot access the world in the same way as others.

To be clear, by this I do not mean access to high end experiences or goods and services. I am referring to obtaining basic needs that the majority of us get to enjoy without much thought. Whilst our poorest citizens end up with sub standard education, healthcare (especially in the US), food, transport, shelter, warmth and a shorter lifespan. They are also more likely to live in unsafe environments, have little in the way of support and struggle to find employment. Thus, this group is essentially excluded from society and unable to partake in what many would describe as everyday life. Poverty and hardship such as this transcends skin colour or gender, if you are poor in the west you are screwed.

Homeless,

The other increasingly common pathway focuses on identity, which opines that certain groups are oppressed simply by possessing an immutable trait, such as; race and gender. Groups are ranked according to their perceived oppression, while individual agency or general experiences gathered through life are not accounted for. This recent incarnation of primarily a postmodernist worldview proposes that white, able bodied, heterosexual, men are the most privileged of all, regardless of any personal circumstances. Thinking in such a way it could be suggested that a white man living on the streets for example is more privileged than a university educated, upper middle class black women. A conclusion such as this could only be reached purely by using a person’s assigned physical identity.

Despite this, I’m hopeful that out of the wreckage of 40 years of neoliberalism, which has destroyed society to the benefit of the few, plus the current culture war which is demolishing any remnants of community, a new kind of political sensibility will emerge. Ideally, one that focuses on democratic socialist economic principles while adopting a liberal approach to cultural issues. This would include the now unfashionable idea of valuing the individual, based on the content of their character rather than traits we can do little about. After all, human beings are far too complicated and wonderful to be evaluated in such a crude way.

In the late 1970 through to the 80’s Thatcher and Reagan ushered in the radical free market ideology called neoliberalism. This was quickly viewed as the only economically viable way of running a country. Forty years later, mainstream political parties from the right to centre-left completely embrace this once fringe idea as gospel. Now, a new chapter is being written in the west, as certain movements are attempting to indoctrinate the English speaking world into adopting an extreme form of Social Justice, driven by Critical Social Justice and Intersectional theories. Just like neoliberalism, this ideology have been percolating for decades prior to being unleashed into the mainstream.

Contrary to what’s described in the media, the left is by no means one cohesive and unified camp. As previously mentioned it now consists primarily of two distinct groups who have very little fundamental commonalities. In one corner there are “economic socialists”, largely considered as out of touch dinosaurs by the cultural left who lurk in the opposite corner. Who in turn, are often thought of by their detractors (including me) as; postmodernist, anti-science, “champagne socialists”, with no real interest in class struggle. Which is why I propose a split from the cultural left, in an effort to address economic issues that affect people from all cultures, rather than certain prioritised identity groups.

Plenty of people out there agree with the principle of reducing economic inequality for the good of the most amount of people. Furthermore, there are countless socialists who feel disenfranchised from the narrative of identity politics and believe humanity amounts to much more than our immutable traits. With this in mind, there is room for a movement that would reject neoliberalism as the principle economic orthodoxy, while advocating for increased economic equality. Additionally, current identity politics inspired by Critical Race Theory would be dismissed as the prevailing doctrine of social progress.

So what would this look like in practical terms? Firstly, I think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs offers some clues as to what should be emphasised in any genuine pursuit of human advancement.

2000px-Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg

Loosely using a utilitarian model of thought, a primary focus would be to provide the most amount of people with a chance to flourish. With this in mind, basic needs towards the bottom of the pyramid concerning our essential requirements would have to be met as a matter of priority. If these are not addressed it is impossible to consistently fulfil needs found among the higher levels. This is why all people should have access to quality shelter, food, warmth, physical security, education, employment and healthcare to name a few factors.

Wealth redistribution can certainly be achieved by methods such as progressive taxes, but beyond this, ideas such as workers co-operatives should also be encouraged and rewarded. A resurgence of strong unions based on fighting not only for workers rights, but worthwhile pay and job satisfaction are required more than ever before. Admittedly, all this is difficult to sell to a population who have been indoctrinated by the “free market economy” ideology or those who have possibly gained from it. For the majority though, this system for decades has failed to deliver a sustained increase in our quality of life.

On the right, freedom is generally referred to as economic freedom. This is a very specific interpretation of the word, which in reality has only been achieved and enjoyed by a tiny minority. In the “anglosphere” wages have stagnated and have even began to decrease, especially since the early 2000’s. This has been reflected by incredibly slow financial growth among moderate and low income families. For the vast majority, stagnation has not been created by abstract economic trends, but by calculated political choices made on behalf of individuals with the most wealth and power.

An article by the Economic Policy Institute offered that US citizens in the broad middle classes would have been earning $18,000 more by 2007 if economic inequality had been zero since 1979. In the UK, it is estimated that real wages grew by about 2% between 1980 and 2000, followed by a slow down until 2007 and since 2008 real wages have decreased by 8-10%. All across the west it also noticeable that while productivity has increased dramatically (72.2% between 1979 and 2014 in the US), hourly wages have gone up by just 9.2% over this time.

wage productivity

It’s interesting to note that this clear disconnect between wages and productivity began in the late 1970’s early 80’s at a time when neoliberalism dominated the economic conversation. Further evidence highlights that during this period of rising inequality since 1979 the top 1% have seen their wages grow by 138%, while the bottom 90% have witnessed a modest 15% gain. The news is worse still for the working class and low wage workers, who have witnessed their wages reduced by 5%.

Many factors have been implicated regarding these disparities. First up, CEO’s are taking a larger share of the wages. In the US this ratio has increased from the CEO earning 22 times the average worker in 1974 to 296 times in 2012. Secondly, throughout the western world the minimum wage has lagged behind productivity and thirdly union membership has declined dramatically. This background information is purely to support the premise that economic inequality has grown substantially over 4 decades and these impacts are crucial to address if we want to move forward as a society.

Even a small reduction in economic inequality changes how people interact with each other, which has been proven to lead to more altruistic acts. Economically unequal societies have less participation in social and civic matters, including political activities such as voting. In addition to this, nations with larger economic disparities display a lower level of trust, which in turn is associated to a higher homicide rate and a decline in health. The mechanism behind this is based around the idea of social distancing, which is exacerbated by income inequality, leading to a decline of social capital, thus preventing strong relationships forming.

Trust plummets in more unequal societies and people start to want increasingly authoritarian leaders. Furthermore, in these types of countries people tend to believe that those at the top of the tree are more competent, while thinking competition between groups and individuals lead to the best outcomes. Finally, it is proposed that individuals in unequal societies are on the whole more disagreeable and less empathetic than people in more equal populations.

There is plenty evidence to suggest that reducing economic inequality doesn’t just positively affect most people from a physical perspective such as an increase of resources to partake fully in society, but would actually contribute to repairing many social fissures in the community, by focusing on what we have in common as human beings. This is in stark contrast to identity politics which sets out to fragment society into arbitrary groups based on things we cannot control. This ultimately will increase tribality within the population, allowing the ruling elite to continue securing all the spoils, while we fight among ourselves.

It’s not just neoliberalism that works against the plight of the working class, while destroying any form of solidarity, Critical Social Justice is equally as guilty. The primary purpose being, to unceremoniously split society into binaries, that of the oppressed and the oppressor. Inevitably, this leads to the so called oppressed groups fighting over the title of biggest victim. This has the effect of pitting group against group, distracting us from what is really important such as; climate change, health, crime, education, global armed conflict among many other topics.

shitty

To be truly on the left is to fight for universals such as; excellent education and healthcare for everyone on the planet. Our shared humanity is what binds us together, in as much as we endure pain, fragility, helplessness simply as part our human condition. There are 4.2 billion people in the world without sanitation and 2.2 billion without adequate clean drinking water, as well as genocide, torture and widespread violence all around the planet. But, Critical Race Theory or Intersectionality has very little interest in global inequality and offers nothing in the way of solutions.

We all acknowledge racism and prejudice exists, but here in the west we are living in some of the safest times in human history. This has been achieved by primarily socially liberal movements such as; the civil rights movement and second wave liberal feminism. It is clear that both universal liberalism and identity politics oppose social inequalities while seeking to remedy them, but each use substantially different approaches.

As opposed to identity politics, the liberal solution focuses on the individual and our shared humanity in order to attain a cohesive society, allowing everybody full access to rights, freedom and all the opportunities a society has to offer. Unlike identity politics universal liberalism is not a political position per se, but a philosophy founded on individuality, liberty, equal opportunities and universal human rights, which grew out of the Enlightenment.

It is worth pointing out that for decades these liberal ideals sat very comfortably on the left. Of course, this was until the arrival of the postmodern inspired Critical Social Justice Theory. Despite it’s persistent claim, Critical Social Justice is not in any way an extension of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. In fact this ideology could be considered as the antithesis of civil rights, focusing on group dynamics and not the individual which was what the original movement was founded upon.

Whether this proposed blend of economic and social theories will take hold remains to be seen. What does seem apparent is the left’s adoption of Critical Social Justice Theory will continue to fragment and diminish the prospect of any left leaning governments across the western world. However, if we can implement the notion of respecting our fellow human as a unique person, by making sure all members of society are considered equally valuable, supported and given the best environment to flourish, maybe we can start to advance together. My hope is, that we can rediscover what binds us together, while respecting, appreciating and celebrating our differences.

Roma and Gypsy Lives Matter: Or do they?

The Roma/Gypsy community are by far the most persecuted group in Europe. This is why I am making a case for Roma and Gypsy Lives Matter (RGLM). If we are looking for true equality and support for minority groups, why does this not make sense? The Romani in case people reading this don’t know or care (in which case proves my point) are an Indo-Aryan Ethnic group, who have been persecuted for many centuries and are considered the most intolerable group as recorded in several studies.

A survey in 2015 was conducted by YouGov.com in; Denmark, Finland, France, Britain, Germany, Norway and Sweden. In each nation this minority group garnered the most negative impressions. As an example, in Britain, a question asking “which group do people have the most negative impressions of”; Roma Gypsies scored 58%, Muslims 40%, gay people 9%, Black 8% and Jews 7%. Now, given recent high profile campaigns from Black Lives Matter and the weaponisation of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party (UK), you would be forgiven to display a certain amount of shock regarding the result. Especially given how the media have pushed the plight of both of these groups incessantly over the last few years.

It would seem that minority groups, therefore, do matter, but only certain ones or at the very least there is a pecking order. If at this point you are tempted to suggest that Romani/Gypsies lack power due to small numbers, it is worth noting in Britain that there are approximately 225,000 in the UK, which is a little less than the Jewish community (290,000). So, is it possible we have a ranking system that generally favours groups who possess power in the upper reaches of the establishment or who can manufacture enough political pressure to mobilise the ruling elite into supporting them? Maybe, people really don’t like Romani/Gypsies as discovered in the survey. But isn’t that racist? Or is that a term only reserved for the protection of certain groups?

I’m sure people will be quick to state that racism currently being protested has occurred for many years among black people and this is indeed true. Equally Romani/Gypsies were widely enslaved in what is now called modern day Romania in the 13th and 14th century. They were also persecuted by both the Mongols and the Ottoman empire. In 1749, Spain conducted “The Great Roundup of Romani (Gitanos)” in the region. Later in the 19th century Romani were forbidden on a racial basis to go outside of Europe, primarily into the English speaking world.

In both Austria and Spain, Romani were forced to assimilate, while surrendering large parts of their culture, primarily horse and carts (Austria) and their language (Spain). Also in Spain, Romani men were sent to separate workhouses, while their children were transported into orphanages. This type of forced assimilation also occurred in countries such as Norway, who took 1,500 children from their parents in the early 20th century.

gypsies

In more recent history, in 1935 Nazi Germany stripped Romani people of their German citizenship. They were imprisoned in concentration camps and many later exterminated. This genocide was supported also by allies of the Nazis such as; Croatia, Romania and Hungary. Numbers are hard to ascertain, but figures are generally thought to be between 200,000-500,000, but could be as high as 1.5 million people. This is what Romani call “Porajmos“, which means devouring and was part of Nazi Germany’s ethnic cleansing campaign.

In the contemporary world, Romani are associated with poverty and accused of high rates of crime, while perceived by others as antisocial and inappropriate. In Eastern Europe some children still have to attend separate Roma schools which places them at an academic disadvantage. In Kosovo following the war, Romani people have been practically wiped out by ethnic Albanians. Furthermore, as late as 1973 Czechoslovakia carried out a terrible program of sterilisation of Romani women which continued until 1989.

The list of oppression is a long one, but the point is, when we are looking at group oppression certain ones get widespread recognition and others clearly don’t. This is a tricky game to play, unless you don’t truly care about equality, in which case you are free to pick the groups that you find palatable. Or maybe you support a group that you think will get you more likes or follows on social media. Which again smacks of racism.

Wouldn’t it be easier if we just treated all people with respect. Or as Dr Martin Luther King Jr more eloquently said;

mlk-content-character

Sadly, even the words of one of the most important human beings in history does not seem to pass the purity test in the minds of many of these so called anti-racists. As I have repeatedly said, identity politics will lead to nowhere good and will achieve nothing positive. It serves to divide us and alienate us from our shared humanity. I used the Roma/Gypsy community as a suitable example in order to highlight the double standards on display and the misguided use of this divisive form of politics. The bottom line is, we need to treat all people with dignity and respect, judging people by immutable traits we cannot control is not the way forward.

Betrayed: Is it time for the left to leave the Labour Party?

In all honesty, the recent Labour Party leak has done little more than confirm what many on the left already suspected about the party. This being, that labour since possibly the mid to late 80’s has been led by the right side of the party. The apparatus and the bureaucracy surrounding the Labour Party are soaked in neoliberalism. With a new leader this faction will be desperate to maintain control of the party at all costs, while showing zero interest in improving the lives of working class people around the country. The recent leak has proved yet again that Labour consists of two parties under one roof, each side indistinguishable from the other, while the centrist shadow deeply damages the socialist cause.

The left in general have always looked towards radical change. But now more than ever, the world needs a real political shift, requiring big bold ideas that can burst open the straitjacket of capitalism. The right of the party in contrast claim to be pragmatists, incessantly declaring that nothing can change without power, but nothing perceptible will change if you sell out to attain power. What this recent leak has shown is the disdain certain senior staff members at Labour HQ had for the hundreds of thousand of members who joined because of the ideals that Jeremy Corbyn represented.

JC Tranmere

To remain as a member or even a casual supporter of the Labour Party as it stands now, would be to adopt the role of “a useful idiot” as Noam Chomsky would say. Remaining would serve the party’s right wing by bolstering the numbers, putting money in their coffers, while they arrogantly think of you as scum. We had a small window of opportunity to elect a truly socialist Labour leader as Prime Minister, that moment has now passed. Members and supporters of Labour have been repeatedly betrayed by people who were supposedly on the same team. For decades it has been an abusive, one sided relationship and now I suggest it’s time to walk away.

The newly leaked report (full report here) emphatically dismantles claims that The Leader of The Opposition Office (LOTO) was responsible for sabotaging the efforts of the Labour Party tasked with dealing with anti-Semitism. On the contrary, it was the Blairite right wing of the party fuelled by hatred of the left that were the ones who made a conscious decision to drag their heals over any complaints regarding anti-Semitism. Thus creating a crisis that was conveniently blamed onto Corbyn and his team. This report also dismisses any notion put forward on the BBC’s Panorama programme that Corbyn’s office was to blame for this failure.

The upper reaches of the party HQ have been implicated in this treachery, including former General Secretary Iain McNicol. With further spotlight on the Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) largely responsible for disciplinary issues within the party. The report uncovers that the GLU failed to act on the majority of complaints, including those related to anti-Semitism. This inaction created a huge backlog which was egregiously used to imply Corbyn was soft on anti-Semitism. Information to support these alleged actions has been accumulated via extensive What App messages involving 6 top Labour Party Officials.

Further to this, there are examples in the report of officials within Labour’s HQ deliberately giving false information, suggesting these complaints were being dealt with quickly and professionally. Worryingly, the Chakrabarti Inquiry, which stated that the Labour Party was clearly not overrun with anti-Semitism was repeatedly ignored by members of GLU. The GLU also argued that the findings of the inquiry should not be uploaded onto the Labour website. It is fair to say, that this current leaked report does a good job of correcting the record regarding the failures of dealing with anti-Semitism and the people responsible for such failures, but it does contain flaws.

Where it falls short is the lack of acknowledgment regarding the weaponisation of anti-Semitism, while repeatedly stressing the word “denialism” throughout. To refute any incidences of anti-Semitism or racism in general within the Labour would be to ignore the reality of British society. However, “denialism” in this case has been utilised to rubbish any potential discussion around the use of anti-Semitism for political gain. Accounts of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party are tiny, compared to those both in wider society and the Conservative Party. Sadly in this case, context and proportion were concepts wilfully dismissed in order to sustain a political project.

Moving away from the issue of anti-Semitism, it is blatantly obvious reading the content of the What App messages that certain members of Labour HQ wanted Corbyn to lose in 2017. One Labour staff member even declared that, Corbyn’s good result in 2017 was against everything they had been working for over the last 2 years. Electoral disaster was clearly what certain high ranking members of the Labour Party were hoping for, realising that this would strengthen their case to boot Corbyn out.

Further to this 5th column activity, any MP who was considered even marginally on the left was labelled a “Trot”, including moderates such as Andy Burnham, Ed Milliband and Sadiq Khan. Meanwhile, members of Corbyn’s team were given derogatory nicknames by top staffer Emilie Oldknow such as, calling Corbyn’s political secretary “pube head”, while she mocked black MP Dawn Butler for bringing up the issue of racism in the party. In fact, Oldknow seems to have a particular penchant for verbal abuse, calling Karie Murphy one of Corbyn’s team both “fat” and the “Medusa Monster”. This group within the Labour Party HQ also discussed hanging, burning and shooting Jeremy Corbyn.

emily oldknow

What’s deeply disturbing about all of this is, Emilie Oldknow was a top pick of Keir Starmer to take over as General Secretary of the Labour Party. I have no doubt that there will be a concerted effort by the Labour right to sweep this under a very large carpet. Starmer has proposed an investigation, but I wouldn’t get too excited if you’re hoping for a thorough and fair probe into what occurred at Labour HQ during this time. Judging by the outline of the investigation, it would appear the new regime seem more intent on investigating the “whistle-blowers” rather than the people named in the scandal.

This is a good example of what moderate or centrist technocrats think of politics. To them politics is just a charade, a game of chance, a way of feeding their egos, while using their wits and backstabbing treachery to gain an advantage over the other lot, be it socialists or the Tories. It’s a world devoid of principles or any notion of making the world a better place, except of course for themselves. These people ooze entitlement and privilege, a group who genuinely think they are suitably qualified to decide the fate of the Labour Party and indeed the country.

Obviously this sort of duplicitous behaviour wasn’t solely confined to the Labour Party HQ. The Parliamentary Labour Party also had a significant hand in engineering a Corbyn defeat in both elections. In 2016 the vast majority of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet resigned and 172 MP’s passed a motion of no confidence regarding his leadership. In 2019 nine Labour MP’s left the Labour Party, again blaming Corbyn’s stewardship, whilst suggesting a prominent culture of bullying and anti-Semitism. However, judging by recent accounts these activities seem to have been performed generally by the right of the party, with their claims of victimhood now presenting more like an elaborate “gaslighting” exercise.

This group would possibly describe themselves as part of the “intelligent minority”. This was a term given by the American writer and political commentator Walter Lippman whose stated function was to “practice democracy” by manufacturing consent. In Lippman’s world public opinion was not to be trusted, in his view, decisions should be made by a “specialised class” capable of social and economic management.

This report strongly indicates that this particular “specialised class” of MP’s and high ranking party staffers, over an extended period of time, arrogantly chose what was best for the Labour Party. This is despite the fact that Labour Party members, which still numbered over 500,000 in August 2019, overwhelmingly supported Jeremy Corbyn. This persistent deceptive behaviour demonstrates that the right of the party have no interest in democracy, whatsoever. However, this group and those they politically represent now have the audacity to ask lefties to support the current leader. A request such as this after 5 years of subversive behaviour is astonishingly contemptuous.

This centrist dim view on democracy is supported by figures, in 2018 the New York Times reported that centrists were more suspicious of democracy than both the far right and the far left. Furthermore, it states that this group are least likely to support free and fair elections. Even scarier still, centrists appear to be the least likely to support liberal institutions, such as civil rights. Finally, the centre are much more inclined to support authoritarianism than the far left. Disturbingly in the UK and the US, it is reported that centrists would also be more likely endorse an authoritarian than the far right, which kind of takes us back to the ideas of Walter Lippman.

Centrists and lefties have many irreconcilable differences. Centrists believe in a rigid, bureaucratic top down system of slick professional politicians, good speakers and party staff whose sole existence is to win elections. As principles are of little consequence, centrists are free to adopt or reject ideas dependent purely on whether they gain votes or not. Additionally, centrists will attempt to manufacture support, often by making promises they have no intention of keeping (see Obama for a case study). Or they will simply ignore public opinion under the auspices of doing “what’s best for the country” (see Blair and weapons of mass destruction for details).

Bush Blair US Britain

In contrast, lefties are bound by a certain ideology, largely based around the idea of constructing a fairer, more just world, which centrist would determine as naïve. The problem is, this instantly binds the left to principles which can become our undoing when faced with people who recognise politics as nothing more than a pursuit of power. Many lefties will look at this recent report and acknowledge that this underhanded mutiny contributed to a lost opportunity, which aimed to make the lives of many people much better. They may also reflect on this betrayal and wonder how many more people have died needlessly due to politics of austerity at the hands of the Tories following Corbyn’s defeat.

Ethics and principles can place you at a strategic disadvantage when grappling with people who value nothing but narcissistic glory. This is why I firmly believe the two factions need to split, and soon. Neoliberal centrists need the left much more than we will ever need them. They require our votes to win an election, in order for them to gain power and control. After all, this is their only concern. In contrast, socialists need to divorce the centre in order to re-evaluate what principles are important to the left without constantly deferring to soulless political chameleons. If I had to choose between principles and vacuous power, I’d pick principles every time. However, I can’t lie, both would be nice.