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A New Left Grouping ?

by Helen Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:18:08 AM EST

Today [Yesterday] melo posted one of several responses to an article by Owen Jones in the Independent; -
British politics urgently needs a new force - a movement on the Left to counter capitalism's crisis

But the truth is that Britain urgently needs a movement uniting all those desperate for a coherent alternative to the tragedy of austerity, inflicted on this country without any proper mandate. That doesn't mean yet another Leninist sect, lacking any semblance of internal democracy, obsessed with replicating a revolution that took place in a semi-feudal country nearly a century ago.

front-paged by afew


Having read the article and the responses, I felt that they very compellingly addressed the points, the responses were good and had strong critiques. They also, except for the occasional passing reference, completely missed the point.

Political power is not about sitting in pubs or committees alongside like minded individuals, in Clapton Vale or wherever. It's not about canvassing, it's not about selling poxy badly written propaganda sheets peddling glib superficiality to morons. That is just process. Political power is about electing representatives who will fight for your causes and electing enough of them so that they can form a government.

Or, as Markos would say "More and better Democrats". And, as he found out, more democrats is the easy part. It's the better that's the hassle.

Oh, don't worry, disappointment has always been the lot of the British Labour party; "they'll always betray you" was something I'd hear frequently back when I was a member, although such people were always worryingly vague about what the betrayal actually was.
No, it doesn't matter if you form a new left pressure group, there's no point. When Blair took control of the Labour party in 1994, he immediately sought control of the messaging system and the system of selecting MPs. This was supposedly to end the faction fighting which had left the party on its knees during the 80s. But, while it had the pleasing result of having the party singing from the same hymn sheet, the more corrosive effect of MP selection only became apparent later.

Theoretically, the selection of MPs is in the control of the local constituency Labour party. In reality, in winnable seats, it's more in the gift of powerful factions. And from 94, the biggest faction was Blair's. So much so that, when the party won their landslide in 97, huge numbers of Blairite placemen and women found themselves in Parliament. Ignorant of the system and totally at the mercy of the whips.  

These people had not been chosen for their wit nor their political originality. Or even for their political interest. They were chosen because they'd worked as interns for the party. What that meant was that, following private eduction, a satisfying university, their parents were rich enough to be able to support them for a decade or so while they climbed the greasy pole. They came from privileged backgrounds and had never known want, didn't understand unemployment, couldn't imagine poor housing or health rationing. They were pliable, vaguely conservative, nice and conveniently dim. None of these people have ever risen to positions of consequence.

Even Tony recognised the problem and there followed the rather disgusting spectacle of any byelection (resulting from an MP's resignation or death) being preceded by some member of Tony's metropolitan clique suddenly discovering their proletarian roots before being parachuted into some obscure northern constituency. They would parade around for a couple of weeks attempting rough humour with people whose accents they couldn't even understand until, the minute the election was over, they would escape back to London, never to be seen again by the mugs who'd been corralled into voting for them. Again, these people had never known want and had no idea of the genuine needs of those they allegedly represented.

At some point, and some of us suspect it was very early on, the Labour party went from being a party representing the working classes to, in Orwell's words, "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power."

And that's still the Labour party of today. It doesn't matter how hard you work for them, and god knows there are no alternatives available, the people who get elected are clueless time serving conservative sheep without a single liberal leftish progressive between the lot of them.

We are 3 years into the demonstration to the point of absurdity of the futility of austerity, and the Shadow Chancellor still agrees with it !!!! At no point has he ever suggested that are real alternatives to current policy. His predecessor , the last chancellor, also completely agrees with austerity. There are no fringe groups of MPs pushing for new ideas, nobody advancing alternative analyses. There is just dumb supine acceptance of the status quo. The poor are always with us and neoconservatism is the only game in town.

Yes, Owen, we love your essays, but don't effing kid me that your new left group isn't another poser's paradise for the ineffectual and self-important. We desperately need MPs who aren't from the 1%, and there's no sign of us getting any.

Display:
You got over the flu.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 02:16:41 PM EST
I'm recovering. I'd be an idiot to go outside yet, even with the temps heading towards 8 - 10 degrees C. I have a perpetual cough which warns me that a few breaths of unheated air will send me back on the spiral

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Comments - A New Left Grouping ?
don't effing kid me that your new left group isn't another poser's paradise for the ineffectual and self-important

He could fairly reply that it is not intended to be that at all.

European Tribune - Comments - A New Left Grouping ?

We desperately need MPs who aren't from the 1%

He could fairly point out that he agrees, and is proposing to try to do something to bring that about.

You could fairly or unfairly reply bollocks.

But how are you proposing to change the class structure of parliamentary representation?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 02:39:26 PM EST
The thing is that the problem is one of economics. However, Jones, for all his good work, is a social writer, he documents the many misfortunes this govt has visited upon people.

They don't need more Sure starts, health and education policies, valuable tho' they are. They need  an alternative economic analysis, one which abandons neoconservatism. He may be aware of this, but my fear is that they'll fall back on knee jerk Marxism, which is gonna go down like a cup of cold sick.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:17:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, as Markos would say "More and better Democrats". And, as he found out, more democrats is the easy part. It's the better that's the hassle.

A better informed and educated electorate is more likely what is needed. Unfortunately, the future members of most electorates are systematically mis-educated into accepting attitudes and values that serve to reinforce the status quo. Get a healthy dose of fundamentalist religion and those so affected will be a positive detriment to 'better informed and educated' electors. "No Bishop, no King' endures with slight modification. The pathetic aspect is that the propaganda techniques used to inculcate 'proper' attitudes and opinions into the majority of the electorate and to inform political campaigns has been known and understood, at least by many, for a century. This has mostly led to systematic abuse of this understanding.

Changing those facts about the great majority of the electorate would be widely viewed as undermining social stability and cohesion but might succeed when the social situation brought about by those in control can be shown to have already undermined that stability and cohesion. Might. I am waiting and doing what I can on a one to one basis in what seems, with regard to those subjects, to be the heart of darkness.  
 

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:03:12 PM EST
A better educated and informed electorate, yes, presuming that by "educated" you don't have schooling in mind, and by "informed" you don't have media in mind.

The early Labour Party and the New Deal coalition were both built by the efforts of millions of rather poorly schooled folks - union workers and their allies.  They didn't need a high school education, let alone a college degree, to get the basic message of solidarity, or to see how workplace organization and political agitation could have really effects.  That's not the kind of stuff you learn in school, it's the kind of stuff you learn by living it and doing it.  My own brief experience with a labor union, working in grievance and then being involved in contract negotiation, taught me more about politics and organizing than any amount of classes could have ever imparted.

I know a lot of people really mean well when they talk about educating the electorate and all, but too many people seem to think that sitting in school can accomplish all kinds of things that it really can't - and that nobody should ask of it.  You don't teach activism in a classroom.  The lived experience of being in a relatively fair and somewhat meritocratic environment for much of one's formative years makes it all the harder to wake up a lot of young people to the oppressive and unfair nature of society - no matter what they read, remember, and regurgitate.

Likewise, you don't create activists by informing people.  A big problem with the left is that there are too many people like me - people with their hearts and their minds in the right place, but who won't get off their asses and fight.

Social connections to activist movements, regular engagement with the political process, and community involvement are the key.  Sadly, these are what are most lacking in the modern world, and are what are hardest to reconstruct, given the normalization and idolization of the unfettered and atomized individual, and the disconnected nuclear family.

by Zwackus on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 08:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My own experiences in academia, in teaching and the experience of others in public schools also taught me that providing a genuine understanding understanding to the students is not always appreciated. With more traditional administration such activity gets one identified as 'unsound' and moved out or along. And administration can change in a day. It is not so easy to change the approach being taken with any given class.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 01:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless you're taking students out of the classroom and doing things in the real world with them, it doesn't matter all that much what you teach them in the classroom.  The lived experience of classroom life is one of learned passivity more akin to courtly politics as anything else.  Satisfy the whims of the ultimate authority and perform according to his/her rules in order to move forward.  Even when the content is sound and the rules fair, like the rule of an Enlightened Monarch, the fact is that it's still an absolutist dictatorship.  Spending day after day living in that environment and following its rules molds and shapes one's personality, and gets one accustomed to natural rhythm and order.  

Actually, it's even more damaging in the hands of a good teacher and an engaging curriculum, as the joy of learning is a reward - submit to the system, and you'll enjoy it and develop useful skills.  Resist, and you'll hate school and end up on the straight track to McDonald's.  See, it's a meritocracy and totally fair, just like life in the real world.  Ha.

Prohibit all schooling for kids between the ages of 12 and 15, and put them to work wherever they can find it.  Let them rejoin as they've aged a bit, if they want, as adults freely seeking education, not children being indoctrinated.  

by Zwackus on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 09:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The most positive thing coming out of the linked article is the collapse of the Socialist Worker Party. That might create a space for a new party which, if intelligently and humanely led, might become the accretion nucleus for a serious left alternative in the U.K.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:07:25 PM EST
It's a hope, but I rather fear that one of the features of the communist left is a love of a hierarchical autocratic centralism (kinda like blair) where you receive the dictats from the CC and do as you are bid.

Personally I just think it's cheaper than going to one of those parlours where dominatrices walk over you in high heels

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose there has to be something for left wing authoritarians, unfortunately. It is also sad that the authoritarian personality seems so easy to create through systematic child abuse. Too bad anarchism has such a bad reputation.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 10:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anarchy?

It's a bit with the "green" image problem: too many people with dreadlocks who don't bathe.

The anarchist equivalent I guess is a survivalist gun nut.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:02:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
very much!
by redstar on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do too!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
glad it provoked you!

a brilliant diagnosis, rings really true. the etiology is clear, can anyone show a better one?

ideas for a cure? is supine fatalism all that's 'left'?

watching the house of commons one feels witness to a complex, mannered farce with little to do with reality outside.

yesterday i watched 'all the president's men' followed by ' the iron lady' and i was left reeling at how evil the right is, how hollow of soul, in constant homage to the basest of mercantilist values now turbocharged with delusional financial jiggerypokery and sprinkled with crunchy propaganda.

the biggest difference between then and now? they bought the media since... except for pockets on the internet like ET.

what's most galling is how blair's sellout is rewarded, meanwhile all imagination seems to have abandoned the labour party after his profound betrayal of whatever ideals it may have once had. it's gutted... and gutting. when both parties are fundamentally corrupt, and have thoroughly corrupted the only alternative we had. what's left to do but stand back and watch the whole caboodle self-destruct? the kit we need is between our ears, and it travels..., we don't know how far or long.

there's a desperate need for leadership based on humanist philosophy, a la tony benn (the only british politician in a half century who actually seemed like the kind of bloke you could trust and spend a fruitful evening conversing with).

if there were such a miracle, it almost wouldn't matter whether they started a new party or just re-fibrillated labour, the point being as long as we are offered mice instead of men as points of reference... well there is no point!

the platforms of social welfare and ecological respect aren't rocket science. the main obstacle is the fibre needed to overcome the hammerlock that has paralyzed real political change and left us with cunning apparatchik idiots to place our faith in.

no wonder so many just put up with politics, feeling a futile fury at how thoroughly they've sewn it up, rigged the casino, and are now skinning the poorest and weakest so they can keep up their high-flying lifestyles.

gazing into a pit of vipers only gets you so far, it's easy to see why people throw up their hands and go study permaculture, grain fermentation, reflexology or anything that leaves this biosphere a tiny bit better for us all to live in.

could be seen as working around the problem!

seeing decisions made by maroons who can't see further than the next quarter's dividends, decisions that hold the fate of the human race, seeing the lack of political alternatives, well it's driven many good people to run out screaming into the night.

we dailly wish for real change, yet diagnosis is all we have right now, cold comfort until/unless enough people educate themselves enough to push back and demand more from our leaders than kabuki.

thanks for being part of that complex education, it's a good start, let's keep it rolling...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:35:15 PM EST
I meant to include this re-working of the famous animal farm quote as my reaction these days to watching Question time

" The voters outside looked from Tory to Labour, and from Labour to Tory, and from Tory to Labour again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

We are 3 years into the demonstration to the point of absurdity of the futility of austerity, and the Shadow Chancellor still agrees with it !!!! At no point has he ever suggested that are real alternatives to current policy. His predecessor , the last chancellor, also completely agrees with austerity. There are no fringe groups of MPs pushing for new ideas, nobody advancing alternative analyses. There is just dumb supine acceptance of the status quo. The poor are always with us and neoconservatism is the only game in town.

Well, maybe it's not THAT simple nor SO entirely hopeless, which is not to say that there's cause for rejoicing :-)  However that it's a BIT more complicated is suggested by this:

On the eve of the last GDP figures in October, Mr Cameron promised that the "good news will keep coming". Mr Balls added: "Now that just looks completely out of touch and utterly complacent. It is quite a big moment. [The Government saying] 'our plan is working, we'll just carry on regardless' just looks grossly irresponsible."
...
But it is not just Labour that is pressing the Chancellor to change course. Following Nick Clegg's admission last week that the Government should have speeded up capital spending in the early days of the coalition, senior figures in both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties are urging the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor to implement Lord Heseltine's growth report, published last October, which calls for Plan A austerity to be replaced by a vigorous programme of construction, handing greater powers to local enterprises and making a decision on airport expansion within months - rather than the current deadline of 2015.
...
crucially, and despite his presence at the Alte Post gathering, one of the leading critics of Mr Osborne is now the Mayor of London. Mr Johnson, apparently tearing up a temporary truce with the Prime Minister not to rock the boat, laid into the austerity strategy from the Davos platform the next day. He called for investment in housing and transport - two of the key measures in Lord Heseltine's report - lambasting the "hair shirt, Stafford Cripps" agenda.
...
Even the bankers are weighing in, with Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, warning that the GDP figures showed that "policy has been on the wrong path". The International Monetary Fund has also warned there should be a reassessment of tax and spending policy.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ed-balls-pressure-grows-for-plan-b-as-triple-dip-threa tens-8468379.html

But of course it's true that these people are not calling for radical change, however it's not true to say that "nobody" on the left is, e.g. Labour MP John McDonnell:

Austerity is creating a spiral of economic decline as cuts produce high levels of unemployment which in turn reduces tax income and prompts another round of cuts and job losses.
The Government's austerity measures are also unfair as the only people the Government seems intent on protecting from the recession are the rich.

There is an alternative to austerity.
...
It simply requires the introduction of a limited range of redistributive measures which will raise the funds we need from those most able to pay and who have profited most out of the boom years.

This redistribution can be achieved through:

  • A wealth tax on the richest 10%;
  • A Robin Hood tax on financial transactions;
  • A Land Value tax;
  • The restoration of progressive income tax of 60% on incomes above £100,000; and
  • And a clamp down on the tax evasion and avoidance that is costing us £95 billion a year.

Investing the resources released can halt the spiral of decline.

http://www.speakerschair.com/a-radical-alternative-to-austerity/

Cf.

Public and Commercial Services Union

Our fringe meeting (at the Labour Party Conference) `austerity isn't working' on Tuesday lunchtime was attended by more than 100 people. They heard from PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and economist Ann Pettifor, with Katy Clark MP chairing the event.

We received positive feedback about the meeting from visitors who stopped by the stall later in the week. They were encouraged to hear our speakers challenging the ideologically driven cuts agenda and welcomed calls for more investment in public services.

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/index.cfm/id/652A29D7-8286-4890-A5F07B7C293F5EC C

Just a couple of the first results turned up by google.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:46:29 PM EST
No, that's a hopeful sign. However, I think they also have to address the tax off-shoring industry, of which sadly the City seems to be a global nexus, as ny attempt to simply address revenues in this country will fall when we discover that, for tax purposes, everything happened in hyperspace over Bermuda.

Nevertheless, I'm glad to see this even if it it has yet ot have an impact on the shadow Treasury team

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 04:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The important word there is 'fringe.'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 06:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Not when the claim is "nobody".

Also, as I show, the non-radical voices, but still against the gov austerity approach, now cover a very wide spectrum - not the impression one gets from the diary.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 06:28:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So let's upgrade the claim to 'Nobody with any observable influence on policy.'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I wasn't making a comment on the general issue; I was commenting on the over-generalisation in the diary and demonstrated that - if one looked at some available evidence - the issue was more complex than claimed in the diary. Obviously I was not arguing that change of policy is being advocated as much as I and others here would like.

I also pointed out the couple of examples I cited were just some of the first from the results of a quick google search.

As I also pointed out in my previous comment, there is a growing number of people of the kind who could well have an observable influence on policy - but those with some chance of doing so are not of course the more radical types. Then again it would be very difficult for Cameron to in effect admit that he and his team had been making a big mistake for three years.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 11:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even McDonnell is using the language of austerity, redistribution and entitlements. The really radical direction is a universal state job guarantee funded by seigniorage.

On how to start to think about maybe not using the frame of the enemy, see Randy Wray's a new meme for money.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 12:59:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Ah, not REALLY radical -  and no true Scotsman ... :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 06:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not "no true Scotsman". This is pointing out that you don't win a political debate by adopting the rhetorical frame of the enemy. And yes, "truly radical" entails using a different frame.

And McDonnell is still talking about how you can balance the books by raising taxes rather than reducing spending.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Then again a lot of people in the UK today WOULD consider his proposals radical - and in political debate one does need to consider one's audience - who may not have achieved the level of radical thinking  you think necessary and who might well reject anything MORE radical.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 11:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About "our plan is working, we'll just carry on": Here's
Jonathan Porthes again:
Q3. Fiscal policy To what extent will George Osborne be able to keep "Plan A" in operation for another year? Should he?

What is Plan A?  Eliminating the structural budget deficit by the end of the Parliament? That was abandoned in 2011.  Reducing the debt-GDP ratio in 2015-16?  That went in the Autumn Statement.  Setting DEL spending targets but allowing the "automatic stabilisers" which the Chancellor once described as a "key part of the flexibility built in to our plan" to function?  The Autumn Statement dropped them too. So there is no "Plan A" anymore; the UK no longer has a credible medium-term fiscal framework, and it would be sensible for the government to consult on a more credible replacement.

So they are not actually "staying the course" as far as keeping to any kind of plan. They may pretend they are, and the goal is of course the same.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:08:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more they've never been honest about what Plan A actually is.

It's clearly not about cutting the deficit. Could it be about cowing the population and lowering the financial and political expectations of most voters, while concentrating wealth and power in the hands of an even smaller minority, perhaps, I wonder idly in passing?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first thing you need to win a national election these days is a bunch of computer scientists and political scientists working up several software tools.

  • A voter database with demographics, economic factors, etc. recorded.
  • An algorithm and program to optimize your platform to maximize your votes.
  • A system to work the voting process, GOTV, tracking voters, etc.

Without those things, you are toast. An advantage that the Democratic party has in the US is that the Republican party refuses to talk to, let alone work with, the academic community that has this all figured out...

Otherwise you are just sitting around in coffee shops pontificating to yer pals.

by asdf on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 05:16:19 PM EST
Labour doesn't have anything like this. Nor do the Tories.

Elections continue to be improvised and ad hoc here - possibly because they matter so little. As a candidate you do a bit of walking around, speechifying, hand shaking, baby kissing, and perhaps a mail out or two. If you're not on the big table you stand aside while Central Office parachutes someone important in for a few days to push you over the top.

However - if a hypothetical new party used these tools effectively and had a truly persuasive case, they could do a lot of damage to the Establishment.

The key would be national exposure - and managing the media is a much more difficult job than GOTV.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 06:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first challenge of managing media is just getting effective access to the public through existing media without being hosed by dismissive and hostile coverage of anything that challenges the status quo, of which the mainstream media is a creature.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 10:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
elections last a month here. It's not the ongoing 18-24 month long process into which the US has degenerated.

Parliament is dissolved, everyone buggers off for a month and most of them come back a month later

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 03:50:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That makes it more, not less, important to have mobilization schedules, cadres, phone banks and strategic and tactical decisions prepared ahead of time.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 03:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't have the money and they don't have the volunteer base. Although there's a considerable national propaganda effort co-ordinated centrally, the actual constituencies are invariably barely capable of canvassing their safe areas, let alone the whole of the area.

It's hard enough to motivate the tiny core group of volunteers at election time, it's impossible outside

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 03:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the UK there's Mosaic (wiki) and ACORN (wiki) to start with.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:15:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention Acxiom.
by asdf on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 10:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Skimmed your article and a few thing came to mind.

  1. You live in England, not in California.

  2. You still have royalty in this modern age and apparently, these folks still hold political power behind the scene.

  3. I just hit Wiki and dug this up about your mighty "House of Lords"

"Unlike the elected House of Commons, most new members of the House of Lords are appointed.[3] Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal."

i.e. they're a bunch from the 1%

Bottom Line: England is still a feudal country. Today you're England, tomorrow Egypt, heading to being Palestinians. Get used to it.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:26:54 AM EST
they're a bunch from the 1%

You appear to believe the Lords are of the 1% and the Commons are not.

The reality is that the Commons are from the 1%. I prefer to call the House of Commons the House of Posh as the Common are not represented.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No No. My point is that a vast amount of England's political power isn't even elected! They're stuck with a bunch of assholes they can't get rid of, short of a bullet. And heavens, that would be uncivilized. LOL

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:48:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Second Amendment remedies"


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you tried voting out the chairman of Goldman Sachs lately? Just saying.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 09:00:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have our royalty-type people ... rich ,,, influential ... all that shit. At least we in CA have a chance. Example.

Last race for Governor. Meg Whitman ... rich as all shit; spent in excess of $100 million of her own bucks ... and got her ass handed to her by Jerry Brown.

We ain't perfect ... as least we have a chance.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 09:35:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A friend of his is going to run the BoE ...


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 10:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the actual formulation of the branches of govt is neither here nor there, the issue is that the House of Commons has become just as unrepresentative of the life lived by most people as the house of lords.

We now have a professional cadre of politicians who have lived lives of privilege and separation such that they have far more in common with each other across the party divide than they do with the people they represent.

This matters less for the tories, who aren't supposed to give a toss in the first place. But it matters for labour who, as we saw under Blair, legislate in horrendous ignorance and indifference to the damage they cause

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 11:27:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We now have a professional cadre of politicians who have lived lives of privilege and separation such that they have far more in common with each other across the party divide than they do with the people they represent.

So whose fault is that?

The only goal of the people who are supposed to represent you is to become one of the 1% and then get knighted by the Queen!

"Oh, did you hear, I was knighted and I got to kiss the Queen's hand. How exciting!!  I almost farted, I was so excited!"

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 02:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was at Stanford when she visited California. The enthusiasm for her surpassed anything I've seen in the U.K.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:10:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The same response you get for the two-headed freak at a carnival.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:48:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't aware that people in California tried to hard to get invited to dinner with the freak. Nor did I know that the papers published articles about etiquette when presented to the freak. I guess California is weirder than I realized.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 03:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: "Kings. What a good idea." Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees."
- Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 05:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so much a feudal country as a thousand feudal villages.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 12:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The comments here are trending in a line that supports my argument that open monarchy is the sensible method of government. If you're going to have the 1% running things no matter what you do, maybe you should just enshrine the rules in the formal governmental structure...which then allows the public to retreat to the bar where they can gossip, watch football, and drink--without feeling guilty about not voting or not caring about politics...
by asdf on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 07:55:14 PM EST
Anarcho-Monarchism, perhaps?

:-)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 11:57:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To the Precinct Station: How theory met practice ...and drove it absolutely crazy | Thomas Frank | The Baffler

And dear god why, after only a few months of occupying Zuccotti Park, did Occupiers feel they needed to launch their own journal of academic theory? A journal that then proceeded to fill its pages with impenetrable essays seemingly written to demonstrate, one more time, the Arctic futility of theory-speak?

Is this how you build a mass movement? By persistently choosing the opposite of plain speech?

Yes, I know the answer: For a protest to become a broader social movement it must analyze and strategize and theorize. Well, this one did enough theorizing for all the protests of the last forty years, and yet it somehow never managed to make the grade.

Occupy did lots of things right: It had a great slogan and a perfect enemy and it captured the public imagination. It built a democratic movement culture. It reached out to organized labor, a crucial step in the right direction. It talked a lot about solidarity, the basic virtue of the Left. But in practice, academic requirements often seemed to come first. OWS was taken as a proving ground for theory. Its ranks weren't just filled with professionals and professionals-to-be; far too often the campaign itself appeared to be an arena for professional credentialing.

Actually, that's an optimistic way of putting it. The pessimistic way is to open Michael Kazin's recent book, American Dreamers, and take sober note of the fact that, with the partial exception of the anti-apartheid campaign of the eighties, no movement of the Left has caught on with the broad American public since the Civil Rights / Vietnam War era. Oh, there have been plenty of leftists during this period, of course--especially in academia. Studying "resistance" is a well-worn career path, if not the very definition of certain sub-disciplines. But for all its intellectual attainments, the Left keeps losing. It simply cannot make common cause with ordinary American people anymore.

Maybe this has happened because the Left has come to be dominated by a single profession whose mode of operating is deliberately abstruse, ultrahierarchical, argumentative, and judgmental--handing down As and Fs is its daily chore--and is thus the exact opposite of majoritarian.

there's a need for union between the eco's, the anti financial corruption, and the rethinking of a fairer form of capitalism, more evol
ved than the economic warlordism that has won the predator prize.

the numbers are there, but still spinning off into tangents, needs more centripetal conglomeration, but without the ye olde left-ologies. .

precious little in sight. :(

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 at 06:20:16 PM EST
Social Academics tend to regard the request to communicate as some sort of veiled insult.

meta language isn't just a means for communicating complex ideas, it's also a useful barrier to prevent your ideas being challenged

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2013 at 12:45:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So it was the trustafarians, just like Burning Man?


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 06:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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