Fighting Nazis in the 21st century

In the US right now there’s a load of actual real Nazis meeting and marching in Charlottesville with actual real life armed militia marching with them. It is by any stretch of the imagination an ostentatious display by white supremacists that’s resulted in one anti-Nazi protester being killed so far. I say ‘so far’ because I’m astonished more people haven’t been killed.

Terms like ‘alt-right’ are essentially meaningless. They’re Nazis. Call them that. Groups like the National Vanguard are just Nazis and here’s where we have to stop agonising about how to deal with them. We don’t tolerate them. We fight them, and we don’t sit around like some of the ‘radical’ left agonising about whether violence is wrong or how much guilt we should have for the situaton getting here. We know Donald Trump encourages these people and has made it easier for them to grow in his short time so far as president and we know good people have died while the far-right grow and become empowered, and this is what we’ve got to remember: Trump has empowered them, just as Brexit & it’s cheerleaders like Nigel Farage have over here.

At this point people should read Umberto Eco’s essay titled Ur-Fascism, because we’re living in the age where it has finally become real again and not something of Eco’s childhood. What we’re seeing in the US and UK is Eco’s Ur-Fascism, and that scares me that we’ve let it get to a point where we need to fight not just a bunch of National Front arseholes, but vast swathes of the country who are turning to a form of fascism that is endorsed by those in power.

Back in the early 90’s the NF tried to make one last push to start the race war they were wanting. Groups like the Anti Nazi League stopped them because black, white, whatever race, religion, background united to fight them; often literally. I myself carry scars from those fights back in the days when I lived in Nottingham and we’d have to stand our ground against them. We beat them. Sadly the job now is harder and it won’t help if people aren’t prepared to perhaps get their hands a bit dirty because I look at pictures like the one below and think the young folk surrounded by actual armed Nazis are among the bravest people I’ve seen.

Those people standing in the middle of a crowd are amazing.That’s who we need to be in the days.months and years to come because sitting in Byres Road cafes worrying about the structrual problems of racism isn’t going to stop the prick with a Union Jack tattooed on his arm from beating up Asian shopkeepers. Let’s be blunt, we’re in a fight and the time for polite discussion is gone.

And the problem is the same over here in the UK. We know Neo Nazis pose a larger threat than Islamists because this is what the authorities tells us, but it barely gets reported outwith of the odd mention. If we don’t actually stop this by fighting the Nazis where we can, and making an argument for a multicultural, progressive society (and those on the left leaping on the Brexit bandwagon to get Labour into power aren’t helping one bit) we’re fucked. So lets take it back to basics, unite, argue, fight and win together and remember, punching Nazis is good for the soul.

Lets all have a thermonuclear war!

Seeing as Donald Trump is now running his foreign policy as if it was a clip from Robocop, it seems that those of you under 35 or so now have a wee snifter of what those of us slightly older put up for most of our lives. Welcome to the fear and tension of a potential nuclear war.

These days Millennials will Tweet and maybe write an angry blog about how nuclear war is a sign of the patriarchy while sipping a craft beer, but back in the day we had art like this.

Or we’d confront the fear in comics such as this Marvelman tale..

But until the Netflix generation does their own version of Threads they won’t experience the cold sweats of waking up thinking the streetlight is a nuclear blast. That was fun back in the 80’s.

So for those of you not familar with this fear; welcome to the party. For those of us who’d forgotten it, time to dust off your Protect and Survive tips to pass down to the younger generations as we all unite in fear that a pair of cunts could doom the world before we even get to the end of the new Twin Peaks.

Now that would be the end of the world!

For a revolution to succeed it needs to be more fun than the alternative

There’s lots of people saying their piece on the Scottish Independence movement’s civil war with some wise comments, and in the case of Ross Greer of the Greens, some less than wise comments. Even Greer makes good points but it strikes me as more like someone demanding an ideological purity in the Yes Movement with all this talks of people being ‘cast out‘ and the demonisation of ‘older white men‘ than someone writing a piece asking for this civil war to end.Greer points at others with snobbish glee and doesn’t seem to realise that in doing so he’s given the opponents of independence exactly what they want.

And then there’s no sign of this dispute ending…

Part of the problem is that there’s some on the left who see independence not just as something that needs to be done in a certain way, but that they should be at the centre of it. Or to quote Orwell, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents. I want independence because I want free of the confines of the British state to create a better, fairer country for everyone. I won’t get that if we don’t win independence and we won’t win independence if we’re busy trying to make it clear that only a certain type of independence is desirable. That won’t help anyone as it won’t happen.

I, like hundreds of thousands of independence supporters are frankly, fucked off with all of this when right now there’s a clear battle to be fought and people suffering. Now,I’m not suggesting people like each other but perhaps people could put aside their own career prospects and dump the faux purity for the battle we’re in? We don’t fight as one we’ll never get anywhere and frankly for a revolution to succeed it needs to be more fun than the alternative, and right now the independence movement isn’t fun but some are offering sage advice.

Fact is the Unionists love this. They’re the only one’s who benefit from this, barring of course, the occasional media career of some fighting to show themselves more pure than anyone else. So I think people need to ask what they’re doing here. Do they really want self-determination and a better place, or do they just want to endlessly whine while allowing the real bastards to get away with what they’re doing to people right now?

Whatever happened to the 2000’s?

The other day I was chatting to someone at my new workplace and we both did that thing where me thought the 1990’s were last decade, not 20 years ago as we missed out the 2000’s from history. This isn’t the first time this has happened and it probably won’t be the last, and it isn’t just me but friends have also done the same thing but I never did this in any other decade so what is it about the 2000’s that make people skim over it, even miss it out completely?

One big obvious thing is 9/11 which cuts into the decade like a scar. If you’ve seen, or grown up, with an event which was televised, talked about and effected everything that came after it then it’ll be something that people want to forget yet there’s so much great about a decade that nobody really wants to own.Sure there wasn’t a single music scene that came through as there had been since the 1950’s, but we had acts like The White Stripes, The Libertines, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and loads more come through in a decade where manufactured pop dragged its shitty arse all over the decade like an Alsation with worms.

Yes, culture did suffer from being it seems fully monetised and commodified, but it’s been 16 years since the Brass Eye paedophilia special.

And can you imagine anything as nihilistic as Team America being released by a major American film studio in 2017?

Today we’ve got studios tripping over themselves to create extended universes along the lines of Marvel, and as enjoyable as the Marvel films now are they’re all following a formula, but the 2000’s gave us the flawed, sometimes tedious but interesting Ang Lee Hulk film.

The 2000’s seemed to be about washing away the 90’s while setting up the rest of the century, so we had Tony Blair setting up politics in the UK and George Bush in the US making it clear their bloody pawprints are seen on everything that’s come since but so do the protests for the Iraq War which have ended up shaping everything since from the Scottish independence movement, to Corbyn, to Bernie Sanders.

I’m in that crowd somewhere. It was a remarkable day with the very old and very young uniting with the left, right and centre in a way I’ve never, ever seen before or since. It engaged people and gave them an idea that a mass movement could be a good thing even though our work never actually stopped the war, it did create a spark.

Decades come and go but the 2000’s deserve a wee bit of praise, love and affection because so much of where we are now comes from there, and there’s a real chance this may well be the last decade where art, culture, politics and the world in general were something worthwhile and actually understandable because right now culture is patchy, and politics are as impossible to read as a drunken doctor’s signature.So give the 2000’s another chance. You won’t regret it.

The myth of Labour’s radicalism

There’s been a load of discussion in Scotland about commentator and pro-independence left wing activist Cat Boyd’s comments about why she ”voted for Corbyn” due to his socialist credentials and how she preferred him to May.

The problem is that Corbyn doesn’t present a ‘big political change’. Corbyn presents a tweak to the existing system, and with Brexit, backs a policy which will ensure the weakest in society pays for it. I agree with Boyd (who I normally find to be at least an interesting commentator) in that Corbyn is preferable to May, but I disagree with the rest of her reasoning, and I do think she’s provided the establishment she rails against with a useful example to harm the independence movement.

But this is a problem with those who support left wing ideologically pure politics. They’ll see Labour being ‘radical’ but in fact, the ideas Corbyn presented are perfectly reasonable socially democratic ideas. The problem is that as someone who has worked within the system for several decades, Corbyn isn’t proposing changing the system except with Brexit where he, and the Tories, advocate leaving under a cloud (Labour’s vaunted internationalism clearly doesn’t extend to EU citizens) to rewrite the UK in their image. We now have a situation where the Corbyn supporting left now speak like Brexiters they sneered at prior to April, and we’re being dragged off the edge of a cliff for what? The chance that we might, perhaps, possibly, maybe see Corbyn in power and for Scotland to get maybe control of something Labour have spent years fighting to deny Scotland control of?

The fact is the system is broken. The British state is a state with blood on its hands and we’ll never know how much because the state ensures it always covers it’s tracks be it Operation Legacy, or a compliant UK media that paints the British state as an always benevolent one. And here’s another point, were Corbyn truly radical he’d be pushing to tear all this down but instead we’re promised another ‘discussion’ as frankly, all Labour want is your vote and to have the idea of radicalism as it manages your expectations from being of the left, to now supporting ideas that are making the wealthy cream themselves because Brexit will involve swingeing cuts be it May or Corbyn in power. True, it’ll be less painful under Corbyn only if you consider Labour figures and people like Owen Jones putting on their sad faces when they’re talking of job losses and families broken up, but hey, for the many right? We’ve got your vote sucker!

And here’s my problem with anyone wanting independence voting Labour. You’re supporting all this. I agree Corbyn is the lesser worse option for the UK, but you’re still voting for a party that’s spent nearly four years comparing you to Nazis, calling you a virus, filth and worse who only want your vote. They won’t give a fuck about you and we know that Labour are there to keep Scotland in check because that’s their job. How can you reconcile your position as of the ‘radical left’ by voting for a party that fights to keep the systems you’ve been fighting to break??

It’s illogical and while the SNP and Greens aren’t also as radical as they seem, both support ending the British state, which is as radical a policy as you’ll get in the UK in 2017. So if you want to go back to the days of Labour forming a government once a generation, promising jam aplenty, before the Tories come back in then great. Vote Labour. You’ll never, ever get independence and you’ll doom the most vulnerable to perjury when Brexit kicks in hard and any escape route is closed off.I’m all for sticking to principles but having seen fellow left wingers adopt messiah’s so often, I’m used to seeing crushing disappointment when people realise they’ve been had. I’m just now at the point where both personally for myself, and for those generations coming after me and yet to be born that I can’t live with the idea that we were denied self-determination and the end of the British state because of people being attracted by shiny things and rhetoric.

We do need a more inclusive vision for independence that brings people in from all political opinions but voting Labour isn’t going to achieve that. All you’ll do is empower a party that at the core only wants power for power’s sake. That won’t help the working class will it?

How the UK welfare state tries to break you

There’s an item today about how Universal Credit is leaving people in poverty and debt due to it being so badly ran out that it’s leaving people without money for weeks. The system is designed to put people into debt; that’s the issue.

Today I called the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to tell them I’m signing off as I start work on Monday. Imagine my shock to be told ‘actually, we’re cutting off your Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), sorry, but if you want to appeal or apply for another benefit you can”. Which is utterly bloody useless. I’m starting a new job Monday, and to get the week (they stopped my ESA from the 3rd July) I’m due would involve me taking time off and dealing with a whole world of stress and quite simply, I’d rather go skint for a month than have to spend anymore time speaking to anyone from the DWP. 

However I’m fairly lucky. I’m only going to lose a week, and frankly, I’ll make that up via work or via selling comics, but imagine if you had no savings, you’re seriously ill and suddenly you’re told ‘nope, no more money for you. You can work’? You’ll be driven towards poverty. You’ll have to use food banks. You’ll maybe have to borrow money which means perhaps using a company which your MP is a shareholder of. The entire system designed to keep people going is now designed as a way to mice people for everything and then when it’s had that, strip you of anything else.

See when government says unemployment figures are decreasing what they actually mean that people claiming are decreasing because the system is designed to get people off claiming one way or another. I’m still recovering from a stroke and cancer yet some civil servant has decided without speaking directly to me or my doctors that I’m fit to work.Again, I’m going back to work but on my terms, not because some wee prick has a quota to hit this week but people are right now having to face days, weeks, even months with no income and a system designed to demonise and that at it’s core, hates you.

This system is not sustainable, nor does it do what it was supposed to do. It is a system that quite literally pushes people to the edge and beyond.  All I can say is try not to be sick or unemployed if you can because you won’t have the space to recover, or to do what you need to do before bureaucracy kicks in and you’re heading down the food bank…

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn?

Having now returned from Glastonbury I’m working through writing a blog about my fun in the sun, but in hitting the part where I talk about Jeremy Corbyn addressing the huge crowd at the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday, I discovered it was taking a life of it’s own.

That wee speck on the stage in the distance is Corbyn. This is from the disabled platform from the top of the field and gives you a size of the scale of the crowd which was simply huge for an afternoon audience. For a wee while there seemed a sense of hope from many in that crowd as Corbyn represents a ‘newer, gentler’ politics and tens of thousands chanted Corbyn’s name.

At this point I felt a wee shudder of depression as I’d seen this sort of adulation before with the SNP and voiced concern with that back in November 2014. Although like Sturgeon and Salmond, I admire much of Corbyn’s personal politics (except on Scotland and Brexit but more on those in a sec) the idea of the leader as that of a personality cult isn’t good for politics and one of the reasons I’ve shied away from supporting the SNP, though I did vote for them in June because of an excellent local candidate. In fact Ian Dunt makes many good points about the problems with the cult of Corbyn here.

I look at people chanting ‘Oh JEREMY CORBYN’ and see people not in control of their critical faculties. That’s a dangerous thing for a politician to see because it means it doesn’t just feed their ego it means they think they can do things purely for the benefit of their vocal support and this brings me to Brexit. Corbyn is a Brexiter. We know this and last night there was a vote in the Commons that ensured that Jeremy Corbyn is willing to sacrifice jobs for votes because his position of leaving the EU’s single market means jobs will be lost and a form of austerity imposed because Corbyn needs Labour voters in the North of England to remain loyal so it means he’s putting restricting immigration ahead of jobs. A shufty at social media sees Corbynites tying themselves in knots trying to defend Corbyn’s ”jobs first Brexit’ which would see him ‘having the same access to the single market and customs union we have now’. Sounds fine but it’s just a big a load of shite as when Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Michael Gove said we’d have this last year.

However because Corbyn is a pretty decent bloke and seems to have a soul he can’t be pushing an ideology that’s going to damage so many people’s lives who were chanting his name last weekend in a field in Somerset? Well, yes, because as an old acolyte of Tony Benn he’s always despised the EU and the only way he’ll be able to renationalise on the scale he wants is out the EU. If that means a decade at least of people struggling then because Marxist theory sees the struggle as a noble goal in itself the ends will justify the means.So Corbyn was vague about Brexit during the election campaign and gave politician answers on the times he was pushed because he knows his plans are as damaging as the Tory plans. Sure the end result may well be a better place but the getting there will have hurt and hurt badly.

Then there’s Corbyn’s words and actions about Scotland. I find it extraordinary that south of the border Corbyn comes over a pretty decent bloke, but the minute he passes Gretna he turns into a giant cock. He talks of an ‘unnecessary’ second independence referendum but his position on Brexit leaves us with no choice because Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy would wreck Scotland. I’m not saying independence would be easy, it wouldn’t, but the position with the two major Westminster parties is losing free movement, the single market and customs union. The argument now is in the shape of the world after the 1st April 2019 as to whether we’re fucked and the government won’t care (Tories) or we’re fucked and the government will be a wee bit sad about it (Labour).

In a representative democracy 48% of the UK electorate are not being represented, the people of Scotland are being told they don’t have a choice and everyone is trying hard to pretend this might not unleash hell in Northern Ireland. The only voices being heard are those of the Brexiters and their opportunist lapdogs like Ruth Davidson, the rest of us are open eyed in horror as now uncritical Corbyn supporters jump into bed with the Brexiters to defend Corbyn because all critical thinking is gone and this is what their echo chamber tells them to do.

So was I inspired listening to Corbyn last week? No. Am I concerned by him? In relation to how his policies would hurt Scotland; you can be damn right I am. Do I think he offers a chance to people in England? Possibly, but unless you all stop the football chants, stop celebrating the fact he lost another election but boosted his position in the party (people are not having better lives because Labour won Kensington) and tell me how things can get better when his Brexit policy puts everything at risk I will carry on treating Corbyn with a critical eye because frankly, many on the left need to do just that otherwise we’re rubber stamping a different sort of austerity