Keep Left to Win

Political, Feminist & Literary Gifts~2

As a Labour Party member I want us to win all Elections. Seems an obvious thing to say surely we all do. You would think so anyway but some on the other side of the party to me sometimes seem to say that our ideas are unelectable and we must be round the bend to think that we could ever win with them. If there’s one thing guaranteed to wind me up it’s when another member says something like “For all its great ideals, socialism is a minority interest. When Labour offered it red in tooth & claw, it enthused the few but scared the many. Corbynism failed.” The underlying tone is we can never win with Socialism.

I disagree and if I thought we couldn’t I might as well give up. Some speak as though it’s an impossibility but you only have to look through history to see that’s not the case. In the past the Labour Party has had what I would call 3 different sorts of Election Manifestos. Firstly the explicitly Socialist,  Secondly the ones with bits of Socialism in it and Thirdly the ones with none or hardly any. Well we won in 1945, 1950 and 1974 with explicitly Socialist programmes. Now yes they were different times but to deny that happened is completely wrong.

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What is happening now is like what happened in the 1950’s and again in the 1980’s the right wing is fighting back. So they can retake control of the party. This is politics let’s be honest about it. I’m old enough to remember the 80’s and after the defeats in 83 and 87 being told we can’t win with Socialism. So the policy reviews begin the focus groups start and we get told we didn’t listen to what the people wanted they didn’t believe us etc. It’s all been said before.

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The right wing in the party will tell us they were proved right because of our win in 97 and after and that we have to appeal to middle England to win. For me there are some big flaws in these arguments. I truly believe that John Smith would have easily won in 97 had he lived or indeed any leader who was a bit left of Blair because by then the majority of the people after 18 years of Tory rule wanted a change. Yes maybe the charisma of Blair won us a few more seats at first but I believe we would have gotten a majority.

One of the things that always annoyed me about Blairism was that in our drive to appeal to middle England and the home counties we forgot about our core traditional voters. Over time this has bitten us on the backside. I have always believed in our desperation to get elected after losing 2 then 3 then 4 Elections that we compromised our vision of a better fairer more equal society far far too much.

In the 97-10 period we did some good things but also bad things and we didn’t take the chance of the opportunity that was before us. Worst of all we let people down and we didn’t take any notice because we were complacent thinking that our  traditional voters would stay with us because they had nowhere else to go. We were arrogant and completely out of touch hence by 2010 we lost and in 2015 we not only lost but we were annihilated in Scotland. Red Scotland of all places the most left wing place in Britain. We failed them and they punished us and I think some seem to be forgetting this to suit their narrative. Anyway back for power for us must include Scotland it’s that simple and turning back rightwards will never cut it in a million years there.

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This wasn’t Corbyn’s fault he wasn’t even leader then but he hasn’t been able to win the Scottish people back. Let’s be completely honest whoever wins the Labour Leadership has got a massive task on. With where we are now electorally it will be a gigantic uphill battle. But nothing is impossible. However if we are to do it there’s certain things we have to admit and not brush aside. There’s an inconvenient truth that some are refusing to see because their views are clouding this simple truth. I mentioned earlier that in the 80’s we were told we didn’t listen to what the people wanted. Well the biggest lesson we need to learn now is at the last Election we didn’t listen to what the people wanted. Yes I’m talking about Brexit.

I find this quite ironic that the people who say we need to listen to the people didn’t and still won’t on this. I knew we were going to lose in December and that frustrates the hell out of me. Others knew too. As soon as we changed our Brexit position we were doomed and what we came up was a fudge that didn’t go down well in vast areas of the country. Until we realise this and own up that we got it very wrong we aren’t going to do better electorally because people think we betrayed them from saying in 2017 we would honour the referendum result to our fudge 2 years later. They won’t forget in a hurry. I haven’t got a crystal ball and I’m certainly not especially clever so why couldn’t the architects of our Brexit U turn see what was going to happen? I didn’t expect us to lose so badly but deep down I knew it would happen. So how can we trust these people with Starmer being the key figure in this.

The right wing will keep blaming Corbyn for our defeat and I’m not going to deny it wasn’t an issue on the doorstep but quite often it was related to our Brexit position. What I’m saying is we need to recognise what is happening here. Corbyn has always been the fall guy and now groups like Labour First are using our devastating defeat as the excuse they needed to change the direction of the party back to being some sort of Blairite version. This is inevitable and part of the normal cycle of politics but the importance of this next period shouldn’t be downplayed. We are heading into the most important time in human history.

I think there are many differences between the left and the right of the party of which one of the key ones is the right’s lack of boldness. Winning is everything and the only way to win is to play safe. The right say we have to listen to the people but they don’t seem to have faith in them and as we have seen it’s only when it suits their narrative. Corbyn failed because we were too left wing too ambitious they didn’t believe us but what is their vision? They simply don’t have a coherent vision of a better society or how it can work rather they want to tinker with the system to improve people’s lives. The trouble with that is after 40 years of Neo-liberalism’s inbuilt inequalities and now Climate Change hanging over us all like a black cloud of doom it doesn’t provide the solutions to the crisis that’s happening.

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We can’t take another 5-10 years of Tory rule making us even more unequal and with their inadequate response to Climate Change. That is exactly why bold policies and a bold vision are needed. Any backtracking on policy isn’t going to help us the people in the long run. The Blairites say the voters rejected our bold Socialist vision but that is only telling part of the story. As I have said they aren’t taking our Brexit position into account and completely ignoring how close were to winning in 2017 completely against the odds. Politics is so often about the short term but we are entering uncharted waters now and we need to do so much more than that. What we need is radical Socialists solutions not tinkering around the edges.

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I believe we not only have to listen to the people we have to take the lead and show a positive alternative vision. As Socialists one of our crucial jobs is to educate and that is a key thing for us to do now more than ever. Lots of people feel hopeless that there’s nothing that be done. That’s why so many were attracted to Corbyn because his message was one of hope. With the environmental and economic crisis that is enveloping us any return to some sort of 3rd way isn’t going to be enough not only to inspire the majority of people but to actually provide what’s needed to help the people and the planet. These are uncertain dangerous times and the Labour Party has to start wining but not by trying to go back to some 1997 timezone. We have to regain people’s trust by listening, helping in our local communities and putting our case forward for the type of Society we not only want but actually need. The times are a changing and we have to be on the right side of history for the good of everyone. Democratic Socialism offers the solutions to the problems facing us more than ever as unregulated Capitalism runs amok with the environment and ruins people’s lives not only here but all around the world. We have to say what we mean and mean what we say as Tony Benn use to say. This really isn’t the time to backtrack it’s a time to keep the courage of our convictions. The future is still to fight for and it’s the future that we have to think of because future generations won’t thank us for any centrist fudge. Now more than ever we need to be bold and stand up for our Socialist beliefs. That’s what the Labour Party is for and to make the changes we need by winning the battle of ideas and then enacting them. The fight carries on.

 

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Running Out of Time

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We are in the middle of another General Election and Jeremy Corbyn has said this is an once in a generation chance to change things and I agree. Because this Election isn’t just about Brexit. It’s about the future direction of travel about everything facing us and that is a hell of a lot.

Everything the Tories want to do is about doing things short term and looking after their own and friends vested interests. It’s what they do and they haven’t got the vision or inclination to do what’s needed.
To put it bluntly we are running out of time. I don’t say that to just gain your attention I’m simply stating a fact. Last year the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought out a report stating that we had only 12 years left to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The Tories so called plans to limit Climate Change do nowhere near enough. Because as always they put big business first not the people or the planet. They can’t really conceive of the enormity of the task ahead because they are quite happy with how things are and deep down don’t want to change much at all. Now it’s 11 years the clock is ticking and what have the Tories done? Nothing

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They say the NHS is safe with them but it’s a lie. The Tories have been running it down and opening it up to the market the last 9 years. President Trump and his big pharma cronies are waiting in the wings for the post Brexit trade deal where they will want to carve up the most profitable bits of the NHS. This isn’t scaremongering but something that is increasingly believed by many. The brutal truth is the NHS won’t be able to survive another 5 years of Conservative Government. It’s running out of time.
The same with Education. The Tories have pushed their Academy policy which is wrecking Schools by making them more like a businesses instead of putting children first. For example my eldest daughter’s School became a Academy while she was there. The trust reduced the Special Educational Needs Department to one person who had to teach part time. The well being of our Children is being hit as well as their Education.

There are plenty of other things that worry me about the future under the Tories like Obscene Inequality and their consciously cruel policies on the poorest and most vulnerable in society for example. The Tories have done all this deliberately. They are short sighted, have a narrow vision and are only interested in benefiting things for their rich mates. The country has gone backwards in recent years with them in Government.

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In the last few years though politics has changed. For far too long we had been told that nothing can change that we have to accept that the wealth will trickle down to benefit us. This has proven to be rubbish. The wealthy are getting even more obscenely rich while the rest of us are struggling ever more.
Only 2 parties can form a Government and you have to ask yourself what future do you want for you and your family. I would argue that a vote for the Tories is a vote for no future because everything will get worse for ordinary people if they win the election. More Food banks, more poverty the destruction of the NHS it’s a depressing thought. But a better future is within reach and is entirely possible. I predict there will be lots of smears and scare stories the next couple of weeks. The official CONservative Party are already doctoring videos and pedaling fake news. Ignore them because they will be biased rubbish that has the sole objective of lessening the chances of Corbyn’s Labour being elected. The establishment are running scared and that’s good news for you and me.
In case you haven’t noticed the Labour Party has changed the last few years. No longer can the main parties be accused of being nearly the same. Now the Labour Party has a vision of a better fairer future for all and what’s more it’s got the will to make it happen. We will implement a Green New Deal giving us a better chance of a green future and will lobby for it worldwide. We will save the NHS by making it a completely public service again, by in its future and stopping any grubby deal with Trump’s big pharma mates. Most important we will put the c and s back into Government. C is for caring and S is for socialism, they actually go together because creating a fairer, greener more equal society is what it’s all about. As Barry Gardiner said it’s Labour who will transform the country and make life better for the majority of people.
I said earlier we are running out of time and it’s likely it will be another 5 years until the next Election. All Elections are important of course but I’m not exaggerating to say this one is absolutely vital to the future of the country and indeed the world. That’s why I’m asking everyone to vote and to make sure you vote for Labour. Because only Labour can and will make the changes we need to rebalance society and combat Climate Change. Did I mention we are running out of time?

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People Power and the Democratic Deficit

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I first wrote this last year but I didn’t really do anything with it. Recently I have been reminded of it and have given it a dust down so here it is the longest piece I’ve written.

 

People can change things, yes you read that right. Perhaps that is stating the obvious but in actual fact there’s plenty who don’t believe it. All too often I’ve heard in my life whats the point? You/we can’t change anything things will always be the same. It can be a compelling argument. Sometimes things don’t change at all for a long time indeed very often in the last 30-40 years things have got worse for ordinary people, not just in the UK but around the world.

The narrative that we can’t do anything is spin put out by to put it bluntly the ones that don’t want anything to change. It can also appeal to the negative side of us. But this isn’t some crazy conspiracy theory. The 1% with the most money and power want the Status Quo or things to stay the same. But this isn’t going to be a rant about that. I want to talk positively about what we can do to make Society a better fairer place.

When you look through history it’s the people who have changed things. And make no mistake it’s usually a struggle. Whether that’s been the French or Russian Revolutions​ or the Suffragette movement here it’s been ordinary people coming together and organising to change things that have done it. Change hasn’t just happened, the powers that be haven’t just rolled over and said ok. It’s took concerted action and years of struggle.

The same goes for Trade Unions and the struggle for workers rights. Every gain the worker has ever gained has been through collective action. That could be the struggle for the 8 hour day or more pay or more holiday. It’s unity and collective action that has won it. Now I’m not writing this for the seasoned campaigner but rather the newcomers who have come into​ politics looking for alternatives. And the people who don’t dare believe, who think change is impossible.

The key to this is not to give up although at times it’s easy to be despondent. Occasionally it can seem change can happen overnight but it’s never as easy as that. There’s usually long standing grievances and discontentment that’s been building up for a long time. Take the case of the Labour Party and the Election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. No one gave him a chance at the start. In fact he wasn’t one of the original candidates. But the original candidates had seemed very uninspiring to a layer of the membership who feared we were going to get more of the same Blairite type leader.

Two ordinary members of the party Michelle Ryan and Rebecca Barnes decided to start a petition asking for a ‘left’ candidate to stand. This petition ended up getting over 5000 signatures an amazing amount for something like that and Corbyn decided to stand. Things happened quickly and by the skin of his teeth Corbyn got on the ballot paper. Now things snowballed and Corbyn was soon a hit on the hustings circuit. From being a no hoper he became a contender.

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Everywhere Corbyn went to speak brought ever bigger crowds and a movement was born. The parties establishment couldn’t believe it, it literally was their worst nightmare. They couldn’t understand what was happening. And that was their problem. The point is although the Corbyn movement seemingly came from nowhere it had been bubbling in the background for a few years. Lots of people and party members wanted change in the party and had become fed up during the Blair years. Not only had the Blair New Labour Government blew a historic chance of radically changing the country for the better by being economically Conservative it had took us to a foreign war in Iraq that the majority of people didn’t want. They completely disregarded the biggest march in British history to be the lapdog of President Bush.

On top of this in the Labour Party itself Blair closed down the parties Democratic structures and marginised the left in the party to a large degree. The party machine took over and party conference changed from being a debating arena to a stage managed convention. Lots of members gave up and left me included.

What this did was help to create a Democratic deficit not only in the party but the country as a whole. Members and in the wider sphere the general public felt not listened to, took for granted. Some people began to feel there was no difference between the parties anymore that Labour wasn’t​ talking for its traditional support as it use to do. This was where the stirrings of a movement against the Labour Leadership started but it was very slow to begin with. These things usually are.

It started slowly when Ed Miliband  was elected leader in2010. That was a shock result but he had promised the end of New Labour which appealed to many. But his leadership while a improvement in some ways on Blair and Brown was very frustrating as he seemed unwilling or unable to break the Blairite grip on the machinery of the party. The party still had a top down down do as we say ethic.

This was some of the background to Corbyn gaining in popularity when he was standing for the leadership. He was promising members more say, promising to apologise for the Iraq war (something he had always been against) most of all he was a complete refreshing change from what came before and what else was on offer. So when he was elected as leader with 59.5% of the vote it caused a Political earthquake. No one not even his supporters at the beginning expected that.

Now this goes back to what I said at the beginning people can change things. Anyone can be a catalyst for change. Of course what I was just talking about is a Political party and not wider society but again it was proved in the 2017 General Election that people can be inspired to change things. Labour were 20% behind in the opinion polls when the Election was called and were completely written off. And yet we came within in 2 and half % of the Conservatives in the vote. How did we do this?
Well by offering people hope was a big factor something that had been in short supply for many years. By inspiring people to think that change was possible.

There’s 2 important things that I haven’t mentioned yet. Democracy and Social Media. Democracy is what frightens the establishment. They may pass it lip service but they don’t really want to extend it. Why? It’s quite simple it’s gives more power to the people. Put simply the establishment, the elite, the ruling class or whatever else we want to call them don’t want to extend democracy because they are scared of losing their levers of power that go on behind the scenes. I believe in extending democracy as much as possible. That’s for Elections where I believe PR would be a more Democratic way of doing them. Now I’m the compete opposite of a UKIP Supporter but in the 2015 Election they got 3.9 million votes but only 1 seat. The Greens also got over a million votes but only 1 seat. This causes a resentment from voters who quite rightly don’t think they have been listened to and aren’t being represented like they should be.

Voting needs to be extended to the over 16’s as well. Sixteen-seventeen year olds are often treated in a patronising way. There has always been a element from older voters that the young don’t know anything, aren’t mature enough and us oldies know best. This is another Democratic Deficit in this country. There are over 1 and half million being denied the vote. Well I say that but in some Scottish and Welsh Elections they are now been given the right to vote. That’s fantastic but when you think about it that is making the voting system two tiered. So it’s yet another reason to extend voting to all over sixteens. It’s time has most definitely come. But there is one thing though that I can’t help feeling. That the Conservatives will never extend voting because they know far far more will vote Labour than anything else. So we have got to pile the pressure on this like so many other things.IMG_20170607_200601

The House of Lords as a 2nd chamber is also outdated and undemocratic. It’s a collection of hereditary peers and appointed peers, in other words none are elected by the people. This is something that needs to be near the top of the list in the modernising of our democracy. We need a elected 2nd house with a form of PR as the method to elect. These would be some ways to improve democracy and a good place to start but there would still be far more to do. What we need to do is lessen people’s alienation and hopelessness​. As I said at the beginning people can effect change. Another example of that is the EU referendum result. Many didn’t think leave could win but they did. The turnout was high and people felt engaged and energised by the experience of participating in democracy. I write as a reluctant remainder. Of course if then the vote isn’t carried out though it will cause ill feeling and resentment and lead to a crisis in democracy. Huge amounts of people will feel they haven’t been listened to or took notice of and it would create big problems in our future democracy.

Democracy needs to be the lifeblood running through all parts of society. That way people can be held accountable and it’s also a fairer way to do things. Another way to do that would be to have democracy in the workplace. When I say this I don’t just mean electing your Union rep although that is good of course. No I mean ordinary workers actually being involved in the boardroom being elected helping to run and help decide the future direction of who they work for. Sound radical? Well yes but it’s not a new idea it’s been around a long long time. And there’s a reason it hasn’t happened because there is huge resistance to it from companies. Most people who work in a sizable workplace have had at times a questionnaire come round asking for suggestions etc. We all know as well that very often they end up in the bin. Now in principle it’s a good idea but there’s a very good reason they end up in the bin. It’s because employees tend to think it’s just a paper excise and they won’t be listened to anyway. And they are probably right. But if workers got proper representatives to help with the running of their companies that would help in the not only democratising the workplace but it would help improve the mood, confidence and increase the sense of ownership. A happier workforce is a more productive workforce but Capitalist bosses fear losing any sort of control.

Something else I wanted to talk about was Social Media. This is at times a double edged sword and it can be used as something negative. But what I want to do is talk about is the positive force it can be and how it can help us organise and get the truth out to the public. The good news is lots of people now get the news from Twitter, Facebook etc and there are lots of alternative news outlets such as Evolve Politics, Novara Media and the Skwawkbox for example. This considerably weakened the power and influence of the right wing press. So Social Media can be a fantastic tool to find things and help to organise as well. 20 years ago this wasn’t available. So the Revolution of change can actually start online. In fact it already has in many ways. The Corbyn surge both to become leader (both times) and Labour’s unexpectedly ( to the establishment Political pundits and old guard) better result in last year’s General Election was helped massively online. The same happened with the Bernie Sanders campaign in the USA and elsewhere I’m sure. We now have at our fingertips the tools to help us meet like minded people, to set up online groups and forums and talk to each other like we could only dream about in the past. This really is something to celebrate but more than that it’s an opportunity we mustn’t squander.

Well you’re probably wondering where am I going with this. Like I just said the Revolution has already started what we have to do is start linking the dots. There are many things we have to do but the bad news is we are running out of time. I say that because it’s become increasingly clear that Climate Change is real and it’s getting worse . This is something that has been Public knowledge since the mid 1980’s but it’s been known about by big oil and science circles for at least 20 years earlier. So let that sink in. Yes it’s been known about for over 50 years and in that time nowhere near enough has been done to try and slow it down. Why? It’s a obvious question and it’s what makes me and many others very angry.

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Basically it’s because big oil ( the massive oil companies) have a conflict of interest with the rest of us. They are more interested in carrying on making their big fat profits than the future of the planet. Now you’re probably thinking that doesn’t make sense and you would be right it doesn’t. You would think early on these companies would have started to look at alternatives ways to fuel things. And they did, for a while. But what they also did was employ scientists of their own to put out their own work saying there was no such thing as Climate Change, that other scientists were wrong. This has been going on for years and still is today. They have been spreading lies and half truths all this time. Of course this has had a effect. For a long time big business would rather listen to Big Oil telling them that Climate Change was fake or greatly exaggerated than face up to the truth. And now we have a Climate denier as President of the USA. Dangerously for the rest of us he just doesn’t get it at all. He’s burying his head in the sand while the rest of us are burning.
Something I’ve made saying for a long time and others as well is even if there was a doubt about parts of the Science in how Climate Change was going to effect us it would still be the prudent thing to start trying to cut emissions anyway. We all know it effects air quality anyway so there’s very good reason to. But the sad fact is nowhere near enough has been done in the last 30 years. In the late 80s there was another big environmental problem looming the hole in the Ozone layer which had been caused by something called CFC’s in aerosols. That problem was relatively easy to solve just by using a different chemicals. Unfortunately Climate Change is bit different because it’s extremely difficult to use less oil and petrol in a modern society.
What is the matter with us? Do we want to destroy ourselves? Are the big companies making massive profits more important than the future of the planet? There’s something else to consider as the climate gets worse in the future the super rich will be able to protect themselves a whole lot more than the rest of us. Make no mistake it’s the poorest that as usual are going to be hit the hardest. Something’s very wrong with Society.

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Now I’m no genius but I know what’s wrong with it. It’s our economic system that is the problem. Capitalism. It undoubtedly was a massive advance on what had gone on before. But it’s time is coming to an end. It is failing and in crisis and it is incapable of getting us out the mess it has helped create with Climate Change. The world’s financial system puts money first above everything else. Profit rules. Now I’ve heard it said many times that Capitalism is innovative and it has been at times in the past. But if it was now surely it would have come up with solutions to the problems we face?

The truth is no matter what brilliant ideas there are out there Capitalism’s number 1 drive is too increase profits and​ expand markets. The Capitalists also say we are free but that only goes so far for ordinary people like us. But the more money, power and influence you have the more freedom you have because massive Corporations can do pretty much what they want and so can the richest individuals. People realise this and it’s another deficit in our democracy and cause of bad feeling. So in my view Capitalism is heading us into disaster because it can’t change. If it had changed the big oil companies would have done more than just lip service to green issues. But they can’t change because they know the biggest profits lie in oil. And therein lies all our problems.

This is why it’s time to link all the dots together because like I’ve said times running out. All the social movements have got to link together. All the different groups need closer ties than ever before. Because it’s not just Climate Change that Capitalism can’t solve there’s many other problems it’s can’t solve like Economic inequality as well. It feeds on it. Capitalists exploits poor countries and they exploit poor people. So while we supposed to be an advanced and advancing world the reality is we are going backwards and it’s only the super rich that have advanced. So while the super rich have never had it so good things have gotten worse for the rest of us. That’s Capitalism at work in particular it’s worst variety Neo Liberalism.

To briefly explain Neo Liberalism is what we have had to endure for nearly 40 years now in the UK and most of the rest of the world as well. It is a particularly callous form of Capitalism that encourages greed and selfishness and believes the free market can do no wrong. Neoliberals believe in a shrunken state meaning that the state should be involved in as little as possible. According to them the great wealth that is made will trickle down to benefit not just the rich but everyone in society. It is plainly obvious to more and more that this hasn’t happened. If it was working after nearly 40 years I think the evidence would be there. It’s not. We are now told there’s no money. That Communities have to suffer cutback after cutback because we can’t afford anything anymore.

The truth is there is shed loads of money out there. The world is awash with it. But it’s not in ordinary people’s hands and our share of the cake has progressively been getting smaller. This is another of our Democratic deficits because people have been feeling​ powerless.
So back to what can we do? I’ve always been optimistic that us the human race isn’t so stupid that we would destroy ourselves. That we aren’t that dumb. The trouble is it appears some of us are and we cannot carry on for the next 30-40 years like we have the last. We face the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced. Burying our heads in the sand isn’t an option anymore.

 

What we need is a fundamental rethink of how we organise society, not only in the UK but globally. And we cannot tackle Climate Change, Economic Inequality, the Democratic Deficit and all the other problems we have effectively through Capitalism. But another world is not only possible but essential. And let’s not kid ourselves it will be easy because it will be anything but. It’s going to be a huge massive gigantic struggle. But like I said earlier change always is.

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We can’t turn the clock back either we have to face the problems of the 21st century. After Climate Change another gigantic problem we have is the size and massive power of Transnational Corporations. These companies have immense power and now make up their own rules and have little need to listen to National Parliaments. In fact the only organisations that these Corporations MAY listen to are for example the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and maybe the European Union. All of these organisations are undemocratic too (although the EU does at least pretend to have some essence of democracy with the European Parliament.) This is another reason for our democratic deficit and we have been cheerleaders for these Corporations and Organisations for far too long. These Corporate elite now effectivity rule the world not the United Nations or individual governments. Power has been transferred from the public and the state to private unaccountable and massive Corporations.

We seem to be walking straight into a dystopian future from a Sci-Fi film. Carrying on like this eventually there will one Transnational Corporation that rules us all. We are some way away from that but you can see it’s a possible outcome in the future. All these things I’ve spoken about are the reality of life in the 21st Century. Generations after the Second World War were promised that things would get better for everybody and they did but somewhere in the last 30-40 years with the rise of NeoLiberalism (that word again) we have gone into reverse. We have become more and more undemocratic business interests are deemed more important than anything else.

Society has to move to the next level to not only advance as humans but indeed survive. Perhaps that is the final spark, the jolt we need. Because we have to Stand up and be counted for our children and our children’s children. We have to dare and grab this opportunity. I believe that next level is Socialism a new way of organising our Society in a fairer way. You may say that’s​ old hat, that it doesn’t work. Yes it’s an old idea but it’s never been properly tried. There are and has been at times glimpses of it around the world. One of the best examples is our NHS. Put simply it’s a Healthcare Service that’s free at the point of use for everyone where people and their health are put before making a profit. Now the Tories are privatising at via the back door and the giant healthcare companies are circling around it like vultures. But I digress.

We have to work towards a new Socialism for the 21st Century and indeed the most important element of that is increasing Democracy at every level in Society. Democratic Socialism believes in people having more say that’s what it’s about giving more power to everyone. Then we can start to move towards a society that is based on sustainability that addresses real social needs rather than just the maximisation of profit. You don’t have to be an expert on Political theory or Economics to know something’s wrong with Society. By the same yardstick anyone can get get involved to change things. Life is a learning curve. The change has to come via social movements as well in conjunction with the Labour Party in the UK and left political parties in other countries to put the leverage and pressure on the Political establishment. Our vision has to be wide sweeping. Importantly we don’t have to agree about every little detail because getting the majority of the things that need to be done done is far better than falling out getting nowhere.

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The revolution has started in many ways but there is still so much to do. We need a wide united coalition of Social movements for change. It’s potential is vast and unlimiting. Community organisations, environmental and climate change activists, trade unions, human rights campaigners, students and the young, disabled campaigners, the pensioner’s movement, peace and arms trade campaigners and all the movements against global poverty and Third World debt. We are all linked by the inequality, injustice and greed of Neoliberal Capitalism. These alliances have to be built the dots that have to be joined.

The challenges that we face as a Global community cannot be solved easily. But we can all start building the movements in our own countries and with today’s technology link together like never before. And we can all start locally and nationally to fight for the Socialist solutions we desperately need more than ever. So that the will of the people is listened to above the endless search for ever bigger profits. I said at the beginning we could change things and I truly believe people power is unstoppable once we hit a tipping point. People power has and can change things. It’s a uncomfortable truth to the ones at the top.

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I’m going to finish with a quote from a hymn that one of my favourite politicians Tony Benn use to often say. When he was growing up his Dad use to say this to him

“Dare to be a Daniel!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!”

Those few lines say so much. What the world needs now is hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions and yes billions of us to stand as Daniel’s. When we do that we cannot fail.

Climate Emergency Countdown

103_shutterstock_88550854-740pxAt last Climate Change has been in the news recently thanks to Extinction Rebellion and their protests in London and around the country. For this alone they have my support because for far too long it’s an issue that given the chance by the establishment has been swept under the carpet. Also recently it’s been fantastic to see so many young people taking part in the School Climate Strikes around the world.

There are many issues out there that we have to sort if we are going to change society. But a fundamental one is Climate Change because we literally can’t go on in the direction we are traveling in because eventually it will kill the off the human race. And time is fast running out, the days when we could tinker around at the edges are long gone.

Don’t get me wrong we can all help. There are small steps we can all do. Use our cars less, travel by plane less, plant a tree in the garden for example. But the situation is so critical now it’s going to take more and Governments and big business have got to do a gigantic amount more and they have proven themselves incapable of doing it. Climate Change has been in the news for over 30 years now and nowhere near enough has been done about it. In fact Climate Scientists have suspected it for a lot longer indeed back to the 1950’s and 1960’s. The big Oil companies heard about it in that time but chose to ignore it and indeed spread misinformation about it. This for me is one of the most important points. Just think about this for a moment. The big Oil companies knew about the possibility of Climate Change from at least the 70’s and probably long before that but the only thing they did was try to convince that there was no truth to it. That is the failure of Capitalism in a nutshell because vested interests always come first even before the planet. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-climate-change-almost-40-years-ago/

I say this because it’s the unfettered unregulated Neoliberal Casino Capitalism we have had the last 40 years that has made the problem of Climate Change even worse and made it so difficult in fact  impossible to make the adequate changes we need to help combat it. The urgency of the problem hasn’t been met with the urgency it needs. Because we live in a society where greed and obscene profit are good and everything is looked on in the short term. So specifically the fossil fuel companies and generally Capitalism itself haven’t been able to do the sort of changes necessary because making profit is the number one priority that overrides anything else. The concept of Climate Change itself has been seen as a nuisance in the wheels of finance and big business where making money today is so much more important than what might happen in decades time.

And so unforgivably we have wasted too a large degree the last 30 years. Opportunities have not been took and now it’s obvious to most people there is a problem. And yet we still have Climate deniers and skeptics and they still appear on TV and Radio spouting their rubbish. The most famous of course is the current President of the USA Mr Trump himself but there are others. I liken them to modern day Nero’s because what they are doing is burying their heads in the sand. Of course there’s a very strong reason they chose to ignore the mounting evidence. Because any sort of measure to combat it would interfere with the present system of making vast profits from things that are killing the planet.

This is the crux of why nowhere near enough has been done in the last 30 years. The Climate deniers have spread their lies to delay anything being done so the big global Oil companies can just carry on with business as usual. These people have no conscience or are just so blind they can’t accept what is in front of them. Anything that threatens the current order is ignored and belittled. The Polar caps are melting, the weather around the world is getting more unpredictable and extreme, more floods, more heatwaves and more droughts all having an impact on food production. Not too mention our relentless destruction of the tropical rainforests which are the lungs of the planet and species being killed off every year.

And all for what? More vast profits and new markets and more growth. To me there’s not a greater argument for a different way of doing things, for a new system of living. What we need is Democratic Socialism where people and the planet are put first not excess profit for the few. Where everything is produced for need not profits and where we aren’t all bound by what the big oil companies want. This might all sound like a pipe dream to some but the truth is if we carry on like we are we will end up destroying ourselves. You can’t get more short term than this.
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-warming-end-human-civilisation-research-a8943531.html?amp&__twitter_impression=true

I’ve always been optimistic that we wouldn’t destroy ourselves. The Human race is very adaptable and basically not self destructive. When people say it’s people who have done the damage I point out yes but it’s the system we are living under that drives the destruction. So now the 1% are so happy with how society works for them they aren’t just going to give it up just like that. That’s the problem we have got not just as a nation but the world and this is where Extinction Rebellion come in and the School Climate Strikes too. Because we are in a environmental crisis, a crisis of the Capitalists making not ordinary people and time is fast running out. That’s why I welcome what they are doing. Some people have been moaning about the disruption they are causing. Well we will get more and more disruption in the coming decades because of Climate Change if we carry on in the manner we are doing.

Now I’m no Scientist but I think when the United Nations warn we have 12 years left to limit Climate Change catastrophe as they did last year we need to take action. But still Governments and big business aren’t treating it as the emergency it is. And the truth is they can’t properly because they are hamstrung by the inherent flaws in Capitalism itself. It cannot raise to the gigantic challenge that is needed to try and limit the damage. The damage it has caused to a massive degree. They haven’t listened to Climate Scientists and they haven’t listened to the people. So we the people are going to have force the change required from below. This is the biggest challenge to face mankind.  And we are being held back by the system we live under not helped. Extinction rebellion and the School Climate Strikes can’t be the end of the protests. Because if we all are to have a future on the planet they have to be just the beginning.