It Is War. Class War.

I have just listened to a vox pop piece on the Radio 4 Today program with the ‘woman in the street’  interviewing the various parties in the Southern Rail strike. Both sides levelled accusations of unreasonable behaviour at the other. The lady pronounced them childish, and on the basis of what was said it does sound like petulant kids arguing over the toys. However, no one seems to be able to describe the real toys at issue, because they sure ain’t the ones they speak of.

This is not an argument about safety. That one has been put to bed long ago. Technology moves things on whether you like it or not. The Luddites fought it, the rail unions are attempting the same. Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, said as much about the advances in safety enabling driver operated trains only yesterday, and one would reasonably expect him to be a union ally. However, Khan sees the massive disruption to the people of London that is being caused by the ideologically motivated actions of the few and he is condemning the unions behind both the Southern Rail and London Underground disruptions.

Still, the ASLEF and RMT  bods scent blood. There is no gaping wound of safety, they think they are inhaling heady scent of a wounded right wing bastard. Fighting ‘the right wing’, the filthy capitalist bastards who are all Tory,  is the single most worthy and exciting thing a class warrior can do. Going down in flames and possibly dragging everyone  around you into your fiery victory pit is pretty de rigueur for a good Marxist/Stalinist/Trotskyite (I am never sure of the terminology, and rarely are the protagonists).

[As an aside: to defeat the left one merely needs to ask them to agree on an ideological question, close the door and come back in the morning. There will be one left who may be right but has killed their fellow interlocutors to reinforce their point] 

The media is talking about the discontent spreading to other parts of the country and that is fanning the flames of class-war. The unions want to take us back to a previous time where the unions were powerful, they had a voice in government, they have a story of success to sell back to the workers who pay dues. It is all so financially grubby. The capitalist railway owners are doing what capitalists do: increasing operational efficiency and increasing market share. Both sides need to be controlled.

The sides are now at loggerheads and oddly the union(s) are making a claim that is very Trumpesque. They claim to their supporters that the Tory Transport Secretary is pulling the strings thus making this strike a working class versus the Tories battle. Trumpesque because it cannot be proved or disproved. It plays well to the audience and that is all that matters. In case you are grappling with it: this is what ‘post truth’ means. You make shit up that your side believes. End of.

This strike has assumed a great importance for both sides. The Tories – who have recurrent wet dreams about Thatcher and often set everything in the light of Maggie and Ronnie – fear that this is the top of a slippery slope that saw Maggie set against Arthur. The left are similarly scared of being crushed.

My experience is that the hard left are on a constant war-footing against the right. This is a very tiring position to adopt. Being born ready is one thing, hyping oneself up into a state of heightened alert and staying alert just doesn’t work. The ones that maintain anything approaching this state of hypervigilance  rapidly become dull. They fail to see their own hypocrisies and have a very limited focus. It makes for boring company.

The right rarely seem to invest the same amount of effort in setting themselves to ready against an attack from the left. They are too busy trying to make money and amongst them there are the people who are similarly fixated and therefore dull. The difference is that they are looking outwards to this mythical market in search of opportunity and not at their immediate foes. This infuriates the left. They are always trying to entice the right into a battle and the right just feels they are a tiresome interference in the quest for growth and profit.

Who is right? Not sure. As ever I believe that it would be wonderful to have a sensible middle ground. In the meantime, ASLEF and pals will destroy the lives of millions of ordinary people to prove their ideologically correct stance.

As I proofread the High Priest of the left is on, Jeremy Corbyn. He makes some sense but we know he has been coached. Hilariously (one can imagine the press people doing yet another face-palm) he leaks hard left ideology about 1 min in. They have got him onto the strike, the union leaders and it is all unravelling as he disagrees with Khan. It is about the struggle, not the issues. He signs off with the usual verbal tropes, none of which will get him (Labour) elected.

This or this?

Class War is so boring.

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Who Are “The Left”?

I went to a very interesting discussion the other night. It was held at Ruskin College, where I start a history degree in September and there were some very interesting people there as well as ordinary members of the public like me. The topic was, “What Happened To The Working Class?” Apparently they didn’t disappear upon purchase of their council houses under The Great Handbag.

What really struck me was the strongly held belief amongst some of the, admittedly self selecting, audience about some sort of non-specific and ill-defined conspiracy against the Working Class/Left. Apparently PR firms are all and only engaged in the suppression of the Working Class. All PR firms. This doesn’t really tie with my first hand experiences of PR firms, but the individual that held this belief was adamant. There is a Right Wing conspiracy and PR firms exists to help make the evil more palatable. Then again; his solution for most of the ills of society, which are visited upon society by the evil capitalist Right Wing establishment, can be fixed if we were to all man-up (should that be person-up in a modern enlightened institution?) and revolt. Revolution is the cure, end of discussion.

As there wasn’t even agreement in the room as to what constituted the working class it was a rather pointless circular discussion IMHO. When the Marxist philosopher explained a Marxist definition as “those that don’t control the means of production”  as the definition there was further debate as that didn’t really do when you try and equate a surgeon with a dustman. There was a quiet discomfort at the suggestion, which made me wonder if this wasn’t a social and wealth based distinction as much as a technical one about who controls the means of production.

The Right don’t need to conspire and hide behind PR firms, they just need to sit back and keep their powder dry. The Left seem perfectly able at suppressing themselves by engaging in endless internal bickering and that makes a revolution very hard to organise.

Perhaps the right are just as bad? In fact, I am sure there are constituents of the Right that bicker endlessly over the minutiae.

Chuck the promise of influencing personal wealth, the ability to choose how to spend ones own resources, responsibility for your own decisions, low taxes, a light touch state into the mix and that sure focuses people’s minds enough to organise themselves into action. I think it’s called Capitalism. After all, the Soviet Union worked out well for the working classes, didn’t it?