Vote Shock Doctrine

The Neoliberal consensus lack of democratic choice is in, all parties are rejecting social democracy and embracing an agenda of Neoliberal cuts, not really news but today they all made it clear, so that no voter can say oops, I really didn’t realise this was going to happen. So with no alternative -it is merely whose style of managerialism do you prefer- the election is a non event democratically speaking and for those facing unemployment or the assault on welfare the issue is one simple thing- Survival. The wags on twitter who have coined Labservative should know that is a misnomer, the correct term is Neoliberalism, because it is not a lack of change they face, there is great change, there is just no choice, it will be cuts, privatisation, deregulation and rising inequality. That is radical change, an apolitical ‘government is bad’ ‘there is no change’ reaction is in fact precisely what is wanted from you, as corporations will be handed greater unaccountable power to run our lives as apathy gives them the room for this slip into the authoritarian end stage. A radical lack of choice, an anti democratic movement is upon this country, a movement began by Thatcher in 1979 and continued by New Labour. Not recognising your enemy is a fatal mistake that leaves you open to the attacks to come. Rather than waste a minute watching television election coverage start your survival preparations with reading The Shock Doctrine, you’ll be surprised (or perhaps not) to find it predicts precisely what is now happening. And for your viewing pleasure I would throw in Adam Curtis’ trilogy- Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap, a dash of Manufacturing Consent would be good, as it is, as all of these are- A Primer In Intellectual Self-Defense.  The 10’s (will we call then that?) are going to be about self-defence to survive and perchance to make something better. At the moment we needed eco-socialism, social democracy and liberty our elites -of course- screwed us in their rush to serve themselves.

Courts Use Tory Law, Under New Labour Government To Fight Class War

As with BA corporations now turn to the courts to delegitimise strike action using the anti-union Trade Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992 brought in by the Conservatives and left on the books by New Labour, 30 years of neoliberal rule-

A high court judge today granted Network Rail a temporary injunction to block next week’s planned four-day rail strike by signal workers. Mrs Justice Sharp made the temporary order after being told that the planned walkout, called by the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, was unlawful because of the way a strike ballot was conducted. Network Rail argued that there were scores of inaccuracies and discrepancies in the vote by signal workers, who backed a walkout with a majority of 54%. It does not affect a separate dispute involving maintenance workers, who still plan to go ahead with strikes next week, although this is expected to cause only minor disruption. The strike was due start on Tuesday, the day Gordon Brown is expected to call a general election.

The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “It’s becoming increasingly easy for employers, unhappy at the prospect of a dispute, to rely on the courts to intervene and nullify a democratic ballot for industrial action on a mere technicality. Disputes between employers and unions should be settled by negotiation. Today’s decision in the court will simply drag the dispute out and make it more difficult to solve.”

Makes Fools Of Us All

An April Fool’s really needs a veneer of possibility, of plausibility. Who is going to believe that a violent act caught on video tape and seen by multiple witnesses, many of them police officers, that led to a man’s death and that the perpetrator is known… Who is going to believe that an entire year after that killing absolutely no charges whatsoever have been brought before a court of law. I mean really what kind of immature prank minded joker is going to bother to create an April Fool’s when reality trumps any such malarkey hands down, even a day earlier a trial without a jury found another police officer not guilty of assault, the message being sent is loud and clear- Just when you though video cameras might constrain state violence we are telling you NO, perpetrators shall go free you unwashed serfs. The Establishment and its agents shall not be constrained by the laws we inflict on those beneath us (again with the photography), after all when the cuts come (and they will, one party or another or another) we shall need every weapon available to subdue the population and defend our privilege. Welcome to the Authoritarian End Stage of Neoliberalism you credulous chumps!

Actually one great prank has been perpetrated upon us, Democracy, enjoy that election ‘consensus‘ fans.

UK Taser Use More Than Doubles

…new statistics record the use of the devices for the third quarter of 2009 and show they were used 402 times by specially trained units from July to September, up from 169 in the previous quarter. Officers discharged them 67 times over the period, compared to 36 for the preceding period. Units have now used Tasers 1,669 times since the trial began in September 2007 and discharged them 293 times.

According to the press release

The rise in the use of Tasers this quarter is largely down to updated figures of around 200 deployments by the Metropolitan Police going back over previous quarters. This also accounts for the rise in Taser discharges.

But please note-

We cannot be certain that historically all forces have recorded Taser usage in the same way, although this has been mitigated by ACPO issuing clear instructions to forces on reporting procedures

I think it is always worth remembering ACPO is a private company run by the country’s senior police chiefs and as such beyond the normal remit of freedom of information laws, it means our police forces are part privatised already. They share intelligence with other corporations and government and consider environmental, human rights & left wing activists as worthy of  spying upon as NeoNazis, which tells us something about their ideological -corporate- centre of gravity.

PDF showing quarterly statistics up to 30 September 2009 for Taser use –

  • in England and Wales
  • by authorised firearms officers outside of a firearms authority
  • by specially trained units.

Also the terms of Taser use-

  • Taser ‘use’ includes any time a Taser is drawn, aimed, red-dotted, arced, drive-stunned, or discharged.
  • Drawn: Officer draws Taser which a person could perceive as a ‘use of force’ whether or not accompanied by a verbal warning.
  • Aimed: The Taser is aimed at a person but the safety is not removed (i.e. the red dot laser sight is not activated).
  • Red dot: The safety is removed and the red dot laser sight is activated and placed on a subject, but the Taser is not fired.
  • Arced: The Taser is sparked without a cartridge being fired.
  • Drive Stun: The Taser is pressed against a person and cycled — this imparts a shock without firing the probes/barbs.
  • Discharge: The Taser is fired and the probes/barbs are discharged towards the subject.

Meanwhile even specially trained officers kill their own colleagues, albeit with a shotgun –taken off the safety catch on his gun, acted “instinctively” and pulled the trigger – given the known lethality of the ‘nonlethal‘ Taser this is not reassuring especially as Tasers are now routinely issued to non expert officers. Yes, better to be instinctively shot with a Taser than a firearm but in truth neither are in practice non-lethal. The evidence of use shows what Tasers do is not replace firearms, but create whole new categories of use where previously no weapon would have been used and they mainstream into everyday civil policing the concept of pain compliance. It becomes a shoot first ask questions later paradigm because the ‘shoot’ is perceived and promoted as a harmless use of stun technology. There is a good article- The soft-kill solution: New frontiers in pain compliance By Ando Arike, unfortunately behind Harper’s pay wall about the normalisation of pain compliance to deal with the social breakdown incurred due to Neoliberal ‘consensus’ politics, some excerpts via Digby

As communications advances in the years since have increasingly exposed such violence, governments have realized that the public’s perception of injury and bloodshed must be carefully managed. “Even the lawful application of force can be misrepresented to or misunderstood by the public,” warns a 1997 joint report from the Pentagon and the Justice Department.

“More than ever, the police and the military must be highly discreet when applying force.” It is a need for discretion rooted in one of the oldest fears of the ruling class—the volatility of the mob—and speaks to rising anxieties about crowd control at a time when global capitalism begins to run up against long-predicted limits to growth. Each year, some 76 million people join our current 6.7 billion in a world of looming resource scarcities, ecological collapse, and glaring inequalities of wealth; and elites are preparing to defend their power and profits. In this new era of triage, as democratic institutions and social safety nets are increasingly considered dispensable luxuries, the task of governance will be to lower the political and economic expectations of the masses without inciting fullfledged revolt. Non-lethal weapons promise to enhance what military theorists call “the political utility of force,” allowing dissent to be suppressed inconspicuously.

The next hurdle for non-lethality, as Colonel Hymes’s comments suggest,will be the introduction of socalled second-generation non-lethal weapons into everyday policing and crowd control. Although “first-generation” weapons like rubber bullets and pepper spray have gained a certain acceptance, despite their many drawbacks, exotic technologies like the Active Denial System invariably cause public alarm. Nevertheless, the trend is now away from chemical and “kinetic” weapons that rely on physical trauma and toward post-kinetic weapons that, as researchers put it, “induce behavioral modification” more discreetly. One indication that the public may come to accept these new weapons has been the successful introduction of the Taser—apparently, even the taboo on electroshock can be overcome given the proper political climate…

Originally sold as an alternative to firearms, the Taser today has become an all-purpose tool for what police call “pain compliance.” Mounting evidence shows that the weapon is routinely used on people who pose little threat: those in handcuffs, in jail cells, in wheelchairs and hospital beds; schoolchildren, pregnant women, the mentally disturbed, the elderly; irate shoppers, obnoxious lawyers, argumentative drivers, nonviolent protesters—in fact, YouTube now has an entire category of videos in which people are Tasered for dubious reasons. In late 2007, public outrage flared briefly over the two most famous such videos—those of college student Andrew Meyer “drivestunned” at a John Kerry speech, and of a distraught Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, dying after repeated Taser jolts at Vancouver airport—but police and weapon were found blameless in both incidents. Strangely, YouTube’s videos may be promoting wider acceptance of the Taser; it appears that many viewers watch them for entertainment.

The technology now exists for drone launched multiple Taser cartridges, protest is already ‘kettled’ or restricted to ‘free speech zones’ police assaults and murders even when caught on tape do not result in a change of policy by government, sooner or later these ‘nonlethal’ techs will be applied to demonstrations and protests. They have already been tested in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, note what that indicates about the attitude of the government to the governed, domestic extremists, insurgents & enemy combatants the lot of us.

Not Quite Short Enough To Go On Twitter

Which may or may not be a regular posting type thingy, anyways…

I do wonder if the vitriol against Kucinich by Kos & co. was also indulged in to distract from the Afghanistan debate, this being the good Obama war etc.

Questions from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities in regard to the triple suicide of the Serykh family-

1. What level of cooperation does the YMCA afford to the UKBA enforcement removal team seeking to remove asylum seekers from the YMCA flats?

2. How much money does the YMCA receive per asylum seeker for its UKBA contract at the Red Road flats?

3. We suspect many asylum seekers are being driven to desperation by the combination of inhumane practices being perpetrated by the UKBA and the YMCA to the point they have said firsthand that they fully understand why the Serkhi family threw themselves from the 15th floor of one of your flats. Will the YMCA be evicting any more asylum seekers during this troubled time at the Red Road when so many people are in the depths of despair and hopelessness?

Joe Glenton was sentenced to 9 months, please show your support by writing to him-

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU, UK
Email:
defendjoeglenton@gmail.com

Nick Clegg leader of the LibDems decides outflanking to the Right is a good progressive idea with his praise for Thacther and savage cuts, so no big surprise neoliberalism retains its hold on all 3 parties leadership…was that the sound of thousands of voters now binning ideas they were entertaining of voting for them (ht2 LC)-

Not only does the Lib Dem leader say he’ll end the structural deficit with 100 percent spending cuts (not the 20 percent tax rises, 80 percent cuts combo that the Tories advocate), but he even heaps praise in Lady Thatcher. More, he describes her as something of an inspiration: just as she took on vested interests in the 1980s, so he will take on the banks now.

He equates unions with banks, no really, he does! Which means to wee Nick he thinks millions of working people working together to improve their lives and raise themselves out of poverty and oppression is comparable to bankers destroying society with their gambling and greed. Bless his little middle class socks. Wanker.

Richard Murphy daily uncovers evidence of the Class War waged by Capital, today’s little wheeze-

Finance chiefs at two of the UK’s most powerful companies have called for corporation tax to be slashed to 15% in what would represent one of the most sweeping changes to the UK tax system since VAT was introduced 30 years ago.

How do I know 15% corporation tax is the aim of the Oxford Centre? because Chris Wales – who was instrumental in setting it up – told me that was the case, in person when I was at Oxford two or three years ago before Prof Mike Devereux, the head of the centre, contrary to all UK academic ethics, withdrew my invitation to all events there.

And let’s be clear what this call is. It’s another blatant attempt at re-engineering the social structure of the UK so that the rich get richer and the rest fall further behind.

Glaxo and Vodafone and their friends at Oxford want to increase the gap between rich and poor in this country. It’s the only explanation for their proposal there is.

So in the absence of any politician’s standing up to corporations Defend The Welfare State which among full union support is also supported by the British Medical Association, good to see medical opinion recognises the threat to human wellbeing that neoliberal dogma represents. This also important because global capital has conspired with far right tories to bring the Tea Party astro turf corporate lobby to the UK.

Since 1948, Britain has supported the idea that state pensions, health care, education and other public services are best provided by society as whole. But this idea is now under threat.

  • The state pension is totally inadequate, leaving at least 1 in 4 older people to live in poverty
  • 7m households have a child living in poverty and existing benefits provide a very limited safety net
  • Unemployment now stands at over 2m and workfare offers no solution
  • 10m adults are disabled and face huge barriers to escaping financial hardship
  • The NHS is slowly being privatised behind a smokescreen of choice and competition, and patients are suffering as a result
  • Our public services are now facing massive cuts and further privatisation

The welfare state and public services are an essential part of any civilised society – pooling the risk across the population and providing support and services to us all.

Whoever wins the next general election will be looking at the welfare state and public services as a way of cutting public expenditure. This demonstration must therefore send a clear message to all the political parties that the majority of people do not want to see further cuts and privatisation.

Defending the Welfare State & Public Services

March & Rally
Sat 10 April 2010
Assemble 12 noon for 1pm
Temple Place, Embankment
Rally 2pm
Trafalgar Square
Speakers, Music & Entertainment

Also sign the petition here.

Robin Hood Goes Postal- Support The Posties!

The postmen & women who are being forced to defend their careers against a dishonest and rapacious management & government are to be applauded. What has become clear is the corporatist Neoliberals of New Labour and the bullying management have conspired to continue a backdoor process of privatisation despite public opposition and official denials. This coming strike will be a watershed moment that either successfully stalls their plans or leads to the destruction of a postal service that serves the British people rather than profits off them. What will be crucial in keeping the postal service in our hands will be the public’s support of the strikers, when the government and management see their ‘customer base’ reject their plans for exploitation it will create greater pressure for them to return and negotiate with the union.

Check out local CWU branches here. Show your support.

Check out Roy Mayall’s Blog Going Postal (ht2 Soul of a Man Under Capitalism)

As Dave Semple says-

Now it is a fight, alea iacta est. The working class, and all socialists, labourites and everyone on the Left, should stand behind the posties. Turn up to their picket lines and wish them well. As one young pluck did, bring them homebaked goods. Donate some money to the strike fund. Attend solidarity group meetings. The bottom line is this; the posties are the men and women who deliver a service we all take advantage of.

If, in our own jobs, we know about mismanagement or the government neo-liberal ideology getting in the way of efficiency, if we’re sick of being lectured at and told things which are blatantly untrue, of being bullied and cajoled into overtime we’re not getting paid for, and we ever want the support of other workers, now is our time to shine.

PS. I think it is crucial to pass on information that gives the context to the strike action, psychologically there is a tendency for people to assume all is well until something different happens or there is a change, when the event occurs and it has negative effects for the observer they will, in the absence of knowledge and context, make a judgement that the party that is presented as causing the change is to be blamed. So when a strike occurs the corporate media have an easy job making people annoyed at the strikers because people have not had the ongoing situation within the industry reported in as prominent a way, they have not read of bullying management, false statements and fraudulent negotiating stances. This combined with the false notions of balance corporate news uses as a fig leaf excuse for giving undue emphasis to the views of the powerful makes the media aspect of a strike very difficult. Or short version- if someone moans about the strike do make them read this from the London Review of Books then point out people do not like striking, it is anxious and worrying experience that costs them money, they do so because management have committed such serious abuses against them and all other means of redress have failed. The blame lies with management and the government and particularly millionaire Baron Peter Mandelson, the striking posties are the heros coming to the rescue of our postal service.

Like many businesses, the Royal Mail has a pet name for its customers. The name is ‘Granny Smith’. It’s a deeply affectionate term. Granny Smith is everyone, but particularly every old lady who lives alone and for whom the mail service is a lifeline. When an old lady gives me a Christmas card with a fiver slipped in with it and writes, ‘Thank you for thinking of me every day,’ she means it. I might be the only person in the world who thinks about her every day, even if it’s only for long enough to read her name on an envelope and then put it through her letterbox. There is a tension between the Royal Mail as a profit-making business and the Royal Mail as a public service. For most of the Royal Mail management – who rarely, if ever, come across the public – it is the first. To the delivery officer – to me, and people like me, the postmen who bring the mail to your door – it is more than likely the second.

We had a meeting a while back at which all the proposed changes to the business were laid out. Changes in our hours and working practices. Changes to our priorities. Changes that have led to the current chaos. We were told that the emphasis these days should be on the corporate customer. It was what the corporations wanted that mattered. We were effectively being told that quality of service to the average customer was less important than satisfying the requirements of the big businesses.

Someone piped up in the middle of it. ‘What about Granny Smith?’ he said. He’s an old-fashioned sort of postman, the kind who cares about these things.

‘Granny Smith is not important,’ was the reply. ‘Granny Smith doesn’t matter any more.’

So now you know.

Posted in Class War, Shock Doctrine. Tags: , . Comments Off on Robin Hood Goes Postal- Support The Posties!

Island March

WHEN: 12pm, Saturday, 19th September 2009
WHERE: Holyhead Town Hall, Newry Street, LL65

Hundreds of Unite members, along with people from across Anglesey will hold a demonstration tomorrow (Saturday, 19th September) against the proposed closure of the Anglesey Aluminium smelting plant by Rio Tinto.

Demonstrators will carry placards demanding Rio Tinto ‘put people before profit’ to show their anger and disappointment over its decision to close Anglesey Aluminium, one of the largest employers in North Wales.

Anglesey Aluminium, jointly owned by Rio Tinto Alcan (51 per cent) and Kaiser Aluminium (49 per cent), was unwilling to commit to the long term future of the plant therefore condemning the 500 highly skilled workers. This decision has deeply affected the lives of families associated to the smelter and will kill-off Holyhead and its surrounding communities.

Unite found it astonishing that Anglesey Aluminium has refused to accept a rescue package of £48 million, given by the national government and the Welsh Assembly government, which would’ve seen the site remain open for at least another two years.

The site is currently continuing its smelting operations and is extremely busy in meeting customer demands. However, Unite believes it is in essence squeezing every last drop of aluminium prior to the closure which will be on the 30th September.

Unite national officer for metals, Terry Pye, said: “This is a disgraceful decision by Rio Tinto. We believe the only reason for the closure is one of greed. We have been angered further by the plant’s refusal to accept a rescue package which would’ve kept the site open for a further two years.”

Unite regional officer, Graham Rogers, said: “This is a clear case of a multinational company putting profit before people. This rally will demonstrate the strength of feeling the community has towards this closure. Hundreds of families’ livelihoods hang in the balance and we will not give up on them without a fight.”

Posted in Recession, Resistance, Shock Doctrine. Tags: . Comments Off on Island March