Archive for the ‘World in decline’ Category

It’s not unreasonable to expect to be treated fairly, equally and without bigotry.

This is a defence I see all too often, and it’s pretty despicable. All too often in my life it comes up about the little things that make it damn clear that my self is not accepted, things like forms asking for ‘gender – m/f’ and so on. According to this particular defence of bigotry, I can’t expect services to bend to fit me; due to my so-called ‘abnormality’, I should bend to fit them. I should bend to fit with society’s narrow-minded ideals, at whatever cost to myself.

Or, another place it crops up is around terminology. Apparently we can’t expect language to change to acknowledge our humanity and our experience, and we can’t expect people to change their language so as not to cause us pain because we’re apparently not ‘normal.’

Normal is constructed as something people should aspire towards, so as not to cause trouble and disrupt the social order. It’s not. If the social order cannot serve all people, regardless of the demands of meaningless ‘normality,’ then it needs to be disrupted. It is not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate all its members, and to be honest society should want to.

No matter how much it seems to be, society is not a monolith that exists independent of the people in it. We construct society around us. Yes, the scars of history lie heavy on us and on the society that has evolved down the generations – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. It evolved through the actions of people – a lot of bigotry can be traced back to historical roots that were instigated by people – and that means that we can steer it away from the broken-down mass of kyriarchal pressures riddled with bigotry and violence that it is now.

To do that, though, we need each other. We need to look around us and realise that the kyriarchy is hurting and killing ourselves and each other. And then we need to realise that defeatism will only defeat us.

It’s not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate the people it shoves to the margins, and for a person to say this about an axis they have privilege on is harmful. The privileged’s words have more weight anyway, and the more this is said the more the immovability of society is constructed, the more privilege can shore itself up by thinking that it can’t change and shouldn’t have to try.

It’s not unreasonable to be hurt, and to demand that people stop hurting one. It’s not unreasonable to demand one’s rights.

We are all connected, and frankly we have no reason to deny others decent treatment, fair, equal and without bigotry. That is an attack, and so is defending others who hurt people in the name of kyriarchy with the feeble cry of ‘it’s unreasonable.’ There is no excuse for bigotry, and the only slight justification is genuine lack of knowledge – but that can be cleared up with a short conversation, a quick google. There is no excuse for denying people the things granted without thought to others because of who they are. There is no excuse for services meant to help us refusing to acknowledge our selves. There is no excuse for people who bear us no ill-will beyond the poison the kyriarchy has dripped into their brains from birth to refuse to stop using words that hurt us. Once the problem is brought to light, it is not unreasonable to expect that solving it should be the next step.

Slow process? Well, yes, it probably will be. But it’s not an unreasonable demand.

The riots are spreading fast, and all the mainstream media can find for it is condemnation and demonisation of the riots as thoughtless thuggery, the breaking tide of feral youth upon the shore of respectable society heralded with fire, a force to be met with force. They’re being taken out of context, out of time, judged as an island of humanity when the contexts and explanations lie elsewhere upon the landmass.

Violence, especially violence of this type, is not something I can condone. It is – as so much else – hitting the less privileged more as their houses and lives burn around them while the more privileged sit in their white towers and play dice with the lives of the rest of us, demonising us as they go.

But I can understand. The shooting of Mark Duggan was a match in a flourmill, where the flourdust of alienation, poverty and hopelessness had long clogged the air, anger unexpressed, rage battened down. We should not have been surprised. Of course there is anger – people have been pushed into the margins, further and further, clinging to the edges. The rich have taken as theirs everything their sweet-tongued lies and economic tyranny can exact from everyone else. The sovereignty of the police has gone unchecked even as hundreds die in custody and our children are kettled in the streets. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the tunnel grows narrower every day until the daylight is cut off from a glimmer. Racial divisions fester in the heat of an economic meltdown, with young POC seeing themselves burned in effigy as demons in the mainstream discourse.

Of course there was anger! And when that was expressed peacefully, in marches and petitions, it was ignored. It is always ignored. Sometimes I think that if the whole country came to London and camped in Parliament Square, we would be ignored until someone threw a stone. It seems that our ‘leaders’ believe that the only time they need to pay attention to the existence of the non-rich populace is around election time, when they can throw us a bone and our starvation will bring us to heel.

So anger turned to violence. And violence is, as I have said, not good.

But there are other forms of violence. There is the violence of what our leaders are doing to our futures, there is the violence of contempt for our anger, there is the violence in ignoring our needs. There is violence in every dram of money-blood being taken from us to pay the debts we did not incur, and there is violence in entrenching the inequalities that divide our society like lightning in the stark midnight sky.

Besides that, we must look to the sweet poison capitalism has dripped into our ears from the cradle to the grave. Is it any wonder that looting is going on, when we have been raised from birth to believe that status is in capital? And is it any wonder we have been raised like this, when all the power is in the hands of the few who sit on thrones of banknotes, elevated above the rest of us with the power to match?

I hate that destruction stalks our streets, since the kyriarchy feeds upon destruction and the only way I can see to fight it is to build. I hate that some of this is communities lashing out against themselves. But these events cannot be looked at outside of the grim context they were born in, and in that context it is hard to argue things could have turned out otherwise once that match was dropped. I stand against violence, whether the violence of the powerful state upon the populace or the violence of therelatively powerless people – but I also understand the explosive power of bottled-up anger.

*    *    *

I’m pretty privileged in this issue, being lower-middle class, relatively economically secure, provincial and white, and while I can’t be certain I doubt the rioting will spread to where I live. But I’m fed up of seeing all the one-sided mainstream reportage, and I don’t think it’s all that difficult to hold the dual thoughts of ‘this is violence, and violence is bad,’ and ‘I understand why this happened,’ in one’s head. Basically I wanted to put in my two pence. And yeah, I’m aware I waxed poetic. I do that sometimes.

To read the papers at the moment is to get a most unsettling feeling of being in an uncontrollable vehicle hurtling towards something bad. Now, I have been and will almost certainly remain rather quiet about this because I am not an economist and my understanding of this boils down to the words, ‘Not good…’ It’s possible that in a year or two, when we’ve found out a bit more about how screwed we are, I’ll fully understand and be able to dissect the issues with a fishknife.

At the moment though, I’m wondering how this is all going to affect normal people. If there is another massive problem, will it be us who will be called upon to clean up after capitalism’s worst excesses again? If we are – is that possible? Or will the rich and the powerful’s attempts to use us to pay their debts drain us dry – and if so, what will happen then?

I’m too good at predictions of doom. But right now, we’re seeing capitalist systems again careering too close to the edge. And that, combined with the frankly frightening trend towards regarding people as more expendable than capital, could be disastrous.

They’re saying that Britain is a ‘safe haven’ because we’ve kept our AAA credit rating – but are the British people safe? Is that safety only for British finance, while British people find themselves paying for it? And anyway, in a globalised world we can hardly be said to be safe; our involvement in other countries’ finance is already affecting us, and many people are predicting a greater effect for it. It can be said that virtually all countries are intricately, inescapably linked to each others’ financial fates, since the global market has tied us all together so effectively in a complicated web of borrowing, lending, imports and exports. At the same time, we still think of ourselves as separate and think that problems can be contained in a single place. The excesses of capitalism in this globalised economy are fast waking us up to the fact that they cannot.

Uh-oh. The group of overprivileged capitalists who are supposed to be running this country wants to relax the rules on redundancy, thus making it easier for employers to fire workers. They are also concerned about discrimination compensation, because apparently the ‘high levels’ of it mean that people are filing speculative or ‘vexation’ cases in the hopes of a big payout.

Juust when I thought they couldn’t get much worse. Notice that all the concerns are coming from the employers? At least we know who they care about. But so it has always been, with them.

This is an all-out assault on those who work for others, for money, and it’s directly related to profit. If you can hire and fire workers easily, you can say, ‘Don’t like the wages/conditions/other? You’re fired!’ and get in someone else who will settle for those wages/conditions/other. That’s exploitation. This kind of idea culminates in job insecurity and oppression as workers find themselves unable to speak out against this. And it’s especially awful in the current economic climate, where many people are unemployed and benefits are being cut, making people more and more desperate. In a capitalist economy – which this is, and getting more so with every piece of legislation introduced by this Government – money confers the ability to live. Which means that people will be forced to cling onto any way they can of getting money, even if that is an insecure, badly-paid job in bad conditions with no long-term prospects, and thus employers’ power over them is increased.

That is wrong. Every bit of power to exploit awarded to the capitalist employers is an erosion of the rights of the worker. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights talks of the right to ‘work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and renumeration, equal pay for equal work.’ Free choice of employment? Can we call it that when benefits are being cut below a livable level and people find themselves having to take any job/s they can to survive? Just and favourable conditions of work and renumberation? Can we say we have that, when people are being fired and then brought back, but forced onto a lower wage, and when our Government plans to make that even easier?

And what does this Government know of discrimination? Predominantly white, rich, male, cis, straight, conventionally able, educated, etc – who are they to decide that the people who bear the brunt of the kyriarchy’s wrongs under capitalism are being over-zealous in their claims? They are closing their minds to the fact that discrimination happens, that it is widespread, and that it has a major effect on the already-marginalised. They are closing their minds to the fact that we marginalised are human too, that we have the right to be free of discrimination, that we have the right to live.

We are seeing this culture of oppression-shaming step up its assault, and the opening shots across our bow have already been fired. Benefits claimants are being accused of being too lazy to work while there are no jobs for them to work, and those who are not conventionally able are having their abilities redefined for them so that they too can be demonised as lazy. Women are told that their struggle for equality is holding back equality, and people suffering from discrimination based on race, sexuality or any other factor are told that their struggle for compensation is an attempt to get rich quick. This is the typical view of the capitalist class, who reduce every action to monetary greed rather than monetary need, projecting their own values upon those who do not share them and erasing all problems they themselves do not face.

We are looking into the face of terrifying, blank contempt for us and our lives, our happiness, our health. They coat it in woolly statements about a ‘happiness index’ while they snatch our warmth and security from our desperate, clutching hands. They pretend to know our pain when they fly cheaply, when the very idea of flying is beyond more and more of our pockets. They claim that we are all in it together, when in fact they are the vampire with their teeth clamped to the people’s neck, draining us dry while they shed not a drop.

This is not a trivial matter.

Sooo, I’m back, very tired, and for some strange reason (if there’s weird typos here ignore them, I just wrote ‘straight’ for ‘strange’…) I’ve decided to write a post. Why? I’m sorry, I just can’t resist calling out one of the parties in coalition in our Government out on their bullshit.

Dear Mr Cameron and spokesman. Jokes are funny. Telling a woman to ‘calm down, dear’ when she points out inaccuracy is not. IT’S PURE SILENCING TECHNIQUES. I am fed up to the back teeth and beyond of the Tories’ and their ‘partners’ blatant contempt for anyone who is not a white straight cis conventionally able rich male who is neither too young nor too old. Fed up. Fed up.

Let’s see, now. David Willetts on feminism in its ‘first round effects.’ Clegg and Cameron claiming to have nothing to disagree on. The Government deciding that the rights of ‘women’ (not sure what their definition was, certainly fucked up anyway) were negotiable. Auctioning off internships for huge prices. Dominic Raab insisting that (cis) men were underprivileged. The rich having a proposal for their taxes to be cut while the rest of us get to keep VAT at 20%. And that’s just in 2011, on my blog, that I remember… Oh yes, and I remember that time Nick Griffin approved of what Cameron said about immigration, and that was this year. Then we see their contempt through their policies, and what looks like their sheer arrogance and lack of capacity to listen to others.

Why aren’t we utterly terrified? These people are in charge of our fucking country. And they hate us! Everyone who isn’t part of their absurdly privileged, pigheaded crowd! How did they get there? Who let them in?

Make no mistake, these are reactionary times for those parts of the world mistakenly styling themselves ‘developed,’ using their own societies as a tape with which to measure the rest of the world and find it wanting. Look at the burqa ban in France! Look at the efforts by many USians to control the bodies of those with uteri! It’s not just Britain, we’re part of a deeply frightening trend in Europe, in Australia, in North America and elsewhere as well.

And now comes the Royal Wedding. Come tomorrow, anyone reading this will be subjected to me ranting about it, about the monarchy, about the kyriarchy and various other concepts. Today, I will say, this is part of the trend. The adoring masses, forelocks a-tugging – propping up the kyriarchy, the reactionary, increasingly radical right-wing politics of the day, propping all this up with their blood and tears.

Worthy

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Kyriarchy, World in decline
Tags: , ,

Too many of us are told by society at large that we are not worthy.

Worthy is a huge concept. To me, it simply means ‘of worth.’ Every human being is of worth. Worth what? But we’re people. That question applies to a family heirloom or a gold ring, not to humans. We are worthy. We are worthy of the greatest the human condition can offer. We are worthy of the human rights accorded to us by virtue of our existence. Worthy.

Worth considering. Worth loving. Worth respecting. Worth listening to. Worth being. Worth everything that some groups with privilege take for granted as their right, but see fit to deny to others. If you demand you be recognised as a man, but maintain that I am not to be recognised as an agender person? You are denying my right to have my self recognised. You are denying the fact that I am worth it by virtue of my humanity.

How hard can it be, to realise that every human being has worth? We – the marginalised, the oppressed – we have had our human worth denied to our faces time and again. We have been denigrated, devalued, belitted, denied and wounded. We have been failed, we have been sinned against. And we are still being targeted by hatred, by fear, by intolerance.

That is wrong. And it is so hard, to stand firm in the face of the howling storm that wants to bring us down and to say, ‘No. I will not fall. I have worth, and you will not deny me my worth, my value, my humanity, the unique selection of traits that has made me who I am. You will not bring me down.’ It is so hard, and yet every day, so many of us do it. It can be done, although there is no shame, no weakness in turning away. There are others around us who will stand and hold the line while others must retreat.

We are worthy. We have worth, value, humanity, beauty, power, strength, life. By virtue of our lives, we have all these things, and anyone attempting to deny us that is wrong.

Trigger warning. I’m not sure whether this post may be triggering, so I’m putting a warning on it anyway.

Benefit cheats are a straw man. A demon in the lower galleries (bonus points if you get the book that’s from). Maybe they exist, maybe they don’t – and you know what, it doesn’t matter.

They are not the problem. We are not the problem. The problem is the decision of our elites to value their own wealth above our lives. We should not be paying for their capitalist greed. Cracking down on benefit cheats is going to mean clawing back a few quid of actual fraud, and quite a lot of money that was legitimately needed to survive. That means that those who have enacted these policies are literally saying that certain people deserve to die.

Think I’m being provocative? Well, maybe I am. But depriving a person of the money they need to survive in our broken capitalist system is not valuing them, is not valuing their life, is not saying that they deserve to have it. And depriving a person of the money they need for a decent quality of life is saying that they do not deserve a decent quality of life.

And we do. By virtue of our existence in this incredible tapestry of humanity, we deserve to live, and we deserve to have a good quality of life. No matter our needs, our differences, our beliefs. But none of us deserve to take others’ right to live. None of us have that right. No matter how rich. How powerful. How important. And we certainly do not deserve to take this from those in a less socially advantaged position than us. Just because someone is societally disadvantaged does not make them undeserving. We must not succumb to this idea; it has very uncomfortable echoes of Social Darwinism.

So much is wrong. David Cameron’s speeches are giving fuel to Nick Griffin and his ‘party’ of hatemongers. The normal people of the country are being victim-blamed for our leaders’ follies. Oppressions are running wild, unchecked, under the guise of contempt for political correctness. And there are people, our siblings, our parents, our children, our friends, our partners, our relatives, our acquaintances, ourselves – there are people who are hearing, through the bank correspondence and the newspapers, through the contempt of others and the world at large, that they deserve to die.

That’s wrong.