Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pathological Voting for the Win


On the 8th June 2017, Great Britain will vote for its government. Which Party will lead us and which representatives will govern and policy our lives. For many years many of us have sat this process out. My first vote was after the 1997 General Election, in the 1998 European Elections, I voted Green and Labour, unsure even of who I was voting to place in this vital position that is soon to be obsolete for us Brits. I didn't vote again until 2016 for Sadiq Khan in the Mayoral Election.

My main reason for this was apathy. Apathy at the system, at myself, at the whole thing. After Tony Blair blagged his way into number 10, it became very clear, very quickly that is was business as usual and my future as part of the farm was secured. I could work in call centre, be a teacher, work for the civil service or the council. Just be a good lower middle class boy, just how we trained you.

This is a song I've never wanted to sing, so I said fuck you to everything and turned to nihilism instead. Drifting from nihilism to collectivism and back again like a pendulum on a Granddad clock that hadn't noticed the sun. I didn't see the point in voting.  So I didn't do it.

At heart I am a Green and in the last election I didn't vote again out of apathy, I didn't vote because I was too ill that day, though my vote would have been Green in a safe conservative seat. which in itself was painful to participate in canvassing and organising in the vague hope that our candidates could secure their deposits back.

In this election I'm voting in a swing seat, Croydon Central, where I will vote for Labours Sarah Jones and hopefully we'll destroy Conservatives Gavin Barwells slim majority of 165 to take back this seat for labour. The only other time I've felt my vote mattered so much was in the European referendum. I voted leave with this outcome in mind.

That we would have the opportunity to rebuild this countries laws from within and have a better relationship with Europe by voting in a democratic socialist labour government lead by Jeremy Corbyn and John Mcdonnell with a mandate to leave Europe whilst remaining in the single market and remaining part of the human rights convention. Theresa May will  turn our country inside out for the benefit of a very few and at the detriment of the rest by leaving both and turning us onto a bargain basement tax heaven. Where everyone on a salary will pay for the pleasure through extortionate tax rates.

Let us not forget how the Tory reign of cuts began with two of the biggest acts of social unrest in recent history and continues with terror attacks becoming the norm and religious extremism being taught in free schools across the country. We are neither stronger or more stable, we are weak and vulnerable, just where the ruling classes want us.

We are more and more obviously at war and on an internal war footing. The Conservatives aren't hiding their fascist intentions in fact Amber Rudd was passing herself of as Hitler in her conference speech.  If you want to live in a dystopia future, where the choices are Police or Thief, Soldier or Terrorist, keep voting for The Conservatives, because that is where they want us.  Under control and in need of their boots. We must resist this fascism and for once we can do it from the voting booth.  For once we can do it within the confines of their rules. I would love to wake up on Friday to a labour government

One that will lead the way in peaceful dialogue and equal distribution of resources and green energy.  We are a rich and powerful country that could lead the way as it has in the past.  The parallels with the pre-first world war era are hard to deny.  Let's not go through he destruction to get to a place where we all want to help one another, lets avoid the carnage and go straight to the bit where we all congratulate each other on helping each other be happy and have all we need to thrive and be free. In the words of the Dalai Lama ' Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive

This our chance to act with compassion and it is an easy action, it takes conquering your own pathological apathy, neither easy, nor a guarantee of the result we need.  Still a worthy sacrifice to make on one day in your life.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Tripoli or Death

We went to be free,
like you.
We drink coffee
by Colosseums
and Roman roads.
Chatting by text
on our Iphones.
A once beautiful country
with secrets in its
archaeology,
I could be in Iraq,
Syria, Libya,
Egypt or Palestine.
Once I was a plasterer
then I picked up arms,
now I lead men
through steel storms
crying Tripoli or Die.
The first man I shot
got hit between his eyes
his head exploded
from behind.
I was surprised that life
was so easy to take
and went on with the business
of reaching Tripoli
or the blackness of death.
We made our goal,
with the help
of American bombs.
Which left our country
in ruins, now war
seems endless.
I managed to escape
to Italy, I sit in
a coffee shop
sipping an espresso.
Across the sea from me
the middle east is burning
The med is one side
paradise and one side hell.
A sea that separates
secular democracy,
civil war and budding
religious theocracies.
That isn't what we fought for
we fought for freedom too
just as you did in
world war one
and world war two.
The last place I visited
after Gaddafi died,
in the eye of the storm,
before many factions
began to brawl.
The Arch of Marcus Aurielus.
A monument to Roman rule,
a beautiful piece of geometry
and collective work
I held it awe,
standing beneath the arch,
I marveled at the keystone
that has kept it upright
for over 2000 years.
Then I picked up my bag
and waved it goodbye,
I was on my way to Italy
to be with my wife and child,
whose waiting for me
had been a hell to pay
every day not knowing
if I would survive
to kiss them goodnight.
Now we walk hand in hand
eating gilati and I hope one day
our home will become
what we dreamt of when
we screamed Tripoli or death.

By Anonymous (found online and recreated under fair usage)

Monday, 23 November 2015

Nuclear deterrence

Nuclear weapons deter war.  A statement that gets used a lot, is it true though? At best it is questionable, at worst its an outright falsehood.  The fact that NATO has been using nuclear weapons in the form of Depleted Uranium, cannon shot the size of most peoples forearms, made totally from uranium, that penetrates artillery, tanks, buildings and troop transports, making anything it hits explode, leaving an aftermath of radioactive dust that causes death and radiation poisoning, since the first gulf war and in every conflict onwards, in my opinion, nullifies that statement.

'Whooaa there,' I hear those amongst you who support that statement declare. 'What about the prolonged peace between NATO and the USSR?'
Ok, let's explore that, the theory goes, if we hadn't had nukes then Russia invades the whole of Europe.  In the face of two world wars, the second wiping 20,000,000 Russians off the planet, 6,000,000  Poles 7,000,000  Germans and 2,000,000 give or take for rest of Europe, with almost the same number wounded.  It seems unlikely to me that Stalin would have been able to find the men, let alone train and arm them to be in a fit state to take over Europe. What evidence is there then that supports Russia eliminating western Europe's defenses without it turning into a replay of WW2? People say,  'they had a massive army, with a massive amount of Armour.'
Well so did Hitler and he wasn't able to conquer Europe, and that was with America and Russia helping him for the first few years, if he couldn't do it, how could Stalin have?  It took Stalin imposing an incredible amount of force and propaganda onto his people to get them to invade Germany in WW2, including shooting those who turned back, this was during war time and even then after the atrocities of the Nazi regime in Russia and Eastern Europe, the average Russian still did not want to invade Germany.

Historically it appears impossible to have a global war without the consent and participation of the majority of citizens. Given the choice between sitting on your farm, enjoying the good life, or being shelled, shot at, going crazy, losing body parts and at best becoming a mass murderer that survives; I'm pretty sure most of us would choice the farm.  This leads to governments using PR campaigns or propaganda to create the mentality needed for young men to want to give up their lives, and for their loved ones to encourage it. An example of this is is the Order of The White Feather  founded by Admiral Charles Fitzgerald where young men were accosted by young women and given a white feather that branded them as cowards. This kind of public relations campaign worked well in the first half of the twentieth century, but now in the twenty first century, the age of communication and information? When over a million people marched against the invasion of Iraq. I don't think that any western government could pull the strings of nationalism to entice a generation to put their lives on the line in the same way.

This is why we see a public relations campaign of incredible complexity in garnering public opinion to support war.  All this is capable of doing is manufacturing consent for wars that are far off and fought be specialized troops who are much more than conscripts with a .30 cal.  It seems highly unlikely that a globally aware internet generation would be naive enough to participate in mass scale war based on ideology or nationalism   Can you imagine the draft or national service being reintroduced in any of the western democracies?  So I think it's reasonable to say we live in a world where wars of nationality involving the big powers the G7 and G20 would be very hard to justify and start. For the reasons I've stated, there isn't the public will, not because of Nuclear weapons, after all proxy wars have been being fought since almost directly after the second world war and with times where we came very close to using nuclear weapons, accidentally or with consideration, but because we have evolved;  Monty Python and Ecstasy have played a bigger part in maintaining peace than nuclear weapons in my eyes.

So why do I state that nuclear weapons make war more likely? For one, there are hawks in the world, the people who gave the orders to kill in any of the wars that have plagued this planet, all of them knowingly sent men to die, kill or destroy.  WW1 is a perfect example of leaders who were in the safety zone, sending millions to their death, they did this knowingly.  People with this mentality are still around, they are the ones who felt sanctions in Iraq were justified, despite Iraq complying with the UN mandate. Millions of lives lost for a political agenda. These people, in my opinion, will use nuclear weapons if they felt the damage was acceptable, the use of depleted uranium is proof of this. Secondly, with an increasingly robotized military we are fast approaching a time when consent of the many is no longer needed for a continental war. In a situation where there has been considerable escalation of violence, in somewhere like Syria for example, if drones had been the bulk of the fighting force, with NATO and Russia being the actors in the scenario, the possibility of a tactical nuke becomes plausible. Another possibility is if a terrorist organization does something so terrible and maintains a high level of elusivity, again the possibility of a tactical nuke is plausible and finally if a terrorist organization gets hold of a nuke, uses it and the origin of the nuke is discovered, it is plausible that nukes will be used on that nation. 

Do I feel safer with nuclear weapons in the equation? No, I think they make war easier and as we become more and more propagandized to accept nuclear weapons, such as depleted uranium, it isn't too big a step for the justification of tactical nukes. In a world without nukes, none of these scenarios are played out.  Is it realistic to expect the world's governments to give up the power they feel nuclear bombs give them? It would undoubtedly take a huge leap of faith on the part of generally pretty paranoid people, but we can always hope. My only aim in this blog is to put forward an alternative narrative to the one of nuclear deterrence creating peace, as I believe it is completely false and also in itself is a dangerous piece of propaganda that subtly propagates war. 




Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Addicted to Freedom, the poltics of getting high

Gabor Mate posited that 'the idea that drugs are addictive is absurd.'  At one time I would have found this absurd, but now I can live with the contradictions this brings up in myself.

I've had many drug experiences, from the abusive and scary to the euphoric and mind expanding.

Why do I agree with Gabor Mate if I had abusive experiences with drugs, that looked and felt like addiction? I can only answer that question subjectively.

My initial experience with marijuana was incredible. I was rushing my head off to the sound of Winks Higher State. I felt like I was having a religious experience.  My first experience with Alcohol was unpleasant, I did what any good aspiring drinker does, I built up a tolerance and slowly watched my life deteriorate, I took stimulants to drink more, than opiates to drink less and nicotine was a constant. I stopped weed because it seemingly exasperated my anxiety, which was one of the main emotions I self medicated against.  Eventually my tolerance to alcohol, opiates, stimulates and the stress that comes with that lead me to spend time without drugs and alcohol for a number of years in the 12 step community. I was pointed to spiritual practice to eliminate unwanted thoughts and feelings. Being a human being, this didn't work.

My initial experiences with true psychedelics was with Salvia Divinorum, then LSD and Ketamine together, then DMT, fortunately for my sanity not in one sitting.  It was like going on holiday to somewhere I'd read about, only better, because I was just old and wise enough, not to have expectations to feel good and to trust the experience would end well. Experiences that promptly blow my mind wide open.

As Terence Mckenna says “Through psychedelics we are learning that God is not an idea, God is a lost continent in the human mind.”

That continent is an oasis for me, a place of absolute calm and freedom despite the fractal nature of human experience.

When I was in hospital with peritonitis, I was given oral morph, it constipated me and appeared to help with the pain, but nowhere near as effectively as the marijuana I prescribed myself when I got home, which relaxed me, helped me eat, suppressed nausea and seem to work symbiotically with my mind and body to facilitate healing.  It's illogical to me that we don't prescribe marijuana.

I used to believe that the only way to understand drugs was to take them, or to listen to someone who'd taken them. Now I realise that without proper education any mind/mood altering substance can be dangerous, and that that education must consist of a high amount of subjectivity and objectivity.

One of the ambivalences of substance illegality is the subculture of ghettoisation that it creates. The good side is the anarchistic nature of getting high, how fun that can be in itself, the vibrancy of Eves apple.Trust learnt whilst tripping can stick as hard as trust learnt in childhood and there's nothing more real than playing in the garden. The bad side is the paranoia that can be so prevalent due to the criminalising nature of doing something illegal.

In the end, I think that addiction is a behavior that can be attached to many sensations, not just those created by drugs. There are many problems with the model of drug addiction that predominates the mainstream. Despite my many compulsive experience with certain drugs I still believe that the nature of addiction is in the mind. However there are without doubt some substances that create a tolerance and therefore the potential for addiction.  Prohibition however without doubt, makes things worse, so it's time for us to imagine a different reality.  One where there is no war against the honest human desire to alter our consciousness.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Money Talks

'Taking the internal snowflake of the sensory motor system out of the mouth is a complicated process and that's where the complexity and diversity of language resides.'  Noam Chomsky 

The most common definition of money is as a medium of exchange, so why isn't economics a module in a media degree? Instead of a multi-billion dollar subject that seems to underwrite everything. 

What made me question the legitimacy of our financial system?

Maybe it was Douglas Adams jest about the Golgafrinchans using leaves for money and chopping down forests to pre-empt inflation.

Or maybe it was the collapse of the banking system that happened in 2008.
.
The internal snowflake of the mind, as Chomsky called it, the place where money begins, is something we really don't understand yet.  We haven't even begun to study it, as Chomsky points out in his lyrically succinct way. We have no real idea why we have such a complex and innate language capacity.  Seeing as language is the basis of money, we probably should reassess the 'science' of economics.  A science that is based on purely speculative numbers, but is treated as a hard science like physics. The error in this thinking is becoming more and more obvious as the financial system takes on a life of it's own, behaving in ways that are either cynically contrived or just totally out of control because the system is making decisions unwittingly based on made up figures and formulas. A computer doesn't say 'wait a minute that formulas seems a bit dodgy,' it just makes the trade.

A snowflake is a construct made of circles and lines, that has in its seed shape a unique imperfection that means when the iteration begins, that snowflake will be unique compared to any other snowflake.
Each of us, in Chomsky metaphor, are owners of a totally unique and incredibly complex capacity to communicate and exchange thoughts, feelings and desires. Which manifests itself in many, many, ways, words being the least complex of them all.  Music and art transmit proportional more information in a smaller amount of space and time than words can even begin to get close to.

Does this knowledge create space for a new system of trade? One that could be truly meritocratic? Where anything could potentially be used as means of communicating value.  Where a person is literally only as good as their word.  In fact that seems like the only viable outcome of this huge shift in perception, thanks to our minds sensory motor systems that are creating incredibly complex and accountable alternative trading systems like cryptocurrencies that have no need for middlemen and our impossible to  fraction, in the way that fiat capital is.

This is just one of the ways we can use our minds to create new and fare exchange systems.  A pre-cursor to truly organic communal living? After all, humanity is the source of value on this planet, not pieces of paper, or binary figments. The financial system we use now is obsolete. Obsolescence in markets happens all the time without any problems, yet the obsolescences of promissory notes and fiat capital almost brought us to our knees and that benefits no one. We must begin to see this system for what it is, purely a way for us to hold energy static in time and space.  A wonderful invention that in the form we use it now, is no more advanced than horse and carts.  Let us use the 'internal snowflake of the sensory motor system' to create something really special.