Posts Tagged ‘totalitarianism’

A superb piece from George Monbiot, covering a lot of ground about a system that some people are not even aware exists. It is important that people start to wake up to the this. We are sleep walking our way towards disaster, be it climate change, economic and social collapse or catastrophic war.


Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the White House.

 

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism.

The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, has no name.
Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug.
Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it.

Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?
Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises:
the financial meltdown of 2007‑8,
the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse,
the slow collapse of public health and education,
resurgent child poverty,
the epidemic of loneliness,
the collapse of ecosystems,
the rise of Donald Trump.

But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name.

What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers.
Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone.
Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it.

The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

  • Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising.
  • Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident.
  • Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault.

In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers. Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938.

Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control.
Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists.

The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change … there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”.
With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed:
massive tax cuts for the rich,
the crushing of trade unions,
deregulation,
privatisation,
outsourcing and
competition in public services.
Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world.

Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”.
But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied –

“my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”.

The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means;
the freedom to suppress wages.
Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers,
endanger workers,
charge iniquitous rates of interest and
design exotic financial instruments.
Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as; “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” in New Orleans.

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections.

When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers.
The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich.
Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income.
When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays.
The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel.

Those who own and run the UK’s privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. “Like rent,” he argues, “interest is … unearned income that accrues without any effort”.
As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money.
Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains.
Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course.
Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes.
Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to;
cut taxes,
privatise remaining public services,
rip holes in the social safety net,
deregulate corporations and
re-regulate citizens.

The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector. Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis.
As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts.
Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, “people can exercise choice through spending”.
But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle.
As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement.
Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that;

“fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”.

When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power.
The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to “cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them”.

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed.
But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement.
We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that
“in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations.
What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want.

“Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things.

One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities,
the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains.

Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entrepreneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism:

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded.
Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute.
Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom.

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

 

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His Observations on the Famous Novel (1937)


Written: 1937
First Published: Joan London, Jack London and His Times,
Source: The New International, Vol. XI No. 3, April 1945, p. 95.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/xx/ironheel.htm


Trotsky’s commentary on Jack London’s great classic, The Iron Heel, was written in Mexico some time in 1937. Originally, it was published as part of the biography, Jack London and His Times, written by his daughter, Joan London, to whose courtesy we are obliged for its reproduction in these pages. Joan London writes us that an earlier letter from Trotsky explained why The Iron Heel struck him so forcibly, due to the fact that he had been unaware of its existence until she sent him a copy. It is not necessary to add anything else to what we print here by Trotsky, except to note that the abruptness of its opening sentence is due to the omission from the original published text of the first paragraph. – Editor

… The book produced upon me – I speak without exaggeration – a deep impression. Not because of its artistic qualities: the form of the novel here represents only an armor for social analysis and prognosis. The author is intentionally sparing in his use of artistic means. He is himself interested not so much in the individual fate of his heroes as in the fate of mankind. By this, however, I don’t want at all to belittle the artistic value of the work, especially in its last chapters beginning with the Chicago commune. The pictures of civil war develop in powerful frescoes. Nevertheless, this is not the main feature. The book surprised me with the audacity and independence of its historical foresight.

The world workers’ movement at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century stood under the sign of reformism. The perspective of peaceful and uninterrupted world progress, of the prosperity of democracy and social reforms, seemed to be assured once and for all. The first Russian revolution, it is true, revived the radical flank of the German social-democracy and gave for a certain time dynamic force to anarcho-syndicalism in France. The Iron Heel bears the undoubted imprint of the year 1905. But at the time when this remarkable book appeared, the domination of counterrevolution was already consolidating itself in Russia. In the world arena the defeat of the Russian proletariat gave to reformism the possibility not only of regaining its temporarily lost positions but also of subjecting to itself completely the organized workers’ movement. It is sufficient to recall that precisely in the following seven years (1907–14) the international social-democracy ripened definitely for its base and shameful role during the World War.

Jack London not only absorbed creatively the impetus given by the first Russian revolution but also courageously thought over again in its light the fate of capitalist society as a whole. Precisely those problems which the official socialism of this time considered to be definitely buried: the growth of wealth and power at one pole, of misery and destitution at the other pole; the accumulation of social bitterness and hatred; the unalterable preparation of bloody cataclysms – all those questions Jack London felt with an intrepidity which forces one to ask himself again and again with astonishment: when was this written? Really before the war?

One must accentuate especially the role which Jack London attributes to the labor bureaucracy and to the labor aristocracy in the further fate of mankind. Thanks to their support, the American plutocracy not only succeeds in defeating the workers’ insurrection but also in keeping its iron dictatorship during the following three centuries. We will not dispute with the poet the delay which can but seem to us too long. However, it is not a question of Jack London’s pessimism, but of his passionate effort to shake those who are lulled by routine, to force them to open their eyes and to see what is and what approaches. The artist is audaciously utilizing the methods of hyperbole. He is bringing the tendencies rooted in capitalism: of oppression, cruelty, bestiality, betrayal, to their extreme expression. He is operating with centuries in order to measure the tyrannical will of the exploiters and the treacherous rôle of the labor bureaucracy. But his most “romantic” hyperboles are finally much more realistic than the bookkeeper-like calculations of the so-called “sober politicians.”

It is easy to imagine with what a condescending perplexity the official socialist thinking of that time met Jack London’s menacing prophecies. If one took the trouble to look over the reviews of The Iron Heel at that time in the German Neue Zeit and Vorwärts, in the Austrian Kampf and Arbeiterzeitung, as well as in the other socialist publications of Europe and America, he could easily convince himself that the thirty-year-old “romanticist” saw incomparably more clearly and farther than all the social-democratic leaders of that time taken together. But Jack London bears comparison in this domain not only with the reformists. One can say with assurance that in 1907 not one of the revolutionary Marxists, not excluding Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, imagined so fully the ominous perspective of the alliance between finance capital and labor aristocracy. This suffices in itself to determine the specific weight of the novel.

The chapter, The Roaring Abysmal Beast, undoubtedly constitutes the focus of the book. At the time when the novel appeared this apocalyptical chapter must have seemed to be the boundary of hyperbolism. However, the consequent happenings have almost surpassed it. And the last word of class struggle has not yet been said by far! The “Abysmal Beast” is to the extreme degree oppressed, humiliated, and degenerated people. Who would now dare to speak for this reason about the artist’s pessimism? No, London is an optimist, only a penetrating and farsighted one. “Look into what kind of abyss the bourgeoisie will hurl you down, if you don’t finish with them!” This is his thought.

Today it sounds incomparably more real and sharp than thirty years ago. But still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind. London manifests remarkable freedom from reformistic pacifist illusions. In this picture of the future there remains not a trace of democracy and peaceful progress. Over the mass of the deprived rise the castes of labor aristocracy, of praetorian army, of an all-penetrating police, with the financial oligarchy at the top. In reading it one does not believe his own eyes: it is precisely the picture of fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology! The fact is incontestable: in 1907 Jack London already foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution. Whatever may be the single “errors” of the novel – and they exist – we cannot help inclining before the powerful intuition of the revolutionary artist.

The TORY impoverishment of Student Nurses.

Yesterday was the last day of parliament in a week where the HoC voted with a clear majority to commit to £205BILLION in spending on a Trident weapons of mass annihilation nuclear weapons system, and the new PM used the day, like the coward she is, to announce that bursaries for the education of new student nurses will be cut from 2017. Meaning nurses will face £50,000+ debt for a degree qualification on top of which they already work a 35hr week on top to achieve. Money for Nuclear Bombs / Massive personal DEBT for student nurses!

Tory Bastards, absolute bastards!

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday – The Guardian article:                                          Bursaries for student nurses will end in 2017, government confirms Anger as Department of Health says replacing bursaries with loans will free up £800m a year to create extra nursing roles theguardian.com      

 

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday.

Britain’s new prime minister is seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’, and many of us are yearning for that at a time of massive political turmoil. But, argues Owen Jones, we should still think about what kind of politician she is. From opposing the convention of human rights, to telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home’, there are things we should know about our new prime minister… https://www.facebook.com/theguardian/videos/10154358383056323/

 

Mark McGowan, The Artist Taxi Driver: “Not only does Theresa May want student nurses to work unpaid for 37.5hrs a week they also want to charge them £10,000’s just to be able to work!”

 

May is such an appalling threat to any sort of freedom (except that of fraudsters to evade detection)

This Theresa May government will get away with murder… just like the previous Tory administration did with IDS.

This all happened under David Cameron’s watch.

George Duncan Smith: “I’m improving peoples lives, I’m getting them off benefits and I’m proud of my achievements.”

Below are some of his ‘achievements’;

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

Jan, a lady of unknown age suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old, a shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.”

Stephen Lynam, 53 suffered from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, a heart condition and musculo-skeletal problems. Found ‘fit for work’ after a WCA. After 22 weeks his mandatory reconsideration was turned down. Facing eviction, not eating properly and getting even more depressed he died shortly after finding out he was allowed to appeal the departments decision.

Malcolm Burge, 66, was left in despair after finding himself more than £800 in debt because of a cut in his housing benefit, drove himself to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset where he took his own life by setting himself alight in his Skoda Octavia.

Benjamin Del McDonald, 34 took his own life after his benefits were stopped and he was threatened with eviction from his home.

Mark Harper has insisted the Government is right to ignore these achievements.

David Cameron is “proud” of George Duncan Smith’s achievements!

 

suspends EU Convention after attempted coup

The European Human Rights Convention is suspended during the State of Emergency in Turkey after failed coup attempt, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.

Turkey will suspend the European Convention on Human Rights as the country enters into a 1.5-month state of emergency following an attempted government overthrow, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Thursday.

“We want to end the state of emergency as soon as possible, within a maximum of 1.5 months. The European Human Rights Convention is suspended during the State of Emergency,” Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File)
© AFP 2016/ STR / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE

The state of emergency entered into force Thursday after being announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and published later in the official gazette.In the wake of the attempted coup, Turkish authorities have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on individuals believed to be involved, including governors, prosecutors, intelligence officers, judges, and military personnel.

The EU foreign ministers urged Turkey on Monday to abide by the norms of the Convention, including the abolition of death penalty, when punishing participants of a coup attempt numbering in the thousands.


The country had earlier entered into a 1.5 month state of emergency following the

The Five Rules Of Propaganda as laid out by Edward Bernays, godfather of PR, nephew of Freud.

The Five basic rules of propaganda, once you’ve read, absorbed and understood these five points, you will almost certainly see all these techniques within minutes of turning on the TV news or picking up a newspaper.

1:The rule of simplification:

reducing all data to a simple confrontation between ‘Good and Bad’, ‘Friend and Foe’ (or even ‘Right and Wrong’).

2:The rule of disfiguration:

discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies.

3:The rule of transfusion:

manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one’s own ends.

4:The rule of unanimity:

presenting one’s viewpoint as if it were the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people: draining the doubting individual into agreement by the appeal of star-performers, by social pressure, and by ‘psychological contagion’.

5:The rule of orchestration:

endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations.


Thirty one minutes of outstanding lecture on the history of propaganda and it’s relevance to Obama and the Empire of the USA.

John Pilger – Obama & Empire

https://t.co/PGHxb4ggme
Bernays, Disinformation, PR & Propaganda speech 2013. WHAM – Winning Hearts And Minds
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmtNIC8zv0)

QC Jolyon Maughan, ripping lying spiv Gideon Osborne’s claims before parliament to SHREDS!
http://youtu.be/B4l07CC5xWM The Artist Taxi Driver, Mark McGowan
DID CUTTING THE TOP RATE REALLY RAISE £8BN?
 
Osborne has said that reducing the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p raised an additional £8bn from the highest earners in its first year. Speaking in the Commons he said the revelation “completely defies” predictions made by Labour that cutting the rate from 50p to 45p would cost £3bn and give top earners an average £10,000 tax cut. HMRC previously estimated that cutting the top rate from 50p to 45p would cost the Exchequer £100m.
Osborne said:
“Under this government the richest pay a higher proportion of income tax than under the last Labour government. Indeed we have just had numbers out this morning from HMRC which for the first time show the income tax data for the year 2013/14, which is when the 50p rate was reduced to 45p.
 
And what that shows is that actually there was an £8bn increase in revenues from additional rate taxpayers, which completely defies the predictions made by the Labour party at the time and shows that what we have are lower, competitive taxes that are paid by all.” ( Guardian Reporter )
 
I don’t have the number to which Osborne refers but it is broadly in line with what was forecast in May 2015 which showed a projected increase in income tax paid by additional rate taxpayers of £7.1bn.
 
Does this increase vindicate, as Osborne suggests, to the tune of £8bn of extra receipts the decision to cut the 50p rate?
 
Reader, it does NOT!
 
Tax receipts were artificially low in 2012-13 (because people delayed receiving income until rates fell) and were artificially high in 2013-14 (when those delayed receipts were received). Combine those two numbers and you may well explain your £7bn jump.
 
Please Read More here, see graphs included: http://waitingfortax.com/2016/03/01/did-cutting-the-top-rate-really-raise-8bn/ Jolyon Maughan QC

This is a superb documentary about muslim Cartoonists, researching the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris from Charlie Hebdo to the Bataclan, well worth 25minutes of your time. It covers Jordanians, Afghani’s, Lebanese and Iranians who risk their lives to create satirical cartoons. They caricature ISIS/Daesh, USA, Saudis & Mohammed.

Literally some of the bravest artists still alive.

A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes and cartoonists have, for thousands of years, used art as satire, to speak out about what’s wrong with society. By definition, the work discusses, and even ridicules, the hot, current and controversial subjects of the day to draw attention to important issues and provoke dialogue. The objective may simply be to illustrate the funny side of a story or, of course, to precipitate change and make a difference. Because of that potential power and influence, many countries impose strict limits on the topics they allow cartoonists to address, topping the taboo list are politics, religion and sex.

It is not simply because of unwritten rules of local morality that comic illustrators are required to steer clear of cartoons depicting certain subjects if they don’t want to be thrown in jail or get killed by zealous extremists. Not everywhere enjoys freedom of speech as a guaranteed right and in such places, the cost of a simple satirical sketch can even be life itself. In some parts of the world, the job means a constant battle between an artist’s convictions and desire to live.

RT Doc visits Jordan, Lebanon, Iran and Afghanistan to meet local cartoonists and explore how satirists ply their trade against a backdrop of harsh government censorship and death threats from religious fanatics. The film examines the boundaries within which cartoonists often have to work. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, we ask the cartoonists about their attitudes to their French colleagues’ work and the tragedy that killed them. Our contributors also discuss why the magazine’s cartoons caused such fatal controversy.

https://youtu.be/yJeaRhSg1pA