There's lots of common ground between feminism and trans rights, but in the media, division is emphasised.
Let's find the common ground between all our struggles, which are all sides of the same die. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
Sexism, transphobia, racism, economic exclusion, environmental injustice, intergenerational theft: a struggle against one is a struggle against all.
Wealth and power seek to atomise and rule.
We resist effectively when we stand together in solidarity.
Love is the value that should govern public life. If that sounds ridiculous, it shows only how far from our interests public life has strayed. By showing love to each other, we start building the society in which we wish to live.
When people talk about "the madness of crowds", as many have done recently, I suspect most are unaware of the politics they're invoking. Mostly without knowing it, they're drawing on the work of Gustave Le Bon, the French theorist who was a major influence on Hitler and Mussolini
His ideas about people in crowds losing their individuality and becoming impulsive, irrational and senselessly violent, succumbing to "a primitive racial unconscious", have been completely discredited, but they still strongly inform popular views of how people behave.
His theories exonerate external forces (such as the government or the police) for the way in which people behave en masse, decontextualising the situations crowds face, to make their actions look irrational. I wrote about it way back in 1996: monbiot.com/1996/06/20/why…
The story we keep hearing is that millions of people suddenly and simultaneously lose their minds: crowding the beaches, packing the streets of Soho etc. But if lots of people do the same thing at the same time, it’s not a coincidence. It’s because of signals the government sends
Because many people have been induced to stop believing in the efficacy of government, they succumb instead to essentialist myths about national character: “we behave like this because we’re British”. This feeds into far right generalisations about ethnicities and nationalities.
It fails to explain why we see completely different outcomes in adjoining nations. It’s about the leverage exerted by government and other powerful forces, not any congenital characteristics of the people. We are fundamentally the same, the world over.
For a few months at university, I was in the same social circle as Ghislaine Maxwell. I knew her fairly well. At first, it was fun. Then, almost overnight, I saw it for what it was: a networking nightmare of bright laughter and false friendship, with a howling void beneath.
No one gave a damn about anyone else. It was all about climbing the social ladder. I felt I had seen an X-ray of power and wealth in this country: the grinning skull and empty sockets beneath the peachy skin. It was terrifying. It set me on the path I've been on ever since.
I spiralled into a pretty dark place after that. I withdrew completely, and started the process of working out what a good life looked like, and how it could be lived. The experience inoculated me against ever again wanting to live the high life, or rub shoulders with that crowd.
We are urged to find calm in our lives. Calm is good, of course. But there’s a danger that clearing your mind of anxiety means clearing it of engagement with the great and troubling issues of our times.
Our political and intellectual health requires deep and sustained engagement. But this engagement can cause profound mental turmoil.
We should certainly seek to rid ourselves of the competitive anxieties in which we are schooled: about status, appearance, possessions. But beneath this are deeper anxieties we shouldn’t drop: about climate and ecological breakdown, democratic erosion, racism, sexism, plutocracy.
Powerful column by @NickCohen4 on the extreme rightwing culture warriors who began their political lives in the deeply weird far-left cult that Frank Furedi built among his students: theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
I've been documenting this cult's long march through the institutions since 1997. But I never guessed it would end up in Downing Street, working with a demagogic Tory Prime Minister: monbiot.com/1997/12/18/the…
In 1998 I began to understand the trick it keeps pulling off: claiming to be on the left while taking extreme right positions. It sows total confusion among its opponents, and cons broadcasters into imagining they're giving the left a platform: monbiot.com/1998/11/01/far…
), I suggested there was a lot more to be discovered about how Britain's hidden history of atrocities influences current politics. I woke up thinking about trade. Thread/
Current politicians fetishise trade. They tell poor nations it's the way to get rich. Trade deals and trade rules are used as powerful political instruments. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
But the more we discover about our own history, the less the "trade" on which Britain built its wealth looks like exchange, and the more it looks like looting. It meant extracting stolen resources and the products of slavery, debt bondage and land theft from other nations.
We should know as much about the atrocities committed by British governments in the 20th Century as the Germans do about theirs. But most people in the UK would have no idea what I’m referring to.
In this week’s column I try to put that right. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
This is Sir Evelyn Baring.
As governor of Kenya from 1952-59, he commissioned a system of concentration and slave labour camps, in which tens of thousands were tortured and mutilated, beaten and burnt to death.
He is Dominic Cummings’s grandfather-in-law.
Every schoolchild should know his name. But his cover-ups and deceptions were so ruthless and effective, and supported so comprehensively by the British government, that his great crimes are almost unknown to us.
The mysterious, relentless rise of members of the fake left/extreme right RCP network, at least one of whose outlets has been funded by Charles Koch, continues. theguardian.com/world/2020/jun…
The RCP network appears to be highly coodinated and highly secretive, especially about who funds it. It was a reader of mine who stumbled across the Koch money, buried in some obscure filings. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
As far as I can see, it uses Trotsky’s entryist tactics to pursue an extreme rightwing agenda. It began in 1970s as an obscure splinter group disrupting leftwing protests and strikes. In the 1990s its members moved en masse into the mainstream media: BBC, Channel 4, The Times.
Britain is adept at airbrushing its history. We remember the abolition of the Transatlantic slave trade, while forgetting its initiation and perpetuation.
We celebrate the culture of the Raj, white Kenya etc, while forgetting the murder and theft underpinning British colonialism
We know that colonial atrocities were perpetrated by other nations. But the great majority of people in the UK are unaware of the horrors perpetrated, within living memory, by our own government: theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
To judge by comments on Twitter, many people are determined to remember #EdwardColston's "philanthropy", and determined to forget the origin of the money he spent.
(Philanthropy translates literally as a love of people. Which is not how the slave trade is usually described)
The brutality we're seeing in America today began in 1492, and has never stopped.
The colonial economy of the Americas was built on theft and mass murder. There are plenty of powerful people who want to keep it that way.
In response to the tweet that followed, some people have pointed out that I wrongly implied a continuity/equivalence between British + Irish indentured servitude in the Caribbean and African chattel slavery. That wasn't my intention. To avoid misunderstandings, I'm rethreading.
I remember Cressida Dick from many years ago, when we negotiated with her as a mid-ranking officer in Thames Valley Police, during our Critical Mass protests. She was widely seen as a "good cop". But there's an institutional momentum within the police that sweeps all before it.
The personalities of individual officers are unimportant, by comparison to the personality of the force as a whole. As the police response in the US reminds us, the police can be all hearts and flowers one moment, and batons and pepper spray the next.
The Conservative manifesto promised: "we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards”.
Six months later ... telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/…
The accompanying promise in the Conservative manifesto? "In our trade talks ... the NHS is not on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs is not on the table. The services the NHS provides are not on the table."
How long will it be before we discover that this was also a lie?
If anyone believes the special tariffs will be maintained once the US has got its foot in the door, I've a bridge they might want to buy.
They're softening us up for direct competition with disgusting US food standards, without protection for UK farmers and producers.
Relaxing the lockdown was supposed to coincide with the Covid-19 threat level being reduced from 4 to 3. But the UK's four chief medical officers ALL refused to reduce it.
The government's response? It relaxed the lockdown anyway.
I call this culpable homicide.
Level 4 means "Transmission is high or rising exponentially". That's the level we're on, according to the government's own scientific advisers. The government's own code says that a "gradual relaxation of restrictions" should happen only at Level 3. bbc.co.uk/news/explainer…
So the government is directly countermanding its own criteria and the assessment of its advisers, putting us at sustained risk, and perhaps locking us into this pandemic for many months to come.
Why? So that Johnson can claim progress is being made.
Racism became prevalent because it was required to justify slavery, and the theft of land, labour and resources by colonialism.
Today it assists voter suppression, economic and civic exclusion, real estate grabs and mass incarceration.
It has always driven by power and greed.
Racism is often portrayed in the media as the preserve of knuckle-dragging far-right thugs. But these are just its foot solders. It is a systemic, institutional result of an exploitative economy, that commodifies and devalues human life.
One of the roles of the police is to protect the citadels of power from challenge - to maintain plutocracy and oligarchy within systems that purport to be democracies. This requires constant suppression of outgroups. Institutional police racism is an inevitable result.
a frightening lack of empathy in some responses to the easing: "old people will die anyway"
an individuation of blame for government failure: "it's covidiots behaving irresponsibly"
an individuation of responsibility for solving it.
These are the diseases of our age.
Now would be a good moment for the government's Chief Scientist (@uksciencechief) and Chief Medical Officer to resign, making it clear that they do not endorse the disastrous course it is taking, and will no longer be gagged and used as its human shields.
Otherwise, they're going to be turned into the fall guys for this catastrophe. If they don't walk now, Johnson won't hesitate to throw them under the bus (the one with £350m peeling from its sides) as soon as he feels enough pressure.
And the truth is that the longer they stay, the more complicit they become in the government's culpable negligence. This is more or less the last honourable moment they have to walk away. For their own sakes, and ours, they should take it.
From what I'm seeing in public places, lockdown and physical distancing are breaking down rapidly. Hardly surprising when the government tells us that the rules are no longer rules.
To protect one man, it will kill thousands.
There's a point at which negligence, incompetence, dishonesty and cover-ups become murder.
Those of us who still abide by the rules-which-are-no-longer-rules are made to feel like total suckers, as we watch other people enjoying themselves with their friends in the sun.
“The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output,” we are told, as it reprimands #EmilyMaitliss.
I could buy that - perhaps - if the rest of its output were not one long hymn to established power.
Take the BBC’s daily use of anonymous “sources”, spinning a line on behalf of powerful people.
Take its business reporting, which is *completely* unbalanced, seldom allowing any critic a slot.
Take its daily use of lobbyists claiming to be independent observers (IEA, TPA etc).
Take its obsession with noise above signal, providing a massive platform for buffoons (Johnson, Farage, Rees-Mogg, Francois) because of the reaction they generate, thereby empowering them and radically changing our politics. theguardian.com/commentisfree/…