At school we had World War Two drilled into us, in Scotland(Higher History- Charlie Rigg you were a fucking legend) it was how the social, political and economic came together and we studied Hitler’s use of propaganda. I went on to look at how those techniques were adapted post war. I assume that was what defined us moving into that period and the post war settlement beyond. Power held by transmission of message to populations who consumed that message communally.
I remember reading about Hitler in his prison cell, the book I was reading described a prison cell stocked with gifts and tokens give by those who adored him. A true fanboy to be idolised.
One of the things that is defining the crumbling post war settlement is that basically people are too smart for the way we have been governing ourselves, and once the sealed walls of media cultures used to transmitting with no feedback were broken, the limits of simplistic ideology when faced with the reality of people were seen.
I read back the blog I wrote in that first year of the anti-cuts movement, when Labour orbiting left wing structures started attaching themselves to people’s hardship, and I realised today that what I had been given was a tiny fishbowl through which to see how totalitarianism is delivered.
I remember the early days being stunned that Labour politicos truly expected those they came across to erase their own understanding of their own lives, to tally with the narrow and ridiculous frameworks of Labours non policy contortions, and I remember watching how these people woudl write what they clearly knew to be lies with no shame that the next week they would be writing something different. As if we couldn’t read it. I remember watching people like Owen Jones and Sunny Hundal when faced with people on benefits, or ex trade union members, and the way they would abuse them. When those people’s reality didn’t fit, resorting to abusive techniques like gaslighting. Yesterday watching Owen accuse Boycott workfare of passive aggression. The blocking then claiming victim so people will attack from the stuctures that back them up. I was so frightening I ended up being smeared in a tactic our political press think is normal behaviour. These people oblivious to the violence of what they were selling and to those who feel that violence daily.
I naiively thought this could not possibly be sustained, but had not understood the structures behind these people that uphold it. The well trodden paths of party politics, from elite universities, trade unions and media organisations. Cultures who had just expected to be entitled to attach themselves to our hardship because they had that right. Three years later it is only just about to end. The power held by social network.
People like Sunny Hundal and Ellie Mae O Hagan believed they had an absolute right to smear benefit claimants, to discuss whether a death was enough to make them cover issues they were not interested in. It was absolutely fine to lie and to support bullying behaviour. because they were the left. That those behaviours are an anathema to what most people see as grown up and decent, never mind left wing, had not occurred to people for whom this was an identity assumed for career that is supposed to exist away from the people they hurt. As things have developed and groups have formed to fight for the same things I was fighting for, I have had the privilege of watching the same cultural response to that threat. Boycott workfare, DPAC, even Jonny Void.
Yesterday I watched as an intelligent women was attacked for pointing out that Ken Loach’s film ‘Spirit of 45’ was an all white piece of male nostalgia about a Britain that never existed. I have grown used to being described as mental for my use of twitter to undermine the brands of the left. These people have no idea how distinctive and abusive their culture is.
I realised these people have no idea what they are doing or how harmful it is. They truly believe they have the right to use political capital from people who are genuinely suffering, not eating, finding their lives squashed as they struggle to stay upright during austerity, they truly believe those people should be grateful as they attach their political structures to hardship. And they truly believe that dissent from their very narrow and disturbingly childlike perspective deserves attack even if what they are doing is removing all chance of fighting what is happening. Even when they are disenfranchising those they attack and bully while complaining about hurt feelings. A professional culture built on social network, that holds up fanboys so they can be aggrieved should the effect of what they do be challenged. A culture who take offence at the idea they are not a force to be reckoned with while denying they hold any power at all while they abuse it. An abusive culture to keep debate within the parameters neo liberalism requires and to discredit anyone who thinks outside them.
I thought back to the post about fascism that I wrote, and I was trying to consider why it was that even though this culture have turned austerity into technical fascism, I was still optimistic and knew it would gain no traction. Then I realised it was twitter.
Had those techniques ever gained traction in the real world, the left would have been dangerous. Truly dangerous. The culture at the Labour Party now, makes them a much bigger and darker threat than the Conservatives(if we are honest) but twitter was our safety valve. We got to see them there first. Their culture revealed itself on a screen where we could ignore and laugh at them and let their behaviour educate us about what had gone wrong and why they would not help solve it. This is a crisis beyond a financial crisis, this is a crisis because we have all moved past those techniques.
Turkey, Brazi, everywhere, people have evolved past those techniques.
We are not in a financial crisis, and as each wave of protest comes, that becomes clearer. This is the end of the post war settlement. Those techniques don’t work any more and you can’t fake an assembly at a time when they spring up apparently at random as a sign change is coming and inevitable.
The British left are a teeny weeny metal lid, on a cola bottle being shook, and they are only held on by twitter. Assemblies that exclude those they claim to fight for, after decidin they are disposable, charge to get in and exclude by providing no childcare have siphoned off those people, into a harmless arena where they can draw pictures and talk to themselves, and in doing so have provided demonstrations of why things need to change. The only thing you need to avoid them is avoid twitter and the only thing you need to undermine them is twitter.
The adoration and fanboyism of the so called progressives willing to attack viciously should their idols be criticised, or should the clear imposition of white, male political structures on something that has nothing to do with them be questioned, has provided a real time education and demonstration which neutralised that threat in the outside world.