Imaginary ‘commie’ me and inequality
Jack talks about his imaginary communist side and economic disparity
I was rather excited when I saw that I’d had an entire response article written about my first column.
I had been warned that as a Tab columnist that you should expect to get some pretty scathing comments, but an entire article – wow.
It’s just a shame that this article wasn’t actually directed at me – it was directed at an imaginary communist, rollie smoking, Che Guevara t-shirt wearing, club-frequenting Jack from another dimension. I don’t want to piss on your embers but I’m not a fan of clubs, quit smoking a long time ago and prefer shirts to political Ts.
In effect, from a single aspect of my column – that I don’t really like the way that money has replaced human connection – they had desperately tried to find a way to label me. That label happened to be a ‘commie’, and from that he has drawn on a number of stock stereotypes and buzzwords which he has used to attack made-up-me and made-up-me’s ideas.
Anyway… I’m not a communist, and I don’t think anyone should wholeheartedly subscribe to any made up political label – be that marxism, anarchism, conservatism or capitalism (or so on). Mainly because you will never be entirely represented by any one of these ideals.
There are a few quite interesting ideas flagged up by my new admirer. Obviously, what has more generally been demonstrated is an underlying urge to categorize and divide up, and then use those categories as a means to attack individuals. As I have said before, dividing up society into a clean cut jigsaw contributes to the tribal aggressions in modern society.
If we are preoccupied with attacking each other then we are conveniently distracted from the genuine hypocrisies and economic inequalities created by our governments and the super rich. Here in the UK we are at the very top of the pyramid: we have an NHS, free schools, some benefits and a minimum wage, sometimes creating an illusion of equal opportunity.
In other countries it is more explicit. There is no welfare and almost no opportunity. The culture of political corruption is rife with TNCs like Shell exploiting and influencing governments poorer than the company. This undermines democracy, and breeds inequality both within the countries and on a global scale.
My point isn’t that all of capitalism is bad, and that it hasn’t influenced the development of society positively. At least initially, it empowered people who had previously been beaten down because of their family lineage, to be ruled by an aristocratic class. It allowed people to become something, and to rule themselves.
That is why my focus is on modern capitalism. It is no longer about free opportunity or fairness, it is about an economic elite who syphon off money. If you want stats, according to the Office for National Statistics, in Britain the richest 1% own as much wealth as the poorest 55%.
If you are from Britain, unless you are very lucky or already have money, ascending into this inner elite is just as hard as joining the aristocracy. If you are from a country which is exploited by TNCs then ascending through the capitalist ranks within your home country is nearly impossible. If you dare move to Britain or the USA you become a victimised immigrant – a scapegoat for economic and social issues.
The underlying hypocrisy is glaringly obvious, yet we still insist describing ourselves and others with dead words like ‘commie’ or ‘capitalist’, even though these terms simply cannot apply to the structure that we live in today. This isn’t even capitalism any more, it is exploitation on a massive scale. We are distracted and atomised, and made to feel deeply alienated from everything.
Fixing this problem is overwhelmingly difficult. Communism hasn’t worked, going on how we are right now isn’t working, and I doubt that doing a ‘V for Vendetta’ would work either. We vote in this government and that government who blandly nod forward the odd placebo policy about not taxing this group and not letting in that immigrant while they can’t and won’t do anything about the real problem.
And it’s depressing – the only joy that we often get as humans is receiving a pay-cheque or ‘treating ourselves’ to a new pair of shoes. We have so little genuine human connection that the ‘small things in life’ will have to do.
We aren’t going to rise up against the state and corporations, but what we can do is simply recognise one’s own individual capacity. These modern capitalist values make you feel like your worth is defined by what you own and how others view you as opposed to your actual self.
If you want to call it something call it a “Revolution of Everyday Life”. If we begin to recognise the ways in which we are being used and exploited then we can perhaps begin to focus on human connection and our true selves. We aren’t just money drones, we are human beings.
But hey, what do I know – I’m just a “commie” who doesn’t even spy for the USSR…