Thursday, 19 August 2021

Captain Hindsight and the Woeful Neoliberal Response to Afghanistan

Parliament was recalled from its near-endless summer break for MPs to discuss the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and every blue tick journalist on Twitter went into meltdown, telling us how they didn't want to hear from one of only four serving politicians who voted against the Afghanistan War. Jeremy Corbyn.

Here was the politician who called Afghanistan right every step of the way for 20 years, and they were livid because they knew it, but they could not eat humble pie and give the man the credit he so rightly deserves. They did not want to listen and learn because that would mean admitting the ideology they've pushed throughout their careers was built upon lies and greed. Neoliberalism is bankrupt, both morally and economically, and the complete inability of its proponents to self-reflect is now painfully on display for all to see.

We're not going to focus on the wise words of Jeremy Corbyn today though, because the blue ticks, in their wisdom, would rather learn from those who got things so badly wrong and their ideological successors.

So let's take a look at the current Labour leader...

Sir Keith Starmer, fresh from saying we should embrace Tony Blair's legacy, seems to be implying our troops should return to Afghanistan to help with the "humanitarian effort", or at the very least that troops should not have left.

"We do have an obligation here to step up and lead and support the Afghan government," Starmer said in a recent interview, refusing to clarify whether he wanted to commit more British troops, but calling for an urgent meeting of NATO and saying we can't "turn our backs on Afghanistan".

Does Keith seriously think the occupation should have continued indefinitely? That the role of British and American troops is to prop up foreign governments forever? Well, no, he doesn't, apparently, but he said the "timing of this is in question", failing to explain how the situation would've been any different in three months, six months, a year... 

Starmer appears to be all over the place. He is quite happy to point out things have gone badly, but is rather reluctant to say what he would've done differently. He is certainly strong in his condemnations of Joe Biden though:

“I was deeply concerned that he didn’t recognise the wider consequences of the action that he’s taken in withdrawing the way he has withdrawn,” Starmer said. Not sure if he was told to say that by his focus groups or his financial backers, but either way, good grief.

Starmer had many more words of condemnation for Joe Biden and attacked him more fiercely than I've ever seen him attack the Tories. It seems the only people Starmer is not attacking on this matter are the far right crackpots who want to send the troops back in. They are Starmer's audience now. The Labour leader has found himself to the right of not just Joe Biden, but even Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. It's like we've stepped into the Twilight Zone.

The problem is Starmer's had confirmation since April, the US was going to withdraw troops before September 11th and he's been completely silent up until now. Bizarrely, he's even resorted to criticising Boris Johnson for Joe Biden's actions, accusing the prime minister of "complacency over the Taliban threat". 

Now, I'm obviously no fan of the prime minister, but this is not a valid line of attack, Keith! You can't blame Johnson for the actions of the US president, but perhaps you think the UK should've maintained a military presence for a while longer (something you've not previously suggested). I suspect, in actual fact, you're doing what you falsely accused Jeremy Corbyn of doing - bleating from the sidelines without any intelligent input on how things could've been done better.

And it's particularly worrying to see the Labour leader attacking known war hawk Joe Biden from the right. Biden has always loved military intervention and now Keith is telling us he's clearly to the right of the Democrats on this issue. So much for Mr Anti-war lawyer.

But to be fair, the worst recent input on Afghanistan has not come from Keith. No, his MPs have managed to outshine him in that regard with their breathtaking ignorance.

Let's take Blairite MP Stella Creasy, for example, who demonstrated she doesn't have the slightest clue what she is talking about, when she suggested the Taliban could end up harbouring ISIS. 

Twitter users were quick to point out ISIS and the Taliban have been actively fighting each other, prompting Stella to deny she'd ever said this, using the most absurd semantic argument. Note how she switched the wording from "the Taliban" to "Afghanistan", once she'd realised the absurdity of suggesting mortal enemies could be working together. To be clear, she originally said: "We need to get agreement by the UN and NATO that if the Taliban provide a safe haven for Al Quaida or ISIS, we will not stand for it."

She, of course, played the victim, implying she was being bullied, simply because she'd been fact checked and held to account. However, it gets worse because she appeared to U-turn again, standing by the original statement she'd previously denied making on the basis she'd consulted experts who've spent years studying the matter. She truly tied herself in the most spectacular knots!

We could all have a good laugh about this, but the sad fact is these ignorant individuals are involved in life and death conversations and they are clearly just winging it. If you've ever wondered how we find ourselves in such disastrous foreign interventions, it's precisely because we elect such morally and intellectually vacuous careerists.

These galaxy brains were complaining in parliament that: "If there was a vote today, the government would have lost." 

As Aaron Bastani pointed out on Twitter, a vote on what? Britain's role in Afghanistan ended a long time ago! This was an American decision to withdraw American troops. In what alternative universe would parliament get a vote on that? The ignorance on display was truly next level stuff.

And if there was any doubt Labour is now the party of the military industrial complex, we have Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy saying the Afghanistan war was "absolutely right" but there are "lessons to be learned."

Yes, there truly are lessons to be learned, Lisa, but clearly you've learned the exact opposite lessons to the ones you were supposed to learn. I mean what exactly are you suggesting here? That the initial invasion and quarter of a million casualties was the good part? That's the part we got right? The part which caused over a million serious injuries and left 5-10 million people destitute? 

What lessons do you think need to be learned exactly? That the US should've done a better troop withdrawal? Or should have stayed longer? Perhaps you think they should've stayed and hunted down every member of the Taliban who was lying low and making themselves indistinguishable from any other member of the Afghan population. I mean what could you possibly mean from "there are lessons to be learned"?

Does Lisa Nandy seriously think next time, we simply need to do our military intervention a little more efficiently? Tweak it here and there so it's more effective? My God!

The only lesson to be learned is that western military interventions end in disaster for everyone, apart from the western corporations who make huge sums of money from them. Iraq was a disaster. Libya was a disaster. Syria was a disaster. Our interventions created ISIS, for fuck's sake. How did you miss this?

You can't just kill a quarter of a million people to bomb some democracy into a country you know nothing about. Remember when Blair and Bush told us the Taliban had been defeated and we'd ushered in a new era of democracy? Well, they failed spectacularly on their own terms. They did not, and could not, defeat the Taliban.

And if you think for even a microsecond the logical next step is to send British troops into Afghanistan, you truly terrify me. The Taliban have captured state of the art US weaponry now. A return of British troops would not mean peace keeping, it would mean another quarter of a million dead. You don't save people by killing them.

For God's sake, please just stop. Neoliberals are dangerous, incapable of humility and self-reflection, and utterly pathological in their desire to control other countries. How could any self-respecting person on the left vote for this lot? Blue Labour is a cess-pit.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

The Afghanistan War: Neoliberal Interventionists are the Biggest Threat to World Peace

It seems we have learnt nothing from Afghanistan, or more accurately, learnt the exact opposite lessons to those we were supposed to learn. Some of the recent hot takes on the internet have depressed me, and the input from our politicians has horrified me. 

Britain and America have just ended a 20 year military occupation (that's 3.3 times longer than WW2!) which has achieved nothing, other than violence, destruction and death. It should be a time for our nations to show humility, to accept our attempts at "nation building" and "spreading democracy" were horribly misguided at the very least, but could better be described as dishonest and extremely sinister. 

While some gullible people supported military intervention for noble intentions, those pulling the strings certainly did not share those noble intentions. The public were played and our soldiers were used as pawns. Powerful people used the horror of 9/11 to emotionally manipulate us, to play on our fears, and to cast their critics as risks to national security so they could line their own pockets. Former US vice president and CEO of Halliburton Dick Cheney became a billionaire, for fuck's sake.

A handful of noble politicians like Jeremy Corbyn warned us about all of this, but they were dismissed by the mainstream media and our political leaders. I remember as a young man, thinking history will show us who was right and who was wrong, and will surely help the public understand who the good guys are. 

History, of course, vindicated the anti-war movement, showing them to be right every step of the way, and the Blairites and US neocons wrong every step of the way. And now, instead of eating humble pie, blue tick neoliberals on Twitter are accusing the left of "gloating" for pointing this out. 

We're not gloating, we're fucking traumatised and exhausted by your inability to listen and learn, and your constant enabling of needless war. Members of my family served in Afghanistan. One saw his friends blown to pieces in front of his own eyes at the age of 18. How can you not be angry about this? And how can you possibly want more intervention? 

You seriously want another war in Afghanistan? Another one? 

Did it escape your attention the Taliban have the state of the art weaponry the US left behind for the Afghan army? Did it occur to you the Mujahideen, who later became the Taliban, were originally armed and trained by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan? We created this monster and far from defeating it, we only made it a hell of a lot stronger. Go imperialism!

Oh, you want more war because you're concerned about women's rights now? 

Rewind to the 1970s before western "interventions" and Afghanistan's women were free. Now they're not free, thanks to our 40 years of meddling in their affairs. If you really think women's rights are justification for another war and another indefinite occupation, then please explain why you're not chomping at the bit to invade Saudi Arabia.

Not only is Saudi Arabia among the worst abusers of women's rights on Earth, it also gave us the 9/11 hijackers who were aided by the Saudi intelligence services. If we were going to invade any country in retaliation for 9/11, or to protect women's rights, then surely that should've been Saudi Arabia. Here was the state providing Al Qaueda's credit card, and we called them, and still call them, our "friend and ally". Meanwhile, literally no one in Afghanistan was interested in the west. We invaded their country for nothing.

Well, not for nothing. 

We got oil pipelines out of it, which we no longer need. Other than that, who benefited? Weapons manufacturers, security contractors and the opium trade. We started a war no one asked for, to help the worst people on Earth make money - people who profit from suffering and death. If you doubt that for one second, just ask yourself why we didn't invade any of the countries where we might have had stronger justification. 

Saudi Arabia bows to imperialism so it's allowed to treat women as terribly as it wants, and it's even allowed to murder 2,977 civilians on US soil. Just think about that. A nation can commit any atrocity it likes, as long as it surrenders to western corporations, as long as it lets rich westerners get richer. The warmongers never gave a fuck about your safety, just like they never gave a fuck about the safety of people in Afghanistan.

We killed 241,000 people to "liberate" them. That's a medium-sized British city. It's almost three Wembley stadiums. If that doesn't horrify you, seriously, what is wrong with you? Were you born with the empathy part of your brain missing?

Imagine saying: "I'm concerned about the human rights situation so I'm going to pack people - men, women and children - into three Wembley-sized stadiums and I'm going to blow them to smithereens, killing every last man, woman and child. That should keep the country safe."

Only it's worse than that because we didn't just kill people, we maimed countless civilians and traumatised the majority of the population. Experts believe 60% of the Afghanistan population are suffering from mental health trauma as a result of the war.

And for what? The moment we pulled out, the Afghan army collapsed because they were so badly outnumbered, and because most of them were probably on the side of the Taliban anyway. Either we didn't bother assessing what the consequences of troop withdrawal would be, or we didn't care about those consequences. But either way, we have yet another military intervention without a coherent exit plan. And America has lost another 20 year war it started for no reason. It's like the sequel to Vietnam.

But, of course, being a compassionate nation which cares so deeply about Afghan human rights, we are ready to welcome those refugees with open arms, right? Wrong!

Priti Patel is saying that welcoming refugees would send out the "wrong kind of message" while centrist hero Emmanuel Macron is saying we need to cut off migrant routes. The establishment is already rebranding refugees as "migrants" and incel supreme commander Nigel Farage is suggesting the refugees are actually Taliban operatives. But the most popular hot take on the internet is we should let the women and children come, but not the men.

Let's just unpack this.

We have racism and sexism here. We have the suggestion that Afghan men are sinister, inherently dangerous, not deserving of their internationally recognised right to asylum. We have a position that is not just morally bankrupt but illegal under international law. You can't just say men are not allowed to be refugees. I can't believe I have to explain this to adults.

What do you think the asylum process is for? It was literally put in place to safeguard the lives of people fleeing war and terror. 

Oh, you want the men to stay and fight? Then please explain how a bunch of unarmed men are supposed to defeat an army which has just wiped out the Afghan army in a week and are now armed to the teeth with American weapons. 

But you don't want them to stay and fight, do you? You don't give a fuck what happens to them. While you're banging on about the women's rights that you never really cared about, the number one target for the Taliban right now is fighting age men. They're being executed in the street. That's why they're fleeing in such high numbers.

And now the military industrial complex is trying to claim lack of intervention will lead to a dangerous power vacuum. Do not listen to these lunatics. I repeat, do not listen to these lunatics!

The power vaccuums created by our recent interventions gave rise to ISIS - that's another extremist group which has received western training and is armed with western weaponry. We're really good at creating the exact situations we're supposedly trying to prevent.

Perhaps the most depressing thing is how centrists and conservatives are already arguing over who is to blame, failing to consider they're two cheeks on the same imperialist arse. Both supported intervention. Both had no understanding of the situation in the region. Both never considered the consequences of their actions. Both had no exit plan. Both mocked and disregarded the left who have been proven right every step of the way

Both centrists and conservatives are to blame. And yet they still like to masquerade as the grownups in the room, and ask ridiculous questions like, what would the left's alternative have been? That we just do nothing? 

Yes, please, next time, just do nothing! We are not the world's police. It's not our place to bomb other countries whenever something bad happens. That does not make us the good guys. We do not improve situations by killing people. The only thing, I repeat, the only thing we should be doing now is welcoming as many Afghan refugees into our country as humanly possible. 

If you don't want refugees coming to your country, don't bomb their country for 20 years.

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Some Shocking Facts About the Afghanistan War

As we are painfully aware, the US and UK invaded Afghanistan as punishment for 9/11, even though Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11, and we made no serious attempt to discuss peace because peace was never our goal. 

Diplomatic negotiations are understood to have gone something like this:

America: "Hey, Afghanistan, we think Osama Bin Laden is responsible for 9/11 and might be hiding in your mountains."

Afghanistan: "Okay, if you could just show us the evidence of Bin Laden's guilt, we'll be happy to look into that for you."

America: "No, we are going to bomb you instead!"

And they literally did...

Britain and America invaded Afghanistan just three weeks and five days after 9/11. Less than a month. They did not bother taking the time to properly investigate, nor pursue diplomatic channels, let alone establish a legal basis for intervention because the military industrial complex wanted to invade. There was money to be made.

Britain and America always help themselves to the natural resources of any country they like, and if arms manufacturers can make a pretty penny in the process, that's an added bonus. Obviously, this is not how normal countries behave, it's how imperialists behave, and the actions were undeniably illegal under international law.

"The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the United States and thus part of US law. Under the charter, a country can use armed force against another country only in self-defence or when the Security Council approves. Neither of those conditions were met before the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. Nineteen men – 15 from Saudi Arabia – did, and there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the US or another UN member country. The council did not authorise the United States or any other country to use military force against Afghanistan. The US war in Afghanistan is illegal." Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president of the National Lawyers Guild.

To emphasise, those are the words of the President of the National Lawyers Guild, in other words someone who knows a thing or two about the law. Absurdly, George Bush jr justified military intervention on the basis Afghanistan threatened the sovereignty of other nations. Pretty sure George was trolling us with this one though, because by his own logic, America should have invaded itself many times over by now. 

As Marjorie Cohn stated, none of the hijackers came from Afghanistan, but what she didn't mention is the evidence that Saudi Arabia was the key suspect for 9/11.

The Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 stated that some of the 9/11 hijackers were financially supported by the Saudi Arabian government and intelligence services. It was strongly believed Saudi Arabia was connected to Al Quaida, yet we continued to call this country our "friend and ally" while bombing the country that had nothing to do with 9/11. 

Saudi Arabia was suspected to be behind 9/11, but we knowingly invaded a country that wasn't and lied to the public about it.

If a country joins the British/American empire, it seems they are allowed to get away with anything, even toppling the World Trade Centre, but if a country refuses to surrender to imperialism, it will be destroyed one way or another. If you're wondering whether we are bad guys in this equation, the answer is yes, we are.

And it gets worse... 

Afghanistan was accused of harbouring Osama Bin Laden, but the US was accused of actually training him and the Mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan war, although the US insists it was simply providing foreign aid. Among the CIA's accusers was former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook who later dropped dead, sending conspiracy theorists into overdrive. 

"Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the '80s, he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage war against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan." Former UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

But all this was obviously worthwhile...

Conservative estimates put the Afghanistan death toll at 111,000 civilian casualties and 241,000 total casualties. An estimated 1-1.5 million civilians were injured and 5-10 million were driven from their homes, but you'll be relieved that $1 trillion in mineral reserves and $123 billion in oil and gas reserves were liberated in the process. This means each civilian died for roughly $10 million, if my maths is correct. Nice to know the cost of human life.

The Afghanistan war cost the US tax payer $2.4 trillion - it wasn't just the Afghans who were robbed, the Americans were too.

Afghanistan is the longest war in US history and has created an almighty mess, destabilising the middle east, strengthening the Taliban, and leaving so many Afghans terrified of their vengeance. Yet it was completely unnecessary and utterly illegal, making Tony Blair and George Bush jr war criminals who belong behind bars for the rest of their lives.

America invaded the wrong country while remaining allies with the guilty country because this was never about 9/11 and always about money. The US President and UK Prime Minister (of the time) pulled off the most outrageous acts of theft and mass murder under the pretence of keeping us safe, while making the world a much more dangerous place. They were able to do this because our peoples were in a vulnerable emotional state, following the horrific events of 9/11 and a fearful public is easier to manipulate. The attacks on the twin towers were utterly horrendous, but we responded by killing 36 times more innocent people in another country. We responded to evil with an even greater evil.

But I am not in any way attacking our troops, by the way. I have family members who fought in this damn war and lost their friends at a tragically young age. They were victims of the US and UK governments, just as much as the Afghan civilians were. Our brave men and women were pawns.

If Britain and America really want to put things right, they could start by offering asylum to all refugees and holding the guilty parties accountable in a court of law. The year 2021 should see the trials of Tony Blair and George Bush jr.

Side note: If ever you've wanted evidence of how the MSM will simply erase history, I read two Guardian articles while researching this piece. The first article reported the CIA trained Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahideen. The second article stated there was no evidence the CIA trained Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahideen. It was like the first article disappeared down the memory hole.

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Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Climate Destruction: The Boomer Legacy

Now if you're part of the "not all boomers" brigade, that headline probably made you wince, but if you're honest with yourself, that's because you know the headline is more or less true. So please, stop talking, stop trying to deligitimise the very legitimate anger of younger generations, and if you must direct your anger, direct it at the 60% plus of your generation who have repeatedly voted for a future which includes our children not having a habitable planet.

We're furious. And we've every right to be furious. And if you really want to be an ally on this, it starts with dropping the "not all boomers" crap. Imagine saying "not all white people" when a black person discusses white privilege or "not all police officers" when a victim of police brutality highlights police corruption or "not all men" when a woman talks about feeling unsafe at night. It's totally unhelpful.

You don't lecture victims, you listen, you show support and you direct your anger at the culprits, which in this case is 2/3 of your generation, and to a lesser extent, the remaining 1/3 who failed to persuade them. And, of course, a handful of gullible idiots from younger generations.

It's fair to say the boomer generation messed up. So did mine (the geriatric millennials) in its own way. I could quite rightly say my generation was the first generation that really got the climate crisis, the first generation in which a clear majority took the warnings seriously. Now I've no idea whether that's because we were conditioned to favour science over media misinformation or whether it's because we would be around long enough to witness the destruction firsthand, but my generation got it.

Where we messed up, however, where we failed was in persuading our parents and aunties and uncles to take this matter as seriously as we did. We also failed to persuade enough of our apolitical peers of the importance of voting for change, for a green industrial revolution. So yes, we failed too, in our own way, and I'm genuinely sorry to the amazing generation of zoomers who've put us to shame with their inspirational climate leadership.

See, it's not difficult, is it? To accept collective responsibility.

Every generation has a duty to be responsible custodians of the planet for the generations that come after them, but sadly too many of my parents' generation have fallen for the Margaret Thatcher mantra that "there is no such thing as society". This attitude is an abandonment of collective responsibility and largely explains the mess we are in.
Either you believe in collective responsibility or you don't.
Now it's entirely possible you are one of the boomers who gets the seriousness of the problem we're facing, and if you are, I truly appreciate that, so thank you, but statistically, you're more likely to be one of the boomers who are in some degree of denial, in which case I'm amazed you've read so far, but now you're here, I want you to do me a favour.

Go to your nearest window. Take a look outside. Now imagine every surrounding building was ablaze. Imagine the trees and plants were engulfed by raging fire. Imagine the inferno spreading as far as the eye can see, the entire sky bearing an orange glow. Imagine Hell on Earth. That's reality across southern Europe, right now.

We are seeing record temperatures and widespread wildfires. Europe's hottest ever temperature was just recorded in Sicily at an eye-melting 48.8°C. This is the climate crisis. It's happening right now and you might try to deny it, but you can't possibly have missed it. The recent IPCC report has been described as a "Code Red for humanity", stating "it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land".

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were at 278 parts per million. I was born at 343 ppm. It's now 419 ppm. That's almost twice as much greenhouse gas trapping heat in our atmosphere. Anyone who thinks this isn't causing global temperature to rise has been lobotomised by the mainstream media. The climate crisis does not just mean global warming, of course, it means catastrophic disruption of weather patterns. You can expect huge increases in heavy rainfall and heatwaves and droughts, depending upon your location. Wherever you are, you are likely to face a very horrible new normal, if you are still around in the 2030s.

The rate of sea level rise has tripled in recent years. The past 5 years are the hottest on record and the 50 year temperature rise is the fastest in 2000 years. Scientists warn we could be looking at a 2 metre sea level rise this century and a potentially horrific 5 metre rise by 2150. We may well be looking at island nations vanishing, coastal cities underwater, widespread crop failures, mass extinctions, and unimaginable numbers of refugees.

So what is going to happen when those refugees are begging for help? 

Now I’m pleased to say younger generations are not as rife with refugee hatred as older generations tend to be, but I can’t say for sure it would remain that way forever. Perhaps it would and we’d recognise those refugees were created by the actions of our country, perhaps future generations would understand the collective responsibility that boomers largely abandoned. However, it’s entirely possible that under the pressures they’d be facing, they too would turn against refugees. What would happen then? Would they leave them to drown?

If Priti Patel was still around at this point, I think we know what her position would be, especially when you consider the shit-show we'd be facing at home. Planet Earth might call our coming situation karma.

The gulf stream is slowing down. It could collapse entirely, and that would mean a temperature drop in the UK of 7-8°C. That would give us winters comparable to western Canada.

Despite our delusions of grandeur, we are a country that can't cope with an inch of snow on the road. Imagine 18 inches of snow being the norm. Imagine winters so cold that people who couldn't afford their skyrocketing energy bills would die of hypothermia. That's what Britain could be looking at.

The rest of the world, the IPCC tells us, will be facing a temperature increase of 1.5°C by 2040 at the latest, or more likely by 2034. This is the reality we're facing. And we are not addressing this reality because a huge majority of boomers kept voting for climate destruction, either knowing they wouldn't be around to face the consequences or denying there would be any consequences.

I'm genuinely scared for the world my children are growing up in. 

My 4 week old daughter will be a teenager and my 9 year old son will be a young adult when they're living in a 1.5°C world. And the boomer generation had no right to do this to them. Just like they had no right to steal our free university tuition and buy up our affordable housing and deny us our working rights and force us into a life of rip-off tenancy and precarious employment. And, yes, I know it's "not all boomers..."

Even so, the boomer generation have screwed us over in so many incredible ways, but we draw the line when they want to steal the very planet we live on from our children. If your attitude is we can't take the necessary climate action because you don't fancy stopping capitalism, then you are an enemy of your own people, and I will fight back any way I can.

Every single young person should be saying: "Enough!" Conservative boomers are forcing us to not only participate in their broken, cruel and exploitative economic model for their short-term gain, but they're forcing us to potentially participate in our own extinction.

We must surely at this point say: "We're not doing this any more! We are not working for your destructive, polluting companies. We are going on strike until you wake up and show us your credible plan to immediately take the drastic action we need."

Every second young people spend participating in capitalism is a second we participate in our own destruction. Just think about that. Take a few hours. Attack it from every angle because it's the most important thing you could possibly think about, right now.

A carefully planned socialist economy is the only physical option. We cannot free market our way out of this.

We cannot hope the corporations which got so wealthy from environmental destruction will suddenly volunteer to forego profits to do the right thing, and even if one or two corporations decided to make some well-intentioned changes, we can't pretend any organisation not only motivated by, but utterly dependent on profit, would ever take the kind of drastic action we need.

One of the key problems of capitalism is that our politicians, both Tory and Labour, Republican and Democrat are owned by corporations and 70% of CO2 emissions come from just 100 companies. Are we really expecting our politicians to suddenly start defying these polluters? It’s not going to happen without immense public pressure.

People will often say "but what about China?" failing to consider not only is China doing far more to address climate change than we are, but also the US and UK are historically responsible for most of the global warming emissions. We really should be compensating the world for the climate damage we’ve caused. The very least we can do is lead the way on the green industrial revolution.

We live on a planet with finite resources and a sensitive ecological balance. You cannot just endlessly consume finite resources or endlessly pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere or endlessly grow your economy. It’s not just completely delusional, it’s shockingly irresponsible.

We need a massive rethink.

I recently watched a show where David Attenborough spelled out the seriousness of the situation we are in, and he, along with a bunch of the world’s leading climate scientists, basically made the case for eco-socialism, they just didn’t call it eco-socialism. To put this into context, David Attenborough is a man who cried at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral so he can’t simply be dismissed as a raving leftie. He is an expert who has consulted with other experts who are in agreement about what we need to do.

And I promise you climate change deniers, your three hours reading conspiracy sites and God knows how much time filling your head with shite from The Daily Mail is no substitute for scientific expertise.

There is no conspiracy. No one is making this up. We are not a bunch of ungrateful, woke lefties trying to unfairly trick you into cleaning up our air and water. This thing is for real.

Ideology is irrelevant here. It is not possible for the free market to fix this. If you are still a believer in the free market, you are an extremist with views more dangerous than any terrorist, even if you are an otherwise decent person, because views like yours are driving the destruction of our climate. Wake up.

Now if you do grasp the danger, you might kid yourself that if we just wait long enough, technological solutions will dig us out of this hole, but this overlooks the fact it’s happening far too fast. 

Science and futurism is my thing, and while I have no doubt it’s scientifically possible to find technological solutions, those solutions quite possibly involve people 150 years from now cybernetically augmenting their bodies to survive droughts and famines in a post-apocalyptic environment! If you’re talking technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, you need to understand this would be an incredibly slow process and even once you’d restored CO2 to pre-industrial levels, we could be waiting thousands of years for the climate to return to the way it was. And it’s entirely possible humans would not exist at this point.

If you’ve ever looked into the night sky and wondered why we don’t see signs of aliens, well, there is a hypothesis called the Great Filter which postulates that all technological species wipe themselves out before reaching space-faring status. It is certainly plausible, and some scientists would say likely, that climate change is our great filter, that once the ball is set in motion, it triggers a runaway sequence of events that cannot be stopped. It’s terrifying to think we might have already reached the point of no return, but scientists think we at least have a chance of mitigating the damage, if we act drastically this decade.

We can’t do the centrist incremental thing here. We can’t incrementally fix climate change over 50 or 100 years. There is nothing "grown up" about the hesitance of so-called moderates. It's time to snap out of your conditioning and stop the dithering. 

Teenagers should not be the leaders on the biggest challenge facing our species, you, the boomers should, so please start acting like the leaders we need you to be. You have one last chance to become heroes or else history will remember you as villains.

Now, I am well aware of the heroes among your peers and I wish more of you had listened to them. 

Among the boomer generation were the scientists who first blew the whistle, and a handful of politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn, who were willing to lead the fight against climate destruction - the very best of your generation. Unfortunately, most of the rest ignored science and reason to listen to fossil fuel companies and mainstream media who told them, absurdly, that irresponsible management of our resources = FREEDOM! and anyone who challenged this narrative was dangerous and extreme.

Here is the reality: if only under-50s voted in the last two general elections, we would have a Labour government right now and our green industrial revolution would be well under way - this being the only serious plan put forward by UK politicians to get us rapidly to a net-zero economy. This is not optional by the way, it's absolutely essential.

I remember hearing from Labour canvassers in 2019 about how they would mention Labour's climate plan and the response from boomers was "that sounds lovely, but..." and then they would go on to discuss a far more trivial concern than the future habitability of the planet. It just wasn't registering. Younger voters mostly got it, but so many older voters saw essential climate action as pointless fluff, a bunch of woke nonsense.

The next time you feel like saying "not all boomers," please, instead have a word with your boomer friends and associates who this does apply to, because there are an awful lot of them. And we are desperate.

They are not listening. They see us, and by us, I mean anyone under 50, as a bunch of woke pansies and clueless kids. The hard truth is that conservatism and climate denial are largely boomer diseases that have infected some younger people, yes, but nowhere near to the extent they've infected your generation. And until boomer conservatism and boomer climate denial are crushed, humans have no future on this planet. It's that fucking serious.

So again, no more "not all boomers" please. We know it's not all boomers, it's just far too many of them. And if we can persuade enough of your generation to wake the hell up, then it should logically follow that we can wake up the small percentage of younger voters who also carry this climate denial disease.

We have ten years to save our planet. We must act now.

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Saturday, 7 August 2021

Is Anyone Really Happy Under Capitalism?

Someone asked a question on Twitter recently and it’s a question which has stuck with me since:

Is anyone really happy under capitalism?

It seemed obvious to me that people at the bottom of capitalism are unhappy with the system. Of course they are, they’re struggling to eat!

But then I thought about the worst middle managers I’ve had over the years and how their arsehole behaviour stemmed, at least partly, from how they’re constantly stressed and under pressure from their bosses. Many middle managers seem to spend their lives terrified they’ll be kicked a rung down the ladder and find themselves back on the same level as the rest of us plebs. I realised most middle managers probably aren’t that happy with their middle-class lifestyles, even if they do get off on looking down on their subordinates.

And then I thought about the CEOs and their pathological desire to endlessly accumulate wealth and their unbridled hatred for anyone who calls out their greed. These people live a life of outrageous indulgence, but their constant need for more and their outright refusal to share a penny more than they have to, suggests that whatever they have, it’s not happiness. Not really.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re probably having the time of their lives when they’re whizzing around tropical resorts on their jet skis, but clearly they carry an emptiness which they want more capitalism to fill, oblivious to the fact capitalism can never fill that emptiness.

Any good social scientist will tell you people are at their happiest when they’re working together for a common purpose, when everyone is treated fairly, when no one is left behind, when there is a sense of teamwork and community spirit. When there is togetherness.

Capitalism very deliberately leaves out some of the key ingredients of human happiness because capitalists have convinced themselves the true purpose of life is the accumulation of more wealth and power, and that at some unreachable point in the future, maybe when the billions become trillions and they’re living in some luxurious space station with a window view of the rings of Saturn and their robot bodies have given them immortality, maybe at that point they will have happiness while the rest of us burn back on Earth.

It sounds so fucking ridiculous when you say it like that, but we now have billionaires building spaceships for goodness sake. Where does it stop? At which point does a capitalist say, you know what, there is such a thing as the common good? At which point do they realise a business that’s making the bazillions Amazon or McDonald’s is making, should be ensuring their workers are sharing in their success?

What is the point of having a business if success does not reward the employees of that business? What are we even doing this nonsense for? Spaceships, silly!

Capitalism is the one system that can raise living standards for everyone, we’re told, and yet here it is, refusing to do exactly that, so it can focus on the most ridiculous self-indulgences for the few. Imagine having the power to end the poverty of all your workers in a heartbeat and refusing to, because you have your eyes on the latest personalised spaceship design.

“I’ll have the one with sparkly purple paint, please. … That paint job will cost an extra one hundred million pounds, you say? Bargain!”

These people left parody behind a long time ago.

Capitalism does not create opportunity: it creates Bond villains and hierarchies for the small price of environmental destruction. So why are we still doing it? Why are we so wedded to economic feudalism? Was your journey through capitalism really so happy? Mine certainly wasn’t. I often found myself working jobs that wouldn't even exist in a moral society and I was only cooking junk food or delivering junk mail or calling people about unpaid bills or selling loans because I had no fucking choice.

I still shudder at thought of my first job.

The first warning sign was when I attended the interview and I wasn’t interviewed at all. I was put into a room with a bunch of other teens, many of who were wearing trainers and hadn’t even bothered with a tie, and we were told every single one of us had got the job!

High staff turnover meant they were desperate for new slaves. And when I started that Monday, I found myself in a literal hell. The place was McDonald’s and my role was burger flipper. I hear a lot of people say you shouldn’t refer to McDonald’s workers as burger flippers because it’s disrespectful, but that was literally my role: flipping burgers. Oh, and doing the fries sometimes.

It was hot, sticky and fucking horrible.

I remember flipping burgers into buns so fast I couldn’t see my hands moving and still the dickhead manager was telling me I wasn’t going fast enough as I blistered my fingers and forearms. I always had little burns on me, but that wasn’t the worst part. Nope. The worst part was the grease.

I could feel grease clogging my every pore and even hour-long showers weren’t enough to remove it, meaning I constantly smelt like a quarter-pounder and felt gross.

I can still picture the clock on the wall which I would glance to in desperation, and I could swear it would run backwards. Like it would say 11:55am when last time I checked it was 12:00pm. But the work itself was not the real problem, that was the management and the environment they had created.

Being spoken to like dirt, being forced to work beyond your physical capabilities and being constantly exhausted is no way to live.

The staff used to say it felt like they were constantly there, constantly at work, and it really did. The weekends went in an eye blink and we were always scheduled to work more than our contracted hours without being consulted. It didn’t matter that we had college or other responsibilities, if we asked for those shifts to be corrected, it was like we were being a nuisance.

As far as the management were concerned, flipping burgers was the sole purpose of our existence and we were supposed to shut up and get on with it.

The one perk in that place was the free food, which at first seemed really handy, given how broke we were, but I soon learnt why my colleagues were bringing in lunchboxes filled with cornflakes: you cannot eat McDonald’s every day.

Some of you might be familiar with the SuperSize Me movie where the guy ate nothing but McDonald’s to see what would happen to his health. Well, I learned firsthand that is not a good fucking idea. I swear I could feel saturated fats swimming around in my veins and I really felt like shit, so after about ten days, I declined the offer of free burgers, no matter how hungry I was. I did, however, take up the offer of free McFlurries. The girl who worked on the McFlurry machine was always bothered by my presence, like it was a huge burden me taking two seconds to ask for that ice cream, but I wasn’t going to let the grumpy sod deter me. The McFlurry was my one joy in an otherwise miserable day.

I really felt trapped in that shitty job because there were so few employment options, and I was far too tired to think about job seeking in my spare time, but eventually I reached breaking point.

There was a lad there who was best mates with the arsehole manager and he too used to speak to me like shit. I would bite my tongue because I knew the moment I said something back, I would be sacked. He was one of those people you dread working in a fast food restaurant, the type who would deliberately drop burgers on the floor and serve them to the public because it was "funny". He was a complete and utter wanker.

One day, he and I were working on the fries, a task which literally just involved dipping fries into the fryer and pulling them out when they were ready. Anyways, he was being clumsy and burnt his out-swinging arm as I was removing a batch of fries, and he told me that if I “did that again”, he would dip my head into the boiling oil.

At that point I had to walk away because I swear if he spoke to me like that again, I might have dipped his head into the boiling oil.

You might think that doesn’t sound too sensible, but the thing is, when the guy threatening you is best mates with the manager, you’re pretty damn helpless to take any sensible action. It was over for me there.

There was no way I could continue in such a hostile and miserable environment so I did the only thing I could. I quit.

This is why it makes me laugh that there is such a stigma about people quitting their jobs. People so often go through hell in workplaces and they endure such unnecessary shit, but if they walk away for the sake of their own sanity, and in my case, safety, we are the bad guys, the lazy ones, the undeserving.

Workers are trapped in an abusive relationship with capitalism and yet we just accept there is no better way. So why do we keep voting for this? Why do we just accept that any alternative which offers us better rights, protections and conditions is somehow extreme? Why do we pretend serving up junk food to customers brainwashed by clever ad campaigns serves any greater purpose? Why are we mindlessly working non-jobs which only have a detrimental effect on society? 

There are other jobs, of course, if you can find them, but my journey through capitalism certainly didn't get much better after McDonald’s.

I remember getting a temporary job in Marks and Spencer's and working my arse off to impress the managers. I would work at twice the rate of my colleagues and tell the managers I’d done everything that needs to be done, then ask if there was anything else they wanted me to do.

I did everything to impress but, of course, my effort was thrown back in my face because most bosses don’t want to be impressed. So me asking for extra work became me not being “self-sufficient enough” in my end of contract review. It was a very deliberate turning of a positive into a negative.

It always makes me laugh when I see these self-indulgent “motivational” YouTubers making videos about how all that's required to get ahead is to work hard and catch your boss’s eye. These videos rely on the assumption you have a good boss and 90% of us don’t.

I used to do literally anything that was on offer to make money and every single time I would say to myself, I will work really hard to impress and get far this time. Trying to escape long-term unemployment was draining.

I remember screwing lids on pharmaceutical bottles in a factory, being a literal robot. I remember going door-to-door, walking about ten miles a day, trying to sell stuff to the public. I remember loading and unloading boxes into lorries. I remember doing an IT training course where all I did was clean tables until I realised I was being exploited and walked out.

And I remember the best option I had back then.

Get this, it was putting my body forward for medical research. I’d tried everything else, and here was the one way I could make money without getting treated like shit and enduring sheer mind-numbing monotony.

So once every three months I was heading to Charles River Clinical Laboratories in Edinburgh to be locked in a building for a few weeks and have drugs injected into my body. Sounds like hell, doesn’t it? But I emphasise, this was my best option back then.

This was the time when Big Brother was big on the telly and we used to watch it in there and joke about how we were doing the exact same thing. We were a bunch of strangers locked up together, not allowed to leave, always being watched, but we got to hang out, there were girls in there too, and for a young lad who sure as hell couldn’t afford to go out meeting girls in night clubs, it was pretty damn good!

But here’s the thing, not a single one of us would have been in there if capitalism hadn’t put us into an exploitable position. Our best option was still much worse than some people’s worst options. Capitalism creates a world of haves and have nots.

And I tell you what, the people in there weren’t all thick and lazy either - some were, but others were among the smartest people I’ve met. Some had university degrees, many were interesting characters with stories to tell, and all were discarded by capitalism.

This leads me onto another one of capitalism’s lies, that the cream always rises to the top, that it is somehow meritocratic.

This is bullshit and the people in Charles River Clinical Laboratories were clear evidence of that, as were so many of the people in my hometown, which was one of the many towns left behind by Thatcherism.

Now I am not arguing that every element of the capitalist system is terrible, even though I've had some terrible experiences. I've had some pleasant experiences too, just not enough of them, and here's what so many people don't understand: Socialism doesn't mean getting rid of the best parts of capitalism, it means getting rid of the worst parts.

It makes me laugh when people say you can't be a socialist if you have a nice watch or an I-Pad. Yes, you can! Socialism means the workers who make these things wouldn't be so exploited, that we could turn the business that employs them into a worker cooperative so they have a voice and fair pay and conditions, that we could make manufacturing processes environmentally sustainable, that we only produce things people actually want and need. That shit like McDonald's burgers are actually edible.

The ironic thing about the "socialists are hypocrites if they have nice things" argument is that we only want to be producing nice things, they are literally all we want people to have. Capitalism produces such unnecessary shit and it produces some wonderful stuff too - my Xbox is one of the greatest things in the world! Now imagine capitalism without the shitty, destructive and exploitative parts. Suddenly what you have is market socialism. 

Such a system still wouldn't be perfect, of course, no system is, but don't you think you'd be a little happier in that system than capitalism? I certainly would.

"Well, why don't you go and live in Venezuela?" conservatives love to yell, but their cognitive dissonance doesn't allow them to see their entire model is built on imperialism. If they really love capitalism so much, why don't they go and work in a cobalt mine in the Congo? Maybe then they'll see the consequences of their myopia and realise the "free market" isn't so free, after all.

You see, the other thing about socialists is we don't just want to fix working conditions at home but abroad too. Tablets, mobile phones and other gadgets are great to those who can afford them, but it's not acceptable to manufacture these products with workers on slave wages enduring dangerous conditions. 

When a capitalist tells you their ideology means freedom, they strangely omit the lack of freedom of the workers at the bottom of their economic system. And those workers aren't citizens of their own countries because their economic system crosses borders. 

Capitalism is built upon modern day slavery, but if we don't see it with our own eyes, we pretend it's not happening and even worse, we vilify the countries who reject our imperialist bullshit as though they're somehow the bad guys for wanting better. Isn't it time we demanded happiness for everyone?

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Friday, 16 July 2021

Why the Young Hate Capitalism

I've been meaning to write this article for a couple of weeks now, but I've been somewhat side-tracked, what with my wife just giving birth to our baby daughter and me having a bazillion things to get sorted at home. But things have finally settled down, giving me time to actually write, and today's outburst from Keith Starmer, sorry, I mean Sir Keith Starmer has presented the perfect opportunity to finally get the article done.

If you're unsure what outburst I'm talking about, Sir Keith was addressing some of his fellow Tories in Blackpool, who were coming up with the usual tripe about how young people "don't want to work these days", and rather than defend the exploited workers his party was founded to represent, Sir Keith responded with some crap about how "you will always find people who don't want to work".

If you're anything like me, those words probably made you shudder because they could only come from the mouth of someone detached from the real world. It's not work people fear, it's exploitation, and the exploited are the hardest working people among us by far.

For the longest time, I genuinely believed hard work would be the route out of poverty, the doorway to a better life, but capitalism had other ideas. I went from being top of my year at school to long-term unemployed at an age I could and should have been attending university. It would be easy for a comfortable person to dismiss me as someone who didn't want to work, that my circumstances were the result of my failings, but the truth is that when a young person finds themselves in my position, it is not their fault, it is the fault of the system.

In Denmark, they will actually pay you to go to university, whereas in the UK, I was ordered to drop out of college because otherwise the DWP were going to stop my benefits. I'd already paid money for exams I was not allowed to sit and the college refused to provide a refund, knowing what a desperate position I was in, even though the exams were 18 months away. I then found myself out of college and in the impossible position of competing for jobs I was "overqualified for" while sleeping on my friend's couch.

Employers didn't want to give me a job because they would point-blank say my grades were too good and I should be at college or university! They would say obviously a guy like me won't stick around for two minutes on their minimum wage job, but when I applied for better paid jobs, I did not even get a reply. Those jobs required better qualifications. I was caught in the middle. And one thing I certainly fucking wasn't was work shy.

I remember when I finally did get a job, I was volunteering to work every hour under the sun, pushing myself to the limit, doing everything I possibly could to impress while working myself to exhaustion for shitty wages. In my naivety, it never occurred that my bosses weren't interested in being impressed by me, they just wanted to grab me by the balls. 

Our line managers wanted the credit and rewards for our hard work, knowing if they gave the credit to us, that might've meant one of us taking their jobs. Their managers just wanted to ensure our managers were ensuring we made them ever richer while performing our monotonous tasks during our 12 hour shifts for essentially no financial reward. 

When your wages are only covering your basics, and only when you're working so much overtime, you would have no time for a social life, even if you could afford it, you are not an employee, you are a slave with the right to find another slave owner.

We were being spoken to like shit while working our socks off, and we were all depressed when it finally dawned the job was essentially our lives, other than going home to sleep or pay bills, and really it was no way to live. It was the kind of thing which inevitably breeds resentment, but what did we know? We were Generation Entitlement.

We, who worked longer hours and had fewer opportunities and were seeing living standards fall before our eyes, we were entitled and workshy and the people exploiting us were the deserving ones. Laughable.

Here's the thing: there is no such thing as a person who does not want to work. You probably immediately rejected that statement, but think it through and you'll realise it's entirely true.

Humans evolved to live collectively and work together for the common good. When people live this way, that's when they are at their happiest. Take, for example, hunter-gatherers in the Amazon living the way we all once lived. Not only do we find they are the most contented people on Earth, we also find they are perfectly happy to work with one another for the common good. There are no shirkers in their tribes. Why? Because there is no exploitation.

Most humans instinctively want to care for one another, most of the time, to make life better for ourselves and for the people around us. 

Just imagine if we were all doing worthwhile jobs like installing solar panels and building wind turbines instead of chasing people for unpaid bills in call centres or serving junk food in McDonald's. Imagine the sense of pride we'd have knowing our contribution mattered, rather than working some non-job arbitrarily created by capitalism for the sole purpose of making profit with no underlying moral purpose.

Life should be about furthering humanity and taking everyone along with us, not leaving people behind.

If everyone was earning at least a living wage and sharing in the successes of their companies and appreciated for their contributions and treated reasonably and expected to work reasonable hours, how many people would be shirking? The answer is not many and it would be pretty easy to give those that did shirk a nudge because they wouldn't be so exhausted and depressed. 

Capitalists are sometimes their own worst enemies. Just look at Sweden and how its 30-hour work week saw productivity shooting up. Apparently there are better ways to motivate people than threatening them with unemployment and destitution. Who knew?

Capitalism has exploited the best elements of our nature to serve capital interests, while appealing to the worst parts of our nature to ensure we remain compliant and protect the broken system. And it's a system that truly is broken. The only people who can't see that have not found themselves in an exploitable position - the people with privilege.

There is a particular irony that most of these privileged people come from a generation which benefitted so greatly from an idea they despise so much; that idea being socialism.

Imagine being a person in a high-powered job who enjoyed the privilege of free university tuition, then fought tooth and nail to ensure younger generations were denied that same privilege. Imagine thinking it's fairer to you that they either start working life tens of thousands of pounds in debt, or don't attend university at all. Imagine climbing the ladder of socialism and kicking it down, then placing a tax on aspiration. That's what the Tory boomers did.

If these people truly believe it's right and proper that students pay tuition fees, then surely they should repay the cost of their university tuition, plus all the interest they would've accrued. How can anyone sensibly argue against this? No reasonable person could, but the sad truth is, these people never were interested in a fair system, they were only ever interested in accumulating and consolidating their own wealth, no matter the difficulty this would cause for the generations who came after them. That is the conservative mindset.

University tuition fees is just one example, of course, but it's such a strong example because it represents one of the biggest barriers to social mobility. It ensures people like me find it almost impossible to aspire to better and are forever trapped in the struggle, working crappy, underpaid jobs.

Once upon a time, if you found a job, you had guaranteed rights, you knew what hours you were working, and you had at least a degree of stability in your life. Things were far from perfect for the working class, but at least people knew where they stood. Today, if you're a working class person going into the job market, what you find is zero hours contracts offering minimum wage.

There's every chance you're one of the smart and talented people who couldn't afford to go to university, but you're every bit as capable as those upper middle-class types whose parents paid for their tuition and are now earning £60,000 a year or more. You're every bit as hardworking as them and no doubt determined to better yourself, but you're turning up at work in some shitty factory and you're standing in a line with all the other recruits, having caught two buses in the pouring rain, and then your boss says, "Sorry, you're not needed today. You'll have to go home."

And so you're travelling back home, getting another two buses while it's pissing down, and you're wondering how the hell you're gonna pay rent because your landlord wants 50% of the salary you aren't getting, so you can pay for his mortgage and a nice bit of profit on the side. This landlord is one of the blokes always whining that your generation doesn't want to work, while he's happily leeching off you so he can go into early retirement.

The system is fucked. And by system, I mean the housing market just as much as I mean the job market because the two go hand in hand and have an equally huge impact on your quality of life.

The simple fact is if you're paying more in rent than your landlord is paying in mortgage instalments, he shouldn't own that house, you should. He is leeching from you. Capitalism has put him and his fellow Tories into a position where you and people like you have no choice but to buy a house for these dickheads. Imagine them having the nerve to call your generation lazy. The absolute fuckers.

In their day, they had the option of renting affordable, high quality housing from the council and taking advantage of the Buy to Let Scheme. They also had the option of buying in a private housing market where properties were 1/6 as expensive relative to annual income. It was easy for them to buy houses and now they sneer at you for being "work shy" and claim that's why you can't afford to buy your own property while you're buying a property for them.

Landlordism is theft. And trying to get a council house involves a wait of about seven years, last time I checked. It could well be longer, depending on your location and circumstances. In many places, the chances of getting a council house are almost zero and those lucky few who do get one today are paying commercial rents. The councils are ripping people off as much as the private landlords are. The absolute state of it.

And they wonder why you hate capitalism.

When your boss is sending you home, you're in a blind panic about how you'll pay rent. And when he's not sending you home, you're volunteering to work every hour under the sun so you can make up the shortfall. Your boss is treating you like shit, he's talking to you like the scum of the Earth and he knows you are powerless because you can't just walk out and find another job. He also knows he can sack you on a whim, if you dare raise anything resembling a concern because your rights to sue are pretty much non-existent.

Your boss could demand you suck his cock if he wanted. That's where capitalism is at. It's empowering the few to a grotesque and totally immoral extent at the expense of the many. And those many exploited workers are disproportionately young, born to working class parents, and so often from an ethnic minority. 

This is why minority groups tend to be overwhelmingly left wing. And it's why it sticks in my throat when idiots boo taking the knee because they don't like the politics behind a Black anti-racism movement, or when the Labour leader says he has "no truck whatsoever" with the Black Lives Matter organisation.

The class struggle and the fight for racial equality go hand in hand, and when the Labour leader thinks he can co-opt an antiracism movement for liberals and tell Black people they're doing antiracism wrong, he doesn't just betray the Black community, he betrays the working class struggle too. 

Liberals, of course, are capitalists, and they so often find themselves walking hand in hand with the fascists they pretend to oppose. 

There was an amusing Twitter post recently where a liberal had joined a parade demanding regime change in Cuba, and they were shocked to find themselves surrounded by Trump supporters. It did not occur to them that they too were imperialists and enemies of the working class struggle. They had deluded themselves into thinking they were somehow the good guys as they supported an illegal blockade which causes needless poverty and blamed the victims of that blockade for the cruelty they chose to inflict on them.

There is a horrible lack of self-awareness with liberals who, let's face it, are just conservatives who think they're woke because they attend pride festivals (which is a good thing by the way), but they shudder at the thought of making any change that might threaten their economic privilege - not change to make them poorer, just to make others a little less poor.

Liberals will sometimes take superficial stances against bigotry, but they fail to understand the biggest bigotry of all is the one they show towards the poor. Classism. They also fail to understand classism and racism are pretty much the same thing - racism is mostly just classism with colour or ethnicity as the dividing line. For some reason, rich white people love creating underclasses with people of a different skin colour to them.

This same mindset is why we see so many resource-rich nations with impoverished people as western companies suck the wealth from them. They do it because they can and because they know that hierarchies, whether that be hierarchies of nations, or hierarchies within nations, are excellent ways of maintaining control. They divide people, and they keep everyone, bar those at the bottom rung, terrified of falling down the ladder. They compel people to kick down, rather than punch up, and then come up with the most contrived reasons for why those below them deserve to be kicked.

But today, capitalism is going too far. It has left too many people behind, including some of our smartest and most talented individuals, and when you condemn us as workshy or entitled, when your wealth is built around exploitation and imperialism, and when we've watched you sanction countries for no reason, and bomb the shit out of others so you can steal their resources, while you've walked shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the worst human rights abusers on Earth, we can't take you seriously. 

We see you violently suppressing antiracist movements at home, taking away our right to peacefully protest, suppressing votes in elections, and jailing whistle-blowers for exposing your crimes. We see you participating in genocide in The Yemen, supporting apartheid in Palestine, overturning democratic elections in Latin America, and all the while we see you destroying this planet, sending us on an inexorable course towards climate destruction, knowing you will not be around to suffer the consequences, but the generations you label as "lazy" will.

This is why the young reject capitalism.

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