Freedom News

May Day 2024: Life on the margins

Freedom’s semi-annual print edition hits the streets today. With the theme of Life on the Margins, we ask: whose lives get protection, whose lives get mourned – and whose lives seem to barely even exist in the consciousness of the powerful?

The slaughter in Gaza is an example of the kind of cheapening of human life that apparently we’re supposed to just accept as part of our everyday. But it isn’t just about wars. Out on the street, or past your neighbour’s walls, lives are being destroyed by poverty, illness and a general lack of seeing human life as precious for its own sake. Here we present the editorial from this edition.

You can get this issue for the cost of postage from our Shop

One of the (many) ways in which the ruling classes tire us out and make us weak is by attacking on many fronts all at once. Stripping away protections for lots of different groups encourages us to all scrabble around blaming each other, fighting for the remaining scraps. But when you read people’s very different problems all in one place something becomes clear — what we have in common.

The retreat of the welfare state and deadly creep of punishments for those who aren’t an easy fit into the majority workforce hits all sections of the working class, more pointedly here and there, in different ways, but always with the same aim. The State and capital have been and are in a process of seeing how little they can get away with when it comes to social protections before social stability goes out the window.
It relies heavily on a throw-your-hands-in-the-air exasperation, in which we look at the sheer size of the mess and give up, frozen by a perception that it’s all just too much to even begin to sort out. Better to let the experts take it on, after all they can do it in working hours.

But this is a fiction, most easily believed by those with enough income to cushion themselves. The experts are the very heart of the problem.

At some point this year, perhaps even before you read these words, there will be an election. The Tories will try to convince us they are the only ones capable of “running the economy sensibly.” Labour will argue the same, with the advantage that we’ve not seen them attempt it. Reform will waffle about migration, the Greens about climate, the Lib Dems about whatever gets them the sniff of a seat.

What will actually happen is continuity. Welfare will continue to be assaulted. Migrants will continue to be villified. Trans people (as demonstrated by Labour’s response to the Cass Report) will suffer yet more institutional hurdles and political brinkmanship. Disabled people will not suddenly be treated with dignity and respect. The Met won’t be held accountable, nor will the media.

The “experts” are not interested in solving anything, that’s not their role. They’re there to keep the economy rolling, ie. to work on behalf of the ruling class as it wrings just a little more shareholder value out of what we produce and consume.

But the thing about experts is they are actually far more limited in number than we mere mortals. The very means by which they tire us out is the way in which we can fight back — in great numbers, on every front, in solidarity.

With no prospects whatsoever for improvements to arrive from the likes of Keir Starmer, Rachael Reeves or Wes Streeting we cannot wait for experts. We can’t passively present our woes and hope for change. We have to turn the tables, make them too bewildered and exhausted to keep coming up with new ways to exploit the working classes.

If we want change we don’t have any other choice.

Articles in this edition:

  • DIY in working class communities
  • End of life ‘care’ as a migrant to the UK
  • Whose lives matter in the coverage of wars?
  • Trans anarchism
  • Experiencing Lutzerath
  • Satire(ish): A bastard’s guide to screwing over the disabled
  • A tale from jail for solidarity activism
  • Dealing with infiltation of groups
  • Sex worker rights and ‘online safety’ laws
  • Interview: Radon, an anarchist sci-fi journal

Discover more from Freedom News

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading