Austerity

The story of Glasgow’s Tent Town and the battle against homelessness and the City Council

Photo from Glasgow Anarchist Collective facebook page

This is the story of Tent Town, a camp of protest against the problem of homelessness in Glasgow and the people neglected by Glasgow City Council.

Tent Town had two purposes from the outset: to shelter homeless people who had lost out on the closure of the Hamish Allan Centre and the closure of the winter shelter on the 31st of March and… Continue reading

Only working-class self-organisation will kill the housing bill

The Aylesbury Estate

With the Housing Bill about to come into effect, conditions are looking bleak for the working class. The Bill follows a plethora of attacks on poor people, the most notable of which are the benefit cap and the bedroom tax, not to mention the 2012 ban of residential squatting. Last year saw a record number of tenant evictions (averaging  170 per day), unprecedented numbers of people… Continue reading

‘North of the Watford Gap’: Resistance beyond Central London

The Rebecca Riots of 1843.

You are holding a black-and-white photograph. It shows a woman holding a union placard. It shows a picket line, scab vans, Labour politicos, a man dirty and tired from his work. You are holding the narrative of industrial working-class struggle. You put down the photograph and pick another history.

The struggles of non-London working-class communities are condemned to history. We are all miners still on… Continue reading

Finding Hope on an A to B March

I haven’t been on many A to B marches over the last few years due to doubts about state sanctioned protest but I managed to get down to the anti-austerity demo on June 20th in London, and was glad I did.

The part of the march I was in was made up of a wide mix of people and groups; gay people (with a LGSM banner!), straight people, Unions -lots… Continue reading

The Language Games of Power

An important tool, not just for academic anarchists, but for any individual who wishes to think critically about what is presented to them by political elites, is what is known as the genealogical approach. A ‘genealogy’ is just an obtuse and elitist word which roughly means ‘a history of words, or terms and their use’, and it’s a brilliant way of undermining the machinations of political operators.

As the critical theorist James Tully notes, you ‘begin by questioning whether the inherited languages of description and reflection are adequate to the task’. Nowhere is the lack of discursive options more prevalent in British political life then the discussions surrounding the economy and around immigration; two clear preoccupations of the political elite. When it comes to the economy, we are hearing the same Thatcherite cries as before- TINA (‘there is no alternative!), and the language of the economy is tied down to a limited number of possibilities. We must tackle the deficit, how do we tackle the deficit, how much of the public sector do we sell off to our friends, how many tax breaks do we offer millionaires, how many pensions do we undermine, how many people on the breadline do we deprive of their dignity before we can no longer get away with it? When it comes to oppositional forces, aside from the quite deliberately under-interviewed and underexposed Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, the economic argument is about deficit reduction, what to cut, to what extent and for how long. The language of neoliberalism is so pervasive that even centre-right Keynesians have been excluded from the narrow mindset. Continue reading

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Feed the World? The Myth of Food Scarcity and the Evil of Profit Starvation

Thirty years after the original release of Band Aid’s ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas Time’, poverty and famine still continues to reduce the quality of life within over-exploited countries globally. What’s most offensive about white saviourdom in the context of these feel good sing-alongs is the lack of critical analysis that is necessary to understand why an entire populace can live under the brutality of starvation in a world that throws away three times the amount of food it would take to feed all 7 billion of us, daily. Instead of buying into the encouragement of the western working class to give away their pennies to ‘feed the world’, we should be questioning why exactly that world is not fed.  And for that there is only one answer: Capitalism survives on the myth of artificial scarcity.

Artificial scarcity, most familiar in the West, is the program of austerity that keeps wages low, prices high and bellies empty. It cites that resources are limited, that there is not enough energy or homes or jobs or food to go around. This is a myth, one perpetuated in order to sustain capitalism and drive profit up whilst letting people starve both at home and abroad. While the majority of us go hungry, tighten our belts, lose our jobs and have our homes repossessed there are many within the wealthy elite who survive beautifully. Their wealth is amassed through our labour and even our unemployment. The withholding of goods drives up competition and convinces workers that it is natural to destroy each other in order to survive. This is the inherent crisis in capitalism. In order to survive one must consume. In order to consume one must directly or indirectly limit another’s ability to survive. So, we appease our guilt with charity Christmas songs but don’t realise that we as workers and consumers perpetuate this poverty while the rich grow more powerful utilising a regime of profit starvation. Continue reading

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