Monday, 8 November 2010
What else do I know of Ara’s Curriculum Vitae? – that he is married to a highly intelligent, and extremely beautiful (I think so!) young lady, whose father is an excellent human being, now retired too, had a Butcher’s shop in one of the poshest areas of London (Kensington, I think). I have met Ara’s father-in-law on a few occasions at Ara’s book-launches, and I like him immensely -- I appreciate especially his pride felt in his son-in-law.
Like Shakespeare is to the world, I know Ara Sarafian truly only from his works. He is a Historian, and a scholar of the genocide of the Armenians perpetrated by the Young Turks in 1915 – I wish American Armenians would stop babbling of The Armenian Genocide, as if a genocide committed by the Armenians – precisely what the Turkish State would dearly love the world could believe one day, and they are half way there due to the linguistic illiteracy of the Americans.
As Publisher, Ara Sarafian’s productions are of great significance, worth and value – he placed into scholarly availability the famous (and perhaps the most famous!) documentation of the genocide of the Armenians by the British Government, the massive book by Lord Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, on The Treatment of Armenians In the Ottoman Empire Etc. The Turkish Parliament went mad. They made representations to the present-day British Parliament to declare it a fraud … in itself an attempt at perpetrating a major historical Fraud!
Thank God Ara Sarafian had backing from Lord Avebury, well-known amongst Britian's Law-Lords for his defense of Human Rights, and together they could politely silence such nonsense from the Turkish state-fascists, and saved the … Turks themselves from the huge embarrassment of committing yet another historical stupidity on top of the criminality of denying their ancestors’ proto-Nazi act of genocide. As to how stupid state-criminals can be, suffice it to state that the killers of Hrant Dink, the Istanbuli Editor of Agos was one of the few Armenians alive who could reconcile the two nations!
If Ara Sarafian had achieved nothing else – this, re-publishing Lord Bryce’s British Government Blue Book, alone would have been a medal enough for a lifetime. But he is young and handsome and brimful of creative energy – his latest publication from a unique list of non-commercial original research other academic publishers would seek a mile-long barge-pole to touch? A massive 368 pages of The Vatican Diplomacy and the Armenian Question: The Holy See’s Response to the Republic of Armenia 1918-1922, by Mario Carolla.
I don’t know how he does it; Ara Sarafian must always be teetering on the edge of giving it all up, as the wealthy among the Armenian communities world-wide are too stingy and terminally infected by money-love to support and sustain a poor intellectual like Ara Sarafian (or a great painter like Artour Oshakantsi for that matter – last year, an American Armenian Business man contacted the latter to use his sunny talent to design labels for his Armenian-wine bottles … It turned out, he did not want to pay a penny)! And the Armenian-haters of Turkey think that Diaspora Armenians are so powerful and united.
A couple of years ago an extremely foolish London Armenian nationalist known for his distasteful personal attacks right left and centre fit for the gutter press targeted poor Ara because Ara is an advocate of serious rational dialogue with the Turkish officialdom, even if that officialdom itself is jam-packed with people look-alikes of the ultra-nationalist … Armenians, according to whom all Turks are mad and bad and worth a bullet, sharing the precise mindset of the racist Turks who preach the same about the Armenians they hate.
Like all true Democrats, Ara Sarafian finds no alternative to civilized dialogue ad infinitum if necessary – I know it from his public speeches – especially that Armenians in Turkey have to share a geographical Lebensraum with the Turks – the alternative is precisely what the Germans and the Young Turks committed – Genocide, which the Turkish state is still continuing, this time against the Kurds, inhabiting the Armenian lands left fallow by the extremely stupid act of murder of a whole nation. Genocide is always spoken of as the terrifying crime that it is -- but it is time, sometimes, to mock at its perpatrators' sheer brutal (not to say animal, who are more intelligent than non-pet owners give them credit for) satanic stupidity.
Ara Sarafian is wise beyond his years – I admire his extraordinary maturity of thinking and acting. He put his money where his mouth is recently by just publishing (with Osman Koker) a sumptuous book on the Aghtamar, a Jewel of Medieval Armenian Architecture, in a bilingual edition, Armenian and Turkish in opposite columns.
Nationalists are a pathetic lot. Ultra-nationalists are worse – rabid racists that need therapy and rehab (not Hanging, which is what they wish on everyone else). Nationalists, on the other hand, confuse passionate patriotism and cultural pride in communitarian belonging with childish fantasies of American-style Superman movie-stunt heroism.
Patriots of all nations, beware of the Nationalists and the ultra-nationalist criminals, responsible for the destruction of whole nations and the genocide of multi-ethnic communities. Genuine patriots respect the Other as a sign of mature self-respect. And there can be no more of an Armenian Patriot than Ara Sarafian, who from his teens already has been living the life of a dedicated scholar, penniless, yet somehow surviving, and sweating for the historical truth of things. He is a national treasure, and must be cherished as such by all good Armenians world-wide.
I myself frequently dream of being super-rich just only to support Ara Sarafian (and Artour Oshakantsi – to buy up his works and donate them to the Tate Modern!)
Capitalism, theoretically ethically neutral, but in reality the most abhorrent and pornographic of economic systems, treats all, including human beings as a Commodity, to be used, abused, and exploited ruthlessly, worked-to-death (called today increasing retirement-age) for maximum profits. Commodities, hence people as commodities, meaning slaves by definition, are traded, circulated, made use of, ultimately universally whored (called today by the much-hated Bankers Globalization) by inhuman money-constructs.
The Soviet Communist economic system (the stumbling practice of the Socialist theory) acknowledged for the very first time in history the non-commoditization of man-kind. Creative artists were liberated from the whoredom of the Renaissance slavery, when even the greatest like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo had to be the Medici Banking-family’s (and the Popes’) slaves. Artists (in Soviet times) were given social status and honour and secure financial life for belonging to the multi-ethnic Soviet peoples as a whole – the Peoples’ Artist of the USSR was a title artists would live for …
Japan, after the 2nd World War, in total socio-economic Americanization, and as an influence from the Soviet attempt of saving the human from total capitalist commoditization, invented the half-way concept of labeling and cherishing their creative artists as National Treasures. Ironically, this was a better socialist concept, as an egalitarian and non-hierarchical view of great human achievement than the Soviet model, which of course unfortunately was bureaucratically conceived hierarchically.
Many were the fault-lines of the Soviet Bureaucracy – and the worse of it – the most non-Socialist – was its inheritance of hierarchies from the capitalist system, which then re-generated new forms of class-stratification – the Communist Party and Secret Service apparatchiks became the unbearable (and very stupid) Nomenklatura – the obnoxious new Ruling Class with huge tentacles everywhere in the vast Soviet Union, of totally corrupted pornographers turned into the present rulers of the Ex-Soviet Republics, for whom women (for example) were and are no more than (in the most favoured Hollywood slang) "cock-suckers". Thus, the most cherished Socialist concepts and theoretical constructs of historical mankind were ruined by corrupted soviet practice.
Hence, my preference for the adoption of the Japanese labels to refer to Ara Sarafian – an Armenian National Treasure.
Long may he continue his life’s good work. May he never be distracted from his good sense, and harmed by the negative aggression of the ultra-nationalist mad men.
Sunday, 1 April 2007
Some people in Britain are not aware of the mass-poverty that exists under their noses. There are pockets of extreme economic deprivation, in East London for example – traditionally the crime capital of London, or South London, which is on a par with dying Africa. The British news media is guilty of not uncovering this terrible truth, gladdening the hearts of every British government.
I shall argue in this article that mass-poverty in to-day’s post-modern Britain has a culture- and time-specific causality (created artificially or constructed by interference from human agency) very different from other countries and even its own immediate history in Victorian times, where poverty evolved in a Malthusian-Darwinist fashion (‘naturally’) caused directly by the ‘Marxist’ economic forces of the Industrial Revolution.
The search for and discovery of new evolutionary forms or ‘viral species’ arising in British capitalism is vital to diagnose, to warn the world against their pandemic infective spread globally causing massive misery and enslavement of ordinary people all over the world.
The single great error Karl Marx (1818-83) committed was to eliminate the contribution of the individual human agency (including his own…) from the massive historical forces he defined in producing societal change. He was so keen on finding an unstoppable power to affect revolutionary change for a utopian society, that he put all his eggs in the basket of the Proletariat = the industrial workers, denying completely the individual power of the power-holders serving the ruling classes.
One such example was Britain’s Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, who with all the military pistons of state-power in full steam, successfully destroyed, not only the power of the last remaining bastion of the British proletariat – the Miners, she genocided their whole class out of existence! Furthermore, she manufactured genetically a new viral form of non-industrial capitalism usually labelled as ‘service industry’ – a glorified form of ancient slavery, based on classical Marxist exploitation of cheap labour – usually migrant human beings escaping genocidal wars in their own native Afro-Asian countries initiated by the very military-industrial complex of the host countries they come to serve… such ‘foreign’ workers will have no trade unions to defend them from abject racism, and starvation-wages.
The late British James Goldsmith, one of the richest men on earth, was deeply concerned by the enormous gulf being created globally between the rich and the poor, not because he loved the poor, but because he wanted to save the very wealthy from their Marxist ire or, potential Revolution. As a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) elected in France, Goldsmith was disturbed that the Thatcherites of Europe (in cahoots with the Reaganites of America) were actively breeding the poor by cut-throat policies, buzz-worded nowadays as Globalisation (I call Hamburgarization!).
An example Goldsmith quoted in his book The Trap (Macmillan, London, 1994, p. 9) was the official British government statistics, that “between 1961 and 1991 the number of those living in poverty [in Britain] grew from 5.3 million to 11.4 million” – the greatest achievement of Mrs Thatcher’s government – more than a hundred percent increase in the number of the impoverished!
I do not have the latest government figures in hand, but I know that numbers have increased by several million since the so-said socialist Labour party was voted in, to reduce it … The tourist who visits Buckingham Palace, and shops in Oxford Street could never guess that the Third world exists here in Britain. There are vast areas of major cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow etc. and London of course, where enormous numbers of people, perhaps up to 16 million people live in Dickensian conditions typical of the lumpenproletariat in affluent Victorian times (South London is awash with beautiful housing stock, but behind the deceptive ornamented exteriors, there are no decent bathroom or kitchen facilities) (1). Then too, the wealthy would not notice the poor. With Queen Victoria empress-ing over the world, the rich getting massively richer, the British masses were dying of disease, malnutrition, exploitation and abuse of human labour, child-prostitution, only and only because of the imperialist man’s sheer inhumanity to man (2).
Is it any different today, when the minimum wage is set officially by the British government at a laughable 5 pounds and some pennies per hour (half as yet the amount of the same in Europe, as if the latter was anything to be proud of) (3). The British Conservative Party always objects even to this pitiable amount – they think it undercuts Business! If they could help it, the Conservatives it seems would not hesitate to build concentration camps for the poor, as they had invented its Victorian prototype – the Workhouses, where the poor were starved to death working their guts out, spitting blood. Incredibly, there are serious British Conservative voices (4) advocating the return of the Workhouse for the unemployed, a measure matching in inhumanity the Labour government’s own plans [a] to force physically disabled people into the labour market, and [b] extending the retirement age from 65 to 70 and beyond ... to one's grave – the dream of the workers in ‘civilized capitalism’ (as in France and Germany) was to reduce the working life-span, not to increase it, as British capitalism is pioneering ruthlessly, indecently, inhumanly and genocidally – more and more workers in Britain will die on their jobs!
Tony Blair, the great Warmonger, proved to be the best Conservative Prime Minister they never had. His adoration of Mrs Thatcher is not a secret anymore. He abuses it whenever he needs to resuscitate the image of the Iron Lady, oblivious to the fact that the British people were finally sickened by her inhumanity, and hoping for a cure voted Labour instead, thrice seduced by Blair’s compassionate hot-air image.
And every time he warmongers with American Presidents, Blair wears the Lady’s slippers (5). He stepped in them yet again (earlier than expected, as the war of the lunatics on Iraq got postponed several times), “By reviving the spectre of Arthur Scargill”(6), the Miners’ leader Mrs Thatcher killed off... Poor Arthur Scargill, he had nothing to do whatsoever with the wage-claim (in 2002) of Britain’s Fire-Brigades Union, and yet was libellously abused for the 1000th time as a mere symbol of Thatcherite bashing of the trade unions (7).
Tony Blair was lying to himself when he declared to his “aides that the dispute [of the fire-fighters’ union was] being politically driven by the far Left.” He was using American marketing tricks to deliberately mislead the nation (if not deliberate, then stupid, which he cannot be) when he droned “that ‘no Government could yield to’ the 40 per cent pay claim tabled by the fire-fighters.”(8)
A 100% of 0, produces nothing, while a mere 1% of a 100,000 (an MP’s salary paid by the DSS …) (9) yields instantly 1,000 pounds.
It does not matter what percentage rise of your salary it is when you need 30,000 English pounds a year to just make ends meet in today’s London (10).
The true cause of poverty in Britain has nothing to do with the lies
whipped up by the British governments. The truth has to do mainly with the manipulation of the property market via the rise in housing prices (11) – something few people if at all understand in economic theory – it is a new viral form in British capitalism that shall eventually globalise and create a pandemic, killing off millions of the poor in the world via the terror of homelessness already experienced by the pavement-dwelling poor in India, USA, post-Soviet Russia etc.
In Britain, this is achieved with a complex web of interlocking devices. One of them was put in place in our own lifetime (two decades ago) when the Abbey National Building Society went into the business of selling properties, acting as Estate Agents, thus subverting its own conceptual structure built on the non-profit making definition of its essence. The very notion of a socialist type co-operative Building Society was dynamited, opening the floodgates to their conversion into rip-off Banks.
Today, the Halifax is not only Britain’s biggest mortgage lending ex-Building Society turned-Bank, but also the foxiest, a body of prime masseurs with tentacles on price-pushers (parasitic estate agents). Its regular published forecasts pretend to reflect objectively the price movements in the housing market, when in fact with foxy subtlety, they engineer price pushing upwards by no more than hypothetical baseless predictions, fraudulent crystal-ball gazing passed as serious economic forecasting.
The foxiness lays in the occasional clever ‘anticipation’ of a ‘downturn’ – dust in the eyes to cover up their loan sharking ready for the next ‘upturn’ (12) thus primed (via their own estate agents). The invention and growth of fanciful television programmes on the subject, titillating the fantasies of the masses, give the hot-air gangs of the property wheeler-dealers societal respectability, alas – the borrowers are made to feel grateful to the money-launderers for cutting their throats.
The right to affordable housing is a basic human right the British governments are denying their people, and that, at the start of the 21st century.
Housing deprivation is of course one way of population control, or ‘enslavement’ by another word. Artificially manufactured price rises in the housing markets leads to universal corruption, with knock on effects in every walk of life, leading to criminal behaviour – rise in substance abuse (alcoholism and drug addiction), prostitution, even racism (13), to mention but a few. It produces one-to-one lies and deception in daily social transactions (14). My local newsagents have to cheat pennies on the sweets and the chocolate bars they sell to meet the sudden enormous rises in their rents. I feel great sadness when they try to overcharge even long-standing customers (like myself) pretending that they made a mistake in their mental calculation, because … there were too many schoolchildren at the time, etc. etc. They apologise profusely if you catch them. And I get saddened catching them. I let go, even though they may begin to think one has grown senile!
I had a very dear friend (an ex-Maths teacher), who ran with his wife (a qualified Nurse) two shops in different areas of Greater London selling pine furniture (because two decades ago they could not make ends meet working in the public sector). They worked physically hard day and night (unable to afford annual holidays) receiving and delivering massive pieces of furniture to their customers. They lived crammed on top of one of their shops, lacking themselves the beautiful bookcases, coffee tables, and pine beds their customers bought.
Their landlord, crazed by the recent mad rise in the housing prices, decided suddenly, without any rhyme or reason except sheer sub-human greed, to put up their rent by 20,000 pounds per annum!
My friend had to go bankrupt overnight, and move his family out into the sticks. He thought the national shortage of teachers and Nurses would be a good motivation to try again what husband and wife had initially trained for anyway. Two weeks into it, they could not survive the misery and wretchedness of what decades of Thatcherite inhumanity (continued by the Blairite lies) had done to our Schools and the NHS. My friend finally went into managing a DIY store miles away from home – and I lacked the courage to ask what his wife had decided to do next, for sheer survival in the world’s unnecessarily most expensive city, London.
The argument that the homeowner is enriched by the rise in the price of his home is nonsense. It may be true for a statistically insignificant minority that are property investors, but it can never be true for the majority of homeowners who cannot … feed on their houses for daily bread! As for the next-of-kin inheritors after their demise, when life has generally become even more exorbitantly expensive as a direct result of the artificially priced-up housing market, the new owners will come not into wealth, but by then ‘low’ priced old stock – viz. back to square one on the British capitalism’s game-board of poverty.
Pre-Thatcher, a single salary had sufficed for an average family upkeep. Mrs Thatcher changed all that too. She nicely abused the struggles of the Feminist Movement for socio-economic equality by seducing the liberated women into the labour market, to then shamelessly exploit their employment as cheap labour. With housing prices meanwhile pushed up non-stop (in spite of and even because of the sickly 'negative equity'), 'two' salaries became a must for family survival (albeit women’s work still lacks parity with male employment – not that the men have any better time of it).
The Fire fighters of Britain should have asked for 30,000 a year after tax. That is how much you need today to just about breathe polluted foul air (not fair weather) in London.
Take public transport, for example – a basic human right and not a luxury in an urban social context. An all zones Travel Card for a single trip to and fro costs a massive Five English Pounds! (£5.10 actually and going up) (15). Granted you can travel all day hopping on different buses and changing underground stations, but what fool is going to do just that? The old can get a beautifully named Freedom Pass, but only as they become half dead and unlikely to want to travel – an example of British paradigmatic bureaucratic sadism. One must therefore pay the Fiver to travel minimally for a single destination for whatever reason.
And if you are a Christian (monogamous) nuclear family of 1 wife and 3 children, that is already 25 pounds. If you wish to visit a theatre, at an average of £10 a ticket (cheap seats, with obstruction!), there goes another 50 pounds. Tea and cakes (not food!) at the national centres of culture, subsidised from your taxes (the National Theatre, the South Bank Centre, and the National Film theatre) would rip you off another £25.
In conclusion, a family of 5 today in London needs as a matter of hard facts that would delight the Iron Lady’s heart at the least a 100 English Pounds for a single afternoon’s humble entertainment! Double that amount for Opera at the Coliseum, treble – at the Covent Garden – and I have done it, I know, I speak from sheer experience! And by the time this article sees the light of day, the prices may have doubled yet again… In the much-maligned Soviet Union, public transport and the Arts cost pennies, not even an English pound. Against London Covent Garden’s 150 pounds per ticket, the Bolshoi in Moscow would cost 1 pound.
For the family entertainment in London to be reasonably proportioned, you need to earn 30 thousand pounds a week, not per year the fire fighters were seeking. No wonder they were prepared to go through fire for it, to survive the unnatural despicable massaging of the house prices.
But why British governments allow such ‘Halifaxian’ abuse of the property market?
Because Britain’s Royal Family and the landed Aristocracy that sustain it, own, not only most of the best land of Britain (16 ), but also specifically every best prime property in London worth trillions – Kensington, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Regents Park area, Strand etc. and these are still the known ones, according to an extremely important book just published. From its cover – “70% of land [in Britain] is still owned by less than 1% of the population”(17).
Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Charles separately and together own about one and a half million acres of the best in Britain – that is as much as Britain’s Forestry Commission owns – the only other largest British government landowner (18).
The extortionist rise in housing prices in Britain guarantees the exorbitant values of the property market, which in turn secures in a grand tautology the fabulous monetary wealth of the Royal family thus linked to prime property (19), which unfortunately also simultaneously causes directly mass-poverty in Britain.
It is the price the British people pay for continuity and peace, undisturbed since the horrors of the English Civil War and Cromwell’s Revolution, which taught (in another grand tautology) the Americans and the French, and the rest of the world (via the latter) the craft of revolution (it is a British product!), by cutting off the King’s head (Charles I).
The French Revolutionaries went further and guillotined all aristocratic heads, and they would not stop there, they then cut off their own heads too, to eventually spawn the likes of the Young Turks who murdered this time a whole nation (the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey – in 1915), setting a perfect example for Hitler, who wanted to cut off the whole world’s head.
And it had all started four centuries earlier with Charles I losing his head in Whitehall, London. But that is another story.
When a first version of this article was published in London (2002), it provoked predictably the ire of some Estate Agents and newly affluent old ‘socialists’ who wrote distressed letters to the Editor. But soon after, the British government for the first time ever announced an official enquiry into the problems of the housing market diagnosed in the article – the government’s intention was not however to cure the disease, but to control the cancer, which has now spread to other capital cities of the world, especially the newly mafia-plundered countries of the former Soviet Union. The Mafiosi of Moscow, Yerevan, Warsaw, Prague… are playing with jungle-ferocity the London property-game in their own cities making thousands of people homeless. According to press reports, Russian property developers in Moscow (for example) have their sights set on Moscow… theatres they wish to pull down, as they occupy prime building sites!
The American capitalists were the first to initiate the game they called Real Estate in early 20th c. but they failed at the game to produce the exorbitant hoped-for dividends, simply because the continent of America was too vast for the market manipulation of land scarcity in terms of supply and demand – they of course succeeded only in New York city, not even in its suburbs.
It took Tony Blair’s Gordon Brown (Finance Minister) to re-invent the British Monopoly game for real – creating a completely new virus of British capitalism with a global potential of a pandemic already surfacing in post-Soviet states. Gordon Brown - Prime Minister in-waiting, now wants every homeowner in Britain to play the property-game risking life, limb, and mental health – “… unlocking money from their homes” (‘State pension makes up only half of income’ by Sarah Womack, The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2005, p.8), a euphemism for property theft by the Banks, is Blair’s Brownite stratagem to merely eventually eliminate the British State Pension altogether!
Official Property-theft has a 'respectable' proto-capitalist Business-tradition in British History stretching back to the Middle Ages - warlords dis-inheriting the peasantry to reward their cronies, and then the notorious Henry Viii - the Wife Beheader, who couldn't find any wealthy peasants left to rob, so he plundered the Church, thieved the monastery-properties ... and then came Mrs Thatcher, in the last decades of the 20th c., to let the Big Business Banks rob the poorest of London, genociding them out of The Docklands.
I knew a totally decent old Conserviative, a Printer, a Second World War veteran, who had just updated his machinery, after a lifetime of savings and hard work, to leave a blossoming business in the Docklands to his children, and who used to argue with me daily about the virtues of Thatcherism, provoked by my book denouncing it (he was typesetting it) - A decade later, he was one of the first to bear the brunt of Thatcherist theft of his property - 'they' gave him peanuts while kicking him out of his life-time's business-premises screaming ... Books need be written still on The Docklands grand Thatcherite property-theft of the 20th c. by the mafiosi of the British Big Business.
On February 13, 2005, the London Sunday Express in an article (headlined on the 1st page) came to finally prove and vindicate entirely the diagnoses offered in this article that from Britain’s Royal Family, the heir to the throne, Prince Charles alone may be making “up to 100 million pounds a year” from “property deals” etc.
And finally, in tandem, by October 15, 2005, for the lesser British mortals, all mortgage restraints on the housing market were removed by the lending mechanisms – the Banks and the Building societies. Even the rightest voice of the British Right, the Daily Mail had titled its article “Mortgage madness. Banks are tearing up the rules limiting the amounts homebuyers can borrow and encouraging them to take on enormous mortgages” warning (by quoting an expert) that “The potential harm is huge”.
Of course the money lenders and launderers lose nothing, as they merely re-possess the properties and re-market them again if the mortgagees skinned alive die on them!
As for Britain’s Royal Family, they may possibly be only bankrupted at and by the End of the World… just before the Jehovah’s Witnesses take over to live forever…
(1) “London is a capital divided. Almost half its children live in poverty… according to the first report from the Office of Children’s Rights Commissioner (OCRC)… the report claims that 43% of London children live in poverty.” (“London’s poverty divide hits children hard”, Society Matters, edited by Richard Skellington, The Open University Faculty of Social Sciences Newspaper, No 5 Autumn, 2003, p.3).
The government has plans to force local councils to have “their homes… be brought up to the decency standard by 2010” (from a parliamentary Early Day Motion ‘Council Housing’ 116 in Parliament), already a hundred years too late, I would say!
Even this is regarded by lobbying groups (like Defend Council Housing, P O Box 33519, London E8 4XW) as an insidious Blairite trick to privatise council housing (‘Stop Privatisation/Invest in Council Housing with No Strings Attached’, Rally, 29 January 2003, Central Hall Westminster) by handing over the houses of the poor to the big Banks subsidizing their renovation.
(2) F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England, edited with a Foreword by
Victor Kiernan, Penguin Books, 1987 (First published in Germany 1845). It is curious to note that in his ‘scientific’ mode of scholarly humility, the mature Engels underestimated the facts of the detail in his grand vision – in a ‘Preface to the English Edition’ (dated 11 January 1892), he feels his work is superseded; “The state of things described in this book belongs today, in many respects, to the past, as far as England is concerned… But while England has thus outgrown the juvenile state of capitalist exploitation described by me, other countries have only just attained it.” Engels in 1892 is dazzled by “the revival of the East End of London. That immense haunt of misery is no longer the stagnant pool it was six years ago”, something I myself have heard at least once a decade about London’s East End, still being revived…
In his typical Victorian passion for grand narratives, Engles was convinced that “it is still a law of modern political economy that the larger the scale on which capitalistic production is carried on, the less can it support the petty devices of swindling and pilfering which characterize its early stages… The fact is, those tricks do not pay any longer in a large market… where a certain standard of commercial morality is unavoidably developed… The competition of manufacturer against manufacturer by means of petty thefts upon the workpeople did no longer pay. Trade had outgrown such low means of making money… thankful to pick up a penny wherever they could.”
Engels would have eaten his words if he had lived to witness The US energy Company Enron’s recent plundering of the New York Stock markets, or the gravy train of the European Common Market, or the corruption of Cool Britannia into the rip-off Britain, where everyone on the micro-level is still ‘thankful to pick up a penny wherever he could’ in the manner the 24 years old Engels had described so potently.
And here is a factual example that proves Engels’ rosy-tinted vision of ‘respectable capitalism’ entirely wrong, and also shows up one of the post-modern tricks of the daylight robbery of the consumers – Campbells, one of the biggest multi-nationals produces what is labelled as V8 Vegetable juice hitherto glass-bottled at 500ml selling at an average of one English pounds – they have just replaced the glass-bottle with a plastic one, almost halving the contents (to 354ml) while preserving the same price!
There is no ‘respect’ in service-capitalism – it is back to the jungle of the war of all against all, as Thomas Hobbes had described in The Leviathan (1651), and which Karl Marx (and undoubtedly also Engels) had read.
(3) Every year, Blair’s government proudly announces that it is increasing the minimum wage by ten pence! – It trumpets the news with great aplomb hoping for mass adulation, only to become naturally the butt of British Comedians like Rory Bremner! If you wish to know the truth about British politics, watch his TV shows, and I am not joking.
(4) One of them, Niall Ferguson, thinks the much maligned British Empire is good for you, and is proud of Slavery, one of the most disgusting acts an inhuman human is capable of – here is how an extended extract from his book (Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World, Allen Lane Publishers, 2003) is titled in the Daily Mail, (January 13, 2003, pp. 30-1); “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. WHY WE CAN STAND PROUD OVER SLAVERY” The first sentence is placed in a prominent square, while the second is heavily underlined! As a well-trained Oxford historian, Ferguson cannot of course deny the historical facts – he merely perverts them. He would agree that tar is black, but he wishes it were white, and is convinced he can bleach it!
Another such ‘intellectual’ Mitchell Symons, “Columnist of the Year”, from worse stables, Daily Express (January 17, 2003, p.13), the owner of which is a well-known publisher of hard-core porno magazines, incredibly advises Britain’s security services without much ado to simply murder one James Hewitt (one of Princess Diana’s lovers) for daring to put on the market Princess Diana’s love letters; “If we had security services worthy of the name the letters would have been destroyed long ago and, come to think of it, so would Hewitt.”
Granted that the latter is a cad, a self-interest seeking cynic (what money-man is not!), Hewitt himself thinks he is performing a moral act of public good, by wanting £10 million for the letters (“Former Life Guards officer defends his offer to sell Princess’s love notes on American chat show” by Caroline Davies, Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2003, p.3), but does he deserve to be overtly murdered for it by the MI 5 or 6?
(5) Iain Duncan Smith (abbreviated to IDS), the recent Conservative Party Leader, was nevertheless still dissatisfied, “accused Mr Blair of ‘wobbling’ on the question of British involvement in any military action”, never mind the fact that “The YouGov poll, for ITV News, found that 58 per cent of people were not convinced that Saddam was sufficiently dangerous to justify war” (Daily Express, 13 January, 2003, pp. 8-9, “Blair: Back Me in War, PM’s crusade as support within Labour slips away” by Patrick O’Flynn, Political Editor). IDS would get in there, ‘in your face’ messing about with Saddam Hussein before even Bush Jr., risking the life of our tuppeny soldiers – according to an editorial in the same issue “The pay is low… Ten per cent of them are not medically fit to fight… Our troops face going into a battle without firm conviction, knowing there will not be enough doctors to treat them if they are wounded. In contrast, the US has sent a hospital ship the size of the QE2.” Could it be that true to the thatcherite murderous principles of cost cutting at all costs, Blair was counting on the American medical military?
The classical Greeks contemplated a wonderful philosophical conundrum – if a liar called a known liar a liar, would he be speaking the truth? There is undoubted “public anger over the Hutton report… widely seen as an establishment whitewash” (“51 pc want Blair out in wake of ‘lies’ over Iraq”, by Graeme Wilson, Political Correspondent, Daily Mail, 7 February 2004, p. 6).
British governments like to brag to the world that their judiciary is independent of them. The great horror of the Hutton report that whitewashed Prime Minister Blair lies in the fact that it unwittingly proved once and for all that the British Judiciary is not independent of the Executive, servile to the Ruling class – it gave the lie to the grandest of all the lies that it was! One could quote endless cases of corrupt practices embedded within the British judiciary – to begin with, it has nothing to do with finding justice, but rather an arrangement for an elaborate game-play sustaining the Darwinian survival of the wealthiest …
(6) “Blair vows to stamp on ‘Scargillite’ fire fighters”, by Philip Webster, Tom Baldwin, and Christine Buckley, in The Times, 23 October 2002, First page.
(7) Every prediction of Arthur Scargill’s about secret thatcherite plans to destroy Britain’s coal mining industry proved to be true. He was viciously ridiculed and made a scapegoat at the time, when he used to waive to the British nation (via the news media) the confidential list of the planned pit closures – a grand example of market-manipulation (and lies) by the grand advocate of free markets, Mrs Thatcher, whose other grand plan was to tar over Britain’s Railways to create lebensraum (to use Hitler-speak) for the expansion of the car industry, in replication of the American madness of car-polluting the planet. Blair’s equivalent plan seems to have been the destruction of the Fire Brigades Union (cum ‘modernisation’ – New Labour-speak for capitalist ‘privatisation’).
(8) “Last-ditch bid by Prescott to avert the firemen’s strike” by David Hughes, Political Editor, Daily Mail, October 24, 2002, p. 2.
(9) The DSS (Department of Social Security) became a dirty name in Mrs Thatcher’s mouth. Of course I intend this as bitter irony – it is an unalterable economic fact that the Social Security Benefits are paid from the same source (the Taxes) as everything else, including the MP’s salaries, the only difference being that the unemployed get crumbs for their belly ache (£45 per week? – that is how much I pay for buying books!), while MP’s wives/partners get fat salaries as their Secretaries (£10,000 more than Britain’s fire-fighters were being refused for!)
(10) People in Britain are brainwashed to name their salaries pre-tax, when in fact their take-home pay is hardly two-thirds of it.
Yet another exploitative British industrial habit is overtime-dependency for normal production, and the creation of unnecessary emergencies to justify it, as the average labour wage is so low, something the post-war German economy (for example) never experienced. German workers are paid adequately for a normal working day, not to need overtime as top-up salaries just to pay for the essentials of life. The British workers could never live decently without some kind of overtime stretch of their normal working hours, nowadays even worse than ever – the British work-force is the most overworked of the capitalist West.
(11) That the Markets are free in Britain is another major economic lie. As to how the markets are manipulated and massaged by the private Players may be the subject of another study. Suffice it to note that, Estate Agents that feed parasitically on the sale of people’s homes invent property prices out of no more than hot air tittle-tattle. Housing prices at least in Britain are total fantasy-figures pulled out of magic hats.
(12) Negative Equity is another hot air construct, invented as recently as the late 1980’s to denote the minute slump in hugely over-inflated housing prices – when the sale price is blown ten-folds upwards, what’s half a percent drop?
It is an extremely useful little scare-mongering device to empower the macho money-men to manipulate and dominate the markets through fear, a basic human instinct (“Thousands to Lose Houses in Price Slump, Negative equity nightmare is back” by David Smith, Daily Express, 13 January, 2003, First page headlines). US style Capitalist marketing stratagems are, by definition, based on the abuse of basic human instincts, sexual most of all.
(13) I do not wish to appear simplistic about these issues. They have complex causality. Economic deprivation is a fundamental one, but so is emotional trauma or depravity, which in turn in a vicious circle can cause and be caused by the first. Substance abuse can start with a simple desire for relaxation, and build up into masochistic fashionable self-abuse amongst the wealthy of the world. While Prostitution universally begins with economic need, can turn into a means to gratify consumer fetishism – to buy things one does not need (like a 100 designer clothes and pairs of shoes – 2,000 of them made the wife of the Philippine dictator, Mrs Marcos world famous!) Last but not least, the rise of Racism caused by accommodational deprivation disrupting social interaction is a new idea worthy of sociological research.
(14) Engels was absolutely right about petty thieving, when he thought he was wrong (see note 2 above) about advanced capitalism being rid of it. Engels’ Victorian faith in progress blinded him to the fact of the immoral nature of profiteering anytime anywhere, even though he could come up with immortal insights into the esoteric workings of the capitalist social relations – for example, his observation of genius that strike-action by the workers is abused by the capitalist as a mechanism to control production quotas; “out of ten strikes [work-people] make, nine are provoked by the manufacturers in their own interests, as the only means of securing a reduced production. You can never get the masters to agree to work ‘short time’, let manufactured goods be ever so unsaleable; but get the work-people to strike, and the masters shut their factories to a man.” (ibid, p. 42).
A large fuss was made in the British news media concerning the strike-busting action of the Army, when “Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce stunned No. 10 with his ‘extreme concern about the military effectiveness of our armed forces’, because of the 19,000 men required for firefighting duties.” (Editorial, Daily Mail, 4 January 2003, p.12).
Could it be that the Blair government, like the manufacturers in the days of Engels, manufactured the firemen’s strike as an excuse not to participate fully in Bush’s war, to put a more ‘humane’ face on an unforgivable inhuman act of a presumed pre-emptive war?
(15) It is short of a nazi practice to want to put it up further while the service is dilapidated downwards, into extreme risk to life and limb. Today in London, travelling by Underground is a minute-by-minute passage through Hell and back.
(16) If, as a result of global climate change, most of Britain may sink, the Royal Family will be the first to be safe on the Queen’s vast lands in the Scottish Highlands, as it would probably remain the only piece of Britain still afloat. The Tragedy of this scenario is that, like the Armenian King Ardavazt (BC), her successors will have no people to rule over!
(17) Kevin Cahill (2001), Who Owns Britain, Canongate Books, Edinburgh.
(18) Britain, with America, leads the world in the Death industries (arms manufacturing). The astronomical profits are incalculable and can only be guessed at, especially when long lasting wars are deliberately engineered, to use up surplus arms-mountains. In the Iraq-Iran war, for example, Mrs Thatcher’s government supplied both sides (The Scott Report), creating the Saddam Hussein phenomenon, as the USA had created the Taliban monsters against the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan.
Mrs Thatcher’s son, Mark Thatcher, was alleged in the British news media of the day to have received 450 million English pounds as a kickback on his mother’s arms deals with the Saudi government (codenamed Al-Yamama). Mrs Thatcher herself was ‘reviewed’ by the press immediately after her resignation as the first British Prime Minister cum arms-dealer, with Jonathan Aitken, MP, as her fall guy.
To gift the Royal Family with a piece of the massive cake, Blair’s government designated Prince Andrew as its global agent for arms selling – “the Duke’s ambassadorial skills for the air defence industry” are casually mentioned and euphemistically admired in an article that has nothing to do with it, and is no more than mere amatory tittle-tattle (‘Andy’s Mystery Woman’ by Richard Kay, Daily Mail, 21 September 2002).
(19) The British Monarch is without a doubt the world’s wealthiest person. His or Her wealth can only be fantasized in terms of the riches of the semi-mythical Oriental emperors.
The ‘poverty’ of the Royal family is a political myth actively frequently and subtly promoted by the news media to conquer any popular envy. For example, Princess Diana who had a £50 million divorce-settlement from Prince Charles “sold her unwanted designer dresses to second-hand shops to fund everyday expenses … to pay for trips abroad, shopping visits, cinema tickets, magazines and other day-to-day expenses etc. etc.” (‘Diana’s Secret Hoard of Cash’ by John Twomey, Daily Express, 19 October 2002, pp.1 and 7).
The “poor Palace wages” have been notorious since the days of Queen Victoria …
Edward Viii, according to a dynamite of a book, “although he often pleaded poverty throughout his tumultuous life, he was never less than a very wealthy man.” (Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, Stephen Prior and Robert Brydon, War Of The Windsors, A century of Unconstitutional Monarchy, Mainstream Publishing, 2002, p. 37).
An update on April Fools’ Day (1st April 2007) – and yet it is no April Fools’ Day trick, but the printed fact –
A production of Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, at the famous London Barbican Theatre, 24 May-23 Jun, shall cost a whopping 25 English Pounds for a single ticket, no Concessions, and all seats at the same price … I shall need £125.00 to buy only tickets [not to count the additional cost of rip-off London Public Transport, and Restaurants …] for my family of a wife and three children! This is the contribution which the world-centre of Globalization, the City of London Corporation makes to the culture of my British nation – I didn’t say it, they did, and here it is verbatim in black on white from the Events Brochure;
“Celebrating the Barbican’s 25th Birthday, The Barbican Centre is provided by the City of London Corporation as part of its contribution to the cultural life of London and the nation.”