On Trump, Brexit, Bogus Revolutions and the underlying cause that 'The Free Press' won't mention

Thursday, 10 November 2016

If 2010 was the summer of the Arab Spring, then 2016 has been the summer of the Bogus Revolution.

In the USA and the UK, two of the world's most ardently capitalist societies, it turns out that working class natives, isolated and struggling to get by after decades of neo-liberal policies, are feeling disenfranchised. No surprises there. Even 150 years ago, Marx predicted the isolation of workers and subsequent class antagonism under capitalism. Marx also said that "history repeats itself - first as tragedy, second as farce" - and that's where Nigel Farage and Donald Trump come in.

For those with an outside perspective - people who aren't living in these countries and having their prejudices manipulated by brutalist buzzwords and asinine PR campaigns - it seems unfathomable that two such unworthy figures could somehow become folk revolutionaries for the common man to rally around.

The vast majority of Trump's votes today came from America's Bible Belt - and yet it's difficult to imagine anybody who so embodies the seven deadly sins - even the narcissist himself has boasted proudly of his Greed, Gluttony, Lust and Wrath. The other portion of his votes came from America's Rust Belt - communities left for dead by industry closures and globalisation - who today proudly voted for a cartoonish caricature of a capitalist fat cat - a man known for not paying his corporate taxes, known for mistreating employees and known for sourcing the building materials of his luxury penthouses from China, because, hey, it's cheaper baby.

Farage, who founded the UK Independence Party having first benefited from a private education, a career in the stock market and a spell with The Conservative Party (The cornerstone of economic liberalism in the UK), has himself become a hero of the working man despite a series of MPs expense scandals, proven tax avoidance and a refusal to release details of a secret bank account held on the Isle of Man.

So, how could such egotistical, elitist men possibly end up as heroes in the fight against elitism?

The Age of The Self

Trump is The American Dream, a man willing to trample over people, laws and (now) nations, to get what he wants. Living proof that in a society that resembles a toilet bowl, only the shit floats to the top. And yet, in The Age of The Self, floating to the top is still a mark of success, even if you are, at the end of the day, a clear-cut turd.
The Age of The Self also carries relevance for the choices made by voters. The majority of us don't vote through any process of reasoned logic or projection of a candidate's policy. In a time of isolation and suffering, we vote out of spite, however selfish, or out of vindictiveness, however misguided. And herein lies the crux - no matter how boorish or unqualified a candidate appears, no matter how many times they shoot themselves in the foot, if they give us, ourselves, me, I, the chance to vindicate and justify our emotions, even if we know deep down that we may be wrong, then nothing else that they do matters, nor will it ever matter. Our own mental gymnastics will see to that.
During the presidential debates, Trump could have simply ignored all questions put to him and sprawled out on stage with an ice cream scoop, calmly hollowing out his rectum and depositing balls of his own chud onto a silver platter. His voter base would not have batted an eyelid. Because turning a blind eye to the defects of our emotional vindicator is much easier than addressing the real causes of our rampant emotions, realising that we are misguided, and empowering ourselves to change them. That would take time, self-discipline and perspective. And our neo-liberal societies don't encourage those qualities.

Is the 'Free Press' really a cornerstone of democracy, or its jail guard? 

Instinctive beasts in an era in which technology is advancing faster than our own minds, we crave simplicity. Black and white reasoning, easy labels, pithy, infantile phrases like

Make America Great Again

- or -

Take Back Control.

Without wanting to be Jimmy Obvious, if you take these phrases, so powerful and so often repeated this year, and analyse them word by word, you find that they mean nothing. They amount to no promise, no action. Their job is solely to satiate, to seduce, to provide filler where there would otherwise be a void, a lack of justification as to why The Many should support the power grab of The Few.
The phrase Take Back Control, of course, when used in conjunction with photographs of lines and lines of refugees escaping war-torn Syria, implies a significance of losing control of immigration; of having your own culture being drowned out in favour of that of The Other. 
The devil as always, is in the detail, but during the Brexit campaign, no detail seemed less relevant than the fact that the UK was not, and never has been, a part of the Schengen Area. This fact, paired with special concessions in the UK's EU membership, meant that we have, and have always had, full and sovereign control over our own borders and immigration policy. But dry facts fail, time and time again, to win over the minds of the disenfranchised, against the power of those pithy little phrases. The level of debate, on both sides, was never allowed to rise above the knee-jerk, the emotional and the spiteful. The stuff of good headlines.

And here we get to the thrust of it. This morning I broke my 'no passive media consumption' rule and flicked from news site to news site, taking in the reactions of UK and US media on Trump's election. Most press, predictably, used the occasion to hammer home their business partners' Conservative economic aspirations with their usual pretence of common-sense boorishness, aimed at winning over the working man. News groups who sometimes indulge in some serious journalism, such as The New York Times and The Guardian, concerned themselves with asking 'how could this happen', and offering many viewpoints, but missing out one very important question.

- Should the Free Press really be free? - 

Why is it taken for granted that news and PR organisations should have complete freedom, and be answerable to no-one? Is it not incredibly dangerous that major political decisions are voted on by people who are so deluged in misinformation? How can true democracy exist if gargantuan efforts are made, in almost all democratic societies, to implement the will of the 1% onto the 99% with media propaganda? And how can any policy maker possibly stand up to a news organisation without fear of having public opinion being turned against them (as in the case of Jeremy Corbyn) by the very same newspaper? What would Donald Trump be without the media attention that he paid for? If another rambling, mentally-ill 70-year old with no political experience decided that he wanted to be president, except he didn't have the means to be able to grind us down with an 18-month media campaign, would we listen to him, or laugh at how deluded he was?

In a time when our internet activity is monitored by third parties, and, through our social network feeds, we are offered the exact news that we want to hear, in the precise way that we want to hear it, it's more imperative than ever that news organisations aren't given free rein to lie, cherry-pick and inflame the prejudices of a captive public.

It's imperative especially for the British people, no longer protected by their empire, that the free press isn't there to justify 'austerity' and demonise the poor, as our parasitic ruling elite, starved of colonial land to pillage, turn on us and begin to feast on the bones of their own country.

And it's imperative also for the entire global population, as today we have seen that it's not just the political elite who are capable of using this machinery for their own ends. Power hungry narcissists, free market capitalists, celebrity psychopaths with no self-restraint, those who want and crave, purveyors of The Self, the I, the Id, are capable of seizing the PR and media circus and using it to bite the hands of those who quietly put it in place. And, now that one of them has his fingers on the button of the world's largest nuclear arsenal, he is capable of turning his Limitless Greed into Limitless Wrath.


It's all good lecturing but you don't offer any solutions etc. etc.

- Take five minutes to check your facts    https://fullfact.org 

- Check the voting history of your politicians    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/ 

- Discipline your mind    https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index

- Read a book    https://www.scribd.com/doc/194120767/Taking-the-Risk-Out-of-Democracy-Corporate-Propaganda-Versus-Freedom-and-Liberty-Alex-Carey

- Send me a message telling me that you're sad and I'll tell you that I love you and that you're nice :-)