State of Fear

screamI very rarely post political stuff on this site, but I’m breaking my rule.

We are being steadily acclimatised to live in a state of constant fear. We are being trained to it by the media who profits from it, from the political elites who use it to manipulate us, by a financial system that trades on it and enslaves us with it.

While it is easy to point at the people who voted for Brexit and dismiss them as uneducated racists and xenophobes–while it is marvelous fuel for our self-righteous anger–it doesn’t help. A 52% majority voted, ostensibly, to leave the EU, but when you break down the reasons for voting that way, what you find is a group of people who’ve been manipulated into focusing their fear and anger on the other. People who grabbed the tiny moment of power being offered to them and who were shamelessly steered into doing something very destructive with it. They don’t want to recognise or admit this – who would? Who would want to acknowledge that they’d been used in this appalling way? Who wants to cop to being an extra in a Frankenstein film?

And while I voted to remain, I have always been critical of the power structure that runs the EU. It does need to change and, in my opinion, staying in and working toward that change was important, not just for Britain, but for the stability of Europe.

But I was on the losing side; I accept that. But I don’t accept that, now the decision has been made, we can go back to business as usual and continue to tolerate a system that has been responsible for a rapidly widening wealth gap, a political elite who use a population as fodder, an erosion of worker’s rights, a complete disdain for the truth and for expertise, an engine that manufactures fear and division and uses it to their purpose.

I will not be governed by the likes of Boris Johnson. Brexit and the break-up of the United Kingdom can be firmly and incontrovertibly laid at the door of ten years of Tory pillage. Nor will I be governed by Blairites who materially contributed to the fundamentally immoral social, political and economic trajectory that has led us to this place of blatant self-interest and the smug, pitiless commodification of everything that constitutes the humanity in us.

Join me in spirit.

  14 comments for “State of Fear

  1. Korhomme
    June 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I too am a remainer, and I lost. I’m not happy that Leave won because of deceit and downright lies. And now the Brexiters are tying themselves in knots saying that when they said there would be £350m a week to spend on the NHS, what they meant was [something else].

    Fear, and anger; but anger at the bogeyman who is the EU. The anger should be aimed at the neoliberal economic policies of the EU and the UK. These have given us greatly widening inequality, the rise of grotesquely wealthy people as the ‘elite’, increasing levels of social and medical problems, and austerity, for austerity is a child of neoliberalism. And neoliberalism started with Thatcher, and continued with Blair and the present Tories. I haven’t seen any serious politician saying anything about this, that a new economic theory is needed.

    As for Boris; he is simply a serial liar, he was sacked from The Times for making up quotations, and sacked from the shadow front bench for lying about his affair. The thought of this man as PM is just ghastly; there is now an ABB movement, anyone but Boris. Not just lies; a disconnect with reality. The pound is stable, he says. Well it might be, but it is stable now at the lowest level for 35 years. He’s also talking of an asymmetric relationship with the EU; the UK gets the benefits, but none of the drawbacks. Dream on.

  2. June 28, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Looking at this from the outside, Korhomme’s comment confirms my own reading.

    I have dual citizenship, also being a member of the EU (but not British). Despite it’s problems (which are normal human/political problems) I’ve always been a supporter and think it would be a damned shame to lose the UK — the posturing of certain EU members telling the UK to “get out now” is stupid and petty. But even more so, the loss to the UK’s youth is the real crime.

    I have a feeling though, that the UK won’t follow through on the vote. Cameron has handled this (and continues to handle this) deplorably. Once he’s gone (and hopefully it won’t be Boris) I’m thinking the UK will come around.

  3. June 28, 2016 at 7:21 am

    RG, “the commodification of everything that constitutes the humanity in us.”
    Your voice is so unexpected in the company of your remarkable work, yet on target. “Disdain for truth and expertise”. I have not heard such a focus on “other” since the days of Moral Man and Immoral Society or The Human Use of Human Beings. Your gift to readers is a focus on “other” in the dimension of eroticism explored with a skilled, precise, sometimes ironically humorous scalpel. So your comments on Brexit, its sources and consequences both I ntended and unintended are carried on the same level. Exceptional.

    One thing I would like to add. We are living with a proliferation of enabling technologies. The Net with all its levels, vehicles that carry messages between spirits, does let s all hear “other” in ways not possible ever before. What we do with that discovery of remnants of humane concern….that is on each of us to define. Nowhere is the evidence of self and other more clearly defined for each of. Than in our sharing of experiences of the erotic. It is after all, a truly appropriate place to examine what dehumanizes …. and what humanizes. Thanks RG for your impassioned words.

  4. Jimena
    June 29, 2016 at 3:41 am

    I’m a member of the UE (not British) and I voted for the Brexit “in spirit”. Because I feel every day more and more lost, lonely, fragile, exposed and completely unprotected. Angry and frustrated. And no, I don’t consider myself in no way “an uneducated and xenophone” person. I agree with you completely when you say “… but when you break down the reasons for voting that way, what you find is a group of people who’ve been manipulated into focusing their fear and anger on the other.”

    In this moment I feel frustration and anger with the mass media of my country when their analysis of the situation is (grossly and very condensed version) “the British have demonstrated with the Brexit their lack of solidarity and their xenophobic behavior”. It’s a statement so false and so simplified that, like always, I ask myself about the levels of cultural poverty, ignorance and childishness in which we live nowadays and that the mass media over and over again reflect so accurate. It’s disgusting.

    But no, I don’t agree with you with the effectiveness of “..staying in and working toward that change was important, not just for Britain, but for the stability of Europe,” On the contrary, I think that these who holds the real power in the UE (and the world), and who certainly aren’t our representatives, don’t understand anything else than a total rupture with everything that represent them. Any other thing, as I see it, is like playing cat and mouse with them, and they are the expert in it, not us, and they love it. It’s their “everyday play”. The only thing that really shake their foundation is turning our backs to them.

    I wish the first UE would come back, when it was just an economic union. Because it’s the only reality that is important in this world and the only one they are applying. Enough with the hypocrisy we are living in. I can’t see anywhere that ”great vision” of Europe and the “union” of its people in solidarity and fraternity. That’s only this big lie they are telling us to make us follow their leadership blindly for “our own good”. When have they ever worked towards the interests of the people? I feel like we are living in some kind of “happy, pinky advertisement” about a happy, prosperous and supportive fantasy world.

    I’m convinced that Britain have just achieved that, conform to the objective reality. Now Britain will negotiate good resolutions and agreements with Europe defending their economic interests and in the end nothing important is going to change much. After all, it’s what Britain has done since the very beginning of this union, fighting for “special” deals that could accommodate the singularity of Britain. So congratulations for the Brexit. I wish my country would follow.

    • June 30, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Well, a couple of things. My guess is that you aren’t exactly representative of most Leave voters, and while everyone’s unique viewpoint is welcome, your highly individualistic position doesn’t invalidate my characterization of the general profile of Leave voters, and research bears me out.

      I’m glad you’d like to have nothing but a strictly economic union – I think many people feel that way. Sadly, once you don’t belong to an organization, it’s almost impossible to influence its direction.

      Your implication that the people who voted Remain were uncritical of the EU, or living in some “happy, pinky advertisement” is interesting.

  5. July 1, 2016 at 1:01 am

    My God, but the Brexit drama keeps getting better. Boris Johnson declines the PM’ship because Gove? Pure Shakespeare. Did you see the SamCoates Twitter pic?

    As one PM said: This makes House of Cards look like Teletubbies.

    British Governance is in shambles. I’m glued. The only thing missing is sex. Where’s the sex scandal? Give us some scandalous sex and, I promise you, we’ll have a Broadway musical within the year.

    But anyway, sorry. It’s my personality. Can’t help seeing the humor in some of this. It’s a mini-series. It’s a soap opera. It’s a tragi-comedy in 5 acts. And this morning I read an editorial at the Guardian asserting that filing Article 50 could be illegal according to British jurisprudence.

    @ Jimena. The notion that the EU is going to simply allow Britian to negotiate their way to a trade agreement in any way more advantageous than what they currently have is, I’d argue, naive. Why would the EU do that? And encourage other countries to follow the Brexit example? In balance, the EU has to make a decision. What’s more valuable? A United Europe or, in essence, nationalism? They’ll choose the former. If Britain leaves the EU (and I don’t think they will) but if they do, it’s going to hurt. As to nothing important changing that much? Seriously? Cameron is resigning. The labour party is in revolt. The Tories are in shambles. An entire generation of British youth are poised to lose the ability to live and work freely anywhere in Europe. Whole communities of British expats are poised to become illegal aliens. Scotland is poised to leave Britian as well as Northern Ireland. There may not be a Great Britain in the near future. If none of this counts as “important changes”, then what does?

    • Remittance Girl
      July 1, 2016 at 3:24 am

      What I found a little distressing is that few people have questioned why the EU pairs freedom of labour movement along with freedom of trade and capital – it’s to balance out the power between employers and employees. So, while the UK wants to be very prickly about this, the fact is that the ability to move to a place with better conditions for employees encourages employers to improve employment conditions. My problem with the EU all along is that a tight economic and political union between countries with wildly disparate standards of living is inherently antithetical to the kind of community the EU is supposedly after.

  6. Jimena
    July 2, 2016 at 5:49 am

    William. Let me answer you in a friendly way, okey! Don’t be so humble. Britain is not Greece. Who have the political power in the EU? Do you see my point of view? Nobody in the EU wants a space dominated by Germany. What do you think Eastern Europe feel about it? Britain has always acted like the necessary counterbalance to Germany. Do you really think that the EU is going to break their ties with Britain? Don’t you think that they are prepared to pay the necessary price to accommodate Britain in this new EU? Well I certainly believe so.

    Yes I support completely your last sentence about “the union of countries with wildly disparate standards of living”. I live in Southern Europe and for us “this” EU has been a real disaster. Even in former times when we were drowning in money, money that was literally thrown in our hands by the “rich part of Europe”, it was still a disaster. The really fast transformation of my country, the way it was performed to suit the greedy economical and financial world (of course with the completely approval of our politician), with no future view or long term planning has been incredible harmful. It has destroyed my country and shattered us completely. I cannot recognize my own country anymore and my countrymen… well, they have lost their character, their spirit at some point during this detrimental economical growth.

    So, let me expand my reasons why I vote for the Brexit. What I want is to demonstrate that there is life beyond the EU. Another way of living. I suppose that as English things are different but down here, among the poor , our politician indoctrinate us constantly in the belief that we have never been happier than now being part of the EU. That we should be very grateful for belonging to this “cave of Ali Baba”, full of opportunities, fortunes and progress.

    I wished that Greece have voted for leaving the EU. I thought then, like now, that you just couldn’t be any worse and that staying in the EU was only prolonging the agony. But I understand why an evicted country can’t possible have the courage to take that final step. It’s asking too much. But now we are taking about the Great Britain and that’s a different story.

    I’m really sorry that the only ones who are offering a “solutions” for the pain, fear and social injustices. For the feelings of deep discontent and unhappiness that millions of people are suffering are these political groups of neoNazi or extremist ideology. They are so dangerous. And meanwhile the EU, display the same inactivity as always, as a total lack of sensibility for peoples feeling.

  7. Steph
    July 13, 2016 at 1:08 am

    First, it is really interesting to read your responses, nearly all from a non-U.S. perspective. Living in the U.S, being a citizen, I hear other U.S. opinions almost to the exclusion of international points of view. Secondly, Brexit has unleashed a TON of unsolicited, uninformed rantings and ravings from people here. One example: “Texit.” There’s always been a pro-secession movement in Texas, and one in Vermont as well. So, with the pro-Trump folks salivating about America “being great again” and his pledge to build a “great wall” along our border with Mexico, they see Brexit as a sort of sign from above. (If leaving a union is good enough for the UK, then it should work the same here, too. *rolls eyes*.) Thank you for sharing your insight, everyone 🙂

  8. Ed95
    August 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    We all know that The Political Leaders and their minions (MP’s) are economical with the truth, but the real truth, and I can’t believe that everyone of them came out with so many scaremongering lies that they all forgot that they said those stupid accounts of what would happen if we were to stay. The whole point of EU was to benefit all, Employers and Eployees equally, ie, improving conditions in the workplace so both benefit which make Employers improve conditions and pay to attract the best workforce. Those self centred Liars after the event came back with ” What I really meant was,” Those liars won that vote based on lies and false scare tactics. Boris quoted after getting a fancy new Post and declaring just before his first meeting that it may not mean that we will leave. We the voters should have the decency to hold them to their falsehood and sack the whole lot of them. If we made an ass of ourselves in our occupation and it was a serious event we would be fired, why not them?

  9. Kay
    November 12, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Pertinent and insightful as always. I would love to know your thoughts on the current shitstorm happening in the USA, and what it says about the atmosphere of our times.

    Love and solidarity,

    K

  10. Penny
    December 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Be thankful you are not living in the states.

  11. Morning Star
    January 21, 2017 at 5:20 am

    And now President (gag) Trump, aka Brexit Part II. How do we fight this zeitgeist?!

  12. Lee
    March 10, 2017 at 1:36 am

    What always gets my goat is how a vote by just 37% of the qualifying electorate is called a “majority”.

    If this vote were a town council, it would not reach quorum, go back and keep talking.

    Instead, the biggest minority of the electorate have slit everyone’s throat. The lies were shamefully revealed as political bollocks the *next day*.

    Total mess, and the lemmings are still charging for the cliffedge.

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