John Ward – POOR: Positive Organised Online Resistance – 26 January 2014


The Idea that Labour represents positive change is a joke. The POOR alternative makes more sense.

Well here we go again: Balls says he will obliterate Britain’s deficit and be the Chancellor of a pro-business Party, while Ed Miliband says Labour under him will reform welfare spending. Excuse me for pointing this out, but how in the f**k does that make you different to the other lot?

To which, of course, the answer is “There is no difference between us and the other lot”. All either of them wants is power. Give us the power, and we will finish the job. Yes, but is it the right job, hmm?

I think there are two gigantic issues here. First, what is the point of having a Labour Party if you are going to be unswervingly pro capital? Let’s face it, there has been a massive switch of power from labour to capital in the last twenty years. Oh look, there’s that word ‘power’ again.

Second, what is the point of an Opposition Party if it is going to espouse the policies of the Government? Your core and new supporters are coming to you because they don’t like the malign power being wielded by the Government, so why not reach out to great them? Oh look, it’s there again.

These issues in turn beg a further question: if you, Labour like this capitalist business model and don’t oppose the Government, surely your Party should no longer be Her Majesty’s Opposition?

Begging that question or not, there has been no question at all in my mind about such thoughts for a good six years now: the Labour Party isn’t the Opposition, it’s just another wing of the Establishment.

Now apply these same judgements across the Western world: what is the real, inherent difference between the following? And bear in mind, what this means is, what discernible difference it would make if the roles were reversed tomorrow:

CDU and SPD in Germany

New Democracy or PASOK in Greece

UMP or PS in France

Liberal or Labor in Australia

Republican or Democrat in the US

PSOE and PP in Spain

Given the dominance of influential financial markets and Sovereign debt in the West’s thinking, I would answer “None whatsoever”. But then (just to be awkward) I’d ask a supplementary: is our arrival at this situation down to the überklass lobbying power of business/banking, the mass-voter unelected influence of the media, or the duopoly that tends to emerge (based on habit and financial donation) in most developed nations?

I think the answer is “All three…and they’re not mutually exclusive”. The weird thing, however, is the regular attempt by media of both Left and Right to suggest there is a difference….and the desperate lengths each side will go to in order to demonstrate just how much more relevant their chaps are than yours.

The reality, of course, is that both are the same, and neither are relevant.

It works like this: Parties can’t attract attention without the money to spend in media pr/advertising, and the cooperation of those media. So they have to forge relationships with big money and mass media in order to reinforce the voting habit in their favour.

The difference between The Slog and most Resistance websites is this: as we don’t have big money and we aren’t mass media, I don’t believe there is any point at all in becoming a Party Political animal. All that will happen is (a) we will be outgunned and (b) in the unlikely event of a voter breakthrough, we would have to do deals with those who support the status quo….and play by their rules of whips, Party discipline, sellout and all the rest of it. If you can’t see this fate coming for UKip, then I sympathise with your sensory deprivation, but I can’t help you.

The only viable strategy is to shock the duopoly into panic, and at the same time show those who have given up hope that, one Bastille at a time, the New aristocracy can be prodded, budged, shifted, and finally toppled.

There has never been a weapon like the internet for doing this. It requires not money or influence, but merely mobilisation and concentration.

The soi-disant élite is nothing more than a loose affiliation of con-men, control-freaks and amoral opportunists: but they know only too well how a properly organised internet could damn them to the Hell of history. It is for this reason alone that they have campaigned ruthlessly for net neutrality’s demise…..and, to all intents and purposes, delivered it on a plate to those who think we – the lower orders and the little guys – should get only a proportion of the information at a fraction of the speed.

Seventy years ago the world was changed by organised labour. Organised labour helped defeat the Nazis, raise the working class child to greater things, and bring down the Soviet Union. But we no longer live in a world of mass labour, huge factories, broad markets and physical channels. Today, if the West is to survive for the benefit of all, we must create a working world of margins not volume, individual skills not production-line boredom, community life-balance not commercial slavery, and responsible self-sufficiency not rapacious destruction of what is natural.

The Slog is and (as long as I’m around) always will be a safe haven for those who have emerged disillusioned from every national, social, educational and commercial background in search of something better than fluffy Utopia or dark Dystopia.

I would very much like The Slog to be just one link in an online chain of Organised Resistance and Fresh Ideas. My own particular preference is for mutual organisation. However, any meeting place devoted to practical creativity, pride in work, and sound family units will by definition tolerate and embrace everyone who puts community benefit before personal greed, aspires to personal and public accountability, and prefers a society at ease with itself to one crushed beneath either neo-liberal austerity or socialist neo-egalitarian conformity.

As a character in the Alan Bennett play Getting On says, “I joined an anarchist commune, but after a few weeks I left because nobody would obey the rules”. Online commentators are perhaps ineluctably individualist, but we do have some key commonalities: a detestation of unearned privilege, a desire for rounded appreciation of the empirical, a preference for the Underdog, a suspicion of bureaucracy, and disdain for the bullies.

Now pit those attitudes against what we have in the West today. The ‘wisdom’ of crowds, the corruption of élites, blind faith in ideology, Might is Right, the unelected technocrat aristocracy, and police officers co-opted by politicians to first target and then harass their opponents.

There is, I am absolutely convinced, more to unite the Forces of Light than to divide us. Positive Organised Online Resistance: POOR. It has a certain ring to it. / link to original article

Comments are closed.