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Trump and Brexit are Distractions. What Are They Distracting us From?

People tend to feel more powerful in a tribe and the longer they affiliate with that tribe, the harder the die casts. Nobody wants to give up their power, so if you associate your power with a tribe you will most likely defend your tribe against all logic.

During the 2016 US presidential election, the provocative philosopher, Slavoj Žižek made a leftist’s case for electing Trump, (please bear with me). Slavoj’s insensitivity to the plight of LGBTQ comrades, his positions and commentary on climate change and immigration are deeply problematic for me but his perspective on Trump and the state of ‘the left’ was right on.

(Very) basically, his analysis rhymed with that of Julian Assange; that the 2016 US election was like a choice between cholera and gonorrhea. To them and doubtless many American citizens, the Clinton mafia represented an inertia perhaps best exemplified by their unforgivable treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

Slavoj argued that Trump, while horrific, represented a shake up of the blatantly corrupt establishment. My interpretation of his point during the election was that ‘the Left’ needed a good kick up the arse. Or as he put it, “the awakening of an authentic left”.

After the election, he was absolutely roasted, most notably by Mehdi Hassan on Al Jazeera, where he offered this defence of and exposition on his thinking.

‘The Left’ certainly seems to have started getting it’s shit together in the Trump era. We’ve had a few big wins. #BlackLivesMatter has changed the conversation on institutional racism and white privilege. #MeToo has changed the conversation on patriarchy and toxic masculinity.

Sadly, ‘the Right’ are relentless in their destructive tendencies and tribalism is easily exploited. Fake NGOs and other useful idiots are still appealing to maintain ‘the Left’s’ static status quo, which has in my lifetime been concerned only with cosmetic change. Talking shops. Anything but directing actual change through action.

“If you can’t face Hiroshima in the theatre,

you’ll eventually end up in Hiroshima itself” 

–  Edward Bond

Noam Chomsky has made the case that Trump, being a master showman, is simultaneously a massive distraction and a wrecking ball, paving the way for the worst horrors of neo-liberal disaster capitalism in the US and around it’s worldwide empire.

Here in the United Kingdom of America, there are similarities and differences. Our equivalent of Bernie Sanders is Jeremy Corbyn, who has apparently succeeded in piercing the archaic, anti-democratic parliamentary structures. This is a win. Corbyn appears to be a genuine, lifelong ally.

The similarities are more striking though.  Treason Mayhem and her chums have been creating a terrifyingly absurd spectacle for over two years now. Brexit has not only succeeded in dividing all we who might otherwise be natural allies. It has also robbed people of their hopes, dreams and nightmares for the future. It is robbing them of their power, because the neverendumb referendum created such a convincing illusion of power.

UK Gov Plc announced last week that they intend to start distributing ‘packages’, ‘warning‘ (terrorising) UK citizens ‘on a weekly basis’ about the perils of a ‘no deal Brexit’.  Could this be because many people are now starting to realise that Brexit was a con? A black and white choice on a rainbow of options over which we have no actual say.

People tend to feel more powerful in a tribe and the longer they affiliate with that tribe, the harder the die casts. Nobody wants to give up their power, so if you associate your power with a tribe you will most likely defend your tribe against all logic.

So, having successfully divided and distracted most of us, what have Trump, the Tories and their chums been up to? What have they been distracting us from?

(The following list is not in order of importance. All these struggles are interconnected).

The Planet is Literally Burning

The exponentially accelerating effects of extreme pollution, climate change, ‘hydrological extremes’ (drought, flood)  and the resultant 6th Mass Extinction. Wildfires raging in the arctic circle. 

I’ll just repeat that: Wildfires raging. In the arctic circle.

In the ARCTIC circle.

“This appears to be a trend as more and bigger blazes are reported in other far northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, Siberia and Canada.” – and in the North of England.

Class War

The effects of austerity on the vulnerable. The thousands of people who have committed suicide or died from preventable conditions after being found fit for work; The increasing numbers of uncounted homeless deaths on our streets, and in squats, and bedsits, and B&Bs, hostels, and other unsafe, temporary means of hiding the problem while lining the pockets of landlords and poverty property developers. The vast majority of the population reliant on the state and foodbanks for survival.


The ecocidal fracking industry spreading across the country, poisoning our water, land and air for a short term injection of capital into the dying fossil fuel industry. UK Gov plc deploying the UK’s public police force to act as private security to ‘protect’ the fracking industry. From the knitting nanas of Lancashire. By throwing them around, arresting them and dragging them through the courts…

Proxy Warmongering and Fascism

Refugees and immigrants from poor countries fleeing the effects of climate change wrought on them by richer countries. Refugees and immigrants fleeing the secret proxy wars of a dying empire which is closing it’s borders, abandoning them to die and worse. These human beings are almost exclusively referred to in terms of the problems they present at the borders. The hostile environment. Those fucking ‘Go Home’ vans. The horror of Yarl’s Wood detention centre and Guantanamo. Trump locking children in cages. Trial runs for fascism in full flow.

The Rise of the Neo-McCarthyist Corporate Police State

Lush managed to pierce the established media networks with their excellent but much maligned #SpyCops campaign, shedding precious light on the undercover policing scandal, which otherwise nobody would know anything about. Undercover police formed intimate, long term relationships with activists, fathering children with them before abandoning the families they had co-created. Spycops apparently compiled blacklists of environmental, peace and human rights activists, members of Parliament and trade unionists, undermining union disputes. High profile victims of this scandal include the incumbent Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn.

The impetus for writing this little rant/blog/article is this week’s revelation, courtesy of Baroness Jenny Jones: UK Gov Plc are now deploying children as #SpyCops to do dangerous police work. If this isn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back I dread to think what will be.

This list is by no means comprehensive. I think it’s sufficient to make my point though.

We need to make earth great again. Whatever you’re doing to make this happen, keep it up. Do more if you can. Don’t forget to practice self-care, be kind to yourself and others.

Keep it lit.

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The Extinction Symbol represents extinction. It is quite important to raise awareness of the 6th Mass Extinction, particularly as corporate power invests so much pretending that it isn’t really happening…

By Ann Narkeh

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