Over 100 MPs From All Parties Unite to Condemn The Murdoch Problem.

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107 MPs from all UK political parties are finally doing something about the Murdoch problem.

They’ve signed a scathing letter to The S*n’s editor, calling for the scalp of the journo who wrote their most recent incendiary, racist article. The article in question plumbed new depths for the S*n’s depravity and has been likened to nazi propaganda.

OS5in5The letter was organised by Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West and details precise examples of how the S*n’s increasingly racist content correlates with spikes in hate crimes.

It follows a joint complaint about the article to the press regulator, IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation), issued by Jewish and Muslim organisations last week. IPSO have received a further 150 complaints about the article so far.

Given that IPSO are famously toothless and Murdoch is notoriously powerful, letter writing and complaining might appear like futile gesture politics at this point.

Here’s why I think it might not be just that.

Firstly and most broadly, gesture politics are not in and of themselves futile. They are a means to an end. An end to the beginning. Doors opening to new possibilities. Politicians from all parties, people of all faiths and none are uniting against racism and Murdochian propaganda. This marks yet another significant milestone in the struggle for real democracy.

During Occupy Democracy‘s occupations of Parliament Square in 2015-16, we heard from numerous ‘insiders’, including politicians and ex-politicians that they and their colleagues were terrified of the tabloids’ power to snoop, smear and blackmail. The corrupting influence of the media was then and is still now one of the fundamental pillars of corruption in Westminster’s Prostitute State and beyond. No politician would propose or support legislation to meaningfully reform the media, for fear that their character and career would be assassinated by the gutter press, such was the reputation of the billionaires behind the curtain.

Reforming and democratising media ownership became one of Occupy Democracy’s principle demands. During these occupations, some of us co-founded Occupy The Media Billionaires working group. One of the core objectives we set ourselves was to embolden and empower good politicians to end the tabloids’ stranglehold over our democracy.

Two years ago, a gesture like this letter from such a large number of the political classes seemed impossible.

The fact that the letter has cross-party support might also prove to be significant in terms of the progressive alliance for electoral reform, which continues to evolve backstage, regardless what the various party leaderships say. (Jeremy Corbyn’s signature was notably absent from the letter of condemnation, though he has warmly welcomed it’s contents).

Out of all the hatred and fear, does this cross-party political faction represent real hope?

dontletmurdochshitinyourheadMurdoch’s power and influence is not to be underestimated. His empire is vast. We must not be complacent or naive, but we should certainly celebrate the victories when they come. We can also celebrate (but not overstate) the fact that newscorp suffered another loss of £629m (2%) in the first quarter of this year.

Two years ago, corporate 1% media held the monopoly on information and the way in which it was shared.

They were ignoring, censoring or distorting social media and citizen journalism.

Over the last year or so, #PostTruth, #AlternativeFacts and #FakeNews was them laughing at us, trying to distract, divide, demoralise and disempower everybody with infantile astroturfing, gaslighting, flame wars and worse.

Now they’re so desperate that they’re literally printing nazi propaganda, blatantly inciting violence. They’ve been fighting citizen journalism since long before social media arrived. The internet offers us the edge we have desperately needed.

This letter marks another significant win in the struggle for a truly independent media, a real democracy and a fairer, more truthful and compassionate world.

This was only the politicians’ first hurdle though. Next, they should be bringing criminal prosecutions against all the Murdochian, Machievellian hatemongers masquerading as journalists.

If they can introduce some meaningful, strong legislation to democratise media ownership then that would be the cherry on the cake.

Here’s the full letter, as originally published by the independent.

Sincere thanks to all the MPs involved, even the Tories and Blairites.

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if you enjoyed reading these musings, you might also enjoy the Alternative Media ListOver 100 more credible, interesting and challenging alternatives to the 1%’s corporate media.
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Not One Day More? OCCUPY THE LOT!

We’ve all had enough.

Not just of ‘this Government’. Not just of ‘austerity’. We’ve had enough of this whole rotten, so called ‘neo-liberal’ establishment. We’ve had enough of Murdochian post-truthmesiters desperately trying to regain control of our minds with fake news dripping in hate and fear. We’ve had enough of the spectacle that seeks to distract, divide and disempower us. Most of us don’t care about whether you’re old or young, Brexit or remain, rich or poor. We are finally starting to understand that we, the people must create the next new world order, not these detached, soulless automatons prowling the halls of Westminster.

Corbynmania is encouraging, because for those of us listening, it’s not all about Jeremy Corbyn, as delightful as he is. It’s not about his fantastic allies in the stinking corridors of power either.

It’s about their vision and their method for accomplishing that vision. Their policies.

It’s not Corbyn they fear, it’s us. The ever expanding precariat. Understanding the policies and supporting them. Hearing the message and responding to the call, taking action. They fear our kindness and our compassion. They fear our limitless capacity for unconditional love. They fear our loving selflessness most when things are at their worst, for that is when we need it most.

A thread jumped out at me from one of the occuchannels recently, saying that this People’s Assembly demo on Saturday (Not One Day More) is being led by ‘da yoof’ and that they’ve specifically asked for ‘a big Occupy presence’ there. This comes after Corbyn’s repeated calls to occupy the empty properties that are being used as landbanks while people are dying on our streets for lack of basic shelter. I can imagine the apparently Corbyn infused spirit of this year’s Glastonbury filling parliament square and it arouses my least cynical dreams for a fairer world. They’ve got SHY FX headlining. And Captain SKA. Singing ‘Liar Liar’ right outside parliament…

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I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to make it due to health and funding issues, but I hear the call and am trying to sort a lift out. Whether I go or not, I thought it might be useful to share some of my thoughts and experiences from the last six years with everybody, particularly the next generation of Occupiers, so here goes;

  1. Occupations of public space are hard work…and fun!
  2. Real Democracy is hard work but worth it in the end.
  3. All our struggles are intersectional. Check your privilege.
  4. Take leadership from the most impacted.
  5. Praxis Makes Perfect.
  6. Leaderless does not mean ‘without leaders’. Step up if and when you have to. Don’t fall into the Tyranny of Structurelessness.
  7. Listen more, talk less. Listen to the old guard. Know your history.
  8. Moneylessness (ie gift economies) expose and purge the corrupt and greedy.
  9. Love conquers fear. Every time. Most people are good people.
  10. Keep it lit. Take breaks. Don’t burn out. It’s not selfish to look after yourself too.
  11. Negotiations with power must be diplomatic but uncompromising.
  12. If you can’t dance it’s not your revolution.

One solution, rEVOLution.

Revolution is just the constant state of change that we are all experiencing. You’re either consciously trying to influence that change, or you’re not. Don’t judge people who aren’t too harshly. You will probably need to step back from it all yourself one day.

If you’re still not interested in politics, it is still most interested in you…the revolution is constant and relentless and there are infinite ways in which it will deceive you, distract you, depress the shit out of you and ultimately divide us.

Don’t lose touch with your friends and family as you make new friends and family on the barricades. Don’t fall out with people you disagree with. Agreeing to disagree is OK. You learn more from people you disagree with. If we shut down disagreeable conversations, (or if they are shut down for us with digital algorithms) we preclude serious change.

Love and respect everybody.

Don’t be violent, but don’t be timid either.

We don’t need riots any more than we need A-B marches.

With the greatest respect to all those who were at Grenfell and to the people’s assembly, we don’t need one more minute’s silence or one more minute’s applause either. Of course we should honour the victims, the survivors and the heroic. It’s brilliant that they’re bringing so many people together on Saturday, but we don’t need ‘one massive show of strength and solidarity‘ as much as we need organised, ongoing occupations, empowering people and forcing the necessary negotiations with power.

Diversity of tactics wins. Voting, Protest or Direct Action alone won’t change anything. We need them ALL AT ONCE!

We need communities to come together and stay together, taking back the commons with real, direct democracy. Not just in London but everywhere, all over the country and ultimately, the world.

Like 2011, but better.

We must reclaim the rights of all the dispossessed voiceless people and create this better society ourselves. Corbyn’s revitalised Labour party can help, but that’s all they can do.

It’s down to us to actually make it happen.

Make it count.

Keep it lit.


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Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]

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PRAXIS

Followers of this blog will be familiar with my longstanding position on fake democracy. I actively campaign for a real democracy but I’ve never registered to vote; ‘I don’t negotiate with terrorists’. ‘I refuse to legitimise a rigged game’. ‘Don’t vote it only encourages them’. ‘Whoever wins, we’ll still get corporate governance’,…(and other snidey one-liners).

I believe real democracy should be practised daily with our families, friends and the communities we share. If parliament conducted itself with the actual democratic rigour and discipline that most occupations, squats and protest camps do, it would be in a much better state than it currently is.

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Each time the electioneering machine starts up, I stand on the sidelines terrified by the effect it has on everybody, voters and non-voters alike. It’s horrible. You can’t just turn it off, because it effects (infects) everybody. We’re all supposed to have black and white  opinions on things which aren’t black and white and which otherwise wouldn’t interest us in the slightest…we’re supposed to pick a ‘leader’ and a ‘party’…(or snipe and heckle from the sidelines…)

I have expressed my cynicism about the state of electoral politics in this blog and elsewhere ad nauseum.

I’ve also discussed the paradox of the ‘diamonds in the rough’. Principled politicians who actually speak truth to power, offering us hope for a better world. Idealists, in an environment where we must hesitate before using the word ‘idealist’, or ‘idealism’. When did ‘idealism’ become an insult? Idealism should be a virtue but it is generally conflated with naivety….why?

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Continue reading Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]

#GE2017: Seriously Considering Voting, Despite the Crushing Realities of Corporate Rule.

I’ve never voted, despite being seriously tempted to in recent years. With the snap general election announced, I’m now considering it more seriously than ever before.

I ‘vote’ with the little money that I have, by consuming as little and as ethically as I can. I try to make life choices which I consider more significant than a ‘vote’ on the establishment’s terms. The party political spectacle is ubiquitous and hypnotic though. It is forced upon us, to maintain the illusion of democracy while dividing and conquering most of us.

Not voting is generally frowned upon by those who do. Voters say things like, “You’re disrespecting the people who died for your right to vote“. Respectfully, the greater disrespect is to ignore the blatant corruption of the institutions which people fought and died for, surely? Participating in ‘elections’ and ‘referendums’ only validates a corrupted structure. Regardless who is ‘in power’ in parliament we are ruled by banks and corporations, as we have ever been. The Tories, their Blairite chums here and the 45th American presidency should by now have made this abundantly clear for all with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Elections and referendums provide the vital illusion of democracy, while restricting the parameters of mainstream debate and consciousness. They are less about democracy and more about sculpting objective reality. We are encouraged to have ‘opinions’ on ‘discussions’ which are controlled to deliver the outcome preferred by corporate overlords. These ‘discussions’ are more often than not divisive, absurdly polarised slagging matches (see Brexit). Meanwhile, debates of actual substance (TTIP, or whatever they’re calling it now, NATO, foreign policy, ‘security’, nuclear ‘deterrents’ etc) are had in private. Prior to the digital age, ‘shadow governance’ was dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory. Today though, many of these theories have been substantiated, particularly those concerning toxic banking (see ‘too big to fail’).

Are insurrections within the mechanics of power, like those of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn staged or genuine? If they are genuine, is it really possible for such insurrections to influence real change within structures which are so demonstrably corrupt, or will they always be quelled?

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The only political party that really inspires me to ask this question is the Green Party of England and Wales. I’ve been tracking their activity for some years now. Their rhetoric is not hollow. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Their manifesto is outside the controlled parameters of debate. Their policies are solution based. They are 100% funded by their members and supporters, actively avoiding the toxic investments which have polluted the mainstream political parties. They’re calling for a progressive alliance “giving people the best possible chance of defeating the Conservatives and bringing in a truly democratic voting system”. (as I’m writing this, Corbyn and Farron have rejected these calls, again…). The policies and campaigns the Greens support almost exactly mirror my own (though their methods to promote these policies and campaigns differ somewhat).

For these reasons and many more, I recognise the Greens as the only real opposition serious about reforming parliament. This is why they are so marginalised by the controlled media.

Getting rid of the Tories would be good, but the absence of a truly democratic voting system is the more substantial root which we would do well to properly weed lest they return. This fundamental reform has been one of the main planks of the Green’s manifesto for a long time. Is it a deliverable promise, or the sweetest of false hopes? Am I naive to be even thinking about participating this time? Or could voting really be another platform from which to direct real change?

I’ve got over a month to decide whether I can stomach registering – May 22nd is the deadline. Any and all advice would be gratefully received.

Regardless whether I vote or not, I will certainly be doing whatever else I can to support the Greens’ efforts to unfuck parliament over the next two months and beyond.

Perhaps this election really could be an opportunity to finally direct our consciousness out of the myopic box of nightmares it has been trapped in for so long, towards a fairer, saner future.

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