Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gordon is a Mullet

Twice this week I’ve heard someone use a possessive pronoun in relation to the word “politics”.

First was Nick Dent of the anti-war Respect Party who I met in a pub in Whitstable, Kent. He said, “I’m glad people are beginning to understand my politics.”

“Pardon Nick, your politics, did you say? Since when did you acquire exclusive rights over politics?”

Next was a woman in a restaurant. She said, “Are you CJ Stone? I dislike your politics but I admire your writing.”

My politics. Your politics. It’s no wonder no one can ever agree on anything. Politics are seen as a possession, as something we own, rather than as the system by which we are regulated. The illusion is that any of us have any choice in the matter. The word “politics” here is really being used as a substitute for the word “opinion”.

This notion of politics is likely to be liberally applied over the next few weeks as the newspaper pundits begin to reflect upon the differences between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

There will be a great deal of talk about different styles of politics, as if politics was really just a hairdo. Snip-snip, roll, grip, spray, a quick session under the hairdryer and bob’s-yer-uncle: a brand new political hair style. Gordon Brown is a mullet, Tony Blair is a perm.

Just to be clear: the word derives from the Greek word “polis” meaning city-state, and is related to a number of similar words, such as “police”, “polite” and “policy”.

They are all words which refer to the regulations we apply to ourselves as human beings living in close proximity.

There are a number of different political systems. The great trick of our current world-system is that it pretends to be one thing when it is something else entirely.

It pretends to be a democracy when it is actually an oligarchy. Democracy means rule by the many. Oligarchy means rule by the few.

The world is being run by the international corporations backed by the power of the American military. Massive concentrated economic and military power is in the hands of the very few and is being utilised on a world scale for their exclusive ends, and to prevent the rise of any meaningful democracy. The appearance of democracy is used to undermine democracy.

You can’t get less democratic than a corporation. A corporation is a form of tyranny. Employees of the McDonalds corporation, for example, don’t have any right of say in the policies of the organisation that regulates their lives. There is no democracy in McDonalds.

This is not an opinion, it is a fact.

Someone once said that politics is the shadow cast over society by big business. I think it is more like a magic trick: smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, a grand illusion.

In other words, don’t expect any substantial changes now that Gordon Brown is in Number Ten.

He might change his hairstyle, he might change his dress-style, he might even change the cabinet around, but the politics will remain the same.

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