Issue no. 1 Price : £ 0
L i ve
THEY LIVE We SLEEP.
nothing to hide
every thing to fear
m i s r u l e m a g a z i n e . w o r d p r e s s . c o m twitter.com/misru lemagazine facebook.com/misrulemag
This issue was inspired by the 1988 Sci-Fi, ‘They Live’, written by John Carpenter. In the film, the protagonist discovers that the ruling class are in fact a race of repugnant aliens, cleverly concealing their grotesque appearance and manipulating the masses via subliminal messages in mass media. What a wonderfully appropriate allegory to apply to contemporary Britain! The first copy of Misrule tackles topical domestic issues such as Boris Johnson’s water cannon proposals and Atos’ Work Capability Assessments. It also grapples with wider concepts, questioning how we think about our food, our money, the worth of our vote, and the intensification of the surveillance state.
Juicy Experts’ brains picked in this issue: (Big thanks!)
Green Party Leader - Natalie Bennett Pirate Party UK Leader - Loz Kaye Animal Rights Activist - Gary Yourofsky Comedian + Satirist - Lee Camp Author + Financial Activist - Brett Scott Journalist + Author - Salman Shaheen Labour MP - Len Duvall “Artist Taxi Driver” - Mark McGowan
Campaigns/movements featured in this issue: (Big thanks!)
‘None of the Above’ (NOTA), Left Unity, ‘NoVote2015’, ‘Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC), ‘No Water Weapons on our Streets’, London School of Financial Activism (LSFA), Pirate Party UK
Editor’s letter Like a beautiful butterfly preparing to emerge from its chrysalis, or a groggy patient about to awaken after gender reassignment surgery, the human race is bang in the middle of a massive transition – we’re at a crucial tipping point.
Millions are turning to food banks, thousands of disabled people are being killed, our public services are being demolished, our police are being militarised, the planet is being devastated, and we’re being spied on in our own homes.
Of course everyone has got their own personal tipping point. One moment that inspired Misrule was witnessing a tuxedo-clad and supremely smug David Cameron reading his 2013 austerity speech from a golden lectern. Metaphorically speaking, Misrule would like to address this disgusting level of hypocrisy and hubris by sticking that golden lectern up the arse of the self-serving corporate and political class.
Although… we did get that 1p off beer duty AND 50% off bingo duty this year. I guess things aren’t that bad! – Connor Bryan
Words: Connor Bryan, Photography: Connor Bryan, Layout: Connor Bryan, Hot Beverage Director: Connor Bryan, Media Distribution Officer: Connor Bryan, Social Media Insights Analyst: Connor Bryan, Primary Art Consultant: Connor Bryan, Creative Solutions Engineer: Connor Bryan
10-11__’Brett Scott: Hack future of money’ ing the 12 -17__’Rushing Wa ter’ 18-21__’Gary Yourofs ky: vegan revolutio nary’ 22-27__’atos: they d on’t give a rat’s arse’ 34-37__’surveillanc e status’ 38-41 ‘laughing the revolution into bed’ 42-43__’10 years youn ger’ 44-47__’Eat, sleep, vo te, repeat.’ 9
Brett Scott Hacking the Future of Money
your life in such a visceral way is a very negative thing,” says Scott.
The Convenience Trap When we buy a new smart phone, we’re constantly fed empowerment rhetoric. (“This app will make your life easier!”) However, rarely do we critically analyse the trade-offs between convenience and power that must inevitably occur. For example, Scott explains that you might now have Google Maps, but this convenience has most likely rendered you unable to independently navigate a city. Such conveniences can covertly rob us of skills, responsibilities and ultimately our power. Banks have presented us with a similar trade-off. They’re simple, convenient and we barely have to engage with them. But has this empowered us in any way? “The retail bank just does things for you,” says Scott. “Then suddenly there’s a giant financial crisis and no-one understands why it happened.”
Ex-broker and financial activist Brett Scott is here to address our knowledge deficit and help us “hack” our financial future
We’ve allowed ourselves to become economic spectators. How then, can we address our knowledge deficit?
you think the annual welfare cap was a piece of ceremonial headwear? Well don’t panic. Brett Scott, financial activist and author of The Heretic’s Guide to Finance: Hacking the Future of Money, is here to demystify the world of finance and help plebs like us understand what on earth is going on. Henry Ford allegedly commented on the monetary system’s dependence on public ignorance. “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system,” he declared. “For if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” This idea is at the heart of Scott’s work. He believes that becoming better acquainted with the financial framework will enable us to take pragmatic, creative action against the corrupt system of global finance. Being a former broker gives Scott a unique insight into how the banking system works internally. “It’s highly centralised, it has very
little competition, it alienates people from their surroundings, and it facilitates social injustice and global exploitation of the ecosystem,” he says. It seems then that our “leave it to the experts” approach isn’t working out too brilliantly. We’ve been left resembling tiny cogs in a giant mechanical dildo. We feel passive, compliant, and we’re constantly getting fucked.
The Knowledge Deficit According to Scott, the “knowledge deficit” regarding finance is one of the key reasons we’ve been left with such an unequal power dynamic. “You can’t really challenge the system if you’re always on the back foot in terms of knowledge,” he explains. “The financial sector gains a lot of implicit power from the fact that people don’t believe they understand it.” When regarding the financial system, ignorance is hugely disempowering. “Constant interaction with something you don’t understand and that impacts
Scott is in the process of launching the London School of Financial Activism (LSFA). His aim is to create a “financial economic hackspace” for those with a subversive nature, interested in exploring systems and causing mischief for the financial elite. Typically, a “hackerspace” is a communal workspace where clever techies meet to collaborate on projects and tinker with technology. Scott is looking to apply this concept to areas of financial activism and DIY finance. He uses the analogy of a computer hacker to explain how we need to start approaching money. For most people, a computer is just a black box that they interact with through various interfaces. However, a computer hacker knows how to dismantle the box, manipulate its functions and subsequently create his/her own alternative systems using that knowledge. The idea is that we can have far greater control of finance once we better understand the scary black box that we call the economy.
Scott explains that there are two core ideals at the heart of LSFA. One is to address the educational black hole surrounding finance, and the other is to provide a means of developing experimental methods of financial activism. “There’s a great desire and need for more interesting education around financial systems,” he says. “There’s also the need to develop new and interesting ways to engage with and challenge the financial system.” However, LSFA won’t be all lectures and talks. Scott wants to develop a “dynamic open space”, where active participants can develop creative projects that challenge powerful financial systems. “I could sit there and waffle on about global economics but it doesn’t tend to help people very much,” he says. “What helps people is getting them to work on something practical and to use that as a way to learn about the world.” Examining areas such as shareholder activism, Tax Justice and alternative currencies, the school aims to become a “beta-testing site” for “alternative forms of economic life”. Scott will accept alternative forms of payment for courses (including barter, Bitcoin and timebanking) but if individual activists can’t afford to attend, he’s happy to accommodate them for free. Initial workshops will focus on supporting and collaborating with student divestment campaigns. There is a budding UK divestment movement involving groups such as People & Planet and Fossil Free, who are tracing fossil fuel financing and encouraging organisations to pull their money out of ecologically irresponsible industries. “It’s a big topic right now,” says Scott. “There are students who are working on campaigns but they’re lacking some of the skills and information sources necessary to figure out where the financing of fossil fuels is coming from and how their universities are linked to it.” LSFA will address these problems by offering expertise and by promoting partnerships between various forward-thinking organisations. Can’t hack the thought of corporate pillaging, gambling bankers, or George Smugsborne’s face any longer? Then invest in LSFA, divest from bastardised businesses and start hacking the future of money.
Brett’s Blog: suitpossum.blogspot.com
RUSHING WATER Like a cruel van driver nearing a rather large puddle, Boris Johnson is determined to make us moist and agitated â€“ but whyâ€™s he in such a rush to push through water cannon? 12
you’ve ever noticed, so called non-lethal weapons tend to be given cute, endearing names like “beanbag shotguns” and “rubber bullets” in order to sound a little less sinister. In fact, it’s surprising they haven’t called Tasers “electric cuddles” by now. Well, water cannon are no exception to this rule. German pensioner, Dietrich Wagner, was permanently blinded by water cannon at a peaceful environmental protest in Stuttgart in 2010. As awful as it sounds, he should probably count himself lucky. His doctor told him that he was just seconds away from the jet stream boring through his eye socket into his brain and killing him. So, fancy getting your eyes torn out this summer? Well you might just be in luck! Walking PR campaign Boris Johnson has expressed support for water cannon to be implemented across the UK this year as a crowd control measure. It has frequently been reported that the police are asking for these measures, however this is extremely misleading. It’s Johnson and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that have made these calls. The ACPO is a supposed non-governmental organisation, but receives its funding indirectly from the Home Office. In short, this is all being ushered along by our own lovely government. “I personally believe this is a Home Office-inspired process and Boris Johnson has
been co-opted into the decision making process,” suggests Labour MP Len Duvall. The public consultation at City Hall in February turned out to be more like a disorderly anger management session for livid Londoners. Hundreds of anti-water weapon protesters packed out the meeting and said their piece. This was mostly thanks to the work of activist Stephen Reid, organiser of the ‘No Water Weapons on our Streets’ campaign. “It strikes me as absurd that the government could be considering the introduction of water cannon whilst at the same time refusing to make necessary reforms to our democracy,” says Reid. “If people are angry, it’s ultimately because they don’t feel listened to. The answer to that isn’t arming the police, but changing our democracy.” The panel of heavily sweating MET representatives (all of whom were white, male and middle-aged) were barraged with an endless stream of jeers and difficult questions throughout the meeting. Between the bouts of uproar they managed to offer the following justificatory arguments: 1) All current tactics used to deal with violent protest are actually more dangerous than water cannon, and therefore there’s a gap that needs filling in terms of available police tools.
This sounds plausible initially, but the danger of water cannon is consistently understated. These are still forceful weapons that can cause fatalities, and trying to market them as a safe option in the presence of Wagner completely undermined their argument. “I will never forget the look on the police chiefs’ faces as he [Wagner] made his case,” says Reid. “They had just tried to tell us that water cannon wouldn’t hurt anyone, and then here’s a man who was seconds away from the water actually boring through his skull into his brain and killing him. It was immensely powerful.” 2) Water Cannon will be used to create a “safe space” between police and protesters. Again, this sounds viable to begin with as space is sometimes required for paramedics and firemen to safely intervene. However, examples cited by the panel conveniently failed to mention that illegal and inflammatory kettling tactics were the cause of violence in the first place. When people are being held against their will and have nowhere to go, how could water cannon create more space? 3) Water cannon will only be used in extreme circumstances to prevent loss of life, serious injury and widespread destruction. This was the flimsiest and most patronising of the
three main arguments, and was countered with a perfect audience retort, “isn’t that exactly what water cannons do?” To list every single thing wrong with water cannon tactics is a bit like trying to explain why voluntarily punching yourself in the genitals isn’t a good idea. We know that they’re dangerous, indiscriminate, expensive, and admittedly ineffective in most scenarios. Unfortunately, we also know that they’re still likely to be passed despite sizeable public opposition. “I have a feeling that the police will ultimately attempt to use favourable polling data based on public ignorance of the potential harm to justify their case,” says Reid.
Interim Derangement Home Secretary Theresa May declined to allocate funds for the purchase of water cannon as a national asset, so Johnson responded by proposing to make funds available to the Met for the “most economical interim solution”. The equipment Johnson has in mind will have an initial cost of around £200,000 to £300,000 (which seems particularly hard to justify in these times of supposed austerity!). These cannon are 23 years old and have a maximum predicted lifespan of two to three years. This seems a bit like buying shit-loads of Lynx deodorant because you can’t quite afford a new batch of pepper spray. If you’re going to violently oppress us, at least do it properly Boris!
The Police and Crime Committee have released a report outlining their scepticism and confusion regarding the timing of these water cannon proposals. The report acknowledges that there’s “no specific intelligence” to predict any serious disorder and suggests that the Met has not offered a convincing case for why water cannon are needed as an “interim arrangement” for use this year. Resorting to these bedraggled water cannon seems a bit desperate and doesn’t appear to make a whole lot of sense – so what’s the agenda and why the big rush?
“Boris benefIts from The motivation behind promotinag the the proposals could also business-driven. Dr arms trade...” be Anna Feigenbaum, Media
What’s the Hurry? One answer is that Johnson simply wants to bolster the tools at the police’s disposal to shore up Tory popularity with the more misanthropic and security-obsessed section of the electorate. “The politics of this process is to show politicians will be supporting police and enabling them to have the equipment to deal with any further large scale public disorder,” suggests Duvall. A 2011 YouGov poll revealed that a surprising 90% were in favour of police using water weapons. However this poll was taken in the
immediate aftermath of the London riots when concerns over public disorder and police competence were particularly raw. The poll also fails to take into account the thousands of people that have signed petitions against water cannon in recent months. A change.org petition has generated over 41,000 signatures and another campaign on 38degrees. org.uk gathered a further 14,000.
and Politics Lecturer at Bournemouth University, considers how further militarisation of the police force could be highly profitable. “Like many in government positions, Boris benefits from promoting the arms trade – be it the sale of water canons at policing expos or the sale of BAE fighter jets at Defence Security and Equipment International.” For example, thousands each year attend the London-based Counter Terror Expo and the Security & Policing Home Office Event. I imagine this is a bit like London Fashion Week, but instead of garnishing models with silly clothes and accessories, they demonstrate violent counter terrorism solutions on them instead.
“There’s always an agenda,” says Dave Eden from Community Press Group, who is far from convinced by the official line. “The obvious reaction to this information has to be ‘what do they know that we don’t?’ And I suspect that’s quite a lot.” Eden suspects that the ongoing fracking debate is inextricably linked to the water cannon proposals. “They’re going to be issuing a lot of new [fracking] licenses prior to the summer,” says Eden. “I reckon what we’re going to see here is large outbreaks of public disorder and as a result of which, they [the police] are going to be coming in hard.” Eden suggests that because of mutual aid, water cannon won’t be restricted to use in London, and could therefore be used to quell anti-fracking protests across the country. “These resources can be used anywhere, you’ve only got to look at Balcombe to see how many different forces were policing that.” According to Eden, this all links to the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act. The wide-ranging legislation essentially establishes a broader definition of “emergency”, and sets out provisions for the occurrence of such an event. “They haven’t really used it yet, but if we get any considerable outbreaks of public disorder, it will give them an excuse to use it.”
However, despite the short six-week consultation window, pushes for “interim solutions” and a fundamental lack of rationale, Tory MP Tony Arbour assures that there is “no rush”, and that this is a “considered proposal”. So is it a political strategy, a business manoeuvre, or something far more sinister? “Even if you thought you knew the truth you wouldn’t be close,” says YouTube rant-sensation and public protester, Mark McGowan (“Artist Taxi Driver”). “Boris is a disgusting human being who works in the interests of bankers and transnational corporations vying to profit from the market. We are the market.”
“there’s always an agenda...”
GARY YOUROFSKY Vegan Revolutionary
“Humans learned to oppress and hate and murder each other because they practiced on the animals First.” “Terrorist” to Teacher In 2014 however, you’re far more likely to find Yorofsky in a classroom than in police custody. Now preferring the path of education-based activism, he brings his peaceful message to colleges and universities across America and Israel.
Gary Yourofsky is the most prolific “Vegan Animal Liberation Activist” in the world (you can’t disprove that statement) and he’s calling for a vegan revolution
animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky has taught over 2,500 lectures throughout his career. His most famous speech has racked up seven million views online and has been translated into over 30 languages. So how come you haven’t heard of him? Well, he’s banned from even entering the UK for a start. Yourofsky’s acts of radical vegan activism have earned him an impressive arrest record and an undisputable level of notoriety. He’s served jail time, community service and has been banished from five countries – all in the name of protecting vulnerable animals. Yourofsky practices non-violent tactics but argues that complete pacifism is what ultimately allows victims to be victimised. Citing “early Malcolm X” as his hero, he explains that sometimes it’s necessary to break the law and even employ violent retaliatory responses in order to relieve the suffering of others. “Using force to stop abuse
or murder is a noble, justifiable act of vicarious self-defence,” he says. “Animal rights activists speak for animals in the same way that Mandela spoke for victims of apartheid, in the same way Martin Luther King and Malcom X spoke for victims of racism and segregation, in the same way Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony spoke for female victims… One day, the world will praise vegans in the same way.” On 30 March 1997, Yourofsky released 1,542 mink from the Eberts Fur Farm in Canada. He was branded an “international terrorist” in news coverage and was sentenced to six months detention in a maximum security prison (fortunately only serving just 77 days of the sentence). Over the next four years, Yourofsky was arrested 12 more times for various offences including “disorderly conduct”, “resisting arrest” and “disrupting government meetings”.
Yourofsky’s ethics-focused lectures feature harrowing footage of animal abuse in an attempt to raise awareness of industry mistreatment. He touches on ecological issues and health concerns in his lectures, but chooses to remain largely focused on the morality of animal exploitation. He explains that understanding the ethics of animal cruelty is a prerequisite to comprehending all other repercussions. “The worst form of environmental destruction is animal agriculture,” he states. “But without a clear conscience, without mental health, we can’t have physical health.” Despite the serious nature of his talks, his trademark dark humour remains key to his presentations. The Q&A sessions towards the end of his lectures feel almost like a comedy roast, and those students brave enough to challenge Yourofsky often end up getting their omnivorous arses grilled.
Speciesism So with the innumerable amount of problems currently plaguing the world, why should animal cruelty be a priority? Pythagoras explained how humankind could never truly progress until our attitude towards animals progressed. “As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or
peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” “Speciesism” as a concept has existed for millennia but the term was popularised by Australian philosopher Peter Singer in his book, Animal Liberation (1975). “Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race…. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.” Yourofsky lives his life by this logic, and explains how our violent treatment of animals converges into all other forms of hatred. He believes not only that speciesism is evil, but that it is the root of all evils. “Humans learned to oppress and hate and murder each other because they practiced on the animals first,” he says. “If you taught a child to truly respect an animal’s right to live freely, that child would have a mighty hard time hating and harming others.”
The Animal Holocaust According to Yourofsky’s website (ADAPTT.org), approximately 50 billion land animals and 90 billion marine animals are slaughtered annually worldwide. He even has a “Kill Counter” app set up on the home page, estimating the amount of animals that have been slaughtered during your visit. This all sounds a bit morbid right? Well, think of
Yourofsky like The Matrix’s Morpheus. All he’s offering is the truth (and lots of damn tasty bean curd). Yourofsky sees no difference between animal life and human life when concerning enslavement and murder. He therefore argues that we are witnessing the largest holocaust ever seen. “Simply put, if you went to the nearest cow or pig slaughterhouse, removed the animals and replaced them with humans, you will have recreated Auschwitz-Birkenau,” he says. Challenging people’s rigid belief systems often leaves Yourofsky faced with opposition and abuse. But he doesn’t claim to be a politician, and he definitely didn’t become an activist to make friends. His response to anyone calling vegans self-righteous, rude or arrogant? “Murdering animals is rude and arrogant. Enslaving animals is rude and arrogant. Eating someone else’s corpse is rude and arrogant. Meat, dairy and egg eaters are the rudest, most arrogant, most psychotic, most hateful people on this planet. Nazis look up to them and think, ‘wow, I wish I possessed a scintilla of their hatred and arrogance!’”
Israel Setting the Pace The scale of the animal holocaust is almost unfathomable and Yourofsky realises that things aren’t going to magically resolve overnight. But is he hopeful? “Without a doubt,” he says. “I’ve converted more than ten per cent of the Israeli population to the veg lifestyle in the last three years.” This is hardly unbelievable when considering how well he’s been received over there. He’s been invited to speak on prime time television, had a Hebrew website (gary-tv.com) made in his name, and has even been incorporated onto the packaging of two major vegan food companies. Israel is setting a rapid pace for the vegan revolution. According to Yourofsky, 400 restaurants there now offer 25% of their menus vegan and Domino’s pizza just added vegan cheese to all of its 50 locations. Encouraged by Israel’s progress, Yourofsky argues that there’s now no excuse not to switch to an ethical diet. “When I started 17 years ago,
if you didn’t like Boca Burgers, you were shit out of luck,” he says. “Nowadays, there are 20 vegan burgers on the market, all with a different taste and texture. Vegan food is abundant now.” So why’s Israel so receptive to the idea of a dietary revolution? Yourofsky hypothesises that any group of people with a history of persecution are far more likely to listen to what he has to say. “People that have been oppressed understand oppression,” he explains. “People that have been harmed understand why it’s wrong to harm somebody else.” Israel’s mass vegan conversion might be unique, but this revolution is by no means exclusive to Israel. Based on years of feedback from professors and lecturers across 180 schools, Yourofsky reckons that around 15-20% of students that attend his lectures become vegans.
"HUMANS ARE STUBBORN,
German vegan supermarket chain, Veganz, is set to open its first store in London in 2014 – just another example of how the vegan movement is gradually permeating public consciousness. People are finally waking up to the reality of where their food comes from, and as long as consumers keep questioning the industry and making ethical decisions, there will always be hope. “No lie can live forever,” says Yourofsky. “Sadly, lies can live for hundreds or thousands of years, and if you’re a victim that’s way too long. Humans are a stubborn, apathetic, evil species. Convincing us not to harm others is a monumental task and accomplishment, but in the end justice prevails. For the victims’ sake, I wish the end was sooner rather than later. But with Israel’s strides, the end could be sooner than we thought.”
someone else’s corpse is rude and arrogant.”
Gary’s Site: www.adaptt.org
They Don't Give a Rat's Arse French Outsourcing Company Atos is set to exit its government contract early, but the war on disability continues with death toll estimates entering the tens of thousands
we lined tens of thousands of people up against a brick wall and shot them dead, there would be a national outcry. But instead we are murdering people by stealth,” claims investigative journalist Sonia Poulton. The key speaker voiced her disgust at disability reforms along with hundreds of others demonstrating outside Atos’ London Headquarters back in February. Atos have been carrying out fit-for-work tests on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) since 2010, but their £500m government contract is now set for an early finish.
“I’ve lost eighteen of my friends to this horrendous nightmare...”
The outsourcing giant has been under fire for their heartless handling of disabled benefits claimants, who are forced to undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to prove that they are eligible to receive disability allowance. Thousands have died after failing their assessments and subsequently losing their benefits. The London demonstration was both sobering and extremely powerful. Placards and flowers paid tribute to lost loved ones, and many heartbreaking stories were exchanged over the course of the day. “I’ve lost eighteen of my friends to this horrendous nightmare called the WCA,” said one protester Paula, who has suffered more than most by the callous welfare reforms and benefit cuts. “This is more than corporate manslaughter, it’s small-scale genocide,” said one Green Party member addressing the crowd. Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith
(IDS), claims that his welfare reforms promote the independence of disabled individuals by providing them with more opportunity to work. However, the WCA are highly stressful and notoriously inaccurate. An Atos employee (often with little to no medical background) assesses the mental and physical health of an individual in a 45-minute session. The information collected is then fed into an incredibly blunt computer system that determines whether or not an individual is “fit for work”. Cases of suicides and even starvation have been recorded after victims’ Employment Support Allowance (ESA) were cut. Mark Wood, who suffered from various complex mental health conditions, died tragically in August 2013 after being found fit for work by Atos. Wood’s sickness benefits were cut leaving him with just £40 a week to live on. His mental and physical condition subsequently deteriorated and it’s believed that he starved to death in his own home.
According to a statistical release from the DWP, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their claim ending between January – November 2011. Further mortality statistics haven’t been released, as the Department doesn’t hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit. However, campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) estimates that the current death toll could be up to a sickening five times higher than official numbers.
of lost lives as unnecessary admin highlights the obscene level of apathy harboured by IDS and the DWP.
The fact that our government regards thousands
Labour MP Dennis Skinner made it known at the
Around 40% of the 600,000 appeals made against Atos (since the introduction of the WCA) have been successful according to the Public Accounts Committee. These gross inefficiencies subsequently leave the taxpayer to pick up court costs of approximately £60 million per year.
London demonstration that ousting Atos couldn’t be higher on his agenda. “I haven’t got three hundred votes in Parliament, I’ve got one,” he said. “But believe me, I’ll use it ‘till the last breath that I breathe to get rid of this lousy, rotten system called Atos.” This is a commendable pledge, but the problem runs so much deeper than just one bastardly company. Simply getting rid of Atos is a bit like overthrowing a mad tyrant (or trying to flush a massive turd down a broken toilet); nothing
will improve if the system remains inherently broken. “The government are already lining up other private companies to be paid with by public money,” says DPAC spokeswoman Debbie Jolly. As long as the WCA remains, disabled people will continue to suffer.
On 11 March 2014, clause 119 of the Care Bill was passed, awarding Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt with the power to shut down hospitals within 40 days notice, without public or staff consultation. This means that if a private hospital or service is failing, a neighbouring public hospital can now be shut down to cut costs, regardless of how efficiently it’s run.
Natalie Bennett Green Party Leader
“They’re becoming enormous giants, dangerous giants, monsters even.”
“We believe that the WCA should be abolished and we should go back to a system whereby any individual’s fitness to work is left to the medical professionals,” says Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett. Jolly also feels that complete re-evaluations are required. “A new assessment needs to be drawn up by GPs and it needs to be administered by GPs and medical personnel from within the NHS,” she says.
Paradigm Shift Although many would breathe a sigh of relief if the WCA were abolished, we can’t overlook the broader issues at play here. Bennett argues that for real change to occur, we have to completely reassess our economic model. She argues that “privatisation as a model has failed” and that there needs to be a major paradigm shift. “This is simply not a sustainable model that we can build our society on,” she states. “Things are going to change enormously in Britain… because where we are now cannot continue.” Atos eats up tax revenue through its string of public sector contracts, but pays little to nothing back due to its subsidiaries in tax havens. “Their contribution to society is negative in just so many ways,” Bennett argues. “They don’t have the ability to deliver government contracts; they have the ability to bid for them. They’re becoming enormous giants, dangerous giants, monsters even.” “It’s public money that funds private corporations like Atos and Capita, who make millions while people starve,” claims Jolly. Public-private healthcare partnerships are rapidly spinning out of control and are playing their part perfectly in the controlled demolition of the NHS. Since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act was passed, backdoor privatisation of the NHS has seen almost £1.5 billion worth of NHS services sold off to Tory donors.
The current war against the poor has become blindingly obvious. Our neoliberal government is doing everything in its power to spite the underprivileged and the public services that they rely on. The most disadvantaged people in our society are constantly the brunt of ongoing ideological attacks on the social security system. Whether you observe forced workfare schemes, bedroom tax, or even the Personal Independence Payment scheme (PIP) that’s replacing Disability Living Allowance – it’s the same old story. “It’s a system that’s simply designed to save the government money,” says Bennett. “It’s not like the level of disability or illness has suddenly got less. They’re just simply slashing away at the money available and that’s not acceptable.”
Attitude Adjustment So how has this system continued unchecked for so long? A large part of it is due to our societal prejudices towards disabled people and benefit claimants in general. Right-wing media titles like the Daily Mail have been propagating scrounger rhetoric on a massive scale and have successfully demonised the most vulnerable band of our society. Television programmes like Channel 4’s Benefits Street have also helped popularise the “poverty porn” genre and have greatly exacerbated unhealthy stereotypes. “The first lie was about disabled people defrauding the system,” says Jolly. “It was presented as the justification for the onslaught of cuts and attacks on disability support.” Bennett also argues that the issue of benefit fraud has been crudely exaggerated. “We have a huge misstatement… that benefit fraud is an enormous problem, when actually it is a tiny, tiny fraction.”
“This is simply not a sustainable model we can build our society on.” 25
She suggests that our focus should instead be on tax evasion and avoidance which is “an absolutely enormous problem”.
Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘no make-up selfIe’
Adjust your gaze to Westminster if you’re that concerned about benefits fraudsters – Culture Secretary Maria Miller being a topical example. She’s been asked to repay £5,800 in overclaimed mortgage expenses on her second home in Wimbledon (despite an independent commissioner originally estimating that she should repay £45,000). She wasn’t sacked, but resigned on April 9 after issuing a 72 word apology to the Commons. She currently retains her job as MP for Basingstoke. Indeed, these times of austerity have been cruel to us all. This year, the government has announced an average pay increase of 0%-1% for teachers, nurses and other public sector workers. But interestingly enough, MPs and bankers have bagged themselves an 11% and 35% pay rise respectively! It’s amazing to see just how effective Tory propaganda really is. Somewhere along the
way, we’ve let the wealthiest people in society convince us that the poorest people in society are responsible for our massive deficit. Obviously this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact it’s so ludicrous, they might as well blame gay marriage for our economic plight. Wait, haven’t UKIP already tried something like that?
Establishing Change So how are we going to get out of this mess? Bennett suggests somewhat naively that “politicians have to be honest” and should avoid the “dreadful scapegoating” that has been taking place. Waiting for politicians to spout a drop of honesty might be a long shot, but if we start waking up to the propaganda and lies, we might just have a chance of turning things around. “Positive change and actions will come from the same place they’ve always come from: from the grassroots groups and activists, from those willing to fight injustice,” says Jolly. “It works, and it feeds into formal politics to establish change.”
“politicians have to be honest.” 26
(Check out dpac.uk.net)
allows all involved in it to really set out stories in the way they want to,” he says. The project is being funded by First Look Media, a new company backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, which aims to “reimagine journalism for the digital age, combining the promise of technological innovation with the power of fearless reporting,” according to their website.
Misrule spoke to leader of The Pirate Party UK, Loz Kaye, about the current state of our surveillance society
what seemed like a surreal 1950s’ depiction of what the future might look like, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared on a remote-controlled telescreen at a Canadian TED talk in March. His courageous (but slightly pixelated) face manoeuvred awkwardly around the stage like an intelligent vacuum cleaner, promising that his biggest revelations were still yet to come. Despite his bizarre and frankly unnecessary robotic appearance, Snowden’s message remained as pertinent as ever; the influence of covert surveillance needs to be curtailed and the people’s rights need to be restored. So we know our freedoms are being molested by slimy surveillance agencies and we all posted a few concerned Facebook statuses about it (somewhat ironically). But where do we stand now and how can we reclaim our privacy?
The Optic Nerve of it! British GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA) were caught with their trousers around their ankles earlier this year, as it was revealed that they had been collecting millions of images from private (and often intimate) Yahoo webcam conversations. “The Optic Nerve revelations were very shocking,” says Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye. “I think it brought home the reality of mass surveillance to many in a concrete way. Most people figure they are not likely to be carted off to Guantanamo any time soon. But the idea that
people were being spied on in their own homes, possibly in the most intimate of ways, showed the threat this government poses to all of us, regardless of our political views.” How do they even begin to justify something like this? You can almost hear the desperate rationalisation now. “We have reason to believe that al-Qaeda might be operating on Chat Roulette using highly cryptic, masturbatory symbols to communicate.” Get out of it.
Snowden’s Safety “It is no mystery that there are governments out there that want to see me dead,” admitted Snowden in his TED talk. Kaye sympathises with his position and argues that Europe has failed Snowden, subsequently leaving him in a dangerous position with very few options. “Just looking at the treatment of Chelsea Manning, you can see that Snowden’s concerns for his freedom and safety are well-founded,” says Kaye. “I think given the situation with Russia and Ukraine, the time is right to discuss asylum in the EU again. I would like to see the British government open our doors to him – the sad thing is that he would probably not see it as a safe option, which is a sad indictment of the coalition.”
Positive Revelations? Kaye reckons one thing to be hopeful about is journalist Glen Greenwald’s new digital magazine, The Intercept, which launched on 10 February 2014. “I think Greenwald’s site is an interesting new development, and I hope it
The site will initially be focused on releasing further NSA documents and breaking further revelations, with the longer-term goal of producing “aggressive and independent adversarial journalism” on an array of important issues. Omidyar invested $50m in First Look in December 2013, with a further $200m to follow. This level of financial support should free First Look Media and The Intercept from the fear of litigation that restricts so many publications. Stories are generally less likely to be broken when expensive lawsuits seem probable, so this heavy funding should help to defend its freedom. This non-profit, philanthropic model of media could be extremely powerful in the digital world as long as the funding continues to flow. “I think it opens up what we in the Pirate Party have been pointing at for sometime,” says Kaye. “The internet opens up the possibilities of completely new models, rather than just replicating something from the offline world in the online one.”
technology is reported,” he says. “For all its partisan tone, the big success of Russia Today has been that it has understood that Cablegate and Prism aren’t tech stories, they are political stories. Not all, including the BBC, have caught up.” Although mainstream media coverage is far from perfect, it’s up to us what we discern from this information. “As for speculation about private lives, I don’t give a crap about Assange’s book deal or Snowden’s girlfriend,” says Kaye. “Some people will always want to obsess on that stuff. I don’t have to read it or be distracted by it, and I suggest others take the same view.” Kaye reminds us that ultimately, it’s always going to be our duty to get our own messages across. “If what you care about isn’t being heard, it’s your responsibility to get it heard – no one else’s. That’s why a free and open internet is vital.”
Rolling Back the Surveillance State Kaye suggests that realistic, empowering options are still available to us. “We should all be thinking much more carefully about taking control of our own communication security,” he says. “Given the UK’s past targeting of political activists and campaigners, most recently seen in the shocking revelations about the surveillance of the Lawrence family, anyone involved in UK politics should be taking sensible precautions.”
Kaye suggests that improvements are occurring even within the narrow parameters of the mainstream media thanks to some key attitude changes. “Over the last five years we have seen an utter transformation on how the politics of
“I don’t give a crap about Assange’s book deal or Snowden’s girlfriend.” Loz
According to Kaye, one security precaution worth looking into is encryption technology. CryptoParty for example, is a grassroots global movement attempting to introduce the basics of cryptography to the general public. The project primarily consists of a series of free public workshops (CyptoParties) where participants get to grips with basic encryption software. Attendees also learn about secure messaging, anonymous web browsing and general tips regarding online security. Obfuscating your online life from the prying eyes of surveillance agencies makes it more difficult and expensive for them to carry out blanket surveillance. So here’s to being a massive virtual pain in the arse! However, Kaye doesn’t want to see privacy as something that becomes a privilege of the techno-elite. “I’m glad the CryptoParty movement is looking to make encryption more accessible,” he says. “But most importantly we should be looking to roll back the surveillance state to protect the most vulnerable.” Kaye acknowledges that the establishment parties have little to offer in terms of reducing surveillance. “We’re used to Labour and the Conservatives supporting an authoritarian stance on surveillance,” he says. “But it amazes me that not more people have noticed that the Lib Dems have broken their promises on surveillance, after they made a great play of chucking out the Snoopers’ Charter. The reality is that they are in a government carrying out blanket surveillance.” Although Kaye appreciates the role of NGOs like Open Rights Group piling the pressure on government, he foresees most positive change coming from groups such as the Pirate Party. “I’ve always taken the view that you have to be in politics to change it,” he says. “Change on this issue can only come from parties like the Pirate Party now.”
“Change on this issue can only come from parties like the Pirate Party now.”
Protest outside the Ecuadorian embassy against Julian Assange’s ongoing detention
is a great tool to wake people up without making them want to take their own lives,” says US political comedian and selfproclaimed “satirista” Lee Camp. Camp knows things are fucked more than anyone. He’s widely read, politically aware, and fully acknowledges the precarious position we’re currently perched on. However, if you’re going to incite real change in the world, why not have a bit of a laugh whilst doing it?
that others might not. Perhaps that’s the reason comedians can have such important insights into so many things.” Throughout the UK and US alike, comedians always have the bottle to stand up and question what we’re being told. Whether this arrives in the form of Charlie Brooker’s weekly news atomisations, Stewart Lee’s viciously dry postmodern dissections, or Lee Camp’s politically charged moments of clarity – comedy makes us think.
“Comedians particularly Comedy is perhaps the only seem to platform that offers defined and coherent opposition been angry about have a ‘fuck Ever against the otherwise widely something but found unquestioned consumerism, unable to authority’ yourself superficiality, mediocrity, articulate exactly what’s hypocrisy and deceit that’s getting on your tits? That’s stuffed down our throats daily. attitude” where comedians come So what is it about comedians that makes them challenge the status quo? And what part can comedy play in the revolution? Camp suggests that it’s a comic’s inherent anti-authoritarian nature that gives rise to this phenomenon. “Comedians particularly seem to have a ‘fuck authority’ attitude,” he says. “Perhaps the great ones have to possess that attitude in order to speak out against the shitstorms we find ourselves in.” Bill Hicks was undoubtedly one of these greats. He was widely respected for his contribution to the truth movement throughout his comedy career and this year marked the 20th since his passing. Hicks died at an unforgivably young age of just 32 on 26 February 1994, but his work is more poignant today that it’s ever been. A lot of his stand up seems eerily prophetic now. He knew exactly how the system worked and saw straight through it.
Laughing the Revolution into Bed 38
Misrule ponders comedy’s role in the revolution with US comedian Lee Camp
THIRD EYE In a society where most would rather Instagram pictures of their jacket potato than research world affairs, Camp suggests that it’s also an acute eye for detail which allows comedians to become such discerning characters. “Comedians have a career built on honing and fostering their third eye, their observation outside the norm,” he says. “We work hard to see things in a way
in. For example, the Tories might make you feel physically ill, but you can’t quite put your utter contempt into words. Then you see that Brooker has described them as, “an eternally irritating force for wrong that appeals exclusively to bigots, toffs, money-minded machine men, faded entertainers and selfish, grasping simpletons who were born with some essential part of their soul missing.” YES! THAT’S IT! THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE GETTING AT WASN’T IT?! A comedian’s uniquely succinct way of putting things is a real gift. True eloquence is a hugely powerful remedy in a culture so plagued with banality. It can grab people’s attention, make them laugh, or make them furious. Most importantly it can wake people up. However, not all comedians make the most of their privileged platform. “Nowadays many comedians are more focused on the mediocrity that attracts mainstream love,” says Camp. “Once they get caught up in that, they tend to stop asking the bigger questions.” Sadly this does ring true with the majority of mainstream comedians. When was the last time you heard Paddy McGuiness lambasting austerity cuts, or Michael McIntyre blasting barbarous welfare reforms? Inoffensive, innocuous comedy might always have its place, but surely there are only so many trivial
observations left to make? People are yearning for comedy with a bit more substance, and that’s exactly what Camp tries to deliver. “My Moment of Clarity web series is a weekly dissection of the corporate pillaging of the world,” says Camp. “It’s equal parts funny and informative. I try to mostly cover topics that make me go “Holy shit!’… I try to wake people up to the extraction of everything by the wealthiest people in the world without being nihilistic.”
Global Awakening Nihilism and pessimism doesn’t get you anywhere (unless you’re a goth) and anyway, Camp reckons there’s plenty to be hopeful about. “I feel we’re in the middle of a global awakening,” he says. “People are waking up in many ways: there are fewer hardcore religious people, more people realising most governments are bought and sold, more people understanding our mainstream media is corrupted, and more people realising that our minds are manipulated endlessly every day with consumer-culture advertising.” Whether you refer to it as an “awakening”, a “consciousness shift”, or a “spiritual wet dream”, Camp reckons it’s happening now and that big changes are imminent. “It’s tough to see the entire scope of it because we’re in the middle of it,” he says. “A water spider doesn’t realise he’s walking on the surface of a lake – he doesn’t know the depths of it. I think we’re water spiders right now.” If radical change were ever going to occur, it would be now. The current level of unprecedented online interconnectivity means that widespread movements can now be organised within minutes. “However, it doesn’t mean tomorrow will be all rainbows and puppy dogs, or even rainbowcoloured puppy dogs,” warns Camp. “As people wake up, the powerful will continue to try to tighten the chains and lock things down.” You only have to look at the desperate measures that the UK government is currently taking to censor the internet and militarise the police to get an idea of what lies ahead.
Everybody who realises we don’t have much time left to turn things around should do their part to yank at the helm of this giant ship. History shows that revolution or great change only takes three and a half per cent of the population. We’re getting close.”
Fighting for a Better World In late 2013, Russell Brand famously pushed the idea of a political awakening on UK national television. In perhaps one of the most iconic media moments of the year, an episode of Newsnight saw Brand and Jeremy Paxman debate the need for revolution. Camp praises Brand for his transition back from the dark side. “It’s great to see Brand going the other route,” he says. “He found the mainstream love but now he’s more concerned with the deeper thoughts, the more important questions, even if it means alienating a lot of the mainstream.” Paxman accused Brand on Newsnight of being “trivial”, and said that world problems couldn’t be solved with facetiousness. “We’re not going to solve them with the current system,” replied Brand. “At least facetiousness is funny.” Oscar Wilde famously said that life is too important to be taken seriously, and what could be more serious than the concept of revolution? “Since the beginning of time there has been gallows humour – comedy in the midst of tragedy,” says Camp. “I’ll keep using comedy to wake people up. It’s my form of fighting for a better world.”
“A water spider doesn’t realise he’s walking on the surface of a lake — he doesn’t know the depths of it. I think we’re water spiders right now.”
“But that can’t go on forever,” says Camp. “We don’t have time not to wake up. Our system is not sustainable. Everyone knows it. Each and every person has to ask themselves, ‘where do I stand?’
10 Years Younger
Iain Duncan Smith’s stunning transformation!
wondered how seemingly nice, well-intentioned politicians quickly become unrecognisable arseholes in what seems like next to no time? Well London Young Greens member Mark Burkwood has witnessed this magical transformation first-hand. Despite being renowned today as a pantomime villain of sorts, it appears that even Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) once possessed a modicum of decency (or could at least hide his contempt for humans more effectively). To name just some of IDS’ policies as Work and Pensions Secretary: he’s been responsible for supporting mandatory unpaid workfare schemes, the bedroom tax, and Atos’ cruel and humiliating Work Capability Assessments. However, Mark recounts a far more pleasant IDS only ten short years ago. When Mark was younger, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and IDS happened to be his constituent MP at the time. His single mother needed financial help, so she applied for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help support Mark and his twin brother (who is also on the autistic spectrum). IDS provided them with a personal letter of support attached to their DLA application and fought for their right to receive the benefits. The Burkwood’s DLA application was successful for many years, largely thanks to support of their trusty MP. So what happened? Mention IDS to most people today and they will either think you’ve mispronounced a nasty bowel condition, or that you fancy chatting about one of the cruellest, most duplicitous characters in contemporary British politics – maybe on a par with Michael Gove.
“It makes me laugh now,” says Mark. “It’s just ironic that he’s now against people with disability when he was showing nothing but support when he was in opposition. So I guess once politicians are in power, they turn corrupt.” This is nothing new it seems, and the lies are becoming increasingly blatant. In fact, if Nick Clegg tried to take a polygraph test, his perfectly maintained, suspiciously auburn hair would probably just burst into flames. Our political system has become infested with corruption and rampant careerism. Politicians’ true motives become blindingly obvious when they make political U-turns so flippantly and frequently.
“They hate people with disablities.”
Despite his seemingly good intentions ten years ago, it seems that IDS was only doing what was necessary in order to advance his career and gain public support. “The only difference today is that he’s part of a party that discriminates disability, always has done, and has never supported the welfare state,” says Mark. “They hate people with disabilities.” IDS perfectly exemplifies why our current political paradigm needs to change. It’s a medium perfectly suited to cold-hearted career politicians that positively reinforces their deceitful behaviour. Does Mark have a message for his old constituent MP? “Fuck you and your disgusting assessments that are killing people every day,” he spits. “You turned your back on your constituents and people with disabilities in this country.”
“DON’T VOTE!” EAT, SLEEP, VOTE, REPEAT. Your vote is bored. Do something different with it.
we vote? Do we need a revolution? Should Jeremy Paxman grow his beard long enough to entangle with his armpit hair? All of these crucial questions were tackled head-on when Russell Brand appeared on Newsnight in late 2013. Say what you like about Brand (he would encourage you to do so as it is your human right), but he undoubtedly succeeded in giving fresh impetus to an ever-pertinent question: Is there any point in voting? Many are so disillusioned, they no longer see the point of turning up on ballot day. However, for those that still feel compelled to vote out of a sense of civic duty, choosing the “least diabolical” option seems to be what fuels their decision. So perhaps it’s high time to consider some other options.
“grow it longer!”
Snog Marry Avoid
“Eric Pickles ?”
1. Striving Leftward One option is to work within the current system and nudge things left a bit. Left Unity is a new party attempting to kick-start a broad movement on the far-left and is gaining significant momentum. Founded in November 2013, it already has over 1,900 members and 40 branches across the country. Salman Shaheen, Journalist and Left Unity member, insists that Left Unity is not a “stitch-up” of existing far left groups, but instead a “broad church” built from the bottom up by activists across the country. Members include disaffected Labour supporters, ex-Greens and affiliates of Occupy and UK Uncut.
“u fUkiN’ w0t?!” Shaheen claims that Left Unity is bringing the left of Labour together in a way that has never been done before by pushing a core ethos of anti-austerity and renationalisation. “Unlike past attempts to unite the left into an electoral and campaigning force, Left Unity is utterly democratic and fully inclusive,” he says.
2. None of the Above (With Teeth!) Another option is to use your vote to formally reject any of the pre-existing parties. Enter ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA). “NOTA is essentially a democratic pre-requisite, as voting is about consenting to be governed by others,” explains NOTA spokesperson Jamie Stanley. “But consent is immaterial if it’s not possible to meaningfully withhold consent.”
It’s actually quite stunning that campaigning for public ownership and decent living wages is even considered “far left” by today’s standards. What does this say about the state of contemporary British politics? “Perhaps “We must be doing they’re far left ideas in Westminster, but not something right... among the British public, Russell Brand which poll after poll shows is considerably to the left tweeted about us!” of Labour,” says Shaheen. Left Unity acknowledges the public’s desire for renationalisation and an end to austerity cuts. “The three main parties are too deeply entrenched in the pockets of big business to contemplate nationalising industries to make them work for the good of society... Left Unity is the only party that would do so,” claims Shaheen. Although their policies are admirable and agreeable, Shaheen admits that the odds are stacked against them. “It may be an uphill struggle for Left Unity to break through under our present undemocratic electoral system,” he says. “But we’re receiving a lot of attention in the media right now, and we’re actively campaigning up and down the country against the bedroom tax, fracking, and cuts. We must be doing something right as Russell Brand tweeted about us!”
Stanley explains that simply abstaining is not an effective means of withholding consent as it can be dismissed as “voter apathy” with no further analysis. Those of you preparing to express your discontent by scribbling naughty poems and phallic-themed cartoons on your ballot papers might want to reconsider too. “They are lumped in with those spoilt in error,” says Stanley. “The only way to withhold consent meaningfully is via a NOTA option that has real ramifications for the result if it wins.” In all current existing “token NOTA” options, if NOTA wins an election (national or local), the next placed candidate takes office anyway. This renders the practice largely pointless and serves as nothing more than a protest vote. However, Stanley explains that if NOTA is implemented properly (“with teeth”), its presence on the ballot has the potential to trigger an “organic remedial process that could transform politics forever”.
The basic idea is that if NOTA were to win, then technically the election result would be null and void. If executed properly, this would trigger a second general election (if NOTA won outright nationally) or by-elections (wherever NOTA has come out on top). If NOTA attracted lots of votes but didn’t win, it would still illustrate the discontent of the electorate.
Novote2015, “this amounts to saying that not supporting the ruling class disqualifies one from having an opinion on their methods of rule”. The campaign’s website also attacks the standpoint that not voting is disrespectful to those who fought and died for our voting rights. “They did not fight and die so that democracy could be reduced to the farce it is today, in which voting is no longer an expression of popular power against an aristocratic ruling class, but an act of public homage to a managerial ruling class.”
Stanley reckons that both of these potential outcomes would be a serious cause for concern for the political class. “This in itself should be enough to influence the decision making and thought processes of those in power,” he says. “They would then have to acknowledge the power that these voters hold and could no longer pretend that they have a clear, undisputed mandate that allows them to do as they please with no real consequences for their careers.” Stanley believes that if enough people were calling for a NOTA option, then it would eventually become an inevitable government concession to keep the peace. “That is essentially how votes for women, the welfare state and pretty much all democratic progress has been made throughout human history,” he says. “The trick is to educate people as to how things could and should be better and then get them demanding it as a natural right.”
3. Fuck it, Stay at Home
“Cut down the dead, decaying oak before You try planting new beautiful saplings — or your best efforts will only be condemned to shrivel in the shade.”
So where does Novote2015 stand on new parties like Left Unity fighting for positive reform inside the current political system? “They are confronted with the task of entering a closed shop,” says Lawrence. “They can easily be co-opted if their viewpoint is too close to the political class consensus, and can be blockaded out of power if they are too far from it.” Lawrence holds hope for the ideas represented by such parties, but believes that the timing just isn’t right. “The right time for them is after a massive public rejection of the existing political class,” he says. “Cut down the dead, decaying oak before you try planting new beautiful saplings,” says Lawrence. “Or your best efforts will only be condemned to shrivel in the shade.”
If the thought of even leaving your house on ballot day starts getting you all red-faced and furrowbrowed, then perhaps this option is best suited to you.
“consent is immaterial if it’s not possible to meaningfully withhold consent.”
‘Novote2015’ is a new campaign that aims to boycott the May 2015 General Election. Much like NOTA, Novote2015 is of the opinion that voting today merely serves to legitimise a farcical system. “Boycotting the vote can deny the political class legitimacy and potentially force it to reform for the sake of its own survival,” says Novote2015 campaigner James Lawrence. “The absurd myth that a refusal to vote for the political class can only be motivated by political apathy is visibly crumbling in this country.” Many still criticise this tactic because they feel that choosing not to vote robs you of your right to have an opinion. However, in the eyes of
â€˜Our impulses are being redirected. We are living in an artifIcially induced state of consciousness that resembles sleep... The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain. Please understand, They are safe as long as they are not discovered. That is their primary method of survival. Keep us asleep, keep us selfIsh, keep us sedated.â€™ (They Live)