Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Friday, November 03, 2006

British state terrorism

John Pilger tells it like it is in the New Statesman:

'The war on democracy has been successfully exported. In Britain, and in other western countries, such as Australia, journalism and scholarship have been systematically appropriated as the new order's management class, and democratic ideas have been emptied and refilled beyond all recognition. Unlike the 1930s, there is a silence of writers, with Harold Pinter almost the lone voice raised in Britain. The promoters of an extreme form of capitalism known as neo liberalism, the supercult responsible for the greatest inequalities in history, are described as "reformers" and "revolutionaries". The noble words "freedom" and "liberty" now refer to the divine right of this extremism to "prevail", the jargon for dominate and control. This vocabulary, which contaminates the news and the pronouncements of the state and its bureaucracy, is from the same lexicon as Arbeit macht frei - "Work makes you free" - the words over the gates at Auschwitz.

For the British under Blair, the influence of this fake democracy has been catastrophic. Even if the convergence of the Labour Party and the Tories was historically inevitable, it was Tony Blair, the most extreme British political figure in living memory, who returned Britain to a full-time violent, imperial role, converting a fictional notion, "the clash of civilisations", into a possibility. Blair has destroyed the power of parliament and politicised those sections of the civil service and the security and intelligence services that saw themselves as impartial. He is Britain's president, lacking only the accompanying strains of "Hail to the Chief". Last installed by little more than a fifth of the eligible population, he is the most undemocratically elected leader in British history. Poll after poll tells us he is also the most reviled.

Under President Blair, parliament has become like Congress under Bush: an ineffectual, craven talking shop that has debated Iraq only twice in two and a half years. With one important exception, regressive measure after measure has been waved through: from the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, with their mandatory sentences and house arrests ("control orders"). A "bill to abolish parliament", as the innocuous-sounding Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006 might be known, removed parliamentary scrutiny of government legislation, giving ministers arbitrary powers and Downing Street the absolute power of decree. There was no public debate. How ironic that the bill stalled in the House of Lords, which, together with the judiciary, is now the loyal opposition.

In 2003, Blair worked the secretive royal prerogative - Orders in Council - to order an unprovoked, illegal attack on a defenceless country, Iraq. The following year, he used the same archaic powers to prevent the Chagos Islanders from returning to their homeland in the Indian Ocean, from which they were secretly expelled so that the Americans could build a huge military base there. Last May, the high court described the treatment of these British citizens as "repugnant, illegal and irrational".

On 16 October 2005, Bush claimed that al-Qaeda was seeking to "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia". This deeply cynical, calculated exaggeration - reminiscent of Washington's warning of "mushroom clouds" following 11 September 2001 - was repeated by Blair fresh from the embrace of Rupert Murdoch, the likely source of his future enrichment. This is the message of liberal warmongers who have sought to be Tonier-than-thou and who salvage their spent reputations by using big, specious words such as "Islamo fascism". They suppress the truth that al-Qaeda is minuscule compared with the state terrorism that kills and maims industrially, and whose cost distorts all our lives. British state terrorism in Iraq has cost more than £7bn. The real cost of Trident is said to be £76bn. The premises of the best of British life that survived Margaret Thatcher have no place in this accounting. The National Health Service and what was once the best postal service in the world are denied subsidies uncorrupted by a rigged "free market". Whether it is the accretions of the freeloading Blairs or the sale of 72 Eurofighters to the medieval regime in Saudi Arabia, complete with "commissions", or the government's refusal to ban highly profitable cluster bombs, whose victims are mostly children - blood and money are the essence of Blairism and its mutant liberalism.'

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At 5:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Pilger is a Maoist twit and a pulp journalist, who I am less likely to trust than the bleedin telegraph. My deep dislike of him makes him painful to read.

I have left you a reply at Reclaim Labour, btw.

At 11:42 am, Blogger Snowball said...

El Tom - thanks for your deep and profound insight into the politics of John Pilger, and the news that reading him causes you pain may well lead to a reassessment of how many times I decide to quote from him in future on this blog.

I'll pop over to 'reclaim Labour' when I get a free moment.

At 4:01 am, Blogger steffaction said...

good article, however, i must state, that the pilgering involved in invoking 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is extrodinary. How is Pilger a Maoist, el Tom?


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