Across the tracks and proud of it

There is only one prison of any significance – Our minds.

I have lived pretty much my entire life across the tracks from this world, it’s a place that’s always at odds with whatever goes for the status quo. It’s difficult to recall at what point I realised that this was an entirely good thing and ceased to be a place of torment, but there have been very significant events on the way that were always going to lead me there.

I first recognised the violence of the state as a Hippy. I was 19 when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesters against the Vietnam war on the campus of Kent State University [1]. The Vietnam war and its consequences were the beginning of my understanding of the colonial mindset which is still alive to this day and that industrial scale violence, war, is the exclusive domain of the state and the world has been at continuous war since WWII [2]. Western wars since WWII have been exclusively wars of aggression, which was amongst Germany’s greatest crimes in WWII [3].

Still, today, war and the consequences of war are perpetual news, never far from the front page. It is an article of faith of propaganda that state violence is justified and unquestionably good and all other violence and protest is bad and if you do not fly the flag of patriotism there’s something wrong with you and you are not a good citizen.

The state does not support, encourage or tolerate free thinking or free spirits and goes to enormous lengths to suppress independent thought and expression, especially if it has the temerity to be organised in some anarchic way. Again, a wake up call for me was what is now known as the Battle of the Beanfield on 1 June 1985 [4], which took place during the miners strike (84 – 85), and the brutal suppression of both was salutary. I was working in Cleadon during the miners strike where the massed ranks of police attempted to protect the coaches bringing in the ‘scabs’ to the pit, which is interesting given that Thatcher was entirely about destroying the mines and mining, successfully, in the UK. The whole point was to break the miners and the miners union, the NUM, and any excuse would do. Nothing is ever quite what it seems.

But what was it about travellers, peace protesters, green activists and festival-goers heading for Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice that so exercised the powers that be? It is significant that it was the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge and, according to chronicler Andy Worthington, involved around 450 people in total. Twelve years is long enough for it to become established and there can be no doubt that was a problem that the establishment had decided needed dealing with. It was time to put the boot in, which is exactly what they did, including the police violently attacking women and children along with everyone else and their vehicles. The message was loud and clear, don’t buck the system, or else! It was an object lesson for all, including me, though it had the opposite effect than the one intended, but the amount of resources and degree of violence they were prepared to expend was certainly not wasted on me or anyone who was anything other than a solid citizen applauding the violent intervention of the state on non-violent peaceniks.

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth today at the predations of the extreme right wing Tory government in the UK and the supine response of the general citizenry. Again, the destruction of the Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is salutary. The message is the same in Britain and America, socialism bad, unrestrained free market, neoliberal, economics good. There is no limit to the amount of money, time and energy that the state will expend in destroying even the idea of democratic socialism nor the violence they will encourage against it. The entirety of the billionaire right wing media is right on board pumping out propaganda on a daily basis, not least into the unquestioned one eyed monster in the living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms in the vast majority of homes. Armageddon will not be televised as long as there is one profiteering billionaire left to prevent it.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is headed for Mars with plans to colonise that planet and there is no end to the Earth’s resources he will expend in order to do it [5]. His contribution to the project? Money, that is all, except perhaps monumental stupidity and selfishness. Soon to be followed by Jeff Bezos, who can think of nothing to do with his Amazon ‘winnings’ other that to head for space as well. Musk has even put a Tesla Roadster into space [6]. What a hero!

Frankly, I vastly prefer the view from my side of the tracks and my Conspiracy of Kindness [7] – leftist, Trotskyite, Marxist, commie bastard that I am, and Britain’s biggest whinger, to boot [8].

KOG. 19 September 2020.









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