Tag Archives: capitalism

Schools are now for indoctrination, not education, as teaching of non-capitalist ideology is forbidden

Education secretary Gavin Williamson: he’s too stupid to realise the best way to get people interested in something is by banning it.

Boris Johnson’s government has lurched further towards fascism with an edict banning any anti-capitalist ideology from schools.

Any ideology other than capitalism is to be considered an “extreme political stance” from now on, according to guidance issued by the Department for Education and its secretary of state, Gavin Williamson.

Resources from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism are henceforth to be considered equal to opposition to freedom of speech, anti-Semitism and endorsement of illegal activity.

As former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, the measures effectively outlawed reference in schools to key events in British history, and symbolised growing authoritarianism within the governing Conservative party.

McDonnell said: “On this basis it will be illegal to refer to large tracts of British history and politics including the history of British socialism, the Labour Party and trade unionism, all of which have at different times advocated the abolition of capitalism.

“This is another step in the culture war and this drift towards extreme Conservative authoritarianism is gaining pace and should worry anyone who believes that democracy requires freedom of speech and an educated populace.”

Totalitarianism is nearer the mark.

Economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said the guidance showed “how easy it is to lose a country, to slip surreptitiously into totalitarianism”.

He added: “Imagine an educational system that banned schools from enlisting into their curricula teaching resources dedicated to the writings of British writers like William Morris, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Paine even. Well, you don’t have to. Boris Johnson’s government has just instructed schools to do exactly that.”

Of course Mr Varoufakis will be among the first to be banned:

Critics of the new policy have come out in force.

Emyr Lewis added a few names to the list of banned authors: “We’ll have no more of your William Blake, your Shelley, your George Bernard Shaw, your D. H. Lawrence…”

And here’s mention of one highly notable person that the Tories ought to ban, if they’re serious:

This, from Jessica Simor QC, makes the point that the Tory government itself has broken its new guidance on multiple occasions:

How about this:

This makes the point in coarser terms:

Opinions of the Johnson government have been… frank:

Rohit K Dasgupta put it mildly, commenting on Tory racism: “Teachers: Rosie has 10 apples and gives Rashid 4. How many apples does Rosie have now? DfE: Stop that at once. This is straight up communism. Rashid has to prove he is a legal immigrant and can buy those apples.”

Then there’s this:

But there is an optimistic side to this. Here‘s Martin O’Neill:

Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching”. – My optimistic prediction is that this will backfire spectacularly. This government are creating a generation that will forever despise them and everything they represent.

And it is creating a generation that will want to know why alternatives to capitalism are being banned from schools.

This Writer certainly intends to put as much information about those alternatives into the public sphere as possible.

I’m happy to take suggestions too.

Source: Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching | Education | The Guardian

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Theresa May touts phony, crony capitalism. She wouldn’t know a free market if she was put up for sale on it

Reforming the unacceptable face of capitalism: Theresa May and Philip Green by Dave Brown. She said she would reform capitalism after the BHS scandal [Image: @Cartoon4sale on Twitter].


Theresa May’s attempt to lecture us all on the joys of capitalism is another howler in a series of blunders that should only end in her ejection from politics and the (self-)destruction of the political party she has been running into the ground for the last 14 months.

This Writer hastens to add that this is not because she advocates free-market capitalism as the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created”. I don’t agree with that sentiment but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with capitalism in itself; pack that system full of good worker-owned co-operatives and I’ll be delighted.

The problem is that Tories preach free-market capitalism while actually practising something very different – neoliberalism: a sort of protectionist socialism-for-the-very-rich.

Neoliberalism demands that the benefits of scientific and cultural progress should only be enjoyed by those who can afford to pay for them using their own money.

That is why, internationally, eight people own as much wealth as half the population of the world. It is why, here in the UK, the richest 1,000 families have nearly tripled their wealth since the financial crisis (“all in it together”? I should bleedin’ cocoa) while half the country has to make do with just 8.7 per cent of the wealth.

It is why, under the neoliberal governments of Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May, national industries and utilities have been privatised – to take their profits away from the UK’s government and into private hands (and never mind the fact that some of those “private” hands happen to belong to foreign governments). The intention was to deprive the state of valuable funds, preventing it from investing in projects that would benefit the populace at large.

It is why social housing has been sold off and cruel penalties – like the Bedroom Tax – have been imposed on those living in the housing stock that remains. The aim is to drive the poorest into the gutter, opening up the properties for resale and redevelopment as “gentrified” – read “expensive” – estates.

It is why wages have been pushed down – to increase profits for rich company owners and shareholders who squirrel them away in offshore bank accounts where they do not have to pay tax to the UK government – and trade unions’ ability to oppose this cruelty has been rendered illegal by draconian legislation.

It is why regulations that protect citizens’ rights have been removed, to make it easier for privateers to provide substandard products or skip safety procedures altogether, thereby maximising their profits.

It is why people with long-term illness and/or disabilities, considered to be “useless eaters” in exactly the same way as in Nazi Germany, are persecuted to their deaths by a perverted “benefit” system that in fact strives to remove any help available.

Ultimately, it is the reason the UK has been pushed deeply into debt (sources of funding for the government having been either sold off, scrapped or squirrelled into tax havens) – to turn the country into a so-called “zombie economy” in which the vast majority of the people labour for a pittance, their tax money used not to provide public services but to partially pay off the interest on the national debt. Only partially, mind – the intention is for the debt never to be repaid.

That is what Theresa May calls the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created”. That is the central aim of all Tory economic policy – not an improvement in living standards, not protected jobs, but the exact opposite.

Of course she has been ridiculed:

In fact, the greatest agent of human progress every created was socialism, as enacted by Clement Attlee in his 1945-51 government and maintained in the post-war consensus years from 1945-79. Those were years of unprecedented prosperity that happened in spite of Conservatism and neoliberalism.

Tories and neoliberals hated those years. You can prove Mrs May a liar simply by pointing out that her neoliberalism was not responsible for the most sustained increase in living standards of everyone in the UK – living standards here were at their highest in 1977, under a Labour government in the post-war consensus years.

By then, the neoliberals were well on their way to power. The oil shock, engineered by the very rich, had prepared the way by creating social unrest due to inflation-stoked price rises – for which the Labour government was blamed. Margaret Thatcher had told the Parliamentary Conservative party that they now believed in Hayek-style neoliberalism and was plotting the destruction of the UK’s industrial base, in order to deprive working people of the security they had built up over the previous 30 years. Tory think tanks were filling the pages of newspapers and the time on TV political shows with pro-neoliberal dogma in order to sway public opinion.

Thatcher, and the other prime ministers since her, were all elected on a promise that living standards would improve. Instead, they have worsened.

Theresa May’s lying speech is an opportunity for us all to put an end to this insanity. Let’s denounce her version of capitalism for what it is – socialism for the very rich – and put both it and her on the scrap heap of historic failures.

Theresa May defended the free markets after Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism of capitalism by saying … that it is the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created.”

Speaking on Thursday, May told the Bank of England’s 20th anniversary of independence conference that capitalism “is unquestionably the best, and indeed the only sustainable, means of increasing the living standards of everyone in a country. And we should never forget that raising the living standards, and protecting the jobs of ordinary working people is the central aim of all economic policy.”

The prime minister said it was free-market economics that “led societies out of darkness and stagnation and into the light of the modern age.”

Source: Theresa May defends free market capitalism after Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism


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Why can’t Labour support working people AND be pro-business?

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here's your answer - Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here’s your answer – Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Michael Meacher has missed a trick in his recent blog article about Lords Myners and Mandelson – who say they want Labour to be pro-business.

He correctly identifies these two peers – one of whom (Mandelson) is a Blairite Labour Party member and therefore might as well be a Tory, while the other (Myners) is not aligned to a political party and therefore might as well be a Tory – as being very rich and refers to them sarcastically as “those stalwart supporters of working people”, meaning the exact opposite.

He correctly states that they are wrong to claim that Ed Miliband’s attack on “predatory capitalism” is harmful to Labour’s election prospects, pointing to poll results showing that the next election winner needs to be tough on big business.

And he correctly – yes, Ukippers, correctly – points out that businesspeople know an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union could cause huge harm to their firms if the vote goes in favour of leaving.

These are all good points, but Mr Meacher could have gone much further.

Labour should be pushing its policies as better for business than anything the Conservatives have to offer – because they are.

The party wants more firms and public sector organisations to pay the living wage. As this blog has stated time and time again, this can only help British industry as it would show employees that their contribution is valued, encouraging them to improve the quality of their work and build up their employer’s profitability and prospects of expansion.

That’s not all that Labour can do. The party should be much bolder in its aims. For example:

The party should be promoting employee-ownership to more and more firms – the advantages of becoming co-operatives. Look at the success of John Lewis, whose employees receive a bonus equal to around four months’ extra pay – every year – because of the way that company is set up. John Lewis is going from strength to strength and so is its workforce. There is no valid argument against it.

Yes, there are some within the Labour Party who continue to push timid concepts about “strengthening” the minimum wage, but like Lords Myners and Mandelson, they might as well be Tories and it is time they were purged from the party. Neil Kinnock got rid of the Militant Tendency left-wingers; why shouldn’t Ed Miliband similarly divest himself of the right-wing fifth-columnist parasites who have held Labour back for his entire term as leader (including, of course, his idiot advisors)?

The Conservative Party’s idea of helping business has failed completely. It could never have done otherwise; starving the economy of money during a downturn makes it next-to-impossible for any but the largest firms to turn a profit.

Labour must present a vibrant alternative.

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How do we wrestle fairness from a rigged economic system?

The problem in a nutshell - and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

The problem in a nutshell – and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

It’s terrific when an article makes you think.

Why Capitalism needs unemployment, by Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, tells us that unemployment is used as a weapon against the workers – with the threat of it used to force pay cuts on employees, while we are told to fear inflation if unemployment falls.

So fatcat company bosses win either way, it seems.

The article commented on Margaret Thatcher’s ideological mentor, Milton Friedman, who “understood that low levels of unemployment give confidence to workers, who can fight for better pay and conditions. When they’re successful, the profit margins of capitalists are reduced, causing them to put their prices up in response“.

We know this happens; we have seen it many times. Some may argue that it is different from cases in which shortages of particular commodities push up their prices and the prices of products that are made from them – but, with fuel prices as the only notable exception, have you ever seen prices drop after these shortages end?

The system is rigged to ensure that working people stay poor, either through pay cuts during high unemployment or inflation in low unemployment; meanwhile the employers and shareholders ensure that they stay rich, by sharing out extra profits gained by keeping pay low or by putting up prices.

What do they do with this money?

The answer, it seems, is nothing. They bank it in offshore tax havens and leave it there. This is why, we are told, Britain’s richest citizens have more than £20 trillion banked offshore at the moment.

That’s more than £20,000,000,000,000! Enough to pay off this country’s national debt 18,000 times over and still have plenty to spare. Enough to solve the problems of the world, forever. It is, in fact, more money than we can comfortably imagine.

It is doing nothing.

Faced with this knowledge, there can only be one logical question: Why?

Why rig the system so that ever-larger sums of money pour into these offshore accounts, if nothing is to be done with it? Where is the sense in that?

The only logical answer appears to relate to its effect on workers: Keeping the profits of their work away from the workforce means they are kept in misery and servitude to the ruling classes – the parasitical board members and shareholders.

There are knock-on effects. Taxpayers are hit twice – not only are they forced to grapple with ever-more-hostile pay offers, but their taxes pay for in-work benefits that subsidise corporate-imposed pay levels; they support people who have been forced into unemployment unnecessarily and the silly make-work schemes that are forced on those people by the Department for Work and Pensions, under threat of sanction.

It’s a protection racket. There should be a law against it. And this begs the next question: Why isn’t there a law against it? How can this corrupt system be dismantled and what should replace it?

That’s a very good question, because the other cosh being held over our collective heads is the possibility that firms will move abroad if new laws in this country threaten their massive profits. This is where an international agreement between nations or groups of nations would be very useful, if it was carried out in the right way – a Transatlantic, or Trans-pacific, Trade and Investment Partnership, perhaps.

And what do we see? Plans for such agreements have been put together and they do the exact opposite of what they should – tying the workers into ever-worsening conditions. This is why the TTIP, currently being pushed on the European Union, must be rejected – and why bosses will do anything to ensure it succeeds.

This is the situation. It seems clear that nothing will change it for the better until somebody has the courage to stand up to these manipulators (who were probably schoolyard bullies back in the day) and say enough is enough; change is coming – do what you will.

Tax evasion and avoidance is already a huge issue here in the UK; perhaps we need to make a criminal offence of manipulating the economy – with prison sentences for bosses who put their prices up purely to retain high profit margins when their salaries are already dozens of times higher than those of their workers.

But what else is needed? How can such a mechanism be brought in without scaring off business? Or should we let them go, and put something fairer in their place? Ban them from trading in the UK unless they conform to the new model?

These are ideas that need exploration – by many people, not just a few.

What do you think should happen?

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