It was Karl Marx who said Marxism solved the riddle of history. His nineteenth-century analysis explains a lot about the world as we know it today.
People are feeling that the world is going mad. Clashing sets of values and ideas causing anger and outrage. But no one seems to be able to make this situation intelligible. Most theories that try such as Critical Social Justice Theory (1) just make people confused and angry.
Books are published on topics as wide-ranging as of the climate crisis, overconsumption, the perils of affluence and the absence of love or community. These issues are all associated with the present state of the West and by implication the state of the whole world.
A world of vastly different wealth and social and economic expectations will give rise to different ideas about what is wrong and what should be done.
The suggestions for solving the world’s vastly different problems all too often involve western people changing our lives, by for example eating less meat, being less stressed, buying less stuff, being more mindful of White privilege, more tolerant, less wealthy, critical of the past or just handing more power over to a state that likes to bully us with political correctness.
The question is, why with such a mountain of advice does nothing ever change? Why do we feel so much tension living in the early twenty-first century? Why is it always down to the western worker to change? What, if anything, has the western working class done wrong? Maybe we need to revisit Marx’s riddle of history and try to explain what has happened in the past, and what frightening prospects there might be for the West’s working people in the future unless they, -we- ‘get’ the riddle and avoid being either bullied or seduced by their elites who have adopted fashionable academic theories.
In simple terms, nothing changes dramatically because our consciousness changes far more slowly than the events that it must confront. It is largely fixed by our life experience. This is true of everyone in the world, from the tribal areas of Pakistan to the sandy beaches of Southern California. But it is not necessarily true of our ideologically driven elites who are committed to their own self-preservation by whatever means necessary.
In Classical Marxism, consciousness is what people think and importantly, why they think it. The tramlines of ‘normality’ which we carry about in our heads and which make us see certain things in certain ways. For Marxists, consciousness is determined by the nature of our economic circumstances and the level of scientific discovery upon which our attitudes are dependent.
Why do we, for example, accept women’s freedom and autonomy and some other cultures do not? Why do we value freedom of speech and other nations have blasphemy laws? Why do some people who newly arrive want to change western society so it better reflects their social expectations? What makes violence acceptable to some people to achieve ideological outcomes? It is all about consciousness, theirs, ours, yours, and mine and as significantly the collective consciousness of the people in charge of the structures that govern us, parliament, the law, councils, and courts etc. Let us decode this riddle properly.
Our consciousness and where it comes from!
Our economic system and society, plus now the internet and its vast wealth of information, create our thoughts and beliefs but give us no understanding of how that process happens. What makes us behave in the world the way we do? What makes us feel the way we do about the world or the society we inhabit?
The collective reality of billions of individual consciousnesses, navigating their world and jostling together is an unavoidable reality for humans, as we are, unlike other creatures, self-conscious animals.
Humanity makes the world intelligible by creating frameworks for understanding it. We have come to call these, cultures, religions, and ideologies. They promote the benefits of their economic and social systems and protect its vested personal and economic interests, allocating power, and justifying one dominant idea over others. The aim of culture and religion historically is to make inequality intelligible and more importantly acceptable to people, be they citizens, subjects, voters, slaves, workers or whatever.
To make society function peoples’ acceptance is needed. In the absence of this, the elite must suppress people’s opposition by force. If the collective consciousness of people is at odds with what they have to accept as their reality, or the justification for their unfair treatment is weak, there will be trouble. Revolution in fact! Are we in such a period now?
Karl Marx also observed that the history of humanity is the history of economic exploitation, how most people are taken advantage of, and how this is maintained. How does a minority, the elite, get to control the labour-power of the majority and the wealth that labour-power creates, make themselves rich and powerful and stay rich and powerful?
The process has involved an interesting cast of characters like Gods and prophets, warlords, books of revealed truths and more recently philosophers, and politicians. It all goes back thousands of years and has led to the promotion of ideas which make the people of the world think and behave in different ways. All to the same end though, to protect the rich by protecting their economic and social power structures. It is not a process linked to race, it is a process linked to class and status.
The need to understand the role of consciousness in this process only became relevant once humanity found a way to ‘make a modest profit’ initially on the back of slave labour. In traditional tribal communities, there was no wealth to control, so power structures were irrelevant.
For at least four thousand years the profit, created by workers or slaves, has fallen under the control of powerful personal or family interests. In short, the elites of every era.
We can look at different cultural influences to see what might inform different social and economic expectations. For example, Islam is an ideology that captures accurately the reality of the harsh seventh century Arab Peninsular. It is a world of warfare and submission to God with strict rules about society and sexual behaviour. The Qur’an (2) promotes this historical reality as the word of God. Today some followers of Islam attempt to introduce ‘God-given’ law by force. Whilst our elite might criticise their methods, and some academics identify cultural ‘disadvantage’, only working people will openly challenge the notion that these ‘laws’ come from God.
Alternatively, Christianity said we need peace and love. For Jesus, there were enough economic resources going around for everyone to have a reasonable share. The loaves and fishes story illustrates this point (3). So, for Jesus, whilst reality was unfair, kings had more than slaves, he said we should stop thinking about having more for ourselves and think about others; ‘Love thy neighbour’ so to speak.
The willingness to ‘believe’ something like the Gospels or the Qur’an, something beyond our actual life experience is another essential component of human consciousness. We are the only animals who can ‘believe’ things which are absurdly not true. This is great news if you want to control people without force. What we believe and why we believe it is what gives us our unique, culturally specific consciousness and its various personal variations.
What consciousness gets downloaded into our heads is complicated, but it is essentially a task for those who control society at any given time. That is until revolution forces change. Today with so much freedom and global communication, societies everywhere are a muddle with all sorts of ideas being promoted and accepted, even ones that are hostile to the concept of personal freedom itself.
Maybe we no longer know what to believe, so anything goes. Maybe there is a consciousness being engineered to shift the world towards a global consensus. Agreement about what is right and wrong. Or maybe a sort of global consciousness is just emerging nudged by our global elites so that eventually everyone from the rural areas of Afghanistan to the coffee shops of New York will willingly accept it. Consciousness can and does change. Will it be good for western working people of all racial and other backgrounds though?
Since biblical times economic changes have made people’s consciousness clash with new material realities. In the modern West, these changes have given rise to a freeing up of the rules that once forced us to accept overt control by others. Our modern western world of choices and freedoms allows each of us to create our own rules within the law and decide what we accept as normal. We create personalised ‘normality’. We have a fragmented collective consciousness that reflects our fragmented western world and our fragmented but free and generally tolerant society. But much of the world is not like us. It is not tolerant, or open-minded but why?
Being able to construct personal normality has not happened by accident. The economic reality of western society built up over hundreds of years makes it impossible for us not to have evolved our thinking the way we have.
Our forebears could not have predicted the internet or aircraft travel two or three hundred years ago but how we have used these, is a result of the economic system they created, were all forced to accept, and then promoted as normal. For example, until the eighteenth century, we did not have the freedom to travel abroad. Part of their consciousness, a belief in freedom, became part of our consciousness. We, or more accurately our elites, have taken an eighteenth-century principle and woven it into our modern consciousness. Our elites have created our fragmented individualistic and personalised collective consciousness from what they and we have inherited. It is conceivable that our freedom is not a popular development everywhere in the world.
It is up to us to now understand how our individualism might go wrong. How our forbears’ house, once built on stone, has become our house built on the sand of western individualistic ‘normality’. Maybe there is pressure from a global elite to reverse this process. To create a new ‘normal’.
Our foundations: The Wests Christian consciousness.
Religion is ideology given the status of the divine or ‘God-given’. It was a trick common in the ancient world, that if you wanted your ideas to be taken seriously, you claimed they were from God and you were a prophet. Christianity went one step further claiming that Jesus was God. The message from first-century Jesus was “I bring you a revolutionary new message, love thy neighbour”. His disciples said, “copy the example set by Jesus in the Gospels”. Fairly simple stuff. Basically, be nice to each other.
Jesus was so out of step with the reality and collective consciousness of the ancient world, characterised by warfare and barbarism that within six centuries his ideas were replaced by more traditional ideas of warfare and submission to God as revealed by Muhammed in the Qur’an.
By the time Islam became the regions dominant ideology Christianity was pretty much pushed out of the Middle East and beyond. Christianity made its way to Europe, a wet, cold, and unappealing part of the world of little interest to Arab raiders. The Vikings, who knew the European territory, were responsible for Northern Europe’s seventh-century land grabs, in the name of their God Thor. That is until they converted to Christianity and the ideology of ‘love thy neighbour’ saw their distinct form of longboat barbarism slowly disappear.
This idea of love thy neighbour and the story of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary is the first step towards modern western consciousness. It represents the separation of the world of humanity from the world of God. Or in a modern take on the same theme, the separation of the world of human lives, from the world of human ideas.
In medieval Europe life was brutal, people suffered at the hands of aristocrats and kings, but the Christian Church ensured that there was always a distinction between humanity and God as represented by Jesus Christ. This separation of religion and the state became accepted as normal.
The Bible and Christianity did not combine the world of human conduct and the world of God into a single book of rules or laws. God could forgive even if humans could not. Jesus had died on the cross to forgive humanities sinfulness. This was a radical departure from earlier consciousness as prior to this an individual’s behaviour was laid down as a set of rules with punishments arising from failure to comply, all sanctioned by God. Stoning, for example, appears in both the Old Testament and in the Islamic Hadith. There is nothing like this in Christianity. Morality was more Gods business than humanities. God would sort out the unrepentant sinner in the afterlife.
Extending this idea of the world of humanity being separate from the world of God, meant that in Christianity, the poor and the pious were willingly encouraged to accept their lot in life because they knew their impoverished earthy life would secure them a place in heaven if they ‘loved their neighbour as themselves’. As the Christian Hymn has it ‘the rich man in his castle the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate’. Christianity laid the foundation for accepting things as they are. Uncomplainingly, peacefully and with a view to your love for others seeing you enter the kingdom of heaven.
This belief in the normality of poverty, the forgiveness of sin, and acceptance of the power of others, based on their use of practices like coercion, and compulsion, defined European consciousness for hundreds of years. Indeed control, coercion and compulsion are, as we will see, the default position for all elites who are not forced to accept freedom as a basic right for everyone.
Back in Medieval Europe whilst on earth everyone was unequal, by showing love to others, even the rich, you would gain equality with them in heaven. This belief endured for centuries until the Church itself departed from Christian doctrine. The Church failed to follow the word of God.
The Christian Church in the form of Catholicism failed to reflect the basic biblical requirement to ‘love thy neighbour’. The Church became bloated, bureaucratic, and self-serving. It was increasingly seen as incapable of extending the love of God to anyone. It became a reflection of earthly power, status, and wealth. The corruptible world of humanity replaced that of love thy neighbour.
Rather than simply tolerate poverty the Church began to create poverty by taking wealth from ordinary people using compulsion and coercion. By doing this the Church departed from the message of the Gospels and gained many critics.
An emerging revolutionary Christian elite began creating a new consciousness, and in doing so challenged coercion and compulsion eventually creating consent-based choice or ‘freedom’. This better reflected emerging economic and social reality.
Freedom would eventually lead to freedom of speech and would allow people to abandon the Catholic Church, create different types of Christianity, and succeed in the world unimpeded by a greedy church or state. Christianity had served the feudal state well by making poverty acceptable to rich and poor alike. But times were changing driven by new economic realities.
With an unwillingness to accept centuries of personal poverty as normal, this Christian revolutionary class started to gain strength from the sixteenth century onwards. Over time it changed the consciousness of the political elite, emerging the victorious class by routing feudalism at the end of the seventeenth century. These revolutionaries were called the Bourgeoisie. They created the principles of contract, choice, consent, freedom, and democracy which now form a major part of our modern western consciousness. These principles were known as bourgeois principles.
With these principles, the bourgeoisie created capitalism and built a political and legal system supporting their new revolutionary view of consent-based personal choice and freedom.
Their new consciousness over time became our consciousness, whether we know it or not, or liked it or not. We value the freedom and consent-based choice they created, which some other ‘rule-based’ cultures do not recognise as legitimate. Our consciousness based on freedom ‘buffers’ with rule-based consciousnesses. Even today political correctness and wokeness challenge concepts of freedom (4). Both are part of a new rule-based ideology, that is attempting to return us to a world of coercion and compulsion in thought, language, and behaviour.
The eighteenth-century development of western consciousness founded on consent-based choice or freedom has been unique, formed as it was in a furnace of economic change. Capitalism required freedom in a way that feudalism or slave societies did not. Principles like contract, choice and consent were legal principles underpinning freedom and were ruthlessly defended in the criminal courts of early capitalism. Of course, freedom was not welcomed by everyone. There would be numerous push backs.
The feudal system might have kept you powerless and poor, coerced and compelled but the church would give you food or alms and tell you that you would be guaranteed a place in heaven because of your poverty or if you repented of your sins.
Capitalism created poverty too if you were unable to use your freedom to get rich unlike feudalism, it was happy to let you starve. Alternatively, it would execute you if you stole the private property of others. It was OK to contract for something, but to take it without consent was a capital offence. The courts put on trial thousands of petty thieves who were then executed. Transportation to Australia and the workhouse eventually became the capitalist systems way of treating criminals ‘humanely’.
Eventually the English church by now no longer Roman Catholic, thanks to Henry the Eighth, stopped supporting the poor. Slowly the state stopped using coercion, control and compulsion and embraced a brutal new reality; freedom backed by Protestantism, and all based on contract, choice, and consent. The Protestant work ethic was born.
People were free to become rich and in doing so acquire power, status and influence, but they were also free to starve, to be exploited by capitalists (5) and to experience a hard life of misery and ignorance whilst other people, the bourgeoisie or capitalists got rich.
Get rich without adopting capitalist principles and it was the hangman’s noose or the debtor’s prison. This early capitalist system was brutal. No wonder people came to hate it so much, people like Lenin (6) and Trotsky (7) who were Russian revolutionaries in the early twentieth century.
Capitalisms eighteenth and nineteenth-century history remain the benchmark by which the western world’s traditional left-wing view capitalism, even in the twenty-first century. But most on the traditional left, and those who adopt Critical Social Justice Theories have a very crude understanding of capitalism and overlook the fact that like many ideologies, including socialism, it had its good points, like contract, choice, and consent as well as its bad points like continuing to promote status, inequality, and unfairness.
Of course, whilst contract, choice and consent were getting established as principles underpinning capitalist freedom and democracy for the elite, the old principles of earthly power based on coercion, control and compulsion had not gone away completely. In fact, the economy of the eighteenth century was a confusing mixture of both feudal and capitalist principles with the ‘theory’ of freedom coexisting with the ‘reality’ of compulsion based on the need to avoid starvation.
It depended on your social position, as to how much contract, choice and consent or freedom you could enjoy and how much control, compulsion, and coercion you could avoid. Initially, the capitalist class was seen by the poor as worse than the old feudal barons, they at least had provided land to be worked and poverty was a virtue.
It has taken centuries for the consciousness of the working people to uncritically accept contract choice and consent. This is because the worker’s economic situation made it impossible for them to exercise what were their legal rights. What made early capitalism so brutal was working people were forced by poverty to ‘freely’ choose coercion and control on pain of starvation for themselves and their families.
Imagine the anger a situation like that would cause. It is this anger that marks the next great stride in our western consciousness. We started to reject the idea that contract, choice, and consent should be used by a greedy economic and political elite to trap us into accepting coercion and control.
For thousands of years, humanity accepted violence and barbarism as a way of life. This violent activity was part of our consciousness, it was tolerated as ‘normal’. In the first century, Christianity adopted a revolutionary way of thinking, ‘love thy neighbour’. This idea was eventually superseded by the re-establishment of more traditional behaviours typical of the area and era such as holy war and rule-based submission to God.
Christianity moved into Europe and began promoting the idea that we accept our lot in life peacefully, and uncomplainingly, as Jesus had when he died on the cross. This idea of being passive and accepting coercion and compulsion lasted until the church became hungry for power. A new set of economic opportunities and legal principles emerged, contract, choice, and consent. These created the concept of freedom available to an elite and eventually, it gave rise to democracy.
Capitalisms freedom was brutal. Freedom to starve and if you disobeyed the rules by ignoring contract, choice, and consent and for example stole, the early capitalist state would hang you with little mercy.
Making Capitalist values the new normal: A consciousness being born!
With the old ways of compulsion, coercion and control being slowly superseded by an implacable application of contract choice and consent, the world was in for a turbulent two hundred years or so. Capitalists, who acquired the power of money, became just like their feudal predecessors, rich and obsessed with status, sitting on top of a political system which looked after their economic interests. They even found ways to rig the anarchy of the capitalist system so they could ape the lifestyle of the old aristocrats. This was the world of monopolies, mergers, and super-profits.
The churches stopped assisting the poor emphasising the virtue of hard work, not poverty. A new world was emerging and with it, a new consciousness was being formed. The anarchic early capitalist world of traders and merchants settled down to a new order of inherited privilege, status, unfairness, and inequality. All based on legal principles of choice and consent.
The population in the early capitalist world fell into two camps. Those who saw freedom based on contract, choice, and consent as capitalisms most valuable contribution to human life. These people then and now tend to see economic failure as a personal problem caused by fecklessness. Alternatively, there were others who saw contract, choice, and consent simply as ‘bourgeois values’, a way of bullying vulnerable workers into accepting low wages, poor conditions and poverty to make someone else rich under the pretence of ‘freedom’ and liberty.
These conflicting views have shaped different forms of consciousness in different parts of the western world. All claim to desire freedom based on consent-based choice but with different levels of control applied by the state, depending on how successfully ‘freedom’ is seen to be making individuals rich.
Britain was the first properly capitalist country. By the mid-eighteenth century, capitalism was augmented by industrialisation to make Britain powerful enough to create an empire and extend capitalism via trade to much of the world.
Britain was so wealthy the idea of capitalism needing to use feudal and barbaric principles of compulsion, control and coercion in its economic affairs was challenged, and rightly so. As a result, politicians and thinkers came to argue for constraints upon capitalists, holding them hard to bourgeois principles of contract, choice, and consent. Thus, slavery was challenged and eventually Britain abolished it.
Britain has helped to confine that disgusting practise to the dustbin of history, at least in the western world. Slavery still prospers as it always has done in countries that allow the powerful to ‘own’ people using control, coercion and compulsion and then steal their labour power for self-enrichment. Labour power rightly belongs to the slave. In capitalism, it is not stolen but ‘contracted’ with ‘consent’ to an employer in exchange for a wage. This is accepted as fair in a free society.
The extent of contract, choice and consent being ‘believed in’ among the general population determine a nations political maturity, compared with ongoing belief in earlier power structures like authoritarianism and feudalism. The larger the group who could enjoy freedom based on these principles the freer and more liberated a country could claim to be. The counterpoint, however, is the society would probably remain just as unfair, elitist, and unequal Thus there is a tension between freedom being valued and freedom being challenged.
Because early capitalism generally improved the lives of most people, elitism, status, and unfairness eventually became accepted by most. Under mature capitalism, the views of all but the most hardened revolutionary would be, “using freedom based on contract, choice and consent, I too could become rich and have status, be part of an elite and accept unfairness as ‘normal’.
This is the world today and it is unravelling before our eyes because the system that underpins it, capitalism is now in trouble. To make capitalism work we now must use personal and national debt, not ‘capital’ (8) as Marx would have understood it.
Capitalism in crisis is challenging us all to find solutions, it is shaking our confidence in our political and economic system and is reshaping our consciousness. It is possible to detect a trend against personal freedom because freedom is again being blamed for inequality, elitism, and unfairness. The advance of political correctness and wokeness are the ideas at the forefront of this attempt to return to compulsion and coercion to ‘prevent’ economic inequality and unfairness. But as always it will be at the expense of personal freedom.
Apart from a small but growing band of politically correct or woke activists, most westerners now believe in bourgeois values. They associated them with personal success and freedom. In the past, there was a good chance that anyone could achieve some personal success within the capitalist system. Our great grandparents and great, great, grandparents would have measured their success in terms of material comfort, the quality of family life, and the positions they held in the community. They would have accepted that there were ‘their betters’ and that even though life was typically unfair and unequal, they all had a fighting chance to make a good life.
The Elitism, inequality, and unfairness inherent within capitalism would have been part of their collective consciousness, but it would have been viewed as the price worth paying for living in a free society. Capitalism is unique in that people consent to their inequality. It is a trade-off.
By the nineteen fifties Britain was becoming a nation of individuals defined by a belief in good principles of contract choice and consent and bad but generally tolerated principles of elitism, inequality, and unfairness. It is important to grasp that bourgeois society accepts these six basic ideas in their totality. For Marxists, it is important to emphasise that the purpose of revolution should be to preserve the first three and minimise the impact of the latter three. That is what Marxism promotes. But why has ‘Marxism’ not delivered this reality?
By the heyday of western bourgeois values in the nineteen fifties Russia and China’s ‘communist’ revolutions had come and gone and the life of the Russian and Chinese worker was worse than that of the employee in a ‘free’ nation like the United Kingdom or the United States.
The problem for the Russians and Chinese people was that unlike their eighteenth-century Western European and United States counterparts, their twentieth-century bourgeoisie like Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao, the leaders of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, had decided that capitalism was a no go area, and so they supported state-controlled industrialisation, without the need to establish freedom through a bourgeois revolution based contract, choice and consent.
Russia and China rejected capitalism. The political elite did not like the way consent and choice-based freedom had caused poverty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Who can blame them? Whilst history might judge them as wrong, maybe it was not so mad to try and avoid capitalism if you had seen it in action in the nineteenth-century West, as both Lenin and Trotsky had done. Cruel conditions, low wages, no healthcare, no education for workers, whilst an exploiting bourgeoisie swanned around Europe on the Grand Tour (9).
By avoiding choice and consent-based capitalism however, Russia and China oppressed their people, denying them political freedom but guaranteeing them employment in state factories or farms. A gulf eventually developed called the Iron Curtain. After World War Two the world was divided between the free world, the West, and the totalitarian single-party regimes of Russia and China.
Unsurprisingly the West came to associate Marxism with the Russian Revolution and therefore cruel oppression.
It was wrongly claimed that Marxism was the same as Leninism or Maoism. The result allowed western capitalists and politicians to persuade western workers that Marxism was a bad idea and would, just like in Russia or China, take away their freedom as Lenin and Mao had done. Such hostile views preserved the West’s unfair and elitist political and economic system and resulted in status, unfairness, and inequality going unchallenged, particularly in the United States. It reinforced in the consciousness of western workers that only capitalism guaranteed freedom. ‘Marxism’ which had analysed both the good and bad in capitalism, as we have done, was tyrannical because Russia and China were.
In Britain, there had been a socialist revolution of sorts after World War Two. Whilst extending the principles of contract, choice and consent to more and more workers, the post-war Labour government also started to end elitism, inequality and unfairness by setting up a Welfare State and providing access to the establishment for working-class children via Grammar schools.
Health care, welfare and pensions became available paid by National Insurance. This Labour government made Britain a democratic or ‘free’ socialist country. A country reflecting Marxist principles. The Labour Government too ashamed to admit that their socialism was influenced by Marxism, claimed British socialism was based on Methodist Christianity. Love thy neighbour!
Whatever the Labour Party claimed, it still did much of what Marx and Engels had urged in their Communist Party ‘Manifesto’ (10) The post-war Labour government attempted to minimise the three bad aspects of capitalism, namely status, unfairness and elitism and extend to more people the good principles of capitalism namely contract, choice, and consent. And it worked until tragedy struck in the nineteen seventies and the bad bourgeois values began to be accepted and embraced by working people and their powerful industrial unions, and again consciousness played a part in this.
In Britain, the mature post-war mixed economy of capitalism with democratic socialism was the victim of its own success. It spread its ideology, principles and values creating a society and economy that was as near ‘socialist’ as possible whilst still being capitalist and underpinned by freedom. Sadly, however elitism, status and unfairness are like an infectious disease. Empowered industrial workers in nationalised industries began to focus increasingly on the opportunities to demand preferential treatment and create for themselves a better life than that of other workers. The upshot was that by the nineteen eighties the working class was divided by race, class, industrial-strength, status, and ideology. The last thing needed in the fight against unfairness, inequality, and elitism.
Far from seeing working people as one powerless mass who should all benefit from state provision and increased democracy, these workers wanted to outdo other workers financially. They turned on the government and taxpayers demanding higher and higher wages. These workers had enjoyed the principles of contract, choice and consent and were now up for a bit of industrial elitism, status, and unfairness. This was the birth of the twentieth-century bourgeois socialist. No surprise their early leaders were called Trades Union barons. More latterly this ideology along with political correctness and wokeness has infected the ‘Left’ who no longer recognise what disadvantage really is or what needs to change to politically empower all working people irrespective of their ‘identity’. So-called Critical Social Justice Theory has only achieved further differentiation of the mass of working people.
By the late nineteen eighties individuals began pursuing their own self- interest using contract, choice, and consent in pursuit of elitism for themselves whilst becoming casual about unfairness to others. This became almost a ‘New Labour’ by-line! The bourgeois values that post-war socialism had attempted to minimise, were now driving the personal greed of the so-called free market. The fabric of society was straining as collective values disappeared or became matters of personal choice and political self-interest.
In America, a similar process was going on. Labour was getting the edge over ‘capital’. Bourgeois values of self-interest and elitism were undermining any attempt to bring solidarity to working people. Punishment and therefore prison building was the reaction of the American bourgeoisie to any challenge to the American dream or the idea of the land of the free. Socialism or any suggestion of it could destroy careers. Even with a declining industrial base and widespread poverty, America’s collective consciousness remained implacably elitist, unfair, and unequal and for most of the population proudly so.
However, change may be afoot. America the United Kingdom and Europe may be forced to change, as younger voters are becoming concerned about climate change and structural inequality, albeit with a slightly muddled idea about what Social Justice should look like. This may trigger the inevitable shift in America’s collective consciousness. America is not ready for revolution, but it desperately needs something resembling British or European socialism.
With capitalism failing and falling into debt the worlds working people will have to pick up the bill. We will inevitably have to develop a new collective consciousness that rids the world of elitism, unfairness, and inequality, whilst striving to extend contract, choice, and consent to countries with a tradition of rule-based coercion and control. But this has massive implications for the western world’s eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century institutions which were not set up to empower ordinary people, just a bourgeois elite.
The bourgeois elite now mainly holed up in the arts, media, politics, and the public and civil services will eventually have to tackle a major social and economic problem which according to Marxists is an inevitability.
What do you do when workers are happy to contract, choose and consent but are increasingly unwilling to accept the structural problems associated with elitism, unfairness, and inequality?
Working people’s consciousness is beginning to see elitism, inequality, and unfairness as major social problems, which discriminate against all those who are in the middle and at the bottom of the social and economic pile irrespective of their sexual or racial identity.
The populism evident in Europe, the vote to leave the European Union, the increasing number of people turning off the British Broadcasting Corporation or refusing to fund it via a licence fee, the rejection of ‘top pay’ for public sector workers in the United Kingdom. And in the United States a violent rejection of bourgeois power structures, all reflect the public’s growing belief that their money is paying for ‘fat cats’ and inequality. Financing with debt a remote elite who by their very existence promotes inequality and disadvantage.
The reaction of the global political and economic elite to this new awakening of workers consciousness is predictable. They use their remaining political, and economic clout to create and amplify minor differences within the mass class of working people. They finance Critical Social Justice academics and institutions that promote the idea that there are numerous disadvantaged powerless others. This has created a violent ‘Left-Wing’ groupthink based on the idea that there are numerous victim groups suffering injustice and disadvantage who need empowering, rather than one working-class experiencing mass class disadvantage.
This is wokeness. In its demand for political empowerment, it seeks to return us to a society of coercion and compulsion using the language of disadvantage, ‘inclusion’ and injustice. Maybe unintentionally it protects the global elite by taking the emphasis off class consciousness, creating fractious global ‘victims’ continuously at war with each other and their state. Its all good for global business and fuels the need for state control and state spending on ‘security’.
The more of these disadvantaged ‘others’ you create, the less likely that anyone single group of workers will be large enough to demand the dismantling of elitism and unfairness within the worlds political and economic system. Elitism and unfairness from which politicians and the economic elite benefit, whether it is in Europe or the Kingdoms of the Middle East, Russia, or China.
The aim of social progress should be to extend to all workers contract, choice, and consent to the point where it is so widespread and well understood that inequality, elitism, and unfairness is seriously tackled and replaced by cooperation, collaboration, and consensus.
The problem with any attempt to stifle social progress and prevent the expected reduction in elitism, unfairness and inequality is that people from all groups experience the world in the middle and at the bottom of society in very much the same way. So, whilst the activist is trying to create ‘awareness’ of ‘injustice’ by being ‘woke’ on behalf of one group or another, what they are really doing is creating division and differentiation.
Far from tackling ‘structural inequality’ structural inequality is being promoted. This is done by forcing working people to see a world of political or economic disadvantage that is not linked to class but to ‘identity’. Indeed, the white working class is often presented as oppressive to other equally oppressed or marginalised groups. How did we end up with so much confusion?
Maybe the consciousness of the politician, journalist, mainstream media news anchor, or the artist, actor, or celebrity is defined by their personal status, their elitism, and their lack of equality with the rest of us. It defines their lives and differentiates them from us. They do not have a consciousness that wants to eradicate unfairness, and inequality, they have a consciousness that is guilty about the existence of these things, but they are not capable of recognising in themselves that their privilege contributes to privilege or injustice overall. They blame racism, transphobia, western history, or right-wing governments. They do not recognise that racism, for example, is just one manifestation of the structural disadvantage of which they are themselves, torchbearers.
They, the bourgeois elite, are simply the poets and apologists for all so-called oppressed groups. They are not the undertakers of elitism and inequality; they are its most ardent practitioners. They are never going to change class disadvantage because they are the guilty, but willing beneficiaries of it. This is the riddle of history if not solved at least explained. Critical Social Justice Theory and Wokeness is the fog that allows the mechanism for injustice to continue. A mechanism, largely hidden from view by the politics of identity.
The revolutionary principles created by capitalism fall into two groups. In the good group are Contract, Choice, and Consent. Of course, it has taken years for many ordinary people to be able to use these principles and in some communities, for example, religious communities, women, and gay people still cannot use them. These principles underpin our freedom and democracy. In the bad corner, we have the leftovers of the feudal system elitism, status, and inequality. These are the bits of the old system that the rich and powerful nineteenth-century and twentieth-century capitalists wanted to keep. It ensured their position and more importantly our position as workers too.
Elitism and unfairness are increasingly unlikely to be promoted among ordinary working people. However, they are all too common among a privileged now largely a Left-Wing class of political activists, politicians and opinion formers who are reluctant to undermine their own class privilege, which is based on maintaining structural political and economic inequality.
Because bourgeois systems and structures use the currency of power to impose change and policy from the top, unless these elites are forced by ordinary workers to reform, they will not.
Without being forced to change the political or economic system will never get to the point where it realises that elitism, unfairness, and inequality confers no legitimate power and should be replaced by co-operation, collaboration, and consensus. That is, or at least should be a future we should all fight for. That is the riddle of history if not yet fully solved at least explained.
To show solidarity with the concept of Blue Revolution and our twenty-first-century reinterpretation of Classical Marxism try and raise your own consciousness above the economic and political world view of your childhood inheritance, what you as you grew up will have been told is ‘just the way it is’.
Think about whether you really need to work harder just for more money? What is the cost to your lifestyle and your health and wellbeing? Think the importance of status yours and others. How much does your status preoccupy you? Should status or celebrity important? How important should having power be? Could you imagine a world where all people have similar amounts of power? Have you ever knowingly acted unjustly towards someone to get power over them? Did you feel justified doing it? If so why? how much do you genuinely care about other people’s welfare? People, who have deep-seated problems? Is their inequality something to be accepted? Do you think the current political system gives you a real voice? Does the current political system listen? Do you trust the political system? Is it ‘democratic’ If you do, why? These questions can only be answered by you, but your answers will give a clue to the state of your consciousness.
Think about and talk about consciousness. How we are all, what we think, and how it makes our expectations in life difficult to change. If we see and benefit from elitism, inequality, and unfairness as the political and economic elite do, we will almost certainly find ways of using contract, choice, and consent to preserve them. Until that is the elite find ways of getting us to accept unfairness and inequality using the language of inclusion to impose control, coercion, and compulsion upon the mass of ordinary people.
Elitism, unfairness, and inequality is called Structural inequality. How it works and why governments will never ‘level up’.
A group of twenty people are in a room. They are mixed backgrounds selected randomly. They are all told to mingle and meet people with whom they might have something in common. They are then asked to form four groups of five people and then form four lines of five one line behind the other. Understandably the groups tend to form along sex and racial and other identity lines but not exclusively. Some groups are more mixed than others. Each person is given a piece of paper and is asked to scrunch it up into a ball. A plastic bin is put in front of the first row and they are told that to secure a £10,000 prize thy must get the paper in the bin. If they move away from where they are in the row, before the end of the exercise, they will lose the £10,000 and will have to swap places with someone else. They will also have to throw again from their new position. So, in theory, they could swap with someone at the back. All the front row get the paper in the bin. The whole row collects fifty thousand pounds in total. The next row back are told they have the same opportunity to get the paper in the bin and win the £10,000. The people in row two can see they have to overcome the people already in the front row. Only those in the middle nearest the bin or are tall enough to drop the paper over the heads of those on the front are successful. This row nets £20,000
The next group has the same opportunity, to throw the paper ball, and secure a personal reward of £10,000 but again must throw the paper over the heads of the two front groups as well as get it into a bin they cannot see. The front group being guilty but rich to the tune of £10,000 each, try and help by pointing to where the bin is located. They will not move away from the ‘top slot’ themselves. This is a guilty conscience, helping but really achieving nothing.
The third group and those at the back fail to get any paper in the bin. Some people at the front say the reason they failed was not that the rows in front did not try and help but because the people at the back were disadvantaged, in some other way. Some people at the back are accused of disadvantaging other people at the back by jostling them etc. One person at the back in a wheelchair is advised that this is the reason that she failed. The rest of her row is blamed by those at the front.
Do you think it is Ok to have a guilty conscience like the people at the front and talk about helping people at the back with their disadvantage, but being unprepared to do anything meaningful about it because their consciousness simply makes it OK to accept wealth associated with inequality? They accept elitism, inequality, and unfairness because it benefits them personally.
This is the difference between a guilty conscience and a raised consciousness. Only the people at the back have the raised consciousness. They can see what is really going on! They have nothing to lose by speaking the truth or sharing what they have. In life in general who would you say is at the back and who at the front? Can you think of other fairer rules for the same game?
The Riddle of History Solved- a summary
Historical era Consciousness framed b Social outcome
Tribal society coercion, compulsion, and control Collaboration, cooperation, and consensus
Authoritarian/Feudalism coercion, compulsion, and control Elitism, inequality, and unfairness
Single Party Authoritarian coercion, compulsion, and control Elitism, inequality, and unfairness
Capitalism contract, choice and consent Elitism, inequality, and unfairness
Post Capitalism contract, choice and consent Collaboration, cooperation, and consensus
Or woke intolerance coercion, compulsion, and control Elitism, inequality unfairness
- Critical Social Justice is a collection of ‘theories’ that promote identity as the only basis for disadvantage. They use the language of Marxism such as consciousness but by focussing on identity fail to either effectively analyse class disadvantage or offer alternatives to political and legal institutions that promote unfair power relationships. The aim seems to be to capture power for identity groups rather than disperse power to all people.
- The Qur’an is the book of God’s revealed truth told to the prophet Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel in the seventh century. It is considered by Muslims to be the word of God.
- The loaves and fishes is a story in the new testament in which Jesus encourages his followers to share their food.
- Wokeness and political correctness are ideas loosely associated with Critical Social Justice Theories that prescribe ‘correct’ ways of behaving and thinking. They are against the principles of consent-based choice. They are a return to more primitive control based social models.
- Exploitation is the process by which in a free society based on choice and consent a worker contracts to creates wealth for a capitalist in exchange for a wage.
- Lenin was the leader of the Russian Social Democratic Party or Bolsheviks who came to power after the Russian Revolution.
- Trotsky was a revolutionary who was Lenin’s choice as successor but who was exiled after Lenin’s death in 1924
- Capital is money acquired by capitalists or the state via the process of worker exploitation.
- The Grand Tour was undertaken by wealthy Victorian capitalists and their families visiting famous places linked to ancient Roman and Greek history.
- The Manifesto of the Communist Party was written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels and was published in 1848. It outlines their broad views about what was wrong with bourgeois society and how it should be changed
The Last Testament
Dear Black Lives Matter,
Having read about your organisation from your website it seems that your aim is not just to bring about greater harmony between people of different races by highlighting the disproportionate impact of structural inequality on the black community. Your aim seems to be to destroy what is described as ‘capitalism’, imperialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. These terms can be understood in a variety of ways, but I choose to understand them from a classical Marxist perspective. As you appear to be offering a revolutionary social programme not too dissimilar to some programmes which were associated with nineteenth-century Marxism, it is important to remind ourselves that those programmes failed to preserve liberty and opportunity for all working people. With all twentieth-century type Marxist programmes, there is a risk that the programme will simply cause chaos and eventually bring about the end of freedom and liberty and return society to authoritarianism in the name of maintaining social order and the pursuit of the ‘idea’ of socialism.
To tackle inequality, unfairness and elitism, such as the domination of modern institutions by the upper middle classes people would be better off joining together rather than becoming alienated from one another and letting the elite off the hook by allowing them to think that structural inequality is caused by the white ‘far-right’ working-class discriminating against the black working class. Workers and ordinary people of all colours should unite around the world.
Capitalism, as critiqued by Karl Marx was an inevitable phase of history and involved workers, under the veil of ‘bourgeois’ freedom being forced on pain of starvation to sell their labour-power, under contract to capitalists and thereby ‘freely’ accepting their own exploitation. Freedom itself was not the problem, it was the way the bourgeoisie used worker ‘freedom’ to effectively trap them into a world of low pay, with no welfare, no education, no healthcare, and no pensions. These were the issues for Marx. Freedom was a social good, but the absence of social provision coupled with low pay created a toxic economic environment that could only be addressed by collective action.
Today we have retained our freedom and for the last eighty years enlightened governments, under pressure from workers, particularly in Europe, no longer allow ‘naked’ exploitation. We do not in Europe, or the United Kingdom have a wholly ‘capitalist’ domestic economy as Marx would have understood it. Our domestic economy is broadly what Marx would have called socialist and whilst there are still ‘structural problems’ that need addressing, those structural problems affect white people as well as black people and should be addressed by us together.
Whilst the global economy is ‘capitalist’ it is hard to imagine how any movement will achieve anything without mass multiracial global cooperation by the worlds working classes. This is unlikely to be forthcoming in anything like the near future. The results will be that direct violent action only serves to reverse what achievements have been made on behalf of all workers so far. These achievements in the United Kingdom are not inconsiderable. There is also the risk that the process of direct action may destroy the freedoms all workers have achieved too and thus empower totalitarian nations to exploit western workers of all backgrounds.
Imperialism is understood by most on the traditional as well as classically Marxist left as the expansion of one nation’s economy by invasion into another nation’s markets by military force, otherwise known as colonialism. Western nations have been actively engaged in abandoning their old colonies, so colonialism is no longer an issue for the worlds free nations.
We have global capitalism largely unregulated and therefore widespread global trade. This has been called neo-colonialism. The need to invade to shore up collapsing national economies or to gain global influence is no longer necessary, global bodies like the World Trade Organisation make such action unnecessary and the United Nations renders such action illegal. But the drive for free trade or neo-colonialism is more complex. Whilst Marxists would agree that global capitalism has a corrosive effect on the planet and the lives of millions of people, by spreading trade, and peace, as well as freedom, and cooperation, global values are being promoted. Without the principles of capitalist freedom underpinning free trade, nations burdened by tyranny, a lack of democracy or oppression would struggle to liberate their people. Neo-Colonialism is, therefore, a two-edged sword. Like capitalism itself.
Destroying imperialism is therefore unnecessary as it no longer goes on via military conquest. Destroying global capitalism is unlikely to happen at the moment as power structures inside and outside the western world remain largely indifferent to change. Failing to recognise capitalisms positive contributions, ignores the reality that many countries that were victims of past imperialism are now successful global traders and freely participating in the world economy, improving the lives of their people and introducing democracy. So Global capitalism is not wholly good, but it is not wholly bad either, as Marx said it is a phase in humanities evolution. It must be allowed to leave behind a legacy of freedom and democracy. If it were possible to destroy global capitalism by direct action in one country, for example, the United States, it may not actually serve the interests of the worlds, ordinary workers at this stage of humanities social and economic evolution.
In respect of patriarchy, this is a post tribal reality for females, being the control of females and their sexual behaviour with men, to control male personal wealth and power, its ownership and inheritance. There is now little control of females in the west for this purpose. Patriarchy exists in the world, but the western world does not control female’s sexual behaviour for any reason including the ownership and the inheritance of wealth. Females are considered the equals of males and this is enshrined in legislation. How do Black lives Matter propose to dismantle patriarchy without sending females back to a pre-patriarchal world where the only characteristic of interest to men was not the wealth females represented, but their simple collective reproductive capacity? This ambition of abolishing patriarchy sounds laudable but the implications for women are truly outrageous. Look at virtually every country outside of the west? You will see patriarchy being proudly promoted. It is particularly prevalent in the Islamic world.
Finally, white supremacy. In my paragraph on capitalism above, I referred to ‘structural inequality’. This is best summed up as the institutional disparity in wealth and power between different groups in society. The impact of structural inequality impacts on both the poor white community and the poor black community. It might be more visible in the case of the black community but the exploitation of the working class historically, and the structural inequalities prevalent today in Britain affect white people and black people equally. There is nothing a poor white person can legally do which a poor black person cannot do but both can and are excluded from achieving a fulfilling life by our political and economic systems continued unfairness, elitism, and inequality.
America does not need a socially and economically destructive revolution it simply needs to develop as an interim phase of its history the kind of socialism that exists in the United Kingdom and Europe. The revolution will need to wait.
Please, insert gallery into post!
Introduction – Christianity and Islam – a Marxist Analysis
The Blue Revolution is a political platform which aims to bring an end to the party political system by enabling as many like-minded people as possible from as wide a variety of backgrounds to stand for elections at every administrative level from Parish to Parliament. This is achieved by the simple means of authorising the use of the platforms emblems to those who endorse the Blue Revolution “core values” and five manifesto pledges.
As part of this process, a series of publications have been produced on important issue s which underpin our political attitudes and can be found on our Website www.ABlueRevolution.Org as well as in booklet form available from the address above.
This latest discussion paper has been produced because of the turmoil surrounding particularly in the Western world the effect of the two main religions and secularization .has on political thinking.
With increasing global interrelationships the issues of religious discord have become more strident and confused in the lives of people. Add to this mix political uncertainty and political response becomes more extreme and less than helpful to voters. Party politics seem irrelevant and voters become disillusioned.
This paper is part of an overall contribution attempting to come at the situation from a new perspective whilst drawing on past concepts.
Christianity and Islam – a Marxist Analysis
Marxism rejects the spiritual and adopts a materialist interpretation of history. Materialism is the study of economic and social reality not just the world of ideas. According to Classical Marxists the history of religion is simply the history of ideas that work in the economic interests of the powerful, but with the powerful claiming these ideas are sanctified by God. This sleight of hand, using God to justify material inequality, was a common feature of ideologies in the age of antiquity and is described by Plato as a ‘golden lie’ in his work known as ‘The Republic’.
Therefore, social progress according to Marxists does not happen because a God intervenes in human affairs. Marxists believe in progress arising from various active economic and scientific forces creating real-world conflicts which by getting resolved in the real-world, change society. This active process is called dialectics. Marxism is therefore based on dialectical materialism, the history of humanities social progress in terms of the conflict and resolution of various economic and scientific realities.
Furthermore, Marx argued that religion reflects various stages in the evolution of human consciousness as it is shaped by economic and scientific reality. Basically, the easier people find it to accept inequality and discrimination as ‘God’ given, the less evolved a person’s consciousness could be claimed to be. A troubling thought for everyone from the Salafists of Saudi Arabia to the Bourgeoisie of North America and Europe.
In the world of Classical Marxism, we have only two big world perspectives, the abstract ideas of religions and their Gods and the idea of Materialism. For Classical Marxists, it is all about economic, scientific and social facts, not faith.
To many ordinary western working people, Christianity and Islam have lost their relevance as neither reflects the material or spiritual needs of twenty-first-century humanity, both being stuck in a world of past inequality sanctified by ‘God’
As a result of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century revolutionary movements that created capitalism and which arose because protestant Christian doctrine was shaped by demands for greater social and economic mobility, the west created a society that eventually developed personal freedom and principles of legally enforced consent-based choice and contract, for all adults. Essentially freedom, but for most ordinary working people it amounted to little more than the freedom to starve! For capitalism to get established people had eventually to have this radical change forced on them. They did so because Protestantism needed to measure righteousness and virtue on earth and could not if religion were in favour of the poor in heaven as feudalism had been.
Roll forward three hundred years and the issue for the west is that this legal and economic consent-based framework now gives rise to an unbridled free for all, the ‘free market’ This leaves many impoverished whilst others, amass fortunes and the whole system has more than just a whiff of the immoral about it.
Without some widely understood and accepted rules of fair play this economic model has begun to consume society with what is seen by many as planet destroying greedy self-interest. A mass grab for consumables with little self-regulation. This has come about because the slow decline of Christianity, most marked in Western Europe, has eroded the application of Protestant Christian social values of hard work, sobriety, and thrift. At its simplest, Christianity based on ‘love thy neighbour’ eventually put some limits on the harsh economic indifference of the capitalist economy with workhouses, charities and prison reform. This was before Governments, yielding to outraged public opinion, became the nation’s moral arbiters, upholding choice-based consent, in a secular and therefore ‘rights’ based moral framework. Islamic sharia being a ‘political ideology’ offers humanity an alternative moral solution to both secularism’s rights and Christian morality.
Christianity having helped to create a dynamic social and economic society has now lost its role in shaping or constraining it, leaving it to a combination of personal self-interest constrained only by costly state intervention. This free-for-all offends people of faiths as well as those who believe in secular self-restraint imposed by the state. In the world of religion, Islam offers an alternative to all that the now secular once Christian west has created. Indeed, a non-violent form of ‘political Islam’ which extols the virtues of sharia and obedience to Allah within a peaceful Islam offers what seems to be considered by some Muslim scholars a path between Capitalism and Marxism. The writer George Bernard Shaw is often wrongly quoted as supporting this view. However because sharia is an ideology which pre dates capitalism and is based on submission to the revealed word of God and the human example set by Muhammed an example of man to be impersonated by others it lacks the consent based choice that is fundamental to any proper ‘Marxist’ revolution.
So, within the world of Christian and Islamic faith we have two views, self-restraint within Christianity, now largely ignored and a more rigid application of rules within Islam based on the Qur’an and Hadith. How can we understand this conflict in Marxist terms and therefore help to address it using a shared understanding of God to heal the difference between these two religions and assist both to an understanding of the secular community who feel threatened or baffled by religion?
To sort out the second part of this analysis therefore we need to ask some questions of religion. For example, how did Christianity create a dynamic social and economic model in the mid to late period of the last millennium, and why was Islam able to do the same prior to that, and then stop in or around the sixteenth century. And could Islam re discover its dynamic potential today?
Christianity’s first revolution was presenting in the first century a triune God. A God of three persons, father, son and holy spirit. Within Classical Marxism, it is possible to understand the significance of the Trinity in a way that explains its importance economically. Marx used the principles of dialectics to explain social evolution. The terms Marx used were thesis, antithesis and synthesis. So applying these terms to Christianity’s triune God, the Father is the originator of material and social reality, the creator, the Son becomes the opposite of this harsh world of brutality, exploitation, conquest and occupation, namely the ‘love’ of God, made man, Jesus, and the spirit is the process that combines them as they become collective Christian consciousness. This mirrors Marxist working-class consciousness. An awareness of the adverse consequences of earthly status, unfairness and inequality. Rich men and needles so to speak.
In Marxist theory thesis, antithesis and synthesis were used in the nineteenth century for an analysis of the politics of revolution. From the time of Christ onwards, the process of human material realities being established and then challenged, thus creating new economic and social systems eventually created the capitalist system. Capitalism based on extending basic legal principles of consent and choice within a free economy and to an expanding middle class, was, perhaps because of its somewhat anarchic nature, described by Adam Smith in the eighteenth century as being governed by an invisible hand. An abstracted concept used to describe the movement of resources in pursuit of economic goals, giving rise to both economic and social outcomes. Over-time by extending consent and choice to working men, women and minorities, Christian morality was undermined by secular rights.
Islam in the seventh century never accepted the trinity, adopting an implacable form of monotheism which is described as the doctrine of Tawhid which in its own way is as revolutionary as the Trinity was six hundred years earlier.
Tawhid holds that God is a singularity without characteristic, definition or form. God is abstracted to the point of being almost unknowable, except as revealed via the activity of humanity summed up in the Arabic term inshallah or God willing. This too is a revolutionary idea. Because of this unknowability and the revelation of God through human behaviour both good and bad, Islam has the potential to once again become a force for economic and social progress as it was in the fourteenth century. With Tawhid it is possible to see God as more akin to Adam Smith’s and the western world’s invisible hand, than a God who differentiates people and sanctions war, revenge, conquest, conversion and submission. These are human characteristics, which humanity has ascribed to God claiming they have Gods sanctification. It enables human actions to be classed as legitimate or profane all especially useful for imperfect humanity and for those who wish to use God to promote sectarian interests.
However, unlike the doctrine of Tawhid, God in much of the Islamic world is not abstracted. The God of Islam is, thanks to human intervention not without definition, character or form. This is the result of Gods singularity being revealed not through the transcendence of freely expressed collective human activity, directed by an “invisible hand” but through a revelation, delivered to Muhammed via the Angel Gabriel. The legacy of linking God to the moral requirements of one place at one time serves only to define God and therefore give Islamic justice as seventh-century man-made appearance. A morality of dress and hygiene practices and different roles and rights for women and men based on the limited understanding of seventh-century biology. It may also explain why for much of Islam’s history since the eighteen century the faithful were called Mohammedans. Followers of Mohammed and less obviously worshippers of a singular transcendent God.
So, in the twenty-first century, we have two powerful religions which are doctrinally at odds with each other and which both buffer against the west’s drive for a ‘secular’ world. A world without God. Christianity has given us the economic anarchy of the seventeenth to twenty-first century west and created the ‘invisible hand of capitalist free enterprise’ but has now left a moral vacuum, occupied by the secular state. Islam reflecting the unique and attractive idea of the singularity of God, a God revealing transcendence in a way like the western world’s invisible hand, has linked God to the moral and economic rites and realities of the seventh century Arab Peninsular.
The world has, therefore, two significant religions, neither able to progress humanity harmoniously, beset by opposing ideas of human freedom and set as they are in a secular western world of unlimited choice. Christianity had provided productive economic anarchy but today has declining moral influence. Islam has the capacity to once again be as revolutionary as Christianity once was because of Tawhid. However, by its doctrinal tie to the man-made seventh century, can do little more than encourage a return to past and now outdated certainties and religious dogma based on pre-enlightenment ideas of compulsion and coercion.
So, what is to be done? Maybe just accepting that for all faiths and no faith, human reality and science are Gods true revelation and they are compatible with both the doctrine of Tawhid and the western protestant and enlightenment notion of the invisible hand. The revelation of the God who is unknowable, with no definition or form revealed through the collective activity of humanity. So in conclusion within this understanding of God, both failure and success are of neutral importance as are good and evil all are God-ordained and reflect Gods love of human endeavour as we progress towards a greater understanding of Gods transcendence through the application of science and our material reality. If all faiths could accept this, it might help Christianity, Islam and secularism come to a common understanding of what God is, and moreover what God is not.
Mike Gilbert author Jane Robson proof-reader April 28th 2020
25th December 2019
I am from a small political group based in Boston Lincolnshire. Although we all hold slightly different political views, we are all united in the belief that the political system is undemocratic and is holding Britain back. I personally write about these issues from a Classical Marxist perspective usually for a centre-right audience. In view of the recent Tory Party General Election success, I thought you might like to consider our broad view on their success and Labour’s failure to connect with the electorate – particularly their traditional electoral strongholds in the Midlands and North.
To understand the Tory Party success in the 2019 General Election it is necessary to grasp the concept of voter consciousness and to view this through the prism of classical Marxism. At Blue Revolution, we offer a twenty-first-century Marxist analysis which we hope will inform debates across the whole political spectrum and which we hope will contribute to the development of radical and progressive policies. The aim of these policies would be the continued empowerment of ordinary working people; the modern working class.
Until the late twentieth century, working-class militancy was driven by fury at the perception of burning economic and social injustices. These injustices were linked by the British left-wing, to the illegitimate use of economic elitism, unfairness and class-based status. The Tory Party became to many on the left and remains for some, the enduring political symbol of these injustices. However, there is a growing awareness among working people that the situation is more complicated than this simple political trope suggests. Working people have enjoyed growing political sophistication explained in Marxist terms as raised consciousness. People can see through political simplicities.
The consciousness of the working class is, according to Marx, formed by a complex set of significant economic and social factors. There was the industrial reality of the nineteenth century that demanded worker co-operation in the production of goods and services, yet simultaneously alienated them from the working environment. Alienation is a feeling of being disconnected from the process of production – being in effect simply a cog in a wheel.
Another significant factor in the development of worker consciousness was ‘exploitation’. Whilst workers created wealth, they saw no benefit from having done so. Only the bourgeoisie aka capitalists got rich on the wealth created by workers’ labour-power. In Marx’s day ordinary workers worked long unregulated hours, they were ill-educated, unhealthy and poor with no political rights.
Capitalism in its creation had struggled out from under the ‘yoke’ of feudalism by developing revolutionary legal principles; most relevantly, contract, choice and consent. In the 1840s these principles, of course, were only enjoyed by the capitalists, but in theory, as opposed to eighteenth and nineteenth-century practice they could legally apply to the working class too. The fact they didn’t was due to the capitalists preventing working people from enjoying these principles to maintain their ‘class advantage’.
Whilst the capitalist system was good for capitalists and the political elite who maintained this ‘bourgeois’ political system and economy for them, it was bad for workers. In Marxist terms, it had within it the ‘the seeds of its own destruction’. These seeds were growing resentment at the poor treatment of workers, coupled to rising worker consciousness of the capitalist systems legal principles of contract, choice and consent. Over time workers become aware of how these legal principles were being used illegitimately to promote elitism and unfairness. The upshot according to Marx would be a revolution.
To overcome their enforced alienation, exploitation and denial of the rights to ‘freely’ contract, choose and consent, workers had to overcome false consciousness. Religion, the concept of a capitalist ‘fair wage’ and exclusion from political power, all helped to reinforced worker false consciousness or acceptance of the status quo. Having acquired collective raised consciousness i.e. being able to see disadvantage and being unwilling to accept it, a revolution would ensue.
After the revolution, the workers would acquire for themselves the rights associated with the bourgeoisie. Had an actual Marxist revolution ever taken place the working class would not only have assumed control of the means of production – thus ending alienation and exploitation – but they would take control of the state too, thus providing for themselves an education, welfare and healthcare. The Russian revolution failed to deliver ‘justice’ because the people were denied power by Lenin and then Stalin’s autocratic state.
As a result of progressive social policies in Britain, the circumstances for modern working people do not resemble those of the nineteenth-century proletariat. Working people have acquired many of the economic freedoms and social benefits denied to us in Marx’s mid-nineteenth century. We have thus had our collective demands fulfilled by evolution rather than revolution. This has removed the anger which fuelled the urge for revolution amongst our forebears. Our collective consciousness no longer demands, but now expects worker’s rights to be upheld, universal education, healthcare and a fair welfare system. The working class has moved on. Sadly, our political system hasn’t moved on with us.
Where the bourgeois system continues to alienate the working class is now not so much in economic as political terms. Parliament itself stands as a proud symbol of bourgeois status, class and elitism, denying the working class the political power a properly Marxist revolution would have delivered.
Working-class consciousness is now shaped by contract, choice and consent, the enlightenment principles underpinning the free market. People might not routinely articulate these principles, but as Marx would have said that’s because as principles they have taken on ‘social character’. People don’t need to articulate them, but they feel it when these principles are breached against their class interests. These principles more than the burning social and economic injustices of the nineteenth century define the collective consciousness of the twenty-first century working class.
That said ordinary people have a growing awareness that these principles remain gifts to be granted to working people by those in power. They do not belong to us by right. The Brexit debacle proved that. Our bourgeois parliament controls our nation and is not under any obligation to us. A referendum is only ever advisory. It advises our bourgeois parliament, which is quite within its rights to ignore our views.
Bourgeois political systems across the western world continue to maintain political power structures based on eighteenth-century elitism in the face of working-class demands for greater contract and consent. There is a growing recognition that elitist political structures don’t justify the existence of political elites. The reality for working people ‘buffering’ against the old elitist structures has created a fractious political climate that the personality of Boris Johnson and his apparent stance on Brexit has been able to temporarily overcome. Hence his landslide victory.
There are many policy areas where people have been denied a voice by the Westminster political class; the policy of greater EU integration or the war in Iraq are two. However, we will look at Brexit and the continuing influence of ‘religion’ in politics. The aim is to illustrate the point that a new twenty-first-century radicalism is needed which is relevant to working people’s expectations and brings an end to political structures that neither reflect modern working-class consciousness nor promote progressive values but reinforce political elitism.
In 2016 the British had Project Fear unleashed on them by a Brussels-obsessed political elite. The elite promoted unfairness by failing to listen to ordinary people and by promoting themselves as an entitled and informed political class. The narrowness of the leave victory was a success for Project Fear. The triumph of a white, middle-class and remote parliamentary elite offended the class consciousness of Britain’s working people. The British working class with no ‘skin’ in the EU game recognised that the EU project was bureaucratic, unfathomable and unnecessary for the business of trade and friendship. The upshot of parliament supporting the EU was a miserable failure of the bourgeois left to make headway on this issue in the 2019 General Election. The left had stopped listening to working people and had consolidated around their London elite. The EU issue was also a failure of the political system to reflect working people’s expectations and highlighted how little real power we have. The success of Boris Johnson will be used to justify the current political system, which for growing numbers of working people is simply not good enough.
Our next issue being more about modern values than policy reflects the absence of a confident political maturity on the part of the political class compared to the maturity of Britain’s working people.
Most people in Britain have no time for religion and fewer than half believe in God. This is an important and progressive part of working-class collective consciousness. Of those who do believe in God, their God if Judaeo Christian or Islamic comes packaged as an ideology that Karl Marx said reflected various stages in the development of humanity’s evolving consciousness.
We have a working class that is perhaps mildly interested in cultural symbolism but is basically disinterested in God or religion. A bit culturally Christian but possessing an enlightened consciousness based on choice and consent underpinned not by God but by science. This large class has been forced to witness uncritical support for the faith of Islam, a faith that reveals doctrinally no grasp of the importance of choice and consent but which is regularly promoted and protected from criticism by a culturally-illiterate and largely (but not exclusively) left-wing elite.
By failing to understand the basic fact that the history of God is a history of class exploitation and gender discrimination of one sort or another, the left is failing to connect with working-class values of the twenty-first century.
If the left continues to promote religious ideologies of all types which are seen by working people to promote sectarianism, as well as divinely sanctioned discrimination, particularly against gay people and women, it will never be considered progressive. Moreover, it goes against the grain of classical Marxism, being a failure on the part of the left to liberate people from the remnants of global exploitation and oppression, which continues to be justified on the basis that it’s divinely ordained. Think Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In the twenty-first century the challenge for western politics is to reform our elite political systems so working people have more influence over the state and those who operate it on our behalf. Currently, the only option open to working people is to seek out political heroes and give them landslide majorities. The Labour Party hoped Corbyn would do this in 2017 and 2019. The process of a personality like Thatcher, Blair, Corbyn, Johnson or Trump tapping into working-class consciousness isn’t new. When it happens, it is a symptom that the political system is unwilling or incapable of giving real power to working people. Under such a system working people only have hero-worship to fall back on and that has, in the past, gone badly wrong! Sadly, as was seen during the 2019 General Election campaign having ‘outspoken’ working-class candidates supposedly representing working-class people isn’t the same as giving working-class people real political power.
So, what are the radicals who are prepared to break the system from the left or indeed right going to do? Well, we have some ideas which are intended to empower local authority council members to scrutinise parliamentary policy and in time acquire the right to become part of the legislature. This would run alongside scrapping the House of Lords. We hope you will do your bit to shift the debate about democracy away from making the current system look like its working and argue for changing the current system – because frankly, it doesn’t work and never really has worked for the many, just the few.
Mike Gilbert part of a Blue Revolution
Dear Mr Goldsmith 17 August 2019
For several years there has been a debate about the use of ritual slaughter and how this can be reconciled with the grizzly business of slaughtering animals as humanely as possible. The UK is said to have a good reputation for animal welfare whilst ignoring the fact that in Halal and Kosher slaughter there is no pre-stunning and animals have their throats cut whilst fully conscious. We are a small group of people some of whom identify as Marxists and we wish to offer a contribution to this troubled debate based on the reality of ritual slaughter within the Qur’an
Arguments that are used to challenge ritual slaughter refer to the welfare of the animal. For those communities for whom an uncritical acceptance of divine authority is a cultural expectation, it is unlikely a welfare argument will be persuasive. Uncritical acceptance of religious doctrine is something that in the west we are no longer familiar with. The religious doctrines of the Qur’an (called into being by the Archangel Gabriel dictating the word of God to the prophet Mohammed) and a strong sense of religious identity are often contrasted with the lack of a coherent cultural identity in the west. What is perceived by western people as a strength, creating dynamic diverse communities, may be viewed as a threat to communities who wish to retain a distinct and doctrinal identity based on their understanding of the word of God.
The expectation that the west uncritically accepts halal slaughter, therefore, gets combined with westerner’s desire to have ‘diversity’ within their communities and the welfare of animals gets overlooked.
It is in our opinion possible to encourage diversity whilst also being cognizant of the need to protect the welfare of animals during slaughter. The hygiene obligations and rituals surrounding slaughter are clearly tailored for the realities of the seventh century, hence the need to ensure animals for slaughterer is healthy so the meat to be consumed is fresh and has not been contaminated by disease or after death by animals in the wild. Once these requirements have been addressed and an animal is fit for slaughter the offering of a prayer respects the dignity of the animal about to die. It is at this point that modern ‘halal’ slaughter seems to us to part company with the traditional expectations of Islam.
Islam requires excellence in all matters pertaining to the slaughter of animals *. Animals are a gift from Allah and their slaughter reflects rites other than just the use of prayer before slaughter and no pre-stunning. The animal must be calmed and must be slaughtered quickly and expertly with a sharp knife and without any awareness of what is likely to happen to it. It must not be slaughtered within the vicinity of other animals due for slaughter simply to avoid its own and their distress.
Such practices clearly reflect the Quranic expectation of small-scale ritual animal slaughter but are a requirement of Islam and therefore should be observed as halal. The industrial slaughter of cattle and sheep required today because of the greed of a consumer society is out of step with halal to such an extent, the non-use of stunning alone cannot qualify the slaughtered meat as halal and therefore the justification for no pre-stunning is totally without doctrinal foundation or justification. Indeed, pre-stunning may ‘calm’ the animal.
On the basis that the Qur’an requires animals to be at ease at the time of their slaughter and that industrial slaughtering is not and can never be halal within the requirements of Islam please can you consider supporting the abolition of halal slaughter except in circumstances where due to low volumes of animals being killed appropriate observance can be made of the strict rules that apply within the faith of Islam.
*Abu Ya’la Shaddad ibn Aws narrated the relevant hadith
The Marxian notion that economic resources should be allocated “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (1) has always caused confusion. Such a method of allocating resources is not typically associated with merit because of the prevailing twentieth-century view that Marxism is state social engineering, so merit cannot play a part.
Historically society has created meritocracies on the back of economic systems which exploit the labour-power of others, legitimising it with religious, legal and political structures which collectively define the parameters of consciousness.
Today we are governed by politicians who have run out of ways to improve society without the use of debt to maintain the political status quo and to prop up levels of consumption to maintain GDP. This badly distorts what we have come to accept as meritocracy however worthily it is viewed, our consciousness was and still is defined in terms of exploitation.
Having debt as a substitute for economic value with its burden falling to workers of future generations, whilst maintaining outmoded politics and supporting a global financial elite, suggests that we need to look at how we can create a more just system which better reflects a modern conception of merit.
Allocating resources based on ability and needs without state engineering requires us to look anew at the concept of merit and meritocracy. In doing so we must place it in a free market twenty-first-century economic context with opportunity and choice as central aims. “From each” “to each” within Marx’s definition suggests opportunity and choice is integral to the economic and political ‘settlement’. Rather than state engineering based on mere conscience that the system is ‘unjust’, modern collective consciousness may act as a worthy substitute for state interference.
In the twenty-first century “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”, must be expressed both economically and politically but reflect Marx’s vision of society with a modern collective consciousness that rejects the exploitation of others at every political and social level. Merit is not about status and wealth, both of which remain the benchmarks for measuring the success of a meritocratic system.
Marx’s vision of workers controlling capitalist production has little modern relevance. However, the principles that underpin capitalism and are enshrined within Marx’s analysis of capitalism can be used to formulate a new concept of merit that promotes opportunities for ordinary people within a free market society.
Capitalism was, in its earliest iterations, meritocratic but economically unfair relying on the appropriation of workers labour-power to create capital. It reflected principles of contract, choice and consent as the basis for delivering economic and political freedom, only open to the elite.
Socialism extended the principles of contract, choice and consent to all adults. We have become accustomed to the freedom this offers us. The state has probably moved as far as it can go in extending these principles socially and economically allowing same-sex couples to contract in marriage for example.
However, locked into their own eighteenth-century political bunker, parliament is unwilling to extend real political choice and consent to working people. “Meritocracy” remains defined by eighteenth-century ideals. Our political system is sadly a mausoleum to eighteenth-century capitalisms economic unfairness and therefore it is unable to address the economic inequality and unfairness it seeks to change. Its definition of meritocracy remains wealth and status based and is therefore inherently unfair and unequal.
Meritocracy must not be one based on an economic model that enshrines merit in terms of wealth-based status. We must define merit in terms of how well people deliver positive economic, social and political outcomes for themselves and others within a free market, based on contract, choice and consent. This must be done legitimately with mass support and without burdening the people of the nation with unrealistic financial expectations based on the economic principles and ‘successes’ of the past.
The meritocracy of the future should allow the ordinary person to achieve economic and political parity with those people who enjoy power and status today. Of course, given the role of debt, it does not mean ordinary people going up some national debt-based wealth or status ladder. It means those currently on the top of the existing ladder coming down. The economic framework, the free market, is already in place, what it lacks is a legitimate political expression. Meritocracy must now be about politically empowering ordinary people.
Reform of the political system must reflect the new economic reality of the free market. The power to reduce the cost and burden of the state on the ordinary worker and thus promote enterprise will never come from a state which refuses to move beyond a political environment set up in the eighteenth century to represent the interests of extinct economic and political elites. In much the same way as the left has lost its industrial working class the right has lost its British economic elite.
Achieving change must involve empowering elected representatives at every administrative level from parish council up. Making them functioning members of the legislature. Politics will become significantly more meritocratic and less party dominated. It will be possible for specialists, as councillors, to address parliament on areas of expertise i.e. farming or teaching.
It will mean that the costs of the state will be exposed to the scrutiny of ordinary workers and are more likely to come down than go up. Routes into politics will deliver more access to ordinary people thus empowering them. This will be meritocratic in two ways. It allows successful politicians a career ladder that requires paid employment in lower tiers. By reducing the cost of the state, taxes will be lower stimulating the economy. It will reduce feelings of “them and us” creating perceptions that fair resources are distributed based on abilities and needs. Politics needs to align with the meritocracy of the free market our twenty-first economic reality.
- Karl Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme. Progress Publishing. eighth edition 1988 p18
Dear Party Chairperson
We understand you have adopted the definition of Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. We are sure that you have been contacted by some groups criticizing this definition which the government has chosen not to adopt. We are an organisation that represents a small number of working people and some of us identify ourselves as classically Marxist in our approach to Politics. We too are concerned that you have adopted this definition and we will explain why.
Firstly, according to the views of Karl Marx all religion represents different stages in the development of human consciousness. Marx described this evolution of consciousness in terms of humanity casting off “snake skins” and different religions represent different stages in that process. As our consciousness matures over millennia, some groups gain power and come to recognise, ‘injustice’ and ‘unfairness’ within the context of their life experience and on the back of new material realities changes in thinking take place. Religion thus reflects past material circumstances and is therefore ideological, promoting a material reality which works to the advantage of some groups over others, men over women for example.
However, religion differs from mere ideology in that unlike an ideology (like socialism or communism for example) it is identified with the divine. In the case of Christianity, the divine is the personhood of Jesus the son of God, in the case of Islam, the divine is the Qur’an Gods word dictated to Muhammed by the Archangel Gabriel. By promoting Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness” you are at risk of protecting from criticism ideas that have little modern relevance and indeed may advance the cause of a consciousness which accepts different moral standards to many promoted in the twenty-first century West. In Marxist terms you are asking us or at least some of us to try and re-enter or remain within, a now discarded snakeskin, at least discarded in much of the liberal western world.
One final point and that relates to the frankly inaccurate claim that Islamophobia is a type of racism. By including this in your definition you essentially turn all criticism of Islam into racism and people who legitimately criticise Islam into racists. This may not be what you intend to do, we are sure your consciousness has evolved to the point where you wish to defend freedom of expression and freedom of speech. However, your definition will make it increasingly hard for those who wish to challenge Islam to do so.
We are fully in support of any definition of Islamophobia which is intended to protect the rights of individuals to speak their truth even if their ideas represent the views of an earlier age or period of collective consciousness and therefore may offend. However, it must be a definition which refers to protecting people rather than ideas, ideologies or faiths. This is the twenty-first century and all working people and those of all faiths and none need to speak their truth openly and without fear of persecution or indeed prosecution.
Marxism in the twenty-first century: should we all be Marxists now?
We are ordinary people who would like to express an opinion and hopefully tilt politics in favour of ordinary working individuals.
As a solution to the political and social difficulties faced by nations within the western free market system (we avoid the term capitalism because capitalism involves a form of exploitative economic self-regulation not seen since the early twentieth century) the so-called political Left have discovered an audience which includes old socialists, minority groups and some of the disgruntled and indebted young. Often this traditional Left self-refer to Karl Marx or Marxism which guilds their ideas with a radical legitimacy. We would like to encourage politicians and journalists to avoid giving this traditional Left the endorsement of ‘Marxism’. They are undeserving of it and equally, it serves to polarise debate around the socialism versus capitalism narrative. This narrative is not relevant anymore but the implications of imposing twentieth-century socialist economics would be as catastrophic on the nation as re-adopting the exploiting self-regulation of nineteenth-century capitalism.
Karl Marx was as we are sure you know a political philosopher. His economics has over the last one hundred and fifty years become largely irrelevant. That said the concept of justice enshrined in all his writing has never been properly understood by the Left leaving a legacy of murder, destroyed lives and economies at the hands of false prophets and egotists, as Marx himself might have put it.
Marx recognised that human beings have species essence, the ability to plan and co-operate in pursuit of the survival of our species. The energy used which he called labour power eventually becoming mastered by various elites enabling them to enrich themselves at the people’s expense. The combination of economic reality and concocted legitimacy in institutions like the Church enabled wealthy elites to maintain their privilege because economic reality formed the basis for people’s consciousness making certain values and expectations legitimate. Eventually, however, consciousness matures until in Marx’s words the power imbalances or contradictions finally burst the economic system asunder. This is Marx’s explanation for revolution. The word privilege has been erroneously adopted as a term of class derision by the traditional Left without them fully understanding its origin or their own Parliamentary Party based privilege today.
In the twenty-first century, we must view our consciousness as working people within the context of a new economic reality. The global free market. In Britain, this economic reality underpins an essentially eighteenth-century political and public sector built by capitalism to promote the interests of capitalists. The bourgeoisie as Marx called them. Applying Marx’s notion of contradictions, it is, we argue, possible to view the state and the political and legal system as trying to restrain the kind of changed consciousness (one of equality and fairness) that is emerging within western working communities and they are thus creating the very contradictions that if suppressed give rise to violent revolution. The political system is doing this, and it applies as much to the left as the right, to protect privilege and power, just as it was set up to do.
Because the political system and its legal and state-ordered elements like local authorities can’t seem to adapt to the pressure from working people for more political involvement and fairness, they adopt several approaches a couple of which in conclusion we will explore here. The most obvious result of the state feeling the power of the people but being unwilling to yield real power to us is to offer policies that appease. ‘If people want fairness, we will give them fairness….in fact, we will ram it down their throats’ you can hear politicians saying from Tony Blair to Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. But this fairness is not based on mass consciousness it is based simply on the guilty conscience of the elite. Delivered from the top by politicians in their party based political ivory tower and endorsed by celebrities and people with financial privilege, it is seen by the working people for what it is, patronising political correctness. Arrogant meddling in the realities of working people. It’s not a real desire to politically empower working people but an excuse to ram home concocted fairness out of a guilty conscience rather than yield to the class consciousness of working people and open political power to the many, not the few. The political class fear people power as we would restrict their power and bring fairness to tax-payed funded public bodies like Parliament and the BBC.
To differentiate consciousness from a guilty conscience we offer an example. Teresa May, Emma Thompson, Emily Thornberry or Seamus Milne might be concerned about the fact that there are poorer people than them and want the state to do something about it. That is a bourgeois guilty conscience. They will be unable to comprehend however that there is unfairness in a system that makes them so much richer and more powerful than us and that needs dealing with too. That is working class consciousness.
One final observation and that is that in the absence of systems that actually do empower people, people will have no option but to vote for the goofball who best enshrines their view that politicians need taking down a peg or two. The Farage phenomenon created by the BBC as a foil for serious politicians like Blair and Cameron backfired because people no longer need a Cameron or a Blair. People want more political power. Trump is a product of the same phenomenon in the U.S. People are stuck with a political system that excludes them from power. The same phenomenon afflicts France and the EU in general.
People don’t want the guilt-based conscience of the Left and celebs pushing political correctness or the goofball guilt free politics of the right promoting Trump and a variety of other populists. People who in a truly Marxist sense have a raised collective consciousness for fairness and equality now want to have power. Power to the people.
Politicians on the traditional left and on the right need to understand that political change is in the air. Working people have good humane values and don’t need to be hectored by an expensive state run by privileged political parties. Making global corporations pay their way and reducing personal debts, will also empower working people. We want the freedom and choice of the free market reflected in our politics. That isn’t happening because the bourgeoisie of the political left and right don’t want to give up their eighteenth-century class privilege.
Blue Revolution. For the People, not the Party
Have you heard of the expression: ‘when you need something to believe in, start with yourself?’ This is a comment often cited, and, at its very essence, is ‘truth’. Basically, if you want something badly enough, then you have to do it yourself; you cannot rely on others to accomplish what you want to achieve.
This mind-set transposes from day-to-day activities to the world of ‘politics’, be it at a national, regional or local level. The attitude amongst the majority of people on the electoral roll amounts to ‘Oh not again’, ‘just get on with it’, or ‘my vote doesn’t change a single thing, so why bother?’ Hence, low turn-outs at elections are an inevitability, which benefits those with a vested interest. It is that ‘elite’ who, through an assumed apathy and distrust of the existing political system shown by the voters, are able to be elected by default and thus become very comfortable as a democratically elected representative who does not have the support of the majority of voters but revels on those who did not turn out to vote, because of a total distrust in the current system.
Of course, under any democratic system, it is your right to vote as you choose. This is not under dispute. What is questionable, however, is this: if you vote for a traditional party under the English electoral system, is your voice really being heard? If you reflect on that question, are you satisfied that you are making an impact? Or, is there a doubt in your mind: a voice that says: ‘my opinion counts for nothing: my vote perpetuates the status quo where those with vested interests are able to pursue their personal interests behind the guise of a democratic election?
This is why the average person on the street; the office worker, the teacher, the shelf-stacker, the unemployed, the homeless, the nurse, the refuse disposal operatives, to give them the politically correct description, otherwise known as dustbin men guys, the student, in fact anyone, has no real faith in traditional politics, or even dare I say, in new politics. This needs to be corrected: quickly and without delay, because otherwise we, as a population, are prepared to be consumed by a system which does not care for us, does not appreciate our feeling and perceptions, but chooses to ignore them at their convenience. And do you know what: I accept that premise; ‘I get it’. I have often felt that living in a particular location, necessarily implies that however I vote won’t make a single jot of difference, so why bother voting: nothing will change despite my opinion, so quite frankly I can’t be bothered.
Are you correct in your assumptions? Once, I would have said ‘Yes’: now, I say ‘No’. Why has this shift come about? It is quite simple: I have become aware of The Blue Revolution.
It is important from the outset to state that this organisation is not a political party in the accepted understanding of the phrase. In essence, it is a political ‘movement’. My first concern was an incorrect implication I arrived that: ‘blue’ being the colour of the Conservative Party, which indeed it is, just as ‘Red’ is synonymous with the Labour Party and
‘yellow’ is the colour adopted by the Lib-Dems. In the instance of The Blue Revolution the colour refers to ‘blue collar people’: the anonymous person often quoted as being Mr or Mrs Average, who are disregarded as being not within the determinants of ‘need’ and also not within the realms of the ‘wealthy’ who, frankly, are not concerned with everyday issues anyway given their immense wealth.
The Blue Revolution is an entirely new concept in political thinking. Here is an approach to politics which welcomes political thought from any stance. Here is an approach which can totally restructure the accepted norms of political interaction. Here is an organisation which accepts and incorporates the input from the electorate without assumptions drawn. Here is a way of thinking which breaks through the traditional divide and welcomes views from any perspective and appreciates the contributions from a diversity of inputs, rather than disregarding them without any fear of retribution, since they are safely ensconced within the establishment that adopts a ‘laissez-faire’ conceptualisation.
The Blue Revolution has, at its essence, a goal of reconciliation: It accepts that people are disillusioned with politics at whatever level, be it national, regional or local. How many times have you heard expressions such as this with regard to Brexit: ‘please, just get on with it and stop arguing?’ We accept the premise that ‘from little acorns, great Oaks grow’. We are not going to take over the leadership of the UK parliament for the foreseeable future: probably never; most definitely never.
What we can do, however, is make a start. By that, we mean on the local level, here in Boston.
We can make certain promises. We cannot be ‘whipped’ into a traditional party political system. That is because we are apart from that ideology: we are free-thinking individuals who will take on board the opinions from any political viewpoint, in full acceptance of what has been divulged to us.
We can make a difference: a ‘real’ difference and here is the reason why. We will address the issues that affect you, as a resident of Boston, but without political confines. Whatever you think is a positive about our town which needs highlighting, or indeed a negative which needs investigation and relevant action, The Blue Revolution could be in a position to respond to you in a way that traditional party politics cannot do, especially in a Borough Council election, when one has to consider whether national party alliances have anything relevant to add to the local concerns and issues relating to our town.
We, as an organisation, rather than a pre-determined labelled political party, would very much appreciate your support in our journey to ‘question’ what is accepted. We will attempt to do this in the spirit of inclusion, as opposed to exclusion, which the existing system necessarily encapsulates and encourages.
Believe in yourself; question your opinions, and support your local Blue Revolution candidate. You know you want to, so here is your chance.
Annual General Meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on the 6th Day of March 2019 at 7.00 22 Tower Street PE21 8RX
- Attendance: Mark Baker, Chris Moore, Neil Hastie, Mark Rawlings, Richard Thornalley, Mike Gilbert (in the chair), Ros Parker-Lee, Gavin Lee.
- Apologies: Tom Gilbert, Toby Gilbert
- Minutes of the meeting held 30.03.18 Agreed.
- Accounts: Current account has £350 as of 31st December 2018. There was a donation of £25 by the treasurer to pay for the registration of the Party Name. The Accounts were prepared by Darron Abbot the outgoing treasurer. Accounts were accepted.
- Report by Monitoring Officer and Deputy Chairman Mike Gilbert. The Deputy Chairman commented that 2018-19 had been disappointing in respect of developing a local media profile. This was a result of the failure to develop opportunities offered by local facebook sites. A Twitter account called Boston Resident 2 was set up in 2018 and Richard was hoping to develop this. We now have a by-election under our belt. This was fought in February 2018. We ran Richard as a paper candidate and delivered leaflets to about half the Ward. The Conservatives won the by-election with about 70% of the turnout. Regrettably, the treasurer Darron Abbot resigned due to the Monitoring Officer having a meeting with a sitting councillor and member of the Boston Independent Group. He was replaced by Richard Thornalley. The Mentoring officer’s pamphlet ‘The History of Politics Simplified’ has now been printed and some copies have been sent out to businesses and individuals who may be interested in the Blue Revolution Project. General feedback is that it is ‘interesting’ and readable.
- Election of officers:
Chairman/Leader Tom Gilbert
Monitoring Officer Richard Thornalley (to take office after the 2019 elections)
Treasurer Ros Parker-Lee
Spokesman/Media for Blue Revolution Mike Gilbert
- Any Other Business
Election of 2019. Currently, four Wards are being fought, Station, Fenside, Skirbeck and West. Witham is being supported but has a non-Blue Revolution candidate.
Mark Baker showed the meeting a proposed leaflet for a town centre delivery. It was noted that the colour scheme had more of a red accent than blue.
It was agreed to purchase a pull-up banner.
Mike Gilbert stressed the need to door knock if we were to stand any chance of winning seats against main party candidates and in some wards other, unaligned, independents.
Election formalities were discussed and it was agreed to meet early next week to progress the campaign.
The meeting ended at 9.10
Next meeting March 2020 exact date and time to be confirmed.