war vs revolution

“War is when the government tells the people who it’s enemies are.

Revolution is when the people figure it out for themselves.”

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The state we’re in…

“As each layer in the onion of financial fraud is peeled away, we will see that our glorious Globalized Economy was one giant lie, rip off and cluster fuck. In the end, all it was really was a tiny elite who decided to defraud the whole fucking world and then run for the hills. Well, the shit storm is here, the elites have gotten 90% of earths wealth, now they are heading for the hills.

Remember the promise of Bill Clinton? How globalized markets and economies would make us all well off? Guess what? He fucking lied!”  comment on ZeroHedge

Apparently, China is headed for a ‘hard landing’. Their corporate debt levels are so high that over 50% cannot even pay the interest, house prices are 50 x average earnings, their stock markets are being propped up by government intervention but are still in decline.

The USA is likely to slip ‘officially’ back into recession, the stock market is in decline, despite zero interest rate policy and QE. Debt levels in both corporate and government are at gigantic levels, only with ZIRP can they be maintained.

The UK’s overall indebtedness is massive. EU / EZ is breaking up under pressures from a refugee crisis and debt.

The Middle East is on fire, as the ‘great powers’ play the ‘great game’ for supremacy over the remaining energy resources left.

Our global environment is in tatters, the air, water and land all chewed up to produce cheap tat we don’t need. Sharing, repairing and living simply, went out of fashion in the 1970’s

We are reaching the limits of growth but I doubt the corporatist fascist consumerist fractional reserve banking system which rules the world will go gently.

I plan to enjoy how ever longer we have in this prosperity bubble, and to try to prepare for what is coming next, although I am under no illusions that it will be easy.

The current system is based on envy, rewards greed and deceitfulness and  punishes the thrifty. My only hope is that it is that the next phase of human endeavour is based on something better than consumerism.

Profile for success in the music industry – 1900 – now

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

We live in a world where “Tween” marketing now begins from the age of six. When a six year old is no longer considered a child, but in-between childhood and adolescence, there is something wrong.

The influence on beliefs is significant, no longer do kids want to be astronauts, they just want to be rich.

This documentary about the marketing of products, brands and consumerist values to children is powerful stuff. I am certainly going to be keeping a closer eye on the media that my children are exposed to; apart from anything else this will save me a lot of money!

A new Magna Carta for government, banks and corporations

I have just watched David Starkey’s Magna Carta documentary on BBC iPlayer.

This, our most famous historical document, has been through many drafts over history, always with the intention of protecting the freedom and rights of all of us from abuse by our rulers. The original Magna Carta limited the power of the King over his nobles, the Bill of Rights limits the power of the King and Queen over Parliament, and the American Constitution protects the rights of We the People from government.

We now live in a world where private banks and corporate power control the system of money, so we no longer just need protection from Kings or government, we need to limit the power of our new rulers; banks and corporations.

Do we need a new Magna Carta which sets strict limits to the power of the corporate system?

I think yes.

A Corporate Magna Carta could lay down basic principles for the government, banks, corporations and the whole system which governs us now must adhere to, with the aim of protecting the common man.

What these principles and rights could be should be a public discussion.

  • Maximum wages must not exceed 10 times the median wage?
  • We have a right to clean air so all ‘external costs’ must be factored into the price of every product
  • All people have the right to a decent standard of living, a job or role to play in either a business or community

We might one day be as brave as the Greeks and vote into power a British Syriza coalition, and this government may provide us with a new Magna Carta to protect our families, our communities and environment from the assault of the Corporatist tyranny under which we suffer.

I know this seems unlikely until we get Proportional Representation.  I love the system of locally elected people representing their constituents in Parliament which the current system is supposed to provide.  But in this age of TV the national parties will always win, as so few people get to see or meet local candidates.

Lets hope the coming election and talk of localism and devolution gets a few more people starting to listen to or engage in the discussion over how to make their world a better place.

Hitch-hiking tales – second thoughts

“You’re going to Greece?” the driver smirked. “I’m only going as far as Lens”

At least that is what I think he said, but since he was still speaking French I wasn’t exactly sure. Without bothering to confirm where he was going I simply replied, “Tres bien”, opened the passenger door and slung my rucksack into the back and got into the car.

One of the rules of hitch-hiking for fun is that it doesn’t really matter where you end up. Sure, I wanted to get to Greece but I didn’t really expect to get there and a trip around France would be just as good. Since I had been waiting for over an hour at this junction, just about anywhere else would be better, it would be a change of scene at least.

Rory hitching

Me hitch-hiking

The car was an old looking blue Peugeot van which looked a bit scratched and messy both inside and out. The driver was a medium built man with dark short hair and stained teeth from smoking too much, who looked to be in his mid-thirties. He was certainly very friendly and continued to speak to me as we drove off towards the motorway.

It was quite noisy and rattly in the van and he was speaking quite quickly in French, which meant I could hardly understand a word he was saying. I grabbed the French dictionary out of my pocket and began the first of many laboured conversations in broken French. During the hour long journey I managed to find out that he had been working at the port in Calais and was on his way home to Lens, which is a city about 100 km away.

As we drove down the motorway night began to fall.

It had been a long day. I had left my parents’ house in Croydon at about nine in the morning and taken the bus to Bromley and then to Green Street Green near Orpington. I walked along the A21 thumb out, sometimes walking backwards in the hope someone would at least drop me at the motorway. I had ended up walking for over an hour to the M25 and waiting for ages at the junction. By the time I got to the ferry it was already the middle of the afternoon.

Getting to Dover so late meant that the cheaper day trip tickets aimed at Duty Free shoppers were unavailable and I had had to stump up £20 for a single, which represented a considerable percentage of my available funds.

Two days before I had hitched home for the summer from Newcastle, where I was a student at university. On arrival I had found a postcard from Mark, one of my school friends who I was expecting to find in Croydon. According to the postcard he was working as a DJ on the Greek island of Ios. He signed off, “there’s plenty of work here, come and join me” which I thought sounded like more fun than pizza delivery around Croydon, which is what I had done the summer before.

I had checked my bank balance and was pleasantly surprised to find I still had over £150 remaining of my overdraft limit.  The problem was that the cheapest single flight to Athens was over £200 and it was even more by train.

I had been hitchhiking regularly since six form. I had recently circumnavigated Britain on a sponsored hitch as part of rag-week, been to Amsterdam with friends and hitched up and down from London to Newcastle at least twice a year. So I figured I’d give it a go as a way to get to Greece.

The driver interrupted my day-dream. “This is Lens, it’s late, shall I take you to a hotel? There’s a cheap F1 Motel just here by the junction.”

I said yes, and he pulled over by the entrance to the motel, I thanked him, and waved goodbye as he drove off.

A sign at the brightly lit entrance advertised rooms from 120FF about £14. I had changed up £20 on the ferry into 180 French Francs, but didn’t want to spend all of this on my first night.  It was a dry and not that cold, so I decided to look for somewhere to sleep rough.

The motel was at the edge of the town and I noticed a small wooded area about 200 metres down the road. When I got there I saw it was surrounded by a 6 ft chain link fence. I threw my backpack over the fence and clambered up and dropped down into the little wood.

I ducked under a few branches and pushed my way to about 30m away from the road to what looked like the middle of the wooded patch. The trees were still quite young, but offered just enough cover so I couldn’t be seen from the road. I laid the bin bags out on the ground, took off my shoes, got into my sleeping bag and stretched out using the backpack as a pillow.

I realised I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten since leaving home in the morning. I fished the tin of baked beans out of my pack. I opened it with a pen knife and proceeded to enjoy a meal of cold tinned beans. In my tired hungry state it tasted genuinely delicious.

After eating I lay down and felt a drop of rain on my face. I covered myself with the remaining bin bags.

“What on earth I am doing sleeping rough in the rain in northern France? I’ll go another couple of days and head back home.” I thought to myself as I drifted off to sleep.

Hitch-hiking tales – où allez-vous?

‘où allez-vous?’ The man asked as he rolled down the window of the car.

It took a few moments to figure out what he meant. The O’ level French from school three years before hadn’t prepared me to actually communicate.

As I chased excitedly up to the car, with my big bulging ugly blue backpack slung over one shoulder, it came to me, ‘where are you going?, of course, but what’s the reply?

My sign just said ‘A26’ the motorway out of Calais. This was something Bob had left me after he’d got his lift about half an hour earlier.

I’d met Bob when getting off the ferry a couple of hours ago. I’d never hitch-hiked in France and didn’t really know how to start. So when I saw this scrawny looking English chap carrying a backpack, wearing Dr. Martin boots and dressed in black army jacket with the sleeves chopped off, I figured he looked like the sort of person who could help.

Bob was heading South, he’d received his dole cheque for £67 and had two weeks before he needed to sign on again.

“Hitching South through France is more fun than staying in a bedsit in Dover” Bob told me as we walked towards the “best roundabout to get out of Calais”

Bob didn’t want me to stand too close while we waited by the side of the road, “two guys together only go half as fast” he reckoned.

He had lots of good advice like, “The best place to stop for a night is at a motorway service station, it’s got food, water, toilets, sometimes even showers and they are usually located in open country. Just walk out of the back and find a quiet spot to pitch your tent. It means no walking in the morning”

I didn’t have a tent. In my backpack I had a few changes of clothes, a warmish old ski jacket, a sleeping bag, a half full plastic bottle of tap water, a tin of beans I’d taken from Mum and Dad’s house, a road map of Europe, a French dictionary and a few bin bags in case it rained.

Ou allez vous?” The man in the car asked again smiling,.

“A la Grèce” I replied.