Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Neo-liberalism has not only created a society which is distorted by massive inequalities, it poisons our very language.

  • Mick Hall with a piece that initially featured on his own blog Organized Rage.
 
The cancer which is Neo-liberalism has not only created a society which is distorted by massive inequalities, the scale of which the UK has not experienced in the post world war two period; and which are tearing society apart. It now poisons our very language.

 
In an otherwise reasonable article on the Kindertransport which saved thousands of Jewish children from the Nazi terror. (Jewish community mark 75th anniversary of Kindertransport) Alexandra Topping wrote the following when describing the debate which took place in the British parliament 75 years ago, and which paved the way for the rescue of children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland:

Some MPs argued that Jewish children could be considered one of the best investments in the world and would not be a burden on the state, while others feared it would bring a flood of Jewish refugees into the country.

I can find no trace of the words 'burden on the State,' being used in the debate 75 years ago, indeed it is only in today's Neo-liberal Britain where such destructive language is used in such a negative way. Back in 1938 I doubt even those who opposed the Kindertransport would have regarded a child fleeing tyranny and in need of state support 'as a burden,' and they would certainly not have used such phraseology publicly.

We live in a time when powerful elites have turned the meaning of words on their head to reinforce their own reactionary ideology. Indeed, such language would have dropped off the lips of Nazis like Heinrich Himmler: who regularly used the word 'burden' to justify murdering sick and disabled people,  including children.
This poster (from around 1938) reads: "60,000Reichsmark is what this person suffering from ahereditary defect costs the People's community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too
We now know what the catastrophic consequences were in the 1930s when destructive and derogatory language becomes the common sense of the age. Yet we seem blissfuly uncaring today, when something not dissimilar is happening here in the UK.

The whole point; some might say the only point, of a truly democratic state is to make it possible for us to pool our resources so that in our time of need, when we are threatened physically, whether from within or without, become sick or unemployed, homeless, or face an extra hurdle in life, like disablement, the State steps up to the plate and carries the weight our own shoulders alone cannot bear.

I am not pillorying a journalist like Alexandra for using such poisonous language but her editors at the paper for allowing it. If this were simply an oversight I would not have pursued it, but it was not. Hardly a day goes by without similar examples appearing in the paper.

Flexible, in economic terms has come to mean employers being able to pay low wages, and sack people without fear of employment legislation. Benefit Reform means cuts and smears, and 'burden on the state' means an undeserved handout at tax payers expense. The use of this foul neo liberal language grows by the day; only this week according to Danny Alexander, George Osborne's Lib-Dem point man at the Treasury, elderly people are no longer patients needing treatment, but a "potential burden on the NHS." As I have already written above we now know where the use of such language can lead.

I note no mainstream media outlet describes as 'a burden on the State' the private businesses like G4e or the train operating companies like Virgin, who all feast on the tax payers money pot. Let alone the banksters who brought the nation low, or the politicians who were on the take in the expenses scandal.

No! It's only the economically poor or disadvantaged whom the media smears as 'burdens on the state,' the use of these words are political to the core; and are designed to enforce in peoples minds neo liberal ideology.

Now it seems we have a Guardian journalist rewriting history and turning a child in desperate need into a possible 'burden on the state.' I presume much like the majority of OAP without private pension pots will be portrayed after 2015, when they too look like joining the unemployed, sick and disabled as 'burdens on the State.'

Most of my parents generation who fought WW2, and went on to help create the NHS and the Welfare State, which made the UK a far better place to live in. Have not lived to see today's greedy, political, media, and business elite do there damnedest to destroy it, but If they had I'm sure they would have asked: 
If the State does not pool our resources and provide help to its citizens in their time of need, whether it be education, health care, welfare benefits and security in the home and  on the street, why should we give it our allegiance, as to do so makes us nothing more than the chattels of the equivalent of 21st century feudal lords.
Or as my old dad might have said: "sod that, for a pound of cherries!"

3 comments :

marty said...

Great post as usual Mick,I am hoping that the people will finally wake up and realise that the unnecessary burden they are really saddled with is the royals and their maggots, the politicians and the clergy, how they are dealth with I,d be flexible but it would include containers (big ones) and the sea, it is very clever how the state with the use of words like burden,can sow the seeds of division amongst the working classes , directed as it is at the weak and vulnerable in our society yet, no mention of the previous stated "burdens"and thousands paid to bury bastards like Thatcher,demonising one or more sections of our population is I think part of the divide and conquer tactics so well used over the generations , its well past time we used words and actions of our own to say enough is enough,

michaelhenry said...

Mick Hall-

Enjoyed reading that-

That poster by the Nazis complained
how much it cost them to look after their own people yet the Nazis turned out to be the worst disease to the german people-and it cost those people dear-

That poster would not be amiss on the front of some of our newspapers
and it could be handy for Fine Gael and labour with their budget burdens and cuts coming shortly-

Fenian said...

In Mein Kampf, Hitler used British atrocities to justify his own blood lust gainst the Jews.

During WW2, in the event of a possible British invasion, German schoolchildren were given a textbook which portrayed Hitler as a 'peacemaker' and the British as evil warmongers. The textbooks went into great detail to explain the British plunder/asunder in India & Ireland. These books also exposed the fascist underbelly that lurked within English society.

In 2013, as the global agendas of the American/British/Israeli play out, is there not an element of truth to these claims?

The O6C was sold as 'poster child' for world reconciliation with the British government promoted as the honest broker. To advance their agenda, Tony Blair was promoted to 'peace maker' in the Middle East.

The Irish government was rewarded by the USA (for relinquishing of articles 2 & 3) with the status of 'tax haven' for their corporate companies.

The conveniently named 'War on Terror' is a clever guise for their real agenda of world dominations through sneaked, CIA/MI5&6/Mossad orchestrated 'divide and conquer' tactics being deployed throughout the Middle east.

The resulting indiscriminate sectarian murder unleashed as a direct result of these tactics throughout Iraq, Afganistan, Libya and now Syria are nothing less than ethnic cleansing.

Israel has turned Palestine into the Warsaw Ghetto backed in principle and behind the scenes, by the Americans & British.

As for the fascist British 'underbelly' the days of 'No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish' are not far behind us. Fast forward to the last few years and we need look no further to meteoric rise of the BNP and of late the EDL.

So MH, likening this article to impending Fine Gael/Labour budget cuts is not more than cheap political opportunism. Especially, when your party is 'part & parcel' of a Tory austerity agenda in the O6C.

Furthermore, Sammy Wilson attempted to justify £80 million G8 expenditure by pointing out that the RUC have gained valuable 'drone' technology to fight criminality or did he really mean the perceived 'dissident' threat!

p.s. the revelations of USA targeting Germany & the EU is sadly ironic!