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  • rogerglewis 5:17 pm on July 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Green Diversity .For RON and The Green Pistols R.G.Lewis 2016 

    GreenDiversity.
    When yellow is mixed with green
    When courage is exchanged for fear
    When Spin turns the air Blue
    Beg to Disagree Green is Here
    A challenged Assumption here
    Rainbow Party speaks
    In Many Accents Shades of
    EMPHASIS.
    A heart Beats inside
    We are all red Blooded
    Piss is Yellow and
    Green Spin, Turns the Air Blue.
    Emphasise , Empathise
    Accent your rainbow shades
    A challenged Assumption
    Starts at Green. Go!
    A point made in Shades of Green
    Emphasis on Metamorphosis
    We beg to differ in shades of Pink, Brown, Black, Yellow and Red. Stop!
    We trust our identity in
    Diversity, Solidarity shared
    Adversity
    Emphasis.
    Accent on Green
    Emphasis on Green
    Empathy with the ecology
    When Spin turns to Blue.
    Beg To Disagree
    A Challenged Assumption Here
    A heart Beats Inside
    Emphasise Empathise, Green.
    For RON and The Green Pistols

    R.G.Lewis 2016
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  • rogerglewis 10:50 am on July 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Symbiosis Diversity and sustanable politics a Matrifocal Turn #GreenPartyLeadership 

    http://tomchance.org/2016/07/21/nothing-endures-but-personal-qualities/#comment-1807

    In Response to Tom Chances CoRONation validictory I have made a counter argument. Above

    In a politics of participation the Polity is the movement is the party, the leadership is merely an outward expression of a movements Will. Joint speakers was fully debated in the the run up to the 32008 change in executive structure but the Ethos remains embedded in the Green Party Constitution. The Green party rooted in Ecology and Gaia should have regard to Symbiosis the effect of sustainability garnered through symbiotic distributed systems and ecologies. Reducing political effectiveness to soundbites fitting with the media demand of Concision and what Noam Chomsky calls Indexed Pieties is not for me what the Green Party is about. The Article mentions Jeremy Corbyn, he is a spokes-person for a movement, a Movement has many leaders and gains its strength from the symbiotic support systems found in political solidarity. Bernard Leitear the leading advocate of Complementary currencies and Monetary reform explains well how Patriarchal , Hierarchical systems may be more efficient but they are less robust they are not https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/44995-malone4leader/embed sustainable Matrifocal systems are more enduring and from this we find that symbiosis and diversity is the key to ecological sustainability in Anthropogenic systems as in Natural systems. We do not call Gaia Mother Nature for no reason.
    Continuity is a feature of symbiosis and the continuity we have on offer in this Election is the Deputy leader team of Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack this is the starting point of my analysis of finding the Balance for a sustainable course and growth of the Green Party’s electoral success. A single Leader is the only choice when considering the preservation of the core of our party ecology as the party evolves and develops over the next 2 years. Natalie has stood down Party Membership is at a substantially higher level than it was in 2012 and 2014 the latter two years encompass the 2015 General Election, whilst electoral success evaded the party in 2015 2020 looks like being a different story but only those who get that politics is being taken back to a participative turn, the article misinterprets Corbyn and the growth of the Labour Movement, the reasoning in favour of what I call the CoRONation ticket is founded on an establishment elitist construction of how a co9mpeting elites model of democracy works, Occupy, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, Syrzia , Podemos, UKIP and the Pirate party , the indagnados the list is pretty long the paradigm shift is well in motion but the Establishment are the last to cotton on. Now is not the time for the Greens to go for safe media establishment conformity, it turns out the Greens and the Ecology Party and the peoples party have been right all along.

    I argue for a single leader in this linked Blog http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2016/07/calling-odds-green-party-leadership.html
    I have far more sympathy with the RON campaign than the Co Leader based upon media recognition and focus group popularity. I say don´t RON and choose your STV Av options wisely to ensure it’s 1 plus 2 deputies and not 2 plus 1 deputy which would be a failure of democratic and participative principles in my opinion also an electoral mistake as the Movement of the Green Party and the Membership are far more sustainable than an Elitist politics of personality.

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/34659324/The-Monetary-Blind-Spot-by-Bernard-Lietaer

    Patriarchal Value Coherence
    All patriarchal societies in history have had the tendency to impose
    a monopoly of asingle currency, hierarchically issued, naturally scarce or artificially kept scarce, and with positive interest rates. This was for instance the case in Sumer and Babylon, in Greeceand Rome, and from the Renaissance onwards in Western societies all the way to today.The form of these currencies has varied widely, ranging from standardized commodities, precious metals, paper or electronic bits. But what they all have in
    common is thatgovernments accepted only that specific currency for payment of taxes, that this currencycould be stored and accumulated, and that borrowing such currencies implied payment of interest. They all have in common Yang characteristics as illustrated in Figure 1.”

    #Malone4Leader #ShaharahAli
    #Amelia Womack

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  • rogerglewis 5:33 pm on July 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Calling the Odds Green Party Leadership 

    https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/44995-malone4leader/embed

    http://bright-green.org/2016/07/22/analysis-who-should-lead-the-green-party/

    The word Team is absent the analysis in the article. The green way is very much one of a collegiate leadership, as Shahrar Ali memorably says ´we are all leaders´. This is not just a slogan, in a devolved democratic system where policy and action of an executive carry out the wishes of the polity and does not impose its will upon it we naturally play as a team. The vote should very much be thought of as picking a team and the best team with complimentary qualities in all positions. In any team continuity at the heart with proven effectiveness is a big plus so in the leadership question I place that to one side and look at Shahrar and Amelia. This team who have had an amazing 2 year term and I feel they deserve and have earned the chance to continue their great work for a further two years, this is no disrespect to Andrew Cooper  and the other excellent deputy leader candidates but with Natalie stepping down rejecting this continuity at deputy with a proven and remarkably effective team would be a remarkably wasteful decision in my opinion. this then leads to the question of Leadership.

    If one is persuaded by the two deputies argument made above the constitution of the Green Party of England and Wales provides that there be only one Leader, in the case of co leaders then only one deputy is elected.

    It is a shame Jonathan Bartley is not standing in his own right for leader, I believe it is foolhardy to have the sole Green MP at present in the UK parliament as either Joint or Sole leader, it is not as if within the House of commons the formal title is of any practical or formal use and the party should be supporting Caroline not  looking to her for leadership in her already key and central role to the parties proof of concept in action, as it were.

    When one evens out the playing field and considers Jonathan Bartley in his own right out of the sheltered lea of Caroline the question would look more stark and this election ceases to look like the predicted coronation touted back in mid May when the coronation couple fired the starting shotgun. With the status quo in the deputy argument refreshed in our minds we need to look at the field afresh, I see a field with out a co leadership bid even for many who might have at first instictively have been Drawn by the Lucas gravitas, and shoe in assumption.

    Here,  another point should enter our thinking. The Membership is 4 times the level that it was in 2012 when the Leadership was last contested that contest had a low turnout as well going back to 2008 the leadership has been secured on a low turnout and less than 3500 votes. how many of the 60,000 voting members will exercise their franchise this time, what drew the new membership to the Green Party? Natalie Bennet for sure but also Shahrar and Amelia all three through tireless work, but also the other candidates who stood in the record number of seats contested in the 2015 election, this is not a membership here at the feet of any one personality or executive position it is a diverse political party and a membership recently joined in the fray of active membership, a High turnout should I think be expected.

    The system used for the election is also the Single transferable Alternate Vote with six candidates and one seat. second third fourth and possibly 5th preferences may well play a very large part in this leadership election, If as I suspect the membership will want to maintain some stability and continuity not to say loyalty and thanks to the proven deputy team of Amelia and Shahrar. A respectable but not overwhelming level of support is the measured expectation of the Coronation Couple, hope and expect to remain a republic my fellow Greens.

    So then to the Candidates Clive , Simon Marty and the Davids, DaveM and DaveW. if as a member you want 1 leader and 2 deputies thats the choice if the co leader option is taken its just 1 deputy and as  I have already said I think thats a huge waste of real political capital and wilfull destrucion of a dynamic that works with a proven track record.

    With enlarged Membership, an expectation of a high turnout and the strong base for Shahrar and Amelia, the Coronation ticket might not even be top at the first ballot, with preference choices coming in from eliminated candidates my bet is the co leadership bid will be eliminated in round 3 or 4 with the two davids in a close outcome that could go either way by round 5, bizarrely the second and third choices of those placing Lucas and Bartley first on their ballots may well prove the decisive block of votes. Will the royalists RON? should be the question on all of our lips?

    thats my analysis and I would call the odds evens on the two Davids and 2-1 for Lucas Bartley, Clive lord & Martie Warin 10-1 and Simon Cross 7-2 on, on the deputy leadership Shahrar and Amelia 1-2 on joint favourites the others 6-1 bar non.

    For me I would like to see my Friend David Malone Elected Leader , David W would be a good result for the party as well I think more importantly I think Shahrar and Amelia should be kept as the effective unit they are, bizarrely Clive Lord is not the only one who thinks Andrew Cooper is in the Wrong race I agree and if he were in the Leadership Race he would probably be odds on favourite. also remember that in 2 years there will be a general election and many more Greens could find themselves in Westminster then even under FPTP. 

     
    • Anonymous 8:48 pm on July 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      They're all good, your article makes sense and to me David Malone is a lot more charismatic than David Williams even though the latter would be a safe pair of hands – the party and the country needs inspiration which means either D.M. or the Caroline-Jonathan duo.

    • Roger Lewis 9:56 am on July 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Anonymous, I have a lot of sympathy for the RON campaign vis the Leadership which is overwhelmingly White and Middle Classish, not withstanding family origins where many a cloth cap can be claimed I am sure. For me the Greens should have a AMAtrifocal Ethos and not a Patriarchal focus, strangely the CoRONation aspects of the Lucas/Bartley ticket is very Patriarchal in Nature, very TOP down and presumptuos in my own view not Caroline and Johnathan as individuals but Semiotically so, appearances do count in politics and that is not the sort of Green Party I was supporting in the 2015 much to the discomfiture of many of my Red Labour Freinds who had no argiukment against the Tory Light and BluLabour charges against the Milliband Manifesto. The Green Manifesto was far and away the most Radical but also well reasoned of the Manifestos in 2015. My Blog on the 2015 Election http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2015_03_01_archive.html explains how Democracy as participation need AV or PR voting. This RON question is a praxis in Green Party advocacy of the system RON does not in this case offer any more than a protest Those of us tempted by the RON protes have a real empowerment in the opportunity to Prefer a single candidate for Leader to get Two Deputies.

  • rogerglewis 8:58 am on July 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Who ate all the pieties.or ´Now is not a time for soundbites´ 

    Who ate all the pieties or ´Now is not a time for soundbites´.

    ”Say I get up on Nightline, I´m given whatever it is , 2 Minutes and I say Gaddafi is a terrorist Khomeini is a murderer. Whatever it is etc.etc. The Russians , you know invaded Afghanistan all this sort of stuff, everyone just nods, you simply don’t need any evidence. But suppose you say something thats not just re-gurgitating ”conventional pieties”, say you say something the least bit unexpected or controversial . Suppose you say ………….

     ( insert Green Party Policies on Basic Income , reform of debt based money or not renewing Trident here )”
    (Equally insert Jeremy Corbyn´s hetrodox politics to Blu Labour and Neo liberal austerity )

    Quote from Noam Chomsky starts at 1min 48 s
    or click link Re-gurgitating conventional pieties

    piety ˈpʌɪəti/ noun, a belief which is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence. plural noun: pieties “the accepted pieties of our time” synonyms: dutifulness, obedience, deference, duty, respect, respectfulness, compliance, acquiescence, tractability, tractableness; submissiveness, submission, subservience “the strict code of filial piety”

    This sense of piety is the sense in which  Noam Chomsky uses the term in the clip from  the movie Manufacturing  Consent  to show the boundaries and limits to debate imposed in the media through a demand for concision .

    The second sense of Piety also applys to the ´´Now is not a time for Soundbites , spin doctored crocodile tears, never better demonstrated than by One Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

     ”It’s not a day for soundbites really erm we can leave those at home , I feel the hand of history upon our shoulder.in respect of this, I really do.”


     So this is the second sense the Who ate all the pieties sense. piety ˈpʌɪəti/Submit noun the quality of being religious or reverent. “acts of piety and charity” synonyms: devoutness, devotion, piousness, religiousness, religion, holiness, godliness, sanctity, sanctitude, saintliness, devotion to God, veneration, reverence, faith, religious duty, spirituality, sacredness, religious zeal, fervour, pietism, religiosity “the piety of a saint”

    David Malone a Candidate for the green Party leadership speaking yesterday at the leeds hustings said this. Sumarised by Shahrar Ali deputy leadership candidate as a theme ´Question Others’ political assumptions´

    Better starting assumptions well worked out and cogently argued

    ”As Leader I think you need to be able to listen too listen to the party at large but you also need to be able to go on Question Time or Newsnight and  stand  toe to toe with them and disagree with their starting assumptions . If you accept their assumption, if you allow them to dictate the terms of the debate you will lose………..We have to say the place where you started from is wrong !”

    David Malone Leeds Hustings 16/7/2016

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  • rogerglewis 12:07 pm on July 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    #Malone4Leader 

    I have been helping my friend David Malone who writes the famour Golem XIV Blog and authoured the 2008 finncial Crisis Classic the Debt Generation with getting his message out to Green Party members voting in the Green Party of England and Wales löeadership election.

    My Latest wheeze has been to amke a reverb nation artists page for David including videos of his various science documentaries and other video appearances over the past 20 years.

    https://www.reverbnation.com/widget_code/html_widget/artist_5429630?widget_id=55&pwc%5Bsong_ids%5D=26294825&context_type=song&spoid=artist_5429630

     
  • rogerglewis 10:48 am on July 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    David Malone – Scarborough and Whitby’s Green Party Candidate 

    A great summary of Malone the critic of modern political economy.

     
  • rogerglewis 8:23 am on July 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    ZIzeck, as the shit hits the fan #Brexcrement or #EUffluvient . Or, Brexit ”Imaginary solution to real problems” 

    ZIzeck, as the shit hits the fan #Brexcrement or #EUffluvient

    So as the eternal debate continues. Is the UK going down the shitter or is the EU just a busted flush? Ideology of the Water Closset, patented by Thomas Crapper who wikipedia tells us ´´did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase the popularity of the toilet, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock.[citation needed] He was noted for the quality of his products and received several royal warrants.”   

    Slavoj Zizek is involved with DIEM 25 which felt britain should remain to pursue a radical reform agenda for the EU.

    https://diem25.org/diem25-members-about-the-brexit-vote/

    The Brexit is the writing on the wall for the EU. The EU is on the brink. With the referendum result the EU reaped what she previously sowed, because more and more people are tired of this undemocratic, non-transparent EU, which is essentially determined by German-imperialistic interests. Their “No” was mainly a no to the prevailing conditions.”Diether Dehm.

    So when there are no right or wrong answers what absurdities can flow into the sewer of the mainstream media and popular political discourse. Zizeck delivers an amusing analysis of Dogmatic ideology in all its absurdity.

     The Original of this I watched some years ago

    Uploaded on 16 Jul 2007
    From an unknown source. You’ve probably heard this already in some of Zizek’s lectures.
    German ideology – reflective, philosophical
    French – revolutionary, dismissive
    Anglo-American – intermediate, passive
    Transcript of Zizecks discourse on toilets and ideology.
    ´´And Here, I came to think of the toilets in America France and Germany. They make up a semiotic triangle that correlates exactly to Levi Stauss´triangle, so we also have an excrement triangle.
    Now the German toilets are built in a way that excrement falls on a flat surface at the back and is flushed through a hole at the front. This way you are directly confronted with excrement – and you can see whether you have worms etc. This is a German ritual.
    The French toilets have the opposite system: the hole is bigger and at the back so excrement can fall directly into the hole and vanishes immediately.
    The American variant is a kind of a correlative of Levi-Strauss´ cooked
    food, combining the elements: the excrement remains, but it floats in the water.
    I had a look at some books on the topic and came to the conclusion that every nation believes their system makes most sense. But clearly, a complex system is at work here. And if I am to carry on with this nauseous example: friends from Vienna told me that in avant-garde student circles the pubic haircut was strictly codified. There is the triangle, the New-Age hippy way, where everything grows profusely, the yuppie way, where only a small strip may be visible, ant the punk style with pubic hair clean-shaven and rings hanging in the clitoris etc.

    I am always fascinated by the underlying ideologies. And here is the right answer for Lyotard and all those who say : the end if ideology, period. Yes, but as soon as you flush the toilet, you´re right in the middle of ideology.”

    Slavoj Žižek

    On Pubic hair I did this blog some time ago http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2013/05/the-war-on-pubic-hair-pentagons-latest.html

    ´´My latest bug bear is the war on Pubic Hair , when I was in london I saw a street advert and it actually said Our Newest Product in the War against Pubic Hair, I wondered if it was connected to the war on Terror, or the War on Drugs at one point but, it didn’t have a government stamp on it.It was from Loreal or some other cosmetics company.
    Writing that I do wonder if cosmetics companies still call themselves that.”
    Here is the same theme in later years given in English.


    So Eufluvient or Brexcrement which is it, A very wise tweet from a Green Part memebr I saw and re tweeted the other day

    #BrexitIn5Words ”Imaginary solution to real problems”

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  • rogerglewis 10:42 am on July 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Democracy, discourse , Epictetus, Stoicism and skepticism 

    Democracy, discourse , Epictetus, Stoicism and skepticism Brexit.

    Lies damned lies and statistics, an apt summary of the brexit debate in the Main stream media. Propaganda, narratives, messaging,spin and all of that.
    The shouting has not stopped after the result the obviscation and manipulation in opposition to reason continues unabated.

    We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Epictetus
    Indeed, Listen Up dear reader I would like to introduce you to the Golem XIV Blog. Written by David Malone currently a candidate for the Leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales.

    Epictetus is a famous stoic philosopher his enchirideon (handbook) offers much practical advice to bearing the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Quite apt to the current discourse is this.

    42. When any person harms you, or speaks badly of you, remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty. Now, it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you, but what appears so to himself. Therefore, if he judges from a wrong appearance, he is the person hurt, since he too is the person deceived. For if anyone should suppose a true proposition to be false, the proposition is not hurt, but he who is deceived about it. Setting out, then, from these principles, you will meekly bear a person who reviles you, for you will say upon every occasion, “It seemed so to him.” 

    http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html

    There are subtexts to the appearance of things always and one should always remember that black on black backgrounds and white on white backgrounds render the separateness or different shapes of things invisible. In argument there are useful backgrounds against which to discern meaning in a stated case. These backgrounds are context, that is the adjoining and connected positions both of the advocate making the argument and the contradictions which are inevitable in complex systems. The other background is that of motivation, what are other factors which might influence and motivate the making of a particular argument.

    Before offering the main purpose of this Blog and to finalise this introduction please consider this piece of advice on literary critisism. ´´Forget what you think you know and read the arguments developed by the writer in full and consider them in the context they are offered and delineated by the writer, without such a discipline new insights will evade the reader and a constructive dialogue will not arise bringing new texture to an evolving framework of reference and understanding´´

    In the spirit of openmindedness and with this insight into reason from CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: (

    ”In order to reason well …. it is absolutely necessary to possess … such virtues as intellectual honesty and sincerity and a real love of truth (2.82). The cause [of the success of scientific inquirers] has been that the motive which has carried them to the laboratory and the field has been a craving to know how things really were … (1-34). [Genuine inquiry consists I in diligent inquiry into truth for truth’s sake (1.44), … in actually drawing the bow upon truth with intentness in the eye, with energy in the arm (1.235). [When] it is no longer the reasoning which determines what the conclusion shall be, but … the conclusion which determines what the reasoning shall be … this is sham reasoning…. The effect of this shamming is that men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative….”

    http://web.ncf.ca/ag659/308/Peirce-Rorty-Haack.pdf ),

    I give you David Malone on the Re-Branding of Dissent.

    Re-branding Dissent

    I am one of those who thinks that democracy is being destroyed.  I know its fashionable to play cynical one-upmanship and say – ‘we’ve never had democracy’, or, ‘it was destroyed long ago’,  but that game aside, I think its worth actually thinking about how, many forms of democratic expression, effective dissent and peaceful self-determination are being buried.
    In “The Next Crisis” I argued that the Global Over-Class have decided that Democracy is a threat to their wealth and power and have more than likely given some thought to how best to neuter it while appearing to do no such thing.  I suggested they would wish to keep the outward form of democracy, so as to keep us reassured and entertained, but remove any substance from it, leaving us with an empty but colourful stage show. 
    In part two  of the series, I offered a list of the various ways this could be done (a sort of manifesto for the Over Class or, as I have called them elsewhere, The Disloyal and noted how many of those things were clearly already underway.
    For example item three of the manifesto said,
    3) professionalized Governance. Democracy can be and must be neutered, and an effective way of doing this is to insist that amateur, elected officials MUST take the advice of professional (read corporate) advisors. Expand current law to enforce this.
    If this seems monstrous now, their argument, I suspect,  will be that in an increasingly crowded, interconnected and globalised world we can no longer leave critically important decisions in the hands of the uneducated, in-expert and amateur.  We must, of course, still be free to choose but must, from now on, be helped to choose ‘wisely’. And how can we choose wisely if we aren’t given wise choices to choose from?  Oh, the Orwellian beauty of it! No prizes for guessing who will decide what is and what is not wise. 
    We cannot any longer allow you to choose unwisely! There is so much at stake and so much you and your representatives simply do not fully understand.
    You only need think how much legislation is already written by these ‘advisors’ and how many ‘experts’ are routinely seconded from corporations in order to ‘help’ the government departments regulate those same corporations to appreciate how far towards this we have already come. Two examples of ‘expert advice’ spring readily to mind. Back in May 2014  Citi drafted, word for word, many of the ‘amendments’ to the Frank Dodd financial regulation law.  While professional experts from  J PM Morgan did the same for the new derivatives trading law which puts the US tax payer back on the hook for any really serious losses.
    Choose wisely
    ‘Choose wisely’ is a good first step in neutering democracy. It is easy to sell, appears wise, benevolent even, and who could advocate the opposite?  But being admonished to ‘choose wisely’ is quite different to being forced to do so by having ‘experts’ pre-choose your range of choices for you and having your representatives forced to follow the pre-narrowed ‘wise’ choice or choices handed to them by paid-for lobbyists and seconded experts. However I think the Over Class knows ‘Choose wisely’ and Professionalized Governance are not going to be enough on their own – given the scale of unpleasantness which will have to be imposed and maintained on voters if the current structures of power and privilege are to be maintained.
    ‘Choose wisely’ and Professionalized Governance are an efficient and well camouflaged way to stop radical democratic ideas getting traction in Parliament or Congress or ever making it in to law. But, they leave unaddressed the more urgent task of how to properly neuter the people at source – in their own minds. How much better and stable it would be, for the Over Class, if the people voluntarily shied away from dissenting opinions rather than having  to corral such opinions once they are voiced and people start voting for them.
    I began to look at how this second front in the war on democracy might be fought, in part three I  suggested that what you and I might call public engagement would be re-branded as ill-informed ‘populism’. And wouldn’t you know it, Prime Minister David Cameron speaking – or should I say condescending – in the House of Commons on 17.11.15 about opposition to the TTIP trade agreement, said,
    …when you [Members of Parliament] get that barrage of emails – people sometimes have signed up without fully understanding every part of what they’ve been asked to sign – people want to spread some fear about this thing, and we have a role, I think, of trying to explain properly why these things are good for our country.
    Et voila! A wonderful early example. This is the start of the re-branding of political dissent.
    But wait , as the  old advertizing saying goes, there’s more!
    From ‘Professionalize Democracy’ to ‘Demonize Dissent’
    The key problem for the Over Class is that no matter how much they might like to, they cannot just come out and say dissent – AKA radically different opinion – is a bad thing. Being able to hold a dissenting opinion, even a radically dissenting opinion, is, after all, the core of democratic freedom.
    So I think the Over Class’ task is two-fold. First, create conditions which will make people want to stifle dissent; other people’s first then even their own – or at least start to see a dark and threatening side to it – and then give them a whole new vocabulary of catchy new phrases and ideas with which to express their new-found caution about dissent and dissenters. Seen this way it is clear that this re-branding of dissent is a psychological/marketing/propaganda problem.
    Of course it is relatively trivial to get people to accept that while many kinds of dissent are acceptable, some kinds  just aren’t because, for example, they’re felt to be dangerous. We already accept that certain kinds of ‘extremist’ dissent is dangerous and unacceptable. And while some are uneasy, sensing how the term ‘extremist’ could be softened and inflated to accommodate everyone from animal rights activists, to – oh I don’t know…how about ‘militant peace activists’, or those who oppose austerity, people are just about willing to be bullied and frightened into accepting this ‘extremist’ curtailment of democracy.
    ‘Extremists’ and ‘Extremism’ have been the millennial threat-du-jour and have done wonders for justifying any and all actions claimed to be essential for ‘protecting national security’. No one wants to be accused of supporting ‘extremists.’ In America, Extremism is the new Communism. The rhetoric and paranoia around the ‘threat from Extremism’ in America and in Europe looks and sounds, to me at least,  very similar to McCarthyism. In the UK another new Bill will soon give the British security services and police yet more powers to stop travel, cancel passports and even ban people from talking at universities.
    But the “extremist’ narrative is not going to do what needs to be done. The problem is the terms currently used  to label people as dangerous are less than perfect for demonizing the dissent that worries our leaders most: those to do with economics, finance and globalisation and the environment.  ‘Extremism’ and ‘extremist’ are, perversely, just too …well, extreme. Talking about National Security, is very effective in its sphere, but it is just too specifically military to be very useful when it comes to undermining most peaceful, domestic, democratic dissent. What the ‘extremism’ narrative has done, however, is get people used to the idea that there can and should be limits to democratic dissent.
    What I think the Over Class now need is a new label for the  mind-set of dissenters and their dissent which can be applied to those who oppose the ‘necessary welfare and economic reforms’, ‘essential austerity cut backs’,  ‘misunderstood’ trade agreements and environmental problems. They need a label for a mind-set which they will readily admit isn’t ‘extremist’ but which they can argue ‘can lead to extremism’; much as people used to talk about marijuana being the gateway drug leading inevitably to harder drugs.
    What will that label be? Well I think the clue is there in the drive to ‘professionalize’ governance. ‘Professional’ is already a shorthand for the  claim that someone or something is rational, balanced and ‘evidence based’. The term ‘Professional’, all on its own, already implies that those opposed to the ‘professional’ opinion/plan, are probably slightly ‘irrational’ and quite likely to be advocating actions and opinions that are without a firm base in scientific evidence. After all if that were not the case the professionals would have advocated it themselves.
    Of course this brings us wonderfully back to the questions of who claims to have the authority and expertise to say what is and isn’t good solid rational and evidence-based. We are already mired in such arguments.
    The threat from the Irrational
    I suggest the new label will be ‘Irrational’. “He’s irrational!” “You’re being irrational.” “That’s irrational.” Irrational is already a term of abuse. What’s needed is to suggest that being irrational can be much more than a personal intellectual short-coming. That in fact, people who support irrational causes, and have irrational beliefs – who are …irrational, can be a dangerous threat when they organise their irrational beliefs into a political cause. Because, the argument will go, irrational fears can be used by those who have ulterior motives to prey upon the ordinary but unwary citizen, by creating irrational fears and then offering a seductive but irrational solutions.
    And of course what will be held up as acceptable rational beliefs will be generally those which the Over Class, their media outlets, pundits and paid for political lick-spittles say are rational.
    In this new narrative of demonizing dissent,
    “It is not what you chose to believe – you are free to believe what you want – but HOW you believe it.
    Believe it rationally, based on evidence and with regard for how your belief affects the well-being and security of those around you and there is no problem.
    But choose to believe irrationally and without regard for how your irrational belief may harm others and you are an Irrationalist. “
    This leaves intact your right to believe what you want but adds a subtle but insidious ‘responsibility test.’
    If I’m right then we will soon see a broader new narrative built around the idea that Irrationality and an irresponsible disregard for the well-being of others, together, pose a grave threat to Stability and Safety. These four notions, Irrationality, Irresponsibility, Stability and Safety will form the central mechanism for re-branding dissent.  ‘Safety’  people will recognise from its National Security guise. But by pairing it with ideas of Stability it helps bridge the gap between national security (safety) and national economic security (stability). Security becomes more than simply physical safety and is expanded to include economic stability.
    And the enemy of both, of course, is the Irrational Dissenter. Being irrational is, we will be told, particularly dangerous when it is paired with fervent claims that we are in danger and we should all act now to fend off the danger. Such  people will be likened to idiots who shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.
    A new mental condition could be coined for them – something along the lines of Attention Seeking Disorder – people who get a perverse pleasure simply from dissenting. How easy it would be to cast doubt on someone’s dissent if you suggest it is not about caring for others but actually a disorder of the ego. A desire for notoriety above all else with total disregard for what effect they might have on the stability and safety of those round them.
    Troublesome dissent could be rebranded as a thoughtless and selfish advocating of something knowing it will cause widespread harm to others but not caring.
    Extremism is a problem out there on the fringes of society – Irrationalism – The paranoid fear of imagined dangers and those who promote such fears – is the enemy within.  They are the sinister fringe who constantly look to radicalize the inexpert.
    So let us all recite the liturgy our leaders would have us believe, that in the 21st century –
    1. Democracy is the freedom to choose wisely.
    2. In a globalized, inter-dependant world we cannot afford to choose irrationally or disastrously.
    3. It is not what you believe but how you believe it.
    4. Believe things rationally, based on evidence, with regard to how your beliefs affect those around you.
    5. If you know someone who doesn’t, they may be irrational and suffering from a mental disorder in which the personal notoriety of being contrarian matters more to them than any harm they might do to the safety and stability we all depend upon.
    Here is an example of the quality of dialogue you will find with David Malone from another article on his blog. Having considered his thoughts on Dissent and democracy I hope this exchange will encourage you dear reader to join the dialogue with David and the Green Party or some other democratically informed and committed organisation or freind or simply for your own curiosity.
     
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