Jack talks about his imaginary communist side and economic disparity

I was rather excited when I saw that I’d had an entire response article written about my first column.

I had been warned that as a Tab columnist that you should expect to get some pretty scathing comments, but an entire article – wow.

It’s just a shame that this article wasn’t actually directed at me – it was directed at an imaginary communist, rollie smoking, Che Guevara t-shirt wearing, club-frequenting Jack from another dimension. I don’t want to piss on your embers but I’m not a fan of clubs, quit smoking a long time ago and prefer shirts to political Ts.

Che Tshirt

Photo taken inside Life

In effect, from a single aspect of my column – that I don’t really like the way that money has replaced human connection – they had desperately tried to find a way to label me. That label happened to be a ‘commie’, and from that he has drawn on a number of stock stereotypes and buzzwords which he has used to attack made-up-me and made-up-me’s ideas.

Anyway… I’m not a communist, and I don’t think anyone should wholeheartedly subscribe to any made up political label – be that marxism, anarchism, conservatism or capitalism (or so on). Mainly because you will never be entirely represented by any one of these ideals.

There are a few quite interesting ideas flagged up by my new admirer. Obviously, what has more generally been demonstrated is an underlying urge to categorize and divide up, and then use those categories as a means to attack individuals. As I have said before, dividing up society into a clean cut jigsaw contributes to the tribal aggressions in modern society.

Eugene_Anarchists

Die-hard capitalists

If we are preoccupied with attacking each other then we are conveniently distracted from the genuine hypocrisies and economic inequalities created by our governments and the super rich. Here in the UK we are at the very top of the pyramid: we have an NHS, free schools, some benefits and a minimum wage, sometimes creating an illusion of equal opportunity.

In other countries it is more explicit. There is no welfare and almost no opportunity. The culture of political corruption is rife with TNCs like Shell exploiting and influencing governments poorer than the company. This undermines democracy, and breeds inequality both within the countries and on a global scale.

My point isn’t that all of capitalism is bad, and that it hasn’t influenced the development of society positively. At least initially, it empowered people who had previously been beaten down because of their family lineage, to be ruled by an aristocratic class. It allowed people to become something, and to rule themselves.

That is why my focus is on modern capitalism. It is no longer about free opportunity or fairness, it is about an economic elite who syphon off money. If you want stats, according to the Office for National Statistics, in Britain the richest 1% own as much wealth as the poorest 55%.

Nom

Nom

If you are from Britain, unless you are very lucky or already have money, ascending into this inner elite is just as hard as joining the aristocracy. If you are from a country which is exploited by TNCs then ascending through the capitalist ranks within your home country is nearly impossible. If you dare move to Britain or the USA you become a victimised immigrant – a scapegoat for economic and social issues.

The underlying hypocrisy is glaringly obvious, yet we still insist describing ourselves and others with dead words like ‘commie’ or ‘capitalist’, even though these terms simply cannot apply to the structure that we live in today. This isn’t even capitalism any more, it is exploitation on a massive scale. We are distracted and atomised, and made to feel deeply alienated from everything.

Fixing this problem is overwhelmingly difficult. Communism hasn’t worked, going on how we are right now isn’t working, and I doubt that doing a ‘V for Vendetta’ would work either. We vote in this government and that government who blandly nod forward the odd placebo policy about not taxing this group and not letting in that immigrant while they can’t and won’t do anything about the real problem.

"Look at what we're doing to help the economy!"

“Look at what we’re doing to help the economy!”

And it’s depressing – the only joy that we often get as humans is receiving a pay-cheque or ‘treating ourselves’ to a new pair of shoes. We have so little genuine human connection that the ‘small things in life’ will have to do.

We aren’t going to rise up against the state and corporations, but what we can do is simply recognise one’s own individual capacity. These modern capitalist values make you feel like your worth is defined by what you own and how others view you as opposed to your actual self.

If you want to call it something call it a “Revolution of Everyday Life”. If we begin to recognise the ways in which we are being used and exploited then we can perhaps begin to focus on human connection and our true selves. We aren’t just money drones, we are human beings.

But hey, what do I know – I’m just a “commie” who doesn’t even spy for the USSR…

@JackinsB

  • Ain’t got no time

    I think the main reason people criticized you is because your previous article basically listed all the world’s problems, tried to connect them with some vague emotional bullshit, and then blamed them all on the capitalist system. Same with this article, it actually raises some real problems and good points (1% own 55% etc…) but then you start talking about some hipster gibberish like ‘atomising’ and ‘categorising and dividing up etc…’

  • Albert CAMus

    You remind me of Sisyphus. If Sisyphus were to write bad articles, get all hot and bothered about the reaction, write an even worse article… Is there an end to this torment? Will this pestilence upon the tab ever reach a conclusion?

  • Not as much of a smug prick

    If the only joy you get is from a pay check or new shoes, then you’re the problem. I personally get lots of joy from my friends by interacting with them as people. Owning a laptop and central heating doesn’t prevent me doing that. In fact, it helps me do it in comfort wherever I am in the world.

    But it’s not you, is it? It’s always other people, the mindless stupid drones, who are ruled by materialism. You’re far too enlightened and intelligent to be suckered in with the Reebok Classics idiots.

    Also, what sort of history are you using where capitalism originally helped everyone to become wealthy, rather than just a few people? Before capitalism, a few people had all the wealth. Now, the same is true, but that wealth just isn’t based on your family name.

  • Toys

    are being thrown out of the pram

  • Don’t listen to the haters

    Good article in response to a pretty awful one before. The problem isn’t capitalism- it’s the hyper capitalism which has only arisen over the last forty years or so. Also to point out the problems of capitalism doesn’t mean you have to have your own water-tight alternative. Most people don’t like to discuss anti-capitalism (let alone anything which could be described as communism >shock horror<) because to question it is to question our own morals, values and what we consider achievement to be – and that's scary.

  • Some thoughts

    I don’t think the piece was directed as you so much as against a particularly category of people who like to moan about capitalism that your article, if in only one aspect, seemed to represent.

    Also, for someone who’s not Marxist you’ve certainly liked a lot of Marx-related pages on Facebook.

    On a kinder note, going down the inequality route and backing it up with statistics is a good move – makes this better than your original column.

  • What the fuck are you on about

    Literally every single good thing about 21st century living is a direct result of capitalism. iPods, The Shard, the eradication of polio, gay marriage, income inequality, the fact that literally nobody in the entire world is suffering from malnutrition – all of these were sculpted by the invisible hand of the free market, and if you don’t believe that you should just tattoo a picture of Stalin felching Mao onto your face and be done with it.

  • procrastinator666

    yet another extremely enlightening article filled with fascinating points that I’d never heard before…