Sunday, 2 March 2008


Until very recently I have been working as a charity fundraiser. I took the job wanting to do something moral in order to support myself before going to study Philosophy at university.

Unfortunately, life always seems to be a lot harder when you start thinking, and as fundraising is a pretty boring job, I found myself doing quite a bit of Philosophising on company time, (it was a company, as I worked for an agency), and came to the following conclusions:

Charity merely legitimises the cause of the problems it attempts to battle, while only reducing the severity and effect of these problems by a minor amount, causing much more harm in the long run by supporting the framework that will allow these problems to continue to exist in the future (the framework being corporate greed.)

It is important here to note the difference between a “charity” and a “pressure group”.

Christian Aid is a “charity”, as it does not address the cause of the situation it attempts to right. Christian Aid merely brings a small amount of relief to those being crushed by a huge Third World Debt, unwillingly forced on them through dealings between Western-backed dictators and Western businessmen. The effect (but possibly not the intention) of this small amount of relief is to appease public opinion; images of starving families gratefully drinking clean water from a well that Christian Aid has set up for them are sent back to the West and people feel good about themselves: they contributed to a charity that helped these terribly impoverished people. The reasons for these people being in such a dire situation are never addressed by Christian Aid, and there are no calls for boycott of certain goods or protests outside any government buildings. Therefore, Christian Aid gains charitable status, and can apply for gift aid and other comfortable benefits.

Greenpeace, however, is a “Pressure Group” and is not recognised as a charity, and therefore receives no government funding - not that any serious pressure group would ever accept funding (and the resulting dependence) from any governmental organisation – and has no access to any kind of charitable benefit (whereas Eton enjoys all of these). The reason being that Greenpeace makes itself a problem for the government, criticising environmental policies, staging protests and chasing whaling ships through the Arctic. In other words, Greenpeace aims to
prevent the problems it attempts to battle, instead of meagrely lessening them, and it does this by making trouble for those directly responsible for them.

Taking cue from Plato, I have developed an analogy for the two approaches:

If a man climbs over a barbed wire fence everyday and scratches himself each time, he can take two approaches: the first being to put a plaster over his scratches, meaning the severity of the cut is reduced, but the cut is still there, causing pain, and more cuts will come. The other option is to take the fence down.

The first course of action falsely accepts the fence (read here: massive and disgusting inequalities in life) as an unavoidable and unfortunate fact that we can do nothing about. This is a fallacy that all charities are guilty of. Mild apoligism.

Obviously this is a very simple analogy that fails to point out the fact that there are certain people who benefit from the inequalities that the “fence” represents: those that are already hugely rich - heads of business, debt collectors and land owners. You could expand the analogy to include a fence making company who has a vested interest in keeping the fence there. Needless to say, if these people were not in a profitable position from other people's misery and hardship these problems would never have come about in the first place.

Charity workers are just another tool (albeit, most likely, an inadvertently crafted tool, as I don't believe many people realise what charity is) to appease public opinion and mask the cause of the problem. Once people give a donation their conscience will leave them alone, and they can, ironically, feel good about the world.

Friday, 30 November 2007


In the '50s Castro and the rest of the communists were villianised hugely. Special emphasis was put on their crimes, even when the West's crimes were of the same nature, or worse. At the time, if anyone had words of sympathy for them or their cause, they were fiends, supporters of evil. People would segregate them socially, and the government would investigate them criminally.

The same is now true for us and our current enemies.

Stalin (and a more contemporary example, Saddam Hussein) was a genuine criminal, a very nasty piece of work, whose crimes genuinely do outweigh those of our leaders - a man who consistently killed thousands of people over the years, letting those alive lead a life of terror. (Although, as far as Hussein is concerned, it could be argued that our leaders should take responsibility for his actions, as we placed him in power).

But, Castro, who is still demonised in the media today, has committed no crime that the American government haven't.

Castro treated gays appallingly - but this was at the same time and not long after the American government and public were lynching blacks. America has just as much to apologise for on the human rights abuse scale as Castro - treating their black population just as badly as - or, arguably, worse then - Castro treated his gay population.

Another common criticism of Castro is that he imprisons people indefinitely and without charge for political reasons. Currently, America is running Guantanamo bay, and has admitted to having more secret prisons around the world. Why is Castro so evil when the brightest beacon of freedom is carrying out the same practices as he is, but on a much wider scale?

Another sin of Castro's is that he invades his people's privacy, monitoring them big brother style - for their own protection, of course, from anti-revolutionaries. The trait of all propaganda based government - the idea that if you oppose a bit of government policy (not necessarily all of it) you are "anti" whatever system you tried to change - "anti-Soviet", "anti-revolutionary", "anti-American". It makes dissent much harder and undermines democracy.

However, despite the privacy criticism, Castro never passed the Patriot Act, that one was an American invention - and surely an invasion of privacy far greater then Castro has ever committed.

So far we can't think of a Castro Crime that the Americans haven't carried out - but he's still painted as the bad guy. Why? What terrible things has Castro done that we can get him for without having to get Uncle Sam for too?

Don't get me wrong - these things are disgusting. I'm not justifying any crime committed by either Castro or the American government - what I'm doing is highlighting the fact that the Western media will put a special emphasis on the crimes of the governments that Western leaders have decided are the bad guys, in order to justify any kind of military action that Western leaders may want to take. All of Castro's listed crimes are despicable - but America is just as guilty of them, and the media purposely ignore that.

Here's an example of this you can look up in History textbooks. The Cuban Missile Crisis is seen as a blatant act of aggression from Castro and The Communists, which proved that those Cuban rascals were up to no good. But in all the hubbub everyone forgets to mention that JFK had cunningly placed
missiles aimed at Russia in Turkey - which resulted in the missiles arriving in Cuba. JFK was the one who upped the level of aggression. The missiles in Turkey were sending the same message to the Russians that the missiles in Cuba were sending to the Americans. But it's the Cuban missiles that were immoral.

Now we move on to today's enemies.

These days, America has killed literally hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterns - in their homeland - over a prolonged and oppressive period of 6 years (since the invasion of Afghanistan).

America was in fact killing Middle Easterns long before 2001 as well. America has been regularly bombing Iraq since 1991 - killing civilians, just like the Middle East did on September 11 - except that the Middle East had been suffering a 10 year period of attack. Clearly, 10 years of attack is much more violent and aggressive then one hour and twenty minutes of attack, especially when America set up and funded the government (Saddam Hussein) it was making life hard for.

Yet the Middle East are the bad guys. They have one day of attempted retaliation after living with ten years of sustained bombing - and they're labelled "extremists". Those countries who do not roll over and let America do what it wants are "rogue states" - they are the dangerous ones, even if America has been using an excessive amount of force on them- seemingly unprovoked, for ten years, until they make an attempt at retaliation.

America caused the September 11 attacks by attacking a foreign land. That foreign land (Bin Laden was acting on behalf of the whole of the Middle East) then retaliated, in a relatively pathetic way in relation to the amount of casualties they received, and the Western public genuinely believe that these attackers are the violent ones, the ones blinded by indoctrination. It's irony on its biggest scale. Our leaders can launch a ten year death campaign on a defenceless country, have one day of retaliation and up the amount of military action as a result, and it's the defenceless country that's dangerous, mad with hatred and false ideals.

The media portrays the situation in an incredibly over simplified way - Osama bin Laden attacks the World Trade Centers, so we have to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. The media conveniently leaves out the fact that Bin Laden has repeatedly said that the reason America was attacked is because of it's military activities in the Middle East - more military activities in the Middle East will only fuel Al Qaeda with more angry young men willing to fight for it's cause. Indeed, in 2001 Iraq was pretty much an Al Qaeda free zone. Now the place is crawling with them - we've helped Osama recruit more soldiers.

What we should have done instead is stop bombing them, and then maybe they wouldn't want to bomb us.

It's a ridiculously simple solution that a child could have figured out. But the fact is, war is a profitable business, and the Powers That Be don't want too many of us realising that security comes when you stop provoking aggression.

This is how powerful the media is. They can take away our basic logic, and convince us to support a war without researching for easily obtainable facts.

Post Script:

I'm rather eager here to make it clear that this article is by no means an endorsement of terrorism. I am a pacifist. I can only justify violence in an extreme situation (such as stopping the Nazis in WW2) - and even then the violence should only be directed at soldiers, military bases, unmanned power plants etc. Killing civilians can never be justified. I do not support Al Queda or any organisation that kills civilians - e.g. the IRA (no matter how sympathetic I am to the IRA's cause). I also want to say something pre-emptively to anyone who might suggest that I am encouraging religious fanaticism - if you read one of my previous blog posts I make it quite clear that I disapprove of religion being twisted by a political figure to manipulate people into supporting a cause. Islam is not an exception, and Osama bin Laden is about as manipulative and right wing as they come. Put it frankly, he's a fucking murderer. And so are Bush and Blair. I am of the opinion that if you want to change something (such as America's foreign policy) you should take the Nelson Mandela approach. It works.

Monday, 19 November 2007


The homeless are the most ignored section of our society.

These people are left to sleep and starve on the streets while the public at large shop in Primark and eat in McDonald's.

No one seems to care that people are dying just metres away from Tescos.

Politicians seem to see them as an inconvenience, not as people. Where I live, in Brighton, the official statistic for homeless on the streets is around four people homeless - only four - anyone who lives here can tell you there are many, many more homeless then that - the labour government, supposedly a left wing, caring government, has changed the criteria of homelessness to only count those bedded down before 10 o'clock as being vagrants. They have purposely twisted the statistics in order to "meet" targets by changing the goal posts. This game of numbers and statistics, treating people in need as problems instead of humans happens for one reason only: the homeless don't have the vote.

Politicians care about their voting constituency only - because they prioritise being voted back in over doing their job well. If you don't have the vote, you can, quite literally, fuck off and die.

It is a problem with democracy that needs to be fixed.

I've talked about this problem in earlier posts - the state of England being one of instant justice - where the comfort of the area of society that has the highest vote turnout (the middle class) has been prioritised so much, that we need government think tanks to figure out where we are going to let kids play now that children have been segregated from the streets as a result of the use of ASBOs in the name of tackling "anti social behaviour" in Labour's mad dash to secure more votes. Politics has been prostituted to the comfortable middle class - who were raised with the ideals that they should vote in every election. Other areas of society (except the upper class who will always vote conservative) generally only take an interest in politics in great times of need - so Labour just needs to make sure they're not particularly upset, and then they can rest assured they wont turn up to the polling booths. This means the middle class call the shots, and it is the middle class who Labour and the Tories are competing for.

So, with the homeless out of the voting arena, they will never be helped in any meaningful way by the government. In fact, government policies for helping the homeless are aimed at those soon to be homeless- i.e. still have the vote. Police policies towards the homeless is to get them out of the middle class's way - if a tramp is found sleeping on a bench he is woken up and told to move along. If I'm found sleeping on a bench I'm left alone. If a tramp is found sitting on some steps he's told to move along. If I'm sitting on the same steps as the tramp at the same time, the police tell me have a nice day. I'm not acting any differently. It's not the tramps behaviour that's wrong, it's the fact that he's a tramp. Doesn't that make you sick?

The best way of staying in power is to take away the vote of the needy. That way no one will try and change anything. The only way we can get the homeless back on their feet is give them the vote - because if they had it, they would damn well use it, and that is when the government would start giving a shit.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


It had to come at some point. Here is my list of other blogs of exceptional quality. The links that follow will take you to blogs so good Mr. Kipling might have made them, and then distributed them freely about the poor.

Bon Appetit!

Paulitics is a fucking good blog. A Noam Chomsky Pod Cast? Critical analysis of political polls? A ribbon campaigning to "Stop killing people"? He's in my RSS feeds.

David Goodner of The Des Moines Register has a very slick, smooth moving blog. Perhaps a bit too slick. But the up to date, on-the-inside posts are a tres, tres interesting read - and full of libertarian socialist goodness - my favourite kind of goodness! And you know you can respect a journalist who's willing to get arrested for his politics. I heartily encourage you to have a sneaky peak through his curtains - it's always worth it.

Frameshop is a blog run by a young whippersnapper named Jeffrey Feldman, whose lighthearted approach to serious issues makes for a fiery biscuit. Although his exclusive criticism of the Republican party insinuates faith in the Democratic party (who in my books are only marginally better - the only candidate who doesn't make me sick is Dennis Kucinich) he definitely has the neocons nailed.

Red Montana is a nice news-analysis style blog with a leftist approach.

a la gauche: iya basta! - Socialist blog based in America - ran a very hard hitting article about the homeless in San Francisco a while ago. Although this author can be slight Amero-centric, I believe he has fashioned a blog of exceptional quality.

Class War Panda is a political comic blog that could lead you to suicide in large doses.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Preface: By no means do I want people to take this article as a justification of terrorism, it is simply a criticism of how governments deal with it.

So we all know that Turkey's happily planning to invade Iraq in order to crush the PKK.

Certain Turkish blogs have been justifying this military action saying that the PKK are a terrorist organisation who are threatening the stability of Turkey, using roadbombs and blowing up buses.

And that's all perfectly true - but Turkey's strategy of invasion and repression will only increase the violence - it seems to be true with every terrorist organisation - the only reason people go out and kill other people in this way (terrorism) is because they are very pissed off, and they normally have good reason to be very pissed off. For example, Palestinian terrorists suicide bomb Israel on a regular basis, killing innocent civilians and causing a horrible amount of violence - but they do it because Israel's army bombs the shit out of them, shoots little girls in the head and messily executes suspected criminals via rocket in crowded streets. Israel does all this in the name of self defence against the terrorism that these activities are causing. This is a vicious circle that can only be stopped when the organised, governmental side of the fight looks at the diplomatic options instead of an attempt to crush the terrorism (which only fans the flames). Almost all terrorist organisations prefer diplomacy to more bloodshed.

Turkey invading Iraq will only reaffirm the Kurdish populations suspicions of Turkey, that they are out to get the Kurds - and now they've come to Iraq, to attack the same villages that Saddam Hussein gassed, in order to do there what they did to Turkish Kurds in 1997 - mass evacuation of Kurdish villages, the murder of tens of thousands of Kurds, acts of torture and terrible violence. The survivors of this military action will be very angry indeed, as I'm sure you will imagine, after having been driven out their homes, made refugees, watched friends and loved one die. Angry enough to take up arms and fight back. That is how terrorism is born.

In the 1990s, just before the monstrosity I described above, Turkey almost ended the fight with the PKK, through diplomacy. Turgut Özal managed to negotiate with the PKK, convincing them to lower their demands from an independent Kurdish state (which they understandably wanted, as the Kurds had been trying to get one before Turkey even existed) to a negotiated settlement. But after Özal died of a heart attack in 1993, everything went to shit, and the Turkish army decided to chuck more fuel on the fire by killing Kurdish community leaders, political activists, and carrying out the mass exodus of Kurdish villages I've already mentioned.

I think history has shown (100 years of it) that the approach Turkey - and many other countries, including (but not limited to) Israel, the US and the UK - is now taking will only increase the violence, not tackle it. To end a fight you have to put your guns down and open a negotiation.

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Thursday, 28 June 2007


Before funking off out of office, Tony Blair decided to have a go at the press - referring to them, Plato stylee, as a "feral beast". The gist of his rant is that mainstream news outlets are becoming increasingly commentary - as opposed to news - based, as a result of the fierce competition they face with the growing popularity of blogs. Blair's concern lay with how hard it was making life for him and other politicians - it can be pretty inconvenient when you're trying to cover up the fact that your government took bribes willy nilly, what with all that cash for honours business.

However, certain mofos are more worried about the whole affair for better reasons - the idea of having
no reliable news source - that we are losing the facts and are being served only opinion. Certainly it's true that most mainstream news outlets are losing their validity in an attempt to maintain reader numbers - but is this reason to be worried? Will the news become pure propaganda in order to survive?

The answer is no:
news outlets have always been biased thanks to economic reasons - eg Rupert Murdoch wants papers that attract all members of society so that he can advertise to them (left thinkers, right thinkers, centrists, the middle aged, teenagers) so he ensures he owns a newspaper/media outlet for each target market. All newspapers which contain adverts sell you as their product - not news - and they sell you to those who wish to advertise. The real product on sale is an audience with your stimulated brain. This means that news and accurate reporting is merely a secondary priority - maintaining a regular audience of people belonging to a certain school of thought is the real priority, and so the paper will purposely twist current events to appeal to these people, and twist events in a way that harm their advertisers as little as possible.

As these sources are already biased,
by making them recognisably propaganda, bloggers are actually improving the situation. Considering that one news outlet - the BBC - will always remain, and take efforts to remain , relatively unbiased, due to the fact that their revenue comes not from advertising, but near compulsory TV licenses that the majority of the UK pay for, we are not losing our source of 'pure' news, but shining a torch on it.

As all the other news providers battle for sales, the BBC will remain as it is -
and be noticeably more trustworthy to the general population.

I have no illusions as to the natural biases held by the BBC - the ones based purely on a reporter or establishment's sense of right and wrong and other vested interests (eg any story the BBC run around their funding) - but these biases are present in all news reporting, there is no way to avoid it. What makes the BBC preferable is that
it is not a slave to advertising agencies. The biases the BBC do hold are nothing in comparison to what other news corporations hold and will hold.

Although we may now watch the old media turn into a propaganda machine, we should not stop blogging to avoid this:
as long as the BBC remains impartial, we are purifying the world's news.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007


In a strange display of undoing progress and socially backwards movement, religion is making a comeback into State influence.

Most notably so in America, with George Bush winning elections by waving a Bible, and justifying war by saying God told him to do it. But, religion has also impacted British politics to a certain degree recently, with Tony Blair saying God will be the one judging him on Iraq - not the electorate, apparently. 'God' appears to be a bit of a get out of jail free card right now, which gets me a bit worried.

Religion is an abuse.

People are voting out of religion. George Bush quotes a Bible passage and masses of Americans support him blindly - they don't care about his policies, they just assume that they'll line up with Christian beliefs. The ridiculous thing is that they actually don't - Bush is using religion as a means of control - killing in the name of a man that preached peace and understanding. He has distorted religion to fit his agenda. Religion has always been distorted to suit what the authority wants - Israel is 'the promised land', Jihad earns you a place in heaven, the slaves had to obey because of the teachings of Jesus.

All religion is is a tool for authority figures to use to rally support, and keep people in line. Treason is a sin - the oppressed workers who make an attempt to revolt will go to Hell. Theft is a sin - even when a man is starving, he can't steal a handful of grapes.

Religion is also used as a tool to kill opposing ideologies - and changes constantly, from culture to culture - in the '50s Jesus hated communism - where in the Bible does it say that? It wasn't Jesus that hated communism - it was the authority. The authority attached Jesus's name to their ideologies, knowing thousands of people would then be forced to agree with them, for fear of going to Hell. Every time a politician invokes God, he is telling people that they will go to Hell if they disobey him.

All religion is a means of control.

The highest authorities constantly manipulate religion to assert their own authority - all religious people from the top down have been tricked, tricked in to believing in a system that keeps them under control out of fear (you will go to Hell if you break my ideology), and tricked into upholding and legitimising a system that keeps them under control out of fear (people join the clergy and people try and increase Church attendance in their neighbourhood).

Religion was born out of both ignorance and a desire for power in certain people - religion came before science, as an explanation for what people did not know. People are not naturally rational beings - it has taken thousands of years of progress to get to the point where we are today, with proper scientific methods of developing beliefs and obtaining knowledge. Religion was created in a time where people could be easily fooled- and ironically, one of the reasons people believe in mainstream religion today is that it has been around for so long - as opposed to religions like Scientology, which are widely dismissed as nonsense. Scientology is no more unreliable then any other religion.

Religion not only is a means of control, but has inherently harmful factors that benefit no one, such as an opposal to the use of condoms in Africa, where AIDS is plaguing the population. This is not a manipulation of religion - merely the destructive power of people following groundless, outdated law that was written for a different culture by desert mystics.

Obviously, apart from these few factors, and the fact that religion tricks people into believing falsities, religion is not bad in itself - it is whether those manipulating it are good or bad that makes the difference. Religion can be used to manipulate people into doing many virtuous things, such as charity - as shown by organisations such as Christian Aid.

However, although pragmatically religion can be used to do beneficial things, ideologically, the idea of lieing to and threatening people with images of Hell and burning bodies to do this, when there are alternative, more respectful ways at hand, is unacceptable for me. Religion is an abuse, and all those who believe are with the victims.