In 1922, Benito Mussolini and the Partito Nazionale de Fascisti took power in Italy. With the establishment of this, the first Fascist state in Europe, came the domino effect, with Portugal, Germany, Austria, Spain, Croatia, and Slovakia following suit. What this culminated into I don’t have to explain to anyone. However, in recent years, we are seeing a repeat in History, with Nationalist and Fascist parties gaining support across Europe. The United Kingdom, which even at the height of Fascist Power in Europe during the 1930’s, had relatively few Fascist and Nayi symphatizers (The British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Moseley, had, at it’s height, around 20,000 members). Nowadays, it’s a whole different story.
The United Kingdom now stands poised for another election. In one corner, we have a man who has failed to address anti-semitism in his own party and has refused to apologise for his impotence in addressing this issue. In the other, a man who has repeatedly made derogatory comment about Muslims, has shown an utter disregard for the working class, and whose only item of any value on his agenda seems to be Tax cuts, as he likes to repeatedly say. These are obviously not tax cuts for the ordinary citizen, you understand, but for corporations and wealthy businessmen. I would say that what he is proposing is Raegonomics, but I doubt there is even an expectation for the corporations to re-invest this money in the economy. Also, with Brexit looming, and companies looking elsewhere to gain access to the Single Market, many have already shut their doors, so these tax cuts would have to be ludicrous for them to even consider investing in the UK Economy. And then there’s Nigel Farage, whose Brexit Party MP’s have already made way for some more Conservative members, whose smile reminds me of the smile a baby would give if it shit in its diaper and found it incredibly hilarious, sitting in the background, sniggering to himself and just waiting for that fat wad of cash to fall into his lap once Brexit is over with.
One would think that with the track record of the Conservatives of the last 10 years (Cuts of funding to public services, including the NHS, the privatisation of which looms around the corner, austerity measures that have left around 14.3 million people in Poverty, 4.6 million of which are children, the increase in University Tuition fees to £9,000 a year, etc.), and with Corbyn’s agenda including the reversal of all these issues (abolishing tuition fees, increased funding to NHS, no privatisation of the NHS), it seems that it is a clear-cut case who working class citizens, who depend on these social services and suffer the most when they are taken away, hould vote for, right? Well, no, it doesn’t. From what we have seen, the average worker is incredibly adept at voting against their own interests.
At some point in the conversation, the following sentence has always been heard “Well, Johnson and Farage are smart.” Let me be clear about this, once and for all: Johnson and Farage are not smart, they are manipulators. Manipulation is a skill, it is not a sign of intelligence. It is a skill commonly found in Psychopaths, and while I grant that psychopaths usually were very highly educated and very intelligent, it is nevertheless not a good idea to put Ted Bundy in charge of a Nation. That is not to say, however, that I think Farage and Boris are psychopaths, merely that neither of them have the knowledge and education necessary for a politician to lead a Nation into prosperity. As well as being manipulators, they are also opportunists. Farage and Boris have been closely monitoring public opinion and the public mood, and found a disgruntled populace as a result of economic stagnation, austerity, widespread poverty and under-funded public services; all caused by years of Conservative Government policy. However, you cannot put the blame for this on the Govenment and expect them to be accountable for their actions. Where would we be if Governments suddenly became accountable for their actions, if not a free and democratic society? So, who else is to blame for the widespread poverty, the underfunded NHS, and economic stagnation? Well, here comes Farage, and offers an answer: The EU and EU Migrants.
In Biblical times, the bronze-age inhabitants of Judea used to put the sins of the tribe on a goat, and drive it out into the desert, where it would die of hunger and thirst. This practice was called “scapegoating”, and is a practice that is still going on today. We don’t cast our sins on a goat anymore, though, but instead decide other people are responsible for our misfortune. “Of course it’s not my fault or my Government’s fault things are so bad. It all makes sense now. Everything is so bad because of that Spanish Barista, that Dutch accountant, and that German General Manager. It’s the EU, a Dictatorial regime that has taken our autonomy and our freedom. It all makes sense now. Thank you, Nigel” In the weeks before the election, the No.1 topic on the news was Brexit and Johnson’s handling of it, and the (supposedly) impartial BBC has had a tendency since the referendum (and before) to interview the most hardcore Brexiteers. “These Immigrants come over here and take our jobs and our benefits and don’t pay a penny.” That’s exactly right, Gary. That Polish immigrant with 2 PhD’s and a Masters Degree has taken your job, you with 2 GCSE’s and an STD. How dare that fully-qualified Pakistani Trauma Nurse take away your wife Sheryl’s job? Sure, Sheryl is the 3rd Generation of her family on benefits, has wasted most of her adult life in front of the television, who is only qualified enough to roll a joint, and whose only skill is getting pregnant, but she has a right to a job because she was born here, damnit! This same Rhetoric can be found in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In Germany, it was the Jews and the Communists that were responsible for the defeat in the War, it was their fault that the economy was in shambles, and it was them that caused the internal struggles in Germany. In the Soviet Union, it was the fault of Capitalist Conspirators and anti-Soviet saboteurs that were undermining the great Soviet system, the traitors to the revolution are amongt us.
As far back as records go, the ruling classes have always been opposed to the education of the lower ones. Education should only be a privilege afforded to a few. God knows what will happen if the rest of the population is educated. No, it’s better to keep them poor and ignorant because that way, we can legitimise our rule and control over them. Of course, these days, people are more educated and have more access to information than ever before. Unfortunately, we have access to too much information, so now, no one is entirely sure which source to believe. So, it’s a lot easier for people to cherry-pick the information which conforms to their own world view and beliefs, because somewhere out there, there will be a source that will validate your views, whether it’s true or not. This was the whole key to Farage’s discord. By portraying the EU as Totalitarian Regime similar to Stalinism, rather than what it actually is, an Economic entity, Farage justified the anti-Immigration sentiment of the people, blaming the EU for immigration, and so made a connection between the two that then stoked anti-EU sentiment. Farage also knew that once this sentiment was stoked, those who believed it would keep believing it, and would reject any counter-arguments to their position, which is just as well, as Farage’s whole campaign Brexit campaign revolved around the issue of Immigration. No other factors influenced any of his arguments for leaving the EU. A quick Google search would show that according to EU Law, EU migrant have to fulfill a number of criteria before being allowed to settle in a host country:
- The EU National has to be in possession of a valid Passport or ID card
- The EU National must be able to prove that they are able to sustain themselves and do not present a burden of the social system of the host country
- The EU National has to be in possession of comprehensive Health Insurance
- The EU National must not have a criminal background and/or pose a danger to themselves or others
(EU Directive 2004/38/EC)
Alas, this google search seems to have eluded most hardline Brexiteers, and most of the population at large before the referendum, and was conveniently forgotten by Farage. It is amazing how easy it is to get people to vote against their own interests if you can just take advantage of people’s ignorance and credulity.
This shift towards right-wing politics is a trend that has now happened across Europe, with the rise in support for many extreme right-wing parties such as Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Partij voor de Vrijheid in the Netherlands, Rassemblement National in France, VOX in Spain, Alternative Für Deutschland in Germany, etc. The tactics are the same for all these Parties; Scaremongering, Scapegoating, Misinformation, and taking advantage of people’s ignorance, while the Left has either become impotent and powerless or has shifted more toward the right themselves. However, according to the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Zuval Noah Harari, published in 2015, another reason for this shift is the fact that, at the time the book was published, “Ordinary Voters are beginning to sense that the democratic system no longer empowers them. The world is changing all around, and they don’t understand how or why. Power is shifting away from them, but they are unsure where it has gone. In Britain voter imagine tht power might have shifted to the EU, so thez vote for Brexit. In the USA voters imagine that ‘the establishment’ monopolises all the power, so they support anti-establishment candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The sad truth is that nobody knows where all the power has gone. Power will definitelz not shift back to ordinary voters if Britain leaves the EU, or if Trump takes over the White House.” (pg. 437) He hits the nail on the head when he says “Precisely because technology is now moving so fast, and parliaments and dictators alike are overwhelmed by data they cannot process quickly enough, present-daz politicians are thinking on a far smaller scale than their predecessors a century ago….. Government has become mere administration. It manages the country, but it no longer leads it.” (pg. 438) That is a good point; what exactly was the long term plan envisioned by Farage? What exactly is the long-term plan for Boris Johnson if he wins the election on the 12th? What exactly are Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, and Santiago Abascal Conde imagining that their countries would be like in 20 years? What are the long-term plans of any politician, really? Well, according to Homo Deus, none of them have any. Because of the ever-changing world we live in, none of them have any long-term visions or plans. However, the reason we still depend on politicians is because “Many neo-liberal economists and political scientists argue that is is best to leave all the important decisions in the hands of the free market. They thereby give politicians the perfect excuse for inaction and ignorance, which are reinterpreted as profound wisdom. Politicians find it convenient to believe that the reason they don’t understand the world is that they don’t need to undertand it.” (pg. 439) From what we have seen, I’m inclined to agree with him.
Anti-Establishment is rife throughout Europe and the Americas. But voting for people like Trump or Johnson or Le Pen does not get rid of the Establishment; it engrains it even further in society. These are just Businessmen and Women, looking to earn a profit. Why else would you cut taxes for the rich and, at the same time, cut funding to social services, as the Republican and Conservatives have done, if you yourself had nothing to gain from it? At the same time, however, it’s our fault for letting them do this. And why is that? Well, it’s because we are scared. We are scared of personal freedom, responsibility, and consequences. We are afraid of addressing our own ignorance. So we look to our leaders to take care of us, the same way a child would look to their parent. Then, a figure appears who appeals to our inner infant, saying: “The world is a dangerous place, there are enemies everywhere. Your way of life is in danger. This a party doesn’t care about you, this party supports our enemies, you can’t trust anyone. But if you follow me, I make sure you’re taken care of. I will protect you. You will have jobs and bread. All I ask is that you relinquish just a little bit of control and a little bit of freedom for the greater good.” This is the same offer given by demagogues and clerics throughout History. Embrace me and be rewarded, defy me and be punished.
This has been the establishment for centuries. Individuals and Organizations enacting unjustified authority over other Individuals, either through Force, by claiming Divine right or Divinity, by manipulation and broken promises, and we let them, because we were and still are, afraid, and want to be taken care of. We are afraid of taking personal responsibility, of addressing our own ignorance and prejudices, and of being an Individual, with our own Individual Freedom. But there were always those who resisted, those who valued Individual Liberty over everything, who asked questions, who challenged authority, who fought injustice. We were the Socialists and Anarchists, the Revolutionaries and Rebels, the Sceptics and Free-thinkers, the Partisans and the Resistance, the Writers and Poets, the Scientists and Philosophers; we were the anti-establishment, and we can be so again.