Sunday, 6 December 2009

Not so cheap tricks

Well, could you be bothered taking part in a totally pointless climate change 'demonstration’ yesterday? I couldn’t either.
If you’re not clear what I mean, then I won’t refer you to the reports on a government underwritten radio station, or those in a newspaper which receives £700,000 per year alone for running government notices, so try the relatively independent Energy FM at instead.
And it gets worse next week, when a notable waste of space fills time in the Keys on similar questions (see Considering that these matters are also being ‘independently’ raised by an FOE activist who received £15,600 from the Department of Local Government and the Environment “to carry out a news co-ordinating service between November 2008 and May 2009” (see I’m at a loss to understand how the relevant government departments aren’t aware or considering it. By the way, would that ‘news co-ordinating service’ include a series of articles purporting to be ‘independent opinion’ on environmental matters from an FOE perspective in Manx Tails – which doesn’t get direct government funding so has to rely on free copy even more than other local media?
The sheer futility of it all was demonstrated on the BBC news reports last night, where a few thousand blue-painted MOR types ambled through the streets of London acompanied by obliging rozzers. Prominent amongst the banners were those of homophobic fuckwits Tear Fund, Greenpeace (cause celebre of non-doms and landed inbreeds everywhere) and the only slightly less picky Christian Aid – who, I suppose, at least have the decency to advertise their Christocentric agenda in their name. Then a smug Gordon Brown was seen greeting said sad-acts. Crikey, bet he was terrified!
Similarly, every time such events kick off over here the most prominent supporters are right wing fundamentalists and nationalists, and the whole show is stage managed and publicised by folk who receive government funding to publicise the island. And that’s on top of the underwriting by corporate elements who make it a condition of their funding that the role of the free market, and the relationship between international corporations and specific national governments, is never questioned. The one thing never talked about is democracy, because it’s the last thing any of the interested parties want.
So, what’s the point, and who exactly is the message directed at if everyone supposedly involved in delivering it is being sponsored and stage-directed by the very parties common sense tells us are most guilty?
The answer, I would say, can be found in predictions made by those anarchist jokers the Situationists over 30 years ago. Both Guy Debord’s Society of The Spectacle and Raoul Vanneigm’s Revolution of Everyday Life foresaw that as capitalism reacted against the apparent social ‘revolution’ of the 1960’s it would find ways to commodify protest and revolution themselves. And sure enough, what we have now is a situation (be it globally or right here on the Isle of Man) where the most reactionary and powerful forces in society not only direct our ‘protest’ against them, but sponsor it and extract our time and money for permission to do so.
That is a long way from democracy. But then, as I and other awkward sods here have known for years, the Isle of Man is not a democratic country or a self-governing one, and the last thing those who run the place want is anyone drawing attention to that.
Climate change ‘protests’? No problem, and will you be paying by cash or card?

No comments: