United against Oligarchy

by Elias Blum

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Those who think the Tory Government are doing a bad job don’t get it: they are doing a very good job, for those they serve. It’s just that the vast majority of us are not included in that set. The aim of oligarchy is to siphon money away from the common good and into the hands of a small ruling class, and the Tories are very effective oligarchs.

If anyone thinks this is some kind of unsubstantiated ‘conspiracy theory’, I invite them to look up the term ‘structural adjustment’. That is the term for the sustained and deliberate attempt to impose a policy of shifting the tax burden from the rich to the middle class and the poor, privatisation, deregulation, and outsourcing, ‘labour market flexibility’ (making it easier to give you the sack) and union-busting. Social provision is cut, social services gutted, and ‘the market’ extended into areas that were once run for and on behalf of the community. It has been ruthlessly applied to Latin America, is being applied in Greece, and is being applied here. And the results are always the same: the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a tiny plutocratic class, the squeezing to destruction of the middle class, and the impoverishment of the whole society.

You don’t have to be a hippie lefty eating organic tofu and wearing a tie-dye sarong handspun by a lesbian cooperative in Nicaragua to see three basic truths: (i) this is the reality of oligarchy today; (ii) this just ain’t fair-dealing; and (iii) a better way is possible. ‘Respectable people’ (people with suits and ties and middle class jobs, people with mortgages and live assurance policies, people with their own small businesses) should also be able to these things. Whether we are ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, ‘progressive’ or ‘traditionalist’ in our views on social matters, I hope that we can see that a more democratic and co-operative society would be better all round. The common-ground should be a society in which we don’t allow the very-rich few to plunder our common-wealth, in which we each provide for all, so that each can be provided for, and in which the doctrinaire posturings of neo-liberal economic theory are replaced with a more humane and pragmatic approach to economic matters.

When I say ‘hug a Tory’, I don’t mean ‘capitulate to oligarchy’; I mean convince those working class and middle class people who vote for oligarchs that it’s really not in their interests to do so, and that the ideas of scruffy lefty reading ‘The Spirit Level‘ in the corner might actually be better not just for the very poor, but also for the whole 99% of society.

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