On 1st March 2018 Activate UK, which proclaims it is ‘Actively engaging young people in the right of centre politics’, posted the following Tweet on Twitter: “As the cold settles in and the national gas supply is running low we are hearing horrific stories… All across the country, Socialists are being forced to put their hands in their own pockets.”
As people across Britain prepared for what was being called the ‘Beast from the East’, in every town and city thoughts turned to people who were most vulnerable to the anticipated blizzard and arctic conditions. It is impossible to know the logistics of the informal, public driven, emergency operations that mobilised to meet the challenges vulnerable people faced, nor is to possible to know how many lives have been saved by the willing hands and generosity of ordinary people.
All other considerations aside, and there are many, what Activate failed to understand, as so many right wing Conservatives do, is that Socialism isn’t all about money and the ignorance that Activate revealed was that in their minds everything is about money, even their cheap shots at Socialism.
It is this obsession with money as wealth to be siphoned off, hoarded and jealously guarded (preferably in tax havens) which is seeing the destruction of our NHS and front line services, social security turned into a penal system, the privatisation of the state and state assets and services, escalating poverty, suicides, and children starving. All of it Conservative government policy.
I am 67 and a life long Socialist from the day I gave a thought to politics and social issues. I have only ever seen money as a means to an end, even, and perhaps especially, as a child growing up in poverty. Hoarding money for its own sake is incomprehensible to me, I am incapable of understanding what the appeal is and it always begs the question, ‘What for?’ All I ever wanted in life was enough with a little to spare for emergencies. Most of my life has been spent hand to mouth with the little to spare never materialising. I’ve had lean times when I’ve been homeless and hungry, thankfully only for a short period of time, but even being hungry for days on end never gave rise to the desire for money for its own sake.
My attitude to money is that under our current global system, money is a necessary evil if I want to keep body and soul attached. For the record, I think the global system of money is rotten to the core, utterly corrupt and a means of managed scarcity to enslave people to week in week out constant toil, creating wealth for those who hoard it and who deny workers an equitable share in the fruits in their own labour. We sell our bodies and minds to others in order to eke out a mean existence. So it has been day after day, year after year, decade after decade of my life. Oh, I’ve worried and been angry at not having enough money, never more so than the times when I couldn’t afford the rent and feared to lose the roof over my head.
I take no pleasure in financial insecurity, there is nothing noble or laudable about being poor, it’s shit. There’s no point constantly moaning about it when there is no end in sight, you ‘make do’, and there is a saying exclusive to those who have to manage with not enough.
Perhaps I have spent time with the wrong poor people, because my experience of poor people is that they are often generous to a fault. You are more likely to get a meal in a poor persons house than a crumb from a rich man’s table.
I wonder what those responsible for the Activate Tweet will say if the gas supply runs out on them, will they castigate themselves because they didn’t dig deep enough into their own pockets? Hardly. Of course, even if they did and had a stack of gold on their table, it wouldn’t make a ha’porth of difference, though perhaps they could wrap themselves in it to see if it would keep them warm.
What they have yet to discover, along with a great many others, is that money is a poor slave and a worse master. In and of itself it is utterly useless. In the world of things, from spades to spaceships, money is unique in its essential uselessness and it is a very poor and mixed up mind and world that reveres it above all other things as desirable.
At best money it is a tool to be used in exchange for useful things, yet in our very peculiar world, people can sell their labour to create things and yet not receive enough pay to afford the things they’ve made with their own hands.
Whilst work for pay dominates the work narrative, millions of people are working daily to keep Britain running and functioning and yet they receive little or no recognition for their diligent and exacting toil.
What the Activate Tweet reveals is that the world is ass backwards. In the words of the late Howard Zinn, “I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power and the wrong people are out of power, that the wealth is distributed in this country and the world in such a way as not simply to require small reform but to require a drastic reallocation of wealth.”
And that is the very thing that Activate and the Conservatives hate. It is that which lies behind the slanderous accusation that Socialists aren’t prepared to put their hands in their own pockets. It was on the unthinking basis of his own self assumed privilege that David Cameron accused poor people of having a culture of entitlement, just as Activate accused Socialists of being greedy and grasping after other people’s money. The pot whose soul is as dark as its arse calling the kettle black.
It would be funny is it wasn’t so sickening, that whilst socialists extend themselves for the common good which includes their personal efforts and contributions towards it for the benefit of all, rich and poor alike, modern right wing conservatism which is costing countless lives and bringing the world to its knees is all based on personal greed, which led me to redesign the Activate logo, changing, ‘Actively engaging young people in the right of centre politics’, to, ‘Masturbating while poor people die’.
I cannot claim personal responsibility for Activate deleting their Tweet although I hope they were offended by my response, but it doesn’t come close to their own small minded bigotry and arrogance, and my Tweet is unashamedly still up there. I was not paid for the work I did on their logo, like all the work I do these days, I did it from the goodness of my own heart. Ha ha ha ha.
Keith Ordinary Guy