Tonight, during the Seder Jews celebrate Passover, the holiday of freedom: the liberation of the Jewish slaves from the tyranny of the Egyptian Pharaoh.
May it help many Jews around the world to draw analogy with Palestine. If Moses said” “Let my people go” to Pharaoh, we should take note and let our brothers go, release them from the shackles of occupation and oppression.
Let them find freedom in their land and home, let there be peace.
Who is the real Nigel Farage?
Farage likens himself to an “outsider”, an ordinary blokey man-of-the-people, one you could have a friendly pint with in a pub. He brandishes his “white English” background and recently speaks of the oppression of the “white working class”.
But Farage shouldn’t be ashamed of his less than perfect little-England background…. His great-grandfather Carl Schrod, born in 1864, was the child of German immigrant cabinetmakers in London. His family name was originally Ferauge which got anglicised to Farage, is of Huguenot ancestry, which were French protestant refugees that received asylum all over protestant Europe, including the UK.
Farage was BORN INTO money, not “white working class”. Like his father, Farage was a stockbroker who worked in the City of London, he was educated in the elite Dulwich College and later joined the American commodity brokerage firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, transferring to Credit Lyonnais Rouse in 1986. He joined Refco in 1994, and Natexis Metals in 2003.
Incidentally, Farage is also married to a German lady, nothing to be ashamed of.
Lets turn our attention to his political self-portrait. Nigel Farage speaks constantly of him and his party as having an “outsider” status. He claims he is being excluded, like ordinary people, from economic justice by “career politicians”.
However, his velveteen jacket lapels and checked bonnet can hardly hide the hankerings for country squire status.
As for “career politicians” off the 12 UKIP members of the European parliament (MEPs) elected in 2004, UKIP have had to expel two for corruption. Farage himself has taken £2 million of taxpayers’ money in expenses and allowances as a MEP, on top of his £64,000 a year salary.
He certainly IS MAKING A CAREER in the EU which largely funds him, and so are roughly a third of his candidates standing for the European elections are currently working in politics, as MEPs, staffers, or researchers.
And behind him are some fairly unpleasant characters. Never mind that in the last European Parliament, several of his MEPs ended up in trouble for fiddling their expenses, with one actually jailed.
UKIP – a party by the elite for the elite.
UKIP was born from the Anti-Federalist-League and was founded by Alan Sked, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, who studied history at Merton College, Oxford. Sked himself now disassociates from UKIP which he says, thanks to Farage has “gone completely fruitcake,” becoming “anti-immigrant, anti-intellectual and racist”.
Most of its leadership can be traced to the extreme Thatcherite wing of the Tories, who wanted to leave the European Union, and were pushed to the margins in their mother party. UKIP is backed financially by big business and some very wealthy people, whom it backs in return.
One of UKIP’s biggest donors in the past was Stuart Wheeler. He is a rich businessman and Tory party member who has donated millions of pounds to the Tories. Now he has donated £100,000 to UKIP and called on other Tory party members to vote for them. These right-wing businessmen aren’t giving millions of pounds to UKIP because they want more money spent on hospitals and education. They oppose the EU partly from a standpoint of wanting more “free trade” and “deregulation” of businesses. That is, more freedom for big business to gamble with our jobs and pensions, and to profit from the sell-off of more public services.
UKIP opposes any regulation or controls on the banks and backs massive tax cuts for millionaires. Its key policy is the a flat tax of around 31% of income (this would also incorporate national insurance) - meaning tax rises for the majority of people and substantial cuts for the elite.
The NO TO IMMIGRATION is a cynical attempt to tap into the real fear that exists about jobs and wages. This fear is not just as a result of the current economic crisis but also present and previous UK governments including new Labour’s attempts to use migrant labour, particularly from Eastern Europe, to drive down wages and increase the profits of big business. The only way to protect jobs and wages is to regulate them and having people work together to take collective action for workers’ rights. The solution is not a “NO to immigration”, but no to erosion in workers rights (which withdrawing from the EU will accelerate not combat!) and a massive YES to investment in infrastructure, education, training and diversification of industries that can produce quality products, not financial schemes!
As we’ve seen UKIP has no plans to reverse the massive redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the plutarchy of big business/bankers, quite the opposite.
Put differently, does UKIP Farage have any plans for reversing this? Say mass employment or helping the poor/destitute and middle class in terms of investment in infrastructure, high skills education, creating industries and so on?
Instead UKIP plays on a classic divide and rule agenda, one that the Nazi party perfected to an art - struggling to pay your mortgage? Well, that’s because of Asians/fake disabled people/slothful benefits scroungers/Asylum seekers/the European Union, etc. Nothing to do with corrupt bankers or millionaire tax dodgers. The majority of its voters are former Conservatives, but it has also tapped into disillusioned former Labour supporters, playing to an anti-migrant agenda, and increasingly people who are just fed up with being ripped off, being fooled by the superficial window dressing that UKIP is the party of the “White Working Class.”
What about the European Union? Is it the big enemy of the people? The answer is No and Yes… Is the EU flawed? Sure. There are marco economic flaws, certainly its institutions are over bureaucratic and undemocratic to some extent - but the problem isn’t the EU, its a symptom or a result of countries like the UK vetoing reform and more transparent citizen power/vote rather than individual countries governments steering the EU agenda. To blame the EU for the failure is hypocrisy, given Farage and his colleagues opportunistic relationship to it.
The EU, even with its limitations and help to big business, is, as an institution and its laws, a moderating influence against a far more right wing UK which wants to continue to destroy the already eroded workers rights and conditions, human rights and transparency and accountability – ironically exactly what UKIP wants to accelerate!
Is this Farage’s/UKIP’s vision of helping the poor and middle class?
What Farage really wants is a slice of the pie, to be an agent of the big multinationals and banks, as he is not challenging them, merely displacing the anger felt by the population over exploitation into racist/xenophobic strawmen
In their seminal work, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno and Max Horkheimer outline how “culture industry”, constantly creates a false consciousness about the world around us based on myths and distortions deliberately spread in order to benefit the ruling class.
Time to spill the beans and dispel the Mirage of Farage’s myths and distortions.
Did you know that Sochi was once the capital of Circassia (or Cherkessia) until Russia invaded it in the late 19th century?
Russia systematically engaged in mass ethnic cleansing, killing over 4 million of the Cherkessi people, while another 4 million became refugees, forced to settle all over the world. This was modern Europe’s first mass ethnic cleansing, or perhaps holocaust.
The mountain from where the skiers are now doing their skijumps is called to this day the Red Mountain (by both Russians and Cherkessis) because the snow was unable to absorb the blood from the slaughter inflicted by the Russians on the locals. It is now called the KrasnayaPolyana ski complex, and is purportedly built on the site of the Circassians’ legendary last battle. This is why some Cherkessi people protest and say “Sochi: Skiing on mass graves!”
The last stand by the Circassians against the Russians was at Sochi, and in 1864 Russia finally conquered and wiped any trace of the Cherkessi in the area by either mass murder or systematic deportation into boats that sailed from Sochi to the Ottoman Empire, and from there resettled (or sold as slaves) around the Middle East. Less than 10% Cherkessi people remained in their homeland, and they too have been later forcibly expelled from their homeland.
A Russian officer described the scene around Sochi as the Russians were celebrating their victory: “On the road our eyes were met with a staggering image: corpses of women, children, elderly persons, torn to pieces and half-eaten by dogs ; deportees emaciated by hunger and disease, almost too weak to move their legs, collapsing from exhaustion and becoming prey to 4 dogs while still alive.”
Nikolai Evdokimov, the general in charge of the operation, wrote annoyedly, of a subordinate, “I wrote to Count Sumarokov as to why he keeps reminding me in every report concerning the frozen bodies which cover the roads,” (from Walter Richmond’s, The Circassian Genocide).
Russia has worked hard to erase any trace of history of Circassia, it also exiled the few remaining Cherkessis into a another region away from the ethnically cleansed Sochi.
Over six million Cherkessi people now live in exile, without a homeland.
They keep the memory of their homeland alive and mark May 21st as the memorial day for the Circassian Genocide.
This is why some have labelled Sochi the Genocide Olympics, although it is probably more accurate to talk of mass ethnic cleansing.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing_of_Circassians
So Facebook is celebrating 10 years for its online existence, but the real headline is how it transformed YOU.
YOU are now Facebook’s product, and even more so, YOUR data is a commodity that can be used to find out anything you reveal about YOU, available for a price.
But there’s more, Facebook has accelerated the already present condition of alienation and loneliness in advanced capitalism a ten fold.
Alienation is a product of world that judges YOU by income, YOUR job, consumer objects, and self-projected image causing the loss of YOUR family and organic social and community connections.
Facebook offers an imaginary solution to loneliness that accelerates the collapse of the social fabric in advanced capitalist societies.
Instead of YOU taking time to see, meet, emotionally and intellectually connect with people, we retreat to a world where our connection is based on sharing photos, videos, status updates, carefully edited thoughts and “feelings” provided on Facebook.
Facebook gives us the illusion that we are not alone and always connected, YOU being the centre of an online world, but in fact it often ends up making YOU feel even more lonely and disconnected from real people.
On Facebook YOU get to edit, delete, present, YOUR optimal message; Instead of building true connection YOU become obsessed with personal promotion, online romance, and textual exchanges.
Facebook hasn’t just changed what and how YOU socialise, it is transforming who YOU are.
It appeals to us where we’re most vulnerable due the changes above: we are lonely, we are afraid of intimacy and confused about our place in the world.
Facebook offers us three core fantasies: that we focus our attention wherever we like, we will always be heard, and finally we’ll never have to be alone.
We are sharing carefully edited “experiences” so we can feel connected to others, heard, and alive.
But the Facebook “reality” in which YOU find yourself is carefully orchestrated, organised and faked.
If Descartes once said “I think therefore I am” – Facebook’s motto is “I share therefore I am.”
But if YOU allow YOURSELF to become totally swept by Facebook’s fantasy gratifications, YOU will only know LONELINESS, which makes you more and more hooked and dependent on it.
Happy Birthday Facebook – It is EVERYONE’S BIRTHDAY and NOONE’s at the same time.
Blog post inspired by TED talks, Connected, but alone and the Innovation of Loneliness YouTube post.
Why Boxing Day? Some say it stems from Roman times when money to pay for athletic games was collected in boxes. Amongst the ruins of Pompeii, boxes made out of earthenware with slits in the top full of coins have been found. Later the Romans brought the idea of collecting boxes to Britain, and monks and clergy soon used similar boxes to collect money for the poor at Christmas.
With Christianity superimposed on pagan ritual it was associated with St Stephen’s Day, who was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death in 34 AD.
During St Stephen’s Day, celebrated a day after Christmas, charity boxes were used at the church door to collect money for the needy.
For various reasons this custom was discontinued in Europe but held on in the Anglican Church, which renamed it “Boxing Day”.
From around the 17th century the upper class used to give boxes containing food, clothing or money to tradespeople and servants.
Thus, it was a day to thank the community for all their effort throughout the years. The maids, drivers and other service workers were thanked with gifts of food, money, clothing, and other goods.
The institution of it as a bank holiday originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria, and thus is secular in its institution.
Sometimes as I stare into the mirror,
I wish I were momentarily a cat,
or at least someone else.
Less awareness, total simplicity,
without understanding and language.
Sometimes when I talk,
I attempt to run away.
run away from one truth,
Or even a few.
So I prefer the silence.
So many people
haven’t a clue to what words signify.
They want to appear sharp,
on the spot, wise and intellectual.
They talk and talk,
trying to run away,
run away from one truth,
Or even a few.
So I prefer the silence.
People still talk of ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the UK. That, however is not a reality any more.
The centre has moved so much to the right that it makes the word left meaningless.
Labour is now a neo-liberal party, while the Conservative party is moving towards a UKIP-like nationalist dream vision that aims to cloud/justify its real aim: plutarchy.
Labour ditched the ideal of the welfare of the nation into an entrepreneurial ‘kinder’ vision rather than one holding a butcher’s knife as exemplified by die hard neo-liberalists (previously the bedrock of Thatcherism), now the centre-right of Labour.
In the Conservative party these have become a rare breed (e.g. Kenneth Clark), most oppose neo-liberalism and believe in consolidating power and money in the hands of big corporations with the state’s role to facilitate their growth rather than open competition. Multiculturalism has been ditched in favour of a soft religious and/or nationalist vision of ‘society’.
In today’s environment, Thatcher would have been very much welcomed in today’s Labour BUT NOT in the Conservative party (where she’d be marginalised along the likes of Clark).
The nest dropped
Out of the hearts eye
Split of a second
No bird no feathers
Where beak to beak
Wing to wing Were
There’s a branch
Bare and gray
Suddenness of flowers blooming
Growth and life
of where we died and became
One and the other
Where a dream nest perished