labour power

If the hour’s wage is fixed in such a way that the capitalist does not bind himself to pay a day’s or a week’s wage, but only to pay wages for the hours during which he chooses to employ the worker, he can employ him for a shorter time than that which is originally the basis of the calculation of the wages for the hour, or the unit of measurement for the price of labour. Since this unit is determined by the ratio of the daily value of labour-power to the working day of a given number of hours, it naturally loses all meaning as soon as the working day ceases to contain a definite number of hours. The connection between paid and unpaid labour is destroyed. The capitalist can now wring from the worker a certain quantity of surplus labour without allowing him the labour time necessary for his own subsistence. He can annihilate all regularity of employment, and according to his own convenience, caprice, and the interest of the moment, make the most frightful over-work alternate with relative or absolute cessation of work. He can abnormally lengthen the working day without giving the worker any corresponding compensation, under the pretence of paying ‘the normal price of labour.’
—  Karl Marx in Capital Volume 1, explaining zero hours contracts about 150 years before they came about proper
Remember Who The Enemy Is

ALL the progressive/left wing parties are really, really flawed.

Labour: Jeremy “Oh Where Do We Even Start” Corbyn. Useless on Brexit. Has thrown immigrants under the bus for the sake of chasing the WWC, who are not biting. Never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Party as a whole still carries legacy of Blair, Iraq. 

LibDems: Tuition fees.  Enabling Tories. I’ve come to see this as more complex than I used to - in retrospect I think they DID, in coalition, worst impulses to a degree and sucked at taking credit for their victories, as God knows the Tories have been even more awful since, but there were opportunities to walk out, bring down Cameron’s government before it enacted our current miseries, and they did not take them.  

Greens: Just unprofessional to the point where I keep expecting them to fall over and roll around with their legs in the air. Made a hash of Brighton. At one point decided the worst threat to civilisation was artists and writers getting to profit from their work.

I’ve shifted interest from one to the other and all of them have royally pissed me off. 

NONE OF THEM deserves your loyalty in the sense of sticking with them to make a point about the unpalatability of any of the others.  

ALL OF THEM are better than the Conservatives. Yes, they are. Yes, even that one.

 What is the point if they’re just watered down Tories?

Well, the point is that they’re not.

Labour: Wants a £10 minimum wage, universal free meals for primary schools, renationalised railways and to integrate NHS and social care. 

LibDems: Trying to save us from Brexit. Much more money for the NHS. Support the introduction of legalised, regulated cannabis and treating drug addiction as a medical issue rather than a criminal one overall. Would give 16-year-olds the vote.

Greens: Want a universal Citizen’s Income. Robin Hood tax on banks. Would repeal the Health and Social Care act of 2012 which basically opened the privatisation floodgates. Also, you know, to save the world. 

I once thought the distinction between the Tories and an exasperating opposition wasn’t meaningful. I don’t any more.   Don’t like that the Lib Dems broke promises? Well, May promised no snap election, just for starters. Don’t like Labour’s bellicosity? The Tories were there for all of it. Aghast at the Greens’ bungling? Iain Duncan Smith exists. Does that mean “they’re all the same”? No, it means  the Conservatives combine the flaws of all of them and the virtues of none of them.

Just some reminders of things the Tories have been up to lately: 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/24/the-9-green-policies-killed-off-by-tory-government

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-cuts-spending-policies-theresa-may-jeremy-hunt-tories-labour-lib-dems-a7549686.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dubs-amendment-government-vote-down-child-refugees-orphan-middle-east-syria-iraq-a7616301.html

That’s the Tories killing off good policies Labour  had put in place, or doing awful things opposed by Labour and the Lib-Dems/Greens, and or thwarting efforts Labour/the LibDems/the Greens were making to rescue children. Those green policies, that NHS funding, those refugee children would be safe right now if the Tories were not in power. 

Would Labour/the LibDems/The Greens get to enact all their best ideas and avoid all their worst tendencies? Of course not. Will they do or be what you most want in a government? No. Are you right to be furious with any or all of them? Definitely. 

Are you old enough to remember the 80s-to-late-90s when huge numbers of homeless people were sleeping rough all over London? And then in the late 90s through the 00s,  how they weren’t? It’s true. Have you seen how they’ve come back, how positive change has been deliberately reversed?  I can remember when mass rough-sleeping seemed like the bad old days that would never return. They did not have to.

Do you remember Sure Start? More than 350 Sure Start centres have closed since 2010.

Do you remember when satisfaction with the NHS was at a record high? It wasn’t long ago. It was  in 2010, when Labour left office. Satisfaction plummeted during the following year. Now,  seven years later it’s on the brink of collapse. 

 
Because none of the left-wing opposition parties are that great it is not worth allowing the differences between them to be points of division. And while we remember their mistakes and even their crimes we must remember what they did right. While we point out their ongoing flaws we must continue to see the opportunities they offer to reverse our slide into a cruelty, ignorance and unnecessary deprivation. Not to do so means more people will literally die. They will die on the sea trying to reach safety or under bombs they cannot escape; they will die waiting for medication or operations that would easily save them; they will die by suicide when they can no longer endure the poverty they have been forced into. They will die of cold and exposure on the streets.

I was in Hastings the other day. I met an old friend of mine. He’s a longterm alcoholic. He’s never going to be employable. He’s just lost his flat and was back to sleeping on the street after having a roof over his head for five years. There was a rattle in his breath that really scared me. He hadn’t had electricty or heating for years. He’s fifty-one, and looks at least ten years older. I think he’ll be dead in a year or so. His MP is the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. 

Treat Labour/LibDems/TheGreens as a single opposition. Viewed that way they’re at least adequate. Even if the fuckers can’t get it together to form an alliance. Vote for whoever has the best chance of ousting a Tory. 

Not sure who that his? Here you go! Search for your constituency and this chart will tell you how your vote can do the Tories the most damage.    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19_yf4RL133fBKscvSbID4eRKwztzY9KSI_2BMaI1bU8/htmlview?usp=embed_facebook&sle=true  Please do this, for the sake of all those who will be denied a vote at all. And if you are in a Labour constituency write to your MP about the desirability of a coalition with the other parties. 

erin-space-goat  asked:

feel free not to respond, but do you reckon workers in single-person businesses like artists / artisans and coop business are petit bourgeois by dint of their involvement in management stuff, or is it something else / more complicated? i guess i am unclear on what defines the boundaries of petit bourgeois vs working class in general

the class position of petit bourgeois is by it’s nature unstable and ambiguous, because as Marx said in the manifesto, they are “being constantly hurled down into the proletariat” - it was a precarious position then and it’s even more precarious now. These days there plenty of self employed people who are basically proletarianised, in that they don’t own any capital and are entirely dependent on selling their labour power to survive - folk that are living hand to mouth, working on a contract to contract basis, without any kind of social provision, no holidays, no sick pay - for many of these “independent” (yeah right) contractors, a permanent contract and fixed wage would mean a dramatic increase in their quality of life  - and industries depend on them, if they organised together they could go on strike etc. I worked in a call centre once where they made us all be ‘independent contractors’ - it was just a way of paying us less and providing no job security.

But yes, in general self employed people belong to the petit bourgeois class,  but bear in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about that particular person… as I often find myself saying on tumblr, class analysis is for understanding how society works, as a way of classifying individuals it’s not much use at all. Your class position isn’t a moral judgement on your character, it’s about the role the class you belong to, in its entirety, plays in capitalist society. So while it makes perfect sense to say that, for example, ‘the petit bourgeoisie tend toward reactionary politics’, or that they  are ‘the natural constituency of fascism’  - because small business owners as a class are more likely to locate their own interests in that direction than in proletarian revolution - it doesn’t necessarily say anything at all about your aunty Susan who makes her living selling pottery on etsy. 

HRH Prince William: BY ALASTAIR CAMPBELL

For years, Prince William found himself in a state of shock, unable to deal with the tragic death of his mother Princess Diana. As the nation wept that summer in 1997, in private William couldn’t allow himself to grieve. Quite simply, aged 15, he locked his emotions away, burying them beneath routine and a most dutiful, demanding public life. Until now. Recently, William has started talking about his loss, opening up and admitting his struggle and its effects - now he is passionately calling for all men to follow his example through his mental health campaign, Heads Together. In what is undoubtedly the most candid interview he has ever given, the 34-year-old future King talks exclusively to GQ about his mother’s death, his relationship with the media, his work, his family and how he is determined to lead by example. Oh, that my mother was alive to see me now, walking into Kensington Palace on a sunny spring day, to take tea with the future King William. Born in the same year as the Queen, 1926, and given the same Christian name, Elizabeth, my mother “Betty” was a fervent monarchist; indeed one of my earliest political memories is of the row provoked when, about half a century ago, I refused to listen to the Queen’s Christmas Day message. She and I also used to argue about Prince William’s parents as the disintegration of their marriage provoked a bitter propaganda war between them and their supporters. Once I got to know Princess Diana, in a series of extraordinary meetings (see my diaries, volume one) before Labour won power in 1997, despite the nasty columns I used to write about her as a journalist, I became something of a fan. I was smitten indeed, and so took her side in the Charles-Diana rows taking place in homes up and down the country. My mother was more for Charles, seeing as how he was going to be the next king. It is not a conversion from republicanism that has sparked this meeting with the Prince - though “President Trump” would challenge anyone’s faith in an elected head of state - but a common cause, namely the desire to eradicate the stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness. Prince William, his wife Catherine and his brother Harry, have chosen mental health as their main cause, and their Heads Together campaign has been successfully promoting the importance of being as open about our mental health as we are about our physical health. When they started off down this path, the republican in me was annoyed they could get so much traction for anything they did; but the Time To Change mental health campaigner was overjoyed. They have overseen the making of a series of short films showing the importance of talking about mental health problems rather than bottling them up. To my surprise, I was asked to take part in a film, talking with my partner Fiona about how my mental health troubles impact on us. Then, even more surprisingly, given how few extended interviews he gives, he agreed to be interviewed for GQ. I had met him a few times, on the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand in 2005, for example, and more recently at a dinner where I asked him whether he would follow the lead of his grandmother when he became king, by never giving an interview as monarch. Here, I was keen to test two things in particular. One was whether his commitment to this cause was real and whether he had a proper understanding of the issues. You can make up your own mind on that, but after an hour and a half at the palace, mine was made up in his favour. Secondly, I wanted to see how close to the public persona the more private man in his own habitat might be. Would he speak with the same stilted style that seems to characterise his public speaking? He didn’t. Would he have a sense of humour? He did. Would he stand on ceremony? He didn’t. Was there any real passion behind the shy exterior? There was. Indeed, were she still here, I would have called my mum and told her, “Good news - I liked him.”

What son doesn’t miss his mother when she’s gone? As you shall see, almost 20 years on from that car crash in Paris, Prince William clearly misses Princess Diana intensely, saying it is only now he feels able properly to talk about her death, the extraordinary week that followed it, and the enormous impact it had on him and his brother. He doesn’t believe she had mental health problems, and nor does he think that he does. But the trauma he suffered losing her so young, and in such awful circumstances, partly explains why he is determined to get the nation talking more about our emotions, not least because, in life and death, his mother changed the way we express them.

AC: So what’s a nice future king like you doing with an old leftie republican like me?

PW: That’s a very good question Alastair [laughs]. To be honest, I really don’t care where people come from, I like meeting and talking to people from all backgrounds. And this is a good opportunity to talk about something that is very close to your heart, and very close to mine.

AC: And why is mental health so close to yours?

PW: Practically everything in my charitable life, in the end, is to do with mental health, whether it be homelessness, veterans’ welfare, my wife and the work she is doing on addiction; so much of what we do comes back to mental health. Also, if I think about my current job as a helicopter pilot with the air ambulance service in East Anglia, my first job there was a suicide and it really affected me. I have been to a number of suicides, self harms, overdoses.

AC: In what way did it affect you?

PW: Not just the person who lost their life, but the people they leave behind. One of the stats I was given was that, just in the area we cover in the east of England - my base is in Cambridge - there are five attempted suicides every day. Yet suicide is still not talked about. So people have the pain of loss, but also the stigma and taboo means they are sometimes ashamed even to talk about how a lover, a partner, a brother, a sister, a best friend, how they died. That stat - five attempted suicides in the East Anglia region alone - it blew my mind, I thought, “Oh my God, this is such a big issue.”

AC: I am a patron of the Maytree suicide sanctuary in north London, and you and your wife made a private visit there. What impact did that have?

PW: The thing that made an impression on me, it wasn’t just the feelings of the people, the pain they were going through and the care for them, it was that this is the only place of its kind in the UK. It may be the only one in the whole of Europe, and I thought, this is terrifying, it really is, there should be more places like this, where people can go when they’re desperate. I have spoken to suicide groups and having been through personal grief myself, I had an inkling of what to expect, but it was all so raw. When someone does end their own life, [there are] so many questions, people feeling guilty, why didn’t we see it, why didn’t we do more, and all surrounded by this massive taboo. I found it eye opening, so revealing as to what goes on in people’s minds.

AC: When you land in your air ambulance and you get out, what on earth do they say when they see you?

PW: We are only likely to be there if people are in deep trauma or unconscious.

AC: But the other people there?

PW: We are often the first on the scene. Also, I do hang back a little. We land, we secure the scene, I will be sorting the comms for the next flight, and then I might be running around helping with equipment and so on.

AC: Nobody ever has to explain, say, “Sorry, don’t worry about him”?

PW: Most people seem to guess, but I do keep as far back as I can and let the team do what they have to do. I maybe carry the stretcher, carry the kit, sort the comms for the next leg. It is all very fast paced.

AC: Why do the three of you work together on Heads Together?

PW: It is a bit of an experiment really. The Royal Family has not normally done this, three members of the family pulling together to focus on one thing. Normally things are quite disjointed, we follow our own interests and see where it goes, but we thought, well, if we tied it together and had a focused approach, how would that work? We wanted to see the impact we could have.

AC: You must get bombarded with approaches and requests? How do you decide what causes and events to support? Do you try to be strategic about it?

PW: Focused rather than strategic, I would say. When I settle on something, I want to dig deep, I want to understand what I am involved in, I want to understand the complexities of all the issues and, above all, I want to make an impact.

AC: Do you not get frustrated, though? Of course, there are advantages to your position but there are limitations too, because you cannot stray into politics. So you can’t do what I do and bang the drum for more resources and more action from government. Is that not really frustrating?

PW: It can be frustrating at times. I watch the political world, I am interested in it, at times I feel there are things going on I could really help with, but you have to understand where you sit and what the limits are; and with regard to what we do in our charity work, I like to think you can do just as much good but in a different direction.

AC: It’s great you guys are getting involved in mental health. Generally, my worry, though, is there is a danger that making improvements on stigma and taboos is seen as a substitute for services, not an accompaniment. Presumably you saying something like that goes beyond acceptable limits?

PW: No, not at all. I can say that. If I attack government policy, no, I can’t, but I can certainly make that kind of point. What we can do is convene, bring people together, organise private meetings, get experts in one room who might otherwise not always meet, they tend not to refuse an invitation, and we can thrash things out.

AC: Is it very much Harry on veterans, Kate on addiction and young women, you on men in general?

PW: A little bit. Harry has the Invictus Games and focuses a lot on veterans. But we are not stuck in our boxes. We are all three of us trying to understand the tentacles of mental health, which go everywhere. I do think if you are focused about general aims you can have a much greater impact. So we do try to stay focused, not splurge around.

AC: Are you in the mental health space for the long haul?

PW: Medium to long term, definitely. What we would love to do is smash the taboo. Getting the London Marathon as the mental health marathon, that was a big thing, and I hope we are reaching a tipping point. But it is a bit like wading through treacle. It is tough. We are now looking at a legacy programme. We are not going to rush, and the mental health sector has to believe in what we might propose, so we are getting expert opinion and then we will pick and choose and decide what we do.

AC: Why don’t you do the London Marathon yourself?

PW: I would love to, but from the policing point of view, they tested it and they were like, “What?” I am keen to do a marathon but it won’t be London.

AC: What about getting a treadmill in here and doing it while everyone else is pounding the streets?

PW: It would be so boring.

AC: Be great television.

PW: I think I would have mental health issues if I was just staring at that wall. I do want to do it though - and the training. In the military we did plenty of similar things to marathons, like yomping over the Brecon Beacons with a ton of kit on your back. I am just pleased we got London as the mental health marathon.

AC: Do you have specific goals and outcomes for the campaign?

PW: Smashing the taboo is our biggest aim. We can’t go anywhere much until that’s done. People can’t access services till they feel less ashamed, so we must tackle the taboo, the stigma, for goodness sake, this is the 21st century. I’ve been really shocked how many people live in fear and in silence because of mental illness. I just don’t understand it. I know I come across as quite reserved and shy, I don’t always have my emotions brewing, but behind closed doors I think about the issues, I get very passionate about things. I rely on people around me for opinions, and I am a great believer in communication on these issues. I cannot understand how families, even behind closed doors, still find it so hard to talk about it. I am shocked we are so worried about saying anything about the true feelings we have. Because mental illness is inside our heads, invisible, it means others tread so carefully, and people don’t know what to say, whereas if you have a broken leg in plaster, everyone knows what to say.

AC: This is my vested interest speaking here, but what with the marathon and the other things, do you think you might stay in this mental health space for good?

PW: We want to see what impact we can have.

AC: You are making an impact now.

PW: I feel we’re going in the right direction, but not making as much impact as we would like. You know what it is like, you want to get there, grapple with all the issues, get there quickly, make the change that is needed.

AC: But in your position, can you do that?

PW: You can, but you have to do it carefully. Maybe we do make change but the way we do it is slower. We get the benefits of more publicity for the things we do.

AC: I do remember when your father’s letters used to come into Number Ten. Will you go down that route, with his very frank letters to ministers?

PW: [Laughs.] Could you read them?

AC: It wasn’t the handwriting that was the problem.

PW: I have written to ministers but purely to point them towards people I think they should see. So a charity might ask me if I can help with someone and I can help get them access to the people in government.

AC: So you don’t lobby but you introduce?

PW: There are issues I am interested in and I am happy to connect people to ministers.

AC: But you’re perhaps not as robust as your father?

PW: My father has always come at this from a depth of knowledge and a desire to help. He only gets involved in anything when he has those two things: knowledge matched to a desire to help. He genuinely cares. We can argue till the cows come home about whether what he says is right or wrong, but he lives this stuff every day, goes into minute detail, wants to help inform opinion and provide knowledge. I would love to know what the public really think, whether they feel shocked or pleased he gets involved. He has done this for a long, long time, and I think he has used his role really well to raise a lot of questions that people need to ask.

AC: So what might this mental health legacy be?

PW: One idea is getting mental health first aiders in schools. Teachers are under such pressure, they face so many challenges every day. They cannot be expected to be mental health counsellors as well, so we thought there must be a way of having mental health first aiders who can be attached to one or two schools.

AC: Is that something you would promote or fund?

PW: That is what we need to work out. It is a bit of a challenge, but we have a whole range of ideas we are looking at.

AC: Now, tell me about the idea of the films - and thank you for asking me to do one.

PW: Thank for you doing it. I watched it this morning.

AC: What was the purpose of them?

PW: This was predominantly about the importance of the conversation. The point we wanted to get over was that, often, talking is the best thing you can do - it can start the whole process of recovery. For a lot of people things brew up, particularly men maybe, they don’t want to talk about problems.

AC: When you were growing up, when you were still at school, did you feel you were surrounded by people who couldn’t talk about feelings?

PW: Yes, I think so, but I do think a generational shift has gone on. If I look at my parents’ generation, there was a lot more stiff upper lip going on. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for the stiff upper lip, and, for those of us in public life, times when you have to maintain it, but behind closed doors, in normal everyday life, we have to be more open and upfront with our feelings and emotions. Mental health in the workplace is a huge issue, and a sensitive area, and leadership is important here. When you see people in high-powered jobs in the City and big corporations who got there despite their mental health problems, that is a huge success story and it shouldn’t be seen as anything else.

AC: Or maybe people get there because of their mental health problems too.

PW: Absolutely.

AC: I feel I owe mine quite a lot.

PW: Absolutely, but what is really important here is that we are normalising mental health, so if a CEO comes out and says, “I went through this, I got through these dark times,” that is amazing, it normalises, it has an impact then in that organisation and beyond. But without that kind of thing, people tend to make excuses, avoid talking about issues that may be affecting them, pretend everything is fine.

AC: So as an employer, if one of your staff came and saw you and said, “I am really struggling,” do you think you would deal with that properly?

PW: Definitely. I am not pretending I am an amazing counsellor, or a specialist, I’m not, but I would take it seriously and if they needed help I would find it for them.

AC: Now, on the stiff upper lip, I can see why there may be a place for that. But listen… my mother died when I was 56, she had a full life, died quickly, relatively painlessly, but it was very upsetting. I am not sure I could have walked behind her coffin with millions of people around the world looking at me, without crying.

PW: No.

AC: So how hard was that?

PW: It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But if I had been in floods of tears the entire way round how would that have looked?

AC: How can you not be in floods of tears if you feel like being in floods of tears?

PW: In the situation I was in, it was self-preservation. I didn’t feel comfortable anyway, having that massive outpouring of emotion around me. I am a very private person, and it was not easy. There was a lot of noise, a lot of crying, a lot of wailing, people were throwing stuff, people were fainting.

AC: As you were walking?

PW: Yes. It was a very unusual experience. It was something I don’t think anyone could have predicted. Looking back, the outpouring of grief and emotion was very touching but it was very odd to be in that situation.

AC: When you were up at Balmoral through the week, were you conscious of how big it all was down here in London?

PW: No, not at all. All I cared about was that I had lost my mum.

AC: So you were protected from everything happening on the Mall?

PW: Yes. I was 15, Harry almost 13, and the overwhelming thing was we had lost our mother.

AC: So when you came back, and you saw how big the reaction was?

PW: I didn’t take it in. I still didn’t realise what was going on, really.

AC: Did you grieve?

PW: That is a very good question. [Pause.] Probably not properly. I was in a state of shock for many years.

AC: Years?

PW: Yes, absolutely. People might find that weird, or think of shock as something that is there, it hits you, then in an hour or two, maybe a day or two, you are over it. Not when it is this big a deal; when you lose something so significant in your life, so central, I think the shock lasts for many years.

AC: My favourite soundbite of the Blair era was not from him, but your grandmother after 9/11, when she said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

PW: Yes, absolutely.

AC: But for you to say you felt you were in shock for years - how much harder is it when you are having to grieve or try to grieve with this extraordinary level of global scrutiny, and the endless ridiculous fascination in every detail of your and your mother’s lives.

PW: It does make it more difficult. It doesn’t make you less human. You’re the same person, it is a part of the job to have the interest. The thing is, you can’t bring all your baggage everywhere you go. You have to project the strength of the United Kingdom - that sounds ridiculous, but we have to do that. You can’t just be carrying baggage and throwing it out there and putting it on display everywhere you go. My mother did put herself right out there and that is why people were so touched by her. But I am determined to protect myself and the children, and that means preserving something for ourselves. I think I have a more developed sense of self-preservation.

AC: Yet the Heads Together campaign is all about saying we should talk, be more open about our emotions, out with the stiff upper lip, in with more talking.

PW: Absolutely.

AC: So is it different for you?

PW: Well, I am in the role I am in. But if I had mental health issues I would happily talk about them. I think the closest I got was the trauma I suffered when I lost my mother, the scale of the grief, and I still haven’t necessarily dealt with that grief as well as I could have done over the years.

AC: Who do you talk to?

PW: Family, friends, I talk to those around me who I trust.

AC: But it can’t be easy in your position to find people you can trust totally.

PW: It is hard. But I have always believed in being very open and honest. One of the few strengths I might have is I am good at reading people, and I can usually tell if someone is just being nice because of who I am, and saying stuff for the wrong reasons.

AC: Have you ever talked to people other than friends and family about your feelings?

PW: No I have not talked to a specialist or anyone clinical, but I have friends who are good listeners, and, on grief, I find talking about my mother and keeping her memory alive very important. I find it therapeutic to talk about her, and to talk about how I feel.

AC: So we are coming up to the 20th anniversary of her death. Are you looking forward to that? Or are you dreading it?

PW: I am not looking forward to it, no, but I am in a better place about it than I have been for a long time, where I can talk about her more openly, talk about her more honestly, and I can remember her better, and publicly talk about her better. It has taken me almost 20 years to get to that stage. I still find it difficult now because at the time it was so raw. And also it is not like most people’s grief, because everyone else knows about it, everyone knows the story, everyone knows her. It is a different situation for most people who lose someone they love, it can be hidden away or they can choose if they want to share their story. I don’t have that choice really. Everyone has seen it all.

AC: The first time I met your mother, in 1994, she said, “Why did you write those horrible things about me when you were a journalist?” I said, “My God, I can’t believe you read that stuff.” But she did. I was shocked that she had read it and also remembered it, it was years earlier. It made me think at the time that some people reach a certain level of fame at which media and public cease to see them as human beings. Do you think that is what happened to her, and do you think it has ever happened to you?

PW: Not with me, no. I think with her it was a unique case. The media issue with my mother was probably the worst any public figure has had to deal with.

AC: What? The intrusion, the harassment?

PW: Yes, but more the complete salacious appetite for anything, anything at all about her, even if there was no truth in it, none whatsoever.

AC: So you don’t have any sympathy with the argument that she cultivated her own friends in the media and fed the whole thing?

PW: I have been exploring this. Remember, I was young at the time. I didn’t know what was going on. I know some games and shenanigans were played, but she was isolated, she was lonely, things within her own life got very difficult and she found it very hard to get her side of the story across. I think she was possibly a bit naive and ended up playing into the hands of some very bad people.

AC: Media people?

PW: Yes. This was a young woman with a high profile position, very vulnerable, desperate to protect herself and her children and I feel strongly there was no responsibility taken by media executives who should have stepped in, and said, “Morally, what we are doing, is this right, is this fair, is this moral?” Harry and I were so young and I think if she had lived, when we were older we would have played that role, and I feel very sad and I still feel very angry that we were not old enough to be able to do more to protect her, not wise enough to step in and do something that could have made things better for her. I hold a lot of people to account that they did not do what they should have done, out of human decency.

AC: Were you not tempted to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry?

PW: We discussed it, but decided in the end not to. Remember, we were the first to expose the phone hacking.

AC: You seem to get a hard time from one or two papers these days. Do you think there is a bit of score-settling going on?

PW: I don’t know.

AC: Do you get followed and chased by paps on bikes?

PW: Not often. But there is a lot of quite sophisticated surveillance that goes on.

AC: So even if not phone hacking, which is far from guaranteed, the press have moved on to other things?

PW: I suppose the one glimmer of light is that because of what happened to my mother, we do not get it as bad as she did. We still have problems, for sure, but do have a little more protection because of the ridiculous levels it got to for my mother - the fact she was killed being followed, being chased, I think there are more boundaries to their actions.

AC: Really?

PW: It is a little better than it used to be.

AC: During the week of her death, Tony Blair spoke to your father and he said to me afterwards, “This is going to be a problem, those boys are going to need help, they are going to despise the media, blame them for her death, yet the media will be a part of their lives.”

PW: Yes, they are.

AC: When you were in Paris recently, posing for hundreds of photographers with President Hollande, did you look at them and wonder if any of them were among the ones who chased her that night?

PW: I’m afraid those are the kind of things I have just had to come to terms with. It is so hard to explain, using only words, what it was like for my mother. If I could only bring out what I saw and what happened in my mother’s life and death, and the role the media played in that, that is the only way people would ever understand it. I can try to explain it in words, but to live it, see it, breathe it, you can’t explain how horrendous it was for her.

AC: Do you think the reaction to her death was a big factor in diminishing the stiff upper lip approach, and changed the way we mourn? Do you think the kind of reaction we saw when, say, David Bowie died last year, would have been the same without that reaction for your mother?

PW: No it wouldn’t. The massive outpouring around her death has really changed the British psyche, for the better.

AC: You do think it is for the better?

PW: Yes, I do think it is for the better.

AC: How much did that week after your mother’s death bring you and Harry together?

PW: We are very close.

AC: And that feeling of shock, sadness, you never felt it strayed over to what I would know as an illness, depression?

PW: I have never felt depressed in the way I understand it, but I have felt incredibly sad. And I feel the trauma of that day has lived with me for 20 years, like a weight, but I would not say that has led me to depression. I still want to get up in the morning, I want to do stuff, I still feel I can function. Believe me, at times it has felt like it would break me, but I have felt I have learned to manage it and I’ve talked about it. On the days when it has got bad I have never shied away from talking about it and addressing how I feel. I have gone straight to people around me and said, “Listen I need to talk about this today.”

AC: Like when?

PW: Last week with the air ambulance, I flew to a really bad case, a small boy and a car accident. I have seen quite a lot of car injuries, and you have to deal with what you see, but every now and then one gets through the armour. This one penetrated the armour, not just me but the crew who have seen so much. It was the feelings of loss from a parent’s point of view, the parents of the boy. Anything to do with parent and child, and loss, it is very difficult, it has a big effect on me, it takes me straight back to my emotions back when my mother died, and I did go and talk to people at work about it. I felt so sad. I felt that one family’s pain and it took me right back to the experience I had. The more relatable pain is to your own life the harder it is to shake it off.

AC: How has the passing of time helped?

PW: They do say time is a healer, but I don’t think it heals fully. It helps you deal with it better. I don’t think it ever fully heals.

AC: Is there a part of you that doesn’t want it to heal fully because for that to happen might make her feel more distant? So you feel the need to stay strongly attached? If grief is the price we pay for love, maybe you want to keep the grief out of fear that loss of grief means you love her less?

PW: One thing I can always say about my mother is she smothered Harry and me in love. Twenty years on I still feel the love she gave us and that is testament to her massive heart and her amazing ability to be a great mother.

AC: How different do you think the country would be if she was still here?

PW: I have thought about that, but mainly from my own perspective. I would like to have had her advice. I would love her to have met Catherine and to have seen the children grow up. It makes me sad that she won’t, that they will never know her.

AC: What about the public Diana?

PW: I think she would have carried on, really getting stuck into various causes and making change. If you look at some of the issues she focused on, leprosy, Aids, landmines, she went for some tough areas. She would have carried on with that.

AC: She was an extraordinary woman.

PW: She was.

AC: How hard do you find the scrutiny? I mean you can’t even do a bit of bad dad dancing without someone taking a video?

PW: [Laughs.] Honestly, I can dance better than that. It’s true though, camera phones, Twitter, there’s not much privacy. I don’t think it was too bad. It wasn’t as if I was falling out of a nightclub, totally wasted. I think people realise everyone has to blow off a bit of energy and tension every now and then.

AC: So how did you feel when some of the papers said you don’t work hard enough?

PW: Criticism is part of the turf, I’m afraid. I think the public are much more nuanced. I have my air ambulance job, I carry out the duties the Queen asks me to, I have my charities and causes and I am raising a young family, so I can’t let that criticism get to me.

AC: A couple of the papers do seem to have turned against you, though?

PW: There is a certain element of Fleet Street getting fed up with nice stories about us. They want the past back again, soap, drama.

AC: Do you see it as part of your job to avoid giving them that? A bit of normality, stability.

PW: I couldn’t do my job without the stability of the family. Stability at home is so important to me. I want to bring up my children in a happy, stable, secure world, and that is so important to both of us as parents. I want George to grow up in a real, living environment, I don’t want him growing up behind palace walls, he has to be out there. The media make it harder but I will fight for them to have a normal life.

AC: But surely you must accept it is an abnormal life?

PW: Totally, but I can still try to protect them as children.

AC: The Queen, your father, you, now George. Four people on the planet who might one day be the head of state in the UK. It is fair to say republicanism has lost, not least thanks to your grandmother. The monarchy seems to have bucked the trend even though we live in a non-deferential, anti-establishment age. Do you feel that?

PW: I do feel the monarchy is in a good place and, like you say, my grandmother has done a remarkable job leading the country - her vision, her sense of duty, her loyalty, her steadfastness, it has been unwavering. We now have three generations of working royals, four altogether, and having that movement through the generations allows for the monarchy to stay relevant and keep up with modern times. You are only as good as your last gig and it is really important you look forward, plan, have a vision.

AC: Do you not look at the Queen, yet another garden party, yet another investiture, yet another state visit, and think how on earth can she keep going?

PW: Yes I do.

AC: Do you, your father and the Queen ever sit down, just the three of you, and just natter?

PW: [Laughs.] What, about Lady Gaga or something? [Prince William had recently recorded a Facetime chat with Lady Gaga for the campaign.]

AC: I was thinking more about being head of state. I mean, how do you learn?

PW: You learn on the job. There is no rulebook. I sometimes wonder if there should be, but in the end I think probably not. Having that difference in how we do things makes the Royal Family more interesting and more flexible. If we all followed the same line, it would all be quite stifled. Our characters are different and the different opinions are important to have.

AC: Your grandmother has always believed in there being a bit of mystique attached to it all as well.

PW: Absolutely.

AC: Never ever given an interview.

PW: No. Never. I seem to have sold the pass on that one.

youtube

On this day in music history: June 9, 1979 - “Labour Of Lust”, the second studio album by Nick Lowe is released. Produced by Nick Lowe, it is recorded at Eden Studios in London and Love Studios in Helsinki, Finland in early 1979. The second solo release by the UK singer, songwriter, and bassist features members of musician Dave Edmunds’ band Rockpile backing Lowe as well as members of Elvis Costello & The Attractions (whom Lowe also produces), with Costello himself also contributing background vocals on several songs. A pre-fame Huey Lewis also plays harmonica on the track “Born Fighter”. Originally issued in the UK by Radar Records, it is picked up for US release by Columbia Records. The album spins off the hit single “Cruel To Be Kind” (#12 UK and US Pop), co-written by Lowe and his former Brinsley Schwarz band mate Ian Gomm. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2011 with one additional bonus track (“Basing Street”, the B-side of “Cracking Up”) by Yep Roc Records in the US and Proper Records in Europe. “Labour Of Lust” peaks at number forty two on the UK album chart and number thirty one on the Billboard Top 200.

But the body is also directly involved in a political field; power relations have an immediate hold upon it; they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, to emit signs. This political investment of the body is bound up, in accordance with complex reciprocal relations, with its economic use; it is largely as a force of production that the body is invested with relations of power and domination; but, on the other hand, its constitution as labour power is possible only if it is caught up in a system of subjection (in which need is also a political instrument meticulously prepared, calculated and used); the body becomes a useful force only if it is both a productive body and a subjected body.
—  Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1977), pp. 25-26
Waiting For The Great Leap Forward

I’ve seen retweeted American takes on the election result which - unsurprisingly - tend to fit it into whatever lens the U.S. poster views their own politics through. That’s fine - it’s how these things work - but some of these takes are very wrong and some are not but are still mildly off.

First of all the take that May’s vote collapsed because of her own bad decisions (like allying with Trump) not because of socialism so there’s nothing to learn. This is the very wrong one because May’s vote did not in fact collapse. The Tories got a hell of a lot of votes - their share jumped 5-6 points. Their LEAD collapsed, and their lead was why May called the election in the first place. But the Tory vote share was way above their pre-Brexit polling. All the things May did wrong - from Trump to the Dementia Tax - didn’t actually shift that, though her incompetent campaign surely hit her approval ratings.

What really shifted was the Labour vote. Up FIFTEEN points off their polling lows. Up nine since the 2015 election. And that almost all happened after the manifesto leak and after they unveiled a bunch of populist left wing policies. If this election result was about May’s incompetence (vast though it is!) then you’d have seen a big drop in Tory polling and a mild recovery in Labour’s. That’s not what happened. Occam’s Razor suggests that Labour surged and ended the Tory majority because of its policies. Which are solid, sensible social democratic ones.

So that’s the very bad take. The less bad but still mildly off take is the one that projects the big argument in the US left - between “class” and “identity” politics - onto this election. Labour did in fact have an internal movement dedicated to embracing the “legitimate concerns” of the “white working class” - it was called Blue Labour and its entire premise was shredded last night. It believed that the only way back to power for Labour was reconnecting with UKIP voters on the issues that mattered to them (eg immigration). What this election proved is that you can appeal to some UKIP voters on quite different issues without compromising on metropolitan, ‘liberal elite’ cultural values if the root of your appeal is generational. Activate young voters and the class v identity question becomes vastly less relevant and more artificial, because you then have a movement capable of holding your ‘heartland’ seats but striking out into Tory territory like Canterbury, Hastings, or Kensington (KENSINGTON ffs).

I’ve been wrong about lots of stuff myself of course - I assumed the Tories were going to win yesterday, I also assumed that Corbyn’s personal ratings were in an unclimbable pit. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It underlines that what Labour achieved yesterday is ASTONISHING - almost no prior theory or precedent fits it, though credit to those (Corbyn included) who saw this way forward and took it. It tears up everything people thought they knew about British elections. It’s been a remarkable day and it now feels like anything could happen.

if labour wins this that will be a massive upset, if there’s a hung parliament labour has still wrested power from the tories in an election that was supposed to increase their mandate and that’s the most any of us hoped for.

the left needed this, even if it’s ~reformist~ or whatever.

anonymous asked:

Snape watches Eurovision, yes?

Everyone watches Eurovision.  Even if only for Wogan.

It’s one of the only pieces of Muggle media that he indulges in, and every year he strides down to Hogsmeade and Apparates to a Muggle bar where he can watch the show in peace.  He was always a little sombre when watching - when he was a child, the UK won several times, but in a peculiar twist of fate, they hadn’t won since 1981, the year that Lily died.

The last few times he watched, he’d headed back to his old haunt in Cokeworth - a Muggle pub where his dad had been a regular, and Severus had been welcomed as Toby’s lad.

The mood in the pub was infectious, and entirely opposite to Severus’ magical life.  Labour had swept to power after 18 years of Conservative rule in a landslide victory a couple of days earlier, and Union Jack flags heralded a new era - not just Britpop guitars, and pop star dresses, but a pride in a country that was promising a new dawn.

It was very different to the shadow that was creeping across magical Britain.   Voldemort was rising, the Ministry was in danger, Dumbledore’s imminent death was looming over him like a cloud, the vow was pulsing through his veins each time a panicked Draco made yet another clumsy mistake, and he knew that next year was going to be a new circle of hell.

…but the Muggle world was full of cheer, and the Muggle world was Severus’ for one night only.  He settled at the bar with a pint and a short, and he watched keenly as the acts performed, getting steadily drunk as the night wore on.

“I think this is the United Kingdom’s best chance since Michael Ball in 1992.”

Severus had been deep in conversation with one of the old boys next to him when he heard Wogan’s introduction to the UK entry and his eyes snapped back to the screen.

“Really?”  He sipped from his pint.  “I thought last year’s entrant was our best shot, but she couldn’t sing live.  It’s rather a prerequisite.”

“This gal can,” his drinking partner said, raising his glass towards the screen.  “‘er who did that Walking on Sunshine.”

“Katrina and the Waves?  In Eurovision?”  Severus scoffed, and then his jaw dropped as Wogan verified the claim, and she stepped on stage.

Half way through, the chap next to him clapped his hand on Severus’ shoulder.  “Bloody hell, Wogan’s right.  It’s a winner.”

Severus watched in amazement as he heard the song not once, but twice, as the UK romped home and they performed again as the winners.  He allowed himself to be embraced by his father’s old friends, and spent the warm summer’s night drinking, singing and cheering.  The next Eurovision contest would be hosted in the UK, and the group pledged that they’d travel together to watch it - no matter the cost.

The next Eurovision was held in Birmingham on the 9th May, 1998.

Severus was already dead.

“The chapter on primitive accumulation does not pretend to do more than trace the path by which, in Western Europe, the capitalist order of economy emerged from the womb of the feudal order of economy. It therefore describes the historic movement which by divorcing the producers from their means of production converts them into wage earners (proletarians in the modern sense of the word) while it converts into capitalists those who hold the means of production in possession. In that history, “all revolutions are epoch-making which serve as levers for the advancement of the capitalist class in course of formation; above all those which, after stripping great masses of men of their traditional means of production and subsistence, suddenly fling them on to the labour market. But the basis of this whole development is the expropriation of the cultivators….

"Now what application to Russia can my critic make of this historical sketch? Only this: If Russia is tending to become a capitalist nation after the example of the Western European countries, and during the last years she has been taking a lot of trouble in this direction – she will not succeed without having first transformed a good part of her peasants into proletarians; and after that, once taken to the bosom of the capitalist regime, she will experience its pitiless laws like other profane peoples. That is all. But that is not enough for my critic. He feels himself obliged to metamorphose my historical sketch of the genesis of capitalism in Western Europe into an historico-philosophic theory of the marche generale [general path] imposed by fate upon every people, whatever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself, in order that it may ultimately arrive at the form of economy which will ensure, together with the greatest expansion of the productive powers of social labour, the most complete development of man. But I beg his pardon. (He is both honouring and shaming me too much.) Let us take an example.

"In several parts of Capital I allude to the fate which overtook the plebeians of ancient Rome. They were originally free peasants, each cultivating his own piece of land on his own account. In the course of Roman history they were expropriated. The same movement which divorced them from their means of production and subsistence involved the formation not only of big landed property but also of big money capital. And so one fine morning there were to be found on the one hand free men, stripped of everything except their labour power, and on the other, in order to exploit this labour, those who held all the acquired wealth in possession. What happened? The Roman proletarians became, not wage labourers but a mob of do-nothings more abject than the former “poor whites” in the southern country of the United States, and alongside of them there developed a mode of production which was not capitalist but dependent upon slavery. Thus events strikingly analogous but taking place in different historic surroundings led to totally different results. By studying each of these forms of evolution separately and then comparing them one can easily find the clue to this phenomenon, but one will never arrive there by the universal passport of a general historico-philosophical theory, the supreme virtue of which consists in being super-historical.”

—  Karl Marx, from “Letter from Marx to Editor of the Otecestvenniye Zapisky”
At bottom, “society” only denotes the projected shadow of the successive modes of government. It was the whole set of subjects of the absolutist state in the age of the Leviathan, then that of economic actors in the liberal state. From the viewpoint of the welfare state, it was man himself, with his rights, needs, and labour power, who constituted the base element of society. What is perverse about the idea of “society” is that it has always helped government to naturalise the product of its activity, its operations, its techniques. It was constructed as what essentially preexisted it. It was only after the Second World War, really, that one dared speak explicitly about “social engineering”. Since then, society has officially become what one constructs, sort of like doing nation-building by attacking Iraq.
—  To Our Friends - The Invisible Committee
independent.co.uk
Young people, here's what no one is telling you about the general election: you could swing it
This is a letter to the young adults of Britain. I know in the months since the decision was made to leave the EU, the direction of politics has solidified into a depressing festival of right-wing bulls**t, and that now a snap election has been called our course towards a hardline Tory government is seemingly inevitable. That is how they want you to feel. Because if a certain course feels inevitable, then why bother trying to fight it?
The construct of the submissive wife and mother developed during this period has lasted to this day, and it serves the capitalist mode of production very well, providing unpaid mothers, carers and workers - producing and reproducing labour power. The woman, her children and her work became the property of her husband.
—  Lady Stardust, Burning Women: The European Witch Hunts, Enclosure, and the Rise of Capitalism

anonymous asked:

how is overpopulation a myth (not saying i dont believe, just wanted to know how)

the problem of “overpopulation” boils down to artificial scarcity in the economy, a problem that can be overcome in a society where transactions aren’t mediated through an exchange value system. an example of this would be a hungry person being denied food. its not that there is one-person-too-many on this planet, and so that person must be left to starve, but that capitalism refuses to serve them because they dont have enough money. the same can be said of things like housing, which is obviously not distributed according to need but on the basis of payment. its not that we dont have enough houses to provide for the homeless, but that they can’t have shelter because they can’t afford it. this is looked at as a crisis of “overpopulation” that needs to be controlled through various “checks”, rather than a problem of the system in which we live. 

marx himself had a strong criticism of the malthusian doctrine in his own understanding of the “relative surplus population”. in chapter 25 of volume 1 of capital (penguin classics edition) he says things like, 

“The working population therefore produces both the accumulation of capital and the means by which it is itself made relatively superfluous; and it does this to an extent which is always increasing. This is a law of population peculiar to the capitalist mode of production; and in fact every particular historical mode of production has its own special laws of population, which are historically valid within that particular sphere. An abstract law of population exists only for plants and animals, and even then only in the absence of any historical intervention by man. 

But if a surplus population of workers is a necessary product of accumulation or of the development of wealth on a capitalist basis, this surplus population also becomes, conversely, the lever of capitalist accumulation, indeed it becomes a condition for the existence of the capitalist mode of production. It forms a disposable industrial reserve army, which belongs to capital just as absolutely as if the latter had bred it at its own cost. Independently of the limits of the actual increase of population, it creates a mass of human material always ready for exploitation by capital in the interests of capital’s own changing valorization requirements.

With accumulation, and the development of the productivity of labour that accompanies it, capital’s power of sudden expansion also grows; it grows, not merely because the elasticity of the capital already functioning increases, not merely because the absolute wealth of society expands (and capital only forms an elastic part of this), not merely because credit, under every special stimulus, at once places an unusual part of this wealth at the disposal of production in the form of additional capital; it grows also because the technical conditions of the production process – machinery, means of transport, etc. – themselves now make possible a very rapid transformation of masses of surplus product into additional means of production. The mass of social wealth, overflowing with the advance of accumulation and capable of being transformed into additional capital, thrusts itself frantically into old branches of production, whose market suddenly expands, or into newly formed branches, such as railways, etc., which now become necessary as a result of the further development of the old branches. In all such cases, there must be the possibility of suddenly throwing great masses of men into the decisive areas without doing any damage to the scale of production in other spheres. The surplus population supplies these masses. The path characteristically described by modern industry, which takes the form of a decennial cycle (interrupted by smaller oscillations) of periods of average activity, production at high pressure, crisis, and stagnation, depends on the constant formation, the greater or less absorption, and the re-formation of the industrial reserve army or surplus population. In their turn, the varying phases of the industrial cycle recruit the surplus population, and become one of the most energetic agencies for its reproduction.” p783-785

as well as

“Modern industry’s whole form of motion therefore depends on the constant transformation of a part of the working population into unemployed or semi-employed ‘hands’. The superficiality of political economy shows itself in the fact that it views the expansion and contraction of credit as the cause of the periodic alternations in the industrial cycle, whereas it is a mere symptom of them. Just as the heavenly bodies always repeat a certain movement, once they have been flung into it, so also does social production, once it has been flung into this movement of alternate expansion and contraction. Effects become causes in their turn, and the various vicissitudes of the whole process, which always reproduces its own conditions, take on the form of periodicity. When this periodicity has once become consolidated, even political economy sees that the production of a relative surplus population – i.e. a population surplus in relation to capital’s average requirements for valorization – is a necessary condition for modern industry.” p786

and (one more)

“Capitalist production can by no means content itself with the quantity of disposable labour-power which the natural increase of population yields; It requires for its unrestricted activity an industrial reserve army which is independent of these natural limits.” p788

sorry for the heavy quoting but hopefully you get the idea. capitalism requires that there be a “surplus population” for capital to dip into if it needs to expand production, or even if its just to discipline labor by reminding them that there are always others out there willing to take the job (“scabs” come to mind). 

this is counter to the idea that there are only so many jobs and that a portion of the population somehow manages to take them all. on the contrary, think about the cracked roads outside of your house, the broken-down buildings in your neighborhood, the dying flowers in your parks, the pollution in your lakes. is there work to be done? absolutely, but capital doesnt employ people for those things, generally leaving those jobs up for the public sphere to take care of, should the decaying world around us begin to affect their profits. therefore, much like there is artificial scarcity with food and shelter, the lack of jobs is also artificial and systemic, rather than being something universal across time and space. 

sure, there may be such a thing as an overcrowded city or region, but that has more to do with the geography of capital and urbanization and the history of those areas rather than being a problem that needs to be addressed through various means of population control. its also telling that malthusian arguments are generally made about third world countries, blaming them for their own poverty, rather than acknowledging the global system of exploitation in place that is often the source of their suffering. 

anyway, here are some links for further reading if you’re interested 

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/10/25/overpopulation-a-fact-or-myth/

http://www.colorado.edu/Sociology/gimenez/work/popissue.html (i like half-read this but it seems to be ok)