The mother of all downturns?

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by chilango, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    I dunno if increased uni numbers itself has led to that? what makes you argue that? What I'd say is that the creation of a culture at universities of individualised consumption - and importantly this is mirrored in work amongst the "Brand Me" so called gig economy - has made a massive contribution to what you describe.
  2. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I don't see delivery workers spending a lot of time on social media cutting themselves off from commonalities people can organise around. I do see the University left doing it. Every time i turn on this laptop - and i don't think a genuflection towards their lecturers this week undos that wider damage.
    stethoscope likes this.
  3. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    I've spent a lot of time on campus over the years (not just as a student, but here it's my nearest green space. I used to take my daughter for walks to see the ducks there and stop for a coffee afterwards) and its incredibly depoliticised. Not a sign or trace of anything. Not even the IDPol stuff. Utterly absent. Even now during the strike. Maybe that's just this Uni. But that IS a change from 20-30 years ago.
    frogwoman likes this.
  4. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    And i had an argument last night in which my boycott all universities policy got roundly smashed.
  5. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    Yeah. Indeed. So how? why? when? did this cutting off happen?
  6. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    I was at the pub with a striking Uni worker (and Labour activist) last night amongst others. The political discussion was dreadful. A couple of right-wing mates were happily able to join in the pensions chat. I wasn't.
  7. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    This is what may point 1) last night was inviting people to fill in. It's to do with the changes we forced on value-producing capital from the last 60s onwards and the rise in the social wage. They responded by literally decentering working class communities and power - via diffusing workplaces and territory. No longer the row of houses by the factory, the pub and the shops. Now the segmented workforce, the lovely new house further out, the mall. Now the demand to be happy on your own not as part of a rising class. I am turning LETTSA here aren't i?
    seventh bullet and stethoscope like this.
  8. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What i do think may be interesting is that universities used to be the classic site of what adolph reed calls 'elite brokerage' - that is, people competing with each other for the right to represent their communities and so pocket all the various advantages this brings from the national and local state. This seems to have been blown apart now. The same people end up in the same jobs in the same parties and public institutions - nothing has changed in that respect - bu the mollifying function they may have played in the past is no longer there. And all against all can't last forever.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    chilango likes this.
  9. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Can this change? If so, how? What's going on?
    chilango likes this.
  10. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    I used to think that "dog shit politics" was the answer.

    I'm not so sure now.

    I think it's part of the answer.

    But we need infrastructure.

    ...and we need to bring Politics back.

    Big ideas.
    Rimbaud and mather like this.
  11. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What they did to greece.

    never. ever.
  12. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    We need to hammer home the us and them that is class.
  13. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Not got a huge amount to add at this time other to say good thread chilango and thanks to butchersapron, stethoscope and others that have contributed.

    Like other posters I feel pretty low politically ATM. I can understand people drifting back to Labour, even if I don't agree with it, but it's really depressing to see how quickly Labour has become the be all and end all for some, the reduction of left politics to voting/supporting Labour.

    As to how to widen things out, I'm not sure. Most of my political activity over the last years have been work based, even though I keep intending to focus more on community stuff I've got dragged into work stuff perhaps because for all their faults at least unions do provide a starting point for people to get involved with.
  14. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    Whilst we won't all agree on all the details, I think one thing worth doing us identifying the common big ideas of a class struggle left (and think of a better term for it).

    Then these ideas need to be hammered home again and again and again so that they are the common thread that binds activity together and so that they they are the ideas that immediately spring to mind when people encounter us.

    We have to put clear red water between us and the sort of left that butchersapron describes above.

    We have to give people some way of identifying that it is "us"

    We then have to start building some sort of infrastructure to replace what we've lost, all tied together by these common ideas and whatever people identify us by.
  15. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    We need neither numbers nor support to do this.
  16. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    Don't get me started on the great pensions scam. Too late.

    Set aside for a moment that even the best* pension schemes forcibly invest huge proportions** of workers' incomes into the exploitation of other workers thereby propping up an iniquitous system, they also represent a redistribution of income from the low paid to the high paid***. On top of that MPs should be kneecapped for the lax regulation that's allowed so many rip offs by company directors, "financial advisers" and just plain scammers over the years.

    Yet, despite all that when employers attack the schemes we have no choice but to fight for the small benefit they represent.

    [edit - long rant about pensions deleted because not really relevant to the thread]
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  17. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Well yeah, but there are hardly any call centre workers with pensions at all, never mind defined benefit ones. Noone under 35 outside the NHS and a few other public services has a DB pension any more, and even those are having it taken away. So in a way, and while UCU etc are right to fight what's happening to them, you're focusing on people who are already better off than many. Wait til the state pension is gone and then see what the broader scam is.

    There you go, I am obsessed.
  18. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    If I had any sort of meaningful pension or prospect of retirement this would be interesting (in a selfish sort of way).

    But I don't.
  19. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    Me too.

    You're wrong on several points - most workers have some form of pension now, though frankly many are pitifully inadequate. The best ones tend to be in industry's with a record of union militancy, not just the public sector. If UCU don't fight they'll end up at the worse off end of the spectrum.

    One of my favourite moments from the last election was seeing the Tories put their plan to screw over pensioners into their manifesto. There are some things even those arrogant cnuts can't get away with, yet.
  20. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    I think you make a good point about the break-up of physical community structure. Given a few posters and paste, you could have meetings/demos/political talks publicised on a street, near busy points and bus stops, but you're not going to see posters or petitions between the greengrocer and the newsagent if those (and other things) are just different corners in Tesco. Hard for me to tell, as I live in a very nothingy enclave (141 homes in a big building site that used to be a large social housing estate/scheme) and I am not out and about much. I know if I went into the city centre on a Saturday, there'd be no shortage of causes and charities setting out their stalls, but I now wonder if people, as well as not really having proper local high streets with shops and pubs etc, are also less likely to bother going into city/town centres, as so much can be done online.

    Also, isn't there just an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and defeat? I agree that Corbyn has made some people feel happier, but ... !

    Other thing, a lot of severe poverty. Somebody who has been sanctioned by the Jobcentre doesn't have the bus fare to go across town to a political meeting/event/demo.

    I don't have answers. Just pondering out loud, really. Sorry.
  21. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Well, everyone has the mandatory 1%/2% arrangement, but it's effectively nothing, more individualist tokenism to enable cuts elsewhere, ultimately I suspect to the state pension.
  22. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Most people will never enjoy the working conditions and pension (even as its under attack) than someone like me gets in HE, so can we not go down that avenue too much.

    This thread is about how we re-build networks/structures that create political concious and advancement for a class-struggle left.
  23. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh

    Although the above pension posts, and the conversation I was present at in the pub the other night, are good examples of the "drift" of the Left.
    Celyn likes this.
  24. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Or entirely normal for any forum.

    To go back to your opening gambit then, what if anything (specific details aside) would have stopped you saying the same thing, 1, 2, 5+ years ago? I think it's entirely right to ask, but at the same time, it has been asked, I think in fact by you multiple times, and what do we have for it? In terms of this as a useful entity, U75 is basically an idle spectator these days, as you kind of describe, so isn't it just an exercise in navel-gazing and bemoaning what little does exist? What do you want from it besides catharsis?
  25. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    Somehow it's not cool to talk about class. How has this happened?

    And there's also the find old tradition of groups indulging in spite-competitions with other groups. :(
  26. chilango

    chilango Cold, frankly incensed and...meh


    But if I don't ask it here where can I ask it?
  27. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Interesting convo. One question that's popped into my head is when was the last time in the UK/Europe when class-based politics was so hollowed out? And are there things that can be learned from that period as regards how to rebuild?
    NoXion and Celyn like this.
  28. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Therein is the crux of it - not only do you have to figure out what happened to the directing organisers of yore, you have to go and engage possibly-agreeable randoms to understand why they're not engaging in anything other than the conversation you're extracting from them. And that's really fucking hard, you almost become the organiser in doing so - but it's also the opposite of asking on here.

    But before that, what are you really asking when you describe this state of affairs? Is it straight up why people aren't fighting any more, or is it the direction and the mechanics - why people aren't fighting in a way that you deem useful, aligned and/or of a pattern that you recognise? Because to use a lazy example, Trump supporters are fighting, it's just not for anything tangibly good any time soon. And those two things are very different with very different answers.
  29. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    Fair point, I've removed most of my rant to avoid derailing the thread.

    It pains me to say it :rolleyes:, but I think butchersapron has a point. I've not had much contact with students for years now so when I went to the local UCU picket last week I was surprised to find a couple of students arguing against a Stand Up To Racism meeting being organised. Not on the grounds that it was SWP (which actually only one of the organisers was), but because the people organising it were white and any anti-racist activity on campus must be black led. Chatting with the students later it was clear they had no idea of racism being inimical to the interests of the whole working class. To them all white people benefit from racism so only black people have a material interest in opposing it and white people can only be allies under their orders.

    It was mind numbing to talk to people on the left who had no idea that solidarity could cross the racial divide. In fact when I tried to explain that white workers interests were damaged by racism I was told reverse racism wasn't a thing. At this point conversation became impossible.

    I might try again this week.
    sealion, frogwoman and Celyn like this.
  30. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    What passes as politics on campuses (like social media) nowadays is proper depressing. Even when I was caught up in identity politics some years ago it wasn't as select and divisive as its now become. And it did intend to at least examine privilege from various angle and educate/inform. Now its all just one big fucking call out of each other without any substantive politics.

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