The End Of Democracy As We Know It?

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as it is known in all its glory, never heard of it before? Well it is the biggest threat to our democracy in a generation, and far from our democracy going up in glorious smoke, it is silently and slowly fading away into the night.

TTIP is a trade deal being negotiated between the United States and the European Union, which sounds alright, doesn’t it? After all we have plenty of trade deals all around the world. That is until you scrape underneath the spin and get to the essence of the deal.

All power to the corporations! Pretty much sums it up.

If you check the EU website on TTIP it all sounds pretty good, which can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

Just looking over this and you would think “why the concern Steve?” – However if you check out this campaign: https://stop-ttip.org/ you will see we are not getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The scariest part of TTIP for me is that it will allow something called “Investor-State Dispute Settlements,” what this boils down to is the right for corporations to sue governments if government policy has caused those corporations to lose profits.

Government policy will therefore be crafted not in a democratic fashion by the will of the people, but by corporations maximising their profits. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the right to hold governments to account in this way? If we could hold them liable for all the deaths that have been caused in relation to benefit sanctions for example.

One of the scariest aspects of this is that these disputes will happen in complete secret, not even elected officials will know about them, or be part of them until after they have already taken place.

When laws are being formed corporations will be allowed to sit at the table and draft the legislation, as well, so from beginning to end corporations will effectively become part of our government.

I will give you an example of this at work, a corporation sells a product which is found to cause cancer and has led to x amount of deaths, the government then bans this product. Under TTIP the corporation would then in turn be allowed to sue the government for eating into its profits.

I don’t know about you but I want my government to be concerned with the welfare of its citizens, not of its corporations. I want my government to protect my rights, not be more concerned with the profit of corporations.

All I hear about is economic growth and paying down the debt, I don’t care about these issues – I care about what my government can do for me, what my government can do for society, not what it can do for the 1% and there banker buddies.
Who lets face it, have surely had enough help by now and don’t need anymore?

The debate is all about human rights isn’t it? How human rights are being abused and how we need to scrap the human rights act. We never hear about the rights of corporations and how they abuse it to destroy the planet, or rip us off.

It just so happens that corporations in many countries have had the same rights extended to them as human beings, but you can bet that their rights to exploit and profit will not be coming into question in the near future.

The NHS that lovely institution which saved and continues to save an untold amount of people from disease and death could and likely would come under threat within the trade deal. Free simply doesn’t make enough profits you see.

The scope of TTIP is that wide that it is impossible to say just how it will begin to take hold over our country, either way when it does it will be done in secret so we won’t even know about it anyway!

At the very least there needs to be a national and international debate around TTIP, something of this magnitude should be a heavily debated and publicised isse which we are informed and educated on, because the rammifications of this whether they are good or bad (bad incase you are still not clear on my position) are absloutely massive.

TTIP has the power to reshape our democracy, effect every part of our lives, the environment, what we eat, how we eat it and an untold amount of possibilities. The tentacles of TTIP will wrap their oily slimey way around everything we now hold dear, so get angry, get mad, and get out there.

This is our democracy, it is time we took it back!

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What are we hoping for?

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What are we building? What are we fighting for? I’m no longer sure. It seems to me that the left has become the most complex and convoluted system for lobbying the government that has ever existed.

While communities have come under prolonged and sustained attack, completely ripped apart for generations now, it looks to me that we are arguing over what kind of biscuits to bring to the revolution, and lets not get started on the tea, or we will be here till tea time.

Where is the vision? The ambition? The hope and the passion? Where is the strategy in acting as a glorified lobby group?

This week we witnessed the Greek people vote oxi (no to me and you) to austerity, and from the response you would think they had just smashed the capitalist hegemony of the globe. I think it is great that they did mind you but I don’t want to look for Greece to hope, I want to look to the left in the UK to provide my people with hope.

What are we doing? Arguing over austerity and like Canute trying to turn back the tide, or in our case convince the Tory party or the Labour party to change course? To take pity on us poor peasants and allow us to have a little bit more of the harvest next year? Or to find a heart and stop sending us to our deaths with a stroke of their pens?

In the meantime how insignificant are the left becoming? Take Left Unity for example, the party I am involved with – it is trying to emulate and act like a traditional party. Like it stands any chance of beating these guys at their own game, like it is in any position to even contemplate taking them on at their own game.

If Left Unity is to survive it needs to stop trying to be a traditional party, it needs to rip apart the rule book on what a political party is, and create something new, something new and inspiring that the people of the country can believe in and get behind!

All I am seeing is more of the same, and more of the same has got us into this mess in the first place. We know the fight to change society and the face of this country is a long one, but what are we doing to bring about that goal? A campaign here, a petition there and a march on the odd occasion.

Yes these things sometimes do have the desired effect, our masters change their course and we gain a small victory with which we may build something a little better or bigger in the future. Or people pack their things up and go home, it is all the same.

We have been operating that way for generations, and it clearly is not hitting the mark anymore. It may have had an effect in the 20th century, but we are not in the 20th century anymore. We need to adapt, we need to grow and we need to stop flogging a dead horse.

I do not have all the answers, I do not even know all the problems but please just try to think outside the box, stop trying to do what you’ve always done because it is what you’ve always done. We need to change, we need to stop pushing blame onto everything else and accept our responsibility in the downfall of the left.

We need to take stock of where we are, re-evaluate where we want to be and actually come up with something worth while. I don’t want to be in a focus group, I do not want to just be a lobbyist to whatever overlord we have that year. I want to be part of something fresh and new, new not just in name but in structure, outlook, strategy – something we can actually call revolutionary.

By revolutionary I am not saying we take out the pitch forks and storm Buckingham Palace, but something the left have completely lost the ability to do and that is talk to people on a level, talk with people, not down to them, not preaching to them but with them.

By revolutionary I’m talking about our outlook, how we conduct ourselves, what we consider to be political action. This linear form of politics is getting us no where, it isn’t even fit for this day and age.

We can hold a rally of 250,000 people and you can all pat yourselves on the back and say that it is a movement now, but rallies don’t make movements, at a rally what are you doing? Standing still listening to someone tell you something. Then you can go home, you may have learnt something but what has changed in your community? Unless you live in London, not a damn deal.

We need to be building up resistance, we need to be building up networks and be engaged in activities which are empowering to communities and empowering to ourselves, this has to be creative and it has to be local.

All political activity and the voice of opposition against these unjust, unfair and immoral acts are great but what purpose are they serving in the long run? What are we doing outside and around that which truly is creating a movement, truly is doing something beneficial to the cause?

There is this hollow shell in the place of communities up and down the country, what are we doing to solve that problem? The left is a husk, it must be great for academics that love boring meetings and arguing the finer points of the events of the Russian revolution, but what else?

Surely there has to be more to what we are doing than this? Surely there is something we are missing? Otherwise, if this is all there is, if this is as good as it gets? We may as well pack our bags and give the revolution a miss, the weather will be shit and it’s not like it’s going to be on the tele anyway.

How long are we going to be defined by which punches the government are throwing at us and which ones we are quick enough to dodge? These negative reactive campaigns which are ultimately not providing hope, not creating positivity, not rolling out change within communities. I do not want to survive anymore, where the best I can hope for is if we manage to bloody the governments nose once in a while.

We need to build something, we need to create something, we need to thrive.