Monday, July 05, 2004

So I’m at the St.Pauls Carnival and enjoyed the day – much fun was had and it was a late night/eary morining when the party ended. But a few things happened that night I think worthy of note: First up is that the army had three recruiters out in the crowd offering people the opportunity to sign up and go to facilitate the plunder foreign lands at gun point – very in-keeping with the carnival feel. The irony of the army looking for more willing cannon fodder for the US empire, in a district of St.Pauls who's population are still suffering the historic schism of an earlier empire was not lost of those I saw hassling these army drones.

Second up was later on: While sitting with some cold lager I was sat down chatting to an enthusiastic council official (she/he will remain nameless) and we had a good chat about plunder. The view of this person (and I'm sure other enthusiastic employees) is that they are making the city a better place. From my point of view they are not. Not because they are evil minions planning our impoverishment - but because they are the administrators of a system that cannot, indeed will not let power go. Ever. We talked about the Broadmead development – which in my world view is not a million miles from what is going on in Iraq: The state facilitated plunder. In both cases the infrastructure of the state (here the council, there the US army) smooth the ground over for the transfer of wealth into private hands (here through London based developers who are looking to make a killing from luxury housing, there as Haliburton et al come in to mop up the oil/tax revenues). State facilitated plunder. In both cases the wishes of those to be effected by this wealth-transfer are an unknown quantity. (People objected to both the Iraq war and the Broadmead development and in both cases it went ahead anyway.) Even if there had been access to a truthful account of what people wanted, how could this be separated from the propaganda of either the developers manipulation (see Bristle #16) or the US empire's psyops to result in anything as valuable as a truth?

This council employee's heart might be in the right place – and I don't doubt that – but while you only glimpse tiny portions of the whole, its easy to miss the truth. Because the truth is that if the council was democratic then the Broadmead development would not consist of luxury housing. Because if there was economic justice then the residents of St.Pauls would have a wealth comparable to that of the slavery-made Merchant Ventures. If there was no state propaganda machine then we would have revolted at the government support for Saddam in the 80s and not arrived at the mess we are at now. I would urge this employee to get radical – and by that I mean the real meaning of the word, which is from the Latin for root.

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