ARMED COMPETITIVENESS – The Working Class gets Called up to Fight Itself: Notes on a Recruitment Crisis

Who can afford to live inside the law?

War among the poor (or ‘war of the poor against the poor’, ‘civil/internecine war of the poor’, etc.) is:

– An exaggerated and reductive name (too bloody and too simple) for a real phenomenon. Intra-class competition is often violent, sometimes lethal, endlessly rhetorical and always managed from above. The proprietors’ 500-year Plan.

– An oxymoron, if opposing bodies of ‘the poor’ are supposed to be autonomous belligerent subjects rather than someone else’s cannon fodder. An essential feature of ‘war’ is ignored. Has any group of ‘the poor’ ever fought an organized campaign of destruction exclusively against other poor people except under the influence of generals or senior managers?1 Of course the poor have fought autonomously many times, but the enemy was always an army sent out by some department of ‘the rich’.

For anyone trying to show that violent competition between proletarians amounts to ‘war among the poor’, few social situations could offer less useful evidence than the urban riots2 in the US (2014-15), the UK (2011) or France (2005)3. No one disputes that some working-class people were badly hurt and a few killed by non-police violence during some of those events, or, for example, that most of the homes accidentally burned in London were rented by the poor, or that ‘working-class’ cars built the Paris barricades, etc. etc. The stories of Muslim ‘identity’ groups ‘taking over’ the fighting in France by force, ‘pushing out’ left activists and unaffiliated local proletarians, are also well known and much disputed. And there’s no more reason to disbelieve the many reports of ugly individual beatings/stabbings/robberies than there is to forget that these things happen every night in the cities concerned, or to pretend that they could serve any conceivable collective purpose of a riot. [Read more →]

Notes from Non-Existence – Brexit vs. the Proletariat

Your country’s dead man, but your continent is soiled
– Triple Negative, Schengen Wasteman

Jay Gould may or may not actually have said ‘I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half’, but the proprietors of the UK have tested the theory successfully with their EU referendum. Not that you would know it from reading the Guardian, the Financial Times or even, sad to say, Counterpunch and the rest of the Left-wing blogobubble, where a chorus of Influencers is celebrating the 18th Brumaire of Nigel Farage.

Let me make clear what I don’t mean by that. Of course the likes of John Pilger, Michael Hudson, Tariq Ali and too many others to list are right in principle to celebrate a slap in the face of the EU manageriat and its unctuous cheerleaders. Who other than actual Eurostipendiaries would deny that the EU is an anti-democratic managerial machine built to hammer home labour discipline (sorry, ‘Competitiveness’) and ease cross-border financial looting?

But the point here is not really about whether or not the satisfaction of symbolically slapping a robot outweighs the harm done by an anti-immigrant plebiscite. What cries out louder for correction right now is the myth that the ‘leave’ vote is a victory for THE working class over ‘metropolitan elites’ and incorrigibly Scottish Scots. This matters a lot, because the metropolitan, multinational working class is being told by all sides, and at the worst possible moment, that actually we don’t exist. Worse still, myths like this tend to become self-fulfilling. Which is not to say they come true, but they become truisms to the point that they start having real effects. Like that old chestnut, ‘immigrants are to blame for other workers’ immiseration’, which we’ve just witnessed in action. [Read more →]