Politics is in flux: Good! We can do better.

By - Thursday 22nd January, 2015

Politics is shifting dramatically. Class War candidate for Croydon South Jon Bigger explains why, and outlines his hopes for the future

Class War’s traditional emblem.
Image by Class War, used with permission.

British politics is changing. The old positions of left and right no longer apply to many of our political parties in as much as they seem to occupy the same ground. It would be simplistic to say that they are responding to the electorate in order to get as many votes as possible. This may be true to a small extent, but in reality they are pandering to the funds from donors that ensure they can operate effectively. Indeed, it is to business that mainstream political parties must look if they wish to govern the country.

The mass media tricks us into thinking that we’re being told not just a balanced story but the full story. In Central London on 27th October last year a group of citizens ended their nine day occupation of Parliament Square, campaigning for greater accountability in our ‘democratic’ system. There was barely any notice of this in the mainstream media. The news has been full of UKIP, Tory and Labour views on immigration, the EU and who will join the party leader debates in the election campaign. The mass media is financed by big business just like the main parties. The BBC is different to a certain extent but look at the leading people within the corporation and you’ll find that they’re not exactly ordinary folk. If you want the full story – and a balanced one – you have to look further afield. You have to go out of your way to understand the world and after a hard day at work, parental duties and housework it’s understandable why people don’t find the time.

The fact that people are willing to camp out in the cold shows us people care about the say they have in running the affairs of society. The fact people are willing to go to Croydon Council meetings and campaign directly to save Purley swimming pool shows the same thing. A piece in the Guardian by Paul Mason highlighted the discontent people have with globalisation and the lack of direct control they have over the impact that global capitalism has on their lives. Around the world we see discontent around this issue from the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, student protests and the riots back in 2011. The piece was also about the rise of UKIP and the way in which people are pinning their hopes on this party as a form of protest. The global financial crisis and subsequent austerity shows how globalisation can affect us on a local level with council budgets slashed and services axed.

The party I will be standing for at the next election offers a radical alternative

My view is that people are looking for real and radical change. They want a proper say over the matters that affect them and yet our system, due to economics, is forcing onto us ever more varied types of mock Conservative Party. Labour has moved steadily to the right since the 1980s, the Lib Dems have found it easy to work with the Tories and now UKIP enters the fray.

Meanwhile, the party I will be standing for at the next election offers a radical alternative. Don’t expect any coverage in the mainstream media. At the moment the media is only covering calls for radical democracy and increased equality when they come from Russell Brand, a celebrity who has the money and prestige to use such ideas to shift books and line his own pockets. This isn’t quite so radical as commercial. I want us all to thrive. I want us to transform our community so we all have power. As a community we shouldn’t have to fight for our pool, against library closures or have to rely on food banks. We live in an affluent country and the divide between rich and poor is evident when we walk around our constituency. Inequality is the issue, not the deficit or debt. It is the rich taking a massive slice of cake and leaving our community with the crumbs.

If we really love our communities, we will strive for something better than this neoliberal hell

Class War is left wing, radical and libertarian. We’re unashamedly angry about the way our society and communities are governed. We don’t think for a moment that we will win any seats but our plan is to raise issues that affect people in the real world. We won’t be apologising for attacking the system that causes us all so much grief. Our plan is to attack it in the name of hope for the people. With the rich getting richer and the rest of us suffering, our policies of doubling the dole, pensions, and all other benefits strikes at the heart of capitalism. We will not be told that common decency is unaffordable. We propose that the rich pay for these policies. Labour’s pitiful plans pale into insignificance with our proposal for a 50% mansion tax on properties over £1m. We believe in free public transport for all and an end to elitist schools.

With another coalition government likely, and the parties fighting for funding from big business to occupy the same tired right-wing positions, we can expect British politics to become ever nastier. The racism will become more casual, the attacks on people that need benefits will become harsher, and the crackdown on dissent will become more draconian. If we really love our communities, we will strive for something better than this neoliberal hell.

Croydon has unique problems in all this. It has major divisions between rich and poor. The borough has acute housing needs with so many developments lingering for months and sometimes years in a half-finished state. Our young people face so many pressures. Sensational headlines about knife crime present the youth of our town as if they’re a mass of criminals, posing a threat to society, when they are in fact our future hopes if we help and work with them. We should work together to achieve the potential Croydon has and not give in to the tired politics of Westminster.

Jon Bigger

Jon Bigger

Jon Bigger is the Class War candidate for Croydon South at the next general election. He blogs at Trade Onion.

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  • lizsheppardjourno

    They only call it class war when we fight back.

  • Mario Creatura

    ‘If we really love our communities, we will strive for something better’ – admirable sentiment Jon.

    I’d be interested to know what you’ve done in Croydon locally to date to make this happen? What community groups are you involved with? What committees are you sitting on? What specific campaigns locally are you fighting for? What social action (littler picks, garden projects, education groups etc.) are you running or taking part in? How many members does ‘Class War’ have? How many supporters would you say you have locally?

  • https://tradeonion.wordpress.com/ Jon Bigger

    Trust Mario to be straight in there with some nonsense. I was writing about what kind of world we might have if we all had access to society in the same way and he jumps to asking a series of questions about my activities rather than on the points I’ve raised. Some of the questions relate to things I am and would want to be involved in and others relate actually to the kind of world he inhabits. For example he asked about the committees I sit on. I don’t think I’m allowed on committees, not after the last time.

    I have to tell you that Class War is actually leading in an online poll today – it must be a very small and unrepresentative sample. How many supporters I have will fluctuate over time I’m sure. I think for the resources I have it’s going pretty well.

    Maybe Mario could come back on why he’s wedded to the old hierarchy? How’s the greasy pole? Why does he stand for inequality and injustice when he could be so much better as a human being?

    • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

      “I don’t think I’m allowed on committees, not after the last time”

      Why? What did people object to? The skull and crossbones pirate flag or the quotation
      from Malcolm X during his Nation of Islam black supremacist era…?