Sunday, 5 May 2013

Are UKIP Voters Also Clowns? Yes!

Farage The Klown

Yes, UKIP voters are also clowns, though that is a bit unfair to clowns. Clowns are characterised by their anarchic behaviour, by nihilism, by emotional outbursts, and by antics that seem designed to cause self-harm. All of that also characterises UKIP as a party, and those who vote for it. At least, with actual clowns, though, it is only a performance, and not a reflection of their own persona. The prat falls, that appear designed to lead to self harm, are, in fact, well worked out in advance, and carried out with great skill, so as to avoid harm. The policies of UKIP, however, that would lead to self-harm, for those who vote for them, are, in contrast, simply the result of snatching for a populist response, that has been ill thought out, either by those proposing it, or those voting for it.

Of course, there is another side to clowns too. Clowns can often be viewed as sinister and frightening. There is certainly something of that to the clowns of UKIP. From the beginning, UKIP has been shaped as a pale, more constitutionalist version of the BNP; extreme nationalism that, at least verges on, if it does not stretch into, racism. Like all mainstream politicians, who are themselves more concerned with winning votes than standing up for principles, Cameron has rowed back on his earlier statement, but he was right to have labelled UKIP a bunch of “loonies, fruitcakes, and closet racists”. In fact, many of its members, and probably many more of its voters, do not even bother to hide their racism in the closet. Now that the BNP has blown up, UKIP provides the next best thing for them, which is why a number of ex BNP'ers have turned up as UKIP candidates. That undoubtedly reflects a much larger number of fascists who have simply joined UKIP, but without assuming such high profile positions. In fact, it appears the BNP are even openly proclaiming such an entryist tactic – BNP To Enter UKIP.

These sinister clowns supporting UKIP, are not like the bulk of its voters, who are just the typical, really apolitical, flotsam and jetsam within the electorate, who have absolutely no idea about politics, little regard for facts and who simply vote for some maverick on the basis they may scratch some bigoted itch they may have. They really are little better than the people who vote for the Monster Raving Loonies. But, the sinister clowns, the fascists, the people who make up the layer that in Germany would have been the Junkers, and those who are using UKIP as a means of exerting a rightward lever on the Tories, know exactly what they are doing. In many ways, this is what makes UKIP far more dangerous than the BNP. UKIP is far more likely to form the basis of some kind of Party of Order, or Neo-Fascist Party than the BNP ever was. That is not to say it will. For now, the bourgeoisie does not need such a party, and it would be destructive of its interests. In fact, UKIP and the pressure that it is exerting on the Tories is very damaging to the interests of big, multinational industrial capital, whose future has already been tied into the development of an EU State, and of the further breaking down of the limitations that national borders present to the accumulation of capital. But, the reason the Tories already pursue the policies they do, is because they are forced to win over the votes of that far more numerous section of capital, the small capitalists, and their attendant layers.

As I wrote some months ago. What we are witnessing is in many ways similar to the events that led up to the coup of Louis Bonaparte in France - History Repeating As Farce . There the right-wing and centrist parties, continually shifted their ground to the right, and as they did so they found more ground disappearing beneath their feet. In the end Louis Bonaparte was able to claim all of their garb, and in that name seize power. Its no coincidence that Farage has said he could do a deal with Boris Johnson. What we are seeing is a very real contradiction of material interests playing out within the political sphere.

As I've described in the past, the true nature of a bourgeois social democracy is an historic compromise between big capital, and the working class. It is a compromise that developed in the 19th Century out of the struggle of that big industrial capital against the landed aristocracy. As Engels described, the former realised they could not politically defeat the latter, and hold control of Parliament without the support of the majority of workers. They learned to live with Trades Unions, which they absorbed, and utilised as a safety valve on workers discontent. As they found that far more surplus value could be extracted via Relative Surplus Value (reducing the Value of Labour Power by reducing the price of wage goods) rather than Absolute Surplus Value (making the working day longer or more intensive) the big capitalists found they could profitably engage in collective bargaining with those unions for improvements in wages and conditions, in return for increases in productivity that more than paid for them. That was the basis of Fordism, and for the bosses introducing the Welfare State.

But, there have always been far more small businesses than there are big companies, even though the latter employ the most workers, and contribute most to the economy. All of the small capitalists that own these tens of thousands of small businesses, their families, often the managers of those businesses etc, as well as that same general social layer, of middle class people with a similar world outlook, are the people who make up the core of the Tory Party, and of its voters. Unlike Big Capital, these small capitalist enterprises, do still rely on what Engels' described as the “penny pinching measures” that Big Capital had long since abandoned as counter productive. It is precisely these small businesses that rely on the kind of anti-union measures that the Tories promote, because they also rely on employing cheap labour, providing poor working conditions, and so on in order to stay in business.

But, those businesses, are generally locally, at best nationally based, and their political outlook is shaped by that. If they see the British State as a weight on their back, even more will they see a European State as something they can do without. This is the conflict of material interests within Capital that leads to the political conflict within the Tory Party, and has led to the development of UKIP. On the one hand, the Liberal wing of the Liberal-Tory Government, finds common cause with the Social-Democratic wing of the Tory Party; people like Ken Clarke. This section of opinion represents the interests of Big Capital, whereas UKIP and the right-wing of the Tory Party represents the interests of small capital. In many ways, for a rational bourgeois social-democratic polity, the Liberals and Tory Social Democrats would fuse with Labour to form a party like the Democrats in the US. There, big business makes no attempt to hide its involvement in the party alongside the workers and their Trades Unions. For historical reasons, the Labour Party in Britain has represented the interests of big capital, but without the open support of and involvement of Big Capital within it.

The more Big Capital pushes for the implementation of its interests i.e. for the further development of a single European market, and what has to go with that – a single currency, a single fiscal system, and, therefore, a single EU State, the more it will come up against the material interests of small capital and its political representatives within the Tory Party and UKIP. As in the 19th century, the only way Big Capital can defeat its political opponents is by enlisting the support of the working class. The more it does that, the more the small capitalists, the frightened petit-bourgeois will fear for their own continued existence, squeezed between an ever more dominant big capital, and an ever more powerful working-class, able to resist the attempts to extract increasing amounts of Absolute Surplus Value from them. Its no wonder those sections of society are looking for a Bonaparte, be it Boris or Nigel.

But, its also within that context that the other UKIP clowns, the ones more likely to trip over their feet, also play a dangerous role, and why UKIP is more dangerous than the BNP. That is because, particularly given the low level of political culture in Britain, there is a large reservoir of ignorance from which such elements can be drawn. Before we let anyone operate on us, they have to undergo years of education followed by medical training. Even before we allow someone out on the road with a car we insist that they undergo a period of instruction, and have to pass an approved examination to demonstrate their competence. Yet, we let anyone loose with a ballot paper, with the only condition that they are more than 18 years old, and not in gaol, or mentally incompetent! That despite the fact that armed with such a ballot, they can put in place Governments that literally hold the power of life and death over the rest of us; the power to introduce the death penalty; to close hospitals; to send thousands to die in wars and so on. If voters had to pass some kind of competency test similar to that required before we allow people to drive a car, then judged by the kind of comments you hear on the streets and in the pubs, and on the TV, at least 25% of the electorate would be disqualified. So, no, I have no qualms about saying that UKIP voters are also clowns.

On the TV last week, we saw examples, again, of just how ignorant the people are who are allowed to vote, many of them then voting for UKIP. They are the people, who even when he was standing in front of them didn't know who Ed Miliband was; who thought that there was such a position as Prime Minister of Crawley, not to mention all those whose comments about why they were supporting UKIP were so inane, and mindless that you couldn't even be bothered to remember what they had been. And, of course, there were all the racists who said they were voting UKIP because “I am not a racist, but....” followed by a load of mindless racist crap about how the country was full up, how immigrants were given cars for free when they entered the country, and didn't even have to have a driving licence. Presumably they needed the free car to get into town from the million pound homes they had also been given to live in by Councils that cannot house people in the direst conditions!!! Yes, of course, the Daily Mail and other such fascist rags are responsible for pumping out these nonsensical stories in the first place, and despite Leveson and all the rest there will be no clamp down on such rubbish being printed, but what does it say about the intelligence of a lot of British people, and the willingness to be taken in and have their prejudices fed, that they swallow this stuff up as though it were actually true???

The frightening thing is that in many ways that itself is a reflection of just how decayed British society has become. I find myself increasingly amazed by the amount of TV advertising that is at this kind of level promoting endlessly various forms of gambling, from online poker, and casinos, and so on that plays on people's weaknesses, alongside further adverts encouraging them to pay for such activities, as well as according to a “Which?” report today, their food, with money borrowed from Pay Day Loan Sharks, at astronomical levels of interest. The same willingness to swallow ridiculous stories about immigrants, is in reality the same mindset that leads to a willingness to believe that your problems might be solved by winning a shed load of money by gambling, or that you can simply borrow money at 4000% interest without landing yourself in serious problems. Its a willingness that flows from a sense of hopelessness, and demoralisation. The gutter press, as well as all those leaches that exploit such people are to blame for promoting that, but the Labour Movement itself bears part of the blame for the fact that it has failed to provide any kind of real solution for these people's problems. UKIP, as the Nazis did in Germany in the 1930's, have stepped into the breach.

At least, they have stepped into the breach on one side. What also is apparent to me looking through the comments of some of the left sects, and of their supporters in various Left forums, is that the low level of political culture in Britain is not just something that affects the Right. In fact, its frequently difficult given the nature of the comments to differentiate between those of the trolls and those of simply ill-informed members of the sects.  If on the Right there is a willingness to adopt quick fix, ill-thought out solutions, the same is true on the Left. It is what leads to sections of that Left simply repeating old mantras without bothering to do what Marx and Engels, and Lenin and Trotsky emphasised – thinking for yourself. Its what leads sections of the Left to base their politics not on thinking out what needs to be done to advance the working-class, but is based simply on placing a negative sign wherever their opponents place a plus. When the AWL described those elements of the Left as “idiot-anti-imperialists”, who just threw their weight behind this or that enemy of the workers, simply because they professed themselves “anti-imperialist” - usually just anti-American – they were right to do so, because in reality such an approach is no different from those on the Right who simply leap for a quick answer based on bigotry and prejudice, because its easier than actually thinking things through rationally, and committing yourself to the hard work that follows from the conclusion of that process. Of course, the AWL in supporting the Islamists in Libya, and until recently, in Syria, were guilty of exactly the same thing!  Perhaps its no coincidence then that sections of that Left, when it comes to Europe find themselves on the same nationalistic ground as UKIP. In Germany, in the 1930's, when the Nazis grew stronger, there were many Stalinists who joined them. We should not rule out the possibility here.

Last week on the BBC “Question Time”, Victoria Coren said that simply referring to UKIP as clowns was lazy. It does not deal with the political issues themselves on which UKIP stand. That, of course, is absolutely correct. It is, however, difficult to really deal with UKIP's politics, because outside their calls to leave the EU, and opposition to immigration, we do not know what they are! They have taken down large parts of their programme ahead of last week's elections, on the basis that they are “under review”. The real reason was, however, that its programme itself is a hostage to fortune. The last thing a populist party needs is some kind of programmatic commitment, because it might be held to it, when it needs to ditch it to maintain popularity! The last thing UKIP needs is a programme that others can pull apart, and show the contradictions and inconsistencies within.  Its commitment to developing such a programme was illustrated by the proposal that they should just buy some policies from a think tank!  More fitting would be for them to get them from Pound Shop!!!

UKIP pulled down its programme for the same reason it has said to its local Councillors that they can essentially make up their own political positions – something, of course the Liberals did for years. That is that like any such Party, they really are a rag bag of clowns and misfits, and any attempt to impose a programme on all of them would be as one of their leaders put it, “like herding cats”. In reality, it would break the party into smithereens. Anyone who knows the backgrounds of many of its candidates knows they are former disgruntled Tories, as well as ex Labour members who often were associated with its Left-wing, but only on the same kind of basis as referred to above i.e. as mavericks, as some kind of emotional response, rather than any kind of thought out politics. Farage the Klown is symptomatic of that kind of split personality. He parades around as Man of the People, with his fag in his mouth, and pint of beer in his hand, and yet he went to Dulwich Public School, and worked as a Commodity Trader in the City, before embarking on his own lucrative political career as an MEP.

But, Labour should begin to develop a set of political answers to UKIP, and indeed to those same policies advocated on the Tory Right. If Big Capital has any sense, it will facilitate such a development, not just in Britain, but in response to the same kind of right-wing populism that is paralysing much of Europe via Austerian economic policies. On that workers do have a shared interest with Big Capital, just as they did in fighting alongside the industrial bourgeoisie in the 19th Century against the forces of reaction. But, we should do so under our own banner, and for our own interests.

No comments: